Monday, February 28, 2011

Barefoot Running vs. Minimalist-Shoe Running

New Study Says Barefoot Running is Different From Minimalist-Shoe Running. What Does This Mean? We Still Don't Know.

Sure we do.  We know that Amby Burfoot and Runner's World have been advocating running shoes for decades with, we now know, no scientific evidence whatsoever that sneakers are beneficial.

Now that people are figuring this out, Amby and Co. are hiding behind the skirts of Science telling us to wait for the studies, even though they never felt so constrained.

They want us to wait for the studies because, IMHO, they know that the studies will show that they jumped the gun.  They also know that these studies will likely take decades.  By the time that happens, they will have successfully repositioned themselves, as Amby is doing, to be on the right side of the debate.

Clearly barefoot, or so close to barefoot that the mechanics are the same (what I refer to as barefoot-style), is how humans evolved to run.  It's the only way in which we take advantage of the force absorbtion and return mechanisms in the foot and lower leg.  Shoes as they're currently designed adversely affect the way our feet function. 

Trying to be neutral between an unproved hypothesis and a plain fact is not being neutral, it's being biased.  Arguing anything else isn't "scientific", no matter how much that argument tries to cloth itself in Science.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Looking To Increase Your Chances Of Having A Stroke?

FuturePundit: High Triglycerides Associated With High Stroke Risks.  High triglycerides are caused by eating too much starch and sugar.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Goodness from the Soft Star Elves"

RunAmoc review. They really do seem to have sorted these out...

Primates and the American Diet

Lo and behold, it has the same effect on baboons as it does on Americans.  They get fat, they get diabetes, and they get heart disease.  Fructose and carbohydrates pretty much seal the deal, and are essential to causing these ill effects. 

"Dr. Grove and researchers at some other centers say the high-fructose corn syrup appears to accelerate the development of obesity and diabetes.

"'It wasn’t until we added those carbs that we got all those other changes, including those changes in body fat,' said Anthony G. Comuzzie, who helped create an obese baboon colony at the Southwest National Primate Research Center in San Antonio....

"Barbara C. Hansen of the University of South Florida said calories, but not high fat, were important. 'To suggest that humans and monkeys get fat because of a high-fat diet is not a good suggestion,' she said.

"Dr. Hansen, who has been doing research on obese monkeys for four decades, prefers animals that become naturally obese with age, just as many humans do. Fat Albert, one of her monkeys who she said was at one time the world’s heaviest rhesus, at 70 pounds, ate 'nothing but an American Heart Association-recommended diet,' she said."

They also spend a good amount of time quoting the idiots from PETA, who object to feeding baboons the American Heart Association diet, but in their perverse sense of "ethics" have no problem with people eating the same diet without any testing for efficacy at all. We can look around us and see how well that has gone...

But this is par for the course at the Times, unfortunately. The article is so confused and ill-written that it's only of limited use... They present a very contrary message on fat, for instance. Stephen Guyenet has pointed out that researchers often use corn oil as a high-fat diet, which is very misleadding.

And at the end the author notes that much of this research is moving to China, where the cowards at PETA won't have any influence.

Here's the story, and here's Dr. Davis' post where I found this.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"Ik aa'ye iidenka ashii nadndaal. ei nanlwogo aniile shiiyii'ii."

(Run to the mountain and back. It will make you strong my son.) --Apache exhortation to a young warrior.

Amusingly (from the same link):

"How do you pronounce the word "Apache"? What does it mean?

"It's pronounced 'uh-PAH-chee.' It means 'enemy' in the language of their Zuni neighbors. The Apaches' own name for themselves was traditionally Nde or Ndee (which means 'The People'), but today most Apache people use the word 'Apache' themselves, even when they are speaking their own language.
[...]They do not call themselves 'Apaches,' but Shis-Inday, or 'Men of the Woods,' probably because their winter quarters are always located amidst the forests which grow upon the Sierras, far above the plains, and while they afford fire and shelter from the wintry blasts, enable them to observe all that passes in the vales below. Some call themselves the Eagle People also."

The Lights Are Going On In The Sporting World...

"Kobe mid-stride, with a viscous heel stike"
"Nike – a mega-merchant in the twenty-some-billion dollar athletic footwear industry – is not just selling uppers, soles, or style. They’re in the business of publicly selling basketball trade secrets and promises of greatness.

"While the marketing is highly effective, it’s essentially snake oil. The trade secrets are null. The promises are empty....

"Just take a quick look around the league today; it is full of players who hammer their heels into the hardwood. Here is a much-abridged list of broken-down NBA bodies:

  • "Andre Iguodala: Missed a handful of games this year due to a strained Achilles’ tendon.
  • "Brandon Roy: Surgery free, but only because his knees no longer have any cartilage.
  • "Drew Gooden: Decided to go under the knife after being sidelined by plantar fasciitis.
  • "Dwyane Wade: Chronically sore, creaky knees and bad ankles.
  • "John Wall: Ongoing bout with patellar tendinitis.
  • "Kobe Bryant: Do four knee surgeries and slashed practice minutes ring any bells?
  • "Mehmet Okur: Still suffering from chronic disc problems in his lower back.
  • "┼Żydrunas Ilgauskas: Plagued by foot injuries that almost ended his basketball career.

"Notice that the players listed above are all victims of non-contact injuries....

"Part of the problem is the shoes on the NBA players’ feet — more specifically, the command those lace-ups have on their strides. (But to be fair to the athletic footwear industry, they are not exactly the world’s most dangerous supervillains.) The other half of the story is the complete ignorance from training staffs, general managers, coaches, and owners across the globe. They are failing to prepare their athletes, their multimillion dollar assets, for the most timeless and fundamental aspect of sport: movement.

"You can’t even begin to underestimate the human error in all of this. It is in our collective best interest, from the casual fan to the Association’s Director of Finance, to protect the players from themselves. And yet, NBA players are not counseled to do this better. Even worse, the very thought of using running technique to empower a player with greater on-court endurance and an extended career rarely – if ever – crosses the minds of the NBA’s brain trusts....

"The tragedy is that while these injuries are much too predictable, they are entirely preventable. It’s ludicrous. It’s blind. It’s unacceptable....

This is on ESPN's website. Read the whole thing, as they say.  This post is for Harry.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Insistent Hunt

Why do a persistent hunt? Just be insistent.

Thanks to Ian.

P.S. Richard Nikoley has some good thoughts on this.  He's right.  The lions know whom to be afraid of.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"A Fictional Interview with a Barefoot Skeptic"

"Jason: Let’s talk about running surfaces. You make the claim that shoes are required because our modern environment is not barefoot-friendly.

"Zippy: That’s right. In the ancient world, everything was soft and squishy. Sharp pointy thing simply did not exist. Neither did hard surfaces. Our ancestors did not have to worry about the hazards we face today. Ask any geologist… they will tell you we didn’t see the appearance of rocks until 1972."

Too funny.

"Merrell Offering Free Shipping To Alleviate Sizing Questions"

This is cool:

"Merrell just sent me a message. They're offering free shipping since the shoe is taking time to reach all the stores. Here's the directions:

"For free shipping its When you check out enter code: RUNBAREFOOT. Starts today for 30 days so ends March 14th.

"If you have questions, look for Emily (emsnayd on the RW barefoot forum). I'm not sure if she's hangs out here...
Thanks to Jason Robillard for passing this along...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jimmy Moore: "Dr. Daniel Howell Promotes The Health Benefits Of Going Barefoot"

Oh goodness...  Jimmy got a pair of Vibrams a while ago.  Looks like he's now turning his sights on the barefoot-running movement. 

Jimmy's a great interviewer, IMHO.  This can't help but be a good thing to cross-pollinate the two communities (which is what this blog is about, also).

Beer and Reproductive Fitness

I had dinner with John Durant the other night, and one of the things that we discussed in a wide-ranging conversation was alcohol and and it's impact on human evolution.

Today I come across this item:

"No matter their gender or orientation, beer-lovers are 60% more likely to be okay with sleeping with someone they’ve just met."

That explains a lot.  Alcohol may or may not have an impact on the human genome, but clearly beer-drinkers are going to populate the Earth.

John's put together a bunch of great events, btw, and has a bunch more planned, so follow his blog so you too can attend.

He serves beer... ;)

Mark Cucuzella on Plantar Fasciitis

Excellent article.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Free The Animal On Skechers' Fitness Shoes

Run away!
 This is hilarious.  I'd never review shoes like these, because I know up front what I'd say. 

But read his whole post.  Caution, not safe for little kids or those with a sensitive disposition. ;)

ESPN: "Slow And Steady Wins The Planet"

ESPN reviews the Running Man hypothesis:

"The idea gained little traction in the scientific community. For starters, it went against every anthropology textbook ever printed. Years later, when the theory was first mentioned to C. Richard Taylor of Harvard, one of the world's leading experts on animal locomotion, he thought the whole thing sounded, in a word, "stupid." Evolution suggests that animals who have adapted best to their environment develop an advantage as a species. What advantage could running hold for humans who, over short distances, are among the slowest mammals? Bolt, the fastest man on the planet, would get caught by a lion in less than 20 seconds. Looking at raw speed instead of relative speed or endurance, it was hard to see a competitive upside for primitive man to run....

"...Opponents suggest that millions of years ago, the African plains were too lush to run through, that the theory overemphasizes the importance of meat in primitive man's diet and development, that most of the physiological markers could have been for walking, not running, and that the energy cost for chasing an antelope would have far exceeded the calories gained by consuming the meat. "Utter rubbish," says Noakes. "Scientists learn one way, and the cost and energy of changing that thinking becomes so high it is not feasible for them. When you take all this data in with an open mind, there's just no other explanation: We evolved as runners." It's a conclusion that gets even harder to argue while watching the predatory runners of the !Xo San tribe in action. For hours, the running men float effortlessly, like ghosts, across one of the harshest climates on earth. And when they see erratic tracks in the sand indicating that the kudu is tiring, they lock on to their prey like a guided missile. They call themselves "sons of the first people," and their focus seems almost primordial."

A good overview if you're not familiar with it.  Can someone please forward it to Art De Vany?

And what a great image...

Here is the documentary The Great Dance, A Hunter's Story mentioned in the article:

P.S. OK, I deleted the darn embed text for the trailer of the movie, because it auto-played when the page loaded. I despise pages that automatically make sounds when you load them: it's just obnoxious.

So if you want to see the trailer, and it's cool, check out the link above. You can download the movie for $3.99, which I'm going to do when I get home.

P.P.S. Here's the whole movie, for free, embedded, without autoplay. Thanks, Josh.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Congratulations to Steve Magness!

He's taken a job with Alberto Salazar at Nike as Salazar's assistant coach.  Very exciting news.

Steve's blog is Science of Running.  Pete Larson the Runblogger is spreading the news.

Here's a post of Steve's that's extra interesting now:

"To change or not: Salazar, Ritzenhein, and running form changes"

Sounds like his willingness to speak up got him this new gig.  I'm sure writing posts like this didn't hurt, either.  I sure hope he continues blogging...
(The video interview of Steve on Pete's site doesn't seem to be working, so I embed it here.)

"The Raw Truth About Raw Vegan Diets"

A bit harsh...  But accurate.

Best bit from the comments:

"But, Don, they have uncovered many, many paleolithic food processors.

"I believe they are called ruminants."

Part 2 goes into the physiological reasons why we are not vegans:

"Briefly, both of the apes closest to humans by genetic constitution (about 98% identical), chimps and gorillas, are hindgut fermenters. In chimps and gorillas, the hindgut, or colon, comprises about 52 percent of the total gut volume. It houses microbes that ferment fiber, converting it to fatty acids that supply up to 65% of the animal’s energy requirements. In contrast, in humans the hindgut comprises only about 17 percent of total gut volume, and has relatively small microbial population. At most, microbial fermentation in the hindgut can provide about 10% of human energy requirements."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Empire State Building Run-up"

Video at the link.  Not much running going on there... :)

New New Balance Racing Flat

"With the upcoming lightweight 890 and Minimus line set for release in February and March, respectively, and now the 1400 coming in July, New Balance appears to be in the middle of a revolution and the right guys are winning."
Via Runblogger on Facebook.

Veganism and Kids

"Professor Allen said: 'There have been sufficient studies clearly showing that when women avoid all animal foods, their babies are born small, they grow very slowly and they are developmentally retarded, possibly permanently.'"


"She was especially critical of parents who imposed a vegan lifestyle on their children, denying them milk, cheese, butter and meat.

 "'There's absolutely no question that it's unethical for parents to bring up their children as strict vegans,'

I'm convinced.

"They’ve Got Us Surrounded"

So is washing your hands a waste of time?  Sounds like it, if bacteria and virii are this ubiquitous...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"U.S. Army Outlaws Vibram Five Fingers"

This is dumb.  But coming from the organization that inspired the terms FUBAR and SNAFU*, I suppose it's not surprising.  Hopefully this will not stand for long.

I'm pretty surprised and disappointed to see this.  (See the label Military for previous posts on this topic.)

*And let's not forget my new favorite, BOHICA.

P.S.  Thanks to Dr. Shavelson for pointing this out.  Discussion at the link.

P.P.S.  Some great comments over in the Birthday Shoes post, including this one:

"Mark Cucuzzella MD [Visitor] ·

"This policy will hopefully change and the USAF will lead the way in teaching good running mechanics, proper stability and mobility in joints specific to running, progressive aerobic development....and how a shoe affects form. We are developing a program called Efficient Running for all our troops to help them succeed in the PT tests and more importantly become healthier. We will gather important data also to help all the Joint Forces succeed. Several military leads just attended our 3 day injury prevention summit . review posts are at in posts from Feb 2-9.

"Lt Col Mark Cucuzzella, USAF Reserves"

Another Merrell Trail Glove Review

As Jason Robillard introduces him:

"From Jesse Scott, winner of the Woodstock 50 miler and photo finish 2nd place at the north Country Trail 50 miler (i.e.- he's not too bad):"
Not perfect...

In Search of Solid Ground: Merrell Trail Glove Review

"I could get wordy, but the bottom line is that the shoe is great."

They're not perfect, however, so read the whole thing.

Stem Footwear: First Review?

Sounds cool.  They look nice, also.

Follow-Up to "Krupicka vs. Jurek"

Krupicka finished 2nd, Jurek dropped out.  The race wasn't between them.  Sounds like a great race, nevertheless.  (Tony K does great race reports, as in that second link, btw.)

And congrats to Ian Sharman, the winner and new course record holder.

Original post.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Linoleic Acid and Blindness

(A.S.  Linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid found in vegetable oils like soybean or corn.  It is also found in animal fats, but in much smaller amounts, unless the animals are fed soybean or corn.  The body seems to expect a certain ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (like EPA and DHA), and a certain upper limit on the quantity of omega-6 fatty acids.  When it does not get that ratio, ill health ensues, including cancer, obesity, diabetes, and, apparently, age-related macular degeneration.)

The heck with the veggies:

"Higher intake of specific types of fat--including vegetable, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats and linoleic acid--rather than total fat intake may be associated with a greater risk for advanced AMD. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids and fish were inversely associated with risk for AMD when intake of linoleic acid was low."

"Dietary Fat and Risk for Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration."

"This study provides evidence of protection against early AMD from regularly eating fish, greater consumption of -3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and low intakes of foods rich in linoleic acid. Regular consumption of nuts may also reduce AMD risk. Joint effects from multiple factors are suggested."

"Dietary Fatty Acids and the 10-Year Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration"

"Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of legal blindness of elderly people in the world....

"...In summary, a diet enriched in EPA and DHA can ameliorate the progression of retinal lesions in the Ccl2/Cx3cr1 deficient mice. We suggest that this mouse strain is useful for the screening of therapeutic agents for AMD. One of the mechanisms underlying lower disease progression by long chain n-3 fatty acids may be via a shunted arachidonic acid pathway, leading to an increase of anti-inflammatory derivatives such as PGD2 and decreases of pro-inflammatory derivatives such as PGE2, LTB4, TNF-╬▒, and IL-6. The results in these mice are in line with the epidemiological studies of AMD risk reduction by long chain n-3 fatty acids."
"A High Omega-3 Fatty Acid Diet Reduces Retinal Lesions in a [Mouse] Model of Macular Degeneration"

So follow the USDA guidelines and go blind. Wonderful.

P.P.S. More here:

"Linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid), which is a type of polyunsaturated fat found primarily in fish and flaxseed oil, is associated with lessening of macular degeneration risk, but only among individuals with lower intake of linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid). Therefore, intake of food sources with high linolenic acid (omega-3 fatty acid) and low linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid), as is found in Canola oil may help in macular degeneration."

Canola oil is a bad source.  Grass-fed beef or butter is a far better source, as it has far less linoleic acid. Good heavens. Taking dietary advice from a medical professional is, on average, a recipe for disaster.

P.P.P.S.  Some possibly contrary information here, implying that omega-3 fats are to blame.  I posted a comment hoping to reconcile the difference, but Dr. Jaminet did not respond to it.

P.P.P.P.S.  Follow-up here.

"The Unconquerable Dave"

Nine months later... Incredible.

P.S. Since this is bookended by two posts on the USDA Dietary Guidelines: no, Dave did not follow them.  Duh. :)

"Assorted Thoughts About the 2010 [USDA] Dietary Guidelines"

The last sentence is keyCaveat emptor.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Changing Feet Due To Barefooting

"Standing between these tribes and the rest of the world is Possuelo, 59, who has pinpointed 7 new tribes in his 40 years as a sertanista, the peculiarly Brazilian occupation of Indian tracker. He can look at a footprint in the forest and tell instantly whether it belongs to a forest Indian or a Brazilian settler by the gap between the first two toes: Indians always walk barefoot, so the big and middle toes splay from repeatedly gripping the earth. Over the years, his own foot has come to resemble those of the Indians."

The Last Tribal Battle

Thanks to JZ.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Krupicka vs. Jurek

Rocky Racoon should be a great race.

Is Pastured Meat Worth It?

You decide.

Chicken Livers
Makes you wonder what your own liver looks like, doesn't it...

P.S. Bought some organic calve's liver over the weekend, and then compared it to the pastured calve's liver that I also have. Very similar to the chicken liver in the photo above. I'll be feeding the organic liver to my dog. I ate the pastured liver, and it was delicious.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: "Merrell Trail Glove vs. New Balance Minimus Trail"

An interesting review, although as I pointed out a long time ago, these shoes don't compete with each other.  But they're pretty close.

I see the line-up as Vibram Trek, Merrell Barefoot Trail Glove, and New Balance Minimus Trail, from less to more.

"The Merrell Trail Glove and New Balance Minimus Trail are two shoes aimed at the same niche-but-growing community of trail runners looking for shoes that allow their feet to function unimpeded, but with protection from the trail.  I truly enjoyed running in both shoes and I will continue to utilize them as a tool in my running, both to increase my foot and lower leg strength and for the sheer enjoyment of it.  I will, however, stick to soft trails when running in these shoes and would not attempt to take them on anything burly or rocky.  That’s just my personal preference."

The author of the review got a couple of shots in the feet from rocks.  I suspect that I've spent a bit more time running barefoot-style, and your feet do adapt to the rocks, and you learn to keep your eyes open for the ones that will hurt.  I think the Trek is a bit "too much" for most burly, rocky trail runs, although I really enjoyed having them when out in Colorado over the summer.  The Trail Gloves feel almost like a hiking boot in comparison, and won't ever replace the KSOs as my primary trail-running shoe, although they'll be great for a race shoe, or for winter running.

"Vibram FiveFingers Jaya, KomodoSport for Women Available Now!"


"No Doubt About The Toxicity Of Wheat"


I've started reading the Hyperlipid blog from the beginning.  What an eye-opener.

Interview with Vibram Fivefinger Inventor Robert Fliri

It's a PDF:

"Shoe-people think a shoe needs shock absorption, cushioning, support."

Interesting. He designed them for hiking, the owner of Vibram decided they would be good for boating also, and bought the idea. Fliri is employed at Vibram now.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"The Re-Evolution of Running"

Cool event.  I wish I could have been there.  Pete the Runblogger was a panelist.

Gluten-Free January Survey

Stephen's got a post up about his project.  I'll go fill out his survey, you should as well.

(But mainly I wanted an excuse to link to that awesome graphic.)

The results of the survey should be pretty interesting.

"Calling Doctor Google..."


"Is Central Heating Related To Obesity?"

Most of the time I like Mark Sisson's work, but I'm not buying this one:

"A recent study out of the journal Obesity Reviews notes that it’s not just diet and activity levels that have changed in correlation with rising obesity numbers, but ambient temperature. To be more specific, people are heating their homes at all hours of the day, even as they sleep, and spending less time outdoors exposed to the elements. Central heating is more common, while space heaters, fireplaces, and electric heaters are less common, meaning the entire house gets and stays warm. People in developed countries exist in relative thermoneutrality: a nice 68-72 degrees F. The authors guess that with less exposure to thermal stress, we’re burning fewer calories. Our bodies have an easier time regulating our internal temperatures, and expend less energy doing so."

If it were true that high ambient temperature was related to obesity, then people at the equator should all be obese.  That's not the case. Ergo, this fails the plausibility test.

Next theory...

"Here’s to Jack LaLanne"

Mark Sisson remembers his inspiration. A great post:

"The man was a force to be reckoned with. He was an admitted zealot, a self-described health and fitness nut who, when asked how long he’d live, replied, 'The earth will go first.'

Inov-8 Evoskins on Facebook

Preppy toe shoes.  Interesting.

Inov-8 Evoskins
P.S. "Graham Jordison: Sweat is very minimal in these since we've created channels to disperse moisture and unlike the vibrams, they don't hold on to bacteria from the use of fabric. They're actually pre-scented (strawberry)!!!!"

Let's hope he's joking about the strawberry.  This color scheme will not be available, btw.  It's a mix of two different pairs. (Thank God.)

Merrell Barefoot Update

They're for sale.  Featuring the world's first barefoot running pro, Jason Robillard.

Very cool stuff, and congratulations to Jason.

"No Shoes, No Problem"

A nice story from the ABC TV affiliate in Houston, TX.