Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SoftStar's Dash Lite Gets Some Press

Dash Lite
Good for them.

"...The DASH LITE has a flat, flexible sole that's made by Vibram, a top minimalist sole manufacturer. You can choose from two sole options: the trail, which is 5 mm thick and provides extra traction on wet or rough surfaces, or the street, which is 2 mm thick and gets you closer to the barefoot feel. Upper portion of the shoe is soft leather with holes for ventilation and includes lacing for size adjustment. Shoe has reflectors on the front and back for nighttime visibility...."

SoftStar Moccasins for a 100 Mile Race

Donald's in-depth review is up.  Fascinating stuff.

Prior post here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Comparison of Aerobic Versus Resistance Exercise Training Effects on Metabolic Syndrome"

Interesting result:

"...In conclusion, [resistance training] was not effective at improving the [Metabolic Syndrome] score; however, [aerobic training] was effective. Combined [aerobic training] and [resistance training] was similarly effective but not different from [aerobic training] alone. When weighing the time commitment versus health benefit, the data suggest that [aerobic training] alone was the most efficient mode of exercise for improving cardiometabolic health...."

Seems to me that both are necessary for a healthy system, but it's very interesting that only aerobic training offered benefits to sufferers of Metabolic Syndrome. 

Phil Maffetone says that resistance training primarily uses the anaerobic system, which, of course, is glucose-based.  This would seem to support that, and also to support the notion that a fat-burning metabolism is healthy to victims of the Modern American Diet.  Although Maffetone also cautions against resistance training because it impairs aerobic function, whereas here it didn't seem to...

Podiatrists and Barefoot Running

Love to be a fly on the wall for this one:

"The Great Shoe Flap" Arrives in Boston: Is Barefoot Running Better?

"...Dr. Jenkins, a professor at Midwestern University's Arizona Podiatric Medicine Program, recently compiled extensive research from more than 120 external sources -- including Christopher McDougall's 'barefoot bible,' Born to Run. 'There has been a lot of focus on the biomechanics of barefoot running, and not as much on the perceived hazards that can cause injury,' he said. 'Our presentation is neutral from a scientific approach and aims to address all of the important angles.'

"Although many consider barefoot running a 'craze,' Dr. Langer believes it has longevity...."

And this is not the same doctor who did this study.  Times, they are a'changin...

Merrell Barefoot Line-up for 2012

Barefoot Jason has the inside scoop.

Road Glove

They look terrific.  Check out the whole line at BRU.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Vibram FiveFingers Trek LS Review

Wow, it's a Trek Speed!
Trek LS
Dangit, I really do have enough Vibrams... But this is really, really cool.

Running and War

If you've wondered how the Kenyans got to be so fast, they were running for their lives:

"...Running success in Africa based on cattle raiding

"In East Africa, more specifically in the western part of Kenya, lives a group of some 3.5 million people who call themselves Kalenjin. During pre-colonial times (before 1895) their so-called traditional sport par excellence was cattle raiding. This was a sport exclusively for young men, and it was dangerous business as one could get killed since, potentially, cattle raiding was also war.

"Cattle raiding was important as a way of regulating the local economy of the different Kalenjin sub-groups especially during times of cattle plaque and drought. It was also important in social matters as cattle was used to accumulate wealth, for paying dowries, for ceremonial purposes and seen as a way of climbing the social ladder if one owned many cows. The more cattle a man owned, the more wives he could have.

"The most fierce and dreaded of all the Kalenjin cattle raiders were the Nandi, the second largest of the Kalenjin sub-groups. As opposed to most other cattle raiders, they were night runners, and they would often cover long distances such as 50 to 60 kilometres before striking at dawn. As running abilities was a prerequisite for being a successful cattle thief, the most successful cattle thieves were obviously the best runners..."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Jim's Cupcakes

Jim is a colleague of mine.  He's the smart guy who when I suggested he read Real Food: What to Eat and Why actually did so and changed his diet.  Took me three years, and one surgery, to follow.

He's been experimenting with cooking since going totally Paleo last year, and, as he's of French extraction, his experiments tend to be very tasty.  Here's his latest. (If you didn't know that this contained no wheat flour, you'd never guess.)


  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup palm sugar simple syrup - see below
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1Tbsp vanilla extract - gluten free kind, yes as sad as it is most vanilla extract has gluten and HFCS..... I use Madagascar vanilla extract.

Palm sugar simple syrup:

  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar, I use sweet tree, the type of palm that is used has some proof that the glycemic index is 35.
  • 1/2 cup water
Reduce down to 1 cup over medium heat.

Let the syrup cool before using, you may want to make this before you start so you are not standing around waiting for it to cool.

How to:

Preheat oven to 350, place rack in the middle.

Line cupcake pan with 9 cupcake cups

Mix and combine the dry ingredients together (coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt) break up large lumps

Mix wet and combine together in separate bowl (coconut oil, eggs, palm sugar simple syrup, vanilla)

Mix wet into dry and mix with hand mixer until very well blended, smooth no lumps.

Add 1/4 cup of mix into each cupcake cup and bake in over for 18 to 22 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool for 1 hr in the pan before removing from the cups and eating.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Endurance Sports and Longevity

Still awaiting some credible evidence that this stuff is bad for you.  The most credible studies keep saying it's not bad for you, and is likely very, very good for you.

Here's the latest:

"Researchers at the University of Valencia in Spain collected birth and death data on 834 cyclists who rode in the Tour [of France] between 1930 and 1964, representing the majority of competitors from France, Italy and Belgium during those years. They compared the data to average figures for people born in those countries in the relevant years, publishing the results in the International Journal of Sports Medicine. The finding: Median age of death was 73.5 years for the controls compared to 81.5 years for the cyclists, and the mean lifespan was 17 per cent longer for the cyclists....

"...On that score, the research is reassuring. A 2009 study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California followed 35,402 runners for 7.7 years, during which time 467 suffered heart attacks or other serious heart problems and another 54 died of heart disease. The risks of all these symptoms declined with every additional daily kilometre run, so that those running more than nine kilometres per day were 65 per cent less likely to suffer from angina, and 29 per cent less likely to suffer from heart disease compared to those averaging three kilometres per day – the level corresponding to most public-health recommendations....

"...There’s also the possibility that the people who choose to become professional cyclists are predisposed to long, healthy lives. However, a Swedish study of 100 world-class male endurance athletes, published last year in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, found no difference in their genetic risk factors for heart disease, hypertension, cancer and other major killers compared to non-athlete controls....

"...“We believe that, for the general population, exercise should be prescribed like a drug,” she says. That means people who are older, unfit or suffer from conditions such as diabetes might get the greatest benefit from a relatively small dose – but the maximum safe dose is much, much higher than we’ve been led to believe."

Makes sense.  We didn't evolve on couches, after all...

Via Sweat Science on Twitter.

Is There Anything You Can't Do In Minimalist Shoes?

Apparently not.

Congratulations to Donald.  Looking forward to hearing the full report.

P.S.  Here's the backstory: 100 Miles in Moccasins?

"Vibram (FiveFingers) Sues Fila (Skele-Toes) for Patent Infringement"

Follow the link to Birthday Shoes for the whole story.  This is not particularly surprising, IMHO.

Vibram to Fila

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Doctors of the future will have less use for medicines of any kind. Instead, they will instruct patients in the proper care of the human mind and body through correct ways of eating, proper care of the human frame and the right attitude that facilitates healing of both the mind and body."
– Thomas Edison

For the most part, we're still waiting for these "doctors of the future".

Via Paul Jaminet.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Follow-Up to "Sawdust and Ice Cream"

"...Perhaps most important to food processors is that cellulose is cheaper, he added, because “the fiber and water combination is less expensive than most other ingredients in the [food] product.”

"Indeed, food producers save as much as 30% in ingredient costs by opting for cellulose as a filler or binder in processed foods, according to a source close to the processed food industry who spoke with TheStreet on the condition of anonymity.

"Inman said that in his 30 years in the food science business, he’s seen 'an amazing leap in terms of the applications of cellulose fiber and what you can do with it.' He said powdered cellulose has a bad reputation but that more of his customers are converting from things like oat or sugar cane fibers to cellulose because it is 'snow white in color, bland and easy to work with.'

"Most surprising, said Inman, is that he’s been able to remove as much as 50% of the fat from some cookies, biscuits, cakes and brownies by replacing it with powdered cellulose – but still end up with a very similar product in terms of taste and appearance.

"'We’re only limited by our own imagination,' Inman told TheStreet. 'I would never have dreamed I could successfully put 18% fiber in a loaf of bread two years ago.'..."

The story includes a list of products you can run out and buy.

Original post.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Linoleic Acid and Asthma

This is surprising:

"Higher intakes of n-3 PUFA, ALA and SFA were associated with good asthma control, while the risk for uncontrolled asthma increased with a higher n-6:n-3 PUFA ratio. The present results introduce a protective effect of ALA in asthma control, independent of marine n-3 fatty acids, and provide a rationale to dietary intervention studies in asthma."

Of course the other way to write that sentence is, "... the risk for uncontrolled asthma increased with higher consumption of the n-6 PUFA linoleic acid."  Linoleic acid is the primary fat in most seed oils, like corn and canola.

I wouldn't have expected this finding, but it makes sense, I suppose.   Linoleic acid seems to do a fine job of messing up your immune system, although most of what I'd read focused on how it surpressed it.  Wheat seemed to be responsible for most of the auto-immune effects.  Although cutting wheat from your diet also means you're going to eat a lot less linoleic acid, since the two together are the foundation of the processed-food industry.

Follow-up: the mechanism.

The Insanity of the Diabetes Establishment

Eric covers it well.  Follow the American Diabetes Association's advice, get sicker.  Excellent.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wheat Belly

Dr. Davis on his new book, Wheat Belly (video at the link).  I think he's totally on the right track.

Even traditional wheat was unhealthy, but not nearly as unhealthy as the modern varieties of wheat.

"Man Drinks Gasoline For 42 Years"


"He developed the habit back in 1969 when he suddenly began coughing and felt pain in his chest. Seeing no progress after trying some medicine, he took up the folk remedy of drinking kerosene, Chongqing Evening News reported.

"It turned out to be helpful for him after the first sip, and he since became addicted to kerosene. Then he moved on to gasoline...."

One hopes he's not a smoker as well...

"Will the FDA Require Running Shoes to be Tested for Product Safety?"

The comparison to the cigarette companies is somewhat apt, but the sneaker companies were mislead by biomechanists and podiatrists into producing these monstrosities.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Scientific Frauds

"It has become glaringly obvious to nearly everyone who pays attention that the alarmists’ alleged data are wrong, and their computer models are contradicted by observation. Rather than dealing with these fundamental issues as scientists, the alarmists have shifted into the political arena, smearing their critics and trying to jam major economic changes down our throats before more voters catch on to the fact that global warming alarmism is a fraud–an immensely profitable fraud for those who perpetrate it and for the crony industries that stand to profit by banning the efficient production of energy, but a fraud nevertheless."

Sounds right.  The sneaker fraud is far less important than this, and the dietary fraud far more, but the common thread is that institutional science is not to be trusted, especially starting the moment after they come into contact with politicians and tax dollars.

"It's Time to End the War on Salt"

Scientific American: "The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science."

"This week a meta-analysis of seven studies involving a total of 6,250 subjects in the American Journal of Hypertension found no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure. In May European researchers publishing in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that the less sodium that study subjects excreted in their urine—an excellent measure of prior consumption—the greater their risk was of dying from heart disease. These findings call into question the common wisdom that excess salt is bad for you, but the evidence linking salt to heart disease has always been tenuous."

Duh.  Gary Taubes wrote about this in 1998 (PDF). 

This is not about health, it's about control over you and me.

P.S. More info here, in an interview with "anti-salt" advocate Marion Nestle.  Thanks to Melissa.  If this is the best argument for lowering salt intake, there's no argument.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Grass-Fed Cattle vs. Grain-Fed Cattle

The grass-fed are better for the environment, according to the USDA:
"Keeping cows outdoors reduced fuel use, as well as the carbon dioxide emissions from farm equipment. And one very important point: “When farmland is transitioned from rotated crops to perennial grassland, you can build up lots of carbon in the soil and substantially reduce your carbon footprint for 20 to 30 years,” said Rotz.

"Raising cows in pasture is also good for water quality because of a huge drop in sediment erosion. The runoff of phosphorous also drops significantly.

"Grass-fed cows aren’t as efficient in producing milk, at least in terms of volume. Each confined cow produces 22,000 pounds of milk a year, while the pasture-raised cow produces only 13,000 pounds. However, the total amount of milk protein and fat in the milk produced was essentially the same, because “the foraging cows produced milk with far more fat and protein,” explains Rotz. Even more important in the argument, Rotz says, is that 130 grass-fed cows can produce the same amount of milk as 80 confined cows on the same amount of land. That's because amount of land needed to raise feed (grain) for the 80 confined cows is the same as the amount of land needed for grazing 130 cows."

Via Mark Sisson. P.S. Original link no longer at the source, here's the version.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rats, Poison, and Sugar

Lucas Tafur has a fascinating post.  Read the whole thing.

But first, a couple of definitions.

A ketogenic diet (KD) is a low-carbohydrate, low-protein diet [Update 11/11/2015: this is what I understood at the time. I've since learned low-protein is not necessary, or even beneficial, except in some particular case, like diabetic kidney failure]. The body gets its energy from ketones, which are created from fat, and directly from fat, with a little bit from glucose created from protein in the liver.

LD50 is lethal dose, 50% fatality.  It's a dose of a poison calibrated to only kill 50% of the animals to which it's given.

"Soman is an extremely toxic substance which inhibits cholinesterase activity, having profound effects on the [Central Nervous System]. Increased exposure can ultimately lead to death. Langston and Myers (6) tested the influence of diet on soman toxicity in rats. For this purpose, rats were fed four different diets: standard (SD), choline-enriched (CH), glucose-enriched (GL) and a ketogenic diet (KD). The doses used in this study were 0.4-0.5 of the acute 24-h LD50. This dosing regimen was chosen to induce significant cumulative toxicity that would permit characterizing differences in the rate of onset of soman toxicity, the degree of toxicity, and the rate/degree of recovery from soman toxicity as a function of diet composition."

This is your rat on glucose.
So they want to study the effect the different diets have on the rats' ability to cope with the poison.  Turns out the effect is significant.

"Specifically, all KD animals survived a cumulative 5.0 LD50 dose of soman, whereas all glucose animals died following a cumulative 3.2 LD50 dose of soman. Not only was survival enhanced in KD animals, but there were also minimal differences in body weights compared to dietary controls injected with saline. Furthermore, KD animals exposed to soman exhibited few performance decrements on an avoidance task, and there were fewer instances of behavioral incapacitation in KD animals compared to the other diet groups."

So poison + glucose = death. Poison + ketogenic diet = immunity. That's pretty fascinating.

Makes you think glucose might be over-rated.

P.S. Study: Langston JL, & Myers TM (2011). Diet composition modifies the toxicity of repeated soman exposure in rats. Neurotoxicology

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Zola Budd Pieterse Finishes Second At World Masters Championships

Kind of an obnoxious story; she wasn't the "villian" of the '84 Olympics, Decker tried to trip Budd, and failed, tripping herself.

But congrats to Peiterse.  Not bad considering:

"By the third mile of the 4.97-mile race, however, the chase pack had whittled to one runner. Budd Pieterse (she married Mike Pieterse in 1989), while not struggling, was feeling the effects of the fast pace in what she said was her first cross country race in more than a year.

"She finished second, her time of 29 minutes, 19 seconds trailing Spain's Soledad Castro Solino by 28 seconds"

Wearing Newtons, I think, not barefoot.  That would have been awesome. ;)

Hunter-Gatherers and Cholesterol

Paul Jaminet on Loren Cordain:

"I thought I’d wrap up the hunter-gatherer cholesterol series by looking at some tropical populations outside Africa. These peoples may help us evaluate the merit of several explanations that have been put forth for variations in serum cholesterol:

  • Genetic differences. Africans tend to have lower cholesterol than non-Africans, wherever they live. Is the difference genetic? Chris Masterjohn believes genetic differences might account for up to a 30 mg/dl difference in TC. Emily Deans suggests LDL receptor variants are the most important alleles.
  • Dietary differences such as fat intake. For decades it was said that higher fat diets produce higher TC, and this was the favored explanation for variations in serum cholesterol. However, when these ideas were tested in clinical trials, diet-induced changes in TC were inconsistent.
  • Infectious disease burden. Eukaryotic pathogens such as protozoa, worms, and fungi – ie, pathogens that have mitochondria and therefore can metabolize fat and ketones – are often able to take up human lipoproteins from blood and use their fats and cholesterol for their own purposes. This tends to lead to low TC in people with a high burden of parasites. Is parasite burden the key to hunter-gatherer cholesterol levels?

"We started this detour (see Did Hunter-Gatherers Have Low Serum Cholesterol?, June 28, 2011) to evaluate the claims of S. Boyd Eaton, Loren Cordain, and collaborators [...]. Their papers tended to promote the following syllogism:
  1. Diet determines TC.
  2. Low TC is healthy.
  3. Hunter-gatherers had low TC.
  4. Therefore, hunter-gatherer diets are healthy.

"So to conclude today’s post, I’ll review: Which of these four theses is supported by the data?"
Read the whole thing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Saucony Hattori Review

If you want to continue heel-striking in your zero-drop shoes, then these are for you.

Compare to the abrasion pods on the new New Balance Minimus, and you'll see what I mean.

But it's still progress, and as Donald notes, and decent shoe.

How to Get Fat By Drinking Milk

It's hard work, apparently. With a high chance of fatality.

This is definitely the oddest sport I've ever heard of.

P.S. Stephan Guyenet has a related post here: "Weight Gain and Weight Loss in a Traditional African Society":

"It lasts two months, during which they are overfed on sorghum, milk, fish and vegetables (mostly sorghum, but with an increased ration of milk as well). They eat beyond the point of nausea, day and night, and expend as little energy as possible. Calorie intake exceeds 8,000 kcal per day. According to two detailed studies of nine Massas, by the end of Guru Walla, they had gained about 37 pounds (17 kg), mostly as fat..."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Follow-up to "Paleo Diet Ranked Last at U.S. News and World Report"

ABC gets a lot of credit for running this story, but oh my goodness... (Beware the annoying auto-play video when you click on that link.):

"Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, was on the 22-person panel. While he did not personally rank the Paleo diet last in the overall weight-loss category, he did raise several issues about what the diet actually means. He noted that our Stone Age ancestors gathered more than hunted by most accounts, and had a mostly plant-based diet.

'The meat our Stone Age ancestors ate is nothing like the meat we eat today,' said Katz. 'When's the last time you saw a mammoth? I rest my case.'

What an ass.  Katz continues:

"'But ... it's easy to turn the concept of Stone Age-style eating into an excuse for hamburgers, and that certainly won't do your health any good.'"

Wow. Somebody should look into that.  Oh, wait, somebody did, and made a movie about it.

Here's another so-called expert:

"While Keith Ayoob, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., said he has 'no problem with people eating plenty of lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables,' he did have a problem with the lack of whole grains and low-fat dairy.

"'I can't recommend a diet that advocates exclusion of whole foods groups, and foods like low-fat yogurt and milk and beans and whole grains,' Ayoob said. 'As for dairy, a lifetime of no dairy and you're really risking osteoporosis and low bone density. Paleo man didn't have to worry -- he'd be dead by age 40, but the rest of us would like to hang out for considerably longer and have strength while we do.'"

Of course, because low-fat yogurt is a food group, after all.  And people have been eating low-fat yogurt for what, a few decades?  It must be crucial to human health.  It's nice to see that this fellow has swallowed the milk-is-key-for-bone-health line completely.  Someone on Madison Avenue deserves a raise.
And despite the clear deficiencies of both vegan and vegetarian diets, they both got ranked highly.  Which is all you really need to know about the diet "experts".

Original post.

Monday, July 4, 2011

New Balance Minimus for 2012

Bravo, New Balance...  These look darn near perfect.

Runblogger's got the video, watch the whole thing.

Happy Fourth of July

Two thoughts for today, after a long ride where I noted lots of for-sale signs and empty businesses:

Regarding this: "Farmageddon":

"Guns drawn, a SWAT team kicks in the door of a private business. Are the cops there for drug dealers? Mafia mobsters? Terrorists? No, the long arm of the law is out for the real dangerous contraband: raw milk and grass-fed chickens."

Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Benjamin Franklin: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Thomas Jefferson, a farmer himself, believed that America should be a nation of farmers.  We know what he would have thought of the American of today.