Sunday, October 29, 2017

How Much Omega-3 Is Too Much?

tl;dr: A lot, pretty much nothing but. It's very unlikely anyone would experience this by accident.
"It took roughly a month to achieve a clear overdose. I generally felt very good, improving health overall, for the first two weeks. It leveled off after that. Around 3 weeks, I noticed that foods seemed to taste more bitter, especially potassium rich foods and I felt a little bit off from my peak, but not too much. In some ways, it felt a little like when you take a high dose NSAID for a long time, you don’t feel bad necessarily, but you can kind of feel that your body is just a little bit off from its normal homeostasis with maybe a touch of dysphoria. I also began to have this bizarre intense craving for foods rich in oleic acid, which is something I’ve had never experienced prior or since."
Read the whole thing .

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"But Noakes won’t shut up or go away..."

"...because he has a steel spine and refuses to be intimidated by bullies."

And God bless him for that.

Read the whole thing .

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

"Let's Talk About Thyroid -- Low-Carb or Ketogenic Diets and Thyroid Function"

A nice mention by Amy Berger at Tuit Nutrition of my thyroid post, "Thyroid and Low-Carb: What Do Thyroid Hormones Do?".

Here's an excerpt:

"The effect of low carb diets on thyroid health is quite the controversial issue. Some people following a low carb or ketogenic way of eating find that their T3 decreases after a while. At first glance, we might take this to mean that low carb causes a slowdown in metabolism, or maybe it has other negative downstream effects. On the other hand, physicians and researchers who’ve spent decades improving the lives of their patients with low carb and ketogenic diets have not reported adverse effects on thyroid function. So what’s the deal?"

Read the whole thing, and thanks for the mention, Amy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: "The Way of Chuang Tzu" by Thomas Merton

tl;dr: The Way of Chuang Tzu is a fascinating look at Eastern philosophy from a Western, Catholic perspective, many of Tzu's writings as presented here are almost poetic, and do not require being read in sequence. Well worth reading to understand the commonalities in philosophy between two great religions and civilizations.

It may seem odd to read a book about Eastern philosophy written by, of all people, a Catholic monk, but I became interested in the intersection after being dragooned into watching Japanese anime such as Noragami and Kamisama Kiss and being surprised by what I initially thought were strong Catholic elements to the stories and morality.

But as I quickly learned, the Catholic influence on Japan was rather minute, as the Japanese government was not receptive to Catholic missionaries, and in fact banned them from the country, and killed those they found along with their converts.

The influence instead stems both from Japan's native Shinto, and from Zen Buddhism, the two dominant religions in the country. And Zen derives largely from Chinese Taoist philosophy, hence my interest in this book.

Two Chinese Men
Chuang Tzu was a Taoist writer who lived and wrote during the third and fourth centuries B.C., and is regarded as one of the greatest such writers, although he is not the most well-known. Tao () is a Chinese word meaning "way" (the Way of the title of this book), and while it has roots in the Hinduism from which sprung Buddhism, is more of a philosophy of living than a religion, although it clearly has religious aspects. It is the foundation of much of Chinese culture.

Thomas Merton was a Catholic monk who became quite famous in the middle of the 20th Century, and had a fascination with Eastern religious practices and philosophies.

As Merton states in his Introduction:
"The rather special nature of this book calls for some explanation. The texts from Chuang Tzu assembled here are the result of five years of reading, study, annotation, and meditation. The notes have in time acquired a shape of their own and have become, as it were, "imitations" of Chuang Tzu, or rather, free interpretative readings of characteristic passages which appeal especially to me. These "readings" of my own grew out of a comparison of four of the best translations of Chuang Tzu into western languages, two English, one French, and one German. In reading these translations I found very notable differences, and soon realized that all who have translated Chuang Tzu have had to do a great deal of guessing."
So far from being a primary source, it's is a translation twice removed, once from the Chinese, and once through Father Merton's unique lens.

Lest you think this makes this work less important, Amazon lists it as their #1 Best Seller in Asian Literature, and the it features an introduction by the Dalai Lama, who was a friend of Merton during his life, and a fan of this work.

Merton has a short discussion of Tzu and his work and influence at the beginning, but most of the text are from Tzu, or from his disciples.

Topic covered include "The Importance of Being Toothless", "The Need to Win", and the surprising "Flight From Benevolence":
"When justice and benevolence are in the air, a few people are really concerned with the good of others, but the majority are aware that this is a good thing, ripe for exploitation. They take advantage of the situation. For them, benevolence and justice are traps to catch birds. Thus benevolence and justice rapidly come to be associated with fraud and hypocrisy. Then everybody doubts. And that is when trouble really begins.  
"King Yao knows how dutiful and upright officers benefit the nation, but he does not know what harm comes from their uprightness: they are a front behind which crooks operate more securely. But you have to see this situation objectively to realize it. 
"There are three classes of people to be taken into account: yes-men, blood-suckers, and operators..."
A rather astute observation from 2,300 years ago!

Much of the book, however, revolves more around what it means to be a man of Tao, or a man of the way.
"For Chuang Tzu, the truly great man is therefore not the man who has, by a lifetime of study and practice, accumulated a great fund of virtue and merit, but the man in whom 'Tao acts without impediment,' the 'man of Tao.' Several of the texts in this present book describe the 'man of Tao.'"
Much of what is presented here will not prove at odds with Christianity, in fact the many commonalities are what drew Merton to his study of Eastern philosophy and religion.

It's a terrific introduction to a wide area of study and understanding, and for those not steeped in Chinese philosophy, Merton serves as an excellent guide.

Highly recommended.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Eight Years Later: Ouch.

So it finally happened. After eight years of barefoot-style running, I finally had to cut short a run due to a foot injury yesterday.

I was out on a trail, running over a damp stone wall, when my trailing foot slipped out from under me, leaving me unsupported. I landed hard on the leading foot on a flat rock, and kept running. I thought I was uninjured.

But about five minutes later, I realized something was wrong with the foot that had slammed into the rock.

I seem to have bruised the top of the arch on that foot, and as almost every step involved hitting another rock with the bruised arch, it was going to be a long run.

I decided to bail at that point, and was able to slowly jog back to the parking lot.

Limped around all afternoon, but it seems OK this morning.

Not a bad stretch to go without an injury!

I was wearing my Luna Sandals on this run. But a damp, slippery rock will be a hazard regardless!

P.S. As the foot felt fine this morning, I did a three-mile run. Arch twinged a little during first mile, then was fine.

Amazing how fast feet heal! It's like they're meant to be banged against rocks!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

"There’s Something Uniquely Terrible about Wheat in the U.S."

Mark Sisson is an intelligent man, and a careful observer. His anecdotes are therefore worth more than most published reasearch.

From his post on observations while traveling abroad:

"...This means I’m quite attuned to the quality of wheat. Wheat simply doesn’t affect me to the same degree in other countries. When I was in Greece, a couple times I had some baklava after dinner or pita dipped in hummus or olive oil. Pita is unleavened. It certainly isn’t fermented. It’s about as unaltered as you can get. And it didn’t affect me...."

And this:

"Industrial Food is Addictive

"...It’s a damn shame. but industrial food always wins. It’s supposed to, and that’s the problem."

"Discovering New York’s Ultra Scene"

By Ken Posner, who would be the guy to ask...

"...We certainly do not want to enter into a discussion of the merits of the decision."

Why not discuss it? It's child abuse, plain and simple, which is why they took the child away from his parents.

They obviously don't understand the basics of raising a human.

"Baby raised on vegan diet hospitalized for malnutrition, taken from parents"

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"Where the praties grow: My seven-day potato diet experiment"

In which our hero encounters the high-carb flu.

Interesting symptom, I suspect due to mitochondrial restructuring to accommodate an altered micronutrient ratio. Makes sense it should go both ways.

I've no interest in trying this experiment, but that's mainly from the eagerness the Irish part of my family showed in avoiding a high-potato diet.

The population explosion the Irish experienced on potatoes, as Guyenet relates, speaks to its healthfulness.

Note how appealing everything else became!

"After a few days on the diet, non-potato foods began to taste fabulous.  I always enjoy fresh vegetables from my garden, but while I was on the potato diet, simple tomato or lettuce salads with vinaigrette dressing were delectable."

Potatoes, the spice of life! Read the whole thing.

Monday, October 2, 2017

"A dose of fructose induces oxidative stress during endurance and strength exercise"


One of those studies I would love to see done in a low-omega-6 context.

But I presume this is what accounts for the recovery benefit that low-carb athletes see.

The Best Advice on Running Ever

“Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high that hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practice that for so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smoooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one – you get those three, and you’ll be fast.” — Micah True (aka Caballo Blanco)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Barefoot hiking in the Adirondacks

Great post from the legendary Kenneth Posner.

"Without the extra weight, I scampered upwards, the anorthosite rock faces offering great traction for bare feet, and managed to pass a handful of shod hikers, which is always fun."

He carried FiveFingers as fallback shoes (always wise to have fallback shoes!), and used them a few times.

My Daughter's Blog: Grace Under Pressure

My elder daughter has started a blog, to catalog her adventures attending school in Japan.

Here's her latest, where she details frantic efforts to secure a flight into an area about to be hit by a hurricane.

"The Longest Trip Ever: My Flight to School"

She's a great writer—very funny. Check it out and subscribe if you enjoy it!