The Mainstream is Causing Me Serious WTF, Tourette’s-Like Fits…

C’mon, Tourette’s-like fits?  Yes; indeed.  And I’m still pissed.  So much so that I’m gettin’ ready to go all Richard Nikoley on some serious mainstream ignorance.  Okay, so my man Richard is the undisputed king of the verbal beat-down, and this post won’t come near to his standards, but you get the point.

And the point is this: I just don’t understand the reluctance, on the part of mainstream healthcare practitioners, to at least consider the benefits of a Paleo diet.  I guess it’s too much to ask that all healthcare practitioners be as open-minded as, for example, Kurt Harris and Doug McGuff, but seriously… I mean, I fully understand and appreciate the day-to-day time demands placed on these folks, and I realize the seriousness of even the perception of incompetence or malpractice on a doctor’s livelihood.  That said, though, doctors are (or, in a perfect world, should be) in the business of healing, not in the business of, well…business — or dancing unquestionably to the AMA‘s ossified, dictate-fiddles.  I realize, too, that I come at this more from an idealistic point-of-view — I don’t have, amongst a host of other problems to deal with, the repayment of student loans, and insurance and business-related worries to contend with; and yet…

And yet, I want to scream at the top of my lungs to these people to get off the fuckin’ stick, and do some independent study already! People are suffering — dying, even — and the nation is slowly drowning in a quagmire of healthcare-related costs, in large part because you, the “healthcare practitioners” of this great nation, consistently give the wrong friggin’ advice on the very basics of health maintenance.  Wrong on diet, and wrong on exercise prescription.  I mean, damn, this isn’t rocket science, folks.

What is it precisely that’s got me so spun-up?  Well, two things in particular.

First up, check-out the correspondence that Meesus TTP had this week with a mutual friend of ours, a friend who has a young daughter who has recently been diagnosed with — yeah, you guessed it — diabetes.  What follows is a snippet of our friend’s (let’s call her “concerned mom”) most recent chat with Meesus TTP.  I’ve truncated, edited (denoted by parentheses) and/or dropped names due to privacy concerns, but the string of the narrative I’ve left intact.  And that thread is really what it important here, because it is repeated God-only-knows how many times each and every day.  Now tell me if this doesn’t just piss you the hell off.

About (April), she has been on the Paleo diet for about two weeks. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on January 6th. She is heading to (mainstream healthcare hell) tomorrow to spend a few days, which a nurse called to confirm today. To make this short…I got an earful about the dangers of the Paleo diet. Sugars are not bad, (April) cannot thrive on a low carb diet, and she STILL has diabetes even if this diet “artificially” lowers (April’s) glucose by an average of 100 points. I was told to feed her a “normal” diet, so they can figure out how much insulin she needs in order to eat like her friends.

Emphasis mine.  UGH!!!! Anyway, continuing on…

(April’s) comment to this was,”But I don’t want to feel like that again, and I have no pimples now.”

Before she was the one scared of the hospital, but now we both are. Why can she not be on the Paleo diet and simply take less insulin (which she still needs)? Another issue is how (April) spikes in the hundreds about an hour into dance. They better not tell us to quit dancing…

I am nervous. People are rude, and we are trying to keep our girl healthy.

(Concerned mom)

Meesus TTP responded, in essence, by telling “concerned mom” that she was obviously dealing with what was essentially a pack of clueless, Alpha-male-dominated baboons, and for God’s sake to get (April) to another, more open-minded (at the very least) facility.  We reinforced the need for her to absorb — and pronto — whatever she possibly could from Robb Wolf’s and Sarah Fragoso’s web-sites.  We’ve also put “concerned mom” in touch with Steve Cooksey, of Diabetes Warrior fame.  If you’re not familiar with Steve’s story, be sure to check him out.  He told the mainstream, in essence, to pack sand up their friggin’ poop-chutes, and in the process, saved his own life.  Too bad that it really has come to this, but alas, it has.  If you want to be healthy, you better take matters into your own hands.  To be sure, there are some fantastic practitioners out there; you’ll just have to do some vigilant, ass-busting research to find them.

What follows now is “concerned mom’s” response to Meesus TTP.  I include this interlude because of these numbers she refers to below — (April’s) blood glucose readings — which are, well…frighteningly off the charts.  Think the doctors have a clue?  Read on — that is, if you can overcome the urge to put your fist through your monitor.

Thank you, Michelle.

I hope we can work with the doctors. We need to enable (April) to dance without hitting 300 an hour in (it was off the charts the first time she spiked, which is when we found out she had a problem). But I still think going from 250 to 140ish throughout the day otherwise is an improvement worth noting.

And we all really love the food 🙂


The first time she spiked:
-Rice Crispies with goat milk for breakfast.
-Tuna with mayo on whole grain bread for lunch.
-An apple with green tea (lightly sweetened with honey) for snack at
about four pm. She hit over 500 at about six PM, an hour into tap.

This diet was before we gave Paleo a shot. I thought it was healthy.

(April) just called from (mainstream healthcare hell) to say they had her eat sugar, and her glucose is 344, but the nurse said,”That can’t be right.”

I’ll keep you posted.

No matter what, we’re keeping the Paleo diet. We just want to make sure we find out why (April) got to be like this to begin with.

Care to take a wild-assed guess as to who recommended this “healthy diet”?  Dammit, this pisses me off to no end!  Look, I take the ins-and-outs of my profession with the utmost seriousness.  I read every-frigging-thing I can get my hands on, and talk with anyone I can on items that are even remotely relevant to the subject of health, fitness and exercise science — whether or not, mind you, that I think at the onset of that read/conversation that I’m going to agree with the subject matter. Hell, I embrace my preconceived notions being pushed and tugged.  Simply put, that is what you do if you expect to be an honest representative within your field of expertise. Now I don’t expect anyone else to do anything more than what I do as a representative within my field of expertise — which is to say keep ahead of the learning curve.  Healthcare practitioners are, by and large though, dropping the proverbial ball, here, and the sad fact is that people are suffering unnecessarily — dying, even — as a result.  Those of you in the healthcare delivery system presumably entered this field to heal those in need — I say to you this: get off the fucking stick, and honor the profession you trained for, and agreed to do.  Be a help to humanity, versus being a damn obstacle to patient health.


Okay, so this next instance is laughable compared to the above, but it just highlights — once more — the mainstream’s utter friggin’  ignorance in all things health and fitness related.  No need to repeat what my Efficient Exercise brother-in-arms has already written, so go check out his piece, You Can’t Get Fit Lying on the Couch All Week, Apparently.

So yeah, sake your head, have a good laugh, and continue on in your own outside-of-the-box, primal pursuit.  And remember, we wouldn’t want people to think that they can get fit lying around on the couch all week  😉


Selected workouts from last week

Wednesday, 1/26/11

(A1) Nautilus pull-over: 255 x 12, 9, 9 (41×1 tempo)

(A2) Cuban press: oly bar x 15, 15, 15

(A3) Bradford press: 95 x 12, 12, 11

What’s up with the weak shoulders?  Well, 10+ years of being wielding my head and shoulders as a weapon in the course of being a defensive hit-man took a serious toll on (especially) my right shoulder; couple that with some ill-advised (and extremely ungraceful) mountain biking face-plants and a couple of recent fixie near misses and, well… welcome to shoulder prehab/rehab land.  I’m trying to swallow my own medicine here and not push through the pain of continued overhead work; attempting to bypass my natural inclination of letting surgery and surgery alone dictate my lay-off periods (Dan John knows what I’m talking about here — and so, I’m guessing, do many of you)  🙂  So yeah, now that I have this in “print” now, maybe I’ll actually follow through with a “cease and desist” on the overhead work until my shoulder quits yelling at me.  Or, I may just resort to cortisol/Novocaine cocktail and just keep on keeping on.  Juuuuust joking…   🙂

Thursday, 1/27/11 –

Two rounds of the following, with each round separated by approximately six hours, during which time I did a frac-ton of fixie riding.

(A1) breathing squats: 225 x 21

(A2) bicep curls (EZ bar): 105 x 21 (clusters x 3s)

(A3) “ski jump” shrugs: 305 x 21 (clusters x 3s)

“Breathing squats”?  Think extended rest-pause, without racking the weight.  Trap bar deadlifts/RDLs are good candidates for this technique as well.  Clusters?  Many, many ways to manipulate the “cluster” technique, but in this case I performed three regular tempo (3o1o) reps, then paused for approximately 10 seconds (weight still in-hand) before hitting the next “cluster” of 3.  Wash, rinse, repeat…

Friday, 1/28/11

(A1) Russian leg curl: bw x 10, 10, 10, 10

(A2) weighted dips: 45 x7; 90 x 5, 5, 4+

(A3) T-Bar swings: 100 x 30, 30, 30, 30

The Battle of the (Mainstream) Heavyweight Diets

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”

Bertrand Russell

The following video is of a lecture given in January 2008 by Christopher Gardner, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, and focuses on the largest and longest-ever comparison (as of that time) of a selection of  four popular diets studied under real-world conditions.  The diets in question were the Ornish, Zone, LEARN (i.e., the diet recommended by most academics and the USDA — the food pyramid we all know and love), and, last but not least, the Atkins diet.  The 311 participants, (all pre-menopausal, overweight women) were divided into 4 groups, with each group having been provided 8 weeks of  “in-depth” nutritional training using the representative flagship book for each diet.  Training was led by a dietitian who preached the magnificence and utter superiority of each group’s assigned diet.  All of this makes for an interesting study because of the real-worldliness of having these participants attempt to “follow the book” for themselves (subsequent to the 8 weeks of brainwashing, that is).

An additional interesting twist here is that Professor Gardner is (was?) a twenty-five year vegetarian, who, having come into the study with a heavy, pre-conceived bias, admits (and you have to give him kudos for this), that his long-standing notions of the efficacy of a vegetarian diet may have been completely unfounded.

Of course, we in the Paleo community would’ve loved to have seen the Paleo way represented in this study — but hey, the fact that Atkins was included is a monumental step in itself.  In fact, Dr Gardner does bring up the subject of the Paleo diet toward the end of the lecture — to the hoots of snorts and laughter from what I can only assume was a very learned and open-minded audience (really, no sarcasm intended).  Whatever; I’m in the pharmaceutical business — all those snorts and all that laughter sounds like job security to me.

Anyway, I do think this lecture is well worth the time investment.  You may not learn anything new about diet, per se, but you’ll certainly pick up quit a bit in the way of diet psychology.  Keep in mind as you watch just how well a Paleo diet would have fared in this trial.  Remember, you’d have had 8 weeks to teach someone the whys and hows of the Paleo way; 8 weeks to stage for, and transition through, the carb Jones; 8 weeks of social re-conditioning and n=1 individualization tinkering.  What book would I have “preached”?  Well, personally I’d have opted for Primal Body, Primal Mind, by Nora Gedgaudas.  For homework, I’d have assigned selections from Taubes’s GCBC.

A few interesting things to keep in mind as you watch:

Dr. Gardner’s chart presentation on the spread of obesity throughout he US is powerful.  We all know these facts, yes — seeing it presented in this fashion, though, brings this static information “alive” in a profound way.

Notice as well all the maddening, tunnel-visioned viewing of the study’s statistical results data through the old “calories in, calories out” prism.  It’ll make you want to jump through the screen and remove the good doctor’s blinders.  It reminds me of the story of the two fish, wherein one fish asks the other, “what’s this stuff water I keep hearing about?”

Interesting, too, is the behind the scenes view of what it required to land a study grant, and how painfully long the wait is between grant acquisition and the release of actual study findings.  And add to this all of the Political wrangling — both in academia and in the government realm — that must be traversed.  It’s mind numbing.   If it were not for the internet allowing the immediate connection of like-minded folks, all of whom are actively engaged in n=1 studies of “Paleo science”, Paleo would yet to even have a fair hearing in the world of nutritional science.

Kudos, then, to us — for actively advancing the Paleo science.

And a big round of thanks are in order to the Balanced Existence website for having re-excavated this find.   You can read their interesting commentary on the lecture, here.

Sit back and enjoy.

In health,


Genetics and Type 2 Diabetes

“Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to a divine purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: That we are here for the sake of others…for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day, I realize how much my outer and inner life is built upon the labors of people, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received.”

Albert Einstein

Genetic Stair Case
photo: Alias Rex

I ran across an interesting post today on the Scientific Blogging site, which acts to rekindle the question (debate?) of genetics as destiny.  Specifically here, the identification of a genetic variation that seems to impair the ability of the body’s muscle cells to use insulin to help them make energy.

The post in question is a summation of an article published in Nature Genetics titled, “A multistage genome-wide association study detects a new risk locus near IRS1 for type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia” (6 September, 2009).

This is highly interesting stuff, no doubt — however, it does beg the question of environmental influence.  In other words what is the environmental impact of diet type and fitness level on the expression of this genetic variant?

Case in point: Chris, of the wonderful blog Conditioning Research, recently highlighted Michelle’s story of surmounting diabetes with no more than the intelligence and wherewithal to  adhere to a strict Paleo lifestyle.  In Michelle’s case, I suspect that she was wrongly diagnosed as being a Type I diabetic — an increasingly common mistake as the incidence of “adult onset” diabetes increases among the young (Michelle is 21).  That’s mere hair-splitting, though, with the real story being Michelle’s new-found health as a result of her adherence to the Paleo lifestyle.  Check out Michelle’s testimonial, here, at her blog.  And please encourage her to continue keeping us informed of her progress.

Remember, genes are not destiny, they are merely signposts.  Environmental influence counts for much in the ultimate genetic expression.

And speaking of environmental influence, I’d like to point out this little tid-bit, as highlighted in the Scientific Blogging post:

Professor Philippe Froguel, one of the corresponding authors of today’s study from the Department of Genomic Medicine at Imperial College London, said, “We are very excited about these results – this is the first genetic evidence that a defect in the way insulin works in muscles can contribute to diabetes. Muscle tissue needs to make more energy using glucose than other tissues. We think developing a treatment for diabetes that improves the way insulin works in the muscle could really help people with type 2 diabetes.

“It is now clear that several drugs should be used together to control this disease. Our new study provides scientists developing treatments with a straightforward target for a new drug to treat type 2 diabetes,” added Froguel. (emphasis mine).

Ugh! I guess we should have seen that one coming, huh?  Now, I’m certainly not a Luddite when it comes to pharmacological intervention, but how about let’s promote Michelle’s method first and foremost, then proceed from there, if even necessary at that point, via the pharmaceutical route?

Unfortunately, we already know that answer.  It’s not about health, folks, — it’s about profits.

In health,


Dr. Daphne Miller, Author of “The Jungle Effect”

“They can because they think they can.”

~ Vergil

NPR affiliate station KQED host Michael Krasny talks to Dr. Daphne Miller, author of The Jungle Effect, in this episode of The Forum. The forum, with its erudite host, Michael Krasy, is one of my favorite shows on NPR, and a big reason behind why I’m an NPR supporter. Oh my, I can already hear the hissing and gnashing of teeth from those on the right. Hey, every media outlet has a bias — though,curiously, I’ve yet to find a Libertarian-leaning, mainstream media outlet.  Maybe that should tell me something, huh?  Anyway, I take each outlet and its associated angle for what it’s worth. Lefty bias doesn’t stop me from listening to the BBC, or the CBC for that matter.  Maybe it helps that I’m a social lefty as opposed to a fiscal lefty.  Anyway, another subject for another time.  On to the subject at hand — Dr. Daphne Miller, and her new book, The Jungle Effect.

Now, Dr. Miller certainly isn’t anywhere near supporting and all-out Paleo diet, but she’s definitely on to something. And that “something”, the common thread throughout all of the indigenous diets she studies for her book, is the complete absence of refined carbohydrates.  And in a strange set of coincidences, there is very little disease of any kind to be found in those populations subsisting on their indigenous diet.  Introduce those same exact same groups to a western, highly refined carbohydrate-laden diet, and all manner of disease hell breaks loose.  Hmmmm.  Hello, USDA, are we picking up a trend here yet?

Of course, all of this this is nothing surprising to the TTP readership.  It is interesting, though, to view the mainstream’s nascent steps toward — and their initial reaction to — the understanding that refined carbohydrates are the root of the obesity epidemic.  Sadly, no talk here of the human genome’s predisposition toward a Paleo diet, evolution, or of the recent (anthropologically speaking) of the advent of agriculture.  Dr. Miller’s findings here, though, do correspond nicely to the TTP first step to better health — namely, shaking free of refined carbohydrates. That initial step is absolutely crucial, in my opinion, to any sibilance of decent health (weight issues aside).  As well, (and also in alignment with Dr. Miller’s findings) is the necessity of physical activity. Why is physical activity so important? Because it increases insulin sensitivity, that’s why. Couple an intelligently programmed exercise routine with an elimination of refined carbohydrates in the diet and you’re well on your way to being a much, much healthier you. As healthy as you can be? Well, in a word, no. For that, you’ll have to refine your workouts and commit to a full-on TTP/Paleo lifestyle.  I do believe though that it is feasible to implement at least these two things on a nation-wide basis.

I think the most telling instance in this interview supporting the fact that refined carbohydrates are the major problem in the obesity epidemic (and an example that is simple enough for the “everyman” to get), is the references made to the Pima Indians of the American southwest and their genetically similar Pima cousins in Mexico, to whom type 2 diabetes is virtually unknown.  Will we convince all people turn Paleo, even a decent percentage of the populace?  I’d like to think so, but let’s be honest — the general public still views anything out of the ordinary (ordinary as defined by their previous experience) as alien and unattainable.  Dumping refined carbohydrates, though, may be something that is more palatable (pardon the pun), and doable on a nation-wide basis.

But how could something like this be done?  How can a nation, as a whole, be influenced to give up the mighty, refined carb?  That’s something I’d like to explore in an upcoming post.  Anyone read the book, Nudge?  That’s the direction I intend to go.

In Health,