So Easy, Even a Kitchen Dolt Can Pull It Off

NPR covered an interesting story yesterday in relation to the Institute of Medicine‘s recommendation that the FDA seek some form of governmental regulation in regard to the salt content of processed foods.  From the NPR site:

“The Institute of Medicine issued a report Tuesday on reducing salt intake. They are recommending that Americans reduce their salt intake significantly, and that the FDA take the lead in leveling the playing field for food processors so that salt content can be systematically reduced over a period of years…”

And Ex-FDA Chief David Kessler’s take on the matter, here.  Mr. Kessler, you might recall, is also the author of “The End of Overeating“.

Both David Kessler and Dr. Robert Lustig (Sugar, the Bitter Truth) speak to the notion of food manufacturers designing of foods for the “optimal bliss point”; that is, purposely manipulating the salt and sugar (or, more commonly now, HFCS) content of a processed “food” so as to create a consumption hyper-drive effect in the unsuspecting gnosher.

Of course, the fail-safe answer here is to simply avoid any and all processed crap — a line that the Paleo tribe ascribes to.  However, as the healthcare/health concerns of our neighbors becomes more and more (due to taxation and shifts in governmental approach to healthcare; i.e., “reform”) our collective concern as well, we would be remiss to just stick our collective, Paleo heads in the sand on this issue.  I — and you, as a fellow Paleo “tribesman” — may not ever be personally affected by this issue, but you can better believe that our wallets will be.

And here’s a good bit of BBC reporting on vitamin D deficiency.  Not only is this an informative bit of reportage, but it’s done in that oh-so-cool English accent that makes a statement like…

“…unless, of course, you want a rickety child, a bended, knock-kneed, large-headed, pale and rickety article…”

…such an absolute auditory joy to behold.  Hat tip to Methuselah, at Pay Now, Live Later for the find.

As a correlative to the above mentioned BBC report, there’s this (Diet, Lifestyle, Poorly Predict Vitamin D Levels) from Futurity.org.  Good thing you can have your own vitamin D levels measured relatively cheaply from ZRT Labs.

Tonight’s Paleo Chow

Another hit-and-run meal tonight.  What could be more simple than a sweet potato, a few sunny-side up eggs and a little bit of leftover pork sausage?  The baked sweet potato, by the way, makes for a great yoke-soppin’ medium.  Easy to make, but  damn friggin’ good.

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Heh, a funny aside: The best pork sausage in the south (in the world?  Some think so!) can be found approximately 5 miles from my humble abode here in beautiful eastern North Carolina.  How better to get there than on the trusty fixie?  And then?  Well, you guessed it — 6 pounds of sausage stuffed in the ol’ backpack 🙂  That quick, intense, 10-mile round trip huck makes the most fabulous sausage around taste even that much better!

Huck on!

Genetics of the Mind

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

Compulsion.  Addiction.  Drive.  Pain threshold.  Inherent brain chemistry (genetics of the mind, if you will) is another major piece of our individual genetic make-up that wields huge influence upon our ultimate fitness and phenotype expression.  One needn’t be a “brain surgeon” to realize that some people are just wired between the ears for fitness success, while others, unfortunately, are cobbled together in such a way that channels them toward addiction and avoidance of exertion.

In keeping with this theme, Diane Rehm recently interviewed Dr. David Kessler about the addiction aspect of over-indulgence, and about his new book, titled The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. In the interview, Dr. Kessler describes the complete endocrinological response to the human taste preference for fat, sugar and salt, and especially the combination of these macronutrients.  This is very interesting stuff indeed, in a “devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know” kind of way.  At least it provides information to ruminate on while battling the dreaded carb Jones; and it provides, as well, a scientific basis behind why a good dose of fat will alleviate that Jones — and why a Paleo diet with adequate fat intake will eventually curb that Jones to a manageable nil.  And here again, we see the genetic factor at work.  As Dr. Kessler puts it, some people would be content to take their food in pill form, while others are wired to crave the entire sensual delight of a food’s taste, smell, mouth-feel…even the atmosphere within which the food is consumed.  The point is, we’ve all come to this ride called life with inherent liabilities that we have to work with and around; that realization is step one to diet and fitness success.  Step #2 is formulating a personal plan of attack with a solid knowledge of where your weak underbelly lay.  Just as in physical training, a concentrated effort on toughening that weak underbelly will ultimately pay greater dividends than further improvement of proven strengths.  Unfortunately, this mindset runs counter to the natural human inclination toward the path of least resistance.  Hey, do yourself a huge favor, huh?, and take the path least traveled.  You’ll be so much the better for it.

I do have to warn you that Dr. Kessler — though he never comes out and proclaims it so — seems to hint throughout the interview of an anti-fat bias. He never says that it’s the sugar and salt alone that are the real culprits here, and that left to its own devices, fat would be not only benign, but healthful — and that’s too bad.

And a big reason why that’s too bad is because he’s missed a perfect opportunity to weigh-in (pardon the pun) on the national healthcare debate.  There is simply no way to achieve any modicum of healthcare reform — no matter the formulation — unless Americans take responsibility for the state of their own health.   The costs of keeping sick people limping along — while a boon for my industry (pharmaceuticals) — is simply too cost-prohibitive to any otherwise potentially viable plan reform.  Most Americans will not accept this simple truth, though.

But don’t blame this national nonacceptance on Sally Fallon.  She’s out fighting the good fight through the Weston A. Price Foundation, and most recently, this interview with Joe and Terry Graedon, of The People’s Pharmacy, covering such topics as the efficacy of hunter-gatherer diets, the benefits of raw dairy, and a whole host of other Paleo-minded topics.  It’s one of the best mainstream treatments I’ve heard touting the positives of the Paleo lifestyle.  Give it a listen, and see if you think so as well.

In health,

Keith