Archive | June, 2012

Total Cholesterol![ bum bum bum] What is it Good For? (Absolutely Nuthin’)… and More Pro-Bacon Propaganda

24 Jun

If whole grain bran muffins tasted more like bacon maybe I wouldn’t be so hard on them. But they don’t. They taste like cardboard box. And bacon is wonderful. Ready for some pro-bacon propaganda ?( you know you are, even Vegans wish bacon was a flower, so they could eat it too)

Did you know that 70% of heart attack victims last year had normal cholesterol levels?

The results are in on my own cholesterol test. I’m sure all of the bacon-haters out there are salivating in anticipatory “I told you so” because all that “artery-clogging-saturated-fat” isn’t  healthy.  Before I reveal my test scores, I think  it’s important that you understand a little about cholesterol and how it’s calculated. Nothing to scientific, I promise! We’ll call it the third world country community college version of Cholesterol 101:

“Cholesterol is a waxy, charming lipid (fat) gracing every cells membrane and our blood plasma. It’s jobs, which are many, include insulating neurons, building and maintaining cellular membranes, metabolizing fat soluble vitamins, producing bile, and kick starting the synthesis of many hormones including the sex hormones.” Borrowed from Mark’s Daily Apple: Definitive Guide to Cholesterol.

The numbers that appear on the cholesterol screening are not an actual count of cholesterol but the vehicles that transport them. Lipoproteins

HDL( high density lipoprotein): This is the “good” cholesterol. It gets in all of the nooks and crannies of your arteries and cleans out any junk that might want to stick in there and potentially cause blockages and plaque build up. Levels should be at least 40 for women and 50 for men (per AHA) Higher numbers are better.

LDL(low density lipoprotein): You’ve probably heard this one called the “bad” cholesterol. Smaller particles of this can stick to your arteries and “clog your pipes” so to speak. This definition is very much in line with the Lipid hypothesis (which we know to be horse crap) LDL performs critical functions. Your body makes LDL regardless of whether you consume animal products or not as it is necessary for survival. Per AHA, LDL should be under 130. Lower is better.

Triglycerides: These buggers are another type of fat circulating in your blood (very low density lipoprotein) also important for survival however higher levels have been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. In fact, some doctors think triglyceride count may be more significant than LDL count or total cholesterol when determining risk for cardiovascular disease. Guess what causes high levels? ( hint: it’s not bacon) Excessive dietary carbohydrate ( so the pimple faced 16-year-old bagging your groceries actually did you a favor by errantly smashing your bread.) Levels should be under 150. Lower is better.

Okay, so now that  you know exactly as much about cholesterol as I do ( Your practically an expert!) Let’s look at how those numbers go into creating your “total cholesterol” number.

The most commonly used formula in western medicine looks like this:

LDL+HDL+ [Trig/5]= Total Cholesterol

AHA (and your life insurance agent) says total cholesterol should be 200 or below.

This formula counts all lipoproteins the same and is therefore flawed. I’ll show you how in a moment.

“Enough beating around the bush! Let’s see some numbers already!” [much salivating and gnashing of teeth from the bacon deprived]

I expected to see a few things in my lipid panel that would look unusual as a result of the ancestral diet. Typically LDL count is raised, however this is not necessarily a bad thing. The LDL become larger and “fluffy” and from an artery clogging stand point, completely benign. They simply float around through your blood and do all the fun things that cholesterol do. Increased HDL is also indicative of the ancestral diet as well as an extremely low triglyceride count. This is what I expected to see and this what I got:

HDL= 70

LDL= 142

Trig= 59

Total=  224

HDL is pretty high. A good deal higher than the at least 50 that the AHA recommends. LDL is a little high also. Above the AHA recommended 130 cut off. My test did not include a particle size but I would be shocked if my LDL were the small nasty ones. Triglycerides, arguably more important than any other numbers, are way low. Well under the 150 action limit.

How did I do? Think I might croak tomorrow?

Lets look at a hypothetical person to point out the flaws in this method of total cholesterol calculation. His name will be Brian Muffin. Brain eats lots of heart healthy whole grains and shuns delicious bacon like the bubonic plague. When he gets a hankering for steak he slaps a juicy slab of tofu on the grill cause he’s concerned he may develop high cholesterol from eating fatty red meat. His doctor just ran his numbers. Here they are:

HDL: 45

LDL: 120

Trig: 160

Total: 197

Going by Mr. Muffin’s total cholesterol number he appears to be fairly healthy, however if you look at the numbers individually it paints a very different picture. Trigylcerides are sky-high, LDL is most likely small and dense (indicative of a high carbohydrate diet), HDL “good cholesterol” is too low.

My total cholesterol puts me in the AHA category of increased risk for heart disease (if you believe that sort of thing). The doctor’s recommendation? I quote, “We’d like you to get some more exercise and eat a low-fat, high-carb diet. We’ll check again in six months and if it’s not improved maybe we’ll prescribe something”.

70% of people that suffered from heart attacks last year had normal cholesterol levels.

It would be funny, if it weren’t so damn sad.

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The internet version of the crazy guy at the bus stop. Parte Dos.

21 Jun

Everything you think you know about dietary fat is wrong. I know, your probably thinking:

“Oh No! The crazy guy at the bus stop is talking to me again! Maybe if I stare at my shoes long enough he’ll move on and bug somebody else!”

That gig may work on the bus stop guy but I’m just gonna keep talking… Let’s take a look at the “science” behind the low-fat, high carb mantra that’s been marketed as the yellow brick road to health and longevity.

Do a quick google search on “Ancel Keyes Lipid Hypothesis”. The first couple hits will give you some background. Heres the nutshell version:

In the 1950’s, biochemist Ancel Keyes compiled data from 7 countries ( the seven country study) and finds a  “definitive” link between countries with a high consumption of saturated fat and elevated rates of cardiovascular disease. Finally! The smoking gun that explains why Americans are so darned fat compared to the rest of the world! Thank heavens! (sarcasm)

Apparently, eating fat makes you fat and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke by clogging your arteries.Replacing meat and animal fats with “healthier” high carb, plant based foods (wheat, corn, soy) and vegetable oil is the only way to go. Armed with this groundbreaking new evidence, a bunch of do-gooder congressmen saw fit to establish a set of dietary guidelines for Americans known as the Food Guide Pyramid. The base of the Pyramid? You guessed it! Lots of heart healthy carbs and grains! Americans shunned their evil bacon laden ways and everyone lived to be as old as Moses while remaining healthy and completely disease free. Much celebration and fanfare followed.

Wait….

That’s not what happened! Americans got sicker and fatter than ever!

While that is a far cry from the complete and whole story it is a pretty accurate tale of the chain of events. Now… go back to your Google search for a moment. You’ll notice that the rest of the page is filled with results claiming the Lipid Hypothesis to be just what it is. A steaming pile of Holstein excrement.

Watch this video. Then continue.

So, just to make sure that we are all on the same page…. The Seven Countries Study was actually the Twenty two Countries Study. Ancel Keyes conveniently tossed out all of the data that didn’t fit with his hypothesis.

What kind of “science” is that!?!

Let that sink in for a moment. That is no different from me saying “Kittens cause instantaneous and irreversible death”. Then I go about pulling data from thousands of interactions between people and kittens, throw out every interaction in which the person lived to tell the tale and include only the rare occasions that someone happened to pet a cute baby kitty and keeled over dead (probably unrelated to actually contact to the cute ball of fluff… we hope…) So….. I now have empirical scientific data proving that holding kittens will absolutely kill you deader than a ball peen hammer. Capiche?

THIS COULD POSSIBLY BE THE GREATEST SCAM IN MEDICAL HISTORY!!!!!

Our government adopted this lie and has been force feeding us this crap for nearly 60 years! ( while making profit of course… need I remind you of the top three cash crops in America? Corn, Wheat and Soy!) Millions if not billions have been persuaded into an early grave as a result of this. In the mean time Big Pharm, Big Ag, and the medical establishment are steadily lining their pockets, profiting from our demise. These people are supposed to be ” helping you”. Imagine if they actually wanted to kill you! It would be funny if it weren’t so damn sad!

The good news is that the truth behind this scam is slowly coming into the light (painfully slow….) The American public and the medical community is so entrenched in these bogus claims that progress is hard and met with steadfast resistance. Three sure-fire ways to piss someone off:

#1- challenge their political views

#2- challenge their religious views

#3- challenge their views on healthy eating

A recent visit to my primary care physician for some blood work really drove this home for me…

 

I’m the internet version of the crazy guy at the bus stop. And I’m contagious.Part 1.

17 Jun

Apparently I’m the internet version of the crazy guy that hangs out at the bus stop. You should probably keep your children at a safe distance and definitely not let them read any of this.

In case you’ve missed my previous two posts let me get you up to speed. So far I’ve vilified the staple of the western diet,  America’s 1st, 2nd, and 3rd largest cash crops (I’ll save the conspiracy theories for later),  the ubiquitous, omnipotent grain! (please, hold your applause). Not to mention, I’ve promoted a diet that will require prescription strength liquid plumber to cut all of the fat out of your arteries (according to the AHA). I’d say I’m off to a pretty good start (if being institutionalized were my goal. Too bad it’s not)!

Amid concerns of my mental well-being were questions about what the ancestral diet might look like today. Also a lot of concern in regards to “what all of that fat” might be doing to my plumbing (not THAT plumbing, I meant my veins. Get your mind out of the gutter). Both really good questions and worth digging into.

If you grew up on the standard american diet ( we’ll call it S.A.D. for short, oh the irony) like myself, the thought of ditching all bread, pasta, corn ( yep. grain.), rice and legumes may seem a little daunting if not darned near impossible.

<crickets chirping> ….   ….   ….  ….

Still there? Good. It’s not as bad as it may seem.

“Is this guy crazy!?! That’s like EVERYTHING I eat! I’ll lose weight alright! Cause I’ll be freakin’ starving!”

No, it’s really not that bad. Pick your jaw up off the floor and I’ll walk you through a pretty typical day of eating the modern-american ancestral diet. Chances are, you’ve eaten a few paleolithic style meals and didn’t even realize it.

Sausage, bacon, eggs, fruit, and a glass of milk (technically neolithic but I handle it well and its darned tasty!). Sound like a breakfast you’ve had before? Maybe someone tossed in a lowly piece of toast or some incredibly lame bran muffin cause they thought they were doing you a favor but I’m confident that you could ditch that and still be very satisfied with this meal. How about a giaganticus 6-8 egg omelet loaded with meat, cheese, mushrooms, onions, and peppers(maybe some spinach if your into to that sort of thing, whatever)? Had a breakfast like that? Then congratulations! You’ve had a Paleo Breakfast. (applause)

The morning meal is a great time to really throw down. Its super easy to load up on delicious protein and fat sources and really get primed for the day. I can guarantee you that either of the above meals will not have your stomach growing like a polar bear treading water by 10:30am. Can’t say that about your high fiber Quaker Oat Meal (cardboard?), can you?

Don’t have time to cook every morning? That’s fine, me neither. On days that I’m in a rush I’ll make a super quick and easy milk shake with 1 cup of milk, 1/2 banana, maybe a little coconut, 1 or 2 eggs (make sure you trust the source if your eating raw eggs, I have my own flock), and a scoop of Gold Standard Natural Vanilla Whey protein. Breakfast done in 32 seconds.

For lunch, I’m thinking salad… No, not that pathetic crouton covered, carb-bomb-dressing soaked, pitiful excuse for a salad that you’ve had in the past. I’m talking about “dig through the cupboard and get out your largest piece of tuberware to hold it cause its gonna take 30 minutes to plow through it” awesomely huge and tasty Primal Salad! The Primal Salad is a great opportunity to get a lot of variety and really go wild with vegetables, just don’t forget the meat! I like to start with baby spinach or spring greens, topped with lots of chicken, tuna, or ground beef ( whatever, as long as it once drew breath I’m not picky), definitely some bacon. I’ll throw in some carrots, tomato, cucumber, mushrooms, onion, cucumber, avocado, maybe slice up some grapes or strawberries, toss on some walnuts or pecans, whatever! The options are nearly endless. As long as it falls into the fruit, veggie, nut or seed category, go for it!

Forgo the crap our society defines as salad dressing. With all of that flavor you wont need it. I like to spritz a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar or (my favorite) pour on the bacon drippings and add a little balsamic vinegar and ground mustard. (Please, do not shed a tear for my arteries) I call it bacon vinaigrette.

Everyone has enjoyed a salad at some time or another. Make one worthy of calling it a meal.

So far we’ve handled breakfast and lunch without eating anything to weird or funky. This is all pretty normal American fare, stuff that you may already eat a couple of few times a week. Dinner is even easier. Let’s have a little fun. I’ll make an ancestral diet supper-time-mad lib. Just fill in the blanks.

“When I want to get my caveman on, I like to grub on some _(large chunk of protein)__ and  __(vegetable)__ with a huge, steaming pile of __(vegetable)__. That’s how I get my troglodyte on.”

Get my drift? This could look like Ribeye Steak, Broccoli, sweet potato or Salmon, asparagus, and steamed carrots. Dont hold back on butter, heavy cream, animal fat or any other flavor boosters. The FDA didn’t exist 1,990,000 years ago so their twisted logic doesn’t apply here. Hungry yet? I know I am.

The ancestral diet focuses on real food. Unprocessed, awesome, “share a picture on Facebook to make all my friends jealous”, delicious food. I ran all of this ( a typical day for me) through a nutrition analyzer and the results look like this:

  • Calories: 2628
  • Protein: 173g
  • Fat: 172g
  • Carb: 96g
  • Fiber: 11g
  • Sat Fat: 201%
  • Chol: 562%

Vitamin content based on recommended daily intake:

  • Calcium: 104%                        Iron: 188%
  • Phos: 320%                              Vit. A: 1144%
  • Vit C: 371%                               Thia: 120%
  • Nia: 264%

looks like I took a multi-vitamin!

Fat phobics have probably slammed the laptop shut and flung it across the room in fear of heart disease through computer osmosis. But for anyone that is a little curious as to how huge amounts of dietary fat and cholesterol wont in fact drive you to an early grave, stick around and I’ll expose the Lipid Hypothesis for what it is. A load of horse dung. Heres a preview from accredited publisher Men’s Health. A great read for fat phobics. I guess crazy must be contagious.

Do you think the Ancestral Diet is unhealthy? Leave a comment, let me know why.

Until next time, be good.

 

Your Brain is Shrinking! (hopefully not as a result of reading this…)

12 Jun

Lions eat meat.

A fact that very few logical people would contest. For hundreds of thousands if not millions of years ( My Young Earth Creationist friends stay with me!), lions and their predecessors evolved to thrive on a diet consisting solely of meat. If you were to feed a lion a vegetarian diet would you expect it to retain its health and vigor? Probably not. And he would probably be angry enough to eat off your face.

Most logical people would agree with this line of thought. Now… substitute lion for human. What happens then?

“Humans don’t live solely off of meat, silly! They run on low-fat bran muffins and tofurkey burgers!”

Um. No. Sorry.

When you remove the “beautiful and unique snowflake” equation (ala Tyler Durden) from humanity, are we not just another animal? Albeit highly evolved and extremely intelligent. Does our intelligence somehow make us immune to biology? To the ill effects of a complete dietary 180?

Let me paint you a brief picture of human history. Close your eyes and relax as we go back 1.9 million years. Wait…open your eyes, you will need them open to continue… unless reading this has caused you to scourge them from your head. In that case, close the laptop and seek immediate medical attention.

Try to imagine what life might have been like for you as one of our earliest human ancestors…

You’ve just found out about this really awesome invention called fire. You can use it to scare off predators, cook meals and tons of other cool stuff (like set stuff on fire. duh). It’s so much more useful that four-sided thing they call “the wheel”. Agriculture won’t exist for another 1,890,000 years give or take ( sorry no bran muffins) so you and your immediate family work together as a tribe of hunter gatherers. Women would nurse/ care for younger children while gathering wild edibles. Men and older male children would partake in hunting large and small game and supplement by gathering wild vittles as they tracked animals.

The average daily calorie expenditure for a hunter gatherer is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000-3,600 calories a day. That’s a lot of treadmill time! Chances are ( Vegans cover your ears!) you would be eating A LOT of meat and fat. The amount of food you would have to pound away in order to acquire 3,600 calories from vegetation alone is just staggering. Uncooked legumes (beans) have made you massively ill on more than one occasion so you do not eat them ( sorry no tofu)! It’s safe to say that the lion’s share (pun intended) of calories came from proteins and fats  while carbohydrate intake would remain relatively low. Don’t get me wrong. Lots of vegetables were consumed and they were a critical part of our development but depending on what part of the world you live in, you may not eat significant amounts of vegetables for months at a time ( winter) or hardly ever (Inuits). Nuts, seeds and fruits were eaten when in season but once again availability depends on your distance from the equator.

This was the human diet for nearly 2 million years. Meat, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, tubers, and seasonal fruit.

“Yeah, but how do we REALLY know? I mean, it’s not like there are cavemen walking around that we can ask.”

Not cavemen per say but there are still a few ancestral societies in existence today that have been going about business as usual for the last couple hundred millenia. These are robust, active people who enjoy vibrant health well into their 60’s and 70’s (with NO modern medicine, vaccines, routine checkups, etc.). Diabetes, Cancer, and Heart Disease is virtually non-existent. Perhaps even more compelling is the isotope analysis of Paleolithic human bones revealing…. you guessed it. Lots of meat ( you are indeed what you eat).

Fast forward 1,980,000 years to the advent of agriculture. Humans figured out they could cultivate cereal grains and other crops and produce ample amounts of food. Everyone lived happily ever after.

Not quite.

The grain based diet paled in comparison to the nutrient dense, hunter gatherer diet that our bodies evolved to depend on. Did you know that Dr. Temperance Brennan can determine whether or not a skull belongs to a modern human that lived pre-agriculture or post-agriculture within seconds of examining it? After the advent of agriculture, humans became smaller and weaker, unable to fight of infections and diseases as well as our more robust paleolithic ancestors. Disease grew rampant and infant mortality rates skyrocketed. Even the human brain has steadily decreased since the dawn of agriculture.

Lions eat meat. A fact that few logical people would contest.

Crunch Berries aren’t really a fruit! Say what?!

8 Jun

I hate grains. I despise them on a cellular level.

Strong words I know, especially from someone that once blasted through an entire box of Cap’n Crunch in a day (crunch berries…. Berries are nutritious right?! ) I am a reformed cereal killer.

So what happened? How did I get from chillin with a bearded cartoon sailor to cursing at the Quaker Oat dude and giving Betty Crocker the finger?

Recently I began to rethink the paradigm that is American health and fitness. Fat is bad. Don’t eat it. Ever. Instead gorge yourself on “healthy” whole grains, fruits and veggies and a little bit of lean meat or beans for protein. Oh, and don’t forget to run. A lot. Steady-state cardio (i.e. Treadmill) until you puke. 5 days a week. That is the recipe for good health in spite the fact that the health of Americans has steadily declined since these guidelines were established. I bought into this for a considerable portion of my adult life. The result? Upwards of 30% body, high blood pressure, acid reflux and a general feeling of malaise that I could never shake.

After a little research (and a lot of dumb luck) I stumbled across some information about the gnarly effects of gluten (a protein found in grains that is indigestible and gut irritating). Sure I had heard of gluten-free foods before but I thought that was something marketed to yuppie people to ….well… make them feel yuppie. Human beings are not designed to consume this stuff. The whole notion of “healthy” whole grains and the idea that they are the “staff of life” is nothing short of a bunch of horse dung. It’s simply not true. Yes, you CAN eat grains and you will sustain life but they are not optimum or I will argue even adequate fuel for your body. Crazy talk? Maybe. Have I gone off the rails? Perhaps but consider this.

In their natural state, grains contain virtually none of the essential vitamins and minerals. “What! How can this be? My wonderbread has 100% daily values of vitamins A, B, C P, Q blah blah…” Well, simple answer. It’s been “enriched” to give it nutritional value. The vitamins were added during the manufacturing process. “Unenriched” grain products do not contain these. All of the sudden the “staff of life” is looking more like a splinter. Our dietary staple more like a …..something that does not hold paper together. Still not convinced?

High blood pressure, diabetes, IBS, cardiomyopathy, Gall bladder disease, Lupus (auto immune disease) all directly linked to grain consumption (Google celiac followed by any of the before mentioned ailments) A random list of diseases? Not quite. Each of these diseases afflicts someone very close to me. Thanksgiving dinner table kind of close. So yes, I get a little torqued up about this. It’s personal. Add in 60 years of government propagandas and B.S. and now I’m pissed. Grain consumption can be linked to many of the diseases that plague our civilization. “Diseases of Civilization” (google it).

So where am I going with all of this misguided anger and horrible grammar?

6 months ago I stopped eating grains and adopted an ancestral diet (Lots of meat (and FAT!!!), copious amounts of veggies, nuts and seeds, and seasonal fruit) as well as a Paleolithic human fitness program (no treadmill!) The results have been nothing short of remarkable! 32lbs. of fat loss, blood pressure from 156/100 to 119/79, size 36 pants to size 30, better musculature and performance markers. Keep in mind that prior to this change I was eating a “healthy” American diet and jogging 12-15 miles a week.

This has sparked my interest in further improving my own health and fitness (through diet and exercise NOT pharmaceuticals. Imagine that…) and thus led to the blog you are reading now which will chronical my experience and pursuit of optimal human health and longevity.

I thank you for reading and hope you will follow me on my journey, Please feel free to leave a comment good, bad or indifferent. Lord knows my wife is tired of hearing this so any response that does not include a sigh and an eye roll is greatly appreciated. Next post I’ll flesh out some of the details of what I’ve been up to. More pseudoscientific crazy talk will definitely be included. Get ready for a paradigm shift. Be good.