Friday, November 19, 2010

Some quick links: twinkies, epilepsy & fish oil.

Just wanted to share a few links that I found interesting this week.

The Twinkie diet has been causing a stir lately. Stephan Guyent at Whole Health Source takes it apart in this blog post. I hope this nutrition professor thinks his 15 minutes of fame is worth the potential damage he has caused to his field while adding ZERO value to the discussion.

This New York Times article about ketogenic diets as a cure for epilepsy, makes a lot of sense to me. The brain is made up of fat. Feed it fat and it heals. I'd argue that the majority of neurological disorders stem from the low-fat movement. I think it's awesome that the medical community is opening their eyes to treatments like this but I still find it a bit annoying that they continue to think kids will blow up like fat-filled balloons and their hearts will stop. One step at a time, right? Maybe some day they will wake up and smell the bacon.

This excellent blog post at The Healthy Skeptic on excessive fish oil consumption has me rethinking my daily intake. I think omega 3's are can be can be very beneficial, especially for those with some serious metabolic issues, to get things back on track, however, it appears taking a high dosage long term is not a good idea. I had been taking up to 4 grams of EPA and DHA per day, but maybe just some wild caught fish a couple meals a week and a spoonful of cod liver oil each day will do it for now on.

What do you think? Post your thoughts to comments.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Just in time for Thanskgiving: Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and you know what that means: time to FEAST! For me, that's a reason to rejoice. After all, it is the Super Bowl of all meals. However, some people have a love/hate relationship with the holiday: they love getting together with family and eating some delicious home cooked food, but they hate feeling guilty about their Turkey-day transgressions.

For the Paleo/Primal eater, there's no need to fret if you're making smart choices on a daily basis. As long as you avoid any foods that you have a sensitivity or allergy to, I don't see any reason why you can't kick your heels up a bit and enjoy your Thanksgiving favorites like corn or mashed potatoes. Still, I'd pass on any gluten containing items like rolls or pasta if you can avoid it.

To me, Thanksgiving is the perfect Paleo holiday. It represents the meal European settlers shared with our country's hunter-gatherers, the Native Americans. Unfortunately, the Native Americans didn't know that the Europeans were bringing the Diseases of Civilization to the table. But to be fair, I don't think the Europeans knew it either, otherwise, they probably would have adopted the eating habits of the Native Americans in order to improve their general health. Still, there is a lot to be thankful for. Plus, what could be better than a huge cooked bird with tons of vegetables on the side?

Friday, November 12, 2010

"No toys for you!" - The McDonald's Happy Meal toy ban.

Most people who know me, know that I'm a big proponent of feeding our children healthy food. So, it may come as a surprise when I say I'm against San Francisco's recently passed ban on toys included with children's meals that have been deemed "unhealthy."

Sure, I can see the parallels between the fight to remove characters like Joe Camel and Spuds McKenzie that were used to market harmful substances to kids and the attempt to remove kids' toys that are given away with junk food. It sounds good on paper - get rid of the toys, kids won't care about going to McD's anymore, and obesity will steadily decline. Wouldn't that be nice? Keep dreaming people.

The problem with a law like this one is that it assumes a lot. First it assumes the writers of the law know what is healthy and what is unhealthy. Second, it assumes that kids are the one's making the decisions and that we must save them from their easily manipulated choices. Finally, it assumes that the toys are the nudge needed to tip the scales in favor of poor food choices when the reality is much, much worse.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Great Paleolithic Bread Controversy - Is this the beginning of the end?


Some of you may have seen the "big news" a couple weeks ago when a study was released that seemed to peg the first bread at around 30,000 years old. Like almost all Yahoo! news items related to nutrition, I wanted to comment on it immediately after reading it but I have been too busy to get this blog up and running so it has had to wait until now. I've been trying to avoid the commentary on other paleo/primal blogs so my thoughts wouldn't be influenced by others. On the other hand, I'm fairly certain the paleo community will echo my thoughts and then some. They have probably thoroughly picked this study apart and moved on by now.

To be honest, I was a bit surprised to see this news report get a feature on Yahoo!. Maybe it's a statement to the rising popularity of the paleo movement, but I just didn't think your average American would care that bread existed around 30,000 years ago. Most people would probably think bread has always existed. So what's the big deal?

Why "Voices from the Cave?"

Two Reasons:

First of all, there is a lot we can gain by examining the lifestyles of our hunter/gatherer (HG) ancestors. There is a reason disease was practically unheard of in HG tribes and I don't think it has anything to do with the conveniences of modern living. If we listen to the "Voices" of our ancestors, we may be able to find optimal health and fitness in the toxic environment we call the modern world.

Second, I needed a place to unload. "The Cave" is my place to go and get stuff off my chest without driving my friends and family crazy. The other alternative, keeping all these random thoughts in my head, wasn't working so well, so I've decided to let them loose on the public. Sorry about that.

Living the paleo/primal lifestyle in the modern world is definitely challenging but also very rewarding. I hope that by sharing my thoughts and experiences, it will help others on their journey.