Yes, there was the interview. That was the morning after these photos, that Beatrice snapped candidly over dinner. I myself was so absorbed, that I didn’t even know about them until I updated her computer shit this afternoon and found them on her iPhone.
Archives for June 2012
Here’s the post that kicked it all off. This is chapter 4 of 12, to give interested readers the chance to take on the free ebook chapter by chapter over the weekend, debate it amongst themselves, or even challenge the author who’s keeping tabs.
by Greg Swann
Chapter 4. The greatest invention in the history of humanity.
That chapter heading is really just a tease. What’s the most important invention ever devised by the mind of man?
Fathertongue, of course. All other inventions flow from it. Without it, we are badly-adapted hairless apes, ultimately doomed to an ignominious extinction. With it, human beings danced on the Moon.
In the last chapter, I raised the idea of your being stranded on a desert island. That’s a hugely unlikely scenario, but it’s interesting to think about because everything that is true of you, as a type of entity, is true of you in isolation. You’re in this all alone, recall, and there is no factual statement that we can make about your nature as a human being that is not true of you even – especially! – when you are isolated from all other people.
In later chapters, we will take up the implications of your fundamental ontological solitude. For now I want to focus on the existential solitude of being stranded. Is there anyone for you to talk to? To cuddle up to? To fight against or to make love with? No. You possess everything you were able to recover from your plane crash or your shipwreck, but there is no one else with you, and anything else you might want you will have to provide for yourself – if you can – or else do without.
How many of the 600 or so attendees to AHS11 at UCLA weren’t shocked by the appearance of J. Stanton? …Mohawk? Long! ….Why?
…We did covered Gnolls in the interview. Spotted Hyena based creatures that, if it could talk to humans—as they non-magiacally can in The Noll Credo—would almost certainly find us less repulsive if we wore….mohawks. My story. Sticking to it. What I didn’t know is that it was already a fantasy creature. Which is better, really. It had a certain following or popularity already, and J. exploited it.
J. is a joy to have around. …A little story. He emailed me when he was leaving South Lake Tahoe and gave me an ETA. An hour after that ETA had passed, I wondered what had happened. But, before I wondered too much, he showed up. Turned out, he was a first responder for a guy on a very big motorcycle who’d had the misfortune of having it slide out from under him around the 8,730 ft summit of Ebbetts Pass. J. had to make sure all was alright, helped him right his huge bike, gave him all his water, and that was that.
…And you get to learn the story. I doubt J. would ever tell it on his blog. …He didn’t even tell me until I got a bit of whiskey into his system.
There was not a moment of silence in the place from when he got there, to 2am; recommencing at about 9am or so. We did 2 takes of the interview, and due to tech problems with the first, we went totally with the second.
This is the first time I’ve tried to mash video from 2 cameras together. We had mine on a tripod, and Beatrice shot various clips at various angles—and at various zoom—and I integrated a lot of those clips. I’m a total amateur; so for one, instead of a uniform audio recording, it’s audio from each camera. Attempting to use audio from the one and trying to split, replace video, and sync was just far too much. But I think that in the end, it’s pretty amazing what a single guy with two cameras can do with a little tech in a few hours. This was millions of dollars worth of equipment when your annoying teenage daughter was born.
We covered a lot of ground in what comes out to 27 minutes and change.
- The Gnoll Credo, his book, how it’s a fantasy without magic, and how it relates to our paleo/primal dispositions, even in social spheres.
- His blog, gnolls.org. What’s his purpose? Why so sciency?
- Foord reward/palatability vs. Low Carb.
- Must the science be settled before you can play hopscotch with your life?
- AHS11 and AHS12.
I’ll try to get up an audio only version in a day or so. In the meantime, here’s the video, at our cabin in the Sierras, from the deck.
Here’s audio only:
Come join us both at AHS12. If you want to, but can’t get tickets, come and picket the place….and make sure you have the nefarious names of Brent Pottenger and Aaron Blaisdell clearly visible on your signs. They are responsible for creating far too much success too soon, with insufficient capacity. :)
As I posted a few days back, we’ve been spending the week up here in the mountains. It’s been fun, not the least of which is that yesterday afternoon, J. Stanton of Gnolls.org took a drive over Ebbetts pass at 8,730 ft., from Lake Tahoe to join us in Arnold—at a mere 4,000 ft—for an evening of chat, visiting, grilling meat.
J. brought one steak to share that he’d cut himself, in a butchering class. Guess which one. But before doing all that, drinking port wine after dinner that he’d also brought, and staying up until about 2am talking about spotted hyenas and the individual and social behavior of many other animals—as well as the evolutionary clues we can speculate about—we had recorded about 30-40 minutes of video discussing various topics out on the deck.
Only…the video camera stopped recording at 2 gigs of data without a courtesy notice. At the HD setting it was on, that came out to a mere 8 minutes of our interview/discussion. Alright, lemonade time. That was rehearsal!
So we got it done this morning.
We talked about a lot of stuff and I have a lot of video to mash up, from two different angles—the one on the tripod and the clips Beatrice was shooting at different random angles.
So here’s the 1 minute teaser.
I’ll have a full interview up in a day or so, so, don’t touch that dial!
Update: The full interview is now posted: The Very Gnollish J. Stanton Interview on Everything
The following is a guest post by Stefani Ruper of Paleo For Women, lending her unique perspective on the differences between the sexes.
[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]
Mark’s Daily Apple receives between 250,000 and 300,000 unique visitors to its homepage every month. This means that MDA has approximately 300,000 regular followers. With this many followers, MDA blows the rest of the paleosphere out of the water, beating out spot #2 at 55,000 followers (thepaleodiet.com) by more than 500 percent.*
Which doesn’t mean much, other than the fact that having an ear to the ground at MDA yields a pretty good idea of what’s trending hot in the paleosphere.
In August of 2010,** Mark posted an article, “Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy?” and said this:
A recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition gives a great overview of these benefits which include decreases in blood pressure, reduction in oxidative damage to lipids, protein and DNA, improvement in insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake, as well as decreases in fat mass.
He goes on: “How can you argue with results like these?”
The recent article link leads to a review of intermittent fasting studies performed in 2007. It contains the following passages:
Heilbronn et al. found that, after 3 weeks of alternate day fasting, insulin response to a test meal was reduced, which implied improved insulin sensitivity. It is interesting that this effect on insulin sensitivity occurred only in male subjects.
Another diabetes risk factor that has shown a sex-specific effect is glucose tolerance. After 3 weeks of alternate day fasting, women but not men had an increase in the area under the glucose curve. This unfavorable effect on glucose tolerance in women, accompanied by an apparent lack of an effect on insulin sensitivity, suggests that short-term ADF may be more beneficial in men than in women in reducing type 2 diabetes risk.
Following through to the research linked to by the review demonstrates that the sex differences are real.
This fact went unnoticed by Mark Sisson—certainly an innocent oversight rather than some sort of malicious chauvinism—and he is not alone in that. Sex differences in response to different food and lifestyle choices are largely ignored by the paleosphere. A paleosphere which we generally regard as presumably, hopefully, perhaps some day in the future, more egalitarian, data-oriented, and smart about diet and lifestyle than it’s conventional counterparts.
So far in this regard it is not. The world is largely ignorant of the differences between male and female diet and behavioral needs. The majority of medical studies are performed on men, and when they are performed on women, they are almost always menopausal women, in order to eliminate the presumed variable complications that hormonal fluctuations introduce into a testing environment. So even when paleo blogging gurus refer to the most unbiased research in the medical world, they are referring to studies designed to work around rather than through the needs of reproductive women.
The Problem: Perfectionism and it’s Tango with Social Norms
paleo dieters are obsessed with being hot. Much as we might like to conflate our desire for optimum sex appeal with our desire for optimal health—and much as that may be a legitimate act, since health and physical attractiveness are in some ways significantly correlated—the fact remains that we very much prize the tangled duo of perfect health and perfect hotness. The degree to which we prioritize these pursuits varies, but it is very much worth asking the question of each of us: we might say we are in pursuit of the “healthy,” but is that what we honestly mean? Do we instead not mean “impressive”? Or “perfect”? Or “attractive”? Capable of strutting our superior life choices around haters? Or inspiring people? Are we using paleo ‘health’ as a way to cover up our real need, our need to be validated and accepted and sexy and loved?
Maybe. The question is not super relevant, other than for the fact that much of what we do is in pursuit of this dual hot-healthy goal. And that’s great, except for the fact that we are total extremists about it. If you are in doubt of this fact I invite you to go to Paleohacks, or to the MDA forums, which are the two largest online paleo communities. They are full of quotes such as this one:
I have never starved myself and your generalization that fasting for 40 days causes starvation is incorrect.
paleo dieters often are by our very nature perfectionists. We seek optimal health, optimal performance, optimal looks, optimal life hacks. Optimal macronutrient ratios, optimal micronutrient intake…. the list is long. The whole point being that a diet that promises perfect health (literally), and that often delivers something very close, naturally attracts people who chase perfection. The diet, lifestyle, and community structure provide myriads of ways for us to do that. Even those of us who were not perfectionists to begin with get sucked into the fervor. The paleosphere is a culture of optimality-seeking, through and through.
Psychological problems aside, isn’t that all well and good? Doesn’t that lead us to better health in the end?
For men, yes? For women, no?
There are two ways in which this pursuit of optimality—specifically with respect to this dual hot-healthy pursuit—has the potential to derail health. First is the end goal, and secondly are the methods we often use to reach those goals.
Perhaps the most obvious problem with pursuing attractiveness through diet and lifestyle is that attractiveness by social standards is not necessarily aligned with evolutionary health. This we know well, but it bears repeating. Standards of attractiveness are conditioned just as strongly, if not more strongly, by social standards rather than by base physiological drives. This is evidenced by simple tropes: it is now attractive to be tan rather than pale, for example, since upper classes have more leisure time to spend outside. And it is now more attractive to be thin rather than plump, since only upper classes have access to gym memberships and CSAs, etc.
Unfortunately, the paleosphere’s vigor for bucking social norms does not appear to extend to body image. The Western world’s ideal woman is a thin woman. The paleosphere is not immune to social conditioning by this monster. Sure, the paleosphere might say that it values strength and fitness moreso than conventional counterparts, but even for those of us who believe that, this notion is almost a matter of perfectionism again, pushing ourselves to incorporate as many things into our bodies that make us attractive as possible: not just skinny, but also strong. Not just thin, but also muscled. The typical perfect paleo body is lithe, fit, and rippling. Curvy, perhaps, but never insofar as it might encroach upon a woman’s hard abs. Bear in mind, also, that even without the muscles, even without this specifically paleo ideal, thousands of paleo dieters are in it for dropping pounds.
This would be all well and good if a thin woman were actually the most optimally healthy woman.
She is not.
For reference, a model or an athlete on TV may be around 17-18 percent body fat. (For men, around 10.) Women begin dying around 12 percent body fat, and they stop menstruating at a wide variety of lower body fat levels, depending on the woman. Typically, menstruation drops off by around 18 percent, though many women stop menstruating at 20 or even 22 or 23 percent body fat, depending on her development and the strength of her metabolism and her ovaries, etc. Some women are naturally stickly thin. Most are not. Trying to jam women adjusted to 20 or 22 percent body fat bodies into 18 percent body fat bodies is practically a crime. Those last few percentage points that come off of a woman are those stored around her buttocks, hips, and thighs. This fat is specifically female fat, and it is significantly associated with a woman’s well-being.
Why do women have this fat, and what does it do?
Aside from protecting women against starvation more strongly than men, as well as assuring that a woman will have enough energy and nutrients to carry offspring, this fat is also largely responsible for partitioning DHA (the “good” omega 3) fat to a woman’s offspring. Children born of mothers with more of this DHA-heavy fat tend to be smarter than those without (PDF). Those are all important things, evolutionarily, imho.
Science agrees. The most fertile woman is not the thinnest or the most buff woman. Instead, the most fertile woman is above 22 percent body fat. Many studies even argue that women between BMIs of 25-29—often considered by our culture as “overweight”—fare better in longevity and long term health (PDF) than lower weight women. Below the healthy range of > 20 percent body fat women often begin experiencing cravings, anxiety, depression, insomnia, loss of libido, brittle hair and nails, hypothyrodism and infertility. The bottom line being that a woman’s fat around her hips, buttocks, and thighs—that which prevents her from looking like something on the cover of Shape magazine—is in many cases crucial for health, mental well-being, and reproductive function.
So that’s one thing. We fail to take into account sex-specific needs for body fat and for health, and we allow our desire for attractiveness to mangle them like a meat grinder.
The second is health and weight loss method.
As optimality-seekers, we paleo dieters thrive off of evolutionary tricks that can be used to achieve health and weight loss goals. These include but are not limited to cold therapy, carb cycling, ketosis, high intensity interval training, calorie restriction, and intermittent fasting. What is wrong with all of these practices is not their intrinsic natures, necessarily, but is instead the vigorous extent to which we pursue them, and the recklessness we have with regards to sex differences.
Enter the MDA preface. Fasting is enormously popular in the paleosphere today. But it is a stressor, through and through. Couple our vigorous pursuit of optimality with ignorance of sex-specificity, and we land in a heaping pile of female health threats.
As my analysis of fasting points to, and as study after study after study on calorie restriction indicates, men can undergo metabolic stressors relatively painlessly, and in fact usually emerge in good health and fitness. Women, on the other hand, do not. The female body is designed first and foremost to guard its fertility, and for that reason the body strongly resists and is hurt by metabolic stress.
In many cases, both anecdotally and in the literature, women on restrictive diets—whether fasts or calorie-restricted diets, fat-restricted or carbohydrate-restricted diets, typically healthy diets by paleo standards—or unhealthy diets experience hindered mental health, energy, sleep quality, insulin and leptin signalling, thyroid activity, and HPA axis function. Moreover, because the body is detecting metabolic stress and wants to defend itself, restricted women sometimes actually gain weight. I have met, in fact, several women who undertake one to three day fasts and gain a couple of pounds. The dubious nature of these restrictive diets relative to women’s health includes the effects of excessive exercise, particularly over-done HIIT.
This isn’t to say that women shouldn’t reduce calories from time to time, or certainly that they shouldn’t engage in HIIT. We should. But female bodies cannot—straight up, they cannot—handle these stressors as well as men do. And even when they do experience benefits—which is often! especially for obese women—it is a sure bet that it occurs by a physiological mechanism unique to a man. In all metabolic influences—in energy intake, expenditure, type of energy utilized, amount of body fat on the person—women require more and different safeguarding than men in order to maintain optimal health. This is the truth of science and of evolution.
All of which is to say:
We paleo dieters are conditioned by Western norms. We want to be attractive. We are driven by promises of optimality and perfection. We pursue these things with vigor. It appears that in many ways, especially as women, we are fucking ourselves.
One common solution people pose to the body image/feminism problem is an overhaul of society. I agree, to an extent. That would help us a lot. What modern media are doing to contemporary women (and men) is insidious. Malicious. Demonic. For this reason, there are more than a few influential sorts I look forward to meeting on the fiery precipice of hell.
But that is an act of asking—or of forcing—other people to change. Not only does that cause my libertarian roots to twitch in discomforted individualistic alarm, but it also a) constrains my liberation and empowerment by the wills of other people, and who the fuck would ever want to wait around for that? and b) does a disservice to my personal strength and the strength of love in the individuals around me.
The solution then is not to attack the paleo masses. Nor is it to attack the people at the top, those who are calling the shots. It’s not to attack Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Loren Cordain, or any of the other several male paleo bloggers who dominate the blogging scene. They are not doing anything wrong. They want women to be as healthy as women want to be healthy. In fact, while they do not necessarily trumpet women’s health issues, I’d assert pretty confidently that they do a better job loving and advocating natural female bodies than women do.
The simple fact is, however, that it’s not their job to walk the walk.
It is ours.
Our job is to stand up. Our job is to take ownership of womanhood and to live by healthy, empowered example. It is to be real and honest with ourselves as women, and to come to terms with our own desires and natures. Womanhood will never change if women are not owning and loving the right stuff themselves. We have to get over our baggage. I don’t care if we get more attention when we are skinny; I don’t care if any of us grew up with towering professional ballerinas squeezing our hips and telling us to go stand in the corner while the real dancers danced. I don’t care if we have mommy issues or daddy issues or if we grew up in a world in which being thin or exercising or meeting any of the ridiculous Western notions of womanhood were the only ways we could achieve psychological peace. That’s over, now.
I do care. I’m sorry. I care so much I spend several hours each week producing a podcast about that effort. It’s hard. More than hard. These issues are frightening. But we are never going to get over them if we do not start standing. Start refusing to listen to the insidious chatter of the outside world. Start ignoring the self-flagellation in our heads. Start walking with our chins up and our eyes ahead.
We have the power to say no to norms, and yes to our health. We have the ability to pay attention to our physiological needs ourselves. We can rise up, and be proud of our evolutionary bodies, and love our bodies as we see fit. We don’t need to ask others to do it for us. We don’t have the luxury to wait for society to catch up. We have the tools; we have the knowledge; we have each other. This goes for understanding unique physiological and reproductive needs as well as for embracing natural bodies. Now is the time for us to refuse to be caged, and to say fuck it to external pressures, and to exalt in the glory of real, natural, nourished womanhood.
The truth of evolution and a paleolithic perspective encourages this notion. When we use evolutionary science rather than norms to guide our lifestyles and our choices, it helps us break free of social norms. It helps us see what true health looks like, and it helps us embrace our natural bodies. An honest paleo perspective demands natural womanhood. It demands that a woman prioritize her health, and that she nourish herself above all other things. And then with her well-nourished body, a woman is enabled to work productively, to sleep peacefully, to live fiercely, to laugh freely. This goes for women and for men, both. Paying attention to a body’s evolutionary needs–and then meeting them–gives it the tools necessary to provide a smooth-running platform off of which the individual can spring, off of which she can live.
The paleosphere cannot help but be weighed down by the intrinsic patriarchy of Western civilization. It is trying to break free—and hats off to the men and women out there making it happen—but it will be some time before it can completely throw off those chains. And we paleo dieters cannot help but pursue perfect bodies and practices with vigor. We cannot be blamed for wanting to be perceived as sexy, healthy, empowered, strong, beautiful, lovable.
However. We cannot ask others to do this for us. Nor can we achieve these things by conventional, gender-neutral, restrictive means. Real health demands something else. Real health asks that we take the knowledge we have ourselves and act on it. And own it. And strut it. And love it. And be embodied, real, self-loving and self-nourishing human beings. That makes us sexy. It makes us powerful. And it makes us real, kick-ass, revolutionary women, in the most beautiful and inspiring senses of the word.
*The paleo Diet has 55,000. Robb Wolf, 35,000. Everyday paleo (the blog of women as mothers), around 25,000. Whole9, 20,000. Free the Animal, 15,000. jimmy moore, 15,000. Melissa McEwen’s blog, 8000. Balanced bites, 8000. Cavegirleats, 2000. For benchmarks.
[Note: According to Google Analytics, Free the Animal receives 55,000 – 60,000 Unique Visitors per month. – Ed]
**This hasn’t changed. The more recent series on fasting, which occurred in April 2012, refers to the same batch of articles and leaves sex differences unmentioned.
My website, Paleo for Women, is a place at which I explore female specific health problems as well as female specific responses to general health issues such as diabetes or weight loss. It is, more importantly, however, a place for women to find passion and inspiration and community. I invite you to join us.
[For an update, please see: Lemons to Lemonade Documentary – Ed]
It’s Monday evening, up at the cabin.
Beatrice and I left town Saturday morning. We drove to Sacramento, checked into a hotel, and went over to Jorge’s home—one that takes its foundation in an old neighborhood. It’s this side of humble, but cool—a superlative, old growth tree neighborhood that he was happy with; and, he paid off that house about 10 years ago.
When I first saw it many years prior, I loved it on more of an ethical level than anything; by which I mean, the ethic of it was gravy. I knew he’d likely live his whole life there. It was a wise choice on levels and tranches of the wisdom he was all about. He was already in touch with that so long ago. It was a cool place with much potential. He attained most of that over the years in little improvements here and there, making it more and more about him, and his own.
…It was for a celebration of his truncated life that we were there for the whole afternoon. Dozens upon dozens of people from all over the world in attendance (the number of friends he collected over time a space…). My own entry. Dozens of people spoke, relating their stories of him…from sea to shining sea, and Cal Berkley.
Switching gears, now, Beatrice just finished her 29th or 30th year of teaching kids. When school ends at about 2:30 every afternoon, she almost never gets home before 5:30 or so. Sometimes much later. 7:30 is not uncommon.
It annoys me, sometimes. …That’s only until I tell myself to fuck off.
When I do that, it’s not long after that I contemplate her lifelong devotion to actually focusing on her kids, and never being an active member of the California Teacher’s Association Union. …Caring over and over and over and only and only and only about those kids that she faces every day, with no real thought of “contracts.”
I’ve been with her for about 15 years. The word “Union” has never come out of her mouth once. Ever. Not one pathetic pay-me-or-hired-gun’s-ll-force-you pussy shit. She doesn’t give a shit, unlike her inferiors. But what do I know? Perhaps Union agitation is just all the bomb and I’m just a clueless idiot. Well, I’ll bed down in ignorance, then.
I fixed her a meal tonight. I think she liked it. I hope.
No Union Members were harmed, or were their contacts cut or threatened, or did any union member get the slightest whiff of a hint that they would not get to, nonetheless, get to collect an unearned living in the cooking of this meal.
I grilled the pork steaks on the barbie. In the meantime, I sauteed lots of shallot and mushroom in butter, reduced white wine, and then reduced a full 2 quarts of chicken stock to get a full flavorful and non thickened sauce (yea, I strained out the sauce in the end).
I hate my wife, dontacha know?
And here’s this evening’s music selection. R.E.M. Everybody Hurts. Came to me in that last second, here. It’s the way things roll with me, now and then. And I always roll with it when it does.
In addition to all these stories already logged, let me take a look through some saved emails and see what I can come up with. Keep in mind that these people might be working off so-called bad or incomplete science (LC, fear of fructose, obsessions about “clean eating” and so on) and apparently, it’s more important to get the “science right” than to get the results right in spite of the science.
~ Rosemary emailed me some time ago to show off her “paleo Facelift.””
~ Ron emailed in quite sometime back with an emphasis more on overall health improvements rather than just fat loss.
I have watched your Success Videos on weight loss and believe they provide inspiration for many of your readers. I have a suggestion, however. While weight loss is certainly the primary concern for many people, others, such as myself came to paleo to hopefully resolve heath issues. Weight was not my primary focus. …
My story isn’t as dramatic as someone that has reversed diabetes or cured heart disease, but it is nevertheless, interesting. And I think parts of my story will hit home with many people.
Here’s a brief synopsis of my health issues 6 ½ years ago: Chronic asthma, Chronic/acute sinus and ear infections, Chronic/acute bronchitis, High blood pressure, Terrible blood cholesterol – low HDL/high LDL and triglycerides, Horrible digestive pain, Allergies to just about everything.
On top of all that, I was about 40lbs over weight plus tired and sick all the time. I caught every virus that came along. I had 4 sinus surgeries over the previous 15-year period to clean everything out and remove polyps. The polyps kept growing back every few years. I was on anti-biotics and prednisone every 3 to 4 months like clockwork along with a daily regimen of various asthma medications.
I was absolutely miserable. My family doctor was ready to put me on a statin and high blood pressure medication. Mainstream medicine was really doing nothing except treating my symptoms. I went to see my chiropractor. He had some alternative medicine approaches that quickly turned me down the paleo road. I found Art DeVany on the Internet about 6 years ago and the rest is history.Bottom line, at age 52, I no longer have any of those health issues (mostly). I haven’t had a cold in 6 ½ years. My blood lipids and pressure are great, yada yada yada. Oh, and I lost the extra 40lbs.
~ I’ve received a few emails from Timothy here and there. Here’s the first one from last October
I love your blog. You reeled me in last year because, just like me, you were once a big fat slob who turned his life around on a dime via paleo. Your take-no-prisoners critiques of statism and other mass delusions are outstanding and make me want to jump out of my chair and hoist the black flag. You are the only blogger I know with these credentials and I have been fascinated and inspired by your prolific writing. Count me as a lifelong fan.
I used to be a blithering idiot about health. Fast food every day, glued to CRTs and LCDs, my entire life an abuse of human heritage. Of course this caught up with me and I developed more health problems than I care to remember. It’s a miracle I survived adolescence. Somehow I convinced the most beautiful woman I ever met to marry me when I was fat and broke and proceeded to drag her down with me.
We finally conceived a child after years of adverse outcomes. Something inside me snapped then and I knew I had to fix myself. I started running everywhere and eating Subway. As I said, blithering idiot.
Then I stumbled across Mark’s Daily Apple. His concise writing style penetrated even my thick skull. Well, of course our bodies are designed to live as our ancestors did! How extremely stupid not to have thought of that. And I was an anthropology major. My glacial cognitive dissonance melted away overnight.
I changed everything. How I ate, slept, trained, played, thought. My body responded instantly and I never looked back. I changed so drastically that I could no longer comprehend my former self. I resolved to make amends and build myself into a man that my distant ancestors would be proud of. This was in January 2010. I was 33 years old.
I went from overweight to skinny. Then muscle started growing. I wrote Mark Sisson and he published my success story. Everything seemed possible. Unfortunately, I was still afflicted with residual idiocy. I overtrained and underate. Other people were amazed at my progress but what did they know? I didn’t want to be slim, I wanted to be strong. As strong as my genes could possibly allow. A man for the first time ever, not an overgrown boy. My improvised sledgehammer training took me part of the way but no further.
This is where your blog saved the day for me. I never even knew what a deadlift was until I saw you lifting 305 in that video. And I thought, holy fucking shit, that’s the intensity I’m missing. I had read Leangains before, but it didn’t really sink in. Your experiences with Martin fascinated me and I read the articles multiple times over, including the comments. So this is how to lift… and this is how to squat… and this is how to eat. I began a Leangains regimen that very week, using your numbers from November 2010 as my first goal. As iron sharpens iron, man sharpens man. I am now in week 20 and for the first time, I am pretty pleased with my progress.
I still have years to go before I’m ready to face my ancestors. But I cautiously surmise that I am mostly on the right path.
Here are pictures:
I’ve come along a bit more since that last picture was taken, in no small part thanks to grass-fed beef liver (again, credit to your article for teaching me what I already should have known). I took a few more pics today in advance of a body fat test tomorrow but the RIM disaster prevents me from sharing them with you just now.
Beyond freeing my own animal, I’ve had an unshakeable urge to share the riches with others who remain locked in the oubliette of modern life. I honestly feel that everyone would live primally if only they knew. My efforts in this direction have mostly been a spectacular failure. But not completely. I was recently honored with an invitation to present at PrimalCon 2012 alongside giants like Erwan Le Corre and Barefoot Ted. Mark even featured me in his recent fitness book which just came out.
In any case, thanks for hearing me out. If nothing else I hope I’ve given you a bit of encouragement to keep doing what you do best. You are changing the world. Don’t ever stop.
Nah. I just peddle bad and incomplete science and give too many people too many passes for not managing to get everything 100% right. Besides, this is all just anecdotal.
By the way, Timothy also blogged about his experiences with far more detail than in the above, outlining some of his methods. And here’s a video of him doing a 345# deadlift, complete with primal scream.
OK, I guess three is enough today. I’m sure I have enough material for a few more parts to the series. I’m out of town for the week and so this is a real good way to manage my limited time.
Listen closely from a minute or so in, now.
Nighty night. I’m pretty much down with the sun, tonight.
…Oh, in case you want to hear a sweet, sweet studio version from Rock & Roll Animal. Don’t forget the name.
Here’s the post that kicked it all off. This is chapter 3 of 12, to give interested readers the chance to take on the free ebook chapter by chapter over the weekend, debate it amongst themselves, or even challenge the author who’s keeping tabs.
by Greg Swann
Chapter 3. Speaking in tongues.
I told you I use the words “human being” as a term of art. Here is why: Because there is a valid and valuable distinction to be made between a genetic Homo sapiens (the surviving issue of the recombination of genes) and a human being (a genetic Homo sapiens within whom has been cultivated the gift of mind). A genetic Homo sapiens can have the potential to become a human being – although this capacity or its existential realization can have been damaged or destroyed by disease, injury or birth defect. But until the mind has been cultivated within a particular genetic Homo sapiens, that entity will not be a human being.
A human life is an artifact, a man-made thing. The existence of a genetic Homo sapiens is a manifestation of nature, just as with any tree or reptile or kitten. But the existence of your life as a human being is a consequence of a vast number of conceptually-conscious choices made by your parents and other human beings when you were just a baby. Had they failed to cultivate the gift of mind within you, you might have survived as a genetic Homo sapiens, but you would never have become a human being. You owe your biological life to nature, but you owe your life as a human being to choices made by other human beings.…
Having lived and traveled in Europe, the so-called Mediterranean Diet (not the faux Mediterranean Diet) has never mystified me. It’s not a diet at all. It’s a culture, and when you live there, travel there a lot, you’ll understand.
Here, Let a reader whom I’ll call ‘M’, explain.
I truly enjoy your no BS approach to the paleo/primal/common sense approach to life. The banter and repartee you have with various neanderthal know-it-alls has made for many an entertaining read. At 49 I have made the jump from the dark side and the results, while slow to show, are taking shape. Thanks in part to your efforts and guys like Sisson too.
Now for the reason I am writing. I’ve had the good fortune to spend the last 2 weeks traveling across Italy with my wife and 2 teenagers. Nothing opens your eyes and gives one perspective like traveling and experiencing anothers’ cultures, customs and FOODS.
First some observations. …By the way these observations are so unscientific, I don’t know where to begin; but I think you’ll get the message. Nearly all Italians I met and interacted with were thin. That’s not to say there are no fat Italians. But by and large, I did not see any Walmart fat Italians. Now granted, I was exposed to a small sampling of the population. Only a few thousand.
Second, the food. 100 out 100 restaurants I either walked by or ate at while in the country of Italy served the same basic foods. Pasta, pizza, salad, meat, melon, cheese and oh yes bread, olive oil and wine. Now, I know in our part of the world how many of these foods are being demonized with regularity. My wife even let me know how thin everyone was while eating pastas, breads pizza etc. And, that I should go back to eating like the Italians. What’s up with all the pasta and grains? I know this stuff isn’t paleo. While they do serve meat, it does not appear to be the staple of the diet. Tempting as it was, I able to resist temptation and have pizza on only one occasion. And sweets. Italians love chocolates and pastries. It’s everywhere. Wine with lunch and/or dinner every day.
Third. People in Italy walk everywhere. That’s just how they get around. Yes there are cars, mopeds and bicycles, but for the most part, point A to point B is on foot. I’m sure I logged about 20 miles over the time I was there.
I’ll wrap this up by asking how can a culture eat and drink like the Italians and not get fat while we Americans load up on many of the same foods and look like the Stay Puft marshmallow man? Is it walking? Could just moving a little more be the difference? Again, not scientific, but most I interacted with seemed in good health.
By the a way a 12 ounce coke is about 6 bucks. Probably the answer I have been looking for as to why no one is obese. Lastly have to mention that the Italians love them some coffee and cigarettes. Thanks for listening.
Alright, given that Free the Animal is the absolute World Headquarters for the smartest international blog commenters on diet and nutrition…from a Godless, evolutionary perspective—just as I love it—except some of the commieness—let’s get started. I know it’ll be fun. I’m going to reserve my own thoughts and comments for my international and expat worldly friends, in comments. Sorry. Jump in if you like.
…OK, a couple of tidbits, but you have to click links, read, connect dots. From Beatrice’s & my trip to Italy in 2010, back to the very place we loved the most in a 3-week tour in 2006.