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I know there are many studies, but this is purely anecdotal. I do a fair amount of exercise, running, etc., and work outside a lot doing physical stuff. For quite sometime, I had been really experiencing muscle aches, you know, the kind that you get after a hard workout. The problem was, these didn't go away. They were just always there. Nothing serious enough to limit movement or anything, just persistent muscle aches. In addition, I had a knee that began hurting on a run, (for no apparent reason,) and took WEEKS for the swelling and pain to subside.
I just chalked it up to getting older and had kind of resigned myself that it was going to be that way. Well, coincidentally, around 2 weeks ago, I got way more serious about my diet. As I have said in previous posts, I have nipped around the edges of paleo for a long time, and my weight stays pretty much under control with plenty of running. I have noticed that, since virtually eliminating refined sugars and flour from my diet, and severely limiting grains, I suddenly no longer have the "aches". The knee is now back to completely normal, as well. Did this result from the change in diet? Don't know for sure, but I have my suspicions. I haven't changed anything else in the past two weeks. All of the research I have found since, seems to indicate that sugar can cause a lot of inflammation. Our ancestors sure didn't have refined sugar, nor did they have lots of grain, flour, or grain based foods. I'm eating nearly ONLY meats, fruits and vegetables now, and I just feel so much better, from head to foot. I think I'm more alert, as well.
As I said in the beginning, this is no scientific study, and I'm not preaching to anyone, but I'm really beginning to see, and more importantly, FEEL, the effects of paleo eating. This to the point that, if you have such issues, there seems to be very little to lose by trying it. The inflammation inside your body that could be causing muscle aches, joint pain, etc., may very well be doing damage to more important "components" of your system.
I have to admit it, I'm really lucky. We live on a place with, thanks to my enterprising lovely wife, dozens of varieties of fruit, incredible vegetables (year-round), and 5 great hens that give us eggs that you just can't buy in a store! I get to watch our kids pick and eat organic fruit right off of the trees. That kind of food is what these paleo bodies need for healthy functioning. As I have mentioned, I often run (minimalist - Xero Shoes), with our two German Shepherds trotting ahead, waiting patiently for their slow running partner. They need to run, too, because at least one of them has developed a taste for whatever fruit he can find within reach. (He also went ancestral on me and helped himself to a chicken once, but that's another story!.......)
My wife has bought a great dehydrator, (Its a Sedona-check one out when you have time) and serves up incredible concoctions from all of the fruits and vegetables.
Having all of this available, it really makes you appreciate that it can be difficult for some to eat naturally, in places where it's tougher to get. That being said, it CAN be done! If you go to the grocery store to get your food, the outside perimeter of the store (sans dairy case) is the place to go. All of the packaged, frozen, etc. stuff is in those interior aisles and freezer cases. The outside walls of almost any such store have the fruits, vegetables, and meat cases. That's where the FOOD is; keep that in mind. Your ancestors were limited to that area. If you look at the market that way, you'll find all that you NEED for sustenance. The cookies, cereal, chips, candy, sodas, bread, flour, pasta, etc. is in that middle section. Those are things designed (get it?-designed, as in manufactured, made, created) by people to tempt your palate with salt, sugar, msg, all the things you don't need, but may make something have a LOT of taste. That's the entertainment section, not the FOOD section. Keep that in mind and you'll get in and out of that place with only FOOD in your bag.
The term "Simulate the Hunt" (c) is one that I came up with to describe what you really need to do when you're trying to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. Our distant ancestors obtained their nourishment by hunting game, picking fruit from trees, gathering wild vegetables, raiding bird's nests for eggs, and the like. All that took something that is missing in our method of getting our food today..........EFFORT.
Ogg didn't run for hours or miles, climb trees, rummage through bushes, etc., to seize a box of doughnuts. He (and Mrs. Ogg, who we will call.........Oggalina, by the way), caught and killed small animals, large animals if lucky, birds, reptiles, fish, amphibians, etc. Essentially what was available. They grabbed eggs when they could, climbed, etc.
We walk into a fast food place, plunk down a couple of pieces of paper money and walk out with a bag containing 1500 calories. We spent, probably, 10 calories walking in from the car in order to get it. When Ogg caught and killed something, he may have been chasing it for an hour.
In short, our bodies are the same as they were 50,000 years ago when that's how we got our food. They're not adapted to the current onslaught of high carbohydrate, high salt, concentrated sugar content of today's foods. Our bodies evolved over a couple of million years to live on meat and plant material. Our society, in it's incredible explosion, particularly in the past 10,000 years, has developed much easier ways of getting food. Our bodies have not had time to evolve to handle it, therefore we get fat, then have the health problems that go along with eating this way.
If you keep in mind, everyday, what your body is made to do, and is expecting you to do, you can stay healthy. Don't load it up with sugar, processed flour, butter, cheese, etc. and you'll see your weight drop and your health improve. Get the exercise needed to burn the calories that you consume, that is, "Simulate the Hunt" (c), and your body won't keep storing fat at such a high rate. It's a simple equation. Food in=energy output=almost no fat storage.
I've been toying with paleo for a long time. It can kind of get lost in the shuffle with kids, schedules, etc. This past couple of weeks, I've really tried to stick to it as strictly as possible. I've probably been at about 90%. The main thing is cutting out stuff with refined sugar totally. My weight has dropped, aches and pains are gone, etc.
I wanted to just set out the basics. You can get the books and read as much detail as you think you need, but here it is in a nutshell
If you couldn't catch it, kill it, pick it or gather it, you're better off not eating it.
I sure wish I knew the answer to this. It seems to be rampant. If you look around, while you are out and about, particularly at this time of year, you will see it everywhere. In my humble opinion, it is the result of a high-carbohydrate diet, full of sugar, dairy, and flour. The calories (kcal) are just too easy to come by. They require no energy output to obtain, and, frankly, high salt, and high sugar foods.........TASTE GOOD! I'll admit it. They do. Our manner of eating has changed to the point that the nutritional value of food is secondary (or worse) to the flavor.
We almost never eat just for nourishment now. We eat for fun. Everyone likes to have fun. Unless YOU change that, it won't get better. Our ancestors hunted and gathered food for sustenance. We grab food for fun or comfort. That's why the society is getting fatter.
So much of our society is centered around the preparation, consumption, and enjoyment of food. People celebrate with food, mourn with food, get together with food, mark nearly every occasion with food of some type. The holidays are the worst. There is food EVERYWHERE! There are also people with ever-expanding waistlines EVERYWHERE. Our society has institutionalized the consumption of food. It is no longer nourishment. There are clubs, associations, etc whose very existence is related to the consumption of some type of food or drink. It wasn't always this way.
Our distant ancestors obviously ate and drank. The difference is, they ate what they could find or catch, and drank water. I'm sure that Ogg enjoyed that piece of meat from the rabbit or deer that was caught. I'm sure he enjoyed slaking his thirst by dipping cool water from a stream with his cupped hands on a hot day. Over the millennia, however, people have begun to make food and drink the center of many social worlds. Couple that with the lowered requirement of physical activity, and you have the recipe for, and one of the causes of. rampant obesity, heart disease, etc.
I am not confident that is will or even CAN change at this point, but change is sorely needed. Until we, as a society, start looking at food as NUTRITION, we will continue on our present course. Everyone has a favorite food or foods. Let's face it, they taste good! They leave your stomach full. We can lay our hands on a couple of thousand kcalories on a moment's notice. To fix this problem, the only thing you can do is
to change your whole way of looking at what you eat. If you eat for pleasure or flavor, the problem will continue. You need to get hold of yourself, and EAT FOR NOURISHMENT.
Well, that's an appetizing heading, isn't it?! That's exactly what millions of people will do in the next three or four weeks. At home, at work, you name it. Lot's of happy, well-meaning people will load up themselves and their friends, neighbors and co-workers with countless plate fulls of over-sugared, high simple carbohydrate,.................CRAP! It will TASTE GOOD.
"Just one piece of fudge won't hurt, after all, my co-worker spent so much time, and look, they even bought a special holiday plate to display it on! YAAAY!" "Well, look, they have the Christmas special package of FLUGAAAN HAAAS Ice Cream! I'll just get a gallon so we'll have a nice dessert tonight." "I'll just eat a small bowl." "Honey, Marjorie next door baked the kids a plate of cookies!" "I'll just have one." "Isn't this nice, my boss brought it a 3 lb. box of special Holiday chocolates with cream and nut centers!" "I just ate a couple"
Well, I know it tastes good, particularly if you're used to a lot of sugar, but this goes on for a month, and pretty soon, you've "just one'd" yourself up another pants or dress size. I know this is a rant, but it's a necessary rant. I like the taste of chocolate and ice cream and cookies and cake and.........and.....as much as the next guy, but this stuff isn't nutritious, it's just what I started this out with........CRAP! You eat this stuff, it tastes good, you get a sugar rush, then you crash when your poor pancreas does its job and pumps extra insulin into your bloodstream in a desperate attempt to counteract the sugar assault. Then you feel kind of down, and drowsy, then you have another piece of fudge for "a little pick me up", and the cycle starts all over again.
If you want to preserve your health, you've gotta get off that bus. Our old friend, Ogg, the caveman, from whom we came, undoubtedly enjoyed it when he, by chance came across a piece of fruit that had ripened, fallen, and dried per chance. The sugar gets more concentrated, but then we took it a step further, extracted the sugar from cane, etc., and then dumped it into nearly everything we eat.
It's OK to say thank you when your nice neighbor brings you that big plate of fudge. Take it in the house and throw it in the trash, then tell your neighbor how much you appreciate her effort and the nice gift she gave your family. She won't know the difference, and you'll have avoided a couple of thousand empty calories.
When your co-worker brings that holiday cake into the office, say THANKS!, and if everyone is watching expectantly, let them cut you a piece, take it back to your work area, and when nobody's looking, wrap it in that nice red & green paper napkin that they brought and put it in the trash. That's not wasting it. It will be gone, just as if you had eaten it, except your endocrine system won't be going into shock. True waste is when you eat something like that. You don't need it, it doesn't provide your body with real nutrition, and you get fat. THAT'S WASTE!!(and waist).
One of the best terms to describe our existence today is complacency. We have our stressors, to be sure. Raising kids, paying taxes, work, bills, etc.etc. . We are, for the most part, however, PHYSICALLY complascent. Admit it, most of us have a physically easy life. We don't have to chase down our dinner, or run fast and climb trees to avoid providing something else with dinner. We sleep in soft beds with warm covers, we have nice shelter, plentiful food. That is precisely what is making us FAT and SICK. I see people, seeming relatively content, hobbling down the street using a cane, and hugely obese. Well, when you ask a knee or an ankle to carry an extra hundred pounds long enough, it's going to give out. If you just ACCEPT such limitations, you will DIE with them. That body of yours, old or young, fat or slim, tall or short, was meticulously designed over 2 million years of evolution. It will perform if you let it. Get angry at your limitations. Overcome them. If you are under the care of a health practitioner, ask him or her what you CAN do, considering those limitations. Once you get the medical all-clear, get started! DO WHAT YOU CAN DO! Whether its an Ultra Marathon or a walk to the mailbox.
If you've looked at them, but talked yourself out of buying a pair, no excuses now! XERO SHOES (Invisible Shoes) is having their THIRD ANNIVERSARY SALE. Now you can finally pick up a pair (or more) at 20% off. Check their link to the right. You really need to try a pair of these. I have 3 pair, and running (and hiking, and walking) has never been so much fun. Liberate your feet. TRY 'EM!
Sale is for a limited time only, so if you're thinking about it, now's the time.
I'm a runner. Not a fast runner, don't run the LONGEST distances like many, not a great sprinter. Doesn't matter. I'm a runner..............because I run. If you run, you're a runner. A friend of mine has competed in a dozen marathons, from Big Sur to Boston. He gave me some real wisdom. He said "You won't come in first, and you won't come in last, so just go run and have fun." Best running advice I ever received. I've been running since high school. Didn't win any trophies then, either. Ran in the Marine Corps. (Wasn't a lot of choice there !) I enjoyed every mile. I've competed, got the T-Shirts, obsessed over split times, and have come to the conclusion that in the end, it doesn't really matter. Roger Bannister will be remembered. Jim Fixx, Dean Karnazes, and a handful of other names. The rest of us, ................just run. We aren't famous, but we are legion. We're on the road or trail in the dark with a headlamp while our families are snug in their beds.
If you're a runner, you know it. Most of your friends and coworkers don't understand it, and most never will. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes you're hot or cold or wet, but you run. Run for health, sure, but mostly to continue to claim the title "Runner". It has become part of you. It's who you are. That's why you're cranky when you bang up an ankle or a knee and have to be relegated to the stationary bike or elliptical trainer for a while.
Runner is the noun. Distance Runner, Trail Runner, etc are just adding to it. You feel different when you run. You acknowledge runners on the road when you drive by them. It doesn't matter if they are big, little, fat, thin, fast, slow, young or old, barefoot, shod, or something in between. You feel that kinship, and you respect the fact that they had the fortitude to get out there and run. It special. If you are a runner, you'll understand.
This looks really time consuming, and they won't last for a long time, but it's an interesting link to some of our footwear origins......... The background music will grate on you afterwhile, so you my want to turn your speakers off.
Kind of interesting that they are "Waraji" sounds eerily similar to "Huarache"....Makes you wonder about origins
THIS IS A "FOOT"
(I know, I know, I could have found a better looking foot, but this is the best looking foot that I own. You don't want to see the other one.)
THIS IS A "SHOE" (OK, It's a boot, but I'm making a point, so work with me here...)
WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?!?!?!?!
The point is, the "FOOT" is a different shape from the "SHOE" (BOOT). When you force the foot into the shoe anyway, you're gonna have a problem. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life......(Where have I heard that?)
Feet were designed to be shaped like, well....................FEET! For some reason, there seems to have been a tendency, for hundreds of years, to put them into something not shaped like a foot. You don't put on a small, square baseball cap and force it onto your head, then wear it all day. You don't put on tight leather mittens in the winter time. For some reason, though, people seem to be content to shove their only means of locomotion into hard, tight, leather casings and then mince around all day. Women's dress shoes are even worse! Many of those are the same way, plus you can add a 2,3,4 inch or more spike to balance on all day.
We are going to keep having these problems with our feet until we start wearing either no shoes (if possible), or shoes that allow our fee to be .............FEET!
Do you remember the scene in Forrest Gump when he, as a boy, began to run and ran right out of his leg braces? Well, this wasn't that dramatic, but it did bring it to mind. I have been dealing with a knee problem, which the Doc suspected was a torn meniscus. (I'm not convinced, and didn't opt for x-rays, as it wasn't something catastrophic.) Anyway, for the past 6 weeks or so, I was relegated to the dreaded elliptical trainer (which I hate!). I've recently begun running again, and have used a neoprene knee wrap (more of a security blanket than anything, I think).
Well, today, about 1 mile into my run, I just reached down and yanked it off, tossed it and kept running. I figured "I'll pick it up on the return". My knee hasn't felt this good in weeks! After getting rid of the wrap, my knee could move freely, AS IT WAS DESIGNED TO DO.
On the return, the wrap was GONE. I looked for it, but to no avail. "The universe must think I did the right thing!" I thought to myself. "Thou does not needeth thy knee wrap!" Well, later I found out that my German Shepherd had picked it up and was carrying it! I think he was saying "Thou should LAUNDER thy knee wrap."
Well, the point of this is that, with braces, wraps, orthotics, etc., They put your body parts/joints, and such into positions that SOMEBODY ELSE thinks are ideal. If you have something like this prescribed by a medical practitioner, wear it. I'm not second guessing any body's doctor, for sure. If you're buying things over the counter, or from a store employee whose JOB IS TO SELL YOU the device, you might want to think twice. Your body was carefully designed and engineered over a couple of million years to heal itself, remain mobile, and function when injured. Sometimes, at least for me, it's better to let it move the way it needs to move rather than forcing a square peg into a round hole by cinching up a brace designed to generally fit ANYBODY.
Adjust your stride, your gait, your tempo until it doesn't hurt. Keep moving if you can, and that incredible machine that you walk around in will likely find its way back to functionality.
Yup, that's my old rough looking foot, but any bangs and dings, callouses, etc. were from too many years in "Running Shoes". I've been in Xero Shoes for running, exclusively for over a year now, the callouses are diminishing, and running is FUN AGAIN. This is my third pair. Not that I've worn them out. I'm still wondering if that's possible. They do have a 5k mile warranty, just in case. These are the new addition by Xero Shoes, now available in several colors. I picked Mocha Earth, as it just fits my personality better than the brighter colors. You can check them out on their link to the right. I couldn't be happier with this new addition. My regular black ones (6mm Contacts, all) are a half size smaller. I am trying to decide whether to try to trim these, or leave them alone. I will wear them for a while, then decide. This pair, I plan to wear primarily for just "knocking around", and maybe for some hiking. I'll try a run or two in them, also, just to compare the sizes and how they fit my feet.
You just won't feel more free in ANY kind of footwear, in my experience. I never even notice the laces while I'm wearing them. My first pair has hundreds of miles on them, and I'm still on the first set of laces, although I do periodically apply a bit of Shoe Goo if I notice any wear. Anyway, I just wanted to share my new "dress" Xero Shoes!
As a society, we have, in the past few centuries, changed dramatically. In our distant past, our ancestors had no choice but to be productive or die. For the most part, there simply wasn't the luxury of feeding someone who, for any reason, did not help produce the necessities of their living group.
We take care of our sick and infirm in our society today. There is much debate about the extent to which we go in order to sustain those less fortunate members of our "clan". We establish shelters for those without homes, we, through charities or government programs, provide food and medical care. These are of great benefit to the recipients, to be sure.
An incontrovertible fact, however, is that, without the need or requirement to expend energy to obtain life's necessities, the body becomes weaker, the senses less sharp, and the psyche less motivated than those of our distant cousins who lived in caves or makeshift shelters and scrounged, scrambled, and fought for every morsel of food or meager possession.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to be employed don't fare much better, Food is ubiquitous, and living daily life in our time doesn't really require much expenditure of energy. As a thriving, inventive species, we have produced efficient ways of doing nearly everything that our distant ancestors who lived in the mists of time past had to to for themselves. We have to walk very little, maybe from the car to the store or work and back. Machines do our laundry, store our food, make our clothing, produce our shelter, give us heat in the winter and cooling in the summer, essentially serve our every whim.
Is it a wonder that we, as a people are so fat and riddled with the diseases of a sedentary lifestyle? High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, the list goes on. Unless we wise up, and begin to use our bodies as they were evolved to be used, modern medicine will be fighting a losing battle to offset those afflictions by putting chemicals into us. Many people I know take medications for those very diseases, nearly all of which are preventable in most cases, by a simple change in lifestyle. For many, maybe it is too late and they will have to continue the medications in order to sustain life. Many people, however, are not to that point. Any credible physician will suggest that one maintain a healthy weight, eat right, and get exercise, if the patient is otherwise able.
As I have said, if you are under the care of a physician, take their advice. Don't stop any medication against their advice. Nearly anyone, though, can be healthier by giving that hunter-gatherer body what it craves, lower caloric intake, naturally available foods, and plenty of exercise. I recently read that the best foods are those that don't require a label. Keep it natural, guys.................
I ran across a quote the other day. It was something to the effect of "Don't sacrifice what you want most for what you want NOW." Boy, what a mouthful of truth THAT is! We train for races, fight over-eating and over-indulgence by doing just what that is talking about. As much as I love to run, there are plenty of cold (well, ok Southern California doesn't compare to most places in that regard, but it can be in the 30s sometimes!), dark mornings when it would be WAY easier to sit by the fire and drink that extra cup of coffee. I'll be out there, though running with a headlamp, feet eventually going a bit numb, putting in the miles. I mostly do it for my health and longevity at this point. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm not likely to win any races, but I sure feel better when I've put in a few miles to start the day.
Is it easier to skip the run? Sure. You have to decide. Do I want to be warm and comfortable now, and deal with the high blood pressure, the high cholesterol, the overweight, the heart disease (and all the other sedentary ailments) later. The answer? Not just no............HELL NO! I have a family who needs me HEALTHY. Gets you off your backside and on the road or on the trail. Keep your eye on what you REALLY WANT! Now get out there.
BENEFITS: Cures, reduces and/or prevents: obesity, acne, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, depression, ......................................
SIDE EFFECTS: fatigue, body odor, euphoric feeling, suppressed appetite.
COST: Free lifetime supply to everyone on the planet.
FDA APPROVAL: Not required.
O.k., I'm being a little sarcastic in order to get your attention. Much of that is true, though! Assuming that you are healthy, regular hard exercise will do so much for your health. It really will help to control many of those ailments mentioned above. Not to say, of course, that nobody will need other medications. If you are taking prescriptions, don't stop without advice of a medical professional.
I have a teenager who plays competitive tennis...............a lot. She mentioned to me the other day that during the season, when she plays everyday, does tons of conditioning, etc., her skin seems clearer. She is convinced that it is because she sweats during the drills and matches. I think she may be on to something. That sweat that comes pouring out when you do hard exercise, particularly in warm weather, will flush a lot of dirt and impurities out of your body.
So many of our ills today are caused by sedentary lifestyle and overeating, causing our bodies to store up unnecessary energy for later. Well, in today's society, later never comes, and we just continue to store, and store, and store!
Eat enough, work hard, and break a sweat everyday............you'll be healthier!
This post isn't for the ultra runners or the triathletes. This one is for the average man or woman who:
1. Doesn't want to spend their days sitting on the couch with a bag of chips because they're too overweight/unhealthy to do anything else.
2. Doesn't want to die young of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
3. Does want to be an active member of his or her family
4. Does want to be active and have more fun.
Ok, we know who we're talking to here. You keep trying, fall "off the wagon", overeat, get out of the exercise habit, and start to see the lbs pack on. .............YOU!
You need to get started on something that you can do..........regularly............forever. It doesn't matter that much what form of exercise we're talking about. Walking, running, biking, elliptical training, etc. Find what you can do, find what level at which you can do it, and then get on it. Don't stop. You don't have to do it every day, but do it with regularity, and at such frequency that you don't feel the urge to give it up.
I saw a guy running at lunch today. Big guy. In the Clydesdale category in any organized race, for sure. He was wearing big, thick heeled "running shoes". He ran up to a stoplight, serious heel-striking, sort of clomping along. The light was red, so he had to wait, and began running in place. He instantly went up on his forefoot/toes and ran in place really lightly for a moment, while waiting for the green light. When the light turned, he took off, and resumed his heel-slap-clomp gait until he was out of sight.
I was amazed at the unthinking transition. When running in place, YOU CAN'T heel strike! Just the mechanics make you go up onto your forefoot. It is/was so natural. The problem came when forward motion was in the mix. Those old "history-teacher-filling-in- as-a-high-school-track-coach" inspired habits came right back. Leg shoved out in front, knee locked up, heel pounded down, roll onto the toes, pushed off.
I'll bet that guy has some physical issues brewing if he does much running at all.
The point to be taken from all of this is: YOU HAVE NATURAL RUNNING ALREADY BUILT IN, PROGRAMMED INTO YOUR BODY/BRAIN. You just need to tap into it!
Now first of all, this isn't for everyone. If you're a competitive runner, or a fast runner, or worried about your split times, this won't mean much to you. I went for my usual morning run, only about 3 miles today. As you may know from reading prior posts, I run exclusively in Invisible Shoe (Xero Shoes) huaraches, (6mm Contacts). I decided, kind of on a whim, to try to run a lot more slowly than normal. I practise "100 up" (see prior posts re Christopher MacDougall's video). Running slowly, you can practice the form, keeping a good mid-foot strike, cocking back the elbow.
I don't think I've ever TRULY ENJOYED a run more in my life! There was one goal. Finish the run maintaining good form. I forgot about times, speed, everything else. My two big German Shepherds trotted ahead, now and then patiently stopping to wait for their slowpoke running partner to catch up. I had so much fun with this, that I may never watch split times again. I'm at a stage in life (just turned 60!) where I'm reassessing what is important in such endeavors. If I run the next 5k in 21 minutes (pr) or in 35 minutes, there will be no difference in result. I still get the T-shirt, I won't be first, and I won't likely be last. I look forward to my next run now with greater anticipation than at any time in the past. Sometimes, frankly, it could get to be a chore. Not now. Can't wait. This slow run, strangely enough, really re-ignited my desire to run.
I recently heard about a study in Japan about the health benefits of slow running. I'll look into that more, but for now, I'm just out there enjoying the run! Hope someone gains something from this. I know I did.
So which one will get picked off, the baby rhino with it's mother next to it with a bad attitude, or the young zebra wandering alone, separated from the herd? Stupid question, right? In the past few days, across the country, there have been children missing, their bikes found on the trail, two adult women missing, a 6 year old girl missing from her bed, with tragic results. Were all or some of these preventable? I don't know. Maybe, maybe not. I do know that the predators that stalk among us look for opportunities and weaknesses in their prey. They are preying on segments of society. Make no mistake about it. Predators understand one thing..............consequences.
The lioness on the hunt won't tackle a full grown elephant because she knows the outcome. The predators in our society are only different in one respect. They are so twisted that they prey upon their own species. They do look for weakness, though. Children aren't attacked in plain view of other people. These creeps hide, manipulate, sneak, and take any advantage. If we are vigilant, though, we can AT LEAST make their work much harder. Harden your target. Make that extra round checking all the windows and doors before you go to bed. Don't go out alone on desolate trails to run or bike. These guys, (and they are guys) will be there. Chelsea King was attacked on such a trail while on a run in San Diego County. He was there.......waiting.
We talk of all sorts of primitive, primal, basic things here. Nothing is more basic than your survival. Treat this world like the jungle that it is.
I've been running exclusively wearing minimalist shoes for a couple of years now. Doing so, I find myself a lot more in tune with what my feet, legs, whole body are experiencing during a run. I prefer minimalist to barefoot, just because I prefer to experience the sensations without ALL of the pain involved. I've been going barefoot whenever possible since I was a kid (that's a long time ago), so my feet are plenty tough. I really like being on a run in my Invisible Shoe huaraches and stepping hard on a sharp piece of gravel. That's right. I like that. First, it is a great reminder to lighten up on your foot strike. Second, I feel it, then go happily on my way thinking, "Boy, that WOULD HAVE hurt!" I run in the 6mm Contact I/Ss. For me, they give plenty of ground feel, while providing an extra modicum of protection. Your feet aren't restricted in any way, just given enough of a layer to avoid injuries.
When running in such footwear, however, your feet are WORKING! When you lace up a pair of "traditional" running shoes, you are encasing your foot in rubber, synthetic, etc. When so encased, it doesn't have to move much, just flex enough to bend when you strike on your heel and move foreword to push off with your toes. The foot doesn't really seem to do any actual work, rather it just catches the impact of the heel strike. Strap on a pair of huaraches, such as those by InvisibleShoe.com, and your feet are going to do a lot of the work, and provide the "spring" to minimize impact as you mid or forefoot strike and proceed to the next step. The fact that the foot is doing a lot of the work, seems to be the reason many people come up with injuries when transitioning to barefoot or minimalist running. The needed strengthening takes time. The muscles, bones, tendons, etc. that make up that wondrous appendage need time to gradually adapt to the new demands. Go too far, too fast, and you'll have stress fractures, tendinitis, severe muscle pain, etc. Work into it ---S---L---O---W--L--Y---. After a few months, it really does become a lot more fun than running in shoes. It's the natural way to run.
I watch my 7 year old tearing through the yard, not thinking about "running", just running. Shoes or no, he's on a mid-foot strike, naturally, and without training. That's the way our feet/legs were made, that's the correct way to run, (in my opinion, of course!)
I've been running exclusively in minimalist shoes (Invisibleshoe.com's 6mm Contacts) for a substantial amount of time now. Yesterday, I was wearing some "running shoes" after coming back from playing tennis with the kids, and just wanted to try an experiment. I ran in "shoes!" What I found was this. Whether you run in traditional running shoes, barefoot, or minimalist, your foot strike is critical. Even with the big padded heel under you, when you heel strike, there is much more jarring and impact than when you use a forefoot or mid-foot strike. It was really noticeable as I went back and forth from heel to mid-foot. The jarring from the heel strike was readily apparent. I'm no expert. These are my observations, and are, of course, anecdotal. The difference was unmistakable, though. I am more convinced than ever that running with a mid-foot strike is just better for you. The jarring to your internal organs when using the heel strike has to take its toll eventually.
You will find, of course, that if you move into barefooting or minimalist shoes, you need to transition gradually to avoid injury. Starting to move off of your heels is a good beginning. It will begin to condition your calves for the change over. Even wearing "running shoes", you will notice a big difference in the reduction of impact when you start to run the way nature intended you to run!
Share This StoryinSharePin itHave you heard the latest news about coffee health benefits? I've been telling people for years that unless their doctor tells them otherwise, they should thoroughly enjoy their morning cup - or three - of java because it could be good for the brain.
Now, a new study reported online in the well-respected publication, The New England Journal of Medicine, reveals that frequent coffee drinkers have a lower risk of dying from many diseases compared with people who only drink some coffee or none at all.
Drinking two to three cups a day lowered the overall risk of death 10%, says the study, funded by the National Cancer Institute and AARP.
Neal Freedman, the study's lead author, cautions, "We wouldn't recommend that anyone go out and drink coffee based on these results," but he says his study could offer some "reassurance" that coffee didn't seem to cut patients' lives short.
WebMD.com also reports, "A growing body of research shows that coffee drinkers, compared to nondrinkers, are less likely to have type 2 diabetes, Parkinson's disease and dementia, heart rhythm problems, strokes, and more.
"There is certainly much more good news than bad news, in terms of coffee and health," says Frank Hu, MD, MPH, PhD, nutrition and epidemiology professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Coffee's other big claim to fame is its brain benefits. Several studies suggest that a daily caffeine habit may help protect against Alzheimer's disease. Your cup or two a day, though, probably isn't enough. Researchers say 500 mg of caffeine, or about five cups of regular coffee, is the dose that seems to protect the brain and provide the coffee health benefits.
This may sound like an excessive amount of caffeine, but one researcher swears by it.
This is a 35 year study with amazing findings. In case you had any doubt, you do need to get the hell off the couch and go for a run. Then keep running, and running, and running. I'm convinced that it's the BEST THING you can do for your health. Your body was designed to run distances and sprints. UNLEASH IT!!
About 10 years ago, I had a fairly substantial martial arts injury (3rd degree shoulder separation). Something funny happened to me that day. For the whole day, my appetite lit up, and I couldn't seem to eat enough. I didn't think much of it later, but I had some minor surgery yesterday. Same response. The surgery wasn't anything particularly serious, but did result in a fair amount of residual pain (continuing as I write this, I might add). My appetite took off again, and I felt almost insatiable in eating. I don't have any scientific basis for this result, but I'm wondering if it may be part of some pre-programmed response from paleolithic times, designed to get enough nutrition in your body to help it heal. I intend to research this, but for now, at least it's "food for thought", if you'll pardon the pun...........
Well, as you may know from reading prior posts, my two running partners are a couple of big, enthusiastic German Shepherds. We were running before dawn this morning inside a fenced area near my home. I was using a headlamp, and when I got about 20 yards from a big pepper tree, I heard a commotion, then felt something pretty big hit my right leg, from the front, at about knee level. I'll let you know now that I never DID figure out just what the hell it was. It slammed into my leg, went BETWEEN my legs and kept going with two Shepherds going around me on both sides, hot on its' tail (assuming it had one). It made it to the fence, I guess, because I never heard anything more, and both dogs came back. In our area, I'm assuming that it was a big raccoon. Whatever it was, it was too big to be a stray cat or a 'possum, and didn't make enough noise going over the fence to be a coyote. There's an outside chance that it was a bobcat, and there have been mountain lion sightings near there, but I'm thinking raccoon.
It does put your run in perspective, though. Our ancestors were necessarily always on the lookout for things jumping out of the bushes and trees at them. We get very complacent with our luxurious modern lifestyle now. It's a good reminder that, no matter who or where you are, there JUST MIGHT be something ready to leap out of a tree and come at you. Thankfully, this was something with one thing on its mind....escape the dogs. I'm just glad that, when it hit my leg, it didn't mistake me for a tree and start to climb.................. One thing is for certain. There was no problem keeping my heart rate up during this morning's run.
This is why you still need to be able to deal with predators!...............Granted, for the most part, we no longer have to look over our shoulder at the water hole to avoid becoming lunch for a lion or a leopard. This attempted kidnapping brings home a point, however. We still live in a jungle teeming with vicious predators. They are lurking, ready to pounce upon our young the same as a cheetah cutting a baby springbok out of the herd. This little girl was in a toy aisle in Wal-Mart, with her parent in a nearby aisle. Think this guy was in the toy aisle by accident? These guys know where to find their prey. You need to be ALWAYS on the alert for them. They go where kids go. Keep that in mind. Thankfully, this incident had a happy ending with the little girl safe and the predator behind bars................THEY DON'T ALWAYS END THIS WAY! We're talking about primitive living on this site. Part of that is realizing our innate capabilities and shortcomings. If you are distracted from your child for even a few seconds, tragedy can strike.
A family in Texas was on a hike recently when their child was grabbed by a mountain lion. The father jumped on the animal, stabbed it with a pocket knife, and saved the child. These two predators, the lion and the criminal, did EXACTLY the same thing, although with different motivation. They stalked, found a moment when the adults were not aware of their proximity to the child, and pounced. See the correlation? Treat your day as though you are living in a primeval jungle. That's what it takes to safely raise your young. I agree that it's a sad truth, but it is, in fact, THE truth.
In Los Angeles recently, they have arrested two teachers who are accused of committing lewd acts upon their students. This isn't the only incident, of course. Nearly every day, there is a new story about someone preying upon our youth.
You have to be ever vigilant, and take nothing for granted if you want to keep your children safe from all of the predators out there.
Paula Deen, celebrity chef has created a firestorm of controversy since announcing that she has Type 2 Diabetes. For years, with her folksy style, she has entertained a large audience with her southern cooking. I haven't been one of her regular viewers, but have seen her show on occasion. One thing that I'm pretty sure of, though..........she never touted her fare as health food. Deep fried, lots of butter and cream, sugar, salt, you name it, the dishes she created were fattening, for sure.........IF YOU EAT TOO MUCH OF THE STUFF!
If you got fat and developed Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc., it didn't happen because Paula Deen, or anybody else for that matter, forced you. Grow up. Let's face it. Fried chicken mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits with butter, and pecan pie TASTE GOOD. If you eat that stuff once in a while, and in moderation (great concept, huh?), it probably won't hurt you. You have to have an otherwise healthy lifestyle, though. Everyone seems to be slamming this lady like she was selling meth to elementary school kids. Well............she wasn't. She didn't ever tell you to eat that kind of food day in and day out. She didn't say "Hush Puppies are good for you!" or "Eat 5 biscuits with butter for dinner tonight!" She said the stuff that she makes is delicious. No lies there that I can see.
It's like blaming GM when you get hurt in an accident because you drove your Corvette around a corner too fast, or blaming Apple because you walked into an open manhole while you were texting on your I Phone.. Take some personal responsibility here. Paula Deen, or Krispy Kreme, or MacDonald's, or anybody else, for that matter, didn't hurt you. They didn't cause your health problems. If you ate too much unhealthy food, didn't exercise, and got fat and sick, it's nobody else's fault.
Ms. Deen is partnered now with a drug manufacturer, and will be touting its benefits for Type 2 Diabetes. That's her personal decision, and you don't have to keep eating too much so you can try the drug for yourself. Being healthy is about personal decisions, rational choices, and, yes, some sacrifice. You can't eat all that you want of everything that might taste good, if you want to be healthy. I think I'm going to go have some fried chicken, then go for a run.
Yesterday, as I pulled out of the driveway, I realized at the last minute that I had forgotten my cell phone. Although we try to live a primitive, healthy lifestyle, it seems that you are required to be connected........so, I ran back to the house. I was, due to work requirements, wearing "regular" shoes, which are still as close to non-shoes that I can get away with. As I ran the short distance, I realized ............I was HEEL STRIKING! I couldn't believe it, but just having plain shoes on makes it so easy to revert to that when running. I consciously got back up to a mid-foot strike, and I noticed that, with no additional effort, my speed increased. I spend so much time running in Invisible Shoe huaraches that I had forgotten how quickly you can lapse back into bad running habits under the right conditions. It was a great reminder. We run correctly as little kids, then seem to learn bad habits as we get older. I like running like a kid better............
IF IT FEELS BAD..............DO IT! Sounds a little strange, I know, but living in 21st century society with these Paleolithic hunter-gatherer bodies, that's essentially what it takes. Our ancestors weren't insulated from their environment the way we are. We have heavy shoes to "protect" our feet. We have sophisticated shelters that keep out almost all of the rain, wind, snow, sleet, hail, dirt, dust, animals, insects, etc. We have mechanized transportation, mechanized food preparation devices, stores where we can simply buy anything that we want to use or to eat, with no physical effort. We have medications to numb us to even the slightest pain or discomfort. We can clog our arteries with fat, then take a simple pill to lower our blood pressure and our cholesterol. There is even new research on a pill that mimics the effects of exercise!
Is it any wonder that nearly everyone whom you see on the street is fat? In the movie Wall-E, humans who were on a spaceship traveling for many generations lived in such luxury that they lay around on lounges all day with everything done for them. The had virtually lost the ability to even move by themselves. Scary thought, but you see that played out everyday. People shopping for food, riding in a little cart. Some are legitimately unable to walk through injury or illness. Some are simply so obese that their legs aren't up to the task of carrying them anymore.
Let's face it. On a very basic level, it feels better to sit on a big, soft, couch than it does to get out the door and walk or run a couple of miles. It feels better to have your foot cushioned by a pad of soft rubber than to have it land barefoot on the ground, pebbles and all. It feels good to eat a big, gooey piece of chocolate cake for dessert rather than an apple. With our lifestyle today, if we want to stay healthy, we need to engage in a constant battle with our instincts. These instincts evolved to allow us to survive in a harsh environment. That's why we store fat on our bodies when we eat more than we need. It is there to get us through times when food isn't available. The problem is, food is nearly ALWAYS available to the vast majority of us now. We instinctively keep eating, keep storing energy in the form of fat for the lean times........that never come. You have to force yourself to eat on more of a subsistence level, and force yourself to keep up that energy expenditure. Keep the blood pumping, keep the muscles working on a daily basis if you want to optimize the capabilities of that amazing Paleolithic survival machine that you inhabit.
Let your feet feel the Earth. Make your legs carry you over the ground. Eat the things to which your body was designed to have access.......meat.........fruit........vegetables. Lay off the sugar. Lay off the salt......Step back from the trough.......get off the couch. Once you have clearance from your health care provider, get started on regular exercise of SOME KIND. If you are on prescribed medications for your ills, by all means, follow medical advice, of course. You may find, however, that after a period of letting your body perform and consume the way it was designed, your Dr. may notice that you have less of a need for chemicals to artificially regulate many of those body functions. Wouldn't that be great?
Having such a great interest in living a healthy lifestyle the way our bodies have evolved to live, I often look at the many sites touting "Paleo". What strikes me is that so many people are relying upon a group concept of just what "Paleo" is. Our modern bodies and brains evolved over many thousands of years to get to this point. For the last few thousand years, our societies have begun to flourish as well. The physical evolutionary process is painfully slow in comparison to how our societal interactions have changed, particularly in the last few hundred years, and things seem to only be accelerating. Our physical bodies are struggling to function in modern society, with all of the modern conveniences. The movement to a "Paleo" lifestyle is, I think, a positive step, as long as we keep it real as to what we need. Being omnivores, humans have thrived because of a simple fact. We can subsist, over long periods of time, on whatever the hell we can lay our hands on to eat. The problem that we run into in modern times, is that we have a 24/7, 365 day a year, virtually unlimited food supply. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that this food supply is obtainable with virtually no physical effort. Our daily life requires, for the most part, almost no physical activity. That is the set-up for obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, many forms of cancer, and many of the other physical ills that befall modern humankind.
Our old buddy Ogg, the caveman, wasn't obese, because he had to scrounge around for food in order to subsist. He had to pick fruit, catch critters, walk everywhere, climb, run away from stuff, drag heavy things home, etc. He couldn't sit down and open a bag of chips with a burger and a coke, downing a quick 1000 calories.
Paleo needs to be about his reality. Eating a LITTLE of modern type foods probably doesn't harm you. Your body will use whatever it can get. Eating a LOT of this stuff will make you FAT AND SICK.
Worry less about what is or isn't "paleo", and more about keeping the consumption down. Don't beat yourself up over a snack, but keep your main diet as natural as possible, and KEEP MOVING.
One of the local freeways was closed for over 12 hrs the other day because some unfortunate individual was standing on an overpass threatening to jump. Fortunately, he was eventually talked down and I hope he got the help that he needed to get his life back on track.
As I walked into a local big box store the other day, there was a guy loading his car. He was probably 50-55 years old, probably 75 lbs. overweight with a huge sagging stomach, smoking a cigarette while he happily loaded bags of chips, beer, sodas, etc. into the back of his car. I know it's not good to be judgmental. We all have things that we should be doing better, but I thought to myself, "This guy is doing the same thing as the man on the overpass..........he's just not getting the attention for it." When you think about it, it's true! Both actions are preventable, and both will ultimately have the same result. At some point, this guy's heart, lungs, liver, or other organs will not be able to handle the onslaught of what he's putting in his body. Combined with the obvious lack of exercise, he's a ticking time bomb. None of us knows when we will "buy the farm", that is, when we will die. We can, however, have some impact on how this card game of life is played. If you do what these two men did, you are stacking the deck against yourself. The first man, that is the one on the overpass, had some type of mental breakdown, so he probably wasn't really responsible for his actions. The second guy, the one in the parking lot, was, apparently mentally sound. He was, however, doing nearly EVERYTHING he could to stack the deck against himself.
We're playing the odds here, folks! If you get yourself down to a reasonable weight, eat the things nature intended for you to eat, avoid sucking carcinogenic smoke into your lungs, and get off your backside for some exercise............you'll still die. BUT.............you'll probably die later than you would have, and in the mean time, you'll be more useful as a father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, son, daughter, member of society...........get the drift? Step back from the edge of the cliff. The problem is, you don't know whether you are one step from the edge of the cliff, or a hundred. If you continue unhealthy behaviors, you are taking steps TOWARD the cliff. If you start doing the things your body needs, you are stepping BACK from the cliff. The next step is yours. Only you can decide which direction you should go. You can only take one step at a time. Are you going TOWARD the cliff or AWAY from it?
There are three of us in my running group. I'm the slowest, and the only one who keeps checking my watch, wondering why I can't seem to improve my split times. My two running partners are barefoot purists, while I'm a minimalist runner for the most part. They love to run whether it's hot, cold, foggy, you name it. I run for my health, and because I love to run. They just run. They don't need motivation, they never need an I-pod with just the right tunes. Their running gear is ultra-minimalist. They don't get demoralized when heading up long hills, and are indifferent to the relief of a long downhill stretch. They aren't afraid to walk when they feel like it, and have sprinting abilities that I think would have left Carl Lewis gasping at the side of the road on his best day. They have so much fun while they are running that I have to force them to stop and get a drink once in a while. They are very tolerant of my shortcomings as a runner. When we finish a run, they are ready to head right back out and do it all over again.
I'm in awe of their abilities, and consider it a privilege to be included in their pack.
I'd like you to meet them:
We can learn a lot from these primitive runners. Their ancestors have run in pursuit of game for thousands of years, as did our ancestors. They have the benefit of having stayed in touch with their roots. They run purely to be running. Take a lesson from these ultra-minimalist athletes. Just run!