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Thursday, January 19, 2012

     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.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

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, 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............

Friday, January 13, 2012

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?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

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.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


      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'll still die. '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?

Monday, January 2, 2012

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!

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