Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm Back!

Gosh, it’s been almost two months since I have posted anything here. I have been sidetracked by the pressure of work and the need to finish projects by years end sometimes working 17 hour days. I have let things slip a little and while continuing to exercise I have not been as focused on Active Survival as much as I should have been. The holidays are a time when bad food abounds and I have not resisted the temptation to indulge unfortunately. Time for all that to change because as we all know it is new years resolution time again!

It seems to me that one crucial aspect of a successful and rewarding life is an abundance of energy. Yet how can one increase energy levels? This will be the focus for the coming year. To seek out ways and means to live an energetic life. To avoid anything that saps energy whether it be dietary or mental. To develop techniques to efficiently use what little time I have left for maximum effect.

The first task will be to get rid of that 2kgs of fat I have put on around my midriff. It seems that any bad food you eat will turn instantly to fat. You can’t rely on exercise to burn it off. The only way to get rid of the result of eating those chocolates is to deprive yourself of food. Every indulgence requires a period of deprivation to negate the undesirable effects. It makes sense when you think about it this way. Your fat organ is like a fuel tank that needs to be run dry from time to time otherwise it will just keep filling up and up.

So once I publish this it’s out for a run and cycle in the wet and then back for a breakfast of stewed tomatoes and a can of sardines. I want those 2kgs gone in two weeks and my energy levels back to maximum.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Warfare and Active Survival

There are only two species of mammal that indulge in warfare on this planet and they are chimpanzees and humans. Chimpanzees are also reckoned to be our closest cousins genetically and their propensity for warfare provides even more evidence for the theory of evolution. It appears that chimps and humans have worked out that intentionally killing others of the same species results in more resources being available for the group long-term that merely chasing others away wouldn’t achieve. It probably provided a good protein source as well but we covered that below. Chimps actually form raiding parties and pick out lone members of other tribes for attack when the conditions are right. Warfare has been going on since long before recorded history and is ongoing.

So what is the Active Survivalist position on warfare? The Bible states that he who lives by the sword dies by the sword and this suggests that it has long been known that taking up warfare as an occupation is probably not conducive towards longevity. Of course that makes perfect sense and I have long advocated that avoiding danger is a fundamental Active Survivalist strategy. If warfare is unavoidable it would be best to get some position that doesn’t involve hand to hand combat. Something like war room planning or logistics. Don’t be fooled by those who encourage people to fight for good causes as the motivation behind warfare is murky at best and it often comes down to access to resources or ridiculous arguments about national pride.

Another unfortunate aspect of warfare and especially modern warfare is the hive or collective mentality of it. First and foremost an Active Survivalist is an individual and notions of sacrifice for the common good should be completely alien. Individuals are encouraged to sacrifice their lives for the greater good as if we are ants or something. This leads to situations where commanders will squander precious lives on experimental offensive techniques and probes of the enemy positions and still sleep comfortably at night. It’s all very interesting but you want to avoid actively taking part in it. You might be tempted to try and become a commander yourself however to become a commander you generally have to work your way up which will involve the Russian Roulette like lottery of proving yourself under fire. In the First World War the lowest commanders had the highest casualty rates as they were the first to go over the top leading their men on a death charge toward enemy machinegun nests and entanglements.

Things have changed a bit now and most Western armies are volunteer only. Many people are tempted to take up part time military training however I would advise against this as it is just asking for trouble. I know it sounds cowardly but so often soldiers lives are just thrown away as if they are garbage and wars are prolonged for no sensible reason. You want to be in a position where you can make your own choices and not be vulnerable to the whims or mistakes of others. In the army you will find yourself at the mercy of idiots, I can almost guarantee it.You will also be at the mercy of idiot politicians and idiotic cultural mores that will restrict the weapons that you can use. For instance you will have the means to completely destroy the enemy position at almost no risk to yourself yet for reasons of sensitivity and political correctness you will be ordered to take it with a pen knife – why put yourself in that position?

If this strategy fails for you and you find yourself in the frontline then you will just have to make the most of it. Look at it as an extremely interesting life experience and don’t take things too seriously. Keep your mind on other things like reading books and physical fitness. Try to avoid traumatic things like hand to hand combat or torturing prisoners – things that might scar you for life and the next life and the next and next ad infinitum. Keep your head down and partner up with long term survivors if you can. Try to kill as remotely, calling down air strikes on enemy positions as early as possible and avoid viewing the carnage. Warfare is rarely an experience that people look back on with fond memories. If you have ever found yourself in a life-threatening situation you will know that it is not fun at all.

If you view the video above you will understand what I mean about being at the mercy of idiots. Can you imagine how much fun it would be using atomic cannons in a battlefield situation? Army commanders probably thought it would be interesting to find out and would want you to tell them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Thanks Mr Cannibal

I remember reading a news report some time ago about how worried people in Germany were about Creutzfeld Jacob disease. It was actually making a lot people sick with worry yet at the time statistics showed that not even one person had come down with the disease inside Germany. Creutzfeld Jacob disease was going to become the new AIDS - which by the way didn’t turn out to be as bad as was predicted but that’s another story. Scientists certainly made the disease look like it had the potential to become a major problem with its long incubation and widespread entry into the human food chain from dodgy animal feeding practises.

Now below I mention that our pre-historic ancestors probably indulged in a lot of cannibalism. This is a direct result of our intelligence strangely enough as intelligence can easily over-ride innate instincts that largely prevent such repugnant behaviour from occurring. From a pre-historic person’s point of view it makes a lot of sense to eat the flesh of humans rather than just let it go to waste. It tastes a bit like pork apparently which is a favourite of all primitive people. Also it is likely that humans didn’t even consider humans from other tribes to be of the same species. Even in recent times it has been common for human races to consider other races to be somehow sub-human and closer to animals than themselves. There have been reports from the Congo of rebels hunting and eating pygmies as if they are food animals for example. The widespread occurrence of cannibalism amongst primitive peoples across the planet implies that it has been very common throughout human history. Evidence gathered from bio-chemical analysis of fossilized human faeces and the cuts and scrapes found on human bones all suggest widespread cannibalism.

Well it turns out those Germans didn't need to worry because cannibalism might have saved us from an epidemic of Creutzfeld Jacob disease or other prion diseases. It appears that most humans are protected from prion disease and the only explanation is that we have been selected to survive such diseases. Our ancestors indulged in so much cannibalism that we all now possess genes that protect us from the unhealthy effects of cannibalism.

Widespread cannibalism may have caused prehistoric prion disease epidemics, Science study suggests:

Human flesh may have been a fairly regular menu item for our prehistoric ancestors, according to researchers. They say it's the most likely explanation for their discovery that genes protecting against prion diseases -- which can be spread by eating contaminated flesh -- have long been widespread throughout the world.

The genes, which are mutant versions of the prion protein gene, show key signs of having spread through populations as the result of natural selection, the researchers report in the journal Science, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Such mutations, or "polymorphisms," could have provided prehistoric humans a better chance of surviving epidemics of prion diseases, similar to modern day diseases such as Creutzfeld Jacob disease, or kuru.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Stomachs and Evolution

The closest relatives of humans are the chimpanzees and bonobos. Bonobos are almost identical to chimps yet have a very different social structure, temperament and diet. It almost looks like humans are a mix of chimp and bonobo with added intelligence thrown in. Chimps eat mostly fruit augmented with protein and fat from insects and any smaller animals they can lay their hands on. Bonobos eat a lot of vegetable matter much like gorillas do. This is because they live south of the Niger River where there are no gorillas. Not having to compete with gorillas has resulted in them developing quite differently to chimpanzees. A diet consisting mostly of vegetables with fruit has resulted in a society where the leaders are females and empathy and sexual orgies abound – one female bonobo was observed copulating fifty times in one day. Ok, I’m digressing now.

The digestive systems of primates vary quite markedly. Chimps, bonobos and gorillas have large colons whereas humans have smaller colons but more volume, proportionally, in the small intestine. The overall gut volume in humans, on average, is proportionally smaller than the other high primates. This implies that humans have adapted to eating higher caloric and easier digested foods. The digestive tracts of the other primates are adapted to eating more vegetable matter that requires a higher degree of processing. Humans have adapted to eating high quality food that is mostly absorbed by the small intestine. In the pre-agricultural era this food would have been meat and starchy roots augmented with nuts and fruits. Selective pressures resulted in an animal that had a smaller gut volume relative to body size. A smaller gut is probably advantageous when running down prey. Predators tend to have smaller abdomens than herbivores.

Today we have greatly increased the ‘quality’ of food. Fruits and vegetables bear little resemblance to their ancestral originals. Fruits and vegetables are packed with sugars that we also extract and refine to produce super foods. Unfortunately we still have a cave-man type of mindset that eats when food is available – especially high carbohydrate food that doesn’t elicit a full response when enough has been consumed. The reason for this is unclear however such foods are so unnatural that we probably haven’t had enough time to adapt to nourishing ourselves with them. The future may well see a human with very small intestinal volume that matches the quality of food taken. We are already starting to do this now with surgical intervention. Stomach reduction surgery is now a very common method of controlling obesity.

Perhaps we will need to consider reducing the gut volumes of new born humans in order to prepare them for an environment where food is available in lethal quantities. If we don’t evolutionary forces will do it for us anyway. Already the epidemic of diabetes and other diet related diseases are working on adapting the human body to the new diet regime by killing off and reducing the fertility of individuals who cannot control their eating impulses. Diabetes and obesity is inflicting individuals at ever younger ages these days and looks set to continue. The survivors will be those most able to optimally process the high caloric foods that abound today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mind Games

You’ve heard it said, maybe a million times, we are creatures of habit. The road to a healthier lifestyle is simply about breaking the bad habits and developing good habits. Once a habit has become established it becomes second-nature and no longer a struggle. A personal example is my habit of not eating breakfast and only eating a piece of fruit and something high protein like sardines for lunch. This has now become so ingrained that I never feel like changing the regime and if I do it is a bit of a struggle.

The problem today is that people have acquired a plethora of bad habits. They do things that are bad for their health without even thinking about it. What was once a rare treat is now part of the daily regime, which is a shame in that rare treats are now, well, rare in themselves. I remember when cashew nuts, fruit juice, restaurant meals and chocolate were great luxuries.

At the end of the day success depends on the outcome of the mind game. Unless you are very lucky a persistent and consistent approach to life is absolutely necessary to achieve your goals. The reason for this is because this is the only way to develop a habit. A habit is analogous to regularly putting money in the bank – a little by little great things can be achieved over time. It is essential, of course, to identify what are bad habits and what are good habits. The analogy of the bank can be applied to eating but in a bad way. People eat just a little too much each and everyday and before they know it (literally) they have a very impressive store of fat. This didn’t just happen over night. No, no, no this is the result of years of over eating every single day.

When I look at the general condition of people I see walking around the mall it strikes me that most people have become misshapen, many grotesquely so, as a direct result of poor eating habits. Other habits, too, have contributed to this freak show such as smoking, drinking and shunning exercise but far and away the single most contributing factor is a poor eating habit. Not a single day passes that I don’t spy a person walking by and think to myself, why, why, why have you done this to yourself? Isn’t your body the most precious thing you have?

Yet the solution is so simple - win the mind game by developing good habits.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More N.E.A.T Thoughts

I was a big advocate for intense exercise but now I’m not so sure. The problem with intense exercise that produces a body capable of great strength and endurance is that it needs to be maintained constantly. Any let up in the program and after about two weeks, or even less, the muscles start to revert to their previous state of feebleness. Also, the muscles are always feeling a little sore – you’re doing a lot of exercise yet when you walk up the stairs at work your legs ache leading one to wonder, what is the point? The goal should be to develop a feeling of supreme wellness whilst possessing functional strength and endurance. Intense exercise is probably more a young person’s game whose body has greater flexibility and bounce back, whose injuries heal quicker and are less likely to occur in the first place.

Most deliberate exercise is very unnatural and doesn’t result in particularly functional strength. You might lift weights regularly yet when it comes time to do some useful work like lifting ladders when painting the house you find that it still makes you sore. You may even be more susceptible to injury because you have strong muscles in the wrong places that put undue strain on weaker parts of the body.

So maybe the old folks were right when they advised that instead of exercising for its own sake you should do something that is actually useful – it’s less boring than it first appears. The trick, as I noted before, is to consciously think of useful work as exercise. Do work with the best form possible and do work constantly. Yard work should be seen as exercise and done with good spirit and swiftness just like you would when doing an exercise program.

There will be obvious advantageous spin offs with this strategy. Firstly you will get a lot of work done. Family relations will be great because you will be pulling more than your weight around the home and you’ll be doing it cheerfully – you’ll be a hero. Apparently husbands who do more housework get more sex which can be a great work out too (think of sex as exercise!). You will develop more skills around the home that should save you money. Walking somewhere, instead of taking the car, will also save money on gas. At work your enthusiastic energy and relentless devotion to working will pay great dividends and promotions and rewards will surely be forthcoming. You’ll be a great role model to your children. Others in the household will cease to look at you with the distain they once did when you gladly exercised yet were loathe to do any useful housework – the nagging should stop.

The strength you will be acquiring will be of the totally useful kind which is exactly the kind that is necessary for advancing into old age.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This is N.E.A.T.

You can divide human energy consumption up into three generally recognised categories. They are base metabolism, active exercise and non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). You need about 80 calories an hour just to stay alive – this is what you burn while lying on the couch watching TV. When you put on your running shoes and sprint around the block that is active exercise. When you get up and go to the fridge to grab a beer you burn a little more and this activity is N.E.A.T.

So the energy consumption of a human body that is an idle state is relatively high at around 2000 calories a day more or less depending on the individual. When you actively exercise you can burn around 100 to 500 calories more. This figure is often greatly exaggerated and people sometimes include the base metabolism burn rate along with the extra amount consumed during active exercise when they are calculating how many calories they have expended.

It has been found that the area where people seem to vary the most with their energy consumption is in every day activities. The difference between some fat and thin people is not in the energy that they consume as food but the energy that they expend just moving around. There can be a huge difference with some people burning as much as 2000 calories more than others. These people must be on the go all the time, rarely sitting down to rest throughout the day. They probably never rest and pace backwards and forwards and generally fidget all day long. At the other end of the scale there are people who rarely move, work at a desk and as soon as they see a chair they sit in it. Young people in general fit into the naturally active category and it seems that as we age we get less and less active. If you observe children they are always on the go, even when they are talking to you they will often be rocking back and forth or spinning around. This would be rather strange and possibly downright scary in an adult which is a shame as this is the best sort of activity if you want to burn heaps of calories. In theory, if you kept up a childlike sort of energy expenditure you could get away without having to worry too much how much you ate.

One good thing about this sort of energy use is that it is generally non-damaging. Active exercise, where you are striving to burn calories or increase strength is fraught with danger, running can cause severe damage to knees and ankles while weights and other exercises can damage backs and arms, especially if done with poor form. Too much weight lifting and running can leave you virtually crippled if you are not very careful and you could end up being forced to be inactive and having to rely on strict diets to control your weight while being barely able to function a s a normal active human being. An older person is probably more prone to injury and slower recovery too. It's way better to be just functionaly fit rather than super fit if being super fit exposes you to structural damage.

The answer is to be aware of and actively embrace N.E.A.T. All activity should be seen as a form of exercise. This bit is important as it seems that if you think mowing the lawn or doing the vacuuming is an exercise that improves your body and burns calories then it is much more effective and enjoyable as well. At all times throughout the day you should be thinking about keeping your body moving. Never sit when you can stand, take the stairs, walk to your destination if it is feasible. Consciously hold your gut in and try to keep a good posture as this will improve your core and consumes energy. Stand on one leg or lift your self up on your toes. Never hesitate to bend down and pick things up. Always be on the look out for ways to burn energy and keep the body moving and flexible.

In short, make constant movement a habit of a lifetime. The goal will be to eventually achieve it without conscious effort and maintain a healthy, flexible body that is practically functional long into old age.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Update on the High Fat Diet

It has now been eight weeks since I started actively eating more animal fat. The extra fat has come in the form of mostly full cream. Unfortunately I haven't been as strict with my diet in other areas as I normally would and have been indulging in some high carb food in the form of chocolate with nuts, lots of cashew nuts and some ice-cream and occasional treats. Not huge amounts but probably more than I should have. Also due to injury and unusually wet weather I have not done a lot of aerobic exercise. The result now is that I am a little more than one kilo heavier. Now one kilo is not very much and you can easily be one kilo out on a day to day basis but the measurements are consistent enough to set off some warning bells. Weight = 71.5 kg - average over one week.

I get the feeling that fat has been deposited in the form of visceral fat as my belly seems larger as if fat has built up below the muscle layer. A fat belly is exactly the opposite of what I desire to achieve. My arms, legs and fingers all feel lean and sinewy with just bone, muscle, sinews and skin. Sometimes the wrists and fingers feel frighteningly thin as if there is no padding there whatsoever and I need gloves when doing weights. As men age even the thin ones can retain slim limbs and chest yet develop a pregnant look where visceral fat has built up in the abdomen. This is not a good look and is definitely not healthy.

Now this is in no way scientific as there are so many factors involved but I am going to stop drinking full cream and reducing the amount of cashews, nuts and cheese I eat. Chocolate is off the menu as well.

Time to get back on the wagon. It seems the greatest appetite suppressor is obsession. I can feeling it kicking in now - if leanness is more important than food then you will achieve good results.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Celebrity Demise Again

See the happy picture above? Who would guess that the two on the left are now dead and what a sorry tale it is indeed. I was drawn to this article entitled 'Stress' kills the mother of tragic TV star Mark Speight being attracted to tales of tragic deaths in my search for "life lessons", preferably other peoples ones in order to learn about pitfalls so that I can avoid them.

In short, but you can read the whole thing by clicking on the link above, Mark and Natasha spend an evening drinking, snorting cocaine and taking sleeping pills. She ends up taking a bath in extremely hot water burning sixty per cent of her body and dies then and there. He gets arrested and loses his job. A few days later he hangs himself with his shoe laces and then his mother suffers a stroke and keels over too.

So three people now dead who shouldn't be. What would an Active Survivalist do? Firstly you need to know your limits when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Preferably you should take no drugs and limit alcohol to a level that is beneficial to health. Kinda boring I know but imagine the living hell Mark went through after everything went pear shaped. Drugs put you in great danger of doing things that you wouldn't ordinarily do. Things that are set forever in time and space with no chance of ever changing, things that are sometimes too dreadful to bear. Why expose yourself to such a risk? It's not just yourself who is in mortal danger but those around you as well.

Always keep in mind that everything you do is set in the space time continuum for evermore. Don't end up being an example to others of what not to do for all time. If you can't live with the consequences don't do it - should be obvious really. Actively look ahead and avoid danger in all its forms and give yourself the best chance of survival. A drug taker is not an Active Survivalist.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Man of One Tree Hill

Within walking distance to where I live is a 300 acre park that surrounds and includes an extinct volcanic cone. It is probably one of the best parks in the southern hemisphere and a great place to go jogging and cycling. It is also a working farm with sheep and cattle and chickens wandering about. Once it was the site of a large Maori pa (fortified settlement) and all around there is evidence of their occupation in the form of food storage pits and earth redoubts.

Inside the main crater there are many scoria stones that tend to roll around on the surface. People use these to make their mark on sunny weekends, usually writing their names or leaving a message. I spotted the design above yesterday and had to take a photo for the archives. You can see from the first photo just how large this picture is. It's quite a feat to produce such a large picture with stones. I’m thinking of doing this regularly as there are many different variations of temporary messages created here and probably no one is recording it for history. Sometimes you will see a gem like a large penis. What sort of person would spend so much time and effort creating a stone drawing of a phallus one wonders? On one volcano someone created a huge phallic symbol using weed spray on the grass which was highly visible for weeks - wish I had taken a photo. Nevertheless, very Palaeolithic.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Falling off the Wagon

A lot of people have had a lot of success with losing weight and or increasing fitness levels. Almost as many people have let it all slip away and got back to where they started or ended up in even worse shape. When my weight first blew out and I actively worked on getting it back down again I found it to be much easier than I thought it was going to be. A few months later for some reason I lost my focus and the pounds just started piling back on again and I suspect that in the back of my mind I knew that at any time I could regain my focus and strip it all off again. Yet this proved not to be the case and summoning the willpower to do the hard slog again was much more difficult the second time around. Apparently this is quite common.

So what happens? Winter comes around and suddenly exercise is not such an attractive activity even though exercise is a poor weight control method it still seems an essential component of the healthy living ethos. You get a cold and generally feel miserable. Your joints start to ache and you decide to take a bit of a break from things that turns out to be a break of epic proportions. You binge eat on rubbish that is on special at the local supermarket and somehow never think to stop. You notice the weight going back on but you choose to ignore it or vainly endeavor to maintain weight rather than lose weight. You get the feeling that your body seems to be able to put on weight much more easily than before even though you are also actually eating continuously. You avoid standing on the scales. The task of getting back into shape grows more daunting by the day. Maybe being fat and weak is not so bad after all.

You are now in mortal danger…..time to get back on the program!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Early Celebrity Demise File

The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Psalm 90:10

Three score years and ten (70) was the Bible’s calculation for the lifespan of man, noted some three thousand or so years ago. Yet these days dying at around seventy seems too young especially considering all the advantages of modern medicine. Unfortunately we have all the disadvantages of modern diet and misinformation to contend with as well. One wonders what would happen if we married stone-age diet (minus the cannibalism) with modern medicine and carefully controlled exercise. To find the answer to this is impossible now as experiments that involve human longevity take so long to complete so we have to use our best guesses.

Today I note in the news that two entertainment personalities have died at what appears to be too young an age these days yet fulfilling the Biblical prediction. They are Don LaFontaine and Jerry Reed ,shown left and right,respectively, above.

I’m thinking of regularly posting on the demise of well known people and seeing if we can learn something from their deaths that may help with the longevity project.

I note that their deaths were 'natural' and not accidental. The main contributing factor of their deaths appears to be smoking. Both were smokers at some stage in their lives with Reed smoking until the end and LaFontaine had smoked but gave up twenty years ago - even so, he died of complications from a collapsed lung. Here is LaFontaine in his own words:

...the real point of all this is the Genesis of the condition. I was a smoker, on and off, for thirty years. I quit nearly twenty years ago, but that crap has a tendency to lie doggo in your system. It finally caught up with me, and as you've just read - it ain't pretty. For those of you who are in the Voice Over business, and you think that smoking is adding some wonderful quality to your instrument - WAKE UP! Quit! Today! Whoever you are - if you smoke - Stop! All you are adding is garbage to your vocal cords, and a nice deep layer of tar and poison on the linings of your lungs.

I tell you all this, because I need to clear the air, because there has been a lot of speculation out there, and because it should serve as a cautionary tale.

Reed, who had quadruple bypass surgery in 1999, died on Monday of complications arising from emphysema which is a typical smokers disease.

Looking at the pictures it seems both had put on a bit of weight in their later years too and I can’t help wondering if this has contributed to their early demise. Overweight means over nutrition which means that the body never gets a chance to perform the clean up of dead and dying cells. Cancer cells are constantly fed a diet of high glucose, which they love and the body gets tired of regulating the glucose spikes that it has to constantly contend with. Seventy years of this sort of punishment will lead to the body breaking down and refusing to carry on.

Clearly both of these guys broke two of the rules of Active Survival - they smoked and they gained weight in their later years. Reed was 71 and LaFontaine 68. Not bad, but they could have done better and now serve us with their "cautionary tales".

Monday, September 01, 2008

What Would an Active Survivalist Do?

There was a case in New Zealand recently where a young man jumped into a river to save what he thought was a drowning dog only to drown himself and the dog survived. At the funeral there were glowing testimonies about how this young man was so nice in everything he did. He used to spend a lot of time in his room or with his grandmother reading the Bible, always there to help out and never a cross word. I can't remember exactly the details of how good a person he was but it was certainly a tragic waste of a young life. There's a common saying that only the good die young and there is some truth in this. It seems that both ends of the spectrum lead to an early demise, being too good or too evil.

If you do a Google search for people drowning while saving dogs you get quite a few results. For instance:

A man drowned when he jumped into the sea to rescue a dog. His body was pulled from water off Blackpool promenade after a major search by police and coastguards. Link

So what would an Active Survivalist do in this situation? Risking your life to save a dog is clearly not an intelligent option. Indeed dogs are naturally good swimmers and drowning is extremely unlikely. In fact if the dog drowns you have absolutely no chance of surviving in the same conditions. Also, the spectacle of a drowning dog, not something one sees everyday, will ensure that the day is not entirely wasted. Perhaps you could, if you like dogs, get a branch or stick and try and help it out, but I'd be careful, it might be rabid or something.

The lesson in all this is that you don't want to be too good a person. Your obituary should have little to say because hopefully you have out-lived all those that had anything nice to say about you which wasn't much anyway. Can't see anyone at my funeral blathering on about how he loved dogs.......

All you never wanted to know about saving drowning dogs

Step 1d: As a last resort, swim to the dog. Protect yourself. Bring something for the dog to cling to or climb on and be pulled to shore.

Yeah right.

Step 5d: Alternately (after 30 seconds), hold the dog's mouth and lips closed and blow firmly into its nostrils.

I don't think so!

Friday, August 29, 2008


I occasionally get hits on this blog from people searching for survivalist information and imagine that it must be very disappointing to come across a health and fitness site.

In my younger days I dabbled with survivalist culture, read books on how to survive in the bush, stockpiled guns and ammo and that sort of thing. It was kind of fun imagining survival scenarios like fighting off Russian invaders in a South Pacific replay of Red Dawn, shooting collaborators or defending the food stockpiles from hordes of starving orphans. All these things are extremely unlikely to happen yet the idea of increasing your chances of survival whatever the environment throws at you is worth thinking about and acting upon. The reality is that the diseases brought about by our modern lifestyles pose a much more significant existential threat than do rampaging Russian marines.

Smoking for instance is the health equivalent of being meekly led off to the gas chambers. Getting no exercise is like letting your rifle barrels go all rusty and getting your ammunition all wet. Spending your days eating healthy food and focusing on improving your well-being is equivalent to stocking up that cabin in the mountains with long term survival provisions.

The real enemies attack you from within with the epic battle for your survival taking place in the tunnels of your cardio vascular system. The cabin in the mountains is your immune system. You need to train for survival. You also need to avoid danger and not depend upon luck getting you through. Indeed, avoidance of danger will be your primary survival skill. This means avoiding or minimising stressful situations and stress factors. Coping strategies and contingency plans should be developed to prepare yourself for the evil days that lie ahead.

The goal at all times should be to be in the optimal mental and physical condition for your age. To do this you need to embrace Active Survivalism.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Killer Karbs

More evidence that sugar and carbs are bad for you. Every time you eat some bread or take a swig of soft drink you are unleashing a wave of tiny free radicals to wreak havoc on cells in your brain. Like a band of Cossacks descending on a Georgian village. Bread and sugary things become a whole lot less appetizing when you view them in this way. It seems to me that if it attacks these brain cells other brain cells are in jeopardy also. Could this be the reason for the rise in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s too?

"A diet rich in carbohydrate and sugar that has become more and more prevalent in modern societies over the last 20-30 years has placed so much strain on our bodies that it's leading to premature cell deterioration," Dr Andrews said.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Tide is Turning

Men's Health are promoting saturated fat.

In some ways I'll be a little disappointed if this becomes mainstream. I like being part of an extremist minority.

Michael Phelps – Champion Eater

There’s a lot of buzz around the Internet about the Michael Phelps diet.

Apparently this is his typical daily diet:

Breakfast: Three fried-egg sandwiches loaded with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonnaise. Two cups of coffee. One five-egg omelet. One bowl of grits. Three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar. Three chocolate-chip pancakes.
Lunch: One pound of enriched pasta. Two large ham and cheese sandwiches with mayo on white bread. Energy drinks packing 1,000 calories.
Dinner: One pound of pasta. An entire pizza. More energy drinks.

And looking at his body this diet, high in both carbs and fat, is not doing him any harm. There is a lot of criticism directed particularly at the high fat part of the diet. This from the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:

But what about the choice of foods? All those eggs and ham and cheese can’t possibly be good for him, can they?

It’s strange but I would have thought they were the ‘healthy’ components of his diet. It goes to show how far most people have been indoctrinated into the ‘fat is bad for you’ way of thinking when they think that powdered sugar and energy drinks are better for you then eggs.

Without a doubt Phelps is a remarkable specimen of a human being and he illustrates the wondrous ability of the human body to convert all sorts of foods into good things. Compare his body with that of the cannibals shown below.

It will be interesting to see what effect this regime of massive eating and massive exercise will have on his longevity. The idea is to win gold medals and not live forever though.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Stone Age Diet

Not a lot is known about the culture of early man. We have a few clues here and there but very little of substance and mostly conjecture. It seems reasonable to conclude that early man operated in much the same way as uncivilized people we have encountered in the recent past.

There is a bit of a movement to return to the Stone-Age diet and I have some sympathy for it as modern man evolved eating a diet that is quite different to that of today. Evolution would have moulded an optimal human for a diet that was hunted and gathered from the wild. – the classic hunter/gatherer lifestyle.

This from Wikipedia:

Food sources of the hunter-gatherer humans of the Stone Age included both animals and plants that were part of the environment in which these humans lived. These humans liked animal organ meats, including the livers, kidneys and brains. They consumed little dairy product or carbohydrate-rich plant foods like legumes or cereal grains. They also ate leaves and roots.

For about a million years humans used flint tools that barely changed over that period of time. It seems amazing that humans were able to stay static for so long and I have often wondered why. Was there some radical alteration in human thinking that suddenly occurred and propelled humans into the world of inventiveness that we see today? How could a million years pass without any significant development at all?

It would appear also that the human population stayed fairly static during that time as well. Only with the advent of agriculture have humans been able to increase their numbers so dramatically. This is one of the most compelling arguments for agricultural diets.

My theory is that humans ate mostly meat during this time. It was a time when we were shedding instinctive responses and developing rational responses. Better ways were being slowly developed to catch and prepare animals for eating. Ironically the shedding of instincts also led to a long dark age of humanity.

This was the age of cannibalism and this may be the reason why the human population stayed static for so long.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Look Who's Here

Notice what this woman is holding?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Hunger Buster

So you don’t want to feel hungry? Here is my solution. The Active Survivalist Hunger Buster.

Get 150ml of full whipping cream and pour into a cup. Add 75 ml of full cream milk and stir. Microwave until it’s nice and hot but not boiling. Stir in a scoop of Milo. Wait to cool a bit, being careful when you drink it as being very high in fat it retains the heat for longer than a normal drink and can burn your throat. Once finished, eat two boiled eggs and wash down with a glass of multi-vitamin and a couple of fish oil capsules.

If you wanted to go super low carb you could swap the Milo for coffee or cocoa powder. The cream binds with the carbs and slows the digestion process.

This should be about 600-700 calories which is quite high but I guarantee that you will not feel hungry for hours afterward. You can go a whole day on this and feel uncomfortably full. It has everything you require to sustain life and a super low GI. The high calories are not fattening calories either.

Go on – give it a try!

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Benefits of Fasting

The two great fears that people have about fasting is losing muscle mass and slowing metabolism. People often also experience weakness and dizziness.

It seems to me that most people think it is essential to never feel hungry and that being hungry is a highly dangerous state for the body to be in. They are at risk of muscle wasting and scurvy or something. Mothers have always forced their children to eat and are greatly concerned when their children don’t eat their packed school lunches. It is ingrained from an early age that you need to stay well nourished.

Many of the world’s religions have promoted fasting and the decline in religious belief has probably had something to do with the decline in fasting too. It kind of seems nutty to go on a fast even for just a single day.

Yet could there be health benefits to be had from fasting? Check out this interesting link and have a read.

My thinking is this:

If you lose muscle due to not eating enough your body is probably smart enough to recycle bits of itself that are not in an optimal state. Cells that are old or damaged are likely to be recycled first and this, to my mind, must be a good thing.

Slowing metabolism is also a good thing as a slower metabolism will mean a longer life. It may not result in you winning an athletics competition but how many of us are doing that anyway?

Weakness and dizziness is a result of sugar addiction. If your body is trained to burn fat as a primary fuel source you will not experience this as you have plenty of stored fat to draw upon. Even a lean person has many weeks of stored fat.

Disease like scurvy and other vitamin deficiency ailments are as the result of severe malnutrition. Scurvy happens as a result of months at sea on a square-rigger eating nothing but dry biscuits. This is unlikely to happen to you!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Okinawan Diet

People in Okinawa live longer on average than the people of mainland Japan. That’s saying something because it is well known that the Japanese are quite long living and healthy. Apparently this could be changing as the Okinawans adopt a more Western ‘industrialized’ diet.

It would be worthwhile, therefore, to study the traditional diet and lifestyle of Okinawa for clues that can help guide the Active Survivalist on his quest for a long and healthy life.

A quick search on the Internet reveals the following gem from okinawa-diet.com:

"They have more nutrients, greater bulk, and fewer calories per gram." Vegetables are the least calorically dense foods you can eat. Fruits are runners-up, then whole grains. After that come lean proteins like skinless white-meat chicken, pork tenderloin, extra-lean beef, and seafood, then fatty proteins like dark-meat chicken with the skin on and fattier cuts of beef and pork. The most calorically dense foods include fats, oils, and sugars. If this sounds like a new food pyramid, it is. To lower the caloric density of your diet to more closely match the Okinawan diet, you need to eat fewer fats, oils, sugars, and fatty protein sources while you increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grain and lean proteins, says Dr. Willcox. Vegetables and fish make up the bulk of the Okinawan diet.

This is bullshit! As if the Okinawans just love to eat skinless white-meat chicken, the least appetizing part of a chicken. It’s amazing what lengths people will go to demonize animal fat – it’s criminal. Look at the picture above, that’s what Okinawans love – hmmm mouth watering.

Here is a more scientific appraisal from PubMed:

The present paper examines the relationship of nutritional status to further life expectancy and health status in the Japanese elderly based on 3 epidemiological studies. 1. Nutrient intakes in 94 Japanese centenarians investigated between 1972 and 1973 showed a higher proportion of animal protein to total proteins than in contemporary average Japanese. 2. High intakes of milk and fats and oils had favorable effects on 10-year (1976-1986) survivorship in 422 urban residents aged 69-71. The survivors revealed a longitudinal increase in intakes of animal foods such as eggs, milk, fish and meat over the 10 years. 3. Nutrient intakes were compared, based on 24-hour dietary records, between a sample from Okinawa Prefecture where life expectancies at birth and 65 were the longest in Japan, and a sample from Akita Prefecture where the life expectancies were much shorter. Intakes of Ca, Fe, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and the proportion of energy from proteins and fats were significantly higher in the former than in the latter. Intakes of carbohydrates and NaCl were lower.

…the reality of the Okinawan diet from Okinawan Cuisine:

Pork appears so frequently in the Okinawan diet that to say "meat" is really to say "pork." Everything from head to tail is used. As the saying has it, only the "oink" and the toenails go begging. It is no exaggeration to say that the present-day Okinawan diet begins and ends with pork.Especially in the case of hogs, what the meat lacks in (vitamin A, D and others), the entrails more than make up for it. The stomach and innards are cooked together in a clear "Nakami" soup. The liver and heart, together with vegetables, make "Motsu" (giblet) dishes.

These dishes contain high-quality protein and are rich in vitamins and minerals.We have the belief in Okinawa, based on the philosophy of food as medicine, that when one or more of your internal organs is out of kilter, it is good to eat the same innards of animals. The idea is to eat a food that supplies whatever is lacking.Pig feet and pork with the skin on are washed under boiling water and then simmered and eaten. The skin contains a high-quality protein called collagen.

The Okinawans traditionally cooked their vegetables in pork lard too. Notice too the emphasis on eating as much of the animal as possible. I suggested that this is a healthy thing to do a few posts down. It's madness to throw away the fat and skin of an animal and just eat the lean meat.

Let's all become Okinawan!

Update: You know, I'm well aware that we all find what we are looking for and maybe I'm just finding stuff that suits my own inclinations.

Other people have studied Okinawa and concluded that low fat is the way to go. Check out the Wikipedia article on Okinawan cuisine and the conclusion that:

"Okinawans eat low-fat, low-salt foods, such as fish, tofu, and seaweed." even though in the same article it says clearly, "Okinawan sayings include the phrase that Okinawan cuisine "begins with pig and ends with pig" and "every part of a pig can be eaten except its hooves and its oink"

- pork is fatty is it not? .....Idiots.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Fat is an Organ

It may be beneficial to consider fat deposits to be an organ of the human body. Fat is the long range fuel storage tank but recent research reveals that the fat system may do even more than just store energy. This makes a lot of sense and one should see fat as a very flexible and useful organ. The state of the fat organ can also be an indicator of overall body health. One should consider an enlarged fat organ with much the same sort of alarm as one would an enlarged liver or heart.

Massive fat build ups indicate that something is wrong with the body. Generally it is the result of an energy imbalance and in rare cases a sign that hormones are not functioning as they should. It should be kept in mind that fat should build up if energy consumption exceeds energy use. The body should have a store of about 60 to 90 days energy and this store should fluctuate. Statistics show that mortality rates for individuals at the higher end of the normal weight BMI scale are better than those at the lower end.

The problem today is that many people are unwilling or incapable of controlling their fat organ. This is not an easy thing to do in a world awash with high-energy food and incorrect official nutritional guidelines. The emphasis has been on controlling saturated fat intake while encouraging carbohydrate intake. Breads are promoted as the healthy base of the food pyramid and people are encouraged to have up to seven servings a day when one small serving a day is more than sufficient. The emphasis is on constant nutrition with six or so meals a day and high intakes of fruit and vegetables. It is rare for most people to end a day with an energy deficit when this condition should be experienced two or more days a week.

Fruit and especially fruit juices are supplying enormous amounts of energy to people everywhere. It has been discovered that fructose, the sugar that is abundant in fruit, is the easiest sugar to convert into fat. This may be because fruit used to be highly seasonal and our ancestors gorged on fruit when it was available storing the surplus for leaner times. Fructose from corn syrup is now increasingly being used for soft drinks and processed foods.

The consumption of high amounts of fructose all day and everyday leads to a steady build up of fat – there is no doubt about it. Fructose is also a double-edged sword in that its consumption appears to not generate a satiation response, doing quite the opposite and increasing hunger.

The solution to controlling the excessive growth of the fat organ is to limit the intake of foods that are easily converted to fat and to regulary operate on an energy deficit. The solution to controlling the intake of fat producing foods is to control appetite.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Growing Meat

I was talking to a colleague the other day about high animal fat diets and that it was not mainstream thinking but if it did become proven that it is the best diet for humans then the world may not be able to support such a large population. This would be due to the inefficient use of land when it comes to growing meat. I had taken, hook, line and sinker the notion that vegetable growing is the only environmentally safe use of land for food growing. On the face of it, it makes sense that it would be inefficient to grow plants and then feed them to animals and then eat the meat. Why not just chop out the middleman? But then I began to think about it a little more deeply.

Firstly the argument is wrong because most land is actually not suitable for growing crops that humans can eat. Sure it would be silly to grow sheep on highly arable market garden type land but not many people would do that. Instead animals like sheep are often grown on high country land that is very poor. This would actually represent the most efficient use of land.

Secondly animals could be considered as vital components of the food producing process. Humans can’t eat grass but they will thrive on grass fed animals. Animals like cattle use their special digestive systems to convert inedible grasses into lovely food like steak, milk, butter and cream. We can actually live off a diet of fresh animal products without ill effect yet we will soon suffer diseases if we attempt to live on maize or rice alone. Animals are marvellous engines used for the production of nutritious and tasty food.

When I look at New Zealand where I live there are vast areas of unutilised land. We could feed most of the world with animal product if we utilized it all. Yet we are closing meat plants due to poor demand while the world grows fatter and less healthy.

Fruit and veg diet 'danger for toddlers'

Here is a report from the Guardian about poor nutrition at pre-schools in Britain

'We expected the study to show nurseries were serving children food that was too high in calories, fat, saturated fat and salt, and low in vegetables and fruit. Instead, we found that the majority of nurseries had gone to the other extreme and appeared to be providing food that was too low in calories, fat and saturated fat and too high in fruit and vegetables.' This situation was putting children at the risk of developing nutritional deficiencies, she said.

Note that they mention that they expected the food to be high in fat yet not high in carbohydrates. I would expect the food to be high in flour and sugar in the form of bread, cookies, cakes, fruit juices and sweets. Imagine if they were feeding the children whole milk, butter, cheese, eggs and meat – now that would be high fat but surely it would be much better than what I was expecting. Instead the children are expected to thrive on slices of apple and carrot sticks. We are setting up our children for long term health risks exposing them to these crazy healthy diet ideas. It is especially dangerous now that in so many families the parents both work or there is only one parent at home and the children spend the working week in day care.
I’m going to try and feed my children a lot more milk, cream and butter from now on. I grew up on it and even ate fish and chips cooked in animal fat as an afternoon snack on the way home from school.

Here is an interesting link to an article extolling butter that also has a link to a very interesting Scandanavian study that had this result:

Eating milk products -- specifically fatty milk products -- was associated with lower BMI and waist circumference (meaning less of the dangerous visceral fat), lower triglycerides, and higher levels of HDL (known off-hand as “the good cholesterol”

Many thanks to the Food is Love Blog.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pre-Agricultural Diet

A lot of people have the idea that early man led a miserable existence without the benefit of modern nutrition. That he generally died very young at around thirty or so. I wonder if this was so. I wonder if somehow people have mixed up agricultural societies with hunter gatherers or have based their conclusions on people living in extreme situations.

When Europeans first arrived in the New World they encountered many people at various levels of “civilization”. From the reading I have done the Indians that lived in what is now known as the United States and Canada seemed to be fine physical specimens before suffering from introduced diseases and influences. Further south I always get the impression that the more civilized types like the Inca and Aztec were a bit feeble – they were after all over run by a mere handful of Spaniards and they numbered in the millions. Plains Indians on the other hand gave the US cavalry a real run for their money almost reversing the situation in some aspects. I wonder if the civilized diet led to weakness of a moral as well as physical character. I have also read that the bones of people living in early civilizations show more signs of arthritis than their wilder counterparts and that this was a result of eating too many grains. The eating of high carb foods like wheat, rice and corn for breakfast, lunch and dinner has always led to health problems associated with vitamin deficiency and weakness. Wild man, on the other hand, ate a diet rich in animal products and augmented it with vegetables and fruits that were intensely nutritious compared to the engineered stuff we eat today. Even tribes that ate a diet almost entirely of meat were astoundingly healthy without any heart disease or cancer. Yet there are many cases of disease resulting from diets that relied heavily on rice, potatoes or corn.

Humans have spent the vast majority of their history in a state of pre-agriculture. It is logical to conclude that the human body has adapted to a pre-agricultural diet as five to ten thousand years is not enough time for evolution to have a significant effect.

Thinking about what pre-agricultural man ate could give us some clues as to the reason behind the obesity epidemic we are facing today. He probably had access to animal protein and fat all year round. Food high in carbohydrate was reasonably rare and highly seasonal. Fruits, tubers, honey and grains would be available in much smaller quantities and with far less sugar than we see today. Carbohydrates supply the body with energy but the body doesn’t need or cannot use the energy gained from gorging on high carb foods immediately so it stores the excess as fat. This may aid human survival as fat will be deposited in the summer for the lean times encountered in the winter. The human body encountered periods of feast and famine regularly and adapted to cope with this reality by readily storing excess carbohydrate as fat. Meat eaters don’t seem to do this for reason s that are not entirely clear. It may be because meat is available regardless of season or that prey’s nutritional value actually gets better as winter approaches due to fat deposits. It may also be because fat and protein need to be first converted into glucose before it can be deposited as fat and this takes a fair bit of energy.

So today we have a situation of continuous feast and this is not good for weight control or health because we are not adapted to it. We either need to induce periods of famine to reduce our stored fat deposits by dieting or eat a diet high in protein and animal fat to maintain a steady body weight. It seems pretty obvious to me.
PS. Not much body fat on that Indian depicted above - looks a bit like me actually. I bet he didn't eat a lot of carbs!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wear and Tear and a New Direction

The other day I went out for my morning run and noticed that my knee was slightly sore. I put this down to a job I did the day before running fibre cables in a computer room that involved a lot of kneeling and getting up and down. I was slightly concerned because with all my training I shouldn’t suffer any ill effect from normal activities. Nevertheless I pressed on doing a magnificent hill sprint. The next day my knee was even worse. It hurt even while lying in bed that night.

My old knee injury had returned. As usual I was taking things too far and pushing the limit. In the past I had never run straight up large hills like I was now doing. Oh well, time to turn defeat into victory. Intense running is out for a while and maybe forever which is a shame as it is something I love but I’m not going to do it if it jeopardizes the primary objective which is to be mobile and healthy at 100. Knee joints will get damaged with over use – it happens time and again to runners and athletes.

Now is the time to preserve and protect the joints. So I am going to stop running and cycling for a month and do occasional walks instead. I’m also going to do 15 minute workouts twice a day that involve push-ups, chin-ups, Ab-King-Pro and some weights. I will concentrate on good form and on developing the tone of my middle and upper body- my legs are looking pretty good anyway so I really don’t need all the running except for cardio-vascular health. I hope to return to a bit of cycling and easy running after a month or so.

I have already noticed a couple of good things with the change. Two fifteen minute sessions are easy to do and if done briskly will up the heart rate. You don’t necessarily have to change into special clothes to do it. You don’t get drenched in sweat either. It has less impact on your life yet still fulfils the magic 200 minutes of exercise per week objective. This may turn out to be a good thing and now that it is winter I want to concentrate on the upper body anyway.

I think my condition is this:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lab Rat Award to Rest Home Man

In a posting below I criticize the eating of breakfast rather severely. I haven't changed my mind radically but I'm thinking now that it is not so much breakfast that is the culprit but the type of breakfast. A breakfast of bacon and eggs or a full cream cup of cocoa without the sugar would be just fine as a breakfast. It seems silly to force down such a breakfast if you are not particularly hungry and so I still recommend leaving it as late as possible in order to fast longer and to enjoy it all the more when you do feel like it.The thing is most breakfasts are massive carbohydrate loads. Breakfasts such as all the cereals, pancakes with syrup (the horror!) and toast with jam are just suicide breakfasts for those wishing to lose weight or as in my case want to see well defined abdominals.

Now I'll go out on a limb and state that carbs aren't so bad but only so long as you don't exceed your daily total calorie intake - the sting in the tail of this claim though is that it is nigh on impossible to achieve due to the appetite stimulating properties of all carbs. Carbs make you hungry so if you want to endure the misery of feeling achingly hungry all day go ahead and have some toast.

Yesterday I had a fine breakfast of three eggs and three slices of bacon fried in butter with a tomato and felt full well past lunchtime. In the afternoon I made a big mistake and ate a banana and from then on I was fighting the hunger demon. I should have had a piece of cheese or even a hot cream drink.Now if you want to feel full have six fried eggs for breakfast. Don't worry about the cholesterol or the fat, they found an old man in a rest home recently who ate only eggs (25 a day) for 15 years and his blood tested just fine.

Thanks rest home man for doing this experiment for us!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Update on the High Animal Fat Diet

The last few months have seen me practising a largely calorie restricted diet that I have to say has been characterized by periods of intense hunger. I would look at fat people and think, "Have you ever endured extreme hunger or nausea from intense exercise? - I think not" and feel pretty smug about my will power.

Well now I am into day three of enjoying the HAF (High Animal Fat) diet I can honestly report that I haven't felt hungry. Indeed, quite the opposite. My craving for sweet things has gone and I feel satiated all the time. This is the answer for people who cannot face being hungry. You just have to get over all that indoctrination about animal fat clogging your arteries. This is just an anecdote but I was watching the news on TV about New Zealand's oldest immigrant who is 102 and he was asked what he ate and he said, " Well, I eat a lot of animal fat". I notice that the article linked above doesn't mention anything about animal fat but I heard him say it. The media never like to report anything that would suggest that animal fat could be good for you. The link does say he eats in moderation but what does that really mean? Could it be a code for eating animal fat? Everything in moderation, yes everything. I bet he doesn't eat as much carb as most people.

For some really interesting reading on low carb/high fat diets go to these two web sites:


http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/ -this is where I got the cup of cream idea - thanks Peter!

You can spend hours trolling through the archives getting amazing information that could save your life.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Poisonous Food

Where are most poisons found? The answer is plants. When you think about all the food that you can eat the ones that have the most potential to poison you quickly or slowly are derived from plant sources. There must be a good reason why children need to be forced to eat vegetables. Maybe they are closer to their instincts, being so young, that they naturally and for good reason are repelled by vegetables – especially green leafy ones. Apparently it has never really been conclusively proven that eating lots of fruit and vegetables is good for you. Most vegetable matter is not designed to be a food and indeed some plants actively discourage being food items by being poisonous. Some animals manage to adapt to poisons, probably at huge initial cost, finding a niche on a poisonous plant. Monarch caterpillars come to mind here where they live on the poisonous Milkweed and in doing so become poisonous themselves.

Common food like potatoes, beans, plums, rhubarb and tomatoes have serious poisons in them. Most seeds are poisonous – after all there is no benefit to a plant to have its seeds eaten and absorbed into animals. Seeds that pass right through the gut are probably a good idea for geographical distribution so most plants would have an interest in protecting their seeds. Some develop the use of poisons to achieve this. Some develop hard outer shells.

The only real foods are milk, egg yokes and animal fat. These are actually designed to be foods for animals. Cultures have been known to exist that ate an almost 100% animal product diet and thrived. Some African tribe ate mostly fresh blood and milk and Eskimos ate mostly blubber without ill-effect and stayed lean. Nature has spent millions of years developing these foods yet in recent times they have been demonised. Instead of eating nutritious meat, eggs and dairy products people are eating masses of grains and inedible leafy vegetables thinking that it is healthy.

Consider whole grain breads – better for you because more of it passes straight through you. Tells you something about how good it is for you don’t you think?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Lab Rat II

OK I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and do some more human experimentation. From yesterday I have started a high animal fat diet. This has to be kept secret so don’t tell anyone. Why does it have to be a secret? Well many people would consider it to be self-harm like taking drugs or cutting yourself. Aliens who wish to depopulate the planet have planted the “animal fat will kill you” meme into the human consciousness. Now everyone is gorging on healthy whole grain bread until they explode. – just kidding about the aliens.

Yesterday for morning tea I drank a cup of hot chocolate without sugar but made from two thirds heavy cream and one-third full cream milk. I found it to be delicious and certainly sweet enough – the chocolate powder has some carbs. By lunchtime I wasn’t hungry at all so just had a multi-vitamin and a small orange. For afternoon tea I had another creamy hot chocolate. I arrived home at around six not feeling particularly hungry at all. Later I had two eggs fried in butter and two rashes of bacon with a couple of tablespoons of baked beans. I finished the day with a cup of tea and two small pieces of 70% dark chocolate.

This must have been about an 80% animal product diet with most of it being fat with some protein and some carbs in the chocolate and orange. The interesting thing about this diet was that I felt so full yet I only ate about 1600 calories in total. My insides felt good and I had more than enough energy. I’m going to keep this sort of diet up for a few weeks and see what happens to my weight. Weight now = 70.5 KG.

High Fat Diets

I love watching documentaries on compulsive eaters. The usually show extremely obese people who have got so fat that they can no longer get up from their beds. Last night I watched one that focused on three people in this condition. It is obviously a medical condition that doesn’t afflict everyone and mega obesity is relatively rare however they all ate prodigious quantities of fast food. By their beds were piles of hamburgers and cans of soft drink. While the commentary described them as having high fat diets all I ever saw them eating was bread buns, fries and sugary things. The burgers had meat in them but a beef pattie isn’t particularly high in fat I would have thought and fries are a bit oily but mostly starch.

The meme that eating fat, especially animal fat, makes you fat is so ingrained into human thinking now that it is impossible to dislodge. I like to eat fruity yoghurts but I noticed that the one I enjoy has about six teaspoons of sugar in it and is made from skim milk. I looked around for a full cream or at least not lite yoghurt but so far haven’t found one. There are unsweetened ones but they are still lite. The super market shelves are full of low-fat products and high carb products yet people are getting fatter and fatter and still blaming animal fat.

Now if the super obese people had thrown away their hamburger buns and fries and just eaten the meat (beef, pork, chicken, fish) as well as avoiding the soda drinks and just drank coffee made with full cream and partaken of a little red wine I bet you that they would not have gotten into the state they found themselves in. Yet this would have been a high animal fat diet. So why do the ‘experts’ insist that high fat diets made them this way? Beats me.

PS. Another interesting thing is that most of them blamed a lack of exercise as contributing to their obesity - they got so fat that they could not exercise. Everyone needs to understand that exercise will not make you thin. It may make you fit but it is controlled eating that makes you thin. You can't out run a Big Mac!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Human Experimentation - I am a Lab Rat

Yesterday I did my first attempt at a 24 hour fast. The previous day I ate a lot more bread than is normal for me and I was feeling a little bloated so decided that now was the time to try a 24 hour fast. The over-eating of bread seemed to inflate my body. Stepping on the scales in the evening I noticed that I was 72KG which is 1.5KG heavier than normal for me yet surely I hadn’t eaten that much bread. It seems that bread swells my body somehow and this is probably not a good thing. It reinforces my suspicion that bread is toxic to humans.

It’s interesting the reactions you get from people when you tell them that you are not eating for 24 hours. They look at you as if you are mad, as if you are embarking on an incredibly foolish and dangerous exercise, that you have an eating disorder or are even suicidal.

I think that ancient man often went long periods of time without eating and that the body is designed to do it. It would be crazy if the body started deteriorating and ceasing to function merely after a few hours of not eating. It would be logical for the body to get sharper and better at hunting if it is running on empty in my opinion. Most people have enough fat stored in their bodies to supply food for about ninety days….yes ninety days!

The trial was interesting. I had moments of extreme hunger and some feelings of vagueness throughout the day. The fogginess of thinking may be a result of blood sugar levels depleting however I did notice that I got sharper in the late afternoon and by dinnertime I wasn’t even feeling that hungry. Dinner at around 8pm was great and I washed it down with a single glass of fine red wine which was delicious. I made sure I ate almost no sugar, just some vegetables drenched in butter and a nice fatty rump steak fried in butter. My desert was a little super dark chocolate (70% Cocoa). Overall I’d say I ate fewer than the recommended daily calories and a very high percentage of animal fat. I felt full and stayed feeling full until bed time. Just before bed time I did have a sudden stomach gripe and passed a rather loose stool much to my wife’s amusement. She caught me visually examining the contents of the toilet pan and declared that she was right about fasting being bad for you…..annoying. Anyway I am revealing this information in the interests of objectivity. It makes sense that a radical change in a diet habit will have the body rebelling a little. Anyway I felt good afterward and the next day I awoke to normal bodily functions and not feeling hungry at all.

The plan is to try a 24 hour fast every Monday. Why so much animal fat? Soon all will be revealed.

Sugar and Bread

Lately I have read some startling theories that seem, to me anyway, to make a lot of sense. I’m a believer in evolution and think that humans have evolved over the last million years or so from ape like creatures. Humans and apes share common ancestors. This has implications when considering the optimal diet for a human. Today’s food has been radically altered over the last few thousand years. Agriculture which is a very recent innovation of human culture has transformed the diets of most humans. Agriculture has produced far greater quantities of food than could be reasonably gathered from wild sources. This food has a far greater energy value although not necessarily nutrient value over wild sources. The fruit we eat today is packed with sugars in a quantity unheard of in Paleolithic times. Grains have been developed that provide foods that were simply unknown in Paleolithic times.

In the last ten thousand years and really over the last two or three thousand years for the majority of the world’s human population agriculture has provided an abundance of high energy food that is not natural for a creature that spent the last million years or so hunting and gathering. Foods high in sugars or carbohydrates would have been rarely eaten by primitive man – now those foods surround him at every turn.

Even food like meat has been radically altered with selective breeding and unnatural feeding of the meat animals.

Two high energy foods are now major staples of our diet. Processed sugars from cane, beets and corn are consumed at unhealthy rates and wheat, which is very much a newcomer to the human diet from an evolutionary perspective, is the principle ingredient of bread. Almost everyone eats sugar and bread in large quantities every day. This is considered to be so normal that few people ever think about it. Indeed anyone that refused to eat wheat and sugar would be considered a bit of a kook.

Yet these ‘foods’ are both incredibly harmful if not downright toxic to humans. A significant proportion of the population react quite badly to eating bread. Sugar is rarely considered to be toxic yet anything is toxic, even pure water, if taken in large enough quantities. Most people take in dangerous levels of sugar every single day.

The human body has not adapted yet to the eating of mega quantities of carbohydrates in the form of sugars and starches like bread. Humans have been nourished on meat, fish, eggs, insects, tubers, small fruits, nuts and berries and leafy vegetables for a million years. All those that didn’t thrive on this diet have been eliminated from the gene pool by natural selection. Nature is presently in the process of weeding out those that cannot thrive on sugar and starch by killing them off with obesity, cancer, diabetes and cardio-vascular disease. Maybe in the future we will have a new form of human that thrives on these foods however it’s going to take a lot of gene modification to achieve this.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Nietzsche Quote for Today - and some updates.

Quote for today:

Never yield to remorse, but at once tell yourself: remorse would simply mean adding to the first act of stupidity a second.

from Nietzsche's The Wanderer and his Shadow,s. 323, R.J. Hollingdale transl.


IF – My intermittent fasting is ongoing although I’m thinking of taking it to the next level. At the moment I try to put off breakfast for as long as possible each day so that my body has no food for at least 14 hours and preferably 16 hours. When I break the fast I eat healthy low carb food unless I’m feeling particularly starved. The next level would be one day a week where no food is consumed for 24 hours. This should be reasonably easy to achieve if dinner is eaten early one evening and the next dinner eaten a little later with no food in between except for a few cups of green tea. This could be done once a week and would probably have good results if the fasting day had a good cardio workout in it as well.

Confessions – I have a terrible weakness for chocolate. When the evening arrives I just can’t resist eating chocolate – especially after dinner. Chocolate is half fat and half sugar. As I eat hardly any bread or other high-carb food I think my body craves sugar of some sort. The simple solution is to refuse to buy the stuff because if I have it in the house I eat it. The same goes for wine. Many posts down I espouse the benefits of wine drinking but I drink too much. I know I drink too much because I will start to wake up in the middle of the night drenched with sweat after several days in a row of drinking half a bottle of red wine a day. This may be because 24 hours is not enough time for the liver to rid itself of the alcohol and it starts to build up. Time to tone it down a bit. As of writing this I have not had any alcohol for six days and I’m feeling good.


The Benzoyl Peroxide treatment is still highly successful with my complexion looking better than ever. I wish someone had told me years ago about this solution.

I haven’t worn the Skins compression clothing much at all as it is quite cold and it is now winter. I’ll try it again in the summer as when I exercise I just hate to feel cold. The Adidas leggings are great though and I highly recommend them for running in the cold even though they make you look like Mickey Mouse

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Four Thoughts

The greatest weight.-- What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence - even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?... Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?
from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.341, Walter Kaufmann transl.

Four thoughts ...

It seems counter-intuitive to me to view eternity as linear. If it were linear then all of eternity would stretch out before I was born and forevermore after I die. How can this be? If eternity existed before I was born then the time would never arrive for me to be born. Thus eternity is circular and hence my belief in the Eternal Recurrence.

There is also eternity in a moment. A moment of action, now in the past, exists for eternity - is this not hard to deny? It cannot be changed and therefore exists forever, locked in time and space. As eons pass and eternity comes full circle this moment is replayed.

There is one fact that I cannot deny and that is that I exist. It is possible for me to exist. If it is possible once then it is possible again.

Life then becomes the very opposite of meaningless. We are locked into this circle of eternity forever therefore it is imperitive that, with all our energy, we make this life the best possible one we can.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Being Seen - Some More Thoughts

I've noticed a lot of people lately running in the dark with no lights or reflective gear whatsoever. This wouldn't be so bad except that they are often running on the road expecting traffic to see them in poor visibilty conditions. This seems really dumb to me as , after all, the whole purpose of exercising is to maintain fitness and improve strength - getting bowled over by a car or even a bicycle is going to stuff up all that hard work big time.

The theme of this blog is to promote survival so that people can remain fit and strong well into old age and an important aspect of this is taking measures to protect yourself from risk. The more risks you take the more likely a tragic accident is going to occur. It's simple math. So when out running or cycling in the dark or in poor visibilty conditions it is essential to make sure you can be seen. The above photo is of me wearing my Nathan, Human Propulsion Laboratories, reflective sash. The flash from the camera reveals the excellent reflective qualities of this safety equipment. I decided on the sash over a more conventional road worker type of jacket as, well, I didn't want to look like a road worker. The sash makes me stand out from the crowd. I didn't realise at the time I took the above photo that my Addidas leggings also had reflective bits as well. I've noticed that reflective strips on parts of the body that move are very effective such as on the legs or shoes.

Think about visibilty when purchasing new training gear.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Bicycle Lighting Systems

Now that it is deepest, darkest winter, providing some light for the early morning exercises is essential. On the bike I have fitted two S-Sun battery powered headlamps which are just adequate for lighting the way. The good thing about these units are that they are powerful LED type lights that can be quickly released from the bike and used while running as well. I have noticed many people running around the park on very dark mornings without lighting at all which I consider to be very foolish. The chances of tripping up are greatly increased especially on a moonless morning. There are also cattle and sheep about and the last thing you want to do is step into some pile of shit wearing your expensive runners.

The picture above is the most elaborate lighting system I have seen on a bicycle - again from Peter White Cycles.