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

"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.