Food for Thought
Articles about health and life in general. You won’t necessarily agree, but you’ll feed your brain.
How will you spend your time today?
This is perhaps the most consequential decision that we all make. Getting into routines helps to free us from having to think about this too much, but in the words of the famous Rush song:
“if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
Most of us strive to form healthy habits, principles to live by, and other shortcuts that help automate and guide our decisions. This is fantastic, as long as the results keeps us moving in the direction we want to travel. It’s important, though, to recognize that our habits, principles, goals, etc. are based on past decisions, desires, and evaluations—all of which aren’t necessarily appropriate for guiding us here and now. The line between principle and crutch is a fine one indeed.
As such, it’s important to reevaluate from time to time. After a solid round of this, I’ve decided to put new episodes of Latest in Paleo on hold for a while. Let me explain.
Even though the final product provides about an hour’s worth of listening, a lot of time goes into each episode. I’ve spent 50+ hours on some episodes. The main goal for me has always been to produce shows that I believe are worth listeners’ time and that I would actually want to listen to myself. The nature of the show is also time intensive, requiring much reading, selection, analysis, and editing to put together a cohesive product.
That’s not a complaint by any means, just the reality. I enjoy the hell out of what I do.
Counter to my own expectations, it actually takes me longer to stitch shows together nowadays than it used to early on. The efficiency gains that have come with experience have been outweighed by having already covered so much ground, so I have to dig deeper each time to keep things fresh and interesting.
Recently, I’ve found myself between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Do I continue focusing on and sharing the latest health news, or do I devote substantial time to expanding on and sharing what I’ve learned and been so successful with over the last 6 years?
More and more, I find myself wanting to focus on the latter.
I’m in the unique position of having lost significant weight and maintaining this weight loss for over six years. This is rare. Less than 1% of people are able go from obese to normal-weight—let alone lean and fit—for long periods of time. Doing this while also soaking in the latest health research on a full-time can only be far more rare.
Adding my own anecdotes, ideas, techniques, tips, recipes, and interpretation of the literature won’t change the world or magically provide people with the motivation to make better choices. Maybe it could make a difference for some, though. Not to mention, I would personally find the exercise of organizing my own ideas to be quite useful to myself.
While I know tens of thousands of listeners might prefer that I continue focusing on the weekly show—I’m compelled to shift gears for a while. It’s sort of like being out on a beautiful hike down a familiar path and suddenly finding a new side trail has appeared—who knows where it will lead, but the itch to explore it is strong.
I’ve brought thousands of people into the Paleo fold, which I consider a good thing. Just about anyone who moves from a standard Western diet to eating a mostly whole-food diet is doing themselves a huge favor.
But there’s much more to it than that, and I’ve got a lot to say on the matter. Those interested in evolutionary clues about diet, lowering disease risk, weight loss (including that last 20), longevity, basic fitness, forming a good relationship with food, and passing on good eating habits to children while minimizing their risks of developing allergies and food sensitivities later on will want to stay tuned.
Some of this, I’ll be able to start sharing very soon, some of it will come later in the form of a book.
My to-do list over the next few months looks something like this:
- Create a new Plant Paleo blog for my flexitarian-ish take on Paleo
- Move Latest in Paleo to Dan Benjamin’s new (and very cool!) podcasting platform, Fireside.fm
- Publish a weekly article on the new blog
- Publish a weekly recipe (hopefully with video)
- Concurrently write a book synthesizing my ideas on health, fitness, and diet
- Publish occasional Latest in Paleo episodes, mostly with guests
- Publish occasional Health News Ticker email updates.
- Get caught up on a bunch of small, tedious, administrative tasks not worth mentioning, but that are a thorn in my shoe nonetheless.
Many of these are already underway, and now I’m simply devoting more time to moving them from in-progress toward done. So there it is. That’s what I’m doing today. I’ve always taken my own medicine; why stop now? Re-evaluate. Re-invent.
This year, the Ancestral Health Symposium will be held at The University of Colorado at Boulder. It’s taking place August 11-13, and attendee registration is currently open with an early bird discount. The non-profit Ancestral Health Society is behind the event.
I plan to attend this year. Hope to see you there!
A game called Mad Gabs turns simple phonetics into brain-twisting fun. You have to translate odd phrases like ‘Cohen Peas’ into the more common ‘go in peace.’ The answer to a game card that reads ‘Europe Art Tough Fit’ would be ‘you’re a part of it.’
You get it. Well, that’s how we announced Amy’s pregnancy to our family. We had a game day, played Mad Gabs, and we slipped in a custom clue for the grand finale. When they realized ‘Aim Ease Gnawed Cup’ translated to ‘Amy’s knocked up,’ well, let’s just say the looks on their faces were priceless.
Puzzle solved! But then, still puzzled…then excited, disbelief, squeaking, screaming, hugging!
I thought I’d share a little bit about what we’ve been up to this Winter, so read on, and you’ll learn why things have been a little quiet on the blog, see pictures of a few of our meals, and even get a 3D peak at the littlest one in the family.
An emerging body of research is suggesting that we can make some small changes that strongly influence us to eat less.
A review was recently published by the Cochrane group, looking at 72 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that were published through mid-2013. The research looks solid and offers some great advice on how to reduce portion sizes and overall food consumption.
Do low activity levels lead to over eating?
Sixty years ago, researcher Jean Mayer worked on questions like this and published results from studies performed on mice, rats, and humans. (Science 1953; 117:504-5 • Am J Physiol 1954; 177:544-9 • Am J Clin Nutr 1956:169-75)
His work showed that inactive rodents and humans actually tend to eat more than their active counterparts. A reasonable hypothesis is that low levels of physical activity dysregulate appetite, or somehow trigger the desire to eat more.
If true, working hard isn’t the only way to work up an appetite. Unfortunately, not working works up an appetite, too.
Now, a study recently published in The Journal of Clinical Nutrition helps add to the present body of research. It’s descriptive title is Low levels of physical activity are associated with dysregulation of energy intake and fat mass gain over 1 year.
Maybe you’ve noticed this too, but it’s the free improvements I’ve made to my health—like changing my diet, walking, spending time in nature, and getting good sleep—that have benefited me far more than any of the health or fitness products I’ve purchased.
But, if I had to choose one “thing” that I’ve purchased over the years that has helped my health and wellbeing the most, our family dogs would be at the very top of the list.
Where supplements, gadgets, special activewear, and equipment have failed to live up to their hype—and tend to perform consistently poorly in studies—the good ol’ family dog consistently outperforms our expectations, even in studies.
Bruce Lee died 42 years ago, and he remains one of the most well-recognized people on the planet. The legendary icon helped stitch together the cultures of east and west. He was also a renaissance man: athlete, martial artist, philosopher, teacher, actor, poet, and founder of Jeet Kune Do—a pragmatic, individualized fighting system, very much in line with his own philosophy.
A highly quotable man, this is one of my favorite Bruce-Lee-isms. He dedicated his book, Tao of Jeet Kune Do to the free, creative martial artist, and followed it with:
You were with me in 2010 when I started a wonky podcast called This Week in Paleo. I was sure no one would listen, but I always loved radio and figured I would at least learn something. I might even end up with a few recordings that I could give my children when they were older, I thought. But not only did you listen, you inspired me to continue and improve.
When my daughter, Lucy Namaste, was born prematurely in 2011, I can’t even begin to count the good vibes you sent to my family and me. Those were some of the most difficult times of my life, and you really helped me through them. Whenever I began to feel overwhelmed, I’d receive
The definitions of ‘diet’ are straightforward; anyone can understand them. Too bad definitions don’t make us healthy or help us lose weight.
Definitions and meaning are not the same. The definition of ‘value’ tells us nothing about what we actually value. The definition of ‘love’ tells us nothing about what love means in our lives. No matter how familiar we are with the definition of ‘apple,’ it is nothing compared to taking a bite.