Back from Travels and Reflecting on the Carnage of Junk

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I know — long time, no blog!  I needed some time away to hike in the Italian Dolomites, teach five courses, and reflect on the global carnage of putting junk in our mouths.  Time to get back to current developments, like the WHO study on the carcinogenic attributes of processed meat, or the U of Michigan study concluding that the protein casein in cheese is as addictive as heroin, and, of course, the role of the media in obfuscating these warnings by its offering “news” space for the North American Meat Institute to categorically reject any and all science that doesn’t serve its industry.

Which bring me to gluten, the unscientifically maligned substance that is detracting attention from what’s really killing us: obesity, diabetes, heart damage (aka heart disease), cancer, etc. – NOT GLUTEN POISONING!  The meat industry has done an admirable job of making gluten hysteria the perfect diversionary obsession in keeping everyone’s attention away from what’s really causing all the aforementioned deadly ailments:  eating meat and other high fat, low nutrient junk.

On that note a new cafe has just opened on 12th Avenue just across from my workplace, Seattle University.  The “Gluten Free Cafe & Bakery” is called NICHE and it invites you to “eat, drink, and smile.”  I peeked in the window the other day and was not surprised to see a fairly brisk business – presumably owing to every Cross Fit instructor in Seattle adding it to their approved-cafe list.  I don’t remember if the customers were smiling, but I do remember that they were all a bit overweight (well, a bit to a lot overweight).  That is but one of the unfortunate consequences of being hoodwinked into Paleo eating.  Paleoites tend to get almost all of their calories from meat, and will eventually suffer from diabetes, heart disease and cancer at incidence rates far above those who follow a more simple and healthful regimen – simply refraining from putting junk in their mouths.

So, to my friends sitting across the street at Niche “Gluten Free Cafe & Bakery,” I hope you will “eat, drink, and smile” while you can, for you may face some challenging tomorrows.

Cross Fit “Nutrition”

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If you are getting your nutritional advice from a Cross-Fit trainer, you are being stupid – in so many ways!  First, you can save yourself the Cross-Fit membership and go directly to the source of this advice – the meat industry, proud sponsor of the Paleo Diet, the Zone Diet, the Atkins Diet, and other industry-serving fads.  One can only hope that Cross-Fit trainers know more about human physiology than they do about nutrition (or do they just know how to feed the Cross-Fit business model with an eager underwriter?).

I don’t have anything against meat – as long as it’s nutritious and safe.  But it’s neither.  Sliced ham comes with a super-junk caloric breakdown:  48 percent from fat (zero nutrients), 43 percent from animal protein (deleterious), and a meager 9 percent from carbohydrate.  This is the kind of junk you don’t want to put in your mouth!  Or – how about “healthy” cooked salmon: 54 percent fat, 46 percent animal protein, 0 percent carbohydrate.  That’s what we call calorie dense and nutrient light.  We also call it junk.  Your Cross-Fit trainer would call it food!

Trust me, doping on animal fat and animal protein is not the road to sound nutrition.  It’s the road to cardiovascular damage (heart disease), diabetes, obesity, and myriad cancers.

Don’t put junk in your mouth.  Don’t listen to your Cross-Fit trainer.  Don’t be stupid.

Cavemen? Really?

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Honestly, when the Atkins Diet first gained traction I was in disbelief.  Certainly no one, anywhere, ever, would throw out hundreds of years of nutritional evolution and adopt a diet that says eat everything that we know is bad for us!  Right?  Wrong.  The Atkins revolution literally dissolved all brain cells attaching human behavior to sound nutrition.

And now – is it possible? – real living, breathing, reading, thinking, eating people actually believe that cavemen – CAVEMEN – carried the secrets of healthy living and healthy dining!  According to this myth (apparently a credible one to millions of people), perpetrated by a host of crackpots with MD’s after their names (along with Cross Fit trainers!), our bodies evolved to process meats and vegetables and digest those well.  Grains came later and we still struggle to digest them — and they aren’t good for us!  Really?

Absolutely astonishing!  Eating grains should be the last of our worries.  On the other hand, our bodies haven’t evolved one iota toward either carnivore or omnivore anatomies.  Our digestive tracks still look completely herbivore.  When are they going to catch up to the caveman’s purported craving for meat?

I would refer you to my Paleolithic era dietitian, the famous Ice Man of Bolzano — aka Ötzi.   To come clean here, Ötzi died a long, long time ago – from an episode of violence, not from coronary artery disease.  And what was in his lunch box when he was found (well – in his leather pouch)?  Legumes!  How about that you Paleo Diet aficionados?  Legumes – the supposed bane of the cavemen.

Let’s briefly review how real carnivores and omnivores dine.  They snatch prey with their paws and teeth, rip it apart and devour it.  And that’s the way they’ve been doing it since way back in the, say, Paleo era – even before.  They don’t score high in etiquette.

Humans, on the other hand, have been around since before they discovered fire.  After all, they couldn’t discover fire before they were around, right?  And those humans – those pre-fire humans – did very well on diets comprised exclusively of vegetation.  And, same as today, they wouldn’t have done well eating the way self-respecting carnivores eat – using the rip-apart and devour-directly method.  Bad diseases from doing that!