The concept of hiking for most people conjures visions of dirt paths, rocky trails, mountain passes, or grassy river banks. But what about metropolitan skylines, side streets, bridge passes, and old rail yards? We Grokkers are a variable mix of urbanites, suburbanites, and country folk. When it comes to talk of hitting the trails and enjoying an outdoor workout, those of us in cities can occasionally feel boxed in. Sure, there are the parks, city beaches, and lake shore routes, but the opportunity for wilderness immersion is likely lacking. If we can’t take in a natural vista, we’re often inclined to just hit the gym. At that point, we might ask, what difference does it make? I’d argue we’re majorly missing out. Though many of us live in dense, heavily human terrain, there’s plenty of adventure to be had, ample chance for discovery, and abundant opportunity for the rich, contemplative experience we often seek in the most secluded wood. It’s all about embracing the whole of the world just outside our doors – and journeying into it with new eyes and an open mind.
The symptoms can be abject misery: searing abdominal pain, debilitating stomach cramps, an excruciating, rising burn, acid-filled hiccups, tightened throat, constant sleep disturbance, and even the rare but terrifying bouts of choking from nighttime acid inhalation. I’m talking of course about acid reflux or GERD as it’s commonly called these days. I personally suffered from occasional bouts of GERD and experienced all the symptoms above for years during and even after my endurance days. (It wasn’t until I gave up grains that my GERD completely disappeared.) Maybe you’ve had it. Maybe you know someone who’s had it. GERD, by the way, isn’t your run-of-the-mill occasional heartburn (which isn’t much fun either) but a chronic pattern of heartburn in which you experience symptoms at least a few times a week. I get emails about it all the time, and it’s little wonder. Statistics suggest that 25-30% of American adults experience GERD related heartburn multiple times a week (PDF). Of all the pharmaceutical categories, proton pump inhibitors (a predominant prescription for GERD) have ranked consistently in the top twenty for years. And that doesn’t even take into account the old-fashioned antacids like Tums and Rolaids that people pop like candy. What, for the love, is going on here? It used to be heartburn was generally confined to women in their last months of pregnancy or to the annual Thanksgiving overindulgence. It certainly wasn’t a chronic condition plaguing a large percentage of the population. I sense a familiar pattern here, no?
Who’s up for a challenge? I hope all of you are ready to get Primal because it’s that time of year again. Next Monday, September 12, marks the first the day of this year’s annual Primal Blueprint 30-Day Challenge!
Today’s edition of “Dear Mark” covers a variety of topics. We’ve got calcium supplementation – does it make sense and is it safe? Then, I briefly discuss cruciferous vegetables, which are said to have negative effects on thyroid health. Some studies support this, but are they an issue for healthy people? I also look at seed oils high in monounsaturated fats (yes, they exist) and low in the much-maligned polyunsaturated fats, and I discuss their suitability in a Primal eating plan. And finally, a reader asks if jogging is ever okay and, if so, how to do it the right way.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the questions.
How interbreeding with Neanderthals improved our immune systems. Maybe that’s why my necrophiliac paleontologist buddy never seems to get sick.
Don Matesz gives a few examples of what his new plant-focused diet looks like on the plate. I would have included a bit more animal and nixed the tofu, but otherwise it looks really appetizing. What do you think?
If you have a dog, I dare you to read this story without giving him or her a hug.
Man, look how disgusting and bulky lifting heavy things makes women.
Be sure to check out Robb Wolf’s ongoing interview series with Polyface Farm’s Joel Salatin.
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