This was a crazy week, eh? I offered up a brand new book and an accompanying special offer, and you guys responded. Although I’m not sure if we sold enough copies of The Primal Blueprint 21-day Total Body Transformation to make the New York Times best seller list (we’ll see and my fingers are crossed), I know it will changing many, many lives. And regardless of the ultimate outcome, I just wanted to thank you all for your support. I couldn’t – and wouldn’t – do it without you.
Anyway, it’s Monday, and that means it’s time for another round of “Dear Mark” questions-and-answers. We’ve got a good one on fully, as opposed to partially, hydrogenated oils (and the answer may surprise you). I cover homemade egg shell calcium supplements, average hunter-gatherer walking distance, the place of gorging in a Primal eating plan, and whether frozen produce retains sufficient nutrient content when compared to fresh. Let’s go.
The Korgs are in a major rut. Their health and their happiness are suffering.
Ken Korg’s doctor has been on his back since the last physical, pushing Crestor and blood pressure meds on him. He doesn’t want to end up like his father did, wedded to the pill organizer for the last fifteen years of his life, but he also doesn’t want an early heart attack. Things feel hopeless. His wife, Kelly, is frustrated because although she had her last kid fourteen years ago, she’s never been able to ditch the baby weight (can she really call it baby weight anymore?). Things between husband and wife are friendly enough, but the fire’s gone out of the relationship, and those ED drug commercials are starting to look more and more attractive to them both.
And then there’s young Kenny.
Have you ever had wagyu beef? Wagyu is the breed of cattle from which the infamous kobe beef is derived: highly marbled, impossibly tender. I mean, this stuff is ridiculous. I’ve had wagyu steak that you could cut with your fork, no knife required. It can actually be too melt-in-your-mouth tender for me. I’m not saying I like meat tough and stringy, but I like to know I’m actually eating something’s muscle tissue. At PrimalCon 2011, the wagyu steaks were grass-fed, grilled perfectly, and not overly tender or excessively marbled. Just great. I suspect they were a wagyu-angus crossbreed, which is true for most wagyu raised in the US. I can get behind wagyu like that.
So why am I talking about wagyu beef (why not?) and what does all have to do with “human interference factor”? Well, last week I happened across an interesting science story in a newspaper. It was your typical science reporting – kind of vague and prone to make broad proclamations based on limited evidence – but the study being referenced got my attention. In it, Australian researchers compared the postprandial inflammatory markers of patients after eating either 100 grams of wild kangaroo meat or 100 grams of Australian wagyu beef.
Height has historically been regarded as a marker of health and robustness. We seem to implicitly accept that bigger is indeed better, even if we don’t want to admit it. On average, tall people attain more professional success and make more money, the taller presidential candidate almost always wins, and women are more attracted to tall men. On a very visceral level, the taller person is more physically imposing. After all, who would you rather fight – the dude with a long reach raining punches from up high or the shorter guy with stubby arms who has to work his way inside your guard (although Mike Tyson did pretty well for himself with such “limitations”)? And on that note, who would you prefer as a mate – the physically imposing specimen or the shorter, presumably weaker male?
We in the Primal health community are quick to point out that agriculture reduced physical stature. Generally speaking, bone records indicate that Paleolithic (and, to a lesser extent, Mesolithic) humans were taller than humans living immediately after the advent of agriculture. Multiple sources exist, so let’s take a look at a couple of them before moving on:
Dr. Loren Cordain and a few MD colleagues have recently published a paper (PDF) called “Organic Fitness: Physical Activity Consistent with Our Hunter-Gatherer Heritage.” It makes for a great companion piece to Primal Blueprint Fitness, and it encapsulates quite nicely the breadth of research into the physical activities of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Read the whole thing. There’s probably nothing really new to you guys already well-versed in this stuff, but it’s good having it all in one space, and it’s good having it from more sources (not just me). If someone ever asks you why you go barefoot, avoid weight machines, squat below parallel (don’t you know it’s bad for your knees!?!), go on hikes for fun without sunscreen, and hate treadmills, you can send along a nice, neat package including the PBF eBook and the Cordain paper. This isn’t a “nyah, nyah, proven right again!” type thing (well, kinda). This is a “buttressing the incoming unavoidable inexorable impossible-to-ignore flood of evidence in favor of listening to evolution in matters of health and fitness” type thing. The times they are a changin’, eh?
Anyway, let’s get to the meaty bits of the paper – to what they call the “fundamental elements of ‘organic exercise,’ which may serve as a template from which to design a fitness strategy for adults living in today’s modern industrialized culture.” I’ve bolded and italicized their words (from a section of which the title of this article is derived) and followed up with my commentary:
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