Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
3 Mar

Weekend Link Love – Edition 232

Weekend Link LoveAn important article from the Caltons on the deception of food science and what we can do about it.

Research of the Week

A week’s worth of bad sleep switches off hundreds of genes vital to protecting us from cancer, obesity, heart disease, and other degenerative diseases.

When you do switch to barefoot running, make sure you make the transition extremely carefully; a new study found that runners who switched over to Vibrams without changing anything about their routine were at a greater risk for foot injuries.

Interesting Blog Posts

Your brain on potato chips.

The synthetic diet revolution (the “perfectly balanced” drink is called, of course, soylent).

Media, Schmedia

Men’s Journal talked to me (and several other people you might recognize) about Primal living awhile back, and the piece has just gone live.

And yes, you can be vegetarian and still go Primal. It just might be a little harder.

Between homework, busy schedules, and high prices, kids and parents are finding precious little time to eat real food with each other after school and before bed. The fact that kids are subjected to “crunch time” is just sad.

Everything Else

My Raw Brah buddy did a great interview with Ido Portal, mover extraordinaire. Check it out and try not to get inspired…

A lipid researcher with over six decades of experience says that dietary cholesterol is in fact good for your heartas long as it’s not oxidized. Other things to watch out for include frying foods in reused oils, eating lots of polyunsaturated fats, and smoking.

Recipe Corner

  • This recipe makes me want to go back to Hawaii soon. Who am I kidding? Hawaii makes me want to go back to Hawaii soon.
  • Even if you don’t normally like offal, Grandma Ginsberg’s chopped liver  will make you howl. You may be hysterical naked, but you won’t be starving hysterical naked after eating this dish.

Time Capsule

One year ago (Mar 3 – Mar 9)

Comment of the Week

Buy some paper chef hats. (Cheap on amazon). Give him the option of wearing the hat when he helps. The hook being, if he accepts and wears the hat then he is a chef. Explain that a chef must taste the ingredients and the final dish to make sure it is tasty because that is a chefs job. Plus they can draw/color on the hat too.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy isn’t just funny, folks. He’s got great tips too.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I know I was one of the people to send Mark an email about sleep and genes. GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP!

    George Mounce wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • This is the area I am really struggling with at the moment, consistently getting a good nights sleep. I changed my diet a year ago, and have almost effortlessly dropped 10kg (92 > 82), but I’m finding it far more difficult to change my sleeping patterns.

      I think the main culprit is staying on the computer too late, which overstimulates the brain, making it very hard to nod off, but that seems to be a very tough addiction to break.

      Perversely, reading this sort of headline will make me even more anxious when I’m struggling to get to sleep.

      Hamish wrote on March 7th, 2013
  2. 100% right about Hawaii. Just visited Maui a few weeks back and am now in the middle of a winter snow storm….

    Bjjcaveman wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  3. I was putting off buying blackout curtains til the fall due to a lot of travel and moving, but this has me convinced – if a week is enough to mess you up, and I’ve had spotty sleep for the past several months because of streetlights straight in the window, the least I can do for myself is get some decent rest for the next month and a half.


    Nelly wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  4. Thanks for the synthetic diet link. While I’m not going to advocate for it, I’m working on an SF story, and needed a way to provide food in space without animals. This will fit the bill. Loved the interview with Men’s Journal, too.

    Keith wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  5. Just for the record- in the Harry Harrison novel “Make Room, Make Room” from which the movie “Soylent Green” was based, soylent was actually just soy and lentils. Kibble for the masses more or less.

    Michael C wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • Um, actually, Soylent (in the book/film) turned out to not even be soy and lentils. That’s what they wanted everyone to think it was. It was actually ground up (sorry folks) human bodies. When I first saw this link, I assumed it was a rather sick joke…. Certainly the author had to know this.

      Emelee wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  6. Our arrogance leads us to believe, time and again, that what we currently know is all there is to know. And reductionism triumphs. We think we know what is essential. But we don’t know what we don’t know. We think we’ve identified all the necessary vitamins, right? But that’s what we thought before we discovered the last bunch of vitamins we identified. What else will we discover later that is essential? That, perhaps, nutrients need to be consumed as part of real food for optimal health?

    Anna wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • Bingo. Science has brought us so many remarkable things that we rely on it for everything. It’s easy for us to believe that we’ve grown beyond the simplistic ways of our ancestors into something better-a better standard of health through science. And then they come out with article after article about how some fruit may prevent the growth of cancer cells or what have you, and people get into this cycle of buying a certain supplement or extract to achieve optimal health. But the lion eats antelope and maybe a little grass here and there and has optimal health, because it’s in his genetic makeup, so why is it so hard to believe that humans also have a very simple dietary standard that does the same?

      Jessica wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • I wholeheartedly agree Anna. There are people for whom reductive rational thinking is the only way to perceive the world. They wouldn’t mind living in a world populated by robots serving them nutrient broth and have no concept as to why this could be anathema to others. If you object you are simply a Luddite nay-sayer, standing in the way of humanity’s perfect technological future. This kind of thinking has grown quite a bit with the tech revolution of the last forty years. Everyone wants to apply the systems thinking they learned in programming 101 to every problem there is, with the idea that they’re going to change the world. I’m patiently hoping the pendulum might swing back toward the concerns of actual humans sometime soon but I’m not holding my breath.


      Tim wrote on March 4th, 2013
  7. I have been wearing vibrams for almost 3 years. We had snow for the first time in 2 years (20″) and broke out the old hiking boots. My feet did NOT thank me. One pair of hikers going to goodwill ASAP. OUCH!

    Karin wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • That’s a problem I have too. I have some foot problems that disappear when I wear minimal shoewear. But unfortunately, where I live, it snows more than once every 2 years :) But now my feet are so happy with minimal that when I put on sneakers or boots for a day, my foot problems reappear. So I have the choice of frozen toes or painful feet :(

      Hopefully someone will come up with a warm solution for those of us minimal footwear lovers who aren’t blessed to live in year round sunshine.

      ShannonCC wrote on March 3rd, 2013
      • Vivo barefoot has minimalist boots with a thinsulate lining.

        Rebekka wrote on March 3rd, 2013
        • Thanks for the tip! Been looking for barefoot boots for cold weather, or for more dressy styles at work (where fivefingers dont go well). Any other brands people can recommend?

          Lora wrote on March 4th, 2013
      • Ages and ages ago — they’re called moccasins!

        Helga wrote on March 4th, 2013
  8. I’m just recovering from tendonitis in both ankles after transitioning to barefoot running too quickly. could barely walk for two weeks!

    Richard wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  9. As a holistic health coach who uses the Primal Pyramid over government guidelines, it is SO difficult to convince people that dietary cholesterol is not only ok, it is healthy! I definitely ‘fit out’ in my social community with my love of eggs and grass fed butter and the like. I’m so happy to see this information becoming more mainstream. After talking with my best girlfriend for several years about it, she finally started doing HIIT and eating eggs over toast for breakfast!

    Shamra wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • Over = instead of. Haha, not eggs on top of toast.

      Shamra wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • I have been looking for a health coach!

      Joe wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  10. The gullibility shown by the commenters on the Solent blog is amazing. The blogger admits to having no ideas about how dietary minerals and nutrients interact and claims at one point to be 6’3″ and consuming 700 calories a day and people are begging for his recipe and think he’s found a miracle.

    Pierce wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • Yes…what got me was the fact that he said his concoction tasted good. A bunch of supplements with salt and olive oil? I want to believe, but I don’t.

      Kathryn wrote on March 3rd, 2013
      • The primary component is dextrose. As a rule of thumb, just about anything with both fat and sugar will taste good.

        Brandon Berg wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  11. Putting the Caltons admirable work to the side for a moment, let’s try to understand why organic food is so expensive. The price-setting market forces of supply and demand should already have lowered the price of organics, since “organic produce is more cost effective for farmers to grow than conventional produce”. Items whose prices are higher than the supply-demand dictates are typically those that fit one of three profiles: a) just introduced on the market, b) items at the end of their market lifespan, or c) monopoly items. Organics don’t fall into a or b, so what does that tell us?

    If organics truly are such a win-win-win, being more cost effective for farmers AND the choice of consumers AND better for the biosphere, then certainly some enterprising farmer would be offering them for dirt-cheap prices, right? I’ll bet some farmers are. What happens before we the consumers get our hands on them? You might conclude that we don’t see the savings because big stores like Sprouts only give preference to high-dollar organic farms. Yet farmers-market prices are just as high as Sprouts organics. Even our mom-and-pop local organic farm’s prices are sky-high, despite their lack of advertising costs, shipping costs, and middlemen.

    Supply and demand market forces DICTATE that after a couple decades a new product’s price must normalize. All I can conclude is that organic farmers have essentially banded together to keep the prices artificially high, or organic production is not really as cost effective as the study concluded.

    Julie wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • A few decades ago, unbleached recycling toilet paper was the cheapest option. Nowadays recycling paper comes at a premium (at least in Germany). I guess, as a super market you need products for price sensitive people and premium products to people that are willing to pay more.

      Also a cup of fair-trade coffee at a café costs a lot more. The minimal additional price for the beans cannot explain the price difference.

      Victor Venema wrote on March 3rd, 2013
      • Yes, exactly. This is one of the first things you learn in business class: price points are far more complex than ‘supply and demand’. The real golden rule is: ‘charge what the market will bear’ i.e.: charge the highest possible price that will sell. Obviously having competitors means they can undercut you on price, so it’s good to either buy them or collude with them. Of course collusion is illegal so you have to do it on the sly remembering when asked to fall back on something else you learn in business class: charge around the same as your competitors, also known as the ‘everyone else does it this way, so we did too’ defense.

        Not pricing at or near competitors can cause a price war between businesses which is something they avoid like the plague (pretend competition is much more profitable) however if you do start a price war you’d better have deep pockets. The big guys have shown willingness many times to charge less than it takes to make a product for the express purpose of strangling competitors. Anyway, like I said complex… ‘supply and demand’ is a part of pricing for sure but it’s one part of many, not the one overriding part that drives everything.

        Tim wrote on March 6th, 2013
    • Corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton seed. and rice are subsidized by the government. this makes them cheaper, and diverts farmland to the production of subsidized grains, and oilseed, rather than livestock, and organic produce.

      DRK wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • “All I can conclude is that organic farmers have essentially banded together to keep the prices artificially high, or organic production is not really as cost effective as the study concluded.”

      The last one.

      I don’t argue with potential benefits of going “primal” as far as possible with either animal husbandry or farming.

      *However* – modern agricultural science has made farming on a mass scale possible. It means middle class me can eat some meat (or a lot of it and allowed some ridiculous percentage of us to not hunt/gather or farm.

      “Conventional” farming is up to date, modern farming. “Organic” is behind by a least a few decades, if not a century. It will not be absolute most cost effective means of farming because conventional farming is nothing but hyper focused on yields and cost.

      I’m not making a value judgement on either. It’s just clear to me anyway that when yields/costs are not the primary focus, then the price is going to go up.

      Amy wrote on March 3rd, 2013
      • Catch 22. When yields/costs are the focus, quality will be sacrificed. Hence the move toward commoditized fungible food, it’s no longer ‘food’ it’s a thing, a good, a product. When quality is the primary concern, price will be higher necessarily because the producers care more about quality ingredients in order to compete on taste.

        Now… I don’t mind if money is a fungible good, my gasoline can be too, that’s fine, but cheese? Is there a difference between kraft and artisinal brie? Are we willing to pay for that difference? Some are, some aren’t. Go back a hundred years and everything was produced in a way very similar to what we would call ‘organic’ methods. I daresay the food system was healthier for all involved. What it costs for organic/artisinal foods today is the real cost of real food. The other stuff is a huge array of commodity products dressed up to masquerade as food, to titillate the taste buds but never satisfy, never fulfill. Ah humanity, we’re our own worst enemy.


        Tim wrote on March 4th, 2013
  12. Ido Portal 0.0

    Alyssa wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  13. This is the greatest of all time!

    Joe wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  14. “Your brain on potato chips”

    On this topic, what do you think of the food reward theory of obesity that Guyenet has been promoting for the past couple of years?

    Brandon Berg wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  15. Thanks for linking Ido Portal. I think he embodies the essence of why we should continue to move in challenging ways when we no longer face the challenges such as running down deer and hauling carcasses. Because we can. Because it’s fun. Because to move is to be human.

    Brian Treacy wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  16. Re: men’s journal… beans and tofu? NOT primal! 😛

    PaleoGirl wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • Yeah, I was wondering about that one, too.

      Amy wrote on March 3rd, 2013
      • I believe he was talking about vegans and vegetarians to make sure they got enough protein, which is the crux of the matter with those 2 groups.

        Nocona wrote on March 4th, 2013
  17. ‘If someone eats a diet rich in oxysterols and trans fats
    and also smokes, he or she is endangering the heart in
    three distinct ways, Kummerow said. The oxysterols
    enhance calcification of the arteries and promote the
    synthesis of a clotting agent. ‘ Did this bit make anyone slightly concerned?
    From another journal article: ‘Appreciable amounts of oxysterols can be present in foods, especially those rich in such as meat,
    eggs and dairy products, which are most probably
    generated non enzymically during cooking or
    processing. They can be absorbed from the intestines
    and transported into the circulation in chylomicrons,
    but the extent to which dietary sources contribute to
    tissue levels either of total oxysterols or of individual
    isomers is not known. ‘
    I’m studying medicine and recently we covered diseases of lipid metabolism and homeostasis. The take home message was, ‘this is really overwhelming, unclear and not well-understood by even those who call themselves experts’. The complicated genetic component of regulation, and the plethora of points at which defects can creep in (and have crept in in more individuals than one might expect!) is very difficult to understand. As much as I love bacon I’m not sure I should potentially be making food choices everyday on which there is such controversy, or at least limited reliable guidelines.
    How I wish we could eat without controversy.

    eldi wrote on March 3rd, 2013
    • And was that meat and dairy you talk about, grass fed,raw and clean? or conventionally raised? This is what frustrates me. Conventional will eventually kill us all if we don’t switch it up.

      Nocona wrote on March 4th, 2013
  18. “And yes, you can be vegetarian and still go Primal” Amen, as I have done, quite successfully in fact. The Ido Portal youtube … OMG … he appears to be the most “organically”, natural, functionally fit guy I have ever seen, simply amazing.

    George wrote on March 3rd, 2013
  19. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard about the benefits of dietary cholesterol, but I have a question. A lot of the same people who are for dietary cholesterol and say that eggs are healthy, also agree that when frying eggs, it denatures the protein and oxidizes the cholesterol. I like to fry my eggs with olive oil, so can anyone explain to me what I benefit from denaturing all the protein and oxidizing some amount of the cholesterol(if not all of it, as I don’t know how much of it is actually oxidized)?

    Skizakas wrote on March 4th, 2013
  20. MDA is the very last place I ever thought I’d see an Allen Ginsberg reference! I’m dying right now! Whatever worker bee wrote this is the shit!

    Angela wrote on March 4th, 2013
  21. Grandma Ginsberg’s Chopped Chicken Liver recipe sounds like it was written for me. Liver, eggs, onion, caraway seeds (LOVE!) and Vermouth (my “go to” cooking alcohol!)

    Stephanie Turner wrote on March 4th, 2013
  22. In reading the article about Paleo vegetarianism, I think it’s cheating, in a way, to try and derive omega-3 from fish oil supplements and whatnot, for if a person is doing vegetarianism for moral reasons that’s a contradiction and defeats the purpose.

    (Though, I understand it would be otherwise if a person couldn’t digest meat products well and did vegetarianism accordingly.)

    Benjamin wrote on March 4th, 2013
    • If you can’t be 100% perfectly compliant then don’t try eh? FYI, there a DHA supplements that are algae based.

      George wrote on March 4th, 2013
  23. I wonder how many readers are clueless about the Ginsberg reference.

    “I saw the greatest bodies of my generation destroyed by high fructose corn syrup, inflamed, obese, and sedentary…”

    Rob wrote on March 4th, 2013
    • I am clueless about the Ginsberg reference.

      PhilmontScott wrote on March 4th, 2013
    • Howl

      Victoria Peterson wrote on March 4th, 2013
  24. On the idea of synthesized foods:

    Interesting hypothesis, however a similar experiment has been conducted on our food supply for over a century based on similar reductionist theories. That is that by only providing a living thing with basic nutritional elements outside the whole of the environment an organism can survive. Just as plants can grow and live on basic fertilizers, it seems they lose fundamental nutritional value. The flaw in your theory is that you assume that we understand all of the human nutritional means and we can synthesize these needs.

    I have been on an opposite approach using ancestral diet fundamentals relying on our foods being raised naturally. In this way the basic foods are grown in environments suited to provide the food all its needs, and thus provide our nutritional needs. Animals raised in pastured conditions without the addition of hormones, grains, or medications, seafood caught in the wild rather than in confined pens and fed unnatural nutrients, and plants raised without the addition of synthetic chemicals would better provide our nutritional needs without us having to understand the underlying nutritional components. In other words, nature working as nature intended.

    The other issue missing from your theory is the social component, also necessary for healthy living. Meals are institutions distilling food knowledge and social protocols that humans have assimilated over the eons. Scientifically, a synthetic concoction may be able to satisfy nutritional needs, but what of the social costs of removing meals from the human experience? A meal is meant to be a celebration, giving thanks for the bounties of life and sharing the daily experiences. It is one of the most fundamental rituals of human living that teach us how to interact as a society.

    Les wrote on March 4th, 2013
  25. The NY Times link from the Calton’s “Deception of Food Science” article describes Jeffrey Dunn, a former Coca-Cola bigwig, experiencing an “epiphany” as he walked through a
    Brazilian slum:

    “A voice in my head says, ‘These people need a lot of things, but they don’t need a Coke.’ I almost threw up.”

    As I was reading the article, I understood what he meant.

    Helga wrote on March 4th, 2013
  26. Mark – any more information regarding oxidized dietary cholesterol? “Other things to watch out for include frying foods in reused oils…” Does that mean using leftover rendered fat (e.g. bacon grease strained and stored) is oxidized? Hmm.

    Anna wrote on March 6th, 2013
  27. This is my first time pay a quick visit at here and i am actually impressed to read all at alone place.|

    Deal wrote on March 15th, 2013

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