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

Weekend Link Love – Edition 234

Weekend Link LoveRegistration for the 2013 Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta is now open to the general public. Check your schedule, move some things around if you have to, just get there because it’s going to be another amazing weekend.

Big thanks to my buddy Flavio, who shot me for this article in Brazil’s largest newspaper. Flavio specializes in weddings in the SoCal area.

Research of the Week

How night owls are at greater risk for, well, pretty much everything.

Dogs are Primal, confirmed. The first domesticated dog was around at least 33,000 years ago.

In rats, intense sweetness hits the reward center of the brain harder than medical-grade cocaine.

Another study fails to find an association between meat (even the processed stuff) and mortality. I eagerly await the torrential flood of articles reporting the results.

Interesting Blog Posts

We all hear how important it is to shut out the chatter and be in the here and now. Here’s how to actually go about doing it.

Do paleo or ancestral diets cause gout? Chris Kresser explores the topic. (Short answer: no).

Media, Schmedia

Here’s the video every vegan (and heck, every person who’s ever looked down their nose at someone for the effect of “all that meat eating” on the environment) needs to watch. Twice.

Take a moment to watch the first 13 minutes of the upcoming documentary Statin Nation: The Great Cholesterol Cover-up.

Everything Else

The physics of the pullup (plus, why women can do them).

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (Mar 17 – Mar 23)

Comment of the Week

“I’m pretty sure white bread buns, strange goopy seed oil sauces, and french fries all play their role, too.” – don’t forget the tomato jam!! :) that’s my personal pet peeve.

– “Tomato jam.” I like it! I think I’ll have to start using that one.

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.


    Anybody want to contribute an analysis of this study? It seemed obvious to me that atherosclerosis occurs more over time (and that diet is still the main factor, no matter what ridiculous conclusions the researchers try to pass off), but it was interesting to me that the hunter-gatherer Unangan/Aleuts did not have agriculture but still showed signs of calcified arteries. Thoughts?

    Whitefox999 wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • Sample size, sample size, sample size.

      There’s only 147 bodies to begin with. Of those, 76 (51.7%) of those bodies are Ancient Egyptians. Ancient Egyptians ate just oodles of grains and I as recall Egyptian Docs were well aware of the grab your chest and kell over at 50 issue. (Not much they could do.)

      Their true hunter gather population is all of 5(!) bodies in this already tiny sample. I’m not sure how you say anything is present or not present with 5 bodies.

      And if, I’m reading between the lines correctly, they’ve assumed that since the bodies showing arterial calcification were mostly lower age than ones not showing it, then they must of died of heart disease. I’d call that a rather massive assumption.

      To be blunt, it’s a giant waste of resources. I’m sure a few select hunter gathers were predisposed to circulatory problems in low carbohydrate levels. It’s also very possible that those 3 (the hunter gathers showing circulatory problems) had access to an unequal share of carbohydrates in the form of honey, fruit, or tubers. If they lived contemporaneously with an agricultural society, trade might have easily produced the diseases of civilization, even though they themselves retained a nomadic lifestyle.

      Anyway, my 2 cents.

      Amy wrote on March 18th, 2013
  2. Mark –

    Question about the study you link to regarding a lack of association between meat consumption (red and processed) and mortality. Good to see that finding, of course, though one could easily make the same comment about this study as we all tend to with those studies that DO show a link between red/processed meat consumption and mortality: the results are based on a recollection/questionnaire survey. I like the way they control for a boatload of other lifestyle and diet factors here, and of course we (as rational beings) are inclined to seek and be satisfied with belief-confirming information rather than belief-contradicting information, but just wanted to suggest that we shouldn’t just accept these results as gospel (yet). But moving in the right direction.

    On to my question…the researchers do link health outcomes (death via CVD and cancer, primarily) to adherence to the healthy eating index (HEI). I looked that up, and while it does appear to be moving more towards a primal/paleo/”clean” style of eating (they actually want us to consume MUFAs & PUFAs…but few saturated fats), I’m curious to hear your thoughts about this index and what it means in the context of this study. Further, I couldn’t access the whole article, but was the sample population Americans or Europeans? In light of recent revelations that European foods tend to have fewer artificial preservatives and random (read: awful) ingredients, I wonder what impact that has on the outcome.

    Sorry for the slightly meandering question; mostly curious about the sample population and the HEI.

    Thanks much.


    Noah wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • Hi Noah,

      You’re right, but the result seems very small, and elusive.

      They say in the abstract that “A healthy diet according to HEI, however, was associated with a decreased total mortality in men, but not in women.”

      But when you look at the actual results, you see that: “Total mortality was significantly lower with higher HEI score for all participants and men only… However, there was no statistically significant association between HEI score and total mortality among women. Moreover, there were no significant associations observed between HEI score and deaths due to CVD and cancer [for men or women].”

      In other words, eating according to USDA guidelines has no significant effect on CVD on cancer (but if you pool all the results together to get a larger N, you just about scrape a result together).

      It’s pathetic that a study involving 17,611 participants has to struggle to find a significant result. It speaks to the fact that any effects here are very small. Is this a one-off, you may ask? Apparently not: the researchers also say that “Data supporting the effectiveness for health improvement by the HEI are yet sparse”.

      So, the huge edifice of conventional wisdom is based on… nothing.

      Eat well!


      Scott UK wrote on March 18th, 2013
  3. oh pull ups. i am still at the inverted row (aussi pull up) stage. i incorporate 8-10reps into my 4 round WODs and find i lose form at around 6-8. but i keep at it. i find even looking at the pullup bar intimidating and using a chair to do assisted awkward at best. so i’ll stick to IRs for now…

    melissa wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • Melissa,

      As a guy with a little too much mass and long arms I have a few suggestions for you to get that first pull-up.

      Find a fitness band that you can tie on to the bar. Then pull it down and slip one knee into it. That leg will stay bent throughout to keep the band from slipping off. The band will help most as you start, then less as you pull yourself up and the band contracts. Vary the band size as needed with your progress. Much smoother than a chair.

      Make sure to stop when form suffers, as you sound like you are doing. I didn’t do that and have had elbow tendinitis on and off for nearly a decade now. I just focus on pulling with my lats/back instead of gripping the life out of the bar and using biceps.

      You will get there with your obvious dedication, hopefully in better shape than I did. Good luck!

      Rodney wrote on March 17th, 2013
      • Thanks Rodney!

        Your trick makes a lot of sense. Will try it out. And ya, i’m pretty good at stopping when form suffers but not always. Stubborn that way. Will definitely keep that in mind more.

        melissa wrote on March 17th, 2013
  4. I tend to be very pessimistic about the future of the world. Allan Savory’s message is one of the few hopes I have left.

    Harry Mossman wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • ditto – I sent this Ted Talk to everyone I know.

      barb wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • Agreed! Amazing Ted talk

      Doug wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • Absolutely! And I’m wondering…why is that link and his message so darned HIDDEN in this post? It’s something everyone in the entire world should see. I really mean that. NOW.

      J wrote on March 17th, 2013
  5. I believe that meat in general is our single most valuable food. Besides, how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

    Groktimus Primal wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • lol!

      HopelessDreamer wrote on March 17th, 2013

      J wrote on March 17th, 2013
      • Great job with the Pink Floyd reference, Groktimus! Is there anybody out there?

        Nocona wrote on March 17th, 2013
  6. Well, don’t take that TED talk as actually groundbreaking or even accurate. That guy apparently has a history of some doubtful assertions.

    Check out:

    OccasionalLurker wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • Bah. Your kcet article is upset about something Allan Savory doesn’t do. He never says desert = bad. He uses a perhaps unfortunate term “desertification” to say that turning lush grassland into bare earth = bad. No matter how much you love and appreciate the actual desert you can agree with him, right?

      Julie wrote on March 18th, 2013
    • A lot of people scoffed at that Galileo chap and his kooky ideas too, didn’t they?

      Paleo in Asia wrote on March 19th, 2013
  7. The night owl link is broken, can you help? I would like to read it because I am the Queen of the Night Owls.

    Siobhan wrote on March 17th, 2013
  8. As a night owl myself, I wonder how many of the health issues seen in higher rates among night owls are because work and school schedules tend to be set by morning people so we’re fighting our own bodies when we have to get up at the hour society requires us to be up and moving. I find that I tend to wake up about 45 minutes after the official sunrise if I’m free to set my own schedule. From September through May, 45 minutes after sunrise is after the time when I have to be at work, so for nine months out of the year I’m forcing myself to be up and moving as much as two hours before my body feels ready to be awake. That’s got to take a major toll after a while.

    DL wrote on March 17th, 2013
  9. Be sure to watch all the way to the end of Nacho’s video!

    Siobhan wrote on March 17th, 2013
  10. I’ve been a night owl since I was a child, and getting up “early” for school, etc., was always hard. Happily, I landed an evening shift (2 p.m.-Mid) job to begin my career and stayed with it until retirement (37 years). To me, getting up early (before 8 a.m.) is stressful, and going to bed earlier than usual to accommodate an early morning is counter-productive. Now after retirement, I am generally able to fall asleep by 11 p.m. or midnight and wake naturally around 8 a.m. That can’t be unhealthy! Try keeping a lark up past his/her bedtime and see who’s stressed.

    Rose wrote on March 17th, 2013
  11. Watch the TED talk by Allan Savory. Watch it twice at least. It will give you chills.

    Siobhan wrote on March 17th, 2013
  12. Whoo hoo. Very nice photo, Mark, in the Flavio article.

    Sharon wrote on March 17th, 2013
  13. From the night owl article:

    “Not only was progression towards eveningness associated with an increase in… food portion size, a decrease in the number of eating occasions…”


    “Evidence enough to conclude that preferences to be more active and stay awake in the evenings is not only associated with eating later with a tendency towards fewer and larger meals.”

    So, basically, IFing will kill you, being a night owl makes you IF naturally and this is bad!

    Mark… I think you know where I am going with this one. =D

    Drumroll wrote on March 17th, 2013
  14. Mark,

    How do you choose the things to feature in the link love? What is the timeline/process? How much do you cull things from, say, people posting things on Facebook? Once you’ve selected it, does it go in that week, or can it take a while to show up? It just seems like there’s often a weird alignment between what I’m exploring and what turns up here.

    P.S. When you Google translate the Brazilian newspaper article, Mark comes off sounding oddly…caveman-like. For example: “They hated this talk of primate. But, nowadays, are OK. Do not complain when my meat on the grill alongside their lentils.”

    primitiverenaissance wrote on March 17th, 2013
  15. Re:TED talk by Allan Savory.
    That’s EXACTLY how Joel Salatin did it for Polyface Farm. Chapter ten of “The Omnivore’s Dilemna” by Michael Pollan explains how he did it, by becoming a “grass” farmer.
    Take care of the grass, and the animals take care of themselves.

    Intresting how leaving nature to her own devices can often set things right again… hmm…

    J wrote on March 17th, 2013
  16. …with VERY LITTLE imput from humans… hmm…

    J wrote on March 17th, 2013
    • Input. :)

      (I’m the J that posted up above, but see I should be a little more…specific.)

      Jeanette wrote on March 17th, 2013
  17. The statin video was good. While watching it, I noticed my 12yoa daughter was watching it over my shoulder. Her science teacher recently told her she was going to have high cholesterol and heart disease because we feed her eggs 5 to 7 days a week for breakfast. I asked her what her science teacher would have to say about the video. She laughed and said it made sense to her and she understood everything in the video.


    FredS wrote on March 17th, 2013
  18. It is still amazing how people do not know how to properly dispose of their unused and outdated medications. Too many people just flush them down the toilet thinking this is the best way when in fact it is the worst thing they can do. Our rivers, streams and lakes which is basically our drinking supply has trace amounts of several drugs. More needs to be done to educate people about proper disposal of medications and pharmaceuticals.

    Stan Shores wrote on March 17th, 2013
  19. I’m not sure if that was a study about night owls so much as a study about people who get 5.8 hours of sleep.

    em wrote on March 17th, 2013
  20. I’ve been trying to do a pull-up for quite some time now and still haven’t succeeded. Currently, I’m using a step stool but I like Rodney’s idea of using a resistance band. Thanks for the tip!

    Tanya wrote on March 17th, 2013
  21. I don’t know if you go to a gym or not, but start with the lat pulldowns where you sit down and pull the bar on a cable down to your chest. As you increase your strength doing this, you can move on to body weight pull ups.

    Yolan wrote on March 18th, 2013
  22. How timely, I started my official pull up training with my trainer Saturday. We did all sorts of things (remarkably I can left arms to type today) but the most fun was holding a ring attached to the ceiling, jumping above it, curling my knees, and slowly lowering myself. I was quite incapable of doing this but laughed like a child because it was fun. My personal goal is to do one by my half birthday on 6/28.

    Changing the subject, I discovered with great delight in yoga I was doing the start of a cartwheel, and that’s another thing I could never do that’s on the list.

    Juli wrote on March 18th, 2013
  23. Occasionally I’ll pull up and have so much fun I just can’t let myself down, but when I do I realize “hey I can pull myself up again!”…. Something everyone should strive for 😉

    Nick wrote on March 18th, 2013
  24. A very interesting documentary dealing also with the topic of soil regeneration and food productivity.

    Corina wrote on March 18th, 2013
  25. love the chai easter eggs, thanks for the link!!

    mars wrote on March 18th, 2013
  26. Hey Mark! Thanks for the shout out. That was a great pleasure photographing you… And learn from you!

    Flavio Scorsato wrote on March 18th, 2013
  27. Thanks for the link, Mark and everyone who did for watching it!!!

    Nacho Rubio wrote on March 19th, 2013
  28. Would love to see a study that looked at healthy individuals who were natural night owls. That study points to obesity related problems more than anything else. I am a musician and have always been a night owl. It is hard to be “on” for work at 8 p.m. when you’ve already been up for 14 hours, or to switch to being alert at that time only when you have a concert. I suspect, as some have suggested, that it has more to do with forcing yourself into the rest of the world’s schedule that is problematic. Oh, and that obesity thing!

    Lauryn wrote on March 19th, 2013
  29. I had a pet rat recently..for about a week. One of the first things I got it to eat was chocolate (Reeses Pieces and KitKat, free from the food bank). Due to that I named it Chocky.
    It wasn’t a very good pet, and died. Maybe the weather was too cold.
    I’d thought in the past of getting a rat to eat and didn’t want to waste this one, so I ate its liver. Cooked some of it over fire, though even the raw parts tasted good. It’s body is still chilling in snow. Maybe I’ll eat more.
    Only $4 a rat at the local pet store. $2 a mouse!

    Animanarchy wrote on March 20th, 2013

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