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

Weekend Link Love

weekend link loveOlympic triathlete Simon Whitfield gives some darn good training advice on Healthynomics. He even mentions a few familiar names (cough, cough).

Karl had been warned about low-carb eating. He knew the risks and the horror stories. Nevertheless, Karl made the grave mistake of living Primal and now he is suffering from the detrimental consequences…

William Li delivers an eye opening speech about cancer at TED. The “answer to cancer” may lie in eating the right foods, and if you’ve been living Primal, you may be quite familiar with the foods on his list.

If you’re new to the blog, perhaps you stumbled on my site a couple weeks ago and you’re wondering what’s up with the crazy footwear in the header photos. It’s time to learn about the barefoot side of Primal living. Read Zen Habitscomplete beginner’s guide to barefoot running.

I’d say the folks competing at this sport are definitely breaking Primal Blueprint Law #9.

Recipe Corner

  • The Clothes Make the Girl introduces the world to Primal Scotch eggs. For non-Scots, that’s an egg encased in sausage. Oh yeah.
  • Learn how to make bacon fruit cups over at Instructables. Yes, the cups are made of bacon. (Nix all the sugar if you actually end up making these.)

Time Capsule

One year ago (May 16 – 22)

  • 80/20 Principle – Strive for perfection, but don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  • The “Grok Crawl” – A simple, Primal exercise that works many muscle groups and comes in handy every time you find yourself in a small tunnel.

Comment of the Week

Maybe that’s a big reason why many humans like pets so much. We can fulfill primal needs for touching and nurturing without the hassle of dealing with human social graces. For instance, it’s amazing how many ‘macho’ men will lapse into extreme levels of cutsy baby talk when they think they are alone with their pets! icon wink

Eva from The Power of Touch

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. Thanks for the Link Love, Mark. If y’all stop by for the Scotch Egg recipe, be sure to check out the comments, too. One of my readers made a suggestion for an ‘enhancement’ that sounds DELICIOUS!

    Melissa Joulwan wrote on May 23rd, 2010
    • Oh wow… back in my pub-crawling days I could devour a plate of Scotch eggs. At my favorite pub, the owner’s wife actually made them fresh every day (along with the shepherd’s pie). I’ll definitely be giving these a whirl.

      ToddBS wrote on May 23rd, 2010
  2. Thanks for the promo Mark. When I looked at my stats this morning and I saw that it jumped to well over 500 people I was wondering if it was a computer problem!

    Loving the primal lifestyle.

    Karl MacPhee

    Karl MacPhee wrote on May 23rd, 2010
    • Karl,

      In your blog pic, are you sitting on the Colorado National Monument? I am from Grand Junction, and it looks awfully familiar. :)

      Sarah wrote on May 23rd, 2010
      • I was sitting on the top of Angel’s Landing at Zion national park. That was in 2005 or 2006 when I was on a trip to visit Steve Ilg for a Wholistic Fitness Intensive. I was a Vegetarian/Triathlete in those days so I think I was about 155lbs. Today I am about 165-170.

        It was a wonderful trip and I would love to go back some day.

        Karl MacPhee wrote on May 23rd, 2010
  3. The TED talk on angiogenesis is excellent (well, except for the brief mention of Ornish). The point about the very late diagnosis of most cancers, after angiogenesis has allowed tumors to grow large and powerful, is a very important one, esp with current breast cancer screening recommendations. By the time mammography can detect a tumor, the cancer may be well-developed, very aggressive, very difficult to treat, and too often, deadly.

    There is another little-known but FDA-approved imaging technology for evaluation of breast tissue health, which can detect and monitor the development of unhealthy inflammation and angiogenesis in the breasts (possibly leading to invasive cancer) very early, even *years* before a cancerous tumor is detectible by mammography. That technology is high resolution thermography. High resolution thermography is not expensive and is very safe, even with repeated and frequent imaging, is even better at imaging dense and “lumpy” breasts (an area where mammography really falls short). Thermography is useful for women with breast implants, too.

    Thermography simply images the breasts with a heat-sensing camera that maps out hotter (inflammation) and colder areas of breast tissue, which over time, can indicate physiologic changes in the breast tissue. Pathological changes in tissue, such as angiogenesis, occur long before a tumor is formed that is detectable by mammography (no change from baseline imaging indicates continued healthy physiology). There is no contact with the camera, and except for the cool room and fan that cools the surface of the skin for some minutes prior saving the digital images, the procedure is very comfortable (compare that to the often painful compression necessary for a clear mammography image, esp for women with dense breast tissue). There also is NO radiation exposure with thermography so testing can be safely repeated as often as necessary.

    There are several downsides to thermography breast screening, though. First, this screening option is not well known or used in most conventional medical settings. Developers of expensive mammography machines (such as GE) have pretty much sewn up the breast cancer screening market with their powerful lobbying influence with the FDA and Big Medicine.

    Second, the vast majority of doctors (even oncologists) simply wouldn’t know what to do if presented with a thermography report that indicated breast physiology abnormality but no actual tumor (that may or many not ever develop into cancer, and even if it did, could take years to develop into a cancer tumor that could be treated conventionally). Abnormal results can be monitored for changes with more frequent imaging as well as correcting hormonal imbalances with bioidentical hormones (often as simple as application of a low dose of bioidentical progesterone cream directly on the breasts to balance out the effects of estrogen (pro-growth) on breast tissue). Bioidentical progesterone, used properly, can also reduce or eliminate breast tenderness and lumpiness, esp with PMS and perimenopause. Additional action that can be take if thermography reveals abnormal images includes an anti-inflammatory Primal-type diet as well as a Primal lifestyle.

    Used properly, both technologies are good tools for detecting potential breast cancers, but for different purposes and reasons, and they don’t necessarily have to be an either/or proposition. Mammography has certain significant downsides, such as the pain, the inability to distinguish tumor tissue from dense breast tissue in some breasts, the “delayed” ability to detect cancers, and the radiation risk, esp if frequent or repeated imaging and higher-radiation diagnostic level imaging is used.

    For some women, it may be more prudent to use mammography annually or even less often (perhaps every 2-5 years if annual or biannual thermography imaging reveals no abnormalities). Depending on risk level, breast thermography can be done annually or even biannually or quarterly if risk level is high. That is the situation in my case. I don’t have a strong family history for BC (but my paternal grandmother did have it in her late 60s) and I am peri-menopausal. For several years I’ve had two “suspicious” areas identified during annual gyn exams (dense, lumpy areas that are tender to pressure, especially in the last 1-2 weeks of my cycle). My doctor has twice ordered diagnostic level mammograms (higher resolution and higher radiation) as well as ultrasounds, yet they reveal nothing (and I have the type of dense breast tissue that is hardest for mammography to read). But for nearly three years I’ve also been getting thermography images (I now try to schedule all the imaging procedures for the same day (or as close together as possible) so they are “seeing” the same hormonal conditions). My early thermography images indicated inflammation in those same “suspicious areas” identified by my doctor during the manual exam. The first image was a low resolution image that couldn’t also detect the blood vessels. I now use a service that only does breast thermography (not pain imaging) and they also do a B& W image that also indicated higher than expected blood vessel structure. Increases in heat (inflammation) and vascularization were detected in these areas over the past two years. It was recommended that I increase the amount of progesterone (from a low OTC dose to a slightly higher compounded Rx dose) and also that I apply the cream directly to the breasts. I now do quarterly thermography imaging instead of yearly, too. Within 9 months of the change in progesterone dose/location, the last image finally showed stabilization (no further changes). I am due for another image soon and my annual exam with the gynecologist. I will review the past and latest thermography images with her then (she knows little about thermography but is curious and reasonably open-minded). Thermography gives me a safe tool for monitoring, evaluating, and tracking over time what is happening in these “suspicious” areas – areas that mammography and ultrasound cannot yet see (no tumor).

    I would add that women who are prone to worry all the time, esp if an image showe an area of concern, probably would find thermography a worrisome proposition, as there is no conventional treatment if there is no tumor to biopsy. Thermography makes the most sense for women (and doctors) who prefer to take a holistic preventive approach to avoid cancerous tumors in the first place.

    Third, health insurance benefits (esp HMO plans) often don’t reimburse for breast thermography imaging, though the cost is quite reasonable (usually under $200 and often much less). Sometimes thermography is approved for flex-plans. Even out-of-pocket, breast thermography is a good option for women who are at high risk, are younger than the recommended mammography recommendations (esp to establish a baseline), or who have problems with mammography due to pain, dense breast tissue, breast implants, etc. Thermography isn’t necessarily a substitute for mammography, but rather a different tool that images physiology instead of anatomy.

    And lastly, most thermography services are more typically set up to pinpoint hard-to diagnose pain and inflammation sites (such as referred pain from auto accident injuries) which only require lower resolution cameras. Thermography services and doctor’s offices may add breast thermography to their offerings, but they may not be the best option for breast thermography unless they are using a high resolution camera and the image reader is trained and experienced. Lower resolution cameras may allow for cheap breast thermography fees (or are cheaper for doctors to buy for their practice), but they are really inadequate to the task and should be avoided (in other words, one has to do their homework to make sure a particular breast thermography service is utilizing the best possible technology and protocol for breast thermography). An experienced, trained image reader, higher resolution cameras and a proper imaging environment (stable temp, cool room, pre-imaging cooling of skin surface, etc.) offers the most detailed image for viewing breast tissue physiology, not only with a color heat image, but most importantly for detecting angiogenesis, also with a B & W image that clearly shows blood vessels (and with repeated images over time). Over time, comparison of images can detect pathological changes due to angiogenesis or can reveal healthy, stable blood vessel structure.

    http://www.mypinkimage.com/research.html for more on breast thermography research links

    Anna wrote on May 23rd, 2010
  4. The guy in the cancer video advocates soy. BOO!

    Matt wrote on May 23rd, 2010
    • I think that video is great and goes to show that the CW medical community is starting to open up and see the value of whole foods and medicinal benefits they bring from simply eating more colorfully potent fruits and veg.

      The soy issue might be controversial in the primal community but Mark has covered it in the past: (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/soy-scrutiny/). I think the reasonable conclusion to take right now is to use fermented soy products if you’re going to choose to eat soy. Anyways the often-referenced Asian populations that are touted to have less cancer and other ailments don’t really eat that much soy (~2 tbsp/day), it’s more of a condiment than anything else. I think the main agreement we’ve reached here is to avoid those “food-like edible substances” that rely on soy as a filler like Textured Soy Protein. That boxed “organic” snacks and other junk (Tofurky?!?) in the processed food aisles at places like Whole Foods shouldn’t really be considered real food at all.

      One important point I think Dr. Li makes is the synergy between different foods to maximize their nutritional value. Some of the more anti-angiogenic foods cited were citrus, garlic and parsley. I love to make gremolata, a traditional Italian condiment made precisely with chopped parsley, lemon zest, and garlic with a little olive oil. That’s just one example of a potential food that is delicious and nutritious too!

      Allen wrote on May 23rd, 2010
    • Booing seems a little childish. There’s no boo there. He’s recommending it due to certain cancer preventing compounds. Soy does have these. It’s undeniable.

      And, of course, it also has high levels of lectins and such. Also undeniable.

      The problem with soy is that it is both bad and good for you. That’s why you can so easily find articles stating either case. Depends on what you’re looking for and think is important.

      Doesn’t seem to bother Okinawans when they toss it in a pan with pork and vegetables. And it’s not that bad when fermented (tempeh). In fact, I highly recommend that vegans eat tempeh and not tofu. And only when made from organic, non-gmo soybeans.

      Obviously it makes more sense to get cancer-fighting compounds from foods that don’t also have anti-nutrients. But the guy does also recommend a ton of foods we believe in, fish, and a proper balance of omega 3.

      DavidC wrote on May 23rd, 2010
  5. Hi Mark,

    Is your Primal Blueprint book available in PDF format that I can purchase and download right away? If not, I think you should make it available that way, as it’ll make it very convenient for your buyers :)

    Cheers!

    Frank wrote on May 23rd, 2010
  6. Hi Mark, Just finished watching the lecture on TED TV. Then I looked for more health lectures, OMG, Dean Ornish has 3 lectures on “improving” our diet. There must be some way of getting some low carb balance on TED, surely. Jayne

    Jayne Hunter wrote on May 23rd, 2010
  7. In the Zen Habits barefoot article I was a little perplexed at the ordering of #’s 1 and 5… it’s pretty questionable. Run on a hard hard surface before a soft one, really?
    Nah, I’ll work up to the hard surfaces thereby building up the previously under-taxed muscles to respond more appropriately. If it works for some go ahead, have that extra pain, but it doesn’t for me.
    (Responding here because my adblocker could be preventing my commenting on “Zen”‘s blog.)

    wo0t wrote on May 23rd, 2010
    • I think it’s suggested to run on a hard surface because the hard surface is what makes you run with proper form. If I run in grass I start to feel my heals hitting a little harder. When I run on the road my brain won’t let my heels hit. Just my experience….it’s different for everyone. There’s nothing better than barefoot!

      Aaron Curl wrote on May 24th, 2010
      • That’s definitely true, Aaron, it just seems like beginning on hard surfaces spikes the learning curve.
        I don’t mind being rushed into a new methodology but if I have the choice I’d rather ease into it and perfect the form. Socks on a treadmill for now, in other words.

        I definitely do agree that running barefoot works best.

        wo0t wrote on May 24th, 2010
  8. Ah the wonders of internet meandering. A search on 5 finger shoes leads to research on running skills which leads to this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wI-9RJi0Qo
    Like many, I have long assumed primal humans could not have run down our much faster prey animals. But I was wrong! Now I am just curious how he got all that meat back to the village! Did he wait for help or did he have to carry it himself? Or maybe the camera man carried it in the truck he was surely following with. Ironically, I noticed the hunter was wearing what looked to be ordinary western style shoes..

    Eva wrote on May 23rd, 2010
  9. I nominate Mark to do a TED Talk.

    Anna wrote on May 23rd, 2010
  10. And. Mark must wear a tight shirt, to compliment his dynamic, can’t-turn-my-eyes-away, articulate, science-based speaking style of course *wink*

    Dr. BG wrote on May 24th, 2010
  11. The barefoot running sport seems a little harsh for the feet. What is the best way to slip into doing that over tennis shoes?

    Katherine wrote on May 24th, 2010

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