Weekend Link Love – Edition 143

Did you know Denmark has levied a tax on saturated fat, with Finland considering enacting a similar tax? Shameful. The vikings are rolling in their funeral pyres.

The EU is banning certain herbal remedies. I wonder what else is next – and where?

For pro athletes, positive tests are usually bad news. Not Novak Djokovic; the number two tennis player in the world credits much of his success to giving up “bread, pasta, and pizza” after testing positive for gluten sensitivity.

Political scientist James Scott has been delivering a series of lectures on the domestication of man via grain and government. Though Scott’s aren’t available for download yet, hundreds from previous lecture series are available.

A study of US college students found that children of Asian immigrants were likely to avoid eating traditional foods – feet, eyes, bones, and faces – out of embarrassment and a desire to fit in.

Food producers overhype and exaggerate their “functional food” products’ health benefits. I can’t say I’m surprised… remember magic yogurt?

Primal gamers and LARPers might consider joining the upcoming beta for City of Epic, a new browser-based exercise RPG where doing real-world workouts earns you in-game points and power-ups. Here’s a shorter video.

Boing Boing highlights a sweet, stylish stand-up workstation.

And finally, how to chop wood without messing around.

Recipe Corner

Time Capsule

One year ago (May 17 – May 23)

Comment of the Week

I’ve begun telling people, “Alcohol is an even more preferred fuel than glucose. So when are you switching to a beertarian diet?”

– Commenter Dana, from earlier this week.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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41 thoughts on “Weekend Link Love – Edition 143”

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  1. Really nice editing on the omelet video! I’m looking forward to seeing what his forthcoming blog looks like.

  2. from the article on Novak “His change in attitude is not just down to hard work and dietary modifications, however, with the Serb stating he has “matured as a player and person” that has resulted in him feeling “more confident” as well as “more consistent” on court.”

    For me, the mental clarity and improvement from going Primal has been huge – i’d wager his dietary modifications are very much connected to his confidence and consistency.

  3. There’s already an “RPG” site for fitness call Fitocracy.

    There’s Primal and Paleo groups there also.

    If anyone wants an invite, send your email address to me on Twitter via @speno.

  4. No, no, no! It’s decided – I can’t stay in Denmark! It’s humiliating our ancestors!

    1. However… this may make it cheaper to obtain the good, fatty cuts from private people to a better price, because no-one wants it! Let’s hope that; would be huge bonus!

    2. I am already keeping some of my ancestors proud by taking the monthly trip to Germany to shop. They also have better meat down there. Hopefully this will not become an EU thing. Damn politicians and their medeling.

  5. I’m not terribly familiar with the laws regarding drug safety in the EU, but it seems to me a law banning the advertisement of unproven herbal “remedies” is a good thing. It is completely ridiculous that a company might be allowed to market some magic pill as a cure for the common cold when they can’t show it to be effective. The article does say that…

    “Only those products that have been “assessed” by the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will be available for purchase.”

    I’m not familiar with this agency, but it certainly seems like a reasonable restriction, at least in my mind. Without regulations such as these, a company could toss whatever it wanted into an herbal “remedy” and market it for whatever it chose.

    1. The MHRA: Read all about them on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Medicines_Agency

      One of the most telling pieces of the explanation is the following “…European Medicines Agency was set up in 1995 with funding from the European Union and the pharmaceutical industry…”

      Weird, it was funded by Big Pharma, who did it to reduce costs of bringing new medicines into the EU, and now they’ve turned their attention to something that by all accounts reduces the amount of profit they can make by offering alternatives to people that don’t care for the side effects of prescription medicines? How bizarre and unexpected…

    2. What people need protection from is the pharmaceutical companies who will erode your health and bind you to a lifelong drug addiction. I would worry much less about some annoying haggler selling bunk herbs.

  6. Herbal Medicines – I think its a wonderful sign that the EU is taking people’s health seriously. Producers of herbal medicine make huge profits, sheltering themselves from the lack of scientific evidence of efficacy by using just enough vagueness in their claims. And aside from whether they work or not, the lack of regulation means you don’t even know what it is that you’re getting (yes people have tested herbal medicines and found that they often don’t match the label in terms of dose or ingredients).

    The article linked to is scaremongering. The herbs themselves aren’t being banned. But commercial products claiming unproven medical benefits are. Will this encourage the multinational ‘alternative medicine’ producers to do some actual research and prove their claims, or will they just switch to more profitable ineffective treatments like power balance bands?

    1. Yep – totally agree with Allison and Evelyn on the “herbal remedies”. Its a great law to protect the gullible from shysters.

      1. “A fool and his money are soon parted”. – Thomas Tusser

        It’s ridiculous to think that a government policy – especially on food/supplements/dietary concerns – won’t be twisted by lobbying or kickbacks. Near as I can tell, these rules are being pushed not by consumers (who actually enjoy their freedom to choose from a large and open market and to make their own decisions about lifestyle and diet) but rather by supranational pharmaceutical corporations who see their profits eroded by people opting to instead take supplements to treat common ailments.

        So I don’t buy any of this “we’re looking out for the people” BS. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just another way for a fool and his money to be easily parted. If and when you take away choice, you end up with no option but whichever option is endorsed by the status quo or the conglomorate (or really whomever has the most money).

        If that were the case, we’d all be freebasing GMO hydrogenated soybean oils, eating 1300 calories a day and all be miserable.

        Freedom of choice means freedom to make mistakes. You cannot protect people from themselves, nor should you. Innovation comes not from successes, but failures, and to restrict innovation via regulation is a terrible plan.

        1. Amen to that Hal! I couldn’t have said it better myself! I can’t believe that, on a forum where people choose to follow a life style so completely opposite of government recommendations and policies, there would be so many people ready to BLINDLY follow that same governments “assessments” concerning their health in such an important way, and would be so willing to give up their freedom to choose to that same government.

        2. Freedom of choice is fine. Stopping people influencing other people into making the wrong choice by making vague anti-scientific claims is even better. One of the things I love about the paleo-community is its willingess to challenge conventional wisdom by getting stuck into genuine scientific research, reviewing the papers and forming good conclusions. This is not stopping that sort of behaviour. It’s stopping people making health claims without evidence.

        3. There is another phrase in Latin that I feel applies to this situation: Caveat emptor – let the buyer beware. Who are you (or anyone else for that matter) to tell me what I can or cannot buy? If I CHOOSE to buy it, regardless of claims of efficacy or anything else, that should totally be my prerogative. If I do not do my due diligence on a supplement or a set of pots and pans or my knife set that can cut through cans, that is absolutely not the fault of the company selling those things, that is my own fault.

          If you are really concerned about ‘getting truth’ into advertising, then do that – “these claims not evaluated or tested by the FDA” which the consumer can then use as a part of their toolkit to inform their decision. (This thing called the internet can be very useful in that, too). The bottom line is that there are many ways to solve a problem – real or imagined.

          Some solutions have many more far reaching unintended consequences than others. Yes, wholesale banning of supplements that have not been evaluated by some governing body MIGHT be more effective at getting the truly bad supplements out of the hands of the consumer – but at the cost of getting the ones that worked out of those same hands, not to mention the condensing of the health and well-being market into the hands of large pharmaceutical companies. And I just don’t trust them enough to think that’s a good idea.

      2. It is NOT the government job to protect people from themselves! I don’t need the “nanny state” to protect me. Like the government knows so much about diet anyway. If they had thier way they’d tax saturated fat. Wait… some are already doing that. Or they’d ban raw milk. Wait… raids on raw milk distributors are increasing.
        The farther they stay away from what I CHOOSE after my own careful research to put in my body, the better.

        1. Again, Hal you took the words right out of my mouth! You too Dave! The government already has WAY too much control over my life and my health. I think this trend of governments banning supplements and natural remedies is Fing scary! We’re fighting it here in Canada and we’re losing.

  7. About natural remedies in Europe.
    I grew up in Germany and Vitamins had been banned looooong ago. You cannot buy natural multi-vitamins anywhere, they are illegal.
    I sent my parents some vitamins from the U.S. and they opened them up at the Headquarters for the post office, they called my parents in for questioning. They had to drive hundreds of miles to get to that place.
    They were told they can’t have them and the multi-vitamin bottles were disgarded right in front of them. Hundreds of dollars worth of high quality vitamins…down the drain. And why the hell were they called in when they couldnt have them and lived hundreds of miles away.

    My mother cried for days afterwards…it’s really sad.
    Germany is supposed to be a democracy, sounds more like communism to me.

    1. Whoa, that’s pretty freakin’ nuts! Sigh…depressing week in links here. And I just came back from San Francisco and suffered their “fat tax.”

  8. This Danish tax on fat is scandalous. (I’m Danish, so I feel I have to speak up.) It demonstrates a couple of interesting things, though.

    1. Politicians want to be popular

    With all the latest talk about being fit and avoiding lifestyle decease, politicians feel they have to act in the interest of public health.

    2. Politician’s knowledge is often not in sync with scientific knowledge

    All around society (also in Denmark with notable Danish scientist proving some of the central points of primal eating to be true (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/8157312/Protein-rich-diets-best-at-keeping-weight-off.html)) there is a dawning understanding of the failings of CW. Central to this is that carbs are down, protein is up. New Danish diet books, fitness magazines and newspaper articles have picked up on the trend.

    But public decision making is, as always, years behind. Politicians and public servants are still banging on fat, when the scientific and applied consensus has shifted. When politicians and CW don’t know what true health is, and politicians want to be popular, we are in for some really bad decision making.

    3. Politicians want your money

    I believe the true perspective on the Danish tax on fat is that the government needs money and have decided to tax something that few people are willing to fight for: saturated fat. In a couple of years they will discover, they should just have taxed cigarettes a bit harder.

  9. Impressive wood splitting demo, but I want to know what the ambient temperature is. For wood to split like that I’m guessing it’s REALLY cold.

    1. I was wondering that too. Plus, that’s a mighty fine ax. But I’m going to try that method this winter.

      1. Here in Texas the primary fire wood is Oak, and I can tell you Oak NEVER splits like that. That will only work with the right type of wood…

  10. In reference to the lectures about farming and repressive states: I wonder if EATING grain also makes people more docile. I’ve noticed i’m less docile since I quit eating grain.

  11. You’re really stirring the hornets nest this week Mark! 🙂 Some great controversial topics!

  12. Years ago I was biking through Germany and ran out of Vitamin C. I was quite the vitamin nut then, so Iooked for some locally. Not available. Finally, I was referred to a pharmacy. They had vitamin C, all right. They had, in fact, Sandoz pharmaceutical quality vitamin C. A woman in white took it out of a tiny drawer in little packets. The problem? The price was at least ten times higher than U.S. prices — it may have been 50 times higher. It was essentially unaffordable.

    As far as advertising herbal “remedies,” various people are correct in saying that this crap is marketed by crooks who are defrauding fools of billions annually. I am not persuaded that anything needs to be done. Almost all the crap people buy is advertised as doing things it won’t do. Cars, clothes, food, foreign travel, etc. — you name it, the presumption that it will make you happy, a better person, fulfill you, fulfill your kids, get you a better sex partner, etc. — it’s almost all bogus. People know that if they are paying any attention. Now, if you then create a government agency that bans certain kinds of advertising, you will convince people that the crap has been okayed by the government, and even more idiots will buy it. The same people who think that government will save us by regulating advertising are typically themselves utterly skeptical of government regulatio of any other kind of speech (and rightly so). The near-total lack of competition over what remedy is best in the E.U. has not led to a healthy population there…

    1. I second that. How many drugs has the FDA approved that have maimed and killed thousands before finally being pulled from the market? They need to keep their hands off the herbs.

    2. If you have nutritional deficiencies in Germany you’re pretty much f…..!

      I grew up there and all my mother bought me 1x a year was 1 tiny bottle of a multi-vitamin drink (it was a juice but advertised as vitamins).

      The only way to make up for nutrition deficiency in germany is by eating liver and blood sausage, and buying bones to make bone broth for minerals.
      Fortunately, the government hasn’t banned liver and other organ meats in Germany yet. But people born since the 1960’s pretty much eat packaged crap and drink sodas like americans do…they just seem to having to move more, Pedestrian Zones, no Malls, almost no Drive-throughs, very few deliveries.

      But I think that’ll all change soon, too.

  13. Some danes, including myself, are severely embarrassed by the upcoming fat tax. Wish they would put it on sugar and starch instead.


    1. Agree with you Jane! Its an embarassement. But what can we do? All the parties wants to push it through one way or another 🙁
      Thinking of moving as we speak.

  14. Hi Folks, it was I who stirred the hornets nest on herbal remedies last week. And Mark, thankfully, has brought it to the attention of the collective. I noticed this week that even Arnika, a soothing natural herbal skin cream has been removed from the shelves. The important point amongst all this is that the Big Pharma corps are testing the water here. There is rumour among the Natural Therapy practictioners here in the UK, that the spotlight may soon come down on what we can put into our food in the way of herbs, or even what we may be allowed to legally grow in our own gardens. Ok, so parsley is not on a par with cannabis, but the lesser known herbs like Rue (used in Shakespear’s time to flavour Ales), or even the beautifully sour Wood Sorrel could be banned soon. And how ridiculous is it that you can buy Stevia seeds in any UK garden centre and grow your own, yet to purchase and use this sweet herb in powdered form makes you a criminal and subject to prosecution in Great Britain? I know its already been said, but I dont need my intellegence being insulted, I got this far in life by making my own choices and I dont need wet-nursing by the State. Thank you Mark for bringing my points to our community.

    1. Thank you John for bringing it to Mark’s attention, and thank you Mark for creating such an informative and free-thinking blog/forum for discussion!
      We are having similar troubles here in Canada with the government banning herbs, requiring expensive registration of natural remedies and generally putting alternative healthcare professionals out of business. because of this, my favorite health food store now carries mainly protein shakes :S
      it makes me sad, and scared, to hear of this happening in other parts of the world. And here I was thinking Europe was more enlightened than us North Americans!

  15. I wish tht tennis player never loses another match in his life.

  16. The article on Novak is written very poorly(and i’m no writer myself), and in no way suggests anything other than gluten insensitivity about his current diet. Why do I say this? Because I really wanted to know how he made the change, what he eats now, and what he has noticed specifically about his change in performance. The article seems like it was written off the back of another article.

  17. What you need to understand about Denmark and the fat tax is this: EVERYTHING is taxed in Denmark. We have a huge income tax (the biggest in the world), a 25 % sales tax, a gigantic car tax (tribbling the price of a car compared to other places), capital gains taxes, and taxes on cigarettes, wine, sugar, on alcohol and, now, on fat.
    Politicians call it a health measure, but the case is, that they have to finance the worlds largest wellfare state.

    1. In Germany you get radio and TV tax (seperate from your bill) and DOG TAX !

      When I bought my first car I had to register my car radio and start paying taxes for having it in my car, because it’s considered a crime since WW II that when you have a communication device that tells you the news and don’t report it, you get a hefty penalty.

  18. A small hello from one of the vikings opposing the tax on saturated fats.

    I would love to see the so-called proof that minimizing saturated fat will help the danes at all. But its probably just another case of “everybody knows”.

    But as Ulla points out in her comment. Its not about health anymore. Its about getting more money to support a (flawed) wellfare system.


  19. Nice to see so many from Denmark on this site. I was almost thinking I was the only one who practise a primal lifestyle around here.

  20. Well, Danes and basically all Europeans are socialist nuts! I’m saying this as a German myself.
    The issue is much bigger than it seems to be. It’s not just a tax on saturated fat or politicians knowing better and messing with your health.
    In Europe you belong to the state, you should only do whats good for society and not what’s good for yourself. It’s always society first. Just listen to any politician speech.
    This time it just happens to be fat!!

    If MDA would be a blog about something else (insert anything you could think of), the author would easily find a stupid ban or tax on it in Europe as well.

    2 years ago, they banned smoking in Germany, not only in public places, but also in private restaturants (the owner should have the right to decide).
    Even unhealthy things shouldn’t be the concern of the government.

    But it’s not the fault of the “state”, some politicians or “evil” grain lobbyists. It’s the fucking people, who support those ideas, go to the election and totally ignore and even deny the rise of the swollen bureaucracy with its psychological defects!!!!

    That’s why i enjoy reading Richard Nikoley, Kurt Harris and Don Matesz and other american paleo blogger. They have a different view of life. The free american view of life! I hope you all keep it!

    Sry for my rant, but please do not feel sorry for Europe. It’s our fault.