Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You're going to die of a heart attack! a.k.a. My intro to paleo eating

"SPSHHHHHHHHhhhhh...." The smell and the sizzle were wonderful.

The worried look on my sweet wife's face was not so wonderful.

It was early in the morning on June 1st, 2011.

I was cooking my first intentionally paleo meal.

The cooked pile of grass-fed ground beef was waiting on a plate. I was sauteing a huge pile of purple cabbage, sliced carrots, and a few slivered almonds in the copious layer of beef fat that remained in the cast iron pan. This, along with some fresh dill from the garden, carrot sticks and an apple, would be my breakfast and lunch for "Day 1 of  trying to prove Robb Wolf wrong."

It was one of the best breakfasts I've ever had.

Eating paleo was to be an experiment for me. I had just read "The Paleo Solution" by Robb Wolf, and decided I would call his bluff; I would try eating this way for one month... Just to see what would happen.

Over my shoulder, I heard in a tone of dread,

 "Honey, I'm afraid you're going to die of a heart attack!"

My wife was genuinely concerned for my well being. Like most folks in our culture, (and like myself prior to reading this book) she thought saturated, DELICIOUS animal fat was the fastest way to slippery-slide yourself straight into the morgue.
We had a half-full bottle of organic, expeller-pressed canola oil that I was refusing to use... You know, the "heart-healthy" stuff! However, Robb Wolf makes some pretty good arguments, and I figured it was worth a shot to try it out, despite scaring my sweetie with my seemingly insane food choices.

Within 2 days, my chronic, ahem.. "digestive issues" (you know... the kind that would wake my wife up at night.) had disappeared!!!

Seriously, she had been putting up with my nasty, gassy, bloating guts for years. (What a kind, patient and wonderful soul she is.) The gas was GONE.

"Maybe the risk of heart attack is worth it," She said.

In her typical, understated sense of humor, she had given me approval to continue my seemingly dangerous experiment.

By the end of the month, The results were astounding:

-I had lost 15 lbs without trying.
I was back at what I used to call my "fighting weight" in the days before we had kids... (Back then I rode my bike daily, practiced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 5 or 6 days per week, contact improv and yoga twice per week.)
-My energy levels were soaring.
-The mild "old man aches" in my joints were completely gone!
-I was sleeping better.
-The chronic chest and sinus congestion that I've had for 20+ years was gone...
-Essentially, I felt like a 19 year old! (with a tad more emotional maturity, I hope...)

As I stepped out of the shower, my kind and previously skeptical wife said, "Ok, You didn't look that good when we met. I need to read that book."

Needless to say, within one month, her transformation was amazing as well:
-This mother of 2 who had been teaching yoga for a decade had to buy new jeans. (Her old ones were falling off!)
-She was STRONGER! Strong enough to do yoga poses she had never had the strength to do.
-Her PMS and cramps were gone... GONE! This was good for everyone.
-The bloating and discomfort she used to have after every meal were all GONE.
-Like me, her energy levels were soaring!

What did we eat? It's very simple... This is NOT a complicated thing:

-Veggies (not corn, it's a grain.)
-Meats (Primarily pasture raised mammals and birds, and wild caught fish) and "good fats" (coconut oil, fat from healthy animals, avocados)
-Nuts (not peanuts... They are beans)
-A little full-fat dairy for her, but not for me. (More on that later...)

Pretty much in that order of volume... picture it like a "paleo food pyramid"
 The bottom is animals and plants.
The top is fruits and nuts.

What was NOT on the plate?
sugary beverages (including juice)
Grains (ESPECIALLY Wheat!)
Beans (except a few green beans)
Sugar and other refined sweeteners.
"vegetable" oils. (actually industrial seed oil. Has anyone ever actually gotten oil out of a vegetable?)

Does this look like a restrictive diet to you?
This meal was a delicious, local grass fed beef burger, oven- roasted veggies, and an avocado fried in the high-quality beef fat left behind from the burger... YUM!

At this point, we've settled into a nice "paleo-esque" groove. We're not super strict paleovores, but that's basically how we eat.

The truth is, I have enjoyed food more in the last 2 years than ever before! (and those of you who know me know how I love good food!)

So far, no heart attack, and my bloodwork is quite impressive!

"Praise the Lard!" (Pasture-raised, of course.) -Mo the human

How NOT to learn barefoot running!

Behold... The Brooks BEAST! (My old "foot coffins" that made natural, gentle running impossible.)

Below I am pasting A re-post from Steven Sashen at xero shoes... (my favorite sandals) 
for more, look at my resources page.

Enjoy!-Mo the human

(Read this online at www.xeroshoes.com/transition)

I was on a panel discussion about barefoot running a while 
back. At one point, someone in the audience asked,

So how do I transition to barefoot running?

Quick Note -- while this is about running, if you're not a
runner this story is still relevant and important for you.

Okay, back to the story.

Before I could respond to the question, a well-respected 
physical therapist suggested the following:

"First, switch to a slightly lower-heeled shoe than what 
you have. Run in that for a few months. Then switch to a 
racing flat, maybe one day a week for a while… then add 
an extra day every month, until you can run in those. Then 
maybe try something like Vibrams on a soft surface, like 
grass in a park. Work up to being able to run on the grass... 
then try a soft dirt path. Eventually you may be able to run 
on hard surfaces, but don't do that too often. And I don't 
recommend being totally barefoot because you could step on 

The only reason I didn't interrupt him was that I was in shock!

I had never heard anything so insane in my life. Until he 
he tossed out his next bit of barefoot running advice:

"Expect to spend about 2 to 3 years making the transition. 
That's how long I've been doing it and I'm still not there."

That's when my shock gave way to action, and I took off the 
politeness gloves.

"Hold on," I said, "this is completely upside down and wrong!"

Danny Abshire from Newton jumped in as well, "Right, that's 

I'll tell you what Danny and I proposed, instead, in just a 
moment. But first, let's back up to the question that started 
it all.

"How do you transition!?"

The idea built into the question itself seems to make sense. 
If you're wearing a motion-controlled shoe with a 3″ heel 
and a $400 orthotic, it seems logical that you need to slowly 
wean yourself from all that support. It seems clear that you 
would need to get comfortable in a lower and lower heel until 
you're ready for barefoot.

But as we've already seen in the previous days of this course, 
things are not always as they seem.

Here's the bottom line:

There is nothing that "prepares" you for being barefoot.


Not "zero-drop" shoes (where your heel is at the same height 
as the ball of your foot). Not Vibrams. Not a thinner insole. 
Not even Xero Shoes (more about those in a second).

Anything that you put on your feet will change either your 
stride and biomechanics, or the amount of sensation you're 
feeling in your feet (or both) compared to being barefoot. 
So once you take off your shoes, or fully feel the ground, 
you'll need to learn to move differently.

Here's where some people stop reading what I'm saying and 
respond with two arguments (to points I'm not making).

First, they'll say, "Oh, so you're some sort of barefoot 
purist! Who are you to tell me what to wear or not wear?"

To be clear, I'm not telling anyone what to wear and I'm not 
saying barefoot is the only way to be. Admittedly, the 
majority of my time I am in Xero Shoes, but not always 
(more about when I'm not, and when you shouldn't be in 
an upcoming lesson).

This article is about the myth of "transitioning", not 
about your footwear, or lack thereof.

Secondly, people will say, "Yes, but switching to a racing 
flat or zero-drop shoe will give your Achilles time to 
stretch and strengthen, and that better prepares you for 
being barefoot."

To them I say, "Not always. And for almost everyone, your 
Achilles has more than enough stretch. And, even if it were 
true that you needed to stretch your Achilles, there's a 
better way than spending 2-3 years to make that happen."

Keep in mind that the biggest reason for going totally 
barefoot is that feeling the ground with your skin gives 
you the most feedback about your form. Feedback that, if 
you attend to it, can inspire you to change your gait to 
something more efficient, easy, and natural. Running in 
Xero Shoes is, really, the same... if they covered 
everywhere you stepped in 4-6mm of flexible rubber.

All the other shoes I've tested reduce the amount of ground 
sensation you feel so that you don't get the feedback you 
need to adjust your gait.

I've seen hundreds of people in VFFs or racing flats who 
still heel strike or have some other gait pattern where 
they aren't getting much if any extra "Achilles strengthening 
and stretching".

So, what's the better way to "transition" that Danny and I 
chimed in with?

1) Take off your shoes (or put on your Invisible Shoes), 
find the hardest and smoothest surface you can find 
(like a bike path or street) and run.

2) But only do it for about 200 yards.

3) See how you feel the next day.

You may be sore, you may be fine. If you're sore, wait until 
you're not. Then go try again, and add 100 or 200 yards. Repeat.

I think of this as the "Shampoo method" of barefoot running. 
Instead of "Lather, Rinse, Repeat," it's run a little, rest, 
repeat (and run a little more).

Keep in mind, there are two types of soreness. One is from 
using muscles you haven't used in a while, or using them in 
a way you haven't used in a while (if ever), or using them 
a bit more than usual.

The other is from doing something wrong. Like doing way too 
much distance (which part of 200 yards was confusing to you?), 
or trying to stay on your toes without letting your heels 
ever touch the ground (Not necessary... land mid- or forefoot, 
but your heel can touch down. No need to do 200 yards of 
calf raises).

In other words, a little soreness is probably normal. A lot of 
soreness is telling you to try something different.

And this idea that you need to be on soft surfaces. Completely 
wrong. And wrong for the same reason that you don't want to 
be in cushy running shoes.

Give yourself a soft surface and the odds are good you'll 
heel-strike. Plus, soft surfaces don't give you the feedback 
you want, the kind that can help you quickly learn a new 
and better way to run. I've seen barefoot runners who've 
only run on grass, and they usually look like shod runners 
who lost their shoes.

Instead of thinking that you can work your way to barefoot 
or huaraches slowly, go there immediately. But work your 
way up in time/distance slowly.

All the strengthening that you want to do before you run 
barefoot, you'll get that faster by running barefoot.

All the stretching you need (if, in fact, you need any), 
you'll get that by building up your distance, slowly.

To misquote Yoda's famous "There is no try. Only do." 
There is no transition, only run (or walk, as the case may be).

Oh, and in the next lesson, I'll share some of the most 
important tips about exactly HOW to walk or run barefoot, 
including some suggestions that, frankly, I never wanted 
to share with anyone... shhhhh.

Let me know what you think. Go to www.xeroshoes.com/transition
and add your comments.

Feel The World!
-Steven Sashen, CEO

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I should have worn a black trenchcoat and mirrored sunglasses to my health screening.

If I were much cooler than I actually am, this would have been me:

My employer gave a free (mandatory) employee health screening as part of the health insurance program. Needless to say, I rocked it. (Despite eating "all the wrong foods" and working out 15 minutes per week.)
 I hope the nurse who did my bloodwork will read my blog, as she was a very nice person.

Triglycerides: "Should be less than 150" Mine was 50.

HDL aka "Good Cholesterol": "Should be at least 40" Mine was 97.

LDL aka "Bad Cholesterol": "Yours didn't show up on test because the triglycerides were so low."

Total Cholesterol: 222    "A little high." (I am NOT worried, BTW!)

WHY am I not worried about my "high cholesterol"?
Third, if you are really concerned about heart health, or are on statins, you might consider reading this new book by Jimmy Moore
Fourth, LDL is not BAD! If it were, why would our body make it?

Praise the lard! (pasture raised, of course...) -Mo the human

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Resources for natural foot health and reclaiming your natural human gait.

Greetings, fellow humans! 

As of 4-4-15 this post (after some editing) has been moved to my new website:


Thanks for your support over all these years!

Much love and respect, Mo the human

Monday, October 7, 2013

Paleo Brownies recipe

These are my wife's "almost famous" paleo brownies (slightly modified from Mark Sisson's "Primal Blueprint Cookbook")

Bacon and birthday candles optional, of course!

While not what I'd call health food, they are a delicious, "healthier" treat for that occasion when a cake is desired.  If you have trouble eating treats in moderation, I'd recommend making these only when you have lots of folks to feed, as they are GOOD! This dessert has shown a few of our "paleo-phobic" friends and family that we are indeed not suffering by how we choose to eat. For those who don't know, they will never suspect that these brownies (more like a moist, delicious chocolate cake) are grain-free and non-dairy!

Paleo Brownie Recipe:


1 3/4 cup almond meal (We use Trader Joe's Almond Meal)
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (We use Droste. It is extra rich)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 cup coconut milk (full fat variety in a can)
3/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil (gently melted)
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (melted)

Preheat oven to 350.

Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix together dry ingredients until well blended. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs for one minute, then add coconut milk, maple syrup and whisk again. Add melted coconut oil and whisk until wet ingredients are completely blended. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and whisk well; be sure to scrape sides and bowl bottom so no pockets of dry ingredient remain. Fold in melted chocolate chips and walnuts. Batter will be thinner consistency than conventional brownies. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Enjoy in moderation... If you can! (bacon decoration is optional, of course...)

If you'd like to go all "birthday cake" on it, HERE is a good frosting recipe.