Modern to Primal: My Evolution to Proper Nutrition and Elite Fitness

fiber fallacies
August 13, 2009, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Carbohydrates, Food, Health and Wellness, Macro and Micronutrients


1. Fiber has no nutritive value. For this reason, of all carbohydrates, I would say that fiber perhaps most deserves the title “carbage.”

2. Fiber demonstrates antinutritive effects – blocking the absorption of essential nutrients. Another reason to put it in the junk food pile.

3. People eating high fiber diets demonstrate a greater risk of excessively long colons and a higher incidence of megacolon and volvulus (strangulated colon). This suggests that high fiber intake has a negative effect on colonic transit, actually facilitating impaction.

4. High fiber intake promotes bacterial growth and fermentation, which produces hydrogen, methane and carbon dioxide, causing cramps, bloating, and distension, all of which injure the colon.

5. Contrary to the predictions of Burkitt, Trowel, and other fiber fanatics, we have no evidence that increased fiber intake reduces diverticular disease; on the contrary “the incidence of diverticulosis and complications of diverticular disease have been increasing in the West despite increase in dietary fiber intake.”

6. We have no evidence that a human must have daily bowel evacuation of feces to maintain health of any body structure, colon included.


the vegetarian myth
August 12, 2009, 9:52 pm
Filed under: Food, Vegetarianism


Carnivores cannot survive on cellulose. They may on occasion eat grass, but they use it medicinally, usually as a purgative to clear their digestive tracts of parasites. Ruminants, on the other hand, have evolved to eat grass. They have a rumen (hence, ruminant), the first in a series of multiple stomachs that acts as a fermentative vat. What’s actually happening inside a cow or a zebra is that bacteria eat the grass, and the animals eat the bacteria.

Lions and hyenas and humans don’t have a ruminant’s digestive system. Literally from our teeth to our rectums we are designed for meat. We have no mechanism to digest cellulose.

So on the carnivore side of the fence, starvation will take every animal. Some will last longer than others, and those some will end their days as cannibals. The scavengers will have a Fat Tuesday party, but when the bones are picked clean, they’ll starve as well. The graveyard won’t end there. Without grazers to eat the grass, the land will eventually turn to desert.

Why? Because without grazers to literally level the playing field, the perennial plants mature, and shade out the basal growth point at the plant’s base. In a brittle environment like the Serengeti, decay is mostly physical (weathering) and chemical (oxidative), not bacterial and biological as in a moist environment. In fact, the ruminants take over most of the biological functions of soil by digesting the cellulose and returning the nutrients, once again available, in the form of urine and feces.

But without ruminants, the plant matter will pile up, reducing growth, and begin killing the plants. The bare earth is now exposed to wind, sun, and rain, the minerals leech away, and the soil structure is destroyed. In our attempt to save animals, we’ve killed everything.

On the ruminant side of the fence, the wildebeests and friends will reproduce as effectively as ever. But without the check of predators, there will quickly be more grazers than grass. The animals will outstrip their food source, eat the plants down to the ground, and then starve to death, leaving behind a seriously degraded landscape.

The lesson here is obvious, though it is profound enough to inspire a religion: we need to be eaten as much as we need to eat. The grazers need their daily cellulose, but the grass also needs the animals. It needs the manure, with its nitrogen, minerals, and bacteria; it needs the mechanical check of grazing activity; and it needs the resources stored in animal bodies and freed up by degraders when animals die.

The grass and the grazers need each other as much as predators and prey. These are not one-way relationships, not arrangements of dominance and subordination. We aren’t exploiting each other by eating. We are only taking turns.

That was my last visit to the vegan message boards. I realized then that people so deeply ignorant of the nature of life, with its mineral cycle and carbon trade, its balance points around an ancient circle of producers, consumers, and degraders, weren’t going to be able to guide me or, indeed, make any useful decisions about sustainable human culture. By turning from adult knowledge, the knowledge that death is embedded in every creature’s sustenance, from bacteria to grizzly bears, they would never be able to feed the emotional and spiritual hunger that ached in me from accepting that knowledge. Maybe in the end this book is an attempt to soothe that ache myself.

crossfit, workout #2
August 10, 2009, 6:24 pm
Filed under: CrossFit, Fitness

My sister and I went back to the CrossFit gym last Friday morning, and Tyler had us do the following WOD:

250M row, 10 medicine ball throws, 10 box jumps – 3 sets for time

We warmed up with squats and kettlebell swings. I completed my WOD in just over 7 minutes and Meredith just under 10. The intensity wasn’t as bad this time, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. It most likely means we could have pushed ourselves a lot harder.  I had to do the box jumps on the weightlifting platform instead of the actual box, as my glutes had a sharp pain when I stretched and landed. We also practiced proper form with a PVC pipe for when we start doing weightlifing.

Tyler (our coach) is going to be gone this week, so he emailed me a couple WOD’s that we can do while he’s gone. We’ll be back in the gym next week. I’m feeling good! 22 pounds down since June!

primal food pyramid
August 4, 2009, 8:31 pm
Filed under: Food Pyramid, Primal Blueprint

I’m posting this as an overview for anyone that is curious about the way I currently eat.  A lot of people have inquired about it. The Paleo/Primal nutrition concept is largely the same, give or take a few differences depending on the expert you read. This is a good primer.

primal pyramid

mark sisson’s carbohydrate curve
August 4, 2009, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Carbohydrates, Health and Wellness, Primal Blueprint

carb curve

first day at crossfit mpls
August 1, 2009, 11:39 pm
Filed under: CrossFit, Fitness

mere and me xfit day 1It’s going to be very difficult to try to describe the level of intensity that my sister and I experienced at our first CrossFit workout on Thursday. We are both overweight and out of shape, not to mention non-athletic to begin with. Tyler, our coach, started us with basic form on squats. Then we practiced pull-ups with large rubber bands attached to our feet for buoyancy. Then we warmed up with walking lunges and arm circles with 10-pound free weights. We took a walk down the path where we would be doing 200 meter sprints (twice). When he had showed us everything we would be doing in a timed session, we were both already exhausted.

The building is in the Mpls warehouse district, and a railroad track sits between the gym’s main building and another one just like it. There is lots of loose gravel in that area, and that’s where the sprints begin. Tyler started the timer, and we took off. My legs literally gave out from under me and I slammed into the gravel. I was stunned, but embarrassed enough that I got right back up and started running again. It hurt like hell. Words cannot express how much I HATE running. My lungs were burning, and my newly scraped skin felt prickly and on fire. I literally fought back tears due to physical pain, but I endured.

Got back to the gym, did 10 pull ups, 15 push-ups, 20 sit-ups, 30 squats, and yet another hellacious 200 meter sprint. We never found out our time. This was likely due to the fact that it nearly killed us to complete the reps at all. Tyler even cut them down to half the amount due to our poor fitness level. Thankfully, he suggested that we work together in private lessons for the next 2-3 weeks to get our form down on the basics. We won’t even start the Olympic lifting stuff until then. He said that the classes would likely deter us from coming back, as the other members can be very intense. Now normally this would have hurt my feelings and I would have just said ‘fuck it’ and decided to not come back. But not this time. I wanted to kick some ass. Even though I’ve never felt pain like that in my life, I was determined to come back and do better next time. This is the kind of commitment level that CrossFit requires. There is no half-ass effort here. You either give it your personal best, or you go home.

I’m not going home. I’m going back…and I’m going to prove to myself that I have what it takes to do this.

quick follow-up to last post
July 30, 2009, 1:07 am
Filed under: CrossFit, Fitness


Madonna looks like the marathon runner’s in that photo. She must spend the majority of her time doing chronic cardio and very little weight lifting. If I remember correctly, she’s way into Yoga, and probably considers that her ‘strength training.’ I’m not judging; everyone has their own way of getting in shape. I’m just guessing from what I’ve learned so far in researching CrossFit athetes.