An Upbuilding Discourse

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Research on Being

Notes on Exercise I

Perhaps inadvertently I have been doing a fair amount of research on exercise trying to come up with a program that works for me and will produce some results as far as adding muscle to my chest and producing strength and flexibility in my body. For the moment, it seems that the only tools one would require at max are sandbags, kettlebells, dumbbells, and a pull-up bar depending on your preferences. A program can be divided between:

-Weight training with dumbbells, sandbags, and body weight

-Ballistic training with kettlebells

-Flexibility training with something like yoga

-Cardio with sprinting and hiking

I believe that with these you can increase endurance, strength, and flexibility but we’ll see if I change my mind as I begin to implement it and do further research into it. So far I have been doing bodyweight training twice a week until last week when I got one dumbbell which I’ve been using for pullovers and weighted bends. Yesterday I received a kettlebell and I will begin to use it as soon as I stop being sore to do swings in addition to the bodyweight training and dumbbell training for 2-3 days a week. I will attempt to add some yoga training at some point after this to help with my flexibility and do some sprinting and hiking once the weather gets better.

EDIT: I have changed my mind about many of these things. See here and here.

Filed under: Dumbbells, Getting ripped, Kettlebells, Strength training, Training

Ever Heard of Diindolylmethane (DIM)?

I hadn’t heard of it at all until yesterday by chance on an acne forum where a woman had reported that her stubborn acne was greatly reduced after supplementing with DIM. I looked it up and DIM is something formed from indole 3-carbinol which is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli. If these websites are to be believed then DIM is perfectly safe in men and women and promotes healthy hormonal metabolism by essentially helping to metabolize bad estrogen in the body into good estrogen which in women helps to support healthy estrogen levels and in men helps to free bound testosterone so that in each gender a better hormonal balance is achieved. Hence the reason why it would seem this compound would help to clear up acne.

In any case, I am a man and am wondering if this might help me with mood stabilization and muscle synthesis so I may give this thing a try and see what happens. At the best, it would seem to simply free up my own testosterone and at the worst it would do nothing.

Now why might DIM be necessary or helpful? I am starting to think that maybe one of the reasons for the acne that prevails in the industrialized world and does not in hunter-gather groups is because of an excess of unnatural estrogen. First of all there is phytoestrogen which no hunter-gatherer groups would’ve consumed a huge amount of considering that the largest source of phytoestrogen that I know of is soy and that is a legume. Secondly, I remember reading somewhere that many of the pesticides that are used to grow produce can act as hormone disruptors in the body. Thirdly, apparently plastics have something called xenoestrogen which also acts as estrogen in the body. Fourthly, our water is contaminated with hormones I am sure from the waste products of contraceptives among other things. It would seem that all this would create an environment in which it would not be too difficult to produce hormonal imbalances in people. Use plastics, drink water, eat some soy, and eat some conventional produce and you probably have some of these fake estrogen compounds in your body. There is also the interesting point made by Don Matesz (in this post) that we probably are eating a lot less testosterone than we probably did historically. His argument is essentially that historically we likely ate a lot of bull meat since killing a bull would have very little effect of the fertility of a herd versus killing a cow. Nowadays, most of our meat comes from steers whose hormonal production is much less than that of bulls due to their castration. Add all this up and it seems like maybe DIM would be helpful to more people than just post-menopausal women and old men.

References:

http://www.wholeworldbotanicals.com/factsdimmen

http://www.dimfaq.com/site/toc.htm

Filed under: Acne, Diindolylmethane, DIM, Hormones, Strength training, Supplements

Some Random Stuff: Keratosis Pilaris and Pectus Excavatum

Tonight for some reason I decided to consider a few random problems that I have to see if anyone has contrived any solutions for them and it seems that things are hopeful.

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis pilaris is a skin problem that has to do with some overproduction of keratin I believe. It seems that supplementing vitamin A can reduce and possibly even eliminate this problem. Apparently, vitamin A is implicated in skin health so it makes sense that it would have an effect. In most of the cases I encountered it seemed that cod liver oil was the preferred method of supplementation as it was more bioavailable than the vitamin A in plant sources. So we’ll see what happens when I try this out in the future. I am already taking some vitamin A but it’s in pill form as retinol palmitate which seems to be less effective, however, my KP is not all that bad so maybe it is helping out some.

Pectus Excavatum

Pectus excavatum basically means hollowed out chest and refers to a chest dent that happens from a sunken in sternum. It seems that people do not know what causes it so they default to genetics. It seems, however, that this problem often develops during adolescence when there is some growth happening in that area so I am starting to believe that though genetics may play a role, posture is probably the main factor in its occurrence. After all, in many hunter-gatherer groups, this deformity does not seem to exist at all and they have much better posture than we in the West do. Anyway, it seems that this problem can also be reduced to the point of insignificance for many who have a mild case (like me) by simply improving posture and doing sufficient strength training to add some muscle mass to the chest. I have already begun improving my posture and am finding that the muscolo-skeletal chest pain I used to have has been significantly reduced and that my sternum is cracking less. That is already a good enough reason but if I can also eliminate the appearance of my pectus excavatum that’ll be good as well so we shall see where this goes. Since the start of the year I have also been doing some basic weight training so hopefully that shall also yield some results in time. For those of you with this problem consider this path instead of surgery. If you do a google image search you can see that the difference can be significant indeed.

Filed under: CLO, Getting ripped, Keratosis Pilaris, Pectus Excavatum, Strength training, Vitamin A

How Does the Body Use Fuel?

I’ve been trying to get a bit more information in regards to the issue of elevated NEFAs (non-esterified fatty acids) and what effect they may have on the body and trying to wade through it is a bit difficult. People are just not as obsessed with NEFAs as they are with blood sugar but I’m starting to think that maybe the macronutrient balance of a diet does matter and that exercise is absolutely essential in all cases.

How things appear so far are like so:

On the one hand, the body can use glucose as a fuel source. One can thus have a high carb diet but if one is not active enough then this may lead to elevated blood sugar which can cause problems and potentially lead to insulin resistance.

On the other hand, the body can use fat as a fuel source. One can thus have a high fat diet but if one is not active enough then this may lead to elevated NEFAs which can cause problems and potentially lead to insulin resistance.

It seems to be that the trick is either to be active enough to reduce the possibility of elevated NEFAs or blood sugar on either sort of diet or to run your engine on both fuels thus reducing the possibility of an excess of either. However, it may be more difficult to produce elevated NEFAs unless a person already has a lot of excess adipose tissue but I am not sure of this yet.

This is all just sort of my own speculations as I have not thoroughly investigated this and, in any case, I’m not a scientist so the further I get into it the more confusing it becomes to me. But I shall be reading some books that may cover this or something similar to it such as the Perfect Health Diet so we’ll see what else I encounter. This is mostly just a note to myself that I want to consider the role of NEFAs in the body more thoroughly as time goes on.

Filed under: Diet, Macronutrients,

Reassessing Some Dietary Paradigms

Well, on a whim I listened to Jimmy Moore’s interview with CarbSane due to the sensationalism of the title heading. Now I had heard of CarbSane before but I thought she was just some random person with a personal blog about her low carb diet progress and not a trained scientist with a critique of Gary Taubes’s logic in Good Calories, Bad Calories. Well, let’s just say that some of my views have changed. I still believe that a low-moderate carb whole foods Paleo style diet is where it’s at but some of the underlying reasons behind this that I held after reading Good Calories, Bad Calories no longer seem tenable or have been replaced by other ideas. After listening to the interview I basically blew through some of CarbSane’s blog posts on the topic in addition to James Krieger’s piece on insulin and some of the articles over at Lyle McDonald’s website and they seem to have some interesting points.

For the most part, the biggest issues taken against Taubes seems to be his logic of caloric deficits not being needed for weight loss and the role of insulin in the body. I believe CarbSane was accurate in characterizing Taubes as inconsistent inasmuch as it comes to the role of calories in weight since he seems to imply in some parts of his book that calories don’t count at all while in other parts he seems to imply that, in practice, they don’t matter since these weight loss diets have such a high factor of satiety that calories are cut spontaneously. There is obviously a huge difference between these two positions as one accepts that calories in and calories out matter whereas one does not.

James Krieger’s article basically takes issue with the demonization of insulin in many low carb circles (including those surrounding Taubes) and with the idea that insulin and, by extension, carbs are somehow uniquely fattening in some way. He argues that insulin acts as a regulating hormone that tells the liver to stop secreting glucose when glucose is being ingested and helps increase uptake of glucose in the cells while also suppressing hunger. In other words, insulin’s function is not seen as bad but necessary and he also shows that its elevation does not last very long and that foods on low carb diets (such as dairy and meat) also cause insulin to increase. At the end of the article, one basically comes away with the idea that insulin is not the most important factor in cells taking up fat and that a more damaging problem is not insulin so much as very high blood sugar levels which are not, in fact, the same, which is shown by the fact that some foods with a high insulin response have a small effect on blood sugar versus other foods with the same insulin response.

So if calories do matter and insulin isn’t the bad guy does this mean that you should go on a grain binge or something? Of course not. What it does mean is that insulin response is not the primary factor in determining what effect on body composition a food is going to have and that simply getting rid of carbs is not going to magically change your body compositions because of hormonal balances changing. It may still seem to magically change your body composition among other things but that will be happening for different reasons. First of all, quality of carbs matter and it seems that many refined carbs  are both less filling and more energy dense than other foods thus increasing caloric intake very easily. Secondly, grains are full of anti-nutrients and other toxins which can create problems so it still makes sense to limit or eliminate them but it seems that overall, as long as your carbs come from fruits, vegetables, or rice there shouldn’t be much of a problem. If you’re trying to lose weight you should still limit carbs, however, mostly because your body will burn more fat if glucose from carbs are not available as an energy source. It seems that if you want to reduce caloric intake it makes the most sense to change what foods you’re eating so that you get full and get the full balance of necessary nutrients from a smaller amount of food. What this means is that you need to eat more of foods that are highly satiating and which can suppress hunger for longer. What this means is basically that if you eat more protein, fat, and fiber on a diet then you should spontaneously decrease your caloric intake as these are all highly satiating. I also believe that though eating carbs with fat isn’t a problem in and of itself as far as how the body processes it, that specific combination is probably easier to overconsume because it is highly palatable.

So, right now I would an say ideal diet for weight loss would be biased towards meat, fat, and fiber (fibrous vegetable) consumption in order to produce spontaneous caloric reduction. If the diet is not for weight loss then it no longer matters so much what you eat in what ratio so long as you avoid fake foods (artificial and processed foods) and high toxin foods (vegetable oils, legumes (except lentils), nuts (except chestnuts), grains (except rice)) and get a good balance of raw, cooked, and fermented foods.

Filed under: Diet, Insulin, Macronutrients, Taubes, Weight loss, , ,

Conclusions on Dealing with Dental Issues

I have finished my review of some of the basic secondary literature on dealing with tooth decay and periodontal problems and have come up with some conclusions based on this. The basic conclusion is simply that dental problems are caused endogenously by bad diet and are exasperated by bad hygienic management of the mouth. This is something that unfortunately is a problem for a large proportion of Western populations for two simple reasons. We eat a bad diet and are misinformed about what a proper diet is made out of and, secondly, we are misinformed about what proper dental hygiene is and what are the most salient factors within it. The main problem is misinformation.

Diet

The most important part of the tooth decay problem is simply structural integrity of the tooth itself. This can be increased by having a well managed diet so that the tooth is not demineralizing because of deficiencies in the body and is able to maintain itself properly. The most important vitamins to achieve this are the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K2 and the most important minerals are calcium and phosphorus (in a ratio of 2.5:1). These will be found most plentifully in grass-fed raw dairy products, eggs, seafood, bone marrow, and organ meats (especially liver).

The reason that the dairy products should be raw and grass-fed is simply because being grass-fed will ensure that the products will have the proper mineral balance and vitamins.  Being raw will ensure that those minerals and vitamins will be the most bioavailable. The process of pasteurization destroys enzymes, such as phosphotase, that help with digestion thus making, for instance, the phosphorus less bioavailable than it otherwise would be with the raw product. This enzyme destruction happens when you heat milk above 118F. If you are lactose intolerant there is a chance that you can tolerate fermented raw dairy better than the pasteurized versions but if you cannot then you can get sufficient quantities of these vitamins and minerals through the other foods listed or through supplementation. A high vitamin butter oil combined with cod liver oil should be sufficient to provide you with everything you need. Green Pasture sells these products though you can probably find your own source if you prefer.

It seems that magnesium, copper, iron, and manganese deficiencies may exasperate tooth decay so if you are still having problems after ensuring adequate intake of the aforementioned vitamins and minerals then consider a deficiency in one of these as a possibility, however, if you have a good diet it is unlikely that you shall be lacking in any of these.

Another important thing to consider in the diet realm is that there are many foods that contain large amounts of toxins that can stress the body and which can bind to minerals reducing their absorption. It is best to avoid these foods or to take care in preparing them so that these toxins are reduced. In general, the foods highest in toxins are grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. Among these foods, the ones lowest in toxins are white rice, chestnuts, and lentils. In any case, no matter which specific food it is among these, you should always soak before you eat or cook the food. With some foods, neutralizing toxins will take more work such as with wheat where a real fermented sourdough bread is your ideal choice since this type of bread is soaked and fermented reducing phytic acid further. In general, however, avoid these except for the aforementioned low toxin foods which can be eaten on occasion with sufficient prep work and should preferably be paired with foods rich in vitamin D, vitamin C, or calcium to moderate their negative effects.

Sweets are also to be avoided since they can cause blood sugar swings which are bad for maintaining mineral stability not to mention all the other problems they are associated with. When you do have something sweet it should preferably be sweetened with honey, molasses, or maple syrup. Sweet fruit should be eaten in moderation and you should prefer bitter fruit like berries, kiwis, and green apples.

Vegetable oils should also be avoided since they contain large amounts of omega-6 PUFAs which can can predispose the body to systemic inflammation. Replace these with animal fats or coconut oil.

Hygiene

The bacteria that can potentially cause the most damage in the mouth are the acid producing anaerobic bacteria that feed off of sugars. This is another reason to avoid eating too many sweets. These bacteria will multiply further in a dry and acidic mouth so the goal is to have an alkaline mouth with healthy saliva secretion which will help remineralize teeth that require it. Towards this end it may be useful to check the pH of your water to ensure that it is neutral or alkaline. It is also important to use mouth rinses without alcohol as alcohol tends to dry out the mouth. When eating food, you should try and end by alkalinizing your mouth by drinking water with your meal or finishing with an alkalinizing food such as cheese.

Some suggest using xylitol mints. This may or may not be to your preference. It seems that xylitol can reduce the anerobic bacteria in a mouth and make the environment more alkaline, however, for those who want natural alternatives for dental hygiene this solution may not be ideal. Xylitol is a processed sugar product derived from birch and, anecdotally, appears to irritate the digestive system in some. It is also lethal to dogs. Use your own judgment. It seems that using xylitol for a limited amount of time may permanently change the mouth environment into being more alkaline so it may be useful to use xylitol for a limited amount of time only.

An ideal oral hygiene routine appears to combine oral irrigation,  oil pulling, toothbrushing, flossing, gum massage, blotting, and mouth rinses in some fashion though not all of these are needed together.

A good sample program could be like so:

-Oral irrigation with herbal rinse

-Alkaline mouth wash

-Brush teeth with oil mixture

-Floss with dental tape if necessary

-Blot or massage gums if necessary

-Antiseptic rinse

-Oral irrigatin again

-Alkaline herbal rinse

In this way the mouth would be cleaned of any food particles that may be stuck with the blotting, flossing, and oral irrigation. The bacteria would be killed by the antiseptic rinse and the mouth environment would be made alkaline before the abrasive activity of brushing and after finishing.

It is important to also sleep with one’s mouth closed to avoid dry mouth.

Oil pulling is an additional procedure which can also be helpful in removing toxins from the mouth. It is simply holding sesame oil, for instance, in your mouth for 10-20 minutes and then spitting it out.

In your own dental hygiene procedure I would suggest that you consider a combination of antiseptic rinses to kill bacteria, alkaline rinses to produce an alkaline environment in the mouth, and mechanical or chemical ways to remove food particles such as flossing, oral irrigation, or blotting. It may also be helpful to stimulate the gums in some way in order to get blood to circulate there such as massaging with a Perio-Aid, brush, or rubber tip.

The best results will be had by improving both of these factors so that the environment in which the teeth live in is less damaging to them and the teeth are themselves stronger and better able to manage.

Sources:

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/06/activator-x.html

http://www.westonaprice.org/abcs-of-nutrition/175-x-factor-is-vitamin-k2.html

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/06/vitamin-k2-menatetrenone-mk-4.html

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/12/dr-mellanbys-tooth-decay-reversal-diet.html

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/03/preventing-tooth-decay.html

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2009/03/reversing-tooth-decay.html

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/05/pastured-dairy-may-prevent-heart.html

http://www.phyticacid.org/nuts/phytic-acid-in-nuts/

http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/1893-living-with-phytic-acid.html

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/05/real-food-vii-lentils.html

Nagel, Ramiel. Cure Tooth Decay: Remineralize Cavities & Repair Your Teeth Naturally with Good Food.

Phillips, Ellie. Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye: A Do-It-Yourself Mouthcare System for Healthy, Clean Gums and Teeth.

Senzon, Sandra. Reversing Gum Disease Naturally: A Holistic Home Care Program.

Snape, David. What You Should Know About Gum Disease.

Filed under: Dental Hygiene, Diet, Teeth, , ,

A Note on Diet

I shall soon make a very substantive post about dental hygiene but, before I get to that, I had a few notes on diet that I wanted to write about based on my most recent experiences and considerations.

For a while I was on a Primal style low carb diet which I believe became zero-carb and inadequate in terms of calories inadvertently due to a lack of good planning on my part which I am now in the process of remedying. After reviewing some of the posts at the Perfect Health Diet blog I came to the conclusion that lack of carbs and lack of calories was probably the reason behind my lower energy and after considering some of my meals for  a few days I realized that there was a substantial caloric deficit and that the carbs recently had been very minor. In addition to this, I have come over to the persuasion that white rice is the only allowable grain. It seems to be fairly neutral as far as toxins go and to not elicit the same types of negative responses in the same severity as the other main grains (wheat and corn). Furthermore, its affect on dental health appears to be minor or nonexistent.

All this has led me to view a diet to be ideally composed of the following:

-safe starches – tubers or rice

-vegetables – leafy greens especially

-meat – especially red meat, organ meats, bones, and seafood

-dairy – fermented kefir, yogurt, or cheese

-fruit

-nuts – soaked

I believe that the first three components should be the basis of each meal with the optional addition of the dairy component and that fruit and nuts can be consumed in more moderate quantities throughout the week. In this way I believe one can get an adequate balance of macronutrients.

Beyond this, I believe that daily a person should probably get a balance of food that is cooked, raw, or fermented for maximal benefit. Vegetables should be cooked or fermented most of the time since many contain toxins that are neutralized in these processes. Meat may be consumed fermented, raw, or cooked. Starches should be cooked. Nuts and fruits can be consumed cooked or raw (but nuts should still be soaked).

These are some conclusions I have drawn for now as an addendum to my ideal dietary regimen. What macronutrient and prep ratios are something you must determine based on preference, digestion, weight loss goals, and autophagy needs. Keep in mind that it may be most helpful for you to cycle between different forms of your diet. I plan on reading a few more books on diet including a raw food book that includes raw meat as a topic and will see what else is in need of changing after I finish these.

Filed under: Diet, Macronutrients, ,