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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

pqtd #112 Exercise by not Moving a Muscle!

This sounds crazy, but it’s not- you really can get the best workout of your life by not moving a muscle! How?  Isometrics.
Now isometrics has gotten a really bad rap for a long time, the reasons for which are quite convoluted.  Back in the 1960’s (I’ll try to make this really short), Bob Hoffman, editor of Strength and Health magazine, was a proponent of isometrics.  He was also a big proponent of barbells, and so he incorporated barbells into isometric training with use of a “power rack”.  A power rack is a very useful piece of equipment, much more useful to my mind than barbells, and I have one in my training dungeon basement!  It is a large steel “cage” that can support thousands of pounds, and has steel pins that can be set at any height to hold a barbell.  This can save you if you “miss” a lift, that bar cannot come crashing down!
Also, however, you can press a barbell into the pin, pushing as hard and as long as you like, thus giving you a great isometric workout.
Bob Hoffman had his athletes train with the power rack with isometrics, and they were setting world records like crazy!  Unfortunately, at the same time they were also taking steroids, which had recently become available, and so all the benefit of isometrics was attributed to steroids.  This was a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, however, since isometrics do have incredible benefits in training!  And, although a power rack is nice to have, it is certainly not necessary at all. 
Probably the very best way to train isometrically is simply by gradually flexing and holding each muscle in the body, together for a short time.  Really, it is that simple- slowly flex your calves, thighs, glutes, back, chest, shoulders and arms.  Flex them, hard, about 80-90% of your maximum effort… hold that for about 6-7 seconds… and then gradually relax.  Repeat this same exercise for 6-8 times. 
Congratulations!  You have just done more for your body, both the physique and for your circulation, than anything else you could have done.  Every muscle, including tendons and ligaments, has been stimulated to strengthen.  And most importantly, this exercise causes blood pressure to regulate better than any other!  It can lower high blood pressure almost magically, without drugs, and without a major time commitment.  You can do it anywhere, anytime, and you don’t need to go to a gym or change clothes. 
There is even a computerized device using this principle called the Zona Plus.  This is an ingenious device that is winning accolades, and rightly so, for solving high blood pressure without drugs!  How does it do this?  Isometrics.   The Zona Plus is a small ball that you squeeze as hard as you can for two minutes.  It can tell from computerization just how hard you need to squeeze, and can be used by very debilitated people, since it senses how much they can safely squeeze, and limits them to that limit.
This is great, and if you are debilitated and/or have dangerously high blood pressure I recommend this device to you.  But, it costs hundreds of dollars, and if you are currently really healthy like me…
I recommend the former isometric exercise!  It’s free, it’s very effective on multiple levels (not just your grip strength), and it hits your entire body!  Go ahead- work out!  But for this one- don’t move a muscle.

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

pqtd 111 Save Your Body, mind and SOUL

I know this is kind of a perennial topic for me, but I think it is so important! Our culture, our “hyper civilized” way of life has become just that- hyper civilized, meaning civilized to too great of a degree; think “sissified”…
 The vast majority of people in Western world civilized cultures go to work, sit at a desk or drive around in a car, and even if they work out in a gym for an hour or so a few times per week- they don’t do much real work. And they never have!!
This is in marked contrast to previous generations, even here in America. Even in my generation, hard work was part of your childhood, something that was just a “given”. And in generations previous to my own, it was way, way harder.

Hyper Civilized dancing from Germany:
I don’t mean there is something wonderful about working yourself really hard physically, just that we have gotten to the point where almost no one expects to work hard, ever. And this is not good, not good at all.
I think a lot of it has to do with our government, which has become an “entitlement government”, that tells everyone that they are “disadvantaged”, or any number of excuses, and then offers to be the correction of that injustice. In other words, they are offering you “free stuff”, with no work involved.
If you fall for this, you might feel great about yourself since you are instantly “politically correct”. But, you have fallen into a horrible trap- we all need to work hard, we need it mentally, and physically as well! All work and no fun may indeed make Johnny a dull boy, but all lying around like a slug in front of a screen will make Johnny a - worthless, fat, loser!
I don’t mean to sound contentious, but we have become “hyper civilized”, and to more savage, primitive cultures (like the Islamic Jihadists) we are decadent; ripe for the plucking! They want to impose their ancient, 9th century way of life upon us, which includes makaey support such ideas??
Because they are so caught up in political correctness, the very “fashionable” notion of it, that they cannot stop themselves from constant endorsement, in the face of the very evil of the side they are endorsing, to stop themselves!
Remember the Paris court of Louis the 14th, where everything was about “fashion”, and the fashion of the time was about clothes, and elaborate lifestyles, while the people about them starved? Well now, the “fashion” of the moment is political correctness, being Left, accepting, letting people into out country, giving things to the “underprivileged”, and being accepting, not “mean” and “greedy”…
Meanwhile, the working people are being taxed into a state lower than welfare recipients, and not being protected from borders not being enforced, which results in not really any longer even having a country! This is the state to which we have been reduced.
To get back to topic: today I spent the entire afternoon and the evening burning brush! I did all that I could with the blade in the back of the tractor to push the brush into piles, but the bulk of the work was lifting the brush into a trailer behind the tractor, and then hauling it to the burn location, and then … unloading it to burn. Endless, hard, unrelenting, solo work. Right not, I think I will be hard-pressed to get out of bed tomorrow, but I know I will, since I will stretch myself out as I do each and every morning!
My point is that- this is really good for me! It would be for you, too! Most of us spend our lives avoiding any type of hard, physical labor- even those of us that make a point of working out! This is a huge mistake, and turns us into a decadent type of people that are similar to the Paris court of Louis the 14th and his wife Marie Antoinette, who is very “Hillary Clinton-esque” to my mind.
Did you know that, in the late Roman Empire, in the 4th century AD the Germanic tribes requested to be allowed to settle in Roman lands? This was the tribe called the Visigoths, and the Romans said “fine, just come unarmed”. (They didn’t)
During this time, the youth in Rome, the “liberals” of the time, aped the costumes of the German invaders, wearing the “trousers” of the Germans, and even growing their hair long and wearing mustaches!! They were the Bernie Sanders supporters of their time, offering NO resistance to the invaders of that time.
The Roman emperor Valens finally was forced to confront them, and lost. This is like Obama, with his endless “accommodation and appeasement” strategy. Open borders end up with NO COUNTRY!
We are no longer the country of pre-world war 2- a country of small towns of hard-working, down-to-earth people. We have become a country of effete, weaklings, by and large, with a huge guilt complex about the underclass that we have simply enabled to be what they are- predators against the working class! They are largely immune from justice, just as were the invading Germanic tribes of the 4th century. They are also, thanks to our horrid “education” system in the inner cities, incredibly both ignorant, and with a feeling of incredible entitlement. We are nurturing multiple colonies of Visigoths!
My take away point? Do hard, physical labor! Learn to relish it, it keeps you in reality to know what real work is! (Shuffling papers, talking on the phone, and selling things is NOT real work- neither is being a politician or lawyer!)
If you don’t do real work, eventually you lose sight of what reality is; of even what is right and wrong, survival or suicide! And vote conservative!!
Not only your health, body and mind is at stake here. It is your very soul!

Check out this episode!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

PJSC podcast #125 Do NOT lift Heavy Things!

"Train Lighter" says Frank Zane
Oh boy, will this be contentious- NOT to “lift heavy things”, one of the Paleo/Primal cornerstones of healthy living!  It’s almost as if I said “Don’t eat grass fed beef”, or “Eat wheat!”  I know you’ve heard it, over and over and over again- “Lift Heavy Things”, probably immediately followed by “avoid chronic cardio”.
Well, I do want you to avoid chronic cardio, which is doing endless running, biking, aerobics (wait- does anyone do that anymore!!?), spinning, even walking for hours and hours each day… That is excessive, and accomplishes very little in terms of strength or health.  It just generates cortisol, the stress hormone, and puts your body into the fight or flight alert mode that we want to avoid.  And it destroys your joints!!  And of course- do NOT eat Wheat!!  (But do eat grass fed meat, particularly organ meats).
But, to reiterate: do not lift heavy things.  Why do I say this?  Because lifting really heavy things, at the limit of your strength, destroys your joints just as surely as chronic cardio, perhaps even more so.  I know, strength training is essential; I would never disagree with that- I train daily, and at almost 64 it is more necessary than ever.
This is the bottom line to me:
"A person who "lifts" weights tries to make a heavy weight feel light, while a person who "trains" with weights tries to make a light weight feel heavy."
Truer words were never spoken, although you might need to read that a few times until it sinks in.
The ideal way to train for strength, health, and overall fitness is to use a weight only to help your concentration enough so that you can adequately stress the muscle!  If you have the concentration, you can do this with a 2 lb. dumbbell- you just flex enough by sensing the resistance of the muscles involved and making the resistance harder yourself.  Instead of “hitting the gas pedal” and making the muscles work super hard to lift a really heavy weight, you “put on the brakes” within the muscles, intentionally making the lifting harder.

Here is a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who certainly knows what it is to lift heavy things:

“Well, my favorite exercises I’m not able to do today, because of joint problems. For instance, the basic squat. I would love to be able to squat again, but in order to protect my knees I do mostly the Lifecycle and bicycling and the elliptical, but no more squats. The knees are like a tire. When the tires last up to 30,000 miles, you have to decide how you want to use them. Do you want to use them up in one year, or do you want to use them over a period of 10 years? It’s the same thing with joints. So, I decided 10 years ago, when I started to feel the wear and tear and was feeling pain in my joints, that now I should adjust my training and do more high reps with less resistance.”

Frank Zane recently said something very similar, but even more telling:

Many people have asked me over the years what I would do differently if I had the chance to go back to my early years of training in the late 60's and early ’70's?

In those days, I did what was necessary for me to win. This included training with heavy weights: a precursor for injury.
So if I could do it over again, I’d train with lighter weights, higher reps, no sets below 10 reps, with negatives slower than positives, and avoid injury. If I had done that, my physique wouldn’t have been quite as bulky, but with more definition and with less pain.

  This says it all- One of the greatest physiques of all time, and he says LIGHTER weights would have been preferable...

Take this as a wake up call.  I trained for years, quite heavy, but drew back around the age of 50 or so, because of increasing joint problems.  Just in time!  I have rehabbed my shoulders, my knees, and my elbows; largely by practicing isometrics, self-resisted exercise along with calisthenics and “virtual” resistance, or self-generated resistance within the muscle itself.  All of this I detail in my eBook Perfectly Paleo Exercise, and also on my website

In the old days, strength trainers knew- you train with light weights, or no weights to build strength, both in your muscles, but also in your ligaments and tendons.

You lifted heavy weights only on occasion- to demonstrate strength!  Then, you drew back again to training mode, the positive cycle of NOT LIFTING HEAVY THINGS.

So, don’t lift heavy things.  Don’t run marathons, or triathlons, or get into marathon crossfit sessions that tax you to the utmost!  Don’t Power lift, or Olympic lift either; if health and strength over your lifetime are your chief concern. (As I think is appropriate).
Learn to control your muscles, learn deep, abdominal breathing.  Meditate, and eat a Paleo type of diet.  Have a plant based smoothie each and every day, and get involved with your “tribe” of family, neighbors, friends and church!

Now, you aren’t “heavy”- you’re my brother!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lighter weights, less damage! Frank Zane- Mr. Symmetry!

Many people have asked me over the years what I would do differently if I had the chance to go back to my early years of training in the late 60's and early ’70's?

In those days, I did what was necessary for me to win. This included training with heavy weights: a precursor for injury
So if I could do it over again, I’d train with lighter weights, higher reps, no sets below 10 reps, with negatives slower than positives, and avoid injury. If I had done that, my physique wouldn’t have been quite as bulky, but with more definition and with less pain.
  This says it all- One of the greatest physiques of all time, and he says LIGHTER weights would have been preferable...

That is CORRECT!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

PQTD 110 There is NO dietary requirement for Carbohydrates!

There’s no such thing as an essential carbohydrate
One of the first things that need to be elucidated are the absolute essentials for human survival and health.
They are these:
* Amino acids
* Fatty acids
* Electrolytes
* Vitamins
* Minerals
* Water
* Energy
Of these, it is the last – energy – which generates an overwhelming majority of the controversy and conflict in nutrition, which is largely defined not by science but agendas ranging from political and ideological to completely nonsensical.

This controversy however does not exist when you remove such influences from the scenario, there is no confusion in the science.
Any biology or medical biochemistry literature will confirm this simple fact: the human body has no dietary requirement for carbohydrates.

That is a quote I found on line, illustrative of something that comes up all too frequently.  Virtually everyone who is “new” to paleo nutrition has the reaction that “No- carbohydrates are necessary for energy!  We can only hold a small amount in reserve in the form of glycogen, and then need to replenish it with carbs and/or sugars!” 
And of course, carbs are sugars, they convert readily to that form of energy, with all of it’s good and bad effects on the body.  And in the modern day, most of the effects on the body of sugars and carbs are NEGATIVE. 
Now, I’m not anti-carb, by any means- I had some sweet potato slices with my grilled barbecued chicken quarters just today for lunch!  But this amount of carbs is more of a “garnish” of carbs.  My total for the day will be well under 100 grams of carbohydrates, of course NONE of which is from wheat or other grains.  And I had about a 45 minute workout this morning, and will do about 20 minute one this afternoon, right after I finish up here.  (That’s how I reward myself)!
But I really want you to remember this one simple thing: carbohydrates are NOT necessary for health.  Say that to yourself 10 times.  ReGRAINwash yourself!  We have all been so brainwashed into believing in the necessity of carbs, especially in the form of grains in our diet, that it is a hard thing to unlearn.  But it is indeed true:

Carbohydrates are not necessary for health!
So, while everyone around you is having toast and pancakes with their eggs, and you have maybe eggs with avocado (delicious by the way!), just smile and nod politely when they say “you’ll run out of energy later”.  You won’t, they will after their blood sugar spikes, and insulin has to also spike to bring it back down.  (Insulin is the “aging hormone”).
And later, when they have a big hamburger with a bun and fries, and you have a grass fed burger with onions, pickles, mustard, tomato and cole slaw, don’t be judgmental, but know that they are again going to go through a glycemic spike of blood sugar insult to their body, which prioritizes storing that excess carbohydrate as…FAT!
And at suppertime, when this same person who tells you how necessary carbs are for health is starving and has a big supper of maybe spaghetti or macaroni and cheese, capping off a nutritional nightmare of a day in lock-step with the “My Plate” high carb recommendations… you might not be hungry at all, or might only want what I have to plan later- a cream cheese and egg “crepe”, topped with strawberries, banana slices, and whipped cream!
And, if you’ve reGRAINwashed yourself, and know the real truth about carbs and fats- why, you know you will have done your body some real good, supplying it with tons of good nutrients from the eggs, beef, veggies and fruit.  Some natural, God made carbs- but not TOO MUCH!
You have become a nutritional Goldilocks- your carbs are “just right”!

Check out this episode!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

PQTD #109 Why YOU need to Avoid GLUTEN!

I have come to the conclusion that most folks have heard of the idea of avoiding gluten, but most have no idea as to why this is a good idea!
Well, to begin with, grains themselves, all grains, are just poor food choices in terms of nutrition- there just isn’t that much nutrition per calorie in grains. But wheat and barley are particularly bad choices, since in addition to the lectins and phytates (anti-nutrients), wheat has gluten and gliadin, which are incredibly damaging long term, and also opioids similar to those found in opium or morphine. These opioids are probably why many people panic when you suggest they give up wheat- it truly is addicting.
Gluten is inflammatory in the human gut lining. Period; although some don’t react as severely as others, eventually consuming gluten will impact your health negatively, mentally and/or physically! Inflammation causes deterioration of your gut lining, the very walls of your intestines, making them become “leaky”. This is very bad news, since a leaky intestine allows
gluten proteins to enter the blood stream, and cause auto-immune reactions elsewhere in the body.
Gliadin is the main problem producing gluten protein, and since it is similar in structure to proteins found in body tissues like the pancreas and thyroid, antibodies sent out to fight them can wind up attacking your own body instead, causing autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and hypothyroidism.
This same leaky gut caused by the gluten consumption can also allow bacteria and other toxic matter into the blood stream, which can further autoimmune attacks on the body. These autoimmune diseases are the scourge of the modern day, and they simply are diseases where the body’s defense mechanisms become confused, and attack the body itself! Gluten and gliadin are like spies in warfare; they confuse the body as to just who are the “good guys”, and the body attacks itself.
To convey a simple metaphor about eating gluten and wheat, I like to think of it as a poison, or acid that is disguised to taste really good. It is very cheap, and all too available and ubiquitous in our modern culture, and so we are gradually destroying our own intestines by eating it, and since it doesn’t poison us instantly, we are lulled into complacency. Eventual autoimmune disease is the result, with the list of diseases that are autoimmune being the worst kinds, and the most impossible to fight with medicine. Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, ulcerative colitis and Chrohn’s disease, IBS and all other intestinal diseases- these are so obviously caused by inflammation of the intestine!
Bottom line? Most people just feel better after quitting gluten, and many have IBS type symptoms go away, along with brain fog and fat loss. Don’t forget, wheat turns to sugar in the body, so eliminating it automatically eliminates a huge source of sugar, which is very damaging in and of itself!
But, don’t just eat the same cookies and donuts and rolls as before, just “gluten free” one… Although an occasional gluten free treat is fine, a treat is still a treat- usually a sugar bomb, and not a good idea generally.
So give up gluten! This is the sane Paleo rule #1- it will cut your disease risk dramatically, increase your mental health (Schizophrenics virtually all have a lessening of symptoms with gluten elimination), and yes, make your jeans fit looser too…
But it is the health benefits that are undeniable- “gluten free” is not just a fad, it is the real deal!

Check out this episode!

Monday, March 7, 2016

PJSC 124 podcast- Gratitude!

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. Marcus Tullius Cicero

This may seem a somewhat strange subject to bring up here on PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe, but it really is not.  Gratitude is indeed, as Cicero stated, the parent of all other virtues!
We are by nature avaricious; we want this, we want that, endlessly.  Especially in the modern era, it seems our material wants are insatiable; our real needs have been met in the modern westernized world for so long that we have trouble even distinguishing “needs” from “wants”.
I just got back from a long weekend at my parent’s house in suburban Chicago, and if ever someone had reason to express gratitude it is me- both of my parents are alive and well, living together in their house of 65 years together!  I realize this is a remarkable situation, since we all gathered, all 8 of their children (of which I am the eldest) at their house, to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday!  My father is 95…
Their health is excellent, and they both go upstairs to their bedroom each night because, as my dad says, “Stairs are healthy!”  I believe he has proved his point over the years.  I am so grateful for my parents’ continued good health, and that very state of mind, that of being grateful, increases my own sense of well being, and that of others as well when I express my gratitude.
If you express your gratitude on a daily basis, you will greatly increase your own sense of well-being and happiness.  It is impossible to sincerely express gratitude and feel angry and sad at the same time- the state of being grateful makes it impossible to also hang on to negative emotions and energy.
Even the ancients, like Cicero quoted before, had this figured out- although he undoubtedly expressed his gratitude “to the gods” of his day, the benefits of his expressing this gratitude were just as real as if these gods had existed.  It is the feeling and expressing of gratitude that is important, not so much as to just who you are expressing it to.  If you express and feel gratitude only to yourself for what you have, you will benefit just as much.
So, be like me and Cicero- express your gratitude daily.  Out loud, to yourself, to your cat- it doesn’t really matter (although if you are thankful for a certain person or for what they have done for you it is wonderful to tell them that).  Just be thankful that you have nutritious food, a healthy body and mind, wonderful weather and friends, and the opportunity to get good sleep and exercise.  Each day we have a new blank slate upon which we can start our healthy life journal anew- this alone is a wonderful gift for which we should be grateful.
I went out earlier today, and it is almost 60 degrees here, sunny and gorgeous out!  I plan to exercise with my heavy hand dumbbells as I walk through the woods later, and plan to grill out barbecued baby back ribs today as well.  I’ll do my podcast for you after that, and then plan to write a little in my latest novel.  I have a book I’m reading for after that, and lots of new pictures to look at of my little 6 month old grandson-  I am so grateful for all that I have!  I’m sure you have just as much to be grateful for if you just think about it.  So do it- think about all that you have to be grateful for!
Then, thank the gods!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

pqtd podcast # 108- Fed Government NOW says cholesterol is FINE!

If ever you wanted proof that the Federal Government is utterly clueless when it comes to nutritional guidelines, your long-awaited proof is in- after roughly 60 years of recommending that you do not consume dietary cholesterol, they have just come out and said… dietary cholesterol is not a problem at all!
It wouldn’t be so bad, except that they have been pounding this drum for decades, and all government sponsored school lunch programs, prison meals, and food programs nationwide have been forced to follow these guidelines, which now the government admits have been wrong.


Seems like an extreme statement, but it’s true.  Not only have these erroneous, non-science based dogmas misguided us in cholesterol, which has resulted in millions being erroneously prescribed the deadly (but profitable!) statin drugs, the same “Food Pyramid” and then “My Plate” encouraged us to replace fat with sugar and carbohydrates, particularly whole grains!
Strangely, carbohydrates, in particular whole grains raise our blood sugar even more than plain sugar, and immediately turn into sugar, right in our mouths!  But now, as a huge paradigm shift, the government has actually said that we should limit sugars to less than 10% of our daily calories- before (last year) they told us 30% sugar was just fine and dandy- healthy too! 
But, they still want us to keep our servings of whole grains at 11-12 servings per day, in spite of the fact that this means we mostly consume sugars in the form of carbohydrates- different species, same animal! 
Although, now the federal government suddenly tells us that eggs are fine, red meat and bacon are fine!, and at last admits we need more vegetables and fruits.  (I think they’re getting a little closer to great grandmother’s recommendations, just at bit at a time… can’t admit we’ve been wrong, can we?)  They even admit that fat can be good, and quite necessary! 
Also, alcohol is not all bad, and indeed has good qualities as well.

As Ronald Reagan famously put it “We are the federal government, and we are here to help you!”  ….NOT!
Whenever the government tells you doing something is good for you, rest assured it is NOT, it is good for THEM, the federal government.  In this case, it helps them to sell more grains (America’s biggest surplus commodity), help our big processed food manufacturers sell their mainly grain based products (high fructose corn syrup is a grain too), and it also keeps the big Pharmaceutical manufacturers happy, since this diet keeps most of us sick, but alive and treatable with high priced… pharmaceutical drugs!
It also keeps us addicted to regular, extremely expensive visits to health care providers (medical clinics and doctors), that sell us drugs, recommend the My Plate high carb, low fat diet, and thus the cycle continues, on and on.
I don’t believe it started out this way- I really think that the original McGovern commission in the early 1970’s was trying to reverse the high rate of heart disease from the 1960’s… it’s just that they were dead wrong!  And then, once it got started in that direction, it just picked up more and more momentum, until at this point it is unimaginable to those in charge of big government, big business, pharma, big food and medicine to do a 180 degree turn.
But you can.  Ignore the guidelines: make the base of your pyramid non starchy vegetables.  Then, an ample supply of healthy fats and protein.  Then, add in less fruits and starchy vegetables, even less on the next level of beans and legumes, then a healthy portion of spices and herbs.  Only at the very, teeny tiny tip should there be “recreational foods”, which for a long time have been more at the base of the pyramid!

Check out this episode!