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Monday, August 28, 2017

Exercise versus Recreation

Probably one of the most seminal things I’ve ever read about exercise was an article written by Ken Hutchins, the originator of Superslow.  Ken’s exercise protocol was groundbreaking, in that he pinpointed exactly what the actual goal should be in exercise!  

If you don’t know what you are even aiming at, you are never going to hit the target!  And it is a true statement that: the vast majority of people, exercise “specialists” included- don’t know what exercise really is, and what the real goal of exercise is.  

Most “exercise” falls in the recreation category, not exercise.  Real exercise has the goal of improving physical fitness, period.  This means doing what it takes to improve-

Muscular size, strength and endurance
Bone strength
Cardiovascular efficiency
Enhanced flexibility
Contributing to body leanness
Increased resistance to injury

That makes perfect sense, right?  Exercise is all about improving your body.  Of course, stress relief and other benefits also incidentally accrue- but the bottom line in physical improvement!  Exercise should send a signal to the body- improve, or you may die.  The basic demands of nature are that severe.  

I think that many in the paleo community, as well as of course the general public, are completely ignorant of this.  The prevailing concept is that any movement is exercise.  

Wrong.  Just “moving”, whether it be in a sport, or any other activity, however strenuous, is recreation, not exercise.  Recreation is fun.  Exercise is definitely not fun- it is hard, uncomfortable, and brutal!  To be truly effective, it must go just beyond your comfort zone, into a place where you want to stop before you’ve reached real fatigue- but you don’t!  You go on, doing a couple of more reps, even though it burns.  You do this for the results, not because it’s “fun”.  

It’s kind of a fine point, because almost everyone says they are walking, or running, or skiing, or playing football or baseball or doing Cross Fit or dancing for exercise.  You may gain a small bit of physical benefit from these activities, but it is incidental, and comes at the cost of possible injury and is a very inefficient means of increasing fitness.  For instance, in most sports, let’s pick football for instance, the off-season is when players concentrate on actually building fitness.  Then, during the playing season, they progressively become less and less fit, as they overtrain and inevitably get injured.  Their sport is recreation, not exercise.

Real Exercise is actually pushing yourself hard, but briefly.  This not only increases muscular size, strength and endurance- it also trains your cardio system at the same time, since stressing the musculature is exactly the way that we stress, (and thus enhance) the cardiovascular system!  

The other component of real exercise is allowing the body adequate nutrition, and the time for the body to adapt to the exercise stimulus.  The body does not grow stronger while you are exercising- it can only rebuild once you are done.  If you sleep adequately, eat a good, paleo type of diet, and wait long enough before you truly exercise again- why then, your body will grow stronger, and better, more resilient- it will improve.  This, my friend, is true exercise!

Now, Ken Hutchins went to extremes.  He recommended training to absolute failure, and then taking 5 days or so between sessions.  I disagree with this, as I found that not only does maximum muscular overload become dangerous in the long term, but this practice ignores the importance of the daily, or near daily oxygenation of the blood pumping through the musculature.  I believe this blood pumping, only achievable with high-rep exercise, is crucial for overall health and fitness!  

Hence, my recommendation of doing high rep calisthenics, along with near maximum resistance isometrics, self resisted exercises, and above all virtual resistance exercises.  These can all be done perfectly safely, and they all address the six factors of real exercise that I mentioned before.  

In addition, doing a set of super slow exercise, such as pushups done really, really slowly- (10 seconds up, 10 down) is a brutal, yet highly effective way to perform real exercise!  In fact, it is the “most bang for the buck” of any exercise you can do.  But do it in moderation.  

It is that taxing on the central nervous system, and can “burn you out” if you do it too much.  I say, exercise daily!  Enjoy it, but make sure you make it hard, not fun.  Then, take a walk in the woods.  Go dancing.  Play basketball, baseball, or whatever trips your trigger.  Recreation is great, really!  Enjoy it- that’s what it’s for.

Just don’t think it is exercise.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Keto or Paleo? Podcast on Paleo Quick Tip of the Day.

The world of nutrition and fitness, health and wellness is as fraught with fads and fashions, unfortunately, just like almost everything else.  The cutting edge thing right now is the ketogenic diet!

Forget paleo diet- in this iteration of the perfect human diet, we go beyond paleo- we don’t just go “low carb”, we go virtually no carbohydrates!  Actually, that’s not quite true: perhaps 25 grams per day of so is permissible.  One medium banana has 27 grams of carbs, so you get the idea- ketogenic is almost no carbs at all!  Even things like your daily paleo green smoothie, such as I recommend with green and cruciferous veggies, kefir and, probably contains more carbs than that, probably about 30 grams or so.  Still quite low carb, but not quite keto carb level!

On the side of the ketogenic diet, it is definitely true that this way of eating can be incredibly therapeutic!  It has been used successfully for literally thousands of years, going back to ancient Greek times, in the treatment of epilepsy.  Fasting was recommended to treat epilepsy in 400 BC!  And Jesus recommended it in the book of Mark:  And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. 

He was referring to the a young boy, who lay thrashing and foaming at the mouth, which is a symptom of epilepsy.  Now, it must be noted that fasting is, in itself- ketogenic.  If you stop eating altogether, after a certain point you will begin burning stored fat for fuel- you are then ketogenic!  It really is that simple.  Humans have been going in and out of ketosis for all of history.

The difference today is that now, in this age of agriculture as opposed to hunting and gathering Neolithic times, we are absolutely surrounded with carbohydrates, protein, and all kinds of sugars, day and night!  And, of course, it is killing us, making us fat and sick, diabetic and prone to all sorts of autoimmune disease.  Going back to a Paleo type of diet, with fat and protein, and a few natural carbs like berries or sweet potato is the antidote.

But now, since everyone likes to go to extremes, ketogenic is seen as the way to go.  My take?  Well, aside from the fact that my moniker is PaleoJay, you must know which side I will come down on, right?   Well, I do say paleo is a wonderful way to cure most ills of modern life, but a ketogenic does indeed have its place.  It is wonderful as a therapeutic tool!

I go in and out of ketosis all the time!  Intermittent fasting is an in-between way of having the best of both worlds.  You know: eat supper at around 4 PM, and don’t eat again until 10 or 11 AM the next day.  Actually, this is kind of my daily routing now, so I kind of fast every single day.  It doesn’t feel like it, but I am.  My body just starts burning fat after 4 PM, and all through the night.  

In addition, I rarely have carbs in the morning, except for my paleo smoothie, coffee with coconut oil and heavy cream, and a couple of eggs.  Maybe bacon, on a really good day!  So actually, my keto continues on until lunch/supper (I usually only eat two meals per day).  

So what I guess I’m saying is that if you have an autoimmune disease, like type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, or any of the myriad other diseases that are autoimmune, including cancer and heart disease- by all means- go on a strict ketogenic diet!  Lots and lots of fat, limited protein, (excess protein is turned into carbs by the body), and really no carbs at all.  You will pretty much be eating lots of fat, with just a bit of protein, and then fasting on top of it.  

It is a therapy.  Keto can be very effective in rectifying deep damage caused by our modern, faulty diet.  Do it until you are free of the autoimmune condition you suffer!  It probably won’t even take that long- often, modern disease can be reversed by fasting, going Keto if it will take a while so you don’t starve outright, and getting adequate sleep, sun exposure, and natural exercise.

After you are well, and happy, and ready to enjoy a healthy life? Go Paleo, young man or woman!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Vitamin K and K2

K2 is the forgotten vitamin.  

Check out this episode!

K2 is the forgotten vitamin.  Vitamin K, or vitamin K 1 is better known, and helps with blood clotting.  You can get it from leafy greens, and certainly should!  Drinking your green paleo smoothie will satisfy this requirement, no problem.  Also, eating a big salad each day will take care of it, along with other nutrient requirements.

K2 HOWEVER is the “politically incorrect” vitamin, and it is incredibly important!  K2 is from animal products mainly, foods like liver, egg yolks, salami, and butter.  See why it is not politically acceptable?  Under the old, obsolete paradigm from the 1970’s K2 sources are “heart attacks on a plate”!  But you know what?

They are the opposite.  These critical sources of K2 are what determine, within your body, where you calcium is located in the body.  If you don’t have enough; if you are on a misguided low fat, low calorie diet that eschews animal fat sources such as cheeses, butter and eggs- why then your body has insufficient K2.  This master nutrient, which would put calcium in the right place when available, will leave your body scrambling!

Calcium deposits will be thrown about willy-nilly in your body without K2- instead of putting them into your bones, they will wind up in your arteries, causing atherosclerosis or “hardening of the arteries”.  This is what heart attacks are made of!  Cholesterol consumption, by the way, has nothing to do with it!  So eat these high fat, high nutrient foods!

What else can eating these delicious, high fat and high K2 foods do for you?  Besides reducing heart attack risk?

Build strong bones, instead of plaque coated arteries
Reduce cancer risk, especially prostate cancer by a significant amount.  63%!

K2 also helps dramatically with skin health and hair health, not to mention reducing all cancer risks dramatically.

The lack of K2 in our diets is another fallout from the misguided idea that we should be “eating less fat” and less calories overall.  Less fat in our diets via grass fed meats and pastured dairy may look good on paper- but that was from information from decades ago, before we even knew about K2!  

Don’t be a Luddite.  Go with modern science, not retro-science from the 1960’s and 70’s- high fat natural food sources like pastured meats, poultry and dairy are not only acceptable in our diets- they are absolutely critical!  

Move more, eat less
Is B.S.

Sure, we all need to move.  But we sure don’t need to eat less; especially less of nutrient dense foods like those high fat ones I mentioned previously,  

I see the current mentality as being like this: I should eat as little as I can, and really low fat.  Calories are so important, and less is better!  I need to burn as many calories as I can, each day, and eat as few as I can.  Where those calories come from is meaningless- whether a piece of grass fed beef, a slice of white bread, or a Snicker’s bar- a “calorie is a calorie”!  Then, I will be slim, healthy, and happy!

Again- BS- that is a prescription for disaster, resulting in semi-starvation, binge eating, mood disruptions, and becoming prone to cancer and heart disease, not to mention skin problems and hair loss.  What is attractive about that??

Just eat good fats.  Meats and cheese, pastured butter and egg yolks.  Liver!  Your mind will be satisfied and happy, as will your body, which will figure out it is not “starving”, and will burn calories on high, happily and with gusto!  Your arteries will clear of plaque, and your whole system will have what it needs to build health from the inside out!  

Drugs be damned.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Get a Vitamix or DIE!

I’m sorry for the hyperbole within that title- ‘Get a Vitamix or die!’  You won’t really die- you will be just like the hordes of almost undead Americans that are gradually slipping into not only unhealthy, but into levels of diabesity.

If you are not sure by now what diabesity is, let me illuminate: diabesity is the precursor to all modern degenerative disease.  ALL.  

Once you are on this path, there is no good way out.  You will continue eating your processed carbs, blithely ignoring everything I say on a weekly basis, and gradually getting fatter and fatter, or at least more insulin resistant and diabetic.  As you ignore my recommendations to go lower carb, and higher vegetables in your diet, it will not go well with your health.  Sorry, but it is guaranteed!  

Higher carbs, processed (fast and boxed and packaged) foods will sicken you, slowly but surely.  Just as a high vegetable, with a modicum of low sugar fruits thrown in- (like citrus and berries)- diet will gradually make you healthier and healthier!  But most folks will not incorporate large amounts of vegetables into their diets!  This is the truth- they are acclimated to modern ideas, and those ideas say “Eat what you like!  Moderation in all things.  Keep calories in line, and you are fine!

The only good thing is that those who have been paying attention to actual modern science know that this is BS.  Calories, overall, mean very little.  Ratio of carbs to fat mean much more.  As does quality of meat, eggs, and seafood- pastured, free range, and wild caught, to point it out!  

QUALITY OF FOODS MATTER, HUGELY.  Most sources will tell you it makes no difference.  They are wrong- a calorie is not a calorie!  A Skittle is not the same as Kale.  

And, most importantly, the quality and nutrient density of foods are paramount to health!

And here is why you need a Vitamix, or you will die in squalor and pain in a back alley… just kidding!

Actually, why I say this is because, although you may not need a Vitamix or other high speed blender to stay alive: You do to stay healthy!

I kind of hate to “beat the same drum,” but the truth is that if you don’t have a blender to make yourself (and your family!) a  Green Paleo Smoothie that you can drink on a daily basis- you will not get the greens and other anti-oxidants, including spices that will give you optimal health.  You won’t- it’s almost impossible in this modern world.

Millenia ago, you and your tribe would have been foraging around, looking for anything viable to eat.  You would have grabbed any green matter that presented itself, and made a point of testing it out.  Over time, your tribe would have figured out which plants were good, and which weren’t.  Mainly, this would have been the women, while the men were off hunting mastodons!  But, the information would have been passed on, be sure of that.

The point now is this: we are in an era where calories are all too available, for the first time in history!   This explains our out-of-control obesity, pre-diabestity, and diabesity!  It has become endemic!  

There is a super simple solution.  We need a lot of green veggies in our diet, which we no longer get.  Also, berries and citrus, those low sugar fruits loaded with anti-oxidants.  The spices are also important, since spices like ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, clove and some others as well are more potent sources of medicinal properties than most actual drugs.  Spices are wonderful foods, superfoods really!  

So, fire up your Vitamix, or other high speed blender!  There is really no way to get a high amount of green vegetables into your diet- NONE!  And using your blender, you can mix up a huge amount of veggies and fruits in short order, put them into canning jars in the fridge (after drinking the most recent, and most loaded with nutrients), and thereby you can load up your diet with all that you really need, paleolithiocally.

Other Paleo folks will contest me to my dying day.  I don’t care- a blended smoothie will give you more nutrients than almost anything I can think of- especially on a regular basis!

Blend yourself to health! 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Apple Cider Vinegar for Skin Health!

One thing you should definitely have in your paleolithic arsenal is apple cider vinegar, or ACV!  It is inexpensive, in fact, you can make your own, and also widely available  in stores.  The flagship brand is Bragg’s Apple Cider vinegar, but lately other brands have appeared on the market.  Just make sure you get the unfiltered ACV, not the standard clear version- you want it cloudy on the bottom of the bottle!

I have been recommending you consume ACV daily, in your Paleo Green Smoothie as outlined in my books, and also at  In fact, Hippocrates himself recommended ACV back in ancient Greece over 2000 years ago!  It is wonderful for digestion, fighting candida, (which is yeast overgrowth in the body), and even lowers blood pressure as well as helping normalized blood sugar for those with diabetes or pre-diabetes.  Also, it is a wonderful probiotic, since it is loaded with beneficial microbes. It does more than this as well, but today I want to focus on using it on your skin, something that is less widely known.

Just like coconut oil, you should keep ACV in your bathroom as well as in your kitchen!  My daily routine goes like this: after my shower, I take a small spray bottle of ACV that I keep right in the bathtub.  After toweling off, I spray small amounts on my skin and hands, rubbing the ACV over my skin from head to toe.  If you find it a bit too acidic (I’m well used to it, and find it bracing), just dilute it with water in the bottle. 

It is a wonderful skin toner, and if you have problems with acne, this will probably fix it.  It also fights redness of the face, wrinkles, age spots- the list goes on and on.  IN fact, any sort of skin condition, from eczema to poison ivy!  Really!  I get poison ivy almost yearly; I am very susceptible to it, and live on a wooded property.  Also, I get insect bites out on my land.  (I spend most of my days outdoors). 

By just following my ACV skin care regimen, my itching is cut short, nipped in the bud in fact.  If I have been exposed to poison ivy or sumac, just by putting the ACV on each morning following my shower, it is cut off at the pass!  The acidity neutralizes and kills any small “invasions” of bugs or plant toxins, and I have been sterilized and protected.  The ACV is loaded with good bacteria, and repopulating them on my skin can only help my micro biome- beneficial microbes are on our skin as well as in our guts.  It is helpful to think of our body as being a “battle field”, where good and bad bacteria are constantly fighting to either help us or hurt us.  ACV is like bringing in fresh good guy troops on a regular basis, while simultaneously killing off loads of the bad guys with acidity!

And if you ever do get a really bad case of poison ivy, or a really itchy bug bite?  Spray with ACV, and then top it off with baking soda, which is another thing you should have in your bathroom.  Really, this combination will kill the itch, and actually start to dry up even badly weeping types of infections.  But usually, the ACV will be enough, used prophylactically on a regular basis, after your shower. 

So, you have followed my advice, and coated your skin with ACV!  Good job.  Now, coat on top of that with coconut oil.  You can consider yourself now to be “washed and waxed”; clean and sterilized, feeling energized within (if you’ve already drunk your Paleo Green Smoothie!), and without).  The coconut oil is even an effective, non-chemical sun screen as well as being a wonderful moisturizer.

That reminds me: I plan to wash and wax my old truck today.  I’ve already done myself!

Check out this episode!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Health Priorities!

Our lives are consumed with keeping things going- at least mine surely is!  Two trees fell last night, unbeknownst to me, and unfortunately both of them fell across a road!  Yikes.
I was working in my garden, and then remembered I needed to pick up some branches that had fallen recently, so I could mow later.  I picked up said branches, and then spotted two more, up behind the garden.  Now, you need to know that my property is located in a coulee, which in the French parlance of the explorers who explored my area here in the driftless zone, long ago- a coulee is a three sided valley.  A big valley in my case, surrounded on three sides by tall bluffs, covered with woodlands.  It’s wonderful in that it is naturally very isolated.
My house, one of the original farmhouses in the coulee, is on the corner of the two roads that converge in the valley- and so, I have a road on the south side of my house, and another on the east side.  These are the only two roads that are out here.  
When I went after the two branches up behind the garden, I noticed a lot of shade here.  ‘What the heck?’ I thought, and walked up the little hillside to the road.  A tree had fallen, probably due to the incredible amount of rainfall we have had this year in the Coulee Region.  The tree, a box elder, halfway blocked the road to the south of my house. 
Sighing deeply, I’m sure (I have lots to do lately), I got my chain saw, my wonderful Stihl Farm boss, and went to work.  Maybe an hour or so, that was it, and the road was at least clear.  The rest of the tree can wait until Fall, or at least until I have more time.  I still had to mow, the next three days are scheduled for all rain!
I decided to head down the East road, to see if there was more damage.  I drove my diesel tractor, chain saw still along for the ride… there it was- another tree down!  I was the menace of the coulee, blocking both roads!  
I got down, fired up my Stihl, and cleared up this mess as well.  Another hour.  That’s two hours of heavy chain saw work, cutting, bucking, dragging, and stacking of bad firewood- and, this morning was my big heavy pushup workout day- so, I was a bit tired to start.  I like to take it easy after a heavy workout.  Recovery is important!
Now, I could finally mow!  Mowing is quite enjoyable, since I can listen to podcasts, or to AM radio like Rush Limbaugh.  No one explains modern politics better than Rush!  When I finally finished this, a couple of hours later, I went into the house.  I told my wife about the two trees down, and how I had to cut them up.  
“Did you cut up the old dead apple tree?” she asked.  
I shrugged.  “I never even thought of it.” 
She looked crushed.  
Well, I guess I will cut that down tomorrow, in the rain.  Why it was important, I had to ask.
“Because I can see it out the kitchen window,” she responded.  

I guess it’s all about priorities.  I wanted to clear the road so no one would get killed driving home in the dark.  But, since she spends a lot of time at that kitchen window, that seemed most important.
It is similar to everything in life, I thought.  A healthy diet, for instance, one without grains and sugars, heavy on vegetables and grass fed meat- it seems really important to me!  To get a good night’s sleep, every night, and to exercise on a daily basis- it all seems incredibly important to me. I am super-aware of how I will look and feel if I do such things right on a regular basis, and how bad I will feel and look if I don’t.  I make it a priority!
Other people have very different priorities.  They are fixated on making the maximum income, for instance.  Stay up late, eat fast foods, so you can ‘make deals’ and work more and more and more!  Ignore exercise and sleep, pay no attention to family and ‘tribal’ community connections- pursue the mighty dollar above all else!  And when you do have ‘downtime’- hey- party and go on elaborate vacations, showing everyone how you have got it made!  

Ridiculous.  We all need to set true priorities.  As humans.  We need to perform regular human maintenance- we need a good, paleo type of diet.  We need natural, ancestral sorts of exercise, as shown in the Perfectly Paleo Exercise book.  Calisthenics, Virtual resistance exercises, along with good stretching- forget heavy weights and gyms and Crossfit and long distance running and triathlons… they all have nothing to do with true health, with physical culture.
And don’t think I am telling you to go with the Medical Clinic Paradigm- the one that tells you that you need to go to the doctor on a  regular basis, getting tested over and over for anything that might possibly be wrong, and then to take dozens of prescription drugs to alter your mood, your cholesterol, and your blood profile:


I really want you to not do any of that!  That is just the corrupt, current medical business practice, wanting you to spend lots of money on tests, (scoping for dollars), drugs, and surgeries!  Just forget all that, and be like our grandparents and their forebears all the way back to paleolithic times: do it yourself!  

Again: exercise daily.  Sleep 8 hours nightly.  Don’t take drugs, prescription or otherwise. (Prescription are worse than recreational, really!).  And above all- clean up your diet- eliminate grains, especially wheat.  Eat grass fed, pastured, organic and natural.  And cultivate a ‘tribe’, whether through church, or school, of family, or all of the above- we are social beings after all!
And get out in nature, every day.  It is amazing to me how many folks are just stuck inside, staring at screens of one sort or another.  And they never venture outside!
Although I do my share of “screen staring”, for instance as I write these words, I more than make up for it by my outside time.  I pretty much live in the Little House in the Big Woods, and only after all is taken care of do I venture inside to do my “fiddling”, meaning my writing and all else.

So, set your priorities my friend- your body, fitness, and mental state first, so that you are prepared to support your family and everyone else in your tribe.  Only if you have taken care of yourself, set your priorities, can you hope to accomplish anything else truly worth doing.