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18 August 2016

I Ain't Sweet Like That- Dieting and Training in Lockup, Part 2

This should say "I will judge you if you didn't have to watch August Mordum Underground more than once because you were too busy fucking to see half of it.  Same goes for A Serbian Film- I still have yet to be facing the screen for the childbirth scene.

Holy shit, that was quite a lengthy break I took in between articles, but you all have my assurance that such Maddox-esque breaks in productivity will not continue to be the norm.  It might come as a surprise to many of that you that a person like myself might suffer from burnout, but by my estimation there was not a single week between August 1995 and February 2015 that I trained less than four times in any given week, even as I was traveling around Asia and Europe, getting surgeries, marriage, divorce, and any other ridiculous thing of which you could think.  Finally, I cracked last year and my training slipped into the abyss as I partied my ass off and watched nearly every horror movie above a D-grade available on the internet (and if you haven't seen August Mordum Underground, do yourself a favor and call of the kinkiest motherfucker of whatever gender you feel like banging, grab a bottle of whatever you feel like drinking, every sex toy at your disposal, and a trashcan for when you throw up, and fuck your way through that gem a couple of times).  Despite my irregular training, utter lack of squatting (it's insanely hard to squat drunk), and a diet that essentially consisted of tater tots, chicken fingers, pizza, Diet Coke, and enough vodka to drown even the staunchest Putin-supporting Russian, I managed to more or less maintain my physique and strength levels for the better part of 8 months.  Eventually the wheels fell all the way off as I found it hard to even grind through half hour workouts, and I basically quit training for a couple of months, a couple of times, over the succeeding 6 months.  Though I kind of regret having done so, I was snapping out at cashiers over nonsense when I was training because I was so irritated at having to continue to force myself through the gym every day as I had from about 2011 through the beginning of 2016.  Every workout, light or heavy, long or short, odd lifts or conventional, had become one massive mental fisting session produced in some dank German dungeon with caestus gloves... and writing about training was several times even more painful than that.

Caestus gloves are even a bit beyond the loopy, blood-stained sheets-wrapped nonsense that transpires in my bedroom.  That'll have to wait until I'm rocking some badass Girl in the Box-style torture basement, I think.

However you might look at the fact I let my training slip harder than an elderly broad in socks on black ice, I definitely learned a great deal about starting back up after relatively long layoffs (anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months, how to diet to facilitate the greatest gains when on a comeback, and regained my interest in trying unconventional methods to regain lost strength.  This is what led me to try the methods used in jails around the country, as I have known quite a few guys who've spent time in jail and prison, and they always looked better coming out than when they went in.  That said, I definitely cannot say the same for chicks- either they lack access to the gym, have no interest in training while in lockup, or just eat waaaaaaay too fucking many or too few honey buns in there, they almost invariably come out either looking half starved or like they got hit in the face with a hot shovel coated in mayonnaise.  In any event, what I'd seen with the guys I knew definitely left me wondering what might be accomplished if I took what they'd discovered in their experiences and added my own personal Ed Gein meets L. Ron Hubbard meet Jack Palance type of insanity.  With that, we shall continue where we left off in jail and prison training.

Perhaps some of the inmates enjoy both training and rape.  Maybe he just likes being overly groomed.  I've no idea.

More Bodyweight Training

Burpees- I DESPISE burpees.  I loathe them more than mayonnaise and I refuse to even allow an unopened jar of that nasty shit with my bare hands... I hate it so much I actually allowed liquid water to exit my eye cavities while screaming like a woman when a giant bag of that gelatinous white horror ripped as I was trying to empty it into a vat of what was to be ranch dressing while helping out a buddy's cousin by working in his salad dressing factory for a couple of days. Hitler had a full blow love affair with the gypsies in comparison to my near psychotic hatred of burpees.  Inmates, however, seem to love that loathesome exercise nearly as much as Crossfitters, and do them with the same sort of frequency and variation- daily, and in every conceivable permutation.  Google them if you want some ideas or click here for a selection- the only type that don't fill me entirely with vitriol and venom are 8 count burpees with a pullup and a pushup included, as they at least get a tiny bit of strength work in there, rather than simply being a test of mental fortitude and one's ability to maintain their composure while incredibly annoyed and out of breath.

Dips- Ahh, the perfect counterpoint to burpees.  Fun to do and known affectionately in the better informed circles of the strength training world  as "the upper body squat", dips are phenomenal for building huge shoulders, pecs, triceps, seem to somehow contribute to building big traps (I have no idea why, but inmates swear up and down that dips are responsible for their trap size), and definitely bring out the vascularity and striations in your pecs and shoulders.

Bench Dips-  This exercise is massively popular due to the great importance inmates place upon "back arms", the most vaunted of muscle groups in jail.  Though I abandoned these as too easy and too much trouble than they were worth when I was a mere 150 lbs, using 4-5 additional plates for extra resistance, prisoners appear not to have come to that conclusion yet.  I would recommend against these, but it's entirely your call as to whether or not you find utility in these.

Handstand Pushups- These are a bit more rare than the aforementioned exercises, but still occur.  When these are done, they're done with a spotter and a liberal amount of assistance from their spotter.

Hanging Leg Raises- Done of anything handy for whatever volume you choose.  There's nothing fancy with the form on these in jail- they're done just as you would do them in the gym.

Situps and Crunches- Again, the volume is totally up to you.  Just as they inmates are with hanging leg raises, these are typically not done in any super-cool jail style manner.  It seems the majority of these are done sitting on one's bunk, with their feet wedged underneath a crossbar to keep their asshole and tailbone from being ground into dust doing them on the concrete.

Planks- These are particularly popular in lockup because they offer the opportunity for direct competition, wherein two or more people compete to see who can hold a plank the longest.

Though it should perhaps be no surprise to anyone, an avowed allegiance to Jeebus or Allah appears to have no positive effect on the rate of recidivism in felons... perhaps if they actually understood the books they professed to hold above all others, they'd have better luck.  Ah well, YOLO like a muhfuh.

Of Note:
More than one inmate with whom I spoke will literally swear on a stack of Christian Bibles (and felons are hilariously Christian, by and large, and are wholly ignorant of the awesome irony of their situation as a result) that a circuit of dips, pullups, and pushups done for endless sets and reps will leads to massive gains, rips, and muscular endurance.  Speaking from experience, this type of a workout will get you more ripped than a teenager's jeans in any 1980's John Hughes movie but will put about as much mass on the average person as P90X done as hard as humanly possible.)

"Only he who deserves power who every day justifies it."
-Dag Hammarskjold

While I didn't see any convicts with a physique quite this ripped, their version of TRX training definitely gave them insaley sick definition given their dogshit diet.

TRX-Style Movements

TRX-style movements are all the rage in jails and prisons, and I highly doubt any of the inmates using that method have ever even heard of TRX.  The methods they've been using have likely been in use for decades, and I would not be the least bit surprised if they been the inspiration for strap systems like TRX

Rows- Using a sheet wound into a spiral (which gives it far more tensile strength), inmates hook the sheet around one of the uprights of their bunk beds or a staircase at roughly eye level, brace their feet on the ground (often using a partner's planted foot to serve as the brace) while laying back at a fairly extreme angle, and then do rows just as they would seated with a cable stack.  Essentially, the movement is a semi-horizontal pullup with a rotating grip, roasts your midback and traps after a few sets if you keep your elbows tucked hard into your sides as you pull, and is awesome for extra volume on your back as a whole.

Face Pulls- One of my favorite accessory exercises, face pulls are awesome when done in the same manner as the sheet rows.  For these, however, you simply keep your elbows high and flared as you pull your face toward the point at which you tied the sheet.  These ill trash your traps in particular and will give you that badass look you see on some guys where it looks like they're getting "back titties"- basically help grow what look like a sick set of pecs on your upper back.

Flys- This exercise uses the same setup as the aforementioned exercises, but the lifter faces away from the upright and does what amounts to a cable crossover.  These are an awesome finisher for a brutal Deck of Death workout mentioned in the previous installment, as well as a hell of a standalone exercise for chest if done with enough volume.

Chest Presses- A great finisher for ever set of the flys, if you want to bang out more reps after you'e hit failure on a set of flys, these simply change the movement for the flys slightly.  Pressing more level with the floor shifts the focus more to the upper pecs, 25 degrees lower moves the focus to the pecs as a whole, and 20 degrees lower shifts the focus to the lower pecs (which is more or less pointless, but if that's your thing, do it, I guess).

Curls- These are done with the exact same setup as rows, but the movement changes in that the elbows remain stationary, locked into their sides, as the lifter curls themself itoward the uprights.  These are pretty badass, as the lifter can use a wide array of grips to shift the focus of the movement to the forearms (with a reverse grip), to the brachialis (for bicep thickness and strength using a hammer/neutral grip), the entire bicep with the usual supinated curl grip, and a mix of those grips (which is, of course, my favorite method), rotating the grip through the curl from a reverse grip to a completely supinated grip wherein the pinkies are pointed toward the outside of the biceps at peak contraction.

Tricep Extensions- These are done with the same setup again, but facing away from the upright.  This is by far and away my favorite tricep exercise, as doing these modified overhead extensions trash my triceps like they have never been trashed.  Trashed like a dead crack whore left in a forgotten dumpster filled with dogshit and left in the hot Florida sun all August kind of trashed.  Like curls, these can be tinkered with by changing the grip, and I really like doing them with a neutral grip that shifts to a slight outward push at full extension to get an extra squeeze in the outer head at peak contraction.  If you haven't yet caught on, these are like a french press/overhead extension, leaning away from the upright with your feet braced at the bottom of the upright or near it, elbows pinned at your ears through the movement, flexing your trips to bring you to a more or less standing position at peak contraction.

Shoulder Press-  This is a badass burnout exercise, done with the same motion as the chest press, but angled higher so the press is being done in a straight line from your shoulders past your head in line with your neck (just like if you were standing upright).  The stressors feel slightly different because of the odd angle, but the effect is the same- your shoulders end up fucking pumped and fried after 10 or so sets to failure.


Though my skepticism about the TRX system upon first seeing it likely rivaled those of Hitler's generals when they heard Hitler had demanded tanks nearly 200 tons in weight and the simultaneous conquest of three continents by a relatively small single country and its bitch-ass allies, thinking it to be retarded, trendy bullshit, I could not have been more fucking wrong.  As far as assistance work goes, you would be hard pressed to find a better way to get in a metric fuckton of work in a short period of time.  Moreover, the fact that TRX-style movements are closed-kinetic-chain movements leaves people far less susceptible to injury than with machines or dumbbells, as the movements are far more natural.  In short, you guys need to get in on this shit, as the speed with which they increase your overall muscularity and muscular endurance is nigh on fucking frightening.

Does that mean I'm suggesting you forego weights for bodyweight movements?  Certainly not- I'm simply suggesting that the addition of bodyweight movements to your regular routine could yield some seriously impressive results.  As I've mentioned before, I've noticed in the past that the addition of a few hundred pushups a day has contributed greatly to pushing through plateaus on the bench press, and the addition of pullups to any workout always results in more muscularity than weights alone.  Maybe that's even a bit mental, but whatever it is about bodyweight movements, they seem to simply provide a ton of upside with very little downside, so just shut the fuck up and add some to your workouts.


Up next, we'll cover makeshift weight/odd object work that goes on inside prison walls and their actual lifting techniques and training style lifting real iron.  While it might seem counter intuitive for the advocates of the modern day, internet-led [bitch-made, ahem] "intellectual", double-blind study affirmed lifting regime, inmates provide an unbelievably interesting and compelling counterpoint with what amounts to a no-fucks-given, balls-out, real-world perspective.   And at the end of the day, fuck it- if it worked for Kali Muscle, it might be worth looking into.

29 March 2016

I Ain't Sweet Like That- Dieting and Training in Lockup, Part 1


One topic that seems to pop up on internet message boards with the regularity of a geriatric with a Metamucil addiction and the high-speed insanity of the pop-up plastic punching bag rodents in Whack-a-Mole is the unerring ability of inmates to get jacked and strong in spite of their indigence. appalling soy-and-sugar-filled diets, and the occasional inaccessibility of strength training equipment.  By rights, every inmate in America should look like a pasty-faced, estrogen-filled, paunchy, detrained, sloppy-assed couch potato, but instead look like jacked-as-fuck bodybuilders that most gym goers wish they did.  Every now and again, a pic will surface on the internet showing a bunch of dangerous looking dudes so heavily muscled that they make the nerds on Bodybuilding.com start paying to the sniveling gods of Planet Fitness for a lunk alarm to magically appear on their desks.  The subsequent conversation regarding the methods the inmates used to send a giant “FUCK YOU” to the gods and the internet dipshits who demand empirical evidence for every diet and training method is invariably based upon the rambling musings of the genetic freak, general lunatic, and superhumanly strong inmate known as “Britain’s Most Dangerous Man”, Charles Bronson, and due to a total lack of other legitimate resources, never provides an adequate answer.  The topic of Kali Muscle then rears its grotesque, Freddy Krueger-esque head, and the entire conversation gets derailed like an Indian passenger train as it devolves into polemic so laden with volleys of unfounded invective that it resembles a Justin Bieber fan messageboard that’s been brigaded by tr00 metalheads more than a passing conversation about training methods and diet.

I know this feel.  Thanks, internet.

“When confronted by a problem involving the use of the reasoning facilities, individuals of strong intellect keep their poise, and seek to reach a solution by obtaining facts bearing upon a question.  Those of immature mentality, on the other hand, when similarly confronted, are overwhelmed.  While the former might be qualified to solve the riddle of their own destiny, the latter must be led like a flock of sheep and taught in simple language” (Hall).

It seems that for some reason, no one ever thought to interview actual inmates about how they get so insane jacked when it seems like most of the most vociferous weight training bloviators on the internet have trouble breaking the 175 lb mark.  Well, guess what?  I fucking went out and interviewed a whole shitload of felons so we could collectively get to the bottom of this apparent quandary.  Instead of sitting back on my laurels and simply pontificating upon my assumptions about their training, I sought out people who have actually spent more time in prisons and jails than outside of them (and who surprisingly do not train on the outside), because it seems obvious that it’s far better to get information directly from the horse’s mouth rather than getting it from a bunch of 15-year-old know nothings idly speculating about shit while peering through a film of dried cum on their monitors.  Thus, the following series of articles is the produce of a number of interviews that were frankly far less life-threatening than one might expect from a guy who’s lived in at least half of the richest suburbs in America, given that the interviewees had upwards of 200 collective felony convictions and countless misdemeanors.



Lifting In Lockup

One thing I’ve always found amusing about the fake-ass toughguy, chicken hawk, loudmouthed, bitch-ass right-winger radio demagogues like Rush Limbaugh is that they’re just as piss-ass scared of inmates as the pussy-ass politicians who demanded everyone get locked up on meatball bullshit in the first place. The result of this fear, in many prisons and jails, was to remove the gyms and weights from many penal facilities and restrict access thereto in those facilities where the weights remained… all because the inmates were going into those facilities underfed and underweight and coming out brick shithouses of hate.

You might see a dude who got beaten with hammers in prison, but I see a guy who should have spent more time lifting and less time playing spades and smoking.

There are a couple of reasons why these dudes are able to accomplish what most gym-goers do not:

  1. Survival.  Being so jacked and strong that the Hulk would think twice about rumbling with you earns you the same respect as Mike Tyson in his prime and reduces the chances that anyone will start shit.
  2. Work ethic.  They work out harder than meth-head housewives clean their bathrooms during a week-long run.  If they have the opportunity, they train, whether it's inside, outside, or upside down, doing pushups, pullups, burpees, and every other bodyweight exercise of which they can think if they can't get into the gym and murder some weights.  One inmate I interviewed said he gained 40 lbs in 5 months lifting for one to three hours a day and additional workouts consisting of nothing but bodyweight exercises, 7 days a week.  Maniacal hardly describes that sort of a program.
  3. Boredom.  You cannot fathom the utter, mind-numbing, suicidal thought inducing, grinding boredom that incarceration entails.
  4. Competition.  Jails and prisons ave an air of competition that make the Olympics look like a game of pre-school hopscotch.  There is a constant, overriding, brutal air of competition to be the biggest, meanest, baddest, strongest motherfucker in god's cruel kingdom inside of every correctional facility.
  5. Getting laid.  According to nearly every inmate with whom I spoke, there is one premier, overarching reason why dudes in the penal system train so they can get laid immediately upon release.  
Marcinko knows that first you get the money, then you get the bitches.

"Yesterday's successes are fond fucking memories.  As soon as you start resting on your laurels, you begin cutting corners and taking shortcuts.  You get fat.  You get lazy.  You want to play it safe.  In my business, the business of killing people- the oxygen thieves, the corner cutters, shortcut takers, and professional safety experts are the ones who will get you killed.  If you're dead you can't accomplish your mission.  And if the mission isn't accomplished, YOU HAVE FUCKING FAILED!"
- Richard Marcinko

Yeah, I know- lifting isn't quite analogous to war, but the quote goes harder than a roomful of teenagers snacking on Viagra while checking out Bonnie Rotten vids, and and quote rings true in the gym- the motherfuckers who cut corners and take shortcuts are fat and lazy.  They lift like shit and thus look like shit.  Unlike those doughy fucks, inmates train.  Think you might be in danger of overtraining?  It's far more likely that you're just a fucking pussy.  These guys hammer their bodies in every time they lift, then follow their gym sessions up with endless sets of bodyweight circuits and game after game of basketball.  For example, the following program was used by one inmate I interviewed in concert with a shitload of food to take him from 150lbs of bones to 235 pounds of pissed off felon in just under a year:

Day 1: Two hours of biceps, triceps, and back, followed by another session consisting of various bodyweight exercises.
Day 2: Two hours of chest and shoulders- incline, decline, and flat bench with a variety of grip widths- followed by shoulder presses and laterals.
Day 3: Two hours of legs- squats, extensions, curls, and calves.
Day 4: Two hours of abs.
Day 5: Repeat.

Obviously, not every prison or jail allows their inmates to train 7 days a week.  In many institutions, it's limited to three days a week, so the remainder of their workouts have to be done with bodyweight work.  TONS of bodyweight work, Herschel Walker-style.

Greatest metal face ever.
"Sheer pain wrapped in animal willpower."
- Richard Marcinko
This is where the line between genius (albeit idiot savant- style genius, given the fact that most inmates seem to possess all of the technical strength training and programming knowledge of your average potted plant) and insanity, as necessity is the mother of inventiveness and these guys seem to employ mad-scientist-esque imagination in their bodyweight workouts.  Luckily for you, I've gotten you guys the inside scoop for this maniacal training, which will work just as well in a hotel room on a vacation as it does in lockup.  For those of you who are worried that your gainz will suffer and your efforts will be "wasted" (by the way, every lazy rat fuck on the Internet who whines about their endless worry that they might be "wasting their time" with the wrong workout while dithering about their program should eat a fucking lead salad, because they're annoying pussies without whom the world would be a better place), hear me: FUCK THAT SHIT.  Inmates train, by and large, on around 3000 calories at most, and in many situations on 1600 calories or less, most of which are carbs and fat, and they make gainz in spite of themselves just by going fucking hard.

...so just go fucking nuts.
"It is better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past." - Major General von Clausewitz
In true Chaos and Pain fashion, these weightless workouts are frequent, often lengthy, and almost completely structureless.  Instead of painstakingly calculating their volume, employing loading tables, analyzing their form, and generally turning lifting into a series of unnecessary calculations.  These motherfuckers just train.  Circuits of burpees, pullups, jogging, and pushups are followed by dip and pullup competitions, or challenges to lift random heavy objects, or wheelbarrow races (running on their hands while a partner runs behind them, holding their feet as they would the handles of a wheelbarrow).  Zero fucks are given about fatigue and no one ever utters the foul, unspeakable term "overtraining."  Nah, these guys "ain't sweet like that."  You can't take much from people who have nothing to lose, and inmates make the absolute best out of a seemingly hopeless situation by being tough and adaptable.  Given that their exercises are limited only by their surprisingly robust imaginations (dat adaptability!) it'd take too long to cover every possible permutation.  The following, then, will just be rather comprehensive highlights to provide you with a jumping off point more badass than tossing yourself off the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  The following exercises come in three delicious varieties: traditional bodyweight exercises, TRX-style movements, and makeshift resistance work using odd lifts and unconventional implements.


Bodyweight Exercises
Bodyweight movements serve as an incredibly strong foundation for strength training, and my recent use of them and careful consideration of my early years of training have caused me to re-prioritize these essential movements, from which I've deviated considerably in the last couple of years (much to my detriment).  Not to put too fine a point on it, but high repetition bodyweight movements are the shit.  The following are the movements and variations most popular in prison (which is interesting, because the inmates are generally completely ignorant of exercise science and nutrition, but necessity is the ultimate monkey, and these guys are doing exactly the right shit).
  • Pullups- Always an excellent mainstay of any workout because a strong posterior chain makes for a strong lifter and barn door lats look awesome on everyone, pullups make up a great deal of inmates' bodyweight routines.  These are often done outside of the gym, hanging from anything that's handy, be it the cell door or window, the top bunk of a bed, or the back of an open stair in the common area.  Every imaginable grip is used to shift the focus of the exercise and reduce burnout... which of course facilitates more volume.  As for rep schemes, they are all over the map, and generally swing between maximum reps for burnouts in short timeframes and total volume over longer periods of time.
  • Pushups- Pushups are the mainstay bodyweight exercise of any place o incarceration, as prisoners are obsessed with building huge "hoods" (pecs/chests) and "back arms (triceps), and few things work to that end like a couple thousand pushups per day a couple of times a week.  Inmates do these on the floor, on their knuckles, on the tips of their fingers, their wrists, incline, decline, diamond, ballistic, and from a deficit.
  • Deck of Death-  The Deck of Death is utter brutality, and I've written about it before- this is what I used in high school and college to bring up my bench.  It shouldn't shock me, then, that my bench all but stalled out in subsequent years and my chest lagged behind my other body parts until my recent re-entry into the hallowed lands of 5000-7000 pushups a week.  Though I typically just do straight sets of 50-100, recording each set to ensure a minimum of 1500 a day, 3 times a week, plus additional days of a few hundred, I will occasionally do the Deck of Death to mix things up.  For that, I shuffle a deck of cards and do pushups according to the face value of the card (Jacks=11reps, Queens=12 reps, Kings=13 reps, and Aces=20 reps) and the suit (Diamonds= Diamond pushups, Hearts= Incline, Clubs= Decline, and Spades= Wide grip).  I recommend doing all reps but diamonds on your knuckles for more forearm/wrist work, using flip flops or towels for padding, and once you've finished the deck, you'll have done 440 pushups.  Although I don't time these, it's best from a workout density standpoint to complete the deck as quickly as possible.  Doing so will give your chest and triceps a pump so fucking brutal your balls will ache, you asshole will pucker, and anyone who sees you shirtless will think you shot your pecs full of Synthol.
  • Squat- These can be done any number of ways, as you can likely imagine.  TYhe prominent method for forcing leg growth in lockup, however, is the Tyson workout, or "Tysons", which is also done using a deck of cards.  To do these, take 8 playing cards out of the deck at random and place them on the ground in a straight line about 18" inches apart.  Then take one more card from the deck, squat over the 1st card in the line and squat to below parallel, dropping the one you're holding on top of the card on the ground.  Then stand up, then squat and pick up the first card, then squat and pick up the second card and move to the second card in the line.  Repeat what you did the first time, squatting and dropping the two cards in two movements, then squat down three times to pick up each of the cards.  Repeat until you've picked up all of the cards.  If you use short rests, your legs will be burning like gonorrhea after a few sets.
The list definitely goes on, and this series is going to be loooooooooong, so get ready for a shitload of new posts in the coming weeks.  I realize I've been slacking like crazy with the posting, and that'll be rectified in the coming months.  To tide you over until part 2 is posted, however, I'm taking it back to the old school- here's the aforementioned porn goddess Bonnie Rotten to get your day started off right.

09 December 2015

Stew-Roids- Wintertime Is Not The Time To Eat Lean

Jack was nimble, Jack was quick
Jack gouged eyes with candle sticks
And smashed in skulls with sticks and stones
Used iron bars to crush their bones so he could hide his kills in tiny places and he wouldn't have to see their faces
He'd stick knives in their faces and cut out their tummies
And stamp on their heads 'till their brains got all runny

Old Man Winter has shown up to jam his fist violently up our collective asses, and no matter how much you love the season, it can fuck you harder than a riled up donkey in Tijuana.  Protest all you like about how much you love snow and skiing and ice and frostbite and all of that bullshit, but no one is getting S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the summer, nor do you really stand all that much chance of catching the flu in the summer.  Nope, those are just a couple of ways that Old Man Winter can just up and fuck ya, and the best way to combat hat dirty son of a bitch is... you guessed it- STEW-ROIDS.

I didn't feel like putting a picture of a saddie in here, so I chose Vision of Disorder instead.

During the winter, nearly 14 million Americans get kicked in the head by Seasonal Affective Disorder, a condition characterized primarily by being a horrible saddie, sleeping all the time, and craving carbohydrates like skinny, toothless hillbillies crave methamphetamines.  The reason behind this is a lack of seratonin, a hormone that's produced by exposure to sunlight.  Weirdly, this condition makes people incorrectly crave carbohydrates, in spite of the fact that the body needs tryptophan to create seratonin, and carbohydrates are low in tryptophan.  Instead, they should be consuming "seafood, poultry, grass-fed meats, leafy greens, and green vegetables such as asparagus and broccoli" (Karlstrom).  Additionally, they should be eating foods high in fats, as that provides long-term, steady energy, rather than a high carbohydrate diet, which has them crashing constantly.  This is why the comfort foods often eaten in the winter are much heavier- some people seem to instinctively know that wintertime means delicious, delicious, fatty foods.

Krampus comes for those who don't eat their stew-roids.

Due to the cold, eating hot food is essential to maintaining a feeling of warmth.  That should go without saying, but it's just as much mental as it is a physical sensation.  Eating cold foods in the winter can exacerbate that deep chill and lead to illness.  Cold air is also incredibly dry, so maintaining a hydrated state is essential.  The obvious solution to both of these conditions?  Soups and stews, obviously.  Warm liquids also enhance digestion, so you'll get more of the nutrition you're consuming if it's in a soup or stew.


While the aforementioned suggestions cover most of the issues that afflict people during the winter months, we still haven't covered the fact that people get ill in the winter months.  That's probably the biggest pain in the ass of the entire season- getting sicker than an Ethiopian during a famine for no fucking reason whatsoever.  One of the best immunoprotectants is garlic, and including garlic in your diet during the winter months is not just ideal- it's essential.  Garlic has been used in medicine for centuries to beat disease like Ray Rice beats his wife, and it works.  In one study conducted in 2014, people who consumed a garlic supplement got sick about as third as often as the people taking a placebo (Lissiman), so including garlic in your diet is essential if you don't want to be your office's patient zero.


So, where's that leave us?  Eating a shitload of stew with garlic in it.  Given that it's winter and we all might as well bulk, I highly recommend eating your stew over noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice.  In the last installment, I gave my badass recipe for herbed, buttered egg noodles, and at the end of this one I'll drop my recipe for garlic mashed potatoes.  I'll generally eat my stews these days with buttered rolls or sourdough bread, because I'm just trying to smash as many calories into my diet as I can fit.  If you're trying to trim your waistline this winter, you'll probably want to avoid that.


Chili Colorado

Chili colorado is different than typical chili in that it uses chunks of beef, rather than ground beef.  It gives the whole thing an entirely different feel, and is frankly a nice change of pace from typical chili because you actually have to chew, haha.  This recipe is cool because it is not your typical chili flaor- you'll notice there's no chili powder used.  I like to use habeneros in place of either the pasillas or guajillos, and generally end up using Hungarian Wax Peppers because I can't anything but the anchos.  You can (and I usually do) use canned peppers in place of fresh ones.

Ingredients
5 Ancho Peppers
2 Pasilla Peppers
2 Guajillo Peppers
8 Cups Chicken Stock
2 lbs Stew Beef
6 Cloves Garlic
Salt and Pepper
2 Bay Leaves
1 TBSP Cumin
2 TSP Sage
2 TSP Oregano

Directions
Remove the stems and seeds from chilies- don't use dry and brittle chilies, but rather chiles that are soft and pliable.  Cover chiles with 3 cups of boiling chicken stock and let them steam, covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes until they are plump and tender, then bend until smooth.

Throw some salt and pepper on the beef, then brown it in a big pot over medium-high heat with some vegetable oil at the bottom to keep it from sticking. Dice the garlic and toss it in the pot along with the bay leaves, ground cumin, sage and  oregano. Stir that around for about a minute, or until very fragrant. Add in 5 cups of chicken stock and simmer uncovered for about an hour. Then, stir in the chile purée and simmer for another 45 minutes until the meat is very tender and the sauce is a thick, mahogany-red color. Season with additional salt and pepper.


Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew

Rosemary is a badass herb.  Not only does it taste awesome, but it "has been hailed since ancient times for its medicinal properties. Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth" in addition to aiding digestion and vision (Nordqvist).

Ingredients
½ lb. (4 medium) Carrots
½ sleeve Celery
1 medium Onion
2 lbs. Red Potatoes
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1½ lbs. Beef Stew Meat
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup All-purpose Flour
2 cups Beef Broth
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
½ Tbsp Brown Sugar
½ Tbsp Rosemary
½ tsp Thyme

Instructions
Dice the onion and slice the carrots and celery. Wash the potatoes well and cut them into one inch cubes. Place the onion, carrots, celery, and potatoes into a large slow cooker.  Place the stew meat in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the flour and toss the meat until it is coated. Set the floured meat aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in the hot oil for about one minute, or until soft and fragrant. Add the floured meat and all the flour from the bottom of the bowl to the skillet. Let the beef cook without stirring for a few minutes to allow it to brown on one side. Stir and repeat until most or all sides of the beef pieces are browned. Add the browned beef to the slow cooker and stir to combine with the vegetables.

Return the skillet to the burner and turn the heat down to low. Add the beef broth, Dijon,  Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rosemary, and thyme to the skillet. Stir to combine the ingredients and dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Once everything is dissolved off the bottom of the skillet, pour the sauce over the ingredients in the slow cooker. The sauce will not cover the contents of the slow cooker, but it's okay. More moisture will be released as it cooks.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours. After four hours, remove the lid and stir the stew, breaking the beef into smaller pieces as you stir. Taste the stew and adjust the salt if needed. Serve hot as is, or over a bowl of rice or pasta.


Mexican Lentil Stew

Lentils are insanely good for you- they're high in protein, fiber, B-vitamins, and zinc, and the Romans practically jacked off to them as a result.  Though the recipe I have here doesn't call for it, I use choriso in this stew- I just slice up a package of chorizo and throw it in the stew while it's simmering.  It adds a ton of flavor and calories, which is what we're after anyway.  MOAR PROTONZ=MOAR GAINZ.

Ingredients
2 cups dry Red Lentils
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium Onion
3-4 stalks Celery
4 cloves Garlic
2 (14.5oz.) cans Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
½ Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
½ tsp Turmeric
4 cups Chicken Broth
10-15 dashes Hot Sauce (I use Dave's Insanity Sauce or Ghost Pepper Sauce)
1 Lime
½ bunch Cilantro

Instructions
Add the dry lentils to a medium pot. Cover with water, swish to rinse, then drain off as much water as possible. Repeat this process until the water remains mostly clear. After draining off the last rinse, add four cups of water, place a lid on top, and bring the lentils to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, turn off the heat and let sit with a lid on for about 20 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, begin the rest of the stew. Dice the onion and mince the garlic and sauté them in a large pot with olive oil over medium-low heat until soft and transparent.

While that's cooking, rinse and dice the celery. Throw the celery into the pot and continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the celery begins to soften.  Add the diced tomatoes (with juices), chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and hot sauce to the pot. Stir to combine.

The lentils should be finished cooking by now. Drain off as much of the cooking water as possible, then add the lentils to the pot along with the vegetable broth. Stir simmer it medium-low heat for about 15 minutes. e lentils will soften and break down further as they simmer, helping to thicken the stew.

Pull the cilantro leaves from the stems, give them a rough chop, then stir them into the stew. Squeeze the juice of the lime into the broth and stir to combine. Taste the stew and adjust the salt or hot sauce if desired.


Korean Beef Stew

I don't know about you guys, but I love the shit out of Korean food.  Usually, it's a pain in the ass to make and requires a ton of marinading, but this recipe is easy as all hell and tasty as fuck.

Ingredients
2 lb Beef Stew Meat, cut into 1-inch pieces 
1 bag (16 oz) Baby Carrots 
6 Green Onions, cut into 1-inch pieces 
6 cloves Garlic, chopped
1/2 cup Tomato Juice
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Red Pepper Flakes
1 TBSP Sriracha
3 tablespoons Sugar
2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
4 teaspoons Cold Water
3 cups hot cooked Rice

Directions

Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix beef, carrots, onions, garlic, tomato juice, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper, Sriracha, oil and pepper.  Cook on low heat setting 9 to 11 hours or on high 4 and a half to 5 and half hours.  Then, mix cornstarch and cold water until blended and stir into the stew. Crank the temperature to high for about 20 minutes and then throw it on the rice.


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Frankly, I prefer to put my stews on rice and mix the rise into the stew, but mashed potatoes can add a hell of a lot of bulk to your stews if that's what you're looking for, plus you'll get more calories and more garlic.  

Ingredients
5 pounds Potatoes ; peeled
Salt to taste
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/2 cup Milk
1/4 cup Green Onions, chopped
Black Pepper
6 cloves Garlic, minced

Directions
Slice mostly peeled potatoes into quarters (I like some peel in my mashed potatoes, and it improves the nutritional. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add a dash of salt. Boil potatoes until easily pierced with a fork, about 20-35 minutes. Drain potatoes, and return to the pot. Add garlic, milk and butter to the potatoes. Use a masher to combine everything together, until your desired consiten. Add additional milk or butter if necessary to reach desired consistency. While mashing, add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped green onion.


Armed with those recipes, you should be able to make it through the winter, provided you don't get eaten by Krampus or run over by a snow plow.  A pro tip for you- to get the smell of garlic off your hands, just rub them on your faucet.  I've no idea why that works, but it does.  To get the smell of garlic off your breath, eat some parsley.  Now, go eat your stew-roids and get fucking jacked.

Sources:
Garlic.  University of Maryland Medical Center.  Web.  7 Dec 2015.  https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/garlic

Garlic for the common cold.  PubMed Health.  Web.  8 Dec 2015.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0013804/

Hauser, Annie.  Why Do We Eat More in Winter?  Everyday Health.  2 Feb 2012.  Web.  7 Dec 2015.  http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/why-do-we-eat-more-in-winter.aspx

Karlstrom, Solvie.  Why You Need To Eat More Fat (In the Winter)Warding off the winter blues could be as simple as loading up on Thanksgiving turkey—in the middle of January.  Rodale's Organic Life.   25 Jan 2012.  Web.  7 Dec 2015.  http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/winter-blues

Lissiman E, Bhasale AL, Cohen M.Garlic for the common cold.  Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Nov 11;11:CD006206.

Nordqvist, Joseph.  Rosemary: Health Benefits, Precautions, Drug Interactions.  Medical News Today.  15 Sp 2015.  Web.  9 Dec 2015.  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266370.php

Styles, Serena.  Foods to Eat in Cold Temperatures.  SFGate.  Web.  7 Dec 2015.  http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-eat-cold-temperatures-2240.html

Which is better: Drinking cold or warm water.  Healthy and Natural World.  20 Nov 2014.  Web.  7 Dec 2015.  http://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/drinking-cold-or-warm-water/

13 November 2015

Winter Is Upon Us, So MOAR STEW-ROIDS


I'd sort of abandoned this series, thinking there was no place to go with it, but that's about as sensible as the Christians' collective spazzing about the "War On Christmas" they allege Starbucks is waging with their redesigned holiday cups.  One can have too much stew like one can have too many blowjobs- the shit just isn't fucking possible.  Moreover, I've not even delved into hearty soups, which is partly where I'm going with this, as I didn't even know the actual difference between a soup and a stew until googling it.  Apparently, the difference is mostly theoretical.  According to "Taste of Home":
What's the difference between soup and stew? In theory, a soup is a combination of vegetables, meat or fish cooked in liquid. A stew is any dish that's prepared by stewing - that is, the food is barely covered with liquid and simmered for a long time in a covered pot.


In short, they're pretty much the same fucking thing.  Meat and vegetables in a broth, with all of the deliciousness and nutrition you can possibly pack into them.  They're both easy as all hell to make, they're endlessly modifiable, they warm you up on cold days, and they can be fucking crucial for bulking diets jest because they add an easy-to-digest calorie bomb to any meal or serve as a meal in and of themselves.  Ori Hofmekler loves the holy hell out of soups and stews, and his diet, the Warrior Diet, revolves around them because they're what the ancient Romans lived on.
"I'm a big believer in soups and stews, not just in cold seasons, but even in warm weather.  I think having veggies and soup is one of the best ways to start a meal.  Hearty vegetable soups and stews, where everything is cooked together- often veggies, roots, meats or seafood, and whole grains- have a great advantage in that many tastes, textures, and aromas combine in one hot, hearty meal.  This thousands-of-years-old-tradition is extremely good for your satiety" (Hofmekler 69).
If you're an American male, it's likely veggies are noticeably absent from your diet, so it probably makes sense to add soups and stews to your diet just to ensure you don't contract cancer at age 40or end up with some horrible nutrient deficiency.  That's not to say that you necessarily will have either of those things happen if you subsist on a diet of naught but meat, but it makes sense to hedge your bets when you can... especially when doing so is fucking delicious.

Split Pea Soup

I have no idea why it became a fad to eat peas in the Roman Republican era, but for some reason, Romans thought peas were the unadulterated shit.  They ate them like Michael Moore eats doughnuts, and peas soup was so popular that the comic playwright Aristophanes mentioned it in his bizarrely themed play The Birds, and street vendors all over the Republic sold hot pea soup (Pease).  You might be thinking to yourself that hot pea soup is a pretty fucking stupid thing to try to eat while walking, and I'd have to agree with you... especially when you're busy tripping over the bedsheet you wrapped around yourself in an idiotic attempt to clothe yourself according to Roman fashion.  Nevertheless, pea soup was a cornerstone of the Roman diet, and fueled the Roman army to victory first over the Etruscans, and later over the rest of the world.


I've no idea how the fuck the Romans made their soup, but it's entirely possible they made it the way I make it- in a clay pot.  Clay pots are awesome for beans (peas are legumes) because for some reason the beans get a kind of velvety feel when cooked in a clay pot.  If you don't have one, I highly recommend Romertopf- that's what I use in my pea soup.  No matter how you cook it, whether it be in a crock pot, a clay pot, or a regular pot, split pea soup is badass both from a taste standpoint and a nutritional standpoint- even without meat in it, pea soup has 8 grams of protein per cup.  No meat, you say?  Fuck all that shit- my dad imparted to me long ago that the best way to make split pea soup is with smoked pork, both bones and meat.  Using smoked pork gives off salt, which enhances the flavor, and the marrow from the bones adds both nutrition and flavor.  It does, however, add an extra step- making the broth.  That's really not all that hard, however, so I'll just throw it in with the rest of the soup and let you guys have the fuck at it.

Ingredients

8 cups water
1 large ham bone
2 cups dried split green peas
2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
1 medium onion, halved
6 large garlic cloves
2 large celery ribs, include leaves, chop small
1 large bay leaf
2 beef bouillon cubes
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1 pinch dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Directions

Dump the peas into a soaked 4-quart clay pot (you're always supposed to soak clay pots before using them).  On the stove, bring your water to a boil, add everything but the peas and garlic, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.  After 60-90 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove all of the solids from your broth, remove the ham bone,and cut off any remaining ham into bite size pieces.  If there are any big chunks of ham floating around, dice those, too, and add them to the peas in the clay pot.  Dump in your broth, add the garlic, and.put the clay pot in a cold oven.  Once that's done, set the oven temperature to 450 °F and cook for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring occasionally to check the consistency- the peas should be soft and mushy.  After that, you just season to taste with pepper.

I generally eat split pea soup with buttered french bread- for some reason the two go together in my mind.  Additionally, if you're bulking, you'll want the extra calories anyway.


Marha Pörkölt – Hungarian Beef Paprika Stew

If you're not familiar with what badasses the Hungarians are, you've not been paying attention.  Hungary is literally littered with statues of Attila the Hun, as the people who founded Hungary, the Magyars, were horse nomads who joined the Hunnic confederation when the Huns swept into Europe.  Consummate badasses in their own right, the Magyars regularly raided the neighboring Slavs and shared a culture with the cannibalistic murder-machines the Scythians and the Sarmatians.  What fueled their endless raiding, slaughter, and general awesomeness?  Stew, of course.   The following recipe literally translates to "beef stew", as the Hungarians are apparently unconcerned with nomenclature because they're too busy being violent badasses.  This stew is no joke.


Ingredients

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, minced
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 lb. beef stew meat
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 large tomato, cored and chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions

In a large saute pan, heat vegetable oil over medium, and if you're using olive oil, make sure it's regular olive oil rather than extra virgin, because extra virgin burns ridiculously easily. Add the minced onion and saute for about 8 minutes, when the onions should be softened.  Add the garlic and green bell pepper and continue to saute for another 5 minutes till garlic is fragrant and bell pepper is tender-crisp.  Add the beef to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-6 more minutes, stirring twice, till meat is browned.  Sprinkle paprika and caraway seeds evenly across the top of the meat. Add diced tomatoes to the pan. Pour 4-5 cups of hot water into the pan, till the meat is almost covered. Stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cover to pan. Let the mixture simmer slowly for about 90-100 minutes, replenishing the water as needed to keep it from getting dry.

The stew is ready when the meat is fork tender and the sauce is thick. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste before serving, if desired.  Because we're all about the permabulk over the winter, I recommend that you eat this over some sort of starchy carbohydrate, like rice or noodles.  I'll hit you with a recipe for herbed noodles in a second, but before I do so, you guys need to know about the hot pepper paste Hungarians put on everything- Erős Pista.  This stuff tastes as badass as can be, is an awesome condiment for this stew, and is easy as hell to make.


Erős Pista

Ingredients

Red spicy peppers
Red sweet peppers
Salt
The ratio of spicy to sweet peppers is to taste, but a 1:10 ratio (1 sweet pepper for every 10 spicy peppers) seems to work best.

Directions

Wash the peppers and remove the stem.  Process the peppers in a food processor or grinder.  Add 2 tbsp of salt per 5 ozof ground peppers.  Place in jars that have been washed and thoroughly dried.


Herbed Egg Noodles

Ingredients

Kosher salt
12oz wide egg noodles
1 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, minced
2 tbsp fresh chives, minced
2 tbsp butter
2tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Bring a stockpot of salted water to a boil.  Drop in the noodles and cook according to the directions on the package.  While all of that is going on, stir together the green stuff.  When the noodles are done, strain them, toss in the butter and oil, and return the noodles to the pot (with no heat).  Toss the noodles until the're coated in butter and oil, then season with salt and stir in your herbs.  BOOM- you've got un-boring noodles to throw your stew onto.

Next time you're in Starbucks, don't forget this.

So, there you have it- a couple of new recipes to try out while I finish up a couple of new training articles and test more hearty soup recipes.  Also in the works are a new series on meat pies that will contain entirely home-gown recipes that I'll be doing in collaboration with the owner of Bello Foods, a startup specializing in pizza and cheesecake that won't tear up the digestive tracts of people with sundry shit-your-pants style GI diseases.  That series will ultimately culminate in a cookbook- yup, a motherfucking Chaos and Pain cookbook.  So, there's a bunch of cool shit in the works and the articles should start coming fast and furious again.

Until that day, motherfuckers.

If you didn't like the recipe for Erős Pista, there's always this.

Sources:
Hofmekler, Ori.  The Warrior Diet.  St Paul:  Dragon Door Publications, 2003.

Vegetarians in Paradise.  Pease Porridge Hot, Pease Porridge Cold.  Web.  11 Nov 2015.  http://www.vegparadise.com/highestperch52.html

07 October 2015

Paleotards Are Doing It Wrong, Part Quatre


Identifying Which Type of "Paleo" Dieting is Best for You

​By this point, it should be apparent  that there is hardly any consensus on what, exactly, comprises the diet of our Paleolithic forebears, be it in the media, scholastic circles, the general public, or even the hard sciences.  The debate on this topic, which is generally about as civil as those witnessed between the heavily tanned, overly medicated, and utterly worthless, vapid cunts on Real Housewives of New Jersey, seems to have no logical ending point.  Due to the reticence of the scientific community to support it (ostensibly due to massive pressure more nefarious than Ivan the Terrible's secret police), no clear answer in regards to what constitutes an ancestral or Paleolithic diet can be reached.  Moreover, due to modern agriculture and the unwillingness of most people to accept the facts that 1) no one who eats modern produce is truly eating "Paleo" and 2) there is no one "ultimate" or "perfect" Paleolithic Diet, this question literally cannot be resolved because we cannot recreate the diet without foraging and because the answer is far more complex than a simple yes or no.

Happy hunting!

Interestingly, I stumbled across an article in Scientific American that echoed my sentiments regarding the relative futility of attempting to isolate the "ultimate" paleo diet- you might as well hunt for the Lost Ark, the Fountain of Youth, and Lemuria while you're at it.  According to the author of the article in SA, "the Paleo diet is founded more on privilege than logic" (Jabr).  Another author, Marlene Zuk, supported that argument in her book Paleofantasies, stating that "'Paleofantasies' call to mind a time when everything about us- body, mind, and behavior- was in sync with the environment... but no such time existed" (Ibid).

Every single species consumed today, as I've mentioned previously, is about as different from its Paleolithic ancestor as Mini Me from Austin Powers is from a prototypical, bloodthirsty, take-no-prisoners-because-we'll-eat-them-before-we-get-home Cro-Magnon man.  Whether flora or fauna, we've selectively bred everything we eat for desirable traits, rendering them totally dissimilar to their Paleolithic forebears.  The entire Brassica family (brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale, bok choi, etc) is derived from a single plant that wasn't domesticated until 4000 BCE.  Contrary to the assertions of the popular media, J. Stanton suggests that the most damning evidence to the conception of Paleolithic starches, fruits, and veggies as wholly similar to those of the modern era (in terms of glycemic load and carbohydrate content) is the utter lack of tooth decay in Paleolithic remains.

"There’s some currently fashionable dogma out there that “we found some starch stuck in a dead guy’s teeth, so cavemen definitely ate lots of carbs,” but the condition of the teeth disprove that: carb-heavy diets = tooth decay in a land without toothbrushes and fluoridated toothpaste, and Paleolithic teeth, including the ones found with starch stuck in them, are uniformly excellent.  The single exception: someone found a place they were eating lots of acorns in the almost-Neolithic (15 KYa = 15,000 years ago) and they indeed had shitty teeth.  Unlike every other “starch in teeth” site, they also found the remains of woven baskets for storing those acorns: there’s a world of difference between “we ate it because it was on the ground for a few days and we’re hungry” and “we gather it, store it, and live off it for a substantial part of the year.”
The “starch in teeth” carb apologists also neglect to note that Paleolithic digs often contain thousands of handaxes, scrapers, flakes, and other meat-processing tools, and thousands of animal bones. (Example: 18,500 stone artifacts.)  And the wide variation in salivary amylase gene copy number between different races and cultures of modern humans (Perry 2007) suggests that the adaptation to high-starch diets is both very recent and incomplete" (Stanton).
Throw on top of that brutally damning heap of factual pain the ridiculously stark lack of diversity in modern Paleo diets, and the idea that modern humans could eat a truly Paleolithic diet is nailed shut harder than a porn star in a 500 man gangbang.

Another issue I previously mentioned was the conception of regional diversity in Paleo and hunter-gatherer diets, which vary widely in food selection and macronutrient profiles.  The Scientific American again backed my assertions in this regard, pointing to four different hunter-gatherer societies and their respective diets- the Inuit, Hiwi, !Kung, and Hazda.  To see exactly how disparate their diets are/were, check out this badass infographic.


As you can see, their versions of Paleo are about as different as African carnies would be from a pack of white bread assholes in an East Coast country club.  Having made all of those points and covered all of the caveats, it's about time to pick a Paleo diet.  Before we delve into the abyss on making the determination that people seem to think will either provide the meaning of life or utter and complete physical destruction, it seems it would behoove us to rehash their various types, however.  There are four main types:

Strict Paleo

  • Allowed: Meat, fat, organs, and any other unprocessed animal product from animals fed and finished on grass (or forage, in the case of non-grass-eaters like chickens); fish and shellfish; eggs; tree nuts; vegetables; roots; berries; mushrooms; certain fruits in limited quantities; raw honey in small amounts.
  • Forbidden:  Dairy products, legumes, grains, potatoes, sugar, added salt, and processed foods of any kind.   

Strict Paleo Pros

  1. It works very well for fat loss and recomposition.
  2. It is very black and white, so there is no confusion as to what is and what is not allowed.

Strict Paleo Cons
  1. It was based on incomplete information, so it's about as restrictive as a whalebone corset on one of those fat pinup girls who think that good lighting and a shitload of makeup take off 50 lbs, and the corset takes off another 50..
  2. Saltless could mean electrolyte imbalances if you're doing a lot of GPP, cardio, cutting weight, or training in the eat.  You could end up cramping like 
  3. It's bland as all hell.
  4. It's pretty low calorie, so it would be hard to gain muscle or even maintain a lot of muscle on this diet.


Traditional Paleo

  • Allowed:  Everything in strict paleo with the addition of salt, and other spices (except soy sauce and other grain-derived sauces); sweet potatoes; cooking oils made from animals or fruits (tallow, coconut, palm, olive); clarified butter; limited amounts of coffee, tea, mate, and other stimulant-laden beverages.  Red meat is encouraged over white, eating the entire animal (offal and all) is encouraged.
  • Forbidden: Legumes, grains, white potatoes, sugar, and processed foods of any kind.   

Traditional Paleo Pros

  1. It falls much more in line with what we know about the eating patterns of Paleolithic man.  One Paleolithic site in Egypt showed residues of 157 different plant and herb species, and it's believed that even more were used that left no residue (Moore 327–99).  Robb Wolf espouses the use of a variety of spices for their medicinal purposes, and it's known that Paleolithic man used spices as medicinal aids as well (Karnes)
  2. The use of oil was in place during the Paleolithic, though they seem to have used nut oil for cooking.  Loren Cordain suggests that good modern cooking oils, other than animal fats, are flaxseed, walnut, olive, macadamia, coconut, and avocado (Vuolo).
  3. It's well known that hunter-gatherers dating back to the Neanderthals utilized stimulants ranging from coca leaves to khat to ephedra.  As such, it only makes sense that stimulants be allowed in a paleo diet.

Traditional Paleo Cons
  1. It's still light on carbs, for people who are very carb-centric, but not on calories, as fattier meat is encouraged to stave off "rabbit starvation."



Primal

  • Allowed: White potatoes (which I've explained are not only not paleo, but they were not even considered edible food in medieval in Europe), dairy if you tolerate it well, and gluten-free soy sauce is OK.  Carb recommendation is around 150g/day.  Occasional cheating on the diet is ok- i.e. the “80/20 rule.”
  • Forbidden: Grains and “vegetable oils” like corn, soy, sunflower, grapeseed, and canola; corn syrup; textured vegetable protein.

Primal Paleo Pros

  1. It's easy.
  2. It offers a lot of food choices.
  3. It's a simple way for normal people to eat "clean".

Primal Paleo Cons

  1. It's really not paleo.
  2. It allows a lot of high GI carbs.
  3. I'd not going to afford the same kind of fat loss or lean muscle as the previous types of paleo.

Perfect Health Diet

  • In short, this is Primal with the addition of white rice and a few other tropical “safe starches” (e.g. cassava, sago, taro, tapioca), and is in no way, shape or form, actually paleo.  This is paleo-lite for housewives.  Avoid it.

There should be a man selling meat on a stick on every street corner in the world.

​So, this leaves us with a choice.  To me, the choice is clear- I've done it and it works.  Traditional paleo kicks ass.  I will say that I've included a post workout meal of durum kebab most of the time that I've done the traditional paleo route, so as to get more calories and some post workout carbs, so I was eating about a half pound of roast chicken slathered in hot sauce on a burrito shell / flatbread.  This was necessary because at the time I was eating far too low fat, but one must remember that when Ray Audette wrote Neanderthin, the study of Paleolithic diets was in its infancy, so he's off base in some ways.  Strict paleo left me hungry and weak most of the time, and eating food without salt is like having sex without penetration.  Robb Wolf knows his stuff and a higher fat diet that includes seasonings is exactly what I espouse with my Apex Predator Diet.  I will agree that identifying the “type” of paleo is an issue, but to me this is a problem in and of itself.    Wolf’s recommendations (Traditional Paleo), to my mind, fall best in line with what archaeology tells us Paleolithic diets were like, but none of the rest resemble Paleolithic diets in any way.  Instead, they’re ridiculous alterations of a very simple concept simply to make the diet palatable to the general public.

Lastly, it should be mentioned that pretty much everyone who slams into the weights like a rhino into a Land Rover on safari modifies whatever paleo diet they've chosen in some way.  I mentioned I included protein shakes, one flatbread a day, and weekly cheat meals, though I still consdered my diet to be paleo.  That's what Robb Wolf refers to as your "paleo percentage." According to a writer for Robb's website,
"Logically, we all ‘get’ what these paleo percentages mean, right? It’s not rocket science. You eat clean paleo (this means no paleo pancakes, paleo cookies, or other hybrid paleo creations that are showing up on some Paleo cooking blogs)a given percent of the time (like 80 or 90) and then the other 10-20 percent of the time you enjoy some non-sanctioned deliciousness. That’s really all there is to it. Everybody got that" (Kubal).
I might also mention that I chug Diet Coke, or as it was called in Vienna "Coke Lite", like a man dying of dehydration, so no matter what paleo diet type you choose, remember that you're a human being living in the Modern Era and none of the stuff you eat will actually be Paleolithic, so just don't take yourself as seriously as an Evangelical Christian who accidentally wandered into a sex toy shop and just eat as closely to the diet of your choice as possible.  Pick the type of diet that suits your goals and personal food preferences and you'll be solid.

So there you have it- Paleolithic dieting broken down like a fat kid in gym class.  As Wolf's famous for saying "Eat to live, don't live to eat."  Just don't take this shit too seriously- YOLO, bitches.

Sources:
Jabr, Ferris.  How to Really Eat Like a Hunter-Gatherer: Why the Paleo Diet Is Half-Baked.  Scientific American.  3 Jun 2013.  Web.  8 Oct 2015.  http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-paleo-diet-half-baked-how-hunter-gatherer-really-eat/

Karnes, Amber.  The Paleo Table: 8 herbs & spices you should get to know.  Robb Wolf.  29 Nov 2010.  Web.  19 Aug 2015.  http://robbwolf.com/2010/11/29/the-paleo-table-8-herbs-spices-you-should-get-to-know/

Kubal, Amy.  90/10, 80/20, 40/60… What’s Your Paleo Percentage?  RobbWolf.com.  11 Jul 2013.  Web.  8 Oct 2015.  http://robbwolf.com/2013/07/11/9010-8020-4060-whats-paleo-percentage/

Moore AMT, Hillman GC, Legge AJ, ed.  Village on the Euphrates.  Oxford University Press: 2000,

Stanton, J.  Personal Correspondence.

Vuolo, Stephanie.  Paleo diet primer: fats and oils.  The Paleo Diet.  Web.  19 Aug 2015. http://thepaleodiet.com/paleo-diet-primer-fats-and-oils/