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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/  

18 August 2015

Paleotards Are Doing It Wrong, Part Trois

As I stated in the previous entry, there is some confusion as to what "type" of paleo one should choose.  That's unsurprising, given that scientists seem to be even more divided on the topic than are the authors who tout the various types.  Thus, I feel fairly confident chiming in on the topic in spite of the fact that I don't consider myself necessarily an advocate of a paleolithic diet, though it's due in large part to the fact that paleotards are as intolerable as evangelical Christians and twice as misinformed.  The fact that they're misinformed is not entirely their fault, however, due to the disparity in information coming from paleo authors, archaeologists, and scientists, however, and I would posit that the disagreements in the field arise out of two fundamental issues:




1) Geographical diversity.  Even in Europe, for instance, there's avast difference in the native flora and fauna of, say, England, Spain, and Germany.  Each area, however, contained both Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon man, and both of those hominids shared similar diets.  Their diets would, however, have to have differed necessarily based on the food available to them at the time.  Thus, depending on the specimen studied, differing opinions about what is "paleo" might arise.  Some of them might have eaten more carbohydrate than others, and in Europe the "high carbohydrate specimens might have eaten grasses, berries, and turnips... but you know what none of them ate?  FUCKING SWEET POTATOES OR YAMS.  They're indigenous to South America, and you know what a wild yam looks like?  Take a gander.

I have never seen the likes of that in a supermarket.

Given that everyone who I have ever met who claimed to eat paleo was white, the last fucking thing on Earth they should be eating, save for a banana, is a yam or a sweet potato.  It's far more likely that Cro-Magnon man and paleolithic European humans supplemented their diets with grasses, a couple of root vegetables like turnips and parsnips, and berries, which were at that time tiny, bitter, and about as impossible to duplicate in the modern world as the Valley Temple of Khafre.  Paleolithic man has existed in every corner of the world, so it would make much more sense to eat the "foods of your people" and wild vegetation as much as possible if you'd like to eat paleo.  Modern berries contain far too much sugar, bananas are basically just badly flavored sticks of sugar, and oranges were hard, inedible fruits in the paleolithic (Texas).  I encourage everyone out there to research their ancestral diets, as there seems to be something to eating the way your people did for millennia. One non-profit, Oldways, has won awards for the work they've done to this end- they assert that if you eat foods in line with your genetic heritage, you'll be healthier, stronger, and less prone to chronic or degenerative disease.  If you check out their site, you'll note Northern Europeans and Russians are conspicuously absent from the list, but they detail Mediterranean, Latin American, African, Asian, and Vegetarian Diets and Pyramids.  

In spite of my nitpicking, I think the concept is definitely cool.

Frankly, lumping Asia into one group is fairly preposterous, as it spans everything from India to Korea and then back down to Southeast Asia, and they all eat markedly different things.  As I've already covered, the Indians would be remiss to skip meat eating if they were to eat an ancestral diet, as Indians at meat right up until the modern era, and Koreans would balk at eating a Chinese diet, so that's fairly silly.  Oceania is also skipped, but I suppose the diversity of the diets ranging from New Zealand to the Aboriginal diet would be hard to cover in a single pyramid.  As for Northern Europeans, it might behoove you to consult this list, which comes from the Capitulary of Charlemagne de villis vel curtis imperii, a cookbook written in 800 AD, and details the vegetables under cultivation at that time.  Note that potatoes, tomatoes, and beans are conspicuously absent from the list because they arrived from elsewhere later in history (Bulit).
  • Eggplant
  • Cabbage
  • Artichokes
  • Eggplants
  • Carrots
  • Gourds
  • Melon
  • Parsnip
  • Swiss chard
  • Spinach
  • Leeks
  • Peas
  • Turnips
  • Cucumber
  • Chickpeas
  • Celery
  • Leeks
  • Peas
  • Lettuce
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Shallots
As for fruit, unless you're picking wild strawberries, you're pretty much limited to red currants, super tart apples (the closest thing you can get to an old school apple, pears, raspberries, black currents, and damsons, which are plum-like fruits with an apparently astringent taste.  As you can see, choices on a truly paleo diet are fairly limited.

2) Scientists all have an agenda.  It's why they choose given fields- they spend their entire careers trying to prove a given hypothesis.  Some scientists want to go with the omnivorous theory, some want to prove that we have to eat carbs to be healthy, while still others want to portray humans as pure carnivores.  To say that they're carnivorous opportunists just seems to be out of their reach, and since one of them seem to understand that no two geographic groups ate the same and thus there is no one golden paleo, they're just busy confusing the fuck out of everyone.


And while we're at it- arrowroot is not strict paleo.  That shit has been in cultivation for 7,000 years in the Americas, and it requires extensive processing to obtain.  That's not paleo.  According to Mark Sisson, it's primal, but in terms of the strict definition of paleo, it's not.  If you're going for your ancestral diet, it's especially not paleo unless you're from the Caribbean.  Nevertheless, Robb Wolff posted a quote from Andrew Badenoch, “Paleo is a logical framework applied to modern humans, not a historical reenactment.”  As such, you should probably limit your arrowroot consumption, rather than include it in everything as I've seen some paleo chefs do.  In the event that you have a hankering for some biscuits, however, ol' Robb has you covered- check out his recipe for biscuits and gravy here (though I'd throw some actual sausage in there for extra protein).


But, what about the news saying that cavemen ate carbs?

If you've been following the news, you might have noticed that the media has picked up on a study from the University College London that states that the paleo diet did, in fact, include carbohydrates.  This, of course, comes as a shock to no one, because no author of whom I'm aware have ever advocated a completely ketogenic diet as "paleo"  In fact, every paleo author of whom I'm aware advocates carbohydrate consumption in one form or another, using various sources like the ones I've listed above.  It seems obvious that early man would have been more concerned with filling his belly than maintaining his six-pack, and would be eating anything and everything that would help him stab various megafauna to death while banging some hot cave chick.


Similarly, you might have read a piece of trash so pants-shittingly insane it might as well have been co-written by Gary Busey and Nick Nolte on Quartz.com entitled "Scientists confirm the paleo diet is nonsense."  In it, the author who clearly lacks a fact checker suggests that we all eat potatoes (which were considered unfit for human consumption in Europe until around the 17th century) because "cavemen and cavewoman ancestors loved—and needed—carbs as much as we do, even if they gathered them instead of cultivated them" based on the fact that "Examination of 3-million-year-old teeth and the plant-life in the regions where our ancestors lived also signal that they were eating tubers and other starchy vegetables" (Shanker).  The problem?  Modern humans are only about 200,000 old.  The hominid teeth being studied from 3 million years ago were australopithecines, which look like this:

Dunno about you, but none of my ancestors look like chimps.

From the above, you should be able to ascertain two things- one, my point about scientists having an agenda has been borne out, because that scientist blatantly lied about his findings.  Australopithecines aren't even in our genus- saying we should eat like them is similar to saying whales should eat like deer, because they both descended from a common ancestor.  Mischievous, and deceitful.  Chicanerous and deplorable.  Two, the author from the Quartz doesn't know her ass from a hole in the floor.  Oh, and that bit I mentioned about potatoes in Europe?
"Throughout Europe, potatoes were regarded with suspicion, distaste and fear. Generally considered to be unfit for human consumption, they were used only as animal fodder and sustenance for the starving. In northern Europe, potatoes were primarily grown in botanical gardens as an exotic novelty. Even peasants refused to eat from a plant that produced ugly, misshapen tubers and that had come from a heathen civilization. Some felt that the potato plant's resemblance to plants in the nightshade family hinted that it was the creation of witches or devils" (Chapman).
So, we're still working toward which paleo diet is right for you, which I will hit up in the next segment of this series.  Till then, eat a steak with some parsley on it- that should do you for veggies.

Sources:
Bulit, Jean-Marc.  Vegetables in Medieval Europe.  Web.  16 Aug 2015.  http://www.oldcook.com/en/medieval-vegetables

Chapman, Jeff.  The impact of the potato.  History Magazine.  Web.  16 Aug 2015.  http://www.history-magazine.com/potato.html

Knapton, Sarah.  Paleo diet should include carbohydrates to be authentic, say scientists.  Telegraph.  15 Aug 2015. Web.  16 Aug 2015.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/archaeology/11804055/Paleo-diet-should-include-carbohydrates-to-be-authentic-say-scientists.html

Shanker, Deena.  Scientists confirm that the Paleo diet is nonsense.  Quartz.  13 Aug 2015.  Web.  16 Aug 2015.  http://qz.com/479123/scientists-confirm-that-the-paleo-diet-is-nonsense/

Texas oranges history.  TexaSweet.  Web.  16 Aug 2015.  http://www.texasweet.com/texas-grapefruits-and-oranges/the-history-of-texas-oranges/

13 August 2015

Baddest Motherfuckers Ever- "Judo" Gene LeBell

Now that is a fucking metal face.

Growing up, I had two martial arts heroes- Stephen Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme.  Sadly, Van Damme, all 155 lbs of coke-fueled, stripper groping, splits-doing idiot of him, got beating like a housewife in a trailer home by Hell's Angel-turned-bouncer Chuck Zito, and around the same time, Seagal was literally forced to piss his pants by a 58 year old man- the incomparable, unbeatable, innovative, and crueler than Vlad the Impaler, "Judo" Gene LeBell.  According to the stories, Gene was working on the set of Out for Justice when Seagal started mouthing off like he was a frat boy in an 18 and over bar, claiming that due to his aikido training, he was immune to chokes.  LeBell, who was aware of Seagal's shitty reputation ("he would hurt actors and stunt performers, dislocated shoulders, kick guys in the nuts to see if they were wearing cups, etc") proceeded to immediately choke out Seagal and manipulate acupuncture points so that Seagal shit and pissed himself (Mancini, Mma.com).  Not bad for a who's 58 year old in a pink gi... not bad at all.  After all, he had to contend witht the likes of this absolute beast of a fighter:



And while it's known that LeBell really enjoys embellishing his stories, you have to see how fucking long he holds his chokes to truly appreciate what a mean motherfucker Gene is.  I mean, these demo chokes are so brutal you wonder what he'd do in an actual fight- would he pop the guy's head off and put it on his mantle?  I would say that is highly likely.



Never have I ever seen a person get choked so tightly that he couldn't even lift his arm to tap... but it's not like Gene gave a hairy rat's ass, anyway.

The man who might be considered one of the baddest man to throw ever throw fists with giant, jacked, hairy lumberjack-looking motherfuckers who rode the bull they rode into the ring on was born in 1932 in Los Angeles, of all places.  After he presumably choked his mom half to death with his own umbilical cord, he waited a few years and began training under one of the most feared men in catch wrestling, Ed "The Strangler" Lewis.  Either his parents dripped with testosterone like a 1980's era Randy Savage, or they were the most irresponsible parents ever, because 1) the man is called "The Strangler", and 2) the style being taught to a 7 year old was one in which " grappling, strangling, limb twisting, head butting, punching, kicking, biting and even eye gouging were legal" (Potenza).



Robinson is the one about to unload the world's craziest haymaker on mega-badass Jake Lamotta's face.

After four years of eye gouging and strangling, the dude decided to learn boxing from boxing legend "Sugar" Ray Robinson and a few years later trained in styles that were virtually unknown in the US at the time- shit like kenpo, Taekwondo, and Shotokan.  After mastering that insane list of styles, Gene went back to his crazy brutal strangling groups and moved to Japan to learn Judo and Jiu Jutstu, the sports in which he's a living legend.  By the time he was 59, this master of the choke had earned the rank of 9th Dan in jujitsu and taihojutsu (which is basically a style designed by the Japanese feudal police to kill armed criminals). Finally, at 73 the man in in the pink gi was promoted to the sport that made him famous: 9th Dan in Traditional Judo (Gene LeBell).  



Going fucking HAM.

You'd think the man basically did nothing but train martial arts all day, but you'd be wrong: he was a Hollywood stuntman with 246 stunt credits to his name, 130 small acting roles, and 9 goddamned books.  The dude must never sleep, because that list exhausted me to read.  Oh, did I also mention he fought in what is erroneously referred to as America's first MMA fight (rough and tumble predated it by century)?  According to Gene, "It was the first televised MMA match. It was billed as pitting a judo, karate and wrestling guy against the No. 5 light-heavyweight boxer. I was known mostly for judo because I’d won the Nationals a few times, but I’d also done boxing, wrestling, karate, taekwondo and kenpo, mixing them together before it was popular."  Prior to the fight, Gene threatened to take his opponent Milo Savage's eye out during the fight, and it just escalated from there.  Gene's hands got nerfed when he was told he couldn't punch (presumably because he'd have committed a murder in the ring, and then Savage entered the ring covered in Vaseline (Fightland).  Not that it mattered- when he won the fight in the fourth round by choke, "the ref, who was also the doctor, didn’t know how to resuscitate him with katsu. After he’d been out for 20 minutes, my coach went in and revived the guy. The next morning, the newspaper headlines said, 'The Savage Was Tamed'" (Young).




By the way, did I mention he wrled a bear?  Must've slipped my mind because it's so commonplace.

By now, you have to be wondering how he trained, and you will not be disappointed.  LeBell was basically like a proto Steve Justa, only without the terrible singing, overall look of a hobo, fat gut, and sleeveless flannel shirts.  For fight training and conditioning, LeBell likes six hour workouts of a combination of striking, grappling, and general cardio work... which is fucking insane on a scale I can hardly conceive (Salzano).  As for weight lifting, Gene thought it was fucking boring, which makes sense given his ridiculously diverse resume.  Instead, Gene would do something called the "Tire Toss", an exercise that made him so strong that he was often disqualified from judo tournaments by pussies who thought he was using too much strength.  Awwwwwww... isn't it adorable when pussies get into positions of power and fuck over their betters?  Described as being like the Incredible Hulk, Gene's method for building strength went like this- he'd snatch a motherfucking motorcycle tire, then throw it as far as he could.  He'd do that for the length of a football field, celebrate by throwing the tire over the goal post, and then turn around and head back the way he came in the same manner (Founding Member).  SHEER BRUTALITY.  


You have got to love a guy who writes an autobiography called "The Toughest Man Alive."

Because nothing I could possibly say about this man beats this story, I'll leave you with this little bit of awesome.  The back ground to this story is that there was an inexperienced female ref working a fight between Gene's protege, Ronda Rousey, and an inexperienced fighter who'd only been training for six months.
"So Ronda get’s the gal down and upside down, gets an armbar. And you can see on the film where the gal was tapping, giving up, tapping out, and the referee was just standing there and looking. And I’m screaming “roll her over and break her arm!” and of course she does what Uncle Gene tells her to do, and that was that. It made it look a little bit better, but you don’t want to hurt a kind person if you don’t have to…….unless it makes you feel good" (Judo Gene).

FUCKING AWESOME.

Sources:
Fightland Staff.  Roots of Fight brings us the story of "Judo" Gene LeBell-- MMA pioneer and terrifying old man.  Vice.  3 Dec 2013.  Web.  13 Dec 2015.  http://fightland.vice.com/blog/roots-of-fight-brings-us-the-story-of-judo-gene-lebell--mma-pioneer-and-terrifying-old-man

Gene LeBell.  Wikipedia.  Web.  12 Aug 2015. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_LeBell#Early_life

Gene LeBell, Founding Member of Black Belt.  American Martial Arts Movement.  Web.  13 Aug 2015.  http://www.amam-magazine.com/gene_lebell.html

Judo Gene LeBell talks Kimura, Rousey, Elvis, Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee.  Wrestling Observer.  23 Dec 2014.  Web.  13 Aug 2015.  http://www.f4wonline.com/more/more-top-stories/118-daily-updates/40467-judo-gene-lebell-talks-kimura-rousey-elvis-chuck-norris-bruce-lee

Mancini, Vince.  A famous story about Steven Seagal peeing himself.  Uproxx.  pr 2011.  Web.  12 Aug 2015.  http://uproxx.com/filmdrunk/2011/04/a-famous-story-about-steven-seagal-peeing-himself/


Mma.com.  Gene LeBell talks Steven Seagal s----ing himself.  Mixed Martial Arts.com.  Web.  12 Aug 2015.  http://www.mixedmartialarts.com/news/390705/Gene-LeBell-talks-Steven-Seagal-s----ing-himself/

Potenza, John.  The Original No Holds Barred Fighting.  Snke Pit USA.  2012.  Web.  12 Aug 2015. http://snakepitusa.com/about-us/catch-wrestling-history/