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.

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

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).

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

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.

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

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.

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


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 rice 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.  

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

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.

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.


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


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.


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)


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


Red spicy peppers
Red sweet peppers
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.


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


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


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.

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

08 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."


  • 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.

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.

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/