Archive for Diet and Nutrition

Isle of Obesity

The tiny little island of Nauru, way out in the West Pacific, is officially the fattest country on Earth.

Blame it on the Western diet.  Video here.

Lard as Superfood

Art De Vany just published a provocative article last month, asserting that fat is really the ultimate fuel for our bodies in the sense that we were designed to burn it very efficiently.  You’ll need a subscription to access the full article, but Art’s work is always thoughtful and very well-researched.

“The next high performance fuel will be fat when the research finally gets it right,” Art writes. “It is simple, our ancestors were capable of amazing performances and did it on fat, not carbohydrate.”

Paleo Coconut Chicken

Found this on a blog called Paleo Plan and wanted to share with the group.

  1. Mix half a cup of almond meal (or almond flour) with half a cup of coconut flakes together in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat one egg.
  3. One by one, take a chicken breast and roll it in the egg mixture, followed by rolling it in the coconut-almond flour mix.
  4. You can either pan fry it (ideally using coconut oil), or you can do like Kristina and put it in the oven at 400º F for 25 minutes.  We also like her idea of adding a peach dipping sauce!

Himalayan Salt Stone

Scott Hagnas wrote a good piece recently for the Recipes section of Performance Menu.  It’s not really a recipe per se, but rather an interesting way to prepare and cook food — on a solid block of pink Himalayan salt.

It is basically a cutting board made of pure salt.  You can use it as a cutting board but, as Scott points out, it gets really interesting when you use it as a cooking surface.

A little Googling led us to this informative post on Salt News which yielded a host of further details.

We noticed that both Scott and the folks at Salt News seem to agree on where to buy them:  The Meadow in Portland, Oregon.

As you might expect, being all the way from the Himalayas, they’re not cheap.  And there are lots of sizes, shapes and different types to choose from.  Luckily the good folks at The Meadow provide the full skinny on selecting and using the right salt block for what you need.

GOMAD for Strength

We covered GOMAD at some point in the past.  It stands for Gallon Of Milk A Day, and is recommended by some folks in the Mark Rippetoe “Starting Strength” camp as an effective way of fueling a strength training athlete looking to pack on muscle weight.

We just stumbled across this blog post from last year, where Sean from Calgary shares his experience with it.

The net result seems to have been an increase in muscle and strength at the expense of other GPP attributes.

It’s interesting to note that Sean didn’t CrossFit while on the GOMAD program.  We’d be interested to read about others who are experimenting with GOMAD plus CrossFit-style strenght and metcon work.

Canola Oil Controversy

Ugh

An interesting discussion came up yesterday about canola oil.  Is it good or not?  It gets a stamp of approval from all the official diet authorities, but the underground rumor is that it’s no good for you.

A little research reveals that the naysayers may have it, but it is hard to say for sure.  If you want to get the full story, check out “The Great Con-ola” by Sally Fallon and Mary Emig, PhD.

It is interesting to learn that the word “canola” is purely a marketing invention.  The word was designed to reflect the idea of “Canadian oil” because it was a Canadian who first learned how to genetically manipulate the rapeseed to reduce its levels of toxic erucic acid.

They had originally called it LEAR oil (for Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed oil), but that didn’t have much marketing appeal.  Meanwhile, “canola” evoked images of “can do” and “payola” — both of which evoked positive marketing images.  And thus an industry was born!

Again, the jury is still out on canola oil at the end of the day.  However, we tend to agree with Mark Sisson in this post suggesting to avoid canola oil altogether when there are so many better options out there:  olive oil, lard, ghee, butter, coconut oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, etc.

Besides, as he also points out, it seems a bit strange to ingest any food that has to be deodorized before you’ll buy it.  That just doesn’t seem right, does it?

Make Your Own Kefir

If you do dairy, you’ve got to try kefir.  In case you’re not already familiar with it, kefir [pronounced kef-EER] is a tasty and healthy cultured drink you can make yourself from raw milk.

To make your own, you’ll need some kefir grains.  These can be found online or from any friends you have who make their own kefir.  (This is because the grains reproduce and so by making kefir you end up making even more kefir grains!)  We found them available online at Amazon as well as at G.E.M. Cultures and there’s even a site called livekefirgrains.com!

We like to follow the basic plan laid out by Jessica Prentice in her enjoyable book Full Moon Feast:

Find a clean 16-ounce jar and place just under one tablespoon of kefir grains inside.  Then pour 12 ounces of raw milk over the grains and set the jar aside in a warm spot where it can culture for the next 24 hours or so.

The kefir will go through various stages and consistencies as it cultures.  We like ours (like Jessica) when it’s yogurtlike.  This is usually about 24 hours into the process.

When it’s ready, just strain the kefir into a bowl and remove the grains.  You can usually just take them and put them immediately to use again making kefir.  You can also harvest the extra grains produced, and rinse them so they’re available to use in other projects (like ale, beer, or mead) or to give as gifts to your friends who are ready to start their own culture!