Weekly Round Up

8 Apr

What kind of krazy krap do we talk about in the HBP discussion group you ask? Here you go. You asked for it!

Amanda's amazing pork loin with spicy cranberry for $2.50 a serving!

Some beautiful food art for sale.

We all KNOW it’s an important topic, so here’s another piece about how maternal diet affects the health of babies.

Lustig was on 60 Minutes this week, and Alan Aragon responds!

Can mummies reveal the secrets to cure obesity?

Curious about what varying body fat levels actually look like? You may be surprised about what you find most attractive.

For the lacto-Paleos. Greek yogurt, strawberries.raspberries.blueberries., a bit o maple syrup.

Girls are cool and strong!

Researchers identify distinct metabolic responses to high & low GI carbohydrates in healthy, non-obese individual.

Superhuman Radio was a biggie for us this week with two Paleo interviews. Paul Jaminet gives another great interview and so does Robb Wolf .

Carly's cottage pie.

Is the U.S. obesity epidemic even greater than reported?

Julia's scallops!

Here’s a new and interesting egg recipe by The Domestic Man!

Saccharomyces boulardii is a beneficial strain of yeast, a probiotic, that appears to be medicinal.

An enzyme in saliva helps regulate blood glucose.

Amanda's crab cakes (ever need some Paleo catering? HBP cooks are amazing!)

“A secret of our industrial food system is that it pumps chickens with arsenic, caffeine, Benadryl and Tylenol — even illegal antibiotics.”

Robb Wolf has a great, tear jerking post on his blog.

Japan’s new love affair with wheat. 

J. Stanton posts a good read about nutritionism. 

Jan's Finnish herrings.

Monsanto threatens to sue Vermont?

Evidence that humans used fire 1 million years ago. 

Taurine is good. It prevents heart disease (in amounts you would get in your diet and not super dosing with pillz). A possible mechanism is that taurine inhibits non-enzymatic glycation and lipid peroxidation. 

Melissa McEwan’s part deux of her evolutionary biology series. 

Jan's Oxtail.

Antibiotics effect gut flora which screw up your vitamin producing bacteria, and more in this post by Dr. Ayers. 

Denise Minger’s adds a section to her blog just for vegans. Very helpful and interesting.

Interesting paper on the effects of saturated fats vs n-6 PUFA on liver fat. 

FED takes on Self Determination Theory.

Does Yerba Mate fix your funky leptin?

Fire Adaptation: Activate Your Ancient Pathway for Optimal Health!

7 Apr

“Like a moth to the flame, burned by the fire. My love is strong…can’t you see my desire?”  –Janet Jackson, “All 4 U”, April 21st, 2001

Why is fire so important?

Hi, I’m Kamal, from paindatabase.com. For as long as I can remember (meaning this morning…it was a rough night last night), I’ve been obsessed with fire. Last week, I was excited to see that researchers have found evidence of humans using fire one million years ago. So don’t TELL me we’re not adapted to fire. Nuh-uh. I will burn you.

So that’s the con of fire: it can burn you. The pros? Let’s do a “Being John Malkovitch” and enter the mind of an early caveman using fire. We’ll call this specimen “Brendan Fraser” for ease of discussion, or Fraser for short. There likely weren’t quite as many websites around back then, so Fraser would be really into obtaining food and having sex, but not always in that order. A popular viewpoint among researchers is that Fraser would have been able to eat more delicious, grilled meat and tubers than he would raw foods, leading to all kinds of changes with brain size and other physiological characteristics. At night, Brendan would be sitting around a campfire under the stars with his lovely, natural, hairy-legged better half. What next? Sex. I hypothesize that there would be even MORE sex than before fire. Spoon when it’s cold, copulate when it’s warm. That’s my motto.

Okay, let’s get serious. What are the physiological benefits of heat? 

Let’s talk heat shock proteins. First, let me admit that all I know about heat shock proteins is what I could gather from half an hour of research. Next, let me tell you that they are quite interesting: when cells are exposed to elevated heat or certain other stressors, heat shock proteins do all kinds of cool shit. Like regulate tumor response, prevent cell death from excess stress, and influence aging through hormesis. Is this important for humans in warm vs cold climates? Ehhh…as you can imagine, our internal temperatures are quite well regulated, although environment/diet/hormones etc do play a role in core temperature. And you can influence heat shock proteins through other things such as exercise and fasting. But all this is pretty interesting nonetheless.

Infrared saunas to the rescue?

A regular sauna heats your body by circulating warm air. An infrared sauna transfers heat more or less directly to your body using special lamps or bulbs. It’s like the sun, but in a smaller, closer package that doesn’t provide you with vitamin D. Did you know that there is actually a decent amount of evidence supporting the use of these heaters for chronic fatigue, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and some other stuff? It’s actually quite a good adjunct treatment for dialysis patients, to boot. The mechanisms are up for debate. Sweating out toxins? Maybe. Increasing core body temperature? I dunno. But yet again, something to think about.

Core body temperature, lifespan, and everything else

So now that I’ve convinced you of nothing, but maybe given you something to chew on, let me wrap this up with a couple more thoughts about heat and humans. Will living in a warm climate, let’s say Hawaii, make you live longer or kill you a few years earlier? If hypothetical effects of ambient temperature on lifespan are a driving force in your life, well, that sucks for you! Hawaii is awesome, and I’m 82% certain that living in a balmy climate would extend my life through not having to deal with cold weather (but to each his own, as always).

Creating mutant mice that have much lower core temperatures leads to a 20% longer life. Great! But I try not to base my life on studies of mutant lab mice. I found a bunch of weird studies supporting the opposite argument, like this one hypothesizing that babies gestating in warm years suffer health consequences when living in cold climates. But really, study-battles can only get you so far. It doesn’t take a formal study to show that people generally like warm temperatures. Brendan Fraser certainly tried to avoid the cold, by huddling near the fire, using blankets, and having hot hot sex. And you can live to 121 years of age living in the sweltering Amazon, eating bananas, grilled meat, and tubers.

So while the historical roots of the human genome are fascinating, I personally strive for happiness over hacking influenced by potentially erroneous hypothesizing. Sure, the Earth’s temperature has fluctuated wildly up and down in the past few million years. But just because it was sweltering hot when mammals began to diversify, doesn’t mean I’m going to wear an infrared sauna suit three hours a week. And while I’d use cold baths if I get neurotic about burning a few more calories, or as an adjunct experiment for difficult-to-treat conditions, I’m not going to do four hour ice baths to get in touch with my single-celled ancestor from two billion years ago. Keeping things hormetically fresh by changing up the temperature…fine. But I get a pass on this one, because of my Indian ancestry. My predecessors haven’t seen snow in (???) thousand years. So to emulate my ancestors from Gujarat, India, all I have to do is keep the thermostat between 75 and 101 degrees. (!) Now it’s time for me to resume dreaming about living on the beach. Until next time…stay thirsty, my friends.

Word Vomit – Episode 1

5 Apr

I’m Pat from nutritionator.com. I suck at blogging.

I need to write more often. It’s the only way I’m ever going to get better at it and reading as many blog posts, articles, journals, updates and tweets as I do these days, I need to up my game.

Of course I googled “how to be better writer”. I google everything. One of the suggestions was to just sit down and write whatever comes to mind. Deal.

Word vomit is a very fitting title for what this post is probably going to end up resulting as…

There is some drama going down in the paleo community.

And it needs to stop for things to move forward.

The Jack Kruses and Richard Nikoleys (intentionally lacking links since enough people find their way to these guys anyway) of the paleo world just need to be ignored because they are lost causes at this point. Every movement has its crazies and these are just two of them that have unfortunately had their names branded along side the paleo, whole-food, back to nature, mindfulness movement that has been helping so many people get healthy. Why some people have to go at it from such an ass backward direction I will never know but I think all that time and energy should be put to better use. I honestly am not smart enough to comment on what these guys are talking about most of the time but thankfully I have friends that are. But I do know that lying about massaging yourself with MRSA before surgery or calling women the C word are things that I’m doing my best to avoid on my journey through life and I think everyone else on the planet could benefit from avoiding those things also.

There’s just no reason for such outlandish claims and extreme behavior and we’ll have a much easier time selling people on whole food and proper exercise if we don’t approach it so radically. Yeah it’s cool to be popular, and maybe that’s what the Paleo Jersey Shore folks are going for. Do and say whatever it takes to get more fans, more devotees, more $$$? It’s sure starting to look that way with how some people behave.

I do my best to avoid needless drama and I think I might be fighting a losing battle. Is this just human nature? People eat drama up, they love it. Teen Mom and any other show on MTV feed this craving and all these shows are about is people that have messed up their lives. And millions of people watch for ENJOYMENT! There’s something seriously wrong with the human condition if that many people enjoy watching men degrade women and women degrade each other i.e. Jersey Shore and any Real Housewives show.

Drama sells and I think some people are just smart and soul-less enough to make a profit off it. I guarantee Nikoley’s most recent post is one of, if not the most popular post he’s ever done and it’s because of the religious talk, name calling, accusations and flippant use of curse words in the comments section.

That post is Jerry Springer. Somewhat staged starring a bunch of trash people while a few Jerry’s try to talk people into slowing down and actually think about this stuff before they come out swinging. Too few Jerry’s and too much trash make for an entertaining show but it’s not going to make anyone any smarter for watching. Time to turn the channel back to that documentary you were watching or better yet, get off the couch and go outside. The drama doesn’t stop if you stop watching, it just has one less person feeding into the viewership, and this is a very good thing.

Remember what you do to really get on someone’s nerves or show someone they’re being ridiculous? You ignore them, and that’s what we need to do here. Ignore the crazies. Take them off your blogrolls, friends lists, twitter feeds, email lists and contacts and just ignore them. That’s all we can do.

It’s scary. SO much time and energy is wasted by and on people that are just out to make a buck or see their name in headlines and will do whatever it takes to do so. WHY can’t we focus this energy on ACTUALLY helping people instead of knocking what the general public thinks of a whole food, ancestral lifestyle back down a step or two so often?

I guess I’m just asking people to really evaluate what people are saying. Mark SissonRobb WolfChris KesserPaul Jaminet and so many other super knowledgable people have free resources available and don’t curse at women or require 6 hour ice baths. Read and promote these people, not the drama generators.

This is just my plea to decrease the crazy. We already have to deal with governments run by grains, doctors funded by pharmaceuticals and unimaginable things like raw, pastured dairy being illegal. Let’s put our energy into remedying those problems, not the he said, she said BS that keeps popping up the paleosphere.

I’m going to do my best to avoid, ignore and disprove the crazies and I think you should too.

Now, someone that actually knows how to write needs to put something up so this isn’t HBP’s featured post for too long…

Weekly Round Up

2 Apr

A weeks worth of links and info from the “pool of idiots” (we’re really very nice but very human people thank you very much).

Matthew's motto should be "Always Sit Down to a Pretty Plate." Nice work here!

Kids like to get dirty, and it looks like they NEED to get dirty for good health.

This taco shell idea just may be the worst, or best thing ever?

April is Best Your Stress Month – so try some of this for free. 

H. Pylori, ulcers and diabetes.

Julia's lamb burger with feta and zucchini.

Whey protein may not be on the top of many “Paleo” shopping lists, but we discussed the many benefits of both whey and casein in the context of a healthy highly active person’s diet. Also, dairy in and of itself probably won’t “make you fat.”  

Can Talk Therapy benefit Chronic Pain? 

Cooking with Olive Oil doesn’t HAVE to be totally off the table.

Don’t totally freak out…but there are some demonstrated benefits to ingesting your encapsulated placenta.

Beef and green veggies to treat subclinical hypothyroidism.

BPA accumulation in fat is another underlying factor to obesity – when will we just make it illegal already!   Oh wait…the FDA rejected that petition.

Correlation between chocolate consumption and lower BMI (correlation does not equal causation…who cares! Pass the fudge!)

Matthew eats da foodz.

First of a series of how to implement your own workout routine based on your personal goals. Follow the series, its worth it!

Paleo women + body image +fear of judginess = excellent rant.

Speaking of excellent rants, who does it better than Mistress Stumptuous?

This is a VERY odd exercise phenomenon.

Our very own Russ gets picked up by Free the Animal with this guest post.

Getting in tune with out biological clock can be as effective as pharmaceutical avenues.

Buttah!

Raw milk will make you super human! Okay, maybe not, but it does awesome stuff for you glutathione production.

Melissa McEwan’s first in a series on Evolutionary Biology, complete with informative comments from industry experts.

The Honey Guide blog has a menu of John Hawkes lectures posted. Soooo interesting. Don’t miss the one on enamel!

A new FREE paleo links and resources site dedicated to all things free. Submit your free resources today!

Beef and bison stew with a big 'ol marrow bone by Julia.

Highbrow Cook Off! Everyone’s a Winner

1 Apr

There has been an ongoing discussion in our group on how to make ancestral eating, or paleo-ish diets accessible to as many people as possible.  Often a paleo way of eating can sound overwhelming, complicated, time-consuming, and (unnecessarily) complex from just a brief scan of the palsosphere.  We are here to say, “Nuts to that.”  We do tend to pride ourselves on being the hilarious and stunningly attractive voice of reason and moderation in the world of paleo blogging.  It is not necessary to have black truffles and quail eggs on hand, or a half a cow in your freezer to eat  heathy diet.  It’s not necessary to spend your paycheck at Whole Foods.  It’s not even necessary to eat meat.

And, since we all like our food and a dose of healthy competition, here is our first installment of Highbrow Cook Off.  We hope that this will become a monthly feature, and that you all will join in.  For our first contest In Which Everyone Wins we came up with the following ground rules:

  • only use the ingredients outlined
  • use of pre-approved pantry items is unlimited
  • only use minimal processing, and minimal kitchen equipment, as outlined
  • keep track of how much you spend on the ingredients
  • will not use more than 3 kitchen gadgets/utensils, and nothing powered except the oven or stove top

PANTRY ITEMS:

  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • tallow
  • lard
  • ghee
  • stock
  • salt
  • pepper
  • herbs, fresh and dried and spices limit to three total

(3) VEGGIES:

  • Kale
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion

(1) PROTEIN: Eggs!

(1) STARCH: Tubah of your choice.

Following are six submissions to our first ever Highbrow Cook Off!  It’s a long post, but you will be happy to reach the end, for one reason or another.

Ready, set, Allez Cuisine!

Russ, from The Domestic Man came up with this lovely loaded baked potato. This took a Herculean effort on his part since he thinks onions are gross.

“Loaded” Sweet Potato
Serves 1

Utensils:
1 knife
1 wooden spoon
1 medium-sized piece of tinfoil

Hardware:
1 pot or dutch oven
1 egg pan
1 oven

Pantry items:
4 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp chicken stock
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper

Herbs/spices:
1/2 tsp fresh dill, chopped finely
a sprinkle of dried red chili pepper flakes

Veggies:
2 stalks of kale, chopped coarsely
2 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1/2 small onion or 1 shallot, chopped finely

Protein:
2 eggs

Starch:
1 large sweet potato

Total cost: About $2.00 USD

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash sweet potato and poke with holes using knife. Add the sweet potato to the oven, place a piece of tin foil underneath to catch drippings. Bake for 50 minutes or until soft to the touch.

After the potato has baked for 25 minutes, add 2 tbsp of the ghee to the pot/dutch oven and warm on medium heat. Add the onion/shallot and sauté for 3 minutes, until aromatic. Turn the heat down to med/low, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper, and continue to sauté for another 6-8 minutes, until the mushrooms are softened and most of the liquid has cooked out of them. Add the kale, chicken stock, and chili pepper flakes and cover. Turn the heat down to low and cook for five minutes.

After five minutes, remove the cover and return the heat to med/low and allow the stock to mostly evaporate. Stir with wooden spoon every minute or so. While that’s happening, fry the two eggs with the remaining ghee and flip them halfway through. Before flipping, sprinkle them with the fresh dill. Cook to desired doneness (over medium is probably best for this dish – solid whites but runny yolk).

Remove the sweet potato and cut in half lengthwise. Place the eggs on top of the potato and pour the remaining ghee on top. Top with the kale/mushrooms/onion monstrosity.

The next submission is from Chop Your Shit Meredith.  “Now nobody can be fearful of submitting something. Look at this mess! I call it Paleo Deep Dish.”

Utensils: Grater, Knife, Spatula, and yes a whisk – – sorry one too many

Seasoning: Salt, Pepper, Fresh grated garlic

Pantry: Coconut oil, Chicken Foot Stock

Total cost: $3.75 (eggs were free and potatoes were so cheap bought in bulk)

Chop your shit. Peel, then grate potato. Put cast iron skillet with a dollop of coconut oil in oven at 400 to heat it up. Put chopped kale, mushrooms and onion and stock with a little salt and pepper in a tightly covered skillet for like, I dunno, 7 minutes. After that, uncover and turn to high until all the juiciness is gone.

Squeeze out extra liquid from potato or blot dry on towel (I didn’t do this but should have) and combine with grated garlic and beaten eggs. Take out cast iron skillet from oven and spread half the potato egg mixture down, salt pepper. Put back in oven for a few minutes. Take out and spread Kale mixture on top and shove back in oven for a few. Take back out and spread the rest of egg potato mix on top, put back in oven for few. In the end hit it with the broiler.

I overdid the cooking thing here. In the future I will just make a goddamn frittata out of the same ingredients. Cheap, #paleo and prolly tasty (I am IFing so I won’t know until later today).

Next up is Amanda with Eggs Baked in Kale with Chipotle Hash and Sage Butter. Obviously some of us need better cameras. 

  • 2# sweet potatoes
  • 2# onions
  • 1/2 bunch chopped kale
  • 4 c mushrooms
  • 6 Tbs butter or ghee
  •  4 Tbs EVOO
  • 4 eggs
  • chipotle mecco powder
  • fresh sage
  • chicken foot stock
  • salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS: Put about  4 Tbs of ghee in pan with about 10 leaves of fresh sage. Cook on low for about 5 minutes, or until sage becomes crispy. set aside. Open a bottle of wine and pour a drink.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Slice two large yellow onions, or about 2#. Add 2 Tbs EVOO to the pan. Add onions and sea salt and cook on medium-low for about half an hour or until the onions are cooked down and caramelized. Pour another glass of wine.

While the onions cook, chop two large sweet potatoes into 1/2″ pieces and toss with EVOO, salt, pepper and 1 tsp of chipotle mecco. When onions are done, toss together with sweets and spread on a foil or parchment lined baking sheet and put in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until browned.

While the hash is baking, wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel (don’t rinse! wet mushrooms dont brown!) I used a mix of white mushrooms and portobello that I had on hand. Heat 2 Tbs EVOO in the pan on medium-high, and add the mushrooms, about 4 cups sliced. Add salt and cook, stirring occasionally while you finish the bottle of wine. Mushrooms will release their water, then begin to brown. About 5 minutes to dance around the kitchen.

When mushrooms are browned, stir in 2 minced garlic cloves until fragrant, then add 2 Tbs chicken stock and about 4 cups of chopped fresh kale, or half a bunch. Whatever. Pour more wine. When the kale begins to wilt, stir in 4 Tbs of butter or ghee and cook until kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Dig out four little wells and crack an egg into each. Turn heat to low, cover and let the eggs cook until the whites are set but the yolks are runny.

About now, your glass should be empty. Pour the last of the wine and remove the hash from the oven. Plate the hash, two eggs in kale, and drizzle half of the sage butter over everything on the plate. Whatever crispy buttery sage you didn’t eat while waiting for the onions to caramelize, add as garnish.

Serves 4 at about $3 per person

Utensils used: one big saute pan, one silicone spoonula that I love, chefs knife, oven and stove top.

Almost there, kids!

Next up is JuBa from The Paleo Republic and some Motherfucking Eggs Bennie!

  • Pantry Items: Ghee, Stock, Salt Pepper
  • Herbs/Aromatics: Lemon, Jalapeno
  • Mushroom: Portobello + Shiitake
  • Kale
  • Onion: Scallion
  • Eggs
  • Japanese Sweet Potato

Sauce: 1c stock reduced to 1/2c and then add one chopped and one sliced Shiitake mushroom, lemon juice, pepper, scallion. Simmer until flavours meld, heat off, stir in 1 tsp ghee.

Eggs: Poached soft in simmering water, flipping hot water over the top until cooked

Japanese Sweet Potato: Already roasted, roughly smashed up by hand, for nice jagged edges to crisp up, half of one large and put under the broiler until crispy

Kale: Sautéed in ghee until slightly softened, seasoned with salt/pepper

Portobellos: Lightly rubbed with ghee on both sides, season with salt, broil for 10 minutes gill side up, 10 minutes gill side down

Plate: Portobellos, kale, eggs, sauce, sliced jalapeño, lemon zest

Grand total: 5.62 on the plate

And now for our UK contingent.  Read these recipes in your head as if Mary Poppins were narrating them.

Carly obviously wins for the best copyrighting.  “Ok, this piece of shit dish is called, potato, mushroom and kale omelette fail. Or unintentionally scrambled omelette. I don’t have the time or ingredients to do it again, so I’m just posting this embarrassment anyways. Better something than nothing.” How can you not love this woman?  But I think we can go with Travis’ suggestion, “Rustic Scramble with Heirloom Kale and Taters”

  • 1 onion
  • 4 mushrooms
  • handful of kale
  • 2 small potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • Tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper

“Wow! That seems like a lot of ingredients for one omelette!” I hear you cry. Well you would be right. UNLESS it was for a SCRAMBLED omelette. Yup, that’s right. Now if you want to make a bog standard omelet, you know, one of those stupid boring ones that stay as one piece (so 2011) then you should probably halve all the ingredients except the eggs. HOWEVER, if you are happy with THAT monstrosity on your plate, that honestly did taste nice, don’t adjust.

Chop up your onion, mushrooms and cook in the butter with the kale and the spices on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile peel your potato(es) and chop them into small cubes and boil for about 10 minutes (or until soft).

Once potatoes are soft, drain them and add to the frying pan with your vegetables, fry for a further couple of minutes. Whisk your eggs and pour them into your pan with the potatoes and veg and cook for about 7/8 minutes untill omelette has set.

Then attempt to flip. Panic as you realise you have WAY too many ingredients to make a viable omelette and attempt to scrape the remains off the bottom of the pan to salvage something. TADA!!

Utensils used – Sharp knife, fork, spatula

Pans used – Saucepan, frying pan

Our last entry is from Matthew, who blogs at the Honey Guide.  

Matthew went with his (my) new favorite thing, colcannon.  Colcannon is an Irish version of mashed potatoes with kale and green onions.  It typically also includes loads of butter and cream, but that can easily be left out.  Sautéed mushrooms and onions, and two eggs fried until the whites are cooked but the yolks are runny.  Yum!

Total cost of ingredients was about £1.30

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 handful of chopped kale
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 button mushrooms
  • 2 large potatoes

Pantry items:

  • 1 tablespoon of beef dripping
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Utensils:

  • Sharp vegetable knife
  • Wooden spoon
  • Vegetable peeler

Hardware:

  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan.

Cooking

Potatoes and kale:

  • Peel and chop up the potatoes into small pieces and place in the saucepan.
  • Cover the potatoes with water and boil on a medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes add the chopped kale to the potatoes for the last 5 minutes of boiling.
  • Drain off the water, add the butter and salt and mash together with the spoon.

Onions and mushrooms:

  • Heat the frying pan on a medium heat with the beef dripping.
  • Peel and finely slice the onion and add to the frying pan.
  • Wash and chop the mushrooms into quarters and add to the frying pan.
  • Add pepper to the pan and fry for about 15 minutes stirring with the spoon.

 

Let us know if you have any other creative ideas for making a simple, cheap, and yummy paleo meal with our core ingredients, and stay tuned for next month’s challenge!

The Highbrow Paleo Guide To Binge Drinking: Addendum, Further Discoveries, And Thanks (I wuv U guys)

30 Mar

It has been a while since I wrote the Highbrow Paleo Guide To Binge Drinking and there has been an outpouring of positive reactions from many readers. People say that they have eliminated hangovers, that they feel well after a night of drinking when they might have otherwise had a rough day, and that they generally don’t see side effects from drinking like they used to. Others have had less success and this calls for some trouble-shooting. There have been general questions about what is essential and what is icing on the coconut flour paleo cake. Which are the core aspects of that enormous list of supplements and foods and which are redundant in combination with other supplements or foods? I will clarify my thoughts on the matter. I will also address some scientific tidbits and share new discoveries. This post will tie up some loose ends and right the ship for smooth sailing.

The core of the regimen is a handful (not literally, phew) of supplements and supplement types along with some foods and practices. Pantethine is hugely important for reducing the acetaldehyde accumulation from ethanol metabolism, and everyone except for those who will get significant facial flushing when drinking will benefit from it in this way.

To answer WCC Paul’s question about the specifics of facial flushing in response to alcohol: some people have a polymorphism where they only have one normal copy of the ALDH2 gene which codes for the enzyme acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (see the original post for the diagram), which metabolizes acetaldehyde to a safer molecule. One common copy and one mutated copy results in significantly impaired acetaldehyde dehydrogenase activity, whereas two common copies means better acetaldehyde metabolism (1). Since coenzyme A which is produced from pantethine must activate this enzyme to exert its effects on metabolism, it is like putting gas in a broken-down car to supply more coenzyme A from pantethine. No go. Pantethine has many benefits besides the aforementioned so this doesn’t mean that those who flush shouldn’t think about it anyway. Byron Richards has written a superb article about some of the benefits of supplementing with pantethine including better lipid metabolism, brain health and a reduction of fat accumulation in the liver(2).

It is estimated that this extreme facial flushing is mostly a phenomenon occurring in The Orient, to the tune of 50% of the population in some places.  That is a significant percentage of the world. It is a smaller percentage of the readers of this blog but I suspect that we have enough East Asian readers to make this relevant. You will know who you are.

This is your face on acetaldehyde

Along with pantethine it is imperative that you maintain a nutritious diet and get extra Vitamin B1, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C on the day of drinking. These will protect the body from the stress of acetaldehyde. I favor getting these from food but an acute supplemental dosage if you haven’t been paying close attention to your diet will probably help.

Embarrassingly I unintentionally omitted Astaxanthin from the original article. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid and is responsible for the pinkness of salmon, shrimp and flamingos. It is one of my favorite antioxidants and definitely protects rodents from alcohol-induced liver injury (3). Its benefits for humans are quite impressive, and in placebo-controlled trials it can radically reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in most areas of the body(4). It appears to be an ideal nutrient for dealing with acetaldehyde toxicity and one that I recommend highly.

Flamingos know how to party

About using rat studies: I mentioned in the original post that it was useful to hazard a guess as to whether or not what protects rats can in similar ways protect humans, and I stand by it. This isn’t a precise protocol to begin with, it has to do with experimentation because all of us are in a different state with regards to our health. In assessing how we feel in our everyday lives and getting blood tests we can make adjustments as needed.

Rat studies aren’t a great reflection of what happens in humans all of the time, but when it comes to the ability of nutrients to protect an organism I think that the inference from rat to human is a lot more tenable than guessing what might kill a human because it kills a rat, as thousands upon thousands of studies on obese rats with metabolic syndrome spectrum diseases and disorders have suggested. Routinely rat studies are used by the unknowing to justify the notion that a particular food causes harm, when the conditions that the rats are living in are unnatural and don’t apply to healthy humans in the real world. Just adding additional basic nutrients to the diet and making rats exercise can alleviate many of the problems that a so-called “high fat”, “high sugar” or “alcoholic” diet and lifestyle can cause the little critters. It is for this reason that whenever I see rodents getting a disease from something or other I have to ask “what could we add to save these furry little guys?” and oftentimes there is much that can be done.

“Help me Astaxanthin, you’re my only hope!”

But it is often correct to extrapolate to humans as long as we employ comparative anatomy, knowledge of the mechanisms and of the different possible contexts. Like I just suggested with Astaxanthin, when the mechanisms are the same in both humans and rats and when all reason points us to a conclusion, we should act on it. I suspect that increasing glutathione and other protective molecules in the liver will protect humans as it does rats, this is my experience, this is the experience of others, and I think I’m justified in believing it.

That being said, humans have to live for a very long time and rat studies often take place over the course of months. So we can’t infer that these things don’t cause great harm to humans in the long term because they don’t cause rodents to become diseased in the short term. Chronic toxicity can be mitigated for a time in some cases but over the long-term it can add up to a significant negative effect on the body. This is where I realize the limits of such a protocol but I still think that there is much merit in looking at damage reduction on the occasions we might over-indulge.

Back to the implementation of the protocol. Anti-inflammatory nutrients may be frivolous in some cases. If we are eating and living in a generally anti-inflammatory way we will be greatly protected from excessive systemic inflammation by default. However they can be a great boon for some people who are still fighting inflammation, and the nutrients that I selected are like an insurance policy, they protect rats quite well and the same mechanisms can be demonstrated to work in humans.

Combinations of anti-inflammatory nutrients may be synergistic or redundant. If you take curcumin you may not need ginger but some supplement companies feel that their supplements should contain both. If you take quercetin, you might not need resveratrol. I suspect that you only need one strong selective inhibitor of the COX enzymes prior to drinking. One of the options that I suggested in the original post will probably suffice. Save your money and buy the cutie at the bar a drink instead! Most of our anti-inflammatory potential should come from staying healthy with a good diet and lifestyle anyway.

The guide is meant to be an adjunct to good health and good diet. The healthier we are when we drink, the less it will affect us negatively. It is not just that we have more life to destroy but that the toxic effects are actually lessened when we are in good health. Although I mentioned it in the disclaimer, it needs repeating. For those who are in the process of getting healthy but aren’t quite there yet, the effects of alcohol are more dire than  for the stunning examples of health that we see all around us in the health community. If you have intestinal dysbiosis, diabetes, are inflamed and have high levels of the most common clinical marker for chronic inflammation C-reactive protein (CRP, one of the most common markers for chronic inflammation) then alcohol is going to be more of a burden on your liver and body in general. The inability of the immune system to be controlled so that it heals and doesn’t hurt is vital to getting away with abusing one’s liver. A dysregulated immune response is what turns mild damage to hepatocytes into cirrhosis over the years. The level of CRP conducive to good health is generally recognized to be 1.0 mg/dl or lower. Many of us have a CRP level of 0.1 mg/dl and I doubt that anyone on the paleo diet or other healthy diets long term will have appreciable levels of chronic inflammation, but you should check to make sure.

You will want a liver enzymes test (measures liver health) and general metabolic panel if you are serious about boozing healthfully. It’s all up to the individual what they want to do, but I’m assuming  that we’re all interested in health. Subjective assessments of health upon waking up and drinking some water after a night of drinking are good measures of adaptability to alcohol, but you can never be too safe.

Now for some trouble-shooting and further answers to questions about how to implement the protocol effectively:

Exercise: You should exercise some time in the day before drinking. You don’t have to exercise during drinking. Running away from a police officer after urinating on his car DOES count over the course of the days that will follow, but I would discourage that. We are degenerates, not jerks.

Glutathione-supporting supplements:  Glutathione-generating nutrients are very useful but taking many of them might be redundant like with anti-inflammatory nutrients. Then again maybe not, I can’t give my definitive stance on that right now. N-acetylcysteine will directly generate it and is a top choice. Silymarin from milk thistle is a good choice for preserving glutathione status in the liver as well. Getting enough sulfur will allow you to synthesize more glutathione, and foods like whey, milk, and fruits and vegetables may be ideal for supplying or generating it (5). Green tea has also been shown to increase glutathione levels significantly(6). I can’t give any clear rules to follow here, but do look into ways to boost glutathione levels on a daily basis; it will help you greatly when you need it. Take the supplements days in advance of drinking. This is very important because we don’t want to  be glutathione-depleted when we are drinking and take a few pills on the same day, hoping to increase our antioxidant status all at once. Glutathione is like money in the biological bank, build it, maintain it, and spend it as you see fit, but don’t try to spend what you don’t have. It takes a while to build up to highly protective levels.

Milk thistle/silymarin: try it alone before trying it with alcohol or other supplements. It can produce what I assume to be a detox reaction in some people, and then they go and blame the protocol for not working, but they end up feeling better when omitting the milk thistle. If you get a good response or no response to milk thistle then take it two weeks at a time, two weeks off, as well as prior to drinking. I think that there is wisdom in rotating herbs, because they can potentially have adverse side effects if used for prolonged periods. I can’t say for sure if milk thistle has chronic toxicity but there are some reports of it eventually impairing the liver’s ability to function properly. However there is no reason to think that it is harmful when used in moderation and at opportune times,  indeed, the opposite is true.

New discoveries that weren’t included in the original article besides the ones already mentioned:

I mentioned in the original article that there were mechanisms by which alcohol harms the body other than  oxidative stress and acetaldehyde toxicity, but assumed that my protocol would cover the rest because rats are usually in good health after these interventions.  However alcohol can also lead to dysbiosis, an imbalance in populations of symbiotic and pernicious microorganisms in the gut. We disinfect wounds with it, marinade meat in it, and drinking it is like going nuclear on our gut flora. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, because experiments show that the effect can be reversed with probiotics and prebiotics (7).  Some lactobacillus strains and some fermentable fiber. Yeah yeah I know, more stuff to add to the pile of pills and foods, but this issue strikes me as uniquely important. Hopefully most people are getting a moderate amount of vegetable and fruit fiber and eating some probiotic-containing foods anyway and the point is moot. The researchers used prebiotic oats that feed gut bacteria, and lactobacillus GG to counteract the leaky gut from intestinal dysbiosis. Mmm! I’ll just add that to my rice flour, whey protein, high oleic sunflower oil and pile of pills. Oh wait, that’s not a joke I actually eat those things. Stabby is inadvertently on the lab rat diet, hold the Crisco!

Rat gut flora is different than human gut flora but I think the same principle probably applies. Maintain certain levels of certain beneficial bacteria. Stomach cramps and excessive flatulence in response to fibrous foods are  good subjective asessments of the state of one’s gut flora.

There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence that a little bit of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) helps to prevent a hangover. The mechanism is likely as Dr. Ray Peat suggests, carbon’s buffering of lactic acid buildup (8). Alcohol metabolism interferes with the breakdown of lactic acid, which can raise the pH of the cells and blood, causing inflammation and fibrosis as well as interfering with energy production. Having enough Co2 available to buffer it will help to offset this effect. It certainly helps athletes to perform better, however it might take a few weeks of taking it to see a benefit (9). Consider it! It can potentially impair the efficacy of stomach acid so be sure to take it during a non digestive period.

Finally, don’t forget to hydrate properly; not too much or too little. Alcohol is a fluid but also a diuretic and can be dehydrating. “Oh dear, did he just tell us to drink enough water?! What’s next, get to bed at a reasonable time? Duh!” While it may be obvious, it can be easy to forget. We may also benefit from electrolytes which are depleted by drinking. Coconut water or various electrolyte supplements will help us feel our best and rehydrate. Verily this is an extension and additional detail of the overarching theme we have been discussing: be well-nourished if you wish to drink in excess. One can find all sorts of essential and non-essential nutrients that can protect the body against alcohol and they are invaluable. Some more that I didn’t mention already are selenium and magnesium (10). Those are pretty basic to any healthy diet, but this further illustrates the benefit of being well nourished when drinking.

And there you have it. Another segment of The Highbrow Paleo Guide To Binge Drinking: complete! As always, share your stories, your personal favorite remedies,  and share this article! This has truly been a team effort; I write these articles but can’t take all of the credit.

Cheers.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_flush_reaction

2. http://www.wellnessresources.com/tips/articles/pantethine_boost_your_brain_cardio_health_metabolism_and_detoxification/

3.http://eng.hi138.com/?i295354_Astaxanthin-on-acute-alcohol-liver-injury-in-rats

4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20205737

5. http://www.westonaprice.org/blogs/2010/09/11/the-biochemical-magic-of-raw-milk-and-other-raw-foods-glutathione/

6. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070810194923.htm

7. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1530-0277.2009.01022.x/abstract;jsessionid=1EB236C6BADB218788B67B143698B488.d02t01

8.http://raypeat.com/articles/articles/co2.shtml

9. http://suppversity.blogspot.ca/2011/11/baking-soda-for-stressed-white-blood.html

10. http://het.sagepub.com/content/30/11/1811.abstract

Weekly Round Up

26 Mar

Here’s a sampling of just a few of the things we’ve discussed in the HBP group this week, oh yeah, plus some food porn:

Londoner Carly's lunch: Smoked bacon with homemade guacamole.

Matthew says, “I don’t have a problem with any of these foods and its great to make tasty gluten free stuff if people want it. It just doesn’t have anything much to do with how our ancestors ate and is probably quite capable of tripping out your food reward circuits,” in reference to this post.

Use your slow cooker to combat chronic pain!

Elizabeth shares the fact that 110 new fake meat products were introduced in 2010/11.

Matthew might be a student bachelor, but he sure doesn't eat like one!

Mash wants to start a barefoot running program. We gathered some great tips and fails: start slowly, consider minimalist runners instead of going fully bare and run on just grass or sand first.

The New York Times hosted an essay contest titled, “Tell Us Why it’s Ethical to eat Meat.” Our rants are just too long to post here, but rest assured, we tossed this one about.

Matthew shares this novel therapy, CLA for Crohn’s disease.

Mal shares this Suppversity article that delves into some of the possible mechanisms for why gastric bypass surgery has such powerful metabolic effects, and how you can perhaps mimic these results through diet, (hint…GLP-1).

Pat's fish head stock.

Lucas shares some interesting findings about the effects of music on the brain.

A new blog with but one post, but a good read: The Leptin Marketing Miracle.

The BBC aired a special titled “The Truth About Fat” for those not in the UK you can see it on YouTube.

Andrew has been planning this treat all week. He didn't get sick, but overall it was meh.

Our supplement fetishist club led by Stabby endorses Astaxanthin! Just 2mg are shown to have benefit.

Dr. BG talks about the effect that pesticides has on our mitochondria, which we should ALL know by now are those little energy producing organelles.

Giulia shares the four things you should never buy at Costco.  Bad news folks, shrimp tops the list.

Lamb shanks.

JuBa has a new web presence that she launched this week.

Russ composed a great post right here on this blog about the difference between “being” Paleo and eating Paleo.

Devika shares some good news regarding red meat and depression.

Russ's BBQ setup. Catching the goodness of drippings.

What? Popcorn has more polyphenols than fruits and vegetables?

This Friday, March 30th is our group’s deadline for submitting our first HBP Iron Chef Paleo Challenge. This round we must use egg, kale, mushrooms, onions and a tuber. No more than three unpowered kitchen gadgets and no more than three seasonings. Future rounds to be announced via our facebook page and here. Be on the lookout because we are looking for submissions from outside of the group!

Bree's eats up some birds (duck). She better be saving that rendered fat!