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Everything There Is to Know about Diet, Part Two

Perhaps, as is the bias of some incomparably knowledgeable authorities, a purely vegetarian diet is likely to be optimal for some large fraction of humanity. Indeed, ideally, only nutrients that can no longer be found in plants should or could come from animals, if any. Are there any? -- any essential nutrients that can come to us only via animals? Well, vitamin B-12? But that's from a bacteria, and only secondhand through animals. Even so, if that's it, that's it. But it's in Brewers yeast. So that's it.

 Anything else supposed to be unique from animals? Omega-3? Well, yes and no. We make it ourselves. But the health benefits are very real indeed. Someone with an ideal diet, however, wouldn't need to supplement with fish oil. Anything else? Think hard.

 The rest of it, re the philosophy of diet, of functioning and performance, and common sense and ethics, well, these are easy. Whatever works.  The China Study  tells  tells us that animal products are powerfully correlated to degenerative diseases.

That's functioning. Performance is a more difficult issue -- it seems clear that protein is a performance enhancer, and animal products are an easy if not actually dense source of amino acids.

 Common sense? Ahem. Yeah, it's good to eat something that will kill you if you leave it in the sun too long. Something that stinks to make you puke is really good food. The deader the better in fact ... put thick woolly hair on your chest ... make you strong like bull! 

 Ethics? Let me kill you and eat your body because, well, because I like the way you taste. Yum.

 Is it demonstrated, conclusively or by inference, that animal flesh, its "high-quality" protein, results in better performance? One is unaware of such evidence, although the argument is common. Perhaps it's true though? Never argue with reality. The reason for such an outcome, if true, would be that subclinical putrefaction is mildly toxic, and excites a moderate stimulatory stress response in digesting organism -- which would augments performance, short-term. It would be a seasonal benefit with a delayed downside, as in precipitated degeneration in later decades. Like WWII pilots using methamphetamine on long-range bombing runs. Meth saved the world from Hitler. That doesn't make it good.

 Type two diabetes is the over-stress and eventual disruption of pancreatic function. Adrenal fatigue, likewise, of the adrenals. Digestive decline as well ... decades of abusing the enteric system with hard-to-digest consumables lead to a middle- and old-age filled with gastronomic nightmares.

 What we know is that here is a lot of nonsense involved in the whole area of nutrition. Lots of emotion, lots of extremely shoddy thinking. Diet is a profoundly religious thing. We know that disease has a number of causes -- bacterial and viral, genetic and chemical -- but that a if not the major cause of disease in our own culture comes from a diet that is nothing but slow poison. Too many carbs, and too much animal stuff.

 So, does it matter, talk about apemen or Eden? -- matter in some way other than philosopho-religio-theoretically? We want an open mind regarding what is best for our health. False assumptions might lead us to healthful conduct. True assumptions seem more likely to. But anything that closes our minds to behavior that would improve our lives, is a thing to be avoided. Track records matter; long-term results matter. Success is a convincing kind of authority. Find models of success, and copy them.

 Health and performance, and physical beauty and power, are not merely the outworking of genetic happenstance. We can't change our bones, but we can help what hangs off of them. We can't help our features, but we can preserve youth -- that is, delay decay -- with the due diligence that we owe to our progenitors who cared for us enough that we've gotten as far through life as we have, and that we owe to our offspring, who will grieve for our ill-health at least as deeply as we would grieve for ourselves. Health is a duty.

 Rule Five: "You may freely eat of every thing that you can fit into your mouth and swallow, but many of them will kill you, fast or slow." (See Rule Two.)

 Be excellent.


 FW CrossFit Burbank

Everything There Is to Know about Diet, Part One

It's not as much as one might suppose. Let's see. History, functioning, and common sense/ethics.

What is the ideal human diet. That's a history question, depending on whether we were Created by God Almighty, Divine Protoprogenitor ,  or Evolved through Random Chance from Primordial Slime which Itself Appeared from Virtual Potentialities for No Reason. That's the philosophical heart of the matter. Did we Evolve via Naturally Selected Haphazard Mutations, that whatever nutrients were available were what we adapted ourselves solipsistically  to need? -- and what wasn't available we Evolved out of a need for? Or were we Designed, as by some God, Superlative Architect of the Cosmos, to need whatever it is we need -- and sometimes we get that and sometimes we don't, but it's a fixed need, with only a fixed, genetically-determined capacity for variability?

If Evolved, then the "Paleolithic Diet" is correct or nearly so -- determined by observations of what modern but tribal, hunter-gatherer societies have access to. Because modern stone age cultures would be reasonably similar to ancient ones --  ignoring any ice ages or other actual millennia-long climate disruptions -- and from such cultures we would have Evolved. If it's true, it's true. Never argue with what's true. Is it? If so, what is the evidence, for this dietary theory? The evidence is  the fact that modernday hunter-gather cultures eat as they do. In other words, the argument begs the question, and the reasoning is circular.

Well there's hardly any other option.  What, God!? -- in a Garden!?!  LOL. We are far to sophisticated and scientifical to believe in that sort of hokus pokus.  Really.  Please.   Space aliens then -- much more logical  -- genetically manipulating us in a lab on the mother ship from behind the moon?  But, har dee har.  Um, breaking through from some other universe or dimension, uh, and somehow, er ... well, that one's not going anywhere.

Upshot is, origins are irrelevant. Philosophy is irrelevant.  Results matter, which are dependent on behavior.  But if there were an ideal diet that was meant to sustain the species, we might feel, from our modern bias and custom, that it was not a hunter-gatherer diet, of grubs and beetles, tapir, sloth and shrew --  nor was it an agricultural one of powdered grains. Something else, entirely.

If we suppose there are rules -- sort of the opposite of randomness -- that, say, the space aliens embedded in our genome, Rule One might be thus: "I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food." Things that grow on the ground and have seeds; things that grow in trees and have seeds. Cucumbers; tomatoes; squash -- herbs that have seeds ... they are fruits.

Rule Two: "You may freely eat of every tree, but there is some type that will kill you." So we have free will, regarding what we may eat -- but not everything that may be eaten, should be eaten. Diet affects our health. You heard it here first.

If there are rules  as from a rule book, then human food would be tree food and  ground food, with seeds. As it were, fruit. Coincidentally, fruit and berries and less obvious fruits are purposed, unlike virtually every other food, to be eaten. That's the deal the plant makes: you can eat my fruit if/because you spread my seeds. Pretty clever, eh?

Leaves are meant to convert sunlight into sugar, and may be eaten. Vegetables are meant to be the body of a plant, and may be eaten. Roots are meant to pull up water and minerals, and may be eaten. Tubers are meant to store energy for the plant, and may be eaten. Grains/seeds/nuts are meant to grow into another plant, and may be eaten. Flesh is meant to be the body of an animal, and may be eaten. Eggs and milk ... well, you know.  Contrariwise, the purpose of fruit is to be food.

Cucumbers, tomatoes, melons, pumpkins, lychee nuts, dates, chili peppers, nuts -- they are fruit. Apples? Alas. We have the same needs as always, but not the same resources nor even the same world.  We do not after all live in a garden.  Apples nowadays, as with so many commercially grown foods, are hybridized for flavor and appearance and shelf-life, not for nutritional content.

And behold, Rule Three: "You shall eat the herb of the field." Thus, the invention of agriculture. The orchard-tender, or again the berry-eating shrew-like scampering underbrush creature, becomes a farmer.  Still plant-based, but second-best. as we knew  anyway: too many carbs/grains will make you fat.

In a harsh and uncooperative world, sadly, essential nutritional resources become rare or extinct. There have been mass extinctions.  There are droughts and floods and blights, and global warmings and coolings.  Thus, Rule Four: "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. You are given all creatures, even as the green herbs."

What to eat, during an Ice Age or its searing hardpan Global Warming counterpart, or your short-term merely decades long deforestation events like lava floes and catastrophic floods? Eat animals, which can scavenge on debris and carrion.  Point is, we eat meat because we can, especially in the absence of something better. And some better things are certainly absent, cf mass-extinctions. Who can say what nutritionally superb fruits and herbs and seeds and fungi are now extinct. Who can say how much longer we'd live, with vibrant health, if these lost but essential nutrients were not extinct.

Maybe we came from apes and shrews and lizards and fish and germs and inorganic matter that was stuck by lightning. Sounds like a theory.  Maybe we came from dust and the breath of God, another theory.  No matter.  What matters is what works.

No matter if it;s a hunter-gatherer diet of grubs and sap and roots and reptiles and monkeys and bark and mold and algae and salamanders over hundreds of  thousand or millions of years, or a human diet of fruits and berries and herbs and agriculture.  Upshot is, there be an ideal human diet, optimal for health and performance. Diet can be optimized within existing if irreparable limits.

It's not about dogma.  It's pragmatism.  What works?  Do that thing.  Thus, CrossFit -- highly eclectic, completely practical, in theory devoid of theory, although, as people we do love our answers.  There is a CrossFit for diet, an optimal set of behaviors, hard perhaps to identify, and changing perhaps over time, but identifiable with experience and diligence.  Paleo, or vegan, or Intermitant Fasting, or some other thing or combination.  Be bold and resolute, and maybe and maybe not bloody.

Rough and ready definition of CrossFit: constantly varied functional movements at high intensity.   Works with nutrition as well: a wide variety of calorie-poor/nutrient-dense foods of high quality.  So there it is.  Serious people are serious.  Well?

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank

An Ever-Expanding P-Factor List

  • hot
  • digesting / hungry
  • sore / sick / tired
  • not focused / not there / not feeling it
  • annoyed / distracted
  • depressed
  • weak
  • old
  • consumed with self-loathing and want to look bad
  • very complicated, conflicted & contradictory
  • dizzy / nauseous
  • pregnant, I think
  • pacing myself to the music
  • not fully recovered from last time
  • not being yelled at /  not being watched
  • worthless / fantastic / good enough
  • just doing a maintenance workout
  • doing really well / working hard enough
  • not going to be first anyway
  • saving it for a strong finish
  • working tomorrow
  • me.

Long list. Good excuses, all of them. All excuses are automatically good, if they excuse us. Our motives would need to be a little murky, a little confused or conflicted, but that's just part of being human. Oh, there's another one. I'm only human.

What we will not be, if we excuse ourselves so easily, is excellent.  P-factor is all the reasons, the excuses, the lies we use to stop us from doing our best. It's the Permission to PHail PHactor. Not a good thing, in the long run.

The antidote to p-factor is honesty.

Be excellent.


CrossFit Burbank
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