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The 3rd most important thing you need to know about Diet and Exercise

Discussion in 'Optimal Fitness' started by Barry, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Barry

    Barry New Member

    Round III

    I think there is a very fine line between "Optimal" and "Extremism" and I think that if this line is crossed, it will result in failure. Let me explain:

    So we've now moved onto Epi Paleo. While I agree with most of the theory, I'm not so sure on the practice. You see, striving to be optimal can result in people searching for and trying to reach the extremity. In most situations, extremities in any walk of life are not good places to be. Not only that, but very few ever reach the extremity and the outcome for them is then failure. Failure causes dissappointment and fustration, this leads obviously to stress, stress , as everyone should know, is the killer.

    I do believe that in order to improve health and achieve "optimal", that you need to create a new norm. This requires you to get out of your comfort zone and this means you need to go through a period of struggle. I'm all about that. Its what I do in life myself and my sport is defined by that. You focus on the process and not the end point. Struggling and Suffering are the essence of a life worth living. Its how to progress in life and move forward. However, you can go out of your comfort zone without having to take extreme measures. For me, the current advice and recommendations are extreme. I'm sorry, but having mackerel smoothies every morning is extreme. Eating fish regularly and sea veg is certainly good for you, and might cause people some discomfort at first, but its not extreme. This then will improve health, 3/6 ratios, Iodine, Gut etc. And thats my point. You can achieve optimal health without having to wizz up mackerel smoothies every morning.

    What this does then is it takes you off the path to the extremity. You are then much more likely to succeed and therefore much less likely to be stressed. Eat some good fish when you can, get some sea veg and go with the flow. I don't think you need to be worrying about the amount of fish heads you eat every week or the weight of fish consumption every month. Like I have said in my two previous posts, Epigenetics is the conductor of the orchestra here, and extremism, in my opinion, causes trouble.

    Finally, one thing I believe is missing from this forum is "questioning everything".... its what Jack has preached many a time, yet I feel like I'm the only one doing it ! What drove me to write this is the time I have spent recently working around Europe. I saw very elderly men and women in places like France and Italy. They were fit and active, working in vineyards and riding bikes. Many of them in their 70's and 80's. They eat bread every day. They don't have mackerel smoothies and they don't sit in baths with 40 pounds of ice on their chests. So how come they are so healthy ??

    "Beyond the walls of intelligence, life is defined"
  2. Melinda

    Melinda New Member

    Healthy Euro seniors: they eat bread, don't eat mackerel smoothies and don't do the ice thing...they were never broken by the habits of their moms nor their own living style. How did we get broke? Jack has pointed out quite a few things. I think heavy use of wakeful activities after sunset and long into the night hurts our quality of sleep. Sterile industrial food that has slowly been ruinous to our digestive track so we are malnourished. We tend to use food as an intervention like sweets to give us easy energy, coffee to wake up etc...As a whole, we spend less time outside, not much vineyard or biking time. I feel like the clock speed of my mind has to be blazing to keep up and yet I'm retired!

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.
  3. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Interesting thoughts Barry......but I did not spend my first forty years doing what Europeans do........I spent it in the peddle to the metal world of the USA with fake lights.....and bad easy food. Moreover, I spend ten yrs as a resident working 110 hrs a week bathed in stress and very bright LED lights at all hours of the night sleep deprived........I doubt many european's ever did that often. In fact, my life then I now consider extreme when most Americans think that is the way our culture is built. It is.......but it is not healthy.

    That is why I got to be where I was 7 years ago. So by my accounts I have a lot to make up for. I think most of my countrymen do too. Do I think I am extreme now......nope. I was however in 2006 and 07 when I a wreck I did all I could to turn around my titanic ways........I could not it on the deck listening to music as I slowly faded to black. So yeah I do have a different perspective because of how I burned my candle the first forty.
  4. Souldanzer

    Souldanzer Banned

    Okay. Feeling called to respond here since raw fish heads have become a food group for me *and* I am European and grew up in Europe.

    You cannot compare European lifestyle with American lifestyle. Allow me to give you an impression of what happened to me when I first arrived at Atlanta airport with my one-way ticket in hand.....


    There was stuff going on everywhere... things moving wherever I looked and turned, voices coming through various speakers, lights going on and off.... oh, right, that's the televisions in every corner, there isn't just one screen, there is 3 in one screens and at the bottom is a rolling text message, and the whole thing gets interrupted by ads every few minutes that are so loud your ears threaten to fail. The pictures on the screens change so fast your brain can't quite keep up and you start to think you're on a rollercoaster. To this day I cannot stand american TV, impossible for me to watch, the amount of sensory input is out of control for my brain to handle at any one time.

    So I'm living in this country now. And some things are very strange to me. Americans have strange houses. They are dark, very few windows and most of them kept with pulled blinds or curtains. They use artificial lights instead, day or night. There is no difference between night and day really in this country. Where I'm from (Germany) we keep our houses bright during the day and we dim the lights when it gets dark. We don't wear blueblockers but the lighting we use is gentle and warm. Not bright white which is what I kept experiencing in the U.S. I had the hardest time outfitting my first apartment with lamps b/c I couldn't stand the bright white light at night. TV time is limited and they do not run in the background. We either watch or we don't. There is no 3 screens in one with rolling text at the bottom. Sensory input is a lot more limited.

    The list goes on. What I'm saying is that life in Europe, or Germany in my case, is a lot less "mismatched" than life in the U.S. if you compare it historically at the same time. Is this changing? Yes, it is. There is a big concern about youth obesity in Germany right now. But this is years later than the problem started in the U.S. We also still cook in Europe. Lots of my friends here plain don't use their kitchen. They go out to eat or eat read meals. My mother cooked for the entire family, three times a day, every day. It was homemade food and that makes a lot of difference. Yes, Europe eats a lot of bread, Germans in particular, and I get that no bread is "optimal" but preparation methods do matter in degree of damage grains might cause. You probably won't find a more traditionally prepared bread than German bread and yes, we do eat it that way.... wonder bread is pretty much unheard of. Most people don't like it. American bread and German bread are two entirely different things.

    We do "sit in ice" occasionally. Maybe not as literally as Dr Kruse is suggesting it. But there is a tradition to ice bathing in Europe. It's getting lost now, the younger ones don't do it anymore but Roman Baths still exist. My parents and sister love to frequent them. They include cold baths. My dad takes cold showers every day b/c he believes it will make him healthier. As a child my parents took me to these baths and I was participating in the cold dips. We also don't need our homes to be heated to 72 degrees in the winter. We heat just enough to be comfortable with a winter sweater.... not a t-shirt as I see people do in the U.S. . As for the mackerel heads... well, maybe not entirely so but the food we eat is much more traditional. My mother eats raw smoked fish, she loves liver, the cheese we buy is raw and of good quality.

    We're much more active in Europe. If we can walk the distance, we will. No reason to break out the car. We carry home our groceries. The kids spend the day outside. "When the street lights come on" was my curfew always while growing up.

    So, maybe with this picture in mind you will understand why Europe as a country has healthier elderly than the U.S. Unfortunately, technology and such is catching up even there and so Europe is starting to experience similar problems at this point in time. My parents are both in their sixties, and they are pretty darn healthy. Not in Dr K's terms.... but they don't have any major ailments. My dad is now developing T2D and my mother is pushing a low-fat high carb diet b/c she learned in the media that this is recommended. We are getting off the path now.

    I entirely do not agree with that. Do I take a risk? Yes, I do. I'm aware of that. The risk of not risking right now is bigger. Whether or not failure will cause you stress is really dependent on your mental way of dealing with failure. I fail every day. I succeed more than I fail, however. B/c that is how I organize my life and mind. You need to adjust the challenge to the person's skills and then there will be oodles of success. It's just like training for a marathon. Don't start with the 100km in one go if you've been a couch potato for the past 10 years.

    Finally, one thing I believe is missing from this forum is "questioning everything".... its what Jack has preached many a time, yet I feel like I'm the only one doing it !

    Nope, you're not the only one. In fact, I questioned that the paleo approach was the right thing for me to do after my skiing accident 4 months ago. I read as much as I could and basically came up with seafood being brain food. Some of Dr K's comments on blogs, some of it of my own reading. So then I started eating fish to heal my brain.... not having a clue of what was about to be revealed. I ate it every day for three months almost exclusively before BG 4/5/6 ever happened. I question things in my own way. If I think the risk to reward ratio is beneficial then I try and watch. I stick with what works. There's some things that Dr K tells me to do that don't work for me, so I don't do them (like not overloading myself trying to do all at once :eek:) I question a lot of other things. In Life. These Days. Some of it relevant to Dr K's work, some of it not. It's gotten me to a very personal, a bit unusual lifestyle. That some people would call extreme.

    Questioning you: Why not strive for the best of the best if it is available to you? Are you staying within your comfort zone?

    I guess I'm a bit.... different from most people. I thrive on extreme. My personality is made to be extreme. So, to quote someone else from this forum... I fell into this like a rock star into a pile of cocaine :eek: It's the equivalent of my AN personality applied to getting healthy instead. A much better purpose.

    Congrats if you made it this far. I guess I had a lot to say :cool:
  5. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Soul I love this...........I may have to put this one post alone into a guest blog......it's brilliant.
  6. shilohman

    shilohman New Member

    Context, context, context, its all about context. You are an athlete, not sure about your age, but probably younger than 40. You probably are healthy and for argument's sake, lets say close to or at optimal. From your current context, I can see why you feel like, "the current advice and recommendations are extreme." But from the context of someone who is older(I am 61 yrs. old male) and who has seen their labs approach optimal for my age, I do not see the current advice and recommendations as extreme. They are unusual (for the record, I don't do fish head smoothies, but I do do raw fish), but I am a living witness to the efficacy of the Epi-Paleo way, raw fish and all. Having come from years of sub-optimal health to well on the way to optimal just somehow takes the edge off of the description as

    Good question and a very interesting observation. But you might be comparing oranges to apples. Odds are those that you saw in France and Italy don't eat the Standard American Diet and have access to locally grown foods/meats. I don't really know the answer, but I do know that context is important.

    Like all of us here on this forum, you take what works for you and forget the rest.

    That is my two cents worth. Or as Martin would say, "thats my story and I'm sticking to it"
  7. freesia

    freesia Old Member

    It's probably worth appreciating that some of the people making Mackerel Head smoothies have said they're doing it for budget reasons. IE why throw away that part of the fish?

    My impression (as a non MHS drinker) is that some are not doing it for the sake of being "extreme"....more of a common sense approach is all.

    Also, please note some of us started the race not on the flat like some of your hardy vineyard working seniors over there, but at the bottom of a very steep incline, with health challenges (since childhood) that a well person might not even fathom.

    I want to speak up for the benefits of sitting in ice as a person with health challenges...a person who hasn't had the luxury of dreaming of achieving ANY kind of fitness for the past 28 years...let alone some kind of optimal fitness.

    Somehow...and I am still trying to understand exactly how..that ice is getting me fit.

    I can walk up a decent sized hill now Barry. Without hurting. I was bedbound from 2008 - 2010. Mostly housebound until January of this year.

    Hell if I keep this up I might even be able to book a holiday to the south of France and see if I can find a vacancy on a vineyard...see if they'll let me stomp some grapes :D

    Nice discussion though, and good thoughts from all.
  8. Inger

    Inger Silver


    I loved your post too!


    I see nothing extreme in eating the whole fish. Why throw away parts? That would be sad.

    That we have yucky feelings for certain things are totally habitual. Check what certain cultures are seeing as delicious.. you will be shocked. On Iceland they eat rotten birds buried for years outside. For us, that is extreme.

    For me, it is extreme that you run 22 hours. I see no reason whatsoever to do this to be honest. But I do not critisize you because you love it and feel well from it apparently.

    Still if you look at the health point it might not be ideal to run that much, it do might deplete the body or make you age faster, I am not sure though how it is when eating keto?

    Fishheads are ideal. Go and look at the nutrients you get from them, very ideal for us. I need to always stay cool and see the truth with my eyes... even if it is not easy for me. I do what I feel and know is good, not what others around me do. I see the fruits they get, and that is NOT what I want in my life. I know what I want, and it does not bother me much if someone thinks I am extreme.

    I am not eating fisheads in public anyway (yet ;)).

    Barry, the people in Italy are not as healthy as it might seem. They have huge rates of cancer and other neolithic deseases, as in whole Europe. That is just not them you will meet on the street. Often you cannot see it too well on the outside, what kind of disease people carry around. But go and check the statistics, and "the very healthy Italian" is a myth..

    (Barry.. if it makes you feel any better, I do not do MHS every morning.. Soul do because she has lots of braindamage to heal, I see that. I eat them when I get mackerels, and it is only once in a while. But I sure eat the head of the shrimps)
  9. SeaHorse

    SeaHorse Gold

    This is a great discussion! As a former anthropologist it really interests me to think about norms and culture. As Inger and Soul have mentioned what is weird in one area is commonplace in another. So who are we to say what is extreme? The blog that JK wrote about moderation is relevant here too. What does moderation get you if you are suffering at one end of the spectrum? It might get you to somewhere near the middle....but why should we settle for that? The power and knowledge that comes from having the freedom to do exactly what we need to do as individuals is huge.

    Culture exerts such a vice grip of control over our thinking...our freedom lies in questioning everything and experimenting. I, for one, am still going to have a raw trout smoothie by the end of the summer. And really.... what is the difference between a mackeral head smoothie and a bunch of expensive raw oysters served on a china platter at the Ritz?? The blender??? The china?...the cost?

    One has symbolized good taste and high living for thousands of years and the other sprang from the creative genius of Inger...both are still raw seafood that is kind of grey and gloopy and happen to be packed with brain food.

    I'm so happy to be rid of the constraints of my food culture and my body is thanking me every day.

    Cheers, SeaHorse
  10. Souldanzer

    Souldanzer Banned

    ha :cool: Yes, Inger, how'd you ever come up with throwing the heads in a *blender* to eat them??? I mean that was *before* you ever got all the goodness from the raw heads..... :D And geez, I do have a pretty extreme blenderize history as a raw foodie but I'm not sure that one would have ever popped into my mind! Think outside the box :)
  11. MJ*

    MJ* New Member

    Hey Barry,

    I think it's cool that you are questioning everything! I believe that it is always important to remain open to new ideas and constantly question and refine what we do. At the same time I have to say that I think context dictates what is considered extreme, and this will differ based on cultural norms and personal beliefs and the evidence. Six months ago I loved eating Yodels LoL and cookies and tons of junk food, and staying up all night and drinking sometimes and other things I see are not so good for my health, and yet I have not been sick enough to go to a doc in 15 years or more! My context was shared by a lot of people in my life, and so it seemed normal to me to be this way.

    I now have a new personal normal, but if you told me then that I'd be giving up pizza and bread and all processed foods and sugar and wearing yellow glasses at night and taking supplements and trying raw oysters and laying in ice in the fall and winter, I'd probably have said something like, "you must be high!" :D My context has changed drastically in six months, but each thing I changed was done thoughtfully, and made sense scientifically to me. I've done a ton of reading! I've lost weight and I feel really great, and I see signs of even better health in my hair and nails and gums and skin, and the outward changes are becoming noticeable to people around me, and that confirms for me that it's all worthwhile, but even with that, I will continue to learn and question and refine. I don't do everything exactly to protocol but I'm coming as close as I can and within what makes sense to me, and the proof is in the pudding. I feel awesome, but my labs indicate I can do even better, so I'm committed to dig deeper for optimal.

    I really hope that you will stick around and continue to question, not just for the sake of questioning, rather because you have found evidence that is contrary to something we are doing, please look for that. I will always be interested in that type of information. For those who are taking this to the extreme I applaud how much they have jumped in and are taking control of their wellness, and for some people they need to be uber extreme to fix the things that are ailing them. Gawd knows modern medicine does not concern itself with such things...

    Bottom line - don't measure yourself against anyone else, measure yourself by your own results! Let your labs tell you if you are being extreme enough...

    MJ :)

  12. Welcome back MJ!

    I came on the forum to write similar words. We have to quit comparing our lives to others, as if we are like them. We are all different with different "brokens" and different circumstances. I do drink the fish head smoothies about every second/third day as it is a cheap way to eat fish but it's also an easy dinner that I don't have to cook!

    Extreme to one person is the norm to another. I for one consider myself to be ever-changing and who I was last month is not the same person. My normal has shifted, yet it is still normal to me. My friends think I am a freak with all my weird eating, ice, and fish but I don't care. I feel much better than I did 8 months ago before I started this side of my journey. I am thankful for all the advice on this forum and never feel it's stressful to shift more and more toward optimal wellness. I did the extreme shift in January and now the changes I make seem quite small compared to that one!

    This is a lifestyle and that involves continual transformation. I feel like I have jumped on the transformation train to optimal! pLus I don't know how to jump off a moving train!!
  13. MJ*

    MJ* New Member

    Hey there, thanks Patty Cakes, and thanks to Dr. Kruse I have a new password!!! I agree with everything you wrote, and have some similar experiences with friends and family thinking some of this is weird, thankfully I am a different person today than years ago when I would have cared about such opinions! I am amazed by the concept of fish head smoothies, and I'm still in the "it blows my mind phase" with that LoL, and I am in awe that you are doing that for your health, but one day I may just think it part of my normal...time will tell! *Standing ovation* for those who are doing it!
  14. MJ*

    MJ* New Member

    And hey anytime I don't have to cook, that's tempting...
  15. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    That is what goes on at AHS and paleo fx.....comparing peoples bodies and face and skin and then making narky comments about it on blogs forums and twitter.......its HS all over again.
  16. JoeBranca

    JoeBranca Silver

    The extremeness of a habit is a relative term defined by outsiders. It's the effectiveness of a habit that matters, but no uninformed outsider can assess that.

    Purposeful correctives shouldn't be judged as extreme. But even if some correctives go unnecessarily extreme, so what? Does that really damage the psyche much? The effectiveness of new habits will reveal itself over time, and there's learning to the process. (correctives to the overcorrectives). Just being thoughtfully proactive in these things matters more in the harrowing context most people here suddenly discover themselves in.

    Something else that's been on my mind, isn't dabbling in extremities sometimes for its own sake a great hormetic stressor? We're living between extremes as a society, so we don't value adaptability to extremes very much. But they're still valuable; things can change. I'd like to get a better idea right now on how I can adapt to extremes before it's necessity. Sort of an investing in the unpredictability of life.
  17. Barry

    Barry New Member

    From Ivy on Facebook

    " I have to admit,this partly is why I quit the forum. Not only due to other commitments, but the stress it put on me to constantly try to live up to the latest blog-post and other members taking it so far that it left me always feeling bad. I feel so much better without the constant chatter about how to get optimal- I really thing stress over-rides anything else you may do if it goes too far. Barry has a good point!"

    This is my point, it may not apply to all but it applies to many. More on this to come..
  18. Jack Kruse

    Jack Kruse Administrator

    Stress control is important.......but replacing bad food for less mental anguish about wants and needs is not an improvement. It is a lateral move. All stress is handled the same way in the body......cortisol=NE+epinephrine and the sympathetic nervous system.
  19. Souldanzer

    Souldanzer Banned

    as Dr K has said many times before he doesn't treat populations.... he treats patients. Those are the ones that are left after you subtract the many from the all. They are actual people who are suffering. We do exist and man am I glad to finally have found someone who actually cares about that minority. If it really is a minority. Those are the ones you find on this forum eating fish heads.

    Whether or not something stresses you is really up to your own mindset. I experience my journey towards optimal much more as exciting. Not sure how stressed I would be was I still couch bound all day with my head hurting like sh*t and pumped full of medicines that will make me even sicker. And being skin and bones with my head in the toilet all day. Unable to even walk up a flight of stairs.

    No one is making you do this, Barry. You are free to do your own thing. Why don't you allow others to do their own thing? Nobody is on your back about running for 22 hours on this forum. Nobody calls you out on it and tells you to drop the stressful exercise and be less "extreme".

    You excel at one thing, I excel at another. 22 hrs of running vs eating a raw fish head every morning. I don't know. I'm having a hard time seeing the difference except that one is within your comfort zone, and the other one is not.
  20. Souldanzer

    Souldanzer Banned

    THE MOST stressful thing I have ever experienced in my life was/is being sick and knowing that I am heading towards certain death soon if nothing big happens now.

    It was waking up in the mornings knowing that I was going to keep killing myself and damaging my body, that any action I might take today could be my last. That there was nothing I could do to prevent this from happening. That every day I was less likely to survive. It was going to sleep at night wondering if I was going to wake up in the morning. Or if it was better to leave a note of good-bye for my loved ones on my nightstand.

    It was living with the constant awareness of impeding death. THAT is what I call stressful. Worrying about whether or not I ate my fish head today? Yeah. I can handle that.

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