NPR covered an interesting story yesterday in relation to the Institute of Medicine‘s recommendation that the FDA seek some form of governmental regulation in regard to the salt content of processed foods.  From the NPR site:

“The Institute of Medicine issued a report Tuesday on reducing salt intake. They are recommending that Americans reduce their salt intake significantly, and that the FDA take the lead in leveling the playing field for food processors so that salt content can be systematically reduced over a period of years…”

And Ex-FDA Chief David Kessler’s take on the matter, here.  Mr. Kessler, you might recall, is also the author of “The End of Overeating“.

Both David Kessler and Dr. Robert Lustig (Sugar, the Bitter Truth) speak to the notion of food manufacturers designing of foods for the “optimal bliss point”; that is, purposely manipulating the salt and sugar (or, more commonly now, HFCS) content of a processed “food” so as to create a consumption hyper-drive effect in the unsuspecting gnosher.

Of course, the fail-safe answer here is to simply avoid any and all processed crap — a line that the Paleo tribe ascribes to.  However, as the healthcare/health concerns of our neighbors becomes more and more (due to taxation and shifts in governmental approach to healthcare; i.e., “reform”) our collective concern as well, we would be remiss to just stick our collective, Paleo heads in the sand on this issue.  I — and you, as a fellow Paleo “tribesman” — may not ever be personally affected by this issue, but you can better believe that our wallets will be.

And here’s a good bit of BBC reporting on vitamin D deficiency.  Not only is this an informative bit of reportage, but it’s done in that oh-so-cool English accent that makes a statement like…

“…unless, of course, you want a rickety child, a bended, knock-kneed, large-headed, pale and rickety article…”

…such an absolute auditory joy to behold.  Hat tip to Methuselah, at Pay Now, Live Later for the find.

As a correlative to the above mentioned BBC report, there’s this (Diet, Lifestyle, Poorly Predict Vitamin D Levels) from Futurity.org.  Good thing you can have your own vitamin D levels measured relatively cheaply from ZRT Labs.

Tonight’s Paleo Chow

Another hit-and-run meal tonight.  What could be more simple than a sweet potato, a few sunny-side up eggs and a little bit of leftover pork sausage?  The baked sweet potato, by the way, makes for a great yoke-soppin’ medium.  Easy to make, but  damn friggin’ good.

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Heh, a funny aside: The best pork sausage in the south (in the world?  Some think so!) can be found approximately 5 miles from my humble abode here in beautiful eastern North Carolina.  How better to get there than on the trusty fixie?  And then?  Well, you guessed it — 6 pounds of sausage stuffed in the ol’ backpack 🙂  That quick, intense, 10-mile round trip huck makes the most fabulous sausage around taste even that much better!

Huck on!

16 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, whether we like it or not, we will collectively be on the hook for everyone’s healthcare costs. I happen to be fine with that, but I really understand and accept the arguments for the other side. I just happen to think they don’t make the case for their position.

    But if we are all now responsible for everyone else’s health, we come up with the question of how can we get the rest of the non-paleo world to stop killing themselves with the crap they’re eating?

    Now for the libertarians among you, how do you deal with this problem? You are vehemently opposed to collective responsibility for healthcare costs, which is a reasonable position. But the fact of the matter is that all developed countries are moving or have moved in that direction, now including the U.S..

    So given that it’s inevitable, do you then also argue that there shouldn’t be regulations designed to attempt to improve dietary habits? Or do you take the libertarian view there as well, and say that we’re just going to have to live with whatever free people eat, and whatever unregulated corporations create and promote?

    I’m asking this in all seriousness. What do we do now?

    • This is where my political theory, cognitive dissonance kicks in. I most always take the Libertarian point of view — except in issues of infrastructure, public transportation, and now healthcare (at least at the basic level). Some infrastructure and public transportation issues have been successfully dealt with in a smart public/private merger; the Texas tollway system in the Austin area (so far, anyway) comes to mind. But in other infrastructure issues where there is great need and importance — sewer and water systems, for example — coupled with very little profit motive, the private, for-profit options become limited, and smart government has to carry the ball. I believe whole-heartedly in the “no one has ever washed a rented car” theory, and, as such, believe that everyone has to have some skin in the game — however (and this is admittedly just one tiny aspect of the overall picture), I do see plenty of underutilized entrepreneurial “capital” just idling because “here at least they and their family are covered” and out there, they wouldn’t be. Of course, the flip-side of that is the person who stuffs his yap full of Little Debbies day-in and day-out, and who has no problem at all being a permanent ward of the healthcare system. I don’t think I should have to pay for willful ignorance and complete disregard for one’s own health situation. Hello cognitive dissonance.

    • I think you HAVE to take the libertarian approach on people’s food choices. I agree that paleo-style eating is better, but the people who would be writing the regulations may not agree with that.

      They’re banning salt, why not ban sausage and red meat? It’s a slippery slope.

      Over time, with a central database of illnesses, diets, lifestyles, and symptoms, it may be possible to extract better understanding of causes of disease, and at very least lead to better hypotheses for testing.

      One can hope…

      Tony

      • Agreed. Regulation is a great idea — until, that is, it happens to be at odds with your own personal point of view (or wallet). Regulating what one does with one’s own body is particularly Orwellian, in my opinion. It’s for this reason that I would love to see a Paleo co-op type of healthcare insurance crop up. We in the Paleo tribe could then put our collective money where our mouth is. This is the Libertarian Keith speaking, by the way; his Progressive split personality is in hiding for the moment 🙂

  2. Hey Keith, great blog man I really enjoy reading what you have to say. I do have a couple things I have been wondering with regard to the sweet potatos. Do you find that eating them allows you to reach peak leanness? Also, do you eat them whenever or is it usually just post-glycogen dependent work?

    • Really no rhyme or reason as to when I eat them, just whenever the mood strikes, or the availability is there. I live in a balance between chaos (check out Melissa’s fine post, re: chaos here) and planning — I do have to plan ahead so I can eat Paleo meals while at work. I do think if I were involved in heavy endurance-like training, that I’d make a concerted effort to eat them a little more often. I like sweet potatoes because they’re easy to make (and difficult to mess-up), taste really good, and are pretty dang nutritious to boot. If I were actively trying to lean-out, I might not eat them as frequently, though — but that’s no different a stance as I would take on carbs in general.

      • Hey Keith,
        Love your blog and love to see you commenting on Robb’s site.

        Anyways, extending on your approach that to lean out one should keep carbs low. I just want to make sure I’m thinking right. After attending Robb’s seminar in NJ on the 10th, I’ve been doing basic Paleo (no wheat, very little sugar/rice/corn) with little fruit and no starch. I’m not counting calories and I usually match hunger at home with macadamia nuts, dried coconut, 85% chocolate, or meat if I have it handy (bacon fits great here). I will keep with Paleo for the overall health reasons but I’m cutting fruit and starch to lean out. I have no idea what my exact % bf is, around 17% probably, but I’d guess that if I lost 25 pounds I’d be very lean. Right now I’m 208 at 6’0″ and 26 y.o. I just want to lean out to 195 and see how I look and adjust accordingly.

        My questions: Do you agree with this approach and should I just ignore any cuts in performance (mostly Crossfit.com WODs) until I lean out to a desired level upon which I can then add back in some sweet taters to boost muscle glycogen dependent workouts?

        I study this stuff all the time but I always like to get someone else’s opinion and I respect yours. Thanks!

        • Mark,
          A couple of things; first, I think it takes a while to fully adjust to an elimination of non-Paleo foods and to a carb reduction in general. During this time, performance will no doubt suffer. This is where athletes and/or Crossfitters get gun shy and return to their old carboholic ways. Also, keep in mind that at lower BF %’s, calories do matter, and snacks are where you’re going to jack your calorie intake sky-high. Nuts are especially calorie dense. My advice is to scale the WODs back just a tad until you fully Paleo acclimate, then ramp the intensity back up again. Use this time to get in touch with how your body reacts and feels. You’ll “know” when you’re ready to go all out again.

          And by the way, don’t leave intermittent fasting off the table either. It’s a great tool.

          • Thanks Keith. I’ve done IF before, particularly Martin’s approach. I don’t do anything formal anymore outside of not caring if I miss a meal for whatever reason. After the first month goes by, I may start to do Paleo-Zone with at least half of the carb blocks being subbed for fat, per Robb’s recommendation. My wife and I are doing this together so I don’t want get too strict yet, as she will need some time to adjust to Paleo, but I like that I have the option to. By the way, I’m not competing for the CF Games so I can deal with performance setbacks.

          • So long as you realize that sub-optimal performance is to be expected in the short-term, you won’t become despondent over it. Once you have a deck-plate established, you can adjust your carb load as necessary for your own personal needs and desires, i.e., tweek so as to meet your body comp. and performance expectations.

  3. Salt is not the problem, according to the stuff I’ve read – salt only starts causing the hypertensive issues when the insulin levels get to the point that it causes retension of water…

    I LOVE salt. I love it love it love it. Since I went low carb, I don’t retain water when I salt binge, and I have had no blood pressure issues. When I heard about government going after the salt, I sighed. Apparently the salt lobby is less powerful than the sugar and grain lobby.

    If you really want to do this right, you don’t subsidize farming. I would REALLY be interested in what that does to the high carb junk food costs – how much is the affordability related to the government “bail out.”

    I’m torn on the diet legislation because poor people need to eat too, and can only afford the crap stuff. For me, we don’t need to make dietary rules so much as figure out how to make the good stuff affordable. THEN we figure out how to legislate the addictive stuff.

    • Re: salt – yeah, it only becomes a problem when it’s entered into an evil, 3-way compact with (bad) fats and simple carbohydrates – with the simple carbs being the real instigator of all that badness. Left to their own devises, salt and (good) fats can party together and never cause a ruckus.

  4. Mark, you can also try just the straight up carbs-for-glocogen-only-after-workouts apporach. When I’m kickboxing I’ll eat an apple or something like it afterwards if I feel bonky. Gets you used to working out when you aren’t carbed up, but replenishes a bit so you aren’t as compromised the next go round. Main thing I find is just to learn to work out with the tank mostly empty. Mostly I eat tacos or rice with Thai once a week and that seems to be fine. Ice cream works for some of us, too, but it can wreck some folks…

  5. I just wonder how they pick salt of all things. I mean CW says fat and sugar are bad too, why pick on salt?

    A also had a paleo question for you. I have been training for a mud run type race (7 miles, 17 obstacles, supposed to take about 2.5 hours). Been mostly paleo for a few years, but went full hog about 3 weeks before I started training. At this point all paleo/primal for about 2 months. My question was about race day nutrition. I tend to feel better in workouts if I eat breakfast (Usually a 5 egg omelet) then workout 4+ hours later. I’m guessing this is what I should do for race day, maybe with a banana thrown in. I’d appreciate any thoughts you had. I’m not planning on taking any food during race…I don’t think its possible anyway.

    • “…Been mostly paleo for a few years, but went full hog about 3 weeks before I started training. At this point all paleo/primal for about 2 months…”
      You may or may not be fully “paleo converted” yet, but I guess that’s a different question. It will, though, affect your ability to motor through your event on a (relative) lack of carbohydrate. That said, just make sure that your fat intake is maintained high between now and race day — though I wouldn’t over-indulge in any macro-nutrient on race day itself. I’d also substitute a sweet potato for that banana, but that’s just me (and probably splitting hairs).

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