Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tribute to Jack Lalanne

I'd not really heard of Jack before the news of his death, but I think his wisdom applies to us today.  This will apply to the big experiment later...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Christian Paleo?

The Paleo diet advocates are frequently evolutionists, who take the stance that our bodies evolved to meet the conditions during the paleolithic era, and have not evolved significantly since.  Does my belief in the word of God contradict the Paleo diet?  I don't think so.

On the eighth day God created technology.  Wait, no, I don't think it says that anywhere in the Bible.  We were created for living in the Garden of Eden, and have since then turned to technology to increase the availability, quantity, and desirability of our foods gained from a cursed ground. 

Our first major venture into technology was agriculture, invented when we were forced from the Garden of Eden:
"Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."
We know some additional detail of the lives of two of Adam and Eve's sons, Cain and Able.  Cain worked the soil, and Able kept flocks.  Neither lived the hunter gatherer role portrayed in the paleo theory, but that does not mean they ate anything like a modern diet.

Let's look at several food related technologies and when they first appear in the bible.
  • Gardening - From the very beginning, there was a garden for Adam and Eve to supply their needs from
  • Animal Slaughter - Performed by God at the time of leaving the garden
  • Boats - Noah
  • Baking - Tower of Babel
  • Flour - Abraham
  • Knife - Abraham
  • Spear - Moses
  • Arrow - Moses
  • Flour Mill - Moses
  • Olive grove - Moses
  • Oil Press - Moses
Most of these technologies do not have their invention dates documented in the bible, but the order of their first mentioned uses line up with the archaeological evidence of their order of invention.

Other modern foods with archaeological/historical evidence:
  • Refined Sugar, discovered in India prior to 550 AD, spread to China in the 600's, then to the Arabs, then to the rest of the world
  • White Flour - developed in Europe in the 1800's
  • Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil - 1911, Procter & Gamble
  • Soybean Oil - 1930's
So no matter whether you believe in evolution or in creation, it is clear that many foods are the result of technology and not the pristine state of the world.  Although Christians may find some of the logic in "Paleo" diet books incorrect, the recipes and diet guidelines could be in line with what we might guess as the original diet of Adam and Eve and the way God designed us to eat.  Agriculture was thrust upon us as a curse, and we are only starting to learn what other food related technologies have hidden curses under their benefits.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Addictive Nature of Shoes

"Can Good, Supportive Shoes Become Addictive?" by Dr. Nirenberg
"The person who had been wearing the supportive shoes finds him or herself with achy, sore feet (and maybe even injury) and quickly decides that they need to get back into their shoes. They are hooked! Worse, as their muscles continue to weaken, they will need increasing amounts of support."
I think my breaking point was when I got to the point where I needed more support, and I could not get that from my old line of shoes any more.  I had to push the big reset button and start over with training my own muscles to hold me up instead of letting them lean against supportive shoes.  It was difficult at first, but my bad hip saw the benefits right away which encouraged me to stick with it through transition.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Learning how to stand up

Like any normal child, I learned how to stand up as a toddler, or at least I thought I had.  At some point I had learned how to stand in a very unhealthy manner, making my whole lower body hurt when standing long periods.  When going minimally shod, I decided I needed to re-learn how to stand and walk.

Now I don't just stand there, but feel and acknowledge the parts of my feet holding me up.  I consciously rest my weight evenly on all parts of my foot.  I have to lean forward a bit or bend my knees to make it work.  My foot spreads a little more to carry the weight over a greater surface.  When doing it right, I can feel the individual bones of the foot each resting on the ground.

I am using my new method of standing up like a good posture.  Whenever I catch myself slouching my spine or my feet I straighten up and stand right.  My feet still hurt after standing a long time, but it is muscle fatigue, not stress injury, and passes in a day.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January Progress Report

After wearing minimal shoes so much, I forget how bulky normal shoes are.  Coming down the stairs in my slushy parking lot shoes, I tripped on my own feet and fell over.  The ankle itself seems fine, but I had some swelling in the foot itself, and have not been happy about putting on snug stiff shoes.  Arms were a little sore, but it's not anything range of motion exercises didn't fix.  After a week everything seems to be healing, but it's frustrating to feel I've been set back three weeks in my walking ablity.

I have been overall making improvements.  My arches hardly ever hurt now.  I have a very nearly running gait at a snail's pace instead of a normal walk, stepping ball-first nearly beneath me, and leaning forward when I need to pick up speed.  I am starting to feel that I can walk wherever I need to as long as I'm willing to be patient with myself and go as slow as I need to.

One odd thing is that hard smooth surfaces now feel softer than lumpy soft surfaces.  I noted this near the end of a shopping trip when moving between the linoleum isles and the carpeted display area.

I am starting to feel that I can put weight on my heels again, which I have avoided since starting this experiment.  My heels may be ready for it, but my knees and ankles were not quite happy doing it for long.  I'll keep practicing occasionally when I'm feeling good.

I started a workout log at dailymile.com.  Sure I could have tracked that in this blog, but it will have more detailed minucia than I expect readers here to wish to bother with.  So far I've been logging .25 mile walks, which is better than nothing and will hopefully help me form a habit.

Overall doing well and making enough progress to be hopeful.  I hope to keep up the regular walking even if the distance is short, and slowly expand that.

Friday, January 14, 2011


I came across a post on my minimalist runner group by David J. Lesher:

I was just reviewing some of my med school physiology after reading your question.  When enough stress is applied to a bone to create microtrauma or microfractures, (such as what happens during the transition from shod to
unshod) the cells around the microfracture die and send signals for the osteoclasts (the bone cleanup cells) to come in and essentially clean out that area.  This process takes about two weeks.  Then, more signals are sent for osteoblasts (the bone manufacturing cells) to come in and lay down a matrix of new bone a process that takes approximately 3-4 months.  Over the next three years, the matrix that was laid down continues to become mineralized and increases in density and strength to that of the surrounding mature bone.  So, here's another testament to why we should not make the transition to minimalist/barefoot running too quickly.

This is at the same time overwhelming and pressure relieving.  The soreness in my feet when I first switched to minimalist shoes could have been partially microfractures.  I'm not just a weakling, there really is something that takes 4 months to heal in my feet, but it's possible every time I up my intensity too much at once that I will have this again, and it will be years before I reach full foot strength.  At two months in, my microfractures should be starting to heal and grow stronger bone.  The good news is that if I keep this up, and have good nutrition, I should grow stronger feet out of it.

I do feel like a patient recovering from an injury, but my injury was 15 years of bad body alignment.  I can't be in a rush to get over it, but rather I need to be patient with myself, and push only a little bit on the edge to gently move myself towards better health.