Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Caveman Exercise

Early humans didn't have gyms.

They didn't have dumbells, barbells, pilates machines, preacher curl benches or resistance bands. Yet the average caveperson was tall strong and fit. They exercised mainly because they didn't have a choice. Everything they did required effort and to survive they had to be strong or they would starve.

The entire world was their gym. Running through the woods, scrambling over rocks, climbing trees, Sprinting during the hunt and carrying home dinner. This was more than enough to remain fit and healthy. Sprint and lift heavy stuff. Pretty simple really.

I'm not saying that in order to get fit you have to act like Tarzan and swing through trees. What I am saying is that you don't absolutely need the gym. Gyms are great, I love going to the gym, but what I do at the gym only makes up a small part of what I do to stay fit. The majority of my training can be accomplished in you living room, in a park or in the woods. And that's the fun stuff, using the environment around us as our gym, and using our own body weight as resistance.

Our early ancestors would have been the ultimate crosstrainers. They would have been well rounded in all aspects of fitness withouth specializing in one particular area. They would have had to be able to respond to any situation in order to escape a predator or hunt down food.

So how do I exercise like a caveman?

In a word play. Run, jump and enjoy yourself. Find something heavy and pick it up and carry it. It doesn't really matter what you do as long as you enjoy it and it gets your heart rate. Do push ups, sit ups and squats in your living room or out doors. If you have a pull up bar or a tree with a low hanging branch do pull ups.

I absolutely love play ground jungle gyms. They allow me to climb and scramble just like I'm a kid and get fit in the process. Anybody who was with me during my monkey bars obsession knows exactly what I mean. I still can't pass by a set of monkey bars without having to take some time out for a bit of fun.

There is so much more to fitness than laying down on a bench in the gym or logging countless hours on a treadmill or elliptical (ps. I hate the elliptical trainer).  The most effective workouts are the ones you have the most fun doing whatever they are.


These days as soon as you walk into the gym, one of the first things you are going to see are rows upon rows of people on cardio machines workout but going nowhere. 95% of the people who were on those machines year ago are still on the same machines today and have the exact same (or worse) body composition that they had back the. Yet they haven't realized that this method isn't working and that they should look for something different.

Long slow cardio does have it's place in the complete atheletes workout routine, but it should not be the basis for anybody's fitness. With extended bouts of cardio the body produces the stress hormone. Small amounts or cortisol are beneficial to the body as it helps the body adapt to stress. Excessive amounts of this hormone results in a plethora of problems such as loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, crabby moods and, yes, weight gain.

Top that off with massive amounts of wear and tear on the joints and you have a formula for failure.

Keep cardio sessions short and intense. I am a big advocate of High intensity interval training (HIIT) The basis is simple really You alternate short bouts of intense exercise with short periods of rest and recovery.

A prime example of this is to find a steep hill. Sprint up this hill, turn around an jog back down easy. When you get to the bottom of this hill, turn around and sprint back up. It's that easy. Do this for about fifteen minutes and walk back home and stretch out to cool down

Another example is to find a rower if you are in the gym. Warm up in said rower for about five minutes and then alternate rowing with all out exertion for 30 seconds and row easy for a minute  repeat for fifteen minutes and you're done.


Training with weights is something that I do recommend fo anybody and it does have a plethora of benefits.  Increased lean mass, increased bone density, increased metabolism to name just a few.

When you think about lifting weights don't imagine the people you see lifting weight for hours a day working on biceps and shoulder who don't look any different than they did years ago when they started weight training. This type of training is unnecessary and ineffective. The best weight training sessions are 20 - 40 minutes. They work every major muscle group in one workout and are only done three times a week. Any more than that and you aren't allowing your body time to recover. Also we don't want to spend our entire lives in the gym, we want to get out and do things we love to do.

Quality of life

Always keep sight of the fact that we do exercise to support the activities that bring us joy. If you spend too much time in the gym, you won't have any time or energy left to do anything else. I used to be guilty of this. Once upon a time I was the quintessential gym rat. I worked in a gym as a personal trainer,  I tried almost every supplement at GNC. I did two hour weight training sessions coupled with hour long cardio sessions five times a week and I was burning out. I barely had any energy for my clients and at one point I was actually contemplating giving up on working out. I worked out so I would be good at all these activities, but i had no time or energy to do them.

Since then I have drastically reduced my training volume. I do short crossfit metcons as the foundation for my fitness and dedicate the rest of my time to activities that I love to do such as Gymnastics, Capoeira, Parkour  or any other movement based art form. My overall fitness level has definitely improved and I get to do all the things that are the reason I work out in the first place.

So remember, keep workouts short and intense. Always do things you love to do. Run fast and lift heavy objects. I'm going to leave you with "world class fitness in a hundred words " by Crossfit founder Greg Glassman.

Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports.
~Greg Glassman

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fruit? + Paleo snacks

I've recently been asked why I said to limit fruit intake to a piece or two a day and if fruit is caveman.

Bottom line is, yes fruit is most definitely caveman. Eat fruit, enjoy it and don't feel guilty. The reason I said to limit fruit intake is because if you are using Caveman2.0 as a tool to loose weight, than eating a lot of fruit will most likely slow down the process because of the high sugar content of some modern fruits.

Eating fruit will NOT make you gain weight. The fiber content will slow down the absorption of the fructose limiting the blood sugar spike. Everybody reacts differently carbohydrate intake and there are some people who will eat an apple and have a sugar crash within a couple of hours and end up feeling foggy and hungry. Others can munch on bananas all they like with no ill effects.

My suggestion to to learn how o pay attention to how you feel a couple of hours after you eat. With a little bit of practice you will be able to  tell if you are spiking and then crashing. If that happens just avoid or limit the specific fruits that cause a crash and be more liberal with the others.

I was going to post a table of glycemic loads and glycemic indexes of many fruits but I don't want anybody to have to think about it that much. I was trying to figure out all the math to decide if an apple was better than a peach and it immediately became clear to me that trying to figure that stuff out is definitely not caveman.

Remember to keep it simple as possible folks. Eat it straight from the ground or off a tree, than it most definitely IS caveman2.0 approved. Enjoy!

Now here is a recipe for some Paleo cocoa and coconut snacks I have gotten from Mark's Daily apple. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet as I don't have access to my own kitchen right now.
Mark's daily apple is a great site that I check out regularly. It is full of useful information and Mark's personal version of paleo, which he calls Primal, Is also very clear and easy to understand. check it out.

We’ve included measurements to get you started, but as mentioned above, these ingredients can be used in any amounts.
1/2 cup each:
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Pecan nuts
  • Hazel nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • 3-6 dates
  • 2-4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
To taste:
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Freshly ground coffee
  • Shredded coconut
Run the nuts and pumpkin seeds in a food processor until ground into a fine flour.
Nuts in Food Processor
Remove the nut flour and grind the dates and shredded coconut in the food processor until smooth.
Processed Nuts and Dates
Mix these ingredients together with coffee and cocoa powder according to taste.
Cocoa and Coconut Powder
Finally, add the coconut oil and mix it all together by hand. Roll the paste into small nibbly balls and sprinkle them in shredded coconut.
Cocoa and Coconut Snack
These snacks should be refrigerated to become firm.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Now what CAN I eat?

I have recently gotten some posts in the comments section from people wondering what they can eat while following the Caveman2.0 lifestyle. I did cover it in a fairly general manner with the first post but I didn't go into any great detail on what you should be eating.

Well let's get to it then shall we?

Here is a list of foods taken directly from the Paleo diet By Dr Loren Cordain. I don't necessarily agree with the stance Dr Cordain takes on fats so I have made some amendments in order to make the Diet Caveman Friendly.

The Caveman2.0 lifestyle puts a much greater emphasis on fat consumption while limiting carbohydrate intake. The goal is to make the body switch over to an environment where we are burning our fat stores for energy which is  much more efficient for performance and weight loss.

So without further ado:

  • beef 
  • Flank steak
  • Top sirloin steak
  • Hamburger 
  • London broil
  • Chuck steak
  • Lean veal
  • Any other lean cut
  • Pork 
  • Pork loin
  • Pork chops
  • All unprocessed cuts of meat
  • Chicken breast
  • Turkey breast
  • Game hen breasts
  • Dark meat (wings, legs, thighs)
  • Chicken (go for the enriched omega 3 variety)
  • Duck
  • Goose
Other meats
  • Rabbit meat 
  • Goat meat 
Organ meats
  • Beef, lamb, pork, and chicken livers
  • Beef, pork, and lamb tongues
  • Beef, lamb, and pork marrow
  • Beef, lamb, and pork “sweetbreads”
Game meat
  • Alligator
  • Bear
  • Bison (buffalo)
  • Caribou
  • Elk
  • Emu
  • Goose

  • Muscovy duck
  • New Zealand cervena deer
  • Ostrich
  • Pheasant
  • Quail
  • Rattlesnake
  • Reindeer
  • Squab
  • Turtle
  • Venison
  • Wild boar
  • Wild turkey
  • Bass
  • Bluefish
  • Cod
  • Drum
  • Eel
  • Flatfish
  • Grouper
  • Haddock
  • Halibut
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Monkfish
  • Mullet
  • Northern pike
  • Orange roughy

  • Red snapper
  • Rockfish
  • Salmon
  • Scrod
  • Shark
  • Striped bass
  • Sunfish
  • Tilapia
  • Trout
  • Tuna
  • Turbot
  • Walleye
  • Any other commercially available fish
  • Abalone
  • Clams
  • Crab
  • Crayfish
  • Lobster
  • Mussels
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Shrimp
Fruit -Fruit is definitely caveman but avoid more than a piece or two a day, as modern fruits have a much higher sugar count than their paleolithic counterparts
  • Apple

  • Avocado
  • Banana

  • Blueberries
  • Boysenberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Carambola
  • Cassava melon
  • Cherimoya
  • Cherries
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Nectarine
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Persimmon
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberries
  • Rhubarb
  • Star fruit
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerine
  • Watermelon
  • All other fruits
  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beet greens
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard greens
  • Onions

  • Parsnip
  • Peppers (all kinds)
  • Pumpkin
  • Purslane
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
  • Squash (all kinds)
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomato (actually a fruit, but most people think of it as a vegetable)
  • Turnip greens
  • Turnips


    • Olive, avocado, walnut, coconut, and canola oils
    Nuts and Seeds
    • Almonds
    • Brazil nuts
    • Cashews
    • Chestnuts
    • Hazelnuts (filberts)
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Pecans
    • Pine nuts
    • Pistachios (unsalted)
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Sesame seeds
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Walnuts

    Foods You Should Avoid

    Cereal Grains
    • Barley (barley soup, barley bread, and all processed foods made with barley)
    • Corn (corn on the cob, corn tortillas, corn chips, corn starch, corn syrup)
    • Millet
    • Oats (steel-cut oats, rolled oats, and all processed foods made with oats)
    • Rice (brown rice, white rice, top ramen, rice noodles, bas mati rice, rice cakes, Rice flour (all processed foods made with rice)
    • Rye (rye bread, rye crackers, and all processed foods made with rye)
    • Sorghum
    • Wheat (bread, rolls, muffins, noodles, crackers, cookies, cake, doughnuts, pancakes, waffles, pasta, spaghetti, lasagna, wheat tortillas, pizza, pita bread, flat bread, and all processed foods made with wheat or wheat flour)
    • Wild rice
    Cereal Grainlike Seeds
    • Amaranth
    • Buckwheat
    • Quinoa
    • All beans (adzuki beans, black beans, broad beans, fava beans, field beans, garbanzo beans, horse beans, kidney beans, lima beans, mung beans, navy beans, pinto beans, red beans, string beans, white beans)
    • Black-eyed peas
    • Chickpeas
    • Lentils
    • Peas
    • Miso
    • Peanut butter
    • Peanuts
    • Snowpeas
    • Sugar snap peas
    • Soybeans and all soybean products, including tofu
    Starchy Vegetables
    • Starchy tubers
    • Cassava root
    • Manioc
    • Potatoes and all potato products (French fries, potato chips, etc.)
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Tapioca pudding
    • Yams
    Salt-Containing Foods
    • Almost all commercial salad dressings and condiment
    • Deli meats
    • Frankfurters
    • Ham
    • Hot dogs
    • Ketchup
    • Olives
    • Pickled foods
    • Pork rinds
    • Processed meats
    • Salami
    • Salted nuts
    • Salted spices

    • Sausages Virtually all canned meats and fish (unless they are unsalted or unless you soak and drain them)

    Processed Meats
    • Prepackaged Luncheon meats
    • Sausages
    • Pepperoni
    • Balogna
    • Salami
    Soft Drinks and Fruit Juices
    • All sugary soft drinks
    • Canned, bottled, and freshly squeezed fruit drinks (which lack the fiber of fresh fruit and have a much higher glvcemic index)
    • Candy
    • Honey
    • Sugars

    • Most commercially prepared condiments
    • Ketchup
    • Mustard
    • Relish
    • Mayo
    • Miracle whip

    There you have it folks. As you get to know the basics it should become fairly intuitive. The basics are, if it is whole and natural and comes from nature, chances it's petty ok. If it's precessed, prepackaged and comes from a big manufacturing plant, it's most likely bad for you.
    Keep checking because I'll be adding some recipes i the near future as well.

    Wishing you all the best in good health and happiness

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The evils of "Healthy" whole grains

Hey there folks. It feels good to be back at the ol' blog again. I love doing research on this topic and being able to put it out for others to read is too cool.

Alright, let's get onto today's post. It's all about whole grains.

All our lives we have been spoon fed the virtues of healthy whole grains. Unfortunately, we've been fed a bunch of BS that has had us living our lives doing ourselves unnecessary harm.

100 000 years ago, we had no choice but to live off of the foods that could be hunted and gathered in the wild. This included animal protein, vegetables, the occasional fruit, nuts, seeds, some tubers, and roots. During this time period, we were all much healthier, taller, stronger, fitter and collectively happier than we are now.

Fast forward to 10 000 years ago and we see the advent of the agricultural era. At this time we learned to harvest Grain and wheat and process in into something we could consume. Thus we learned that if we grow and harvest grains, we could stay in one place and begin to advance our civilization through, farms, then communities and then towns and cities. The dawning of the agricultural era was also the beginning of mass consumption. The beginning of large civilizations was also the birth of   unsustainable development and we started to consume the earth's precious resources at a rate that is ultimately leading to our own demise.

Oooops.... sorry... back on track. Ecological gripes aside (anybody seen Avatar?), the dawning of the agricultural era was the time in human history when we began processing and consuming grains. A great many archaeological finds can also verify that  around that same time is when we started to become shorter and fatter. Cardiovascular and heart disease began to make it's presence known,  and we as a human race experienced a decline in overall heath. Coincidence? I think not.

So what's so bad about grains?
First and foremost. To put things as easily as possible....... They make you fat!
Grains have a considerable glycemic Index. This means that they cause a drastic spike in your blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar rises, your body has to respond by making your pancreas produce insulin to remove all the unnecessary sugar from your blood stream. So where does all that excess sugar go?

Drumroll please.........

It gets stored as fat!  

That's correct. Unless you're extremely active and need massive amounts of glucose to keep you going (Michael Phelps anyone?), all that excess blood sugar is going to go straight to your hips, buns, thighs and belly.

Now that's putting it as bluntly as possible, but I'd like to explain how it works. I know that most of us aren't chemists so I'm going to try to keep things really simple.

Everything that you eat that gets turned into energy must first get turned into glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy by all of the bodies functions.

Carbohydrate is the energy source that is most readily converted into glucose by the body. This is only good in limited amounts.

Breads, grains, lentils, rice, potatoes, pasta are all primarily carbohydrate. They are very easily converted into excessive amounts of glucose by the body and create an unnecessary blood sugar spike. This kicks your Pancreas into high gear to produce enough insulin to remove all that sugar from your blood and store it some place where it can be easily accessed when we need it. As body fat.

We do not need the amount of carbohydrate to keep us going that we think we do. If we did, then obesity wouldn't be as rampant as it is today. Before breads and grains, the main source of carbs we had access to (leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, the occasional fruit) was negligible. This forced our bodies to tap into the other fuel source, which we carry with ourselves everywhere we go, in order to produce precious energy...... Our body fat stores.

If you follow any of the latest diet crazes, you may have noticed an uprising of the gluten free diet. It seems that recently somebody discovered that if they cut out products containing gluten they would loose weight and eliminate an entire host of gut related problems. Gluten is the main protein in wheat, when processed it is what gives dough it's sticky and pasty texture. Gluten is also added to wallpaper glue to make it stick. Many people can not digest gluten. Most of has have a sensitivity to it without even knowing it. This leads to Gastrointestinal issues. Gut inflammation and leaky gut are two of the worst. Top that off with bloating, gas, cramping and offensive "mystery odors".

Avoiding inflammation is a key component of Caveman2.0. When we are in a state of constant inflammation our immune systems are in a constant state of crisis, fighting without rest to eliminate the inflammation in our guts, joints and muscles. When our digestive systems are inflamed, our immune systems are attacking the tissues in our guts which can lead to leaky gut, ulcers and many digestive problems. When we avoid inflammation, we can live more active lives, with out joint and muscle pain and our digestive systems can function as they were intended, allowing us to gain all the nutritional benefit from the healthy foods we are supposed to eat.

Lectins are present in many plants as a defense mechanism. Especially in wheat, grains, peanuts, legumes and soybeans. Any animal who eats a plant containing lectins is bound to suffer some pretty nasty side effects (severe cramps, or even....hmmmm....let me think......how about.......DEATH!) unless they are specially adapted to deal with those lectins. Humans are not adapted to this process. Which is why we have to go through the painstaking process of soaking, fermenting, roasting, grinding. milling and all the other steps we have to undertake in order to make them palatable.

In undergoing these steps we fail to completely remove all these toxins which means that we do still consume them, they are getting into our guts and they are causing inflammation and doing accumulated damage over time.  When you stop to consider that cereal grains make up the bulk of the typical western diet, you'll realize that this damage can quickly become rather considerable. 

Phytates lead to phytic acid in the human body. Phytic acid in the digestive system  combines with many vitamins and minerals and blocks their absorption. This leads to vitamin and mineral deficiencies especially in calcium, magnesium, copper and zinc. Now calcium and magnesium deficiency leads loss of bone density, or, osteoporosis. Now I'd like to point out that a lifetime of eating grains is far more responsible for causing osteoporosis than not getting enough calcium. Eating grains negates the amount of calcium we consume in an attempt to ward off bone density loss. Furthermore I'd like to point out that supplementing with mega doses of calcium can lead do deficiencies in magnesium and phosphorous. Which presents itself with the exact same symptoms as calcium deficiency.

Whole grains also contain anti-nutrients.  These block digestive enzymes inhibiting the digestion of proteins. Leading to deficiencies and wasting much of the  protein we eat in the hopes of supporting our active lifestyles, also leading to digestive disorders, allergies, inflammation and other illnesses.

Finishing it off with the dangers of sugar.

Simple starches and sugars, besides raising insulin levels, feed the bad bacteria in our guts. This offsets the balance of bacteria in our guts causing us to bee walking around with too much of the bad stuff. This can lead to infection that can largely go undetected until the present themselves with some pretty serious complications.

There you have it.  So when you find yourself in the near future trying to explain the evils of "wholesome whole grains" to your loved ones, and somebody steps up and cries blasphemy, you are now armed with a wealth on information to put them in their granola eating porridge loving place.

Once again folks it has been a pleasure.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Good paleo site to check out

Hey guys. Once again I have to apologize for not posting for a while, But as you know I have been experiencing some technical difficulties. Things are pretty busy in my life these days as well. I am going through Primary care Paramedic training in B.C. It is absolutely beautiful here. I think My wife and I may have to move here for a while to soak up all the natural beauty.

A new post is on it's way and will definitely be up by this weekend. In the mean time why don't you check out another great site I have found. It is full of articles and videos on Paleo living. Which, as you already know, forms the foundation of the caveman2.0 lifestyle.

 Check out the site here it's called LivingPaleo.com

A bit of an aoplgy

Ok I have to apologize for not posting in a while. My computer was down and I just got it fixed.  So I haven't forgotten about you. I'll be doing a post on grains and why they should be avoided.

Look for it in the next day or two

Cheers Guys