Throwing Stones, Ketosis, and Genetic Potential

This week I cover distractions, good training, (dis)comfort zones, and recent literature on low carb / ketogenic diets.

Throwing Stones, Ketosis, and Genetic Potential

The Cultured Warrior Newsletter #012


Thoughts to Ponder:

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.~ Winston Churchill
Working in a healthcare profession during the past two years has been challenging; actually though it’s been the best two years of my career. I don’t consider that a silver lining though; alas, a story for another day. There is an overwhelming amount of literature in medical journals now bringing an onslaught of criticism towards the draconian approach to treating a certain virus — what’s more, the censorship of that literature. At any rate, I use this as an example that we have to balance “fighting the good fight” with “wasting our breath.” How do we know when a point is moot and to move on? I suppose we don’t have to sacrifice everything one direction or another in a black-and-white fashion. The point is though, what are we going to let dictate how we spend the precious seconds and energy we have in our days? What we give our attention and energy to is going to define us one way or another.
You can easily judge the character of a man by the way he treats someone who can do nothing for him.~ Johann von Goethe
Forgive me for not having the scripture reference, but that Jesus fellow said something about “what you do to the least of my brethren you do to me.” As I’ve gotten older I see more and more value in this. It’s not really about showing off you wallet with fat tip, it’s about a show of character. A smile, holding the door, a compliment; all cost you nothing. You don’t have to be any type of religious person to see that what you put your energy into dominates your perception be that the “barking dogs” above or curating a little more kindness in the world.

Things I’m Reading:

Low Carbohydrate Dietary Approaches for People with Type 2 Diabetes

I’d imagine most folks reading this newsletter won’t need the confirmation in this study, but it’s here if you want it. “The available evidence does not support concerns that (low carb diets) increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, that such approaches increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies, or that they are more difficult to adhere to than other dietary approaches.” Many of you will already know that low-carb diets have a host of benefits including weight and appetite management, blood sugar control, decreased triglycerides, and improved insulin sensitivity; and we haven’t even gotten into the neurological stuff! For that though, we need to distinguish between “dirty keto” and / or plant-based keto which is going to cause numerous problems (related to pseudo-foods and seed oils) that will cast a hefty shadow on an animal-based ketogenic / low / zero-carb diet.

A Clinical Perspective of Low Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diets

This is a very good review of “fasting mimicking diets” and the corresponding benefits. One thing I will point out, as I have before, when treating neurological conditions or “therapeutic level ketosis” this is not something most people need or should strive for, but typically those trials are in the 70–90% range of calories from fat — obviously lack of protein becomes an issue. I will note as well that the various ratios looked at here consider “high protein” to be 1.2–1.5g / kg of “ideal” bodyweight. Many, many folks feel much better if they bump that to 2g / kg of bodyweight (or about 1g / lb; “ideal” or current). I do like too that there is caution against perpetual calorie restriction. This is going to tank your base metabolic rate. So, as we should all know, “eat less, move more” is a doomed strategy from the start. Alternatively, some degree of time-restricted feeding or intermittent (should be randomized frequency / duration actually) fasting can offer a great deal of benefit. My current protocol is pretty simple: daily 12 hour fast; 1–2 24-hour fasts / week.

Behavioral Characteristics and Self-reported Health Status Among 2029 Adults Consuming a “Carnivore Diet”

This is a neat study that many in the carnivore space have already commented on (ref). What I will say is that I’m glad that this is starting to even be considered in medical literature, particularly in this age of plant-based propaganda (“Planet of the Vegans” is not too far off dystopian movie / documentary!), censorship, 70-years of anti-meat / animal product “science.” This particular study, while asked in a “pro-carnivore” space and using the food-questionnaires that I often dote on, concluded that “Contrary to common expectations, adults consuming a carnivore diet experienced few adverse effects and instead reported health benefits and high satisfaction. Cardiovascular risk factors were variably affected.”

Resources to Thrive:

  • Climb Strong (Newsletter): Even if you’re not into rock climbing, I highly recommend you check out this newsletter for Steve’s brilliant insights into training and performance (spoiler, the sport doesn’t matter). See below my thoughts on the recent November edition.
  • The Global Animal Partnership (a farm and animal welfare standards program) is hosting a Thanksgiving Giveaway with $1,300 in delicious prizes. Just hit that there link and share a few tweets to enter. PS: One of the prize contributors are our friends at TruBeef!

Trainer’s Corner:

  • “Good training taxes you in ways you don’t like to be taxed.” ~ Steve Bechtel, Climb Strong Newsletter 2021 Nov. When my podcast was still “The Kombat Kitchen”, my send-off question was always “What’s the last hard-hard thing you’ve done?” It’s easy to “go hard” in a direction we like; more reps, more sets, more miles, more rounds, whatever. The hard part is starting from zero or at least in a direction you’re less than proficient at. How proficient? Well, Steve mentions (and this was talked about by Dan John as well) that you’ll reach 90% of your genetic potential within a few years of (regular and directed) training. Like it or not, if you’ve been training hard for 5 (arbitrary number) years and someone hasn’t noticed your world class potential, you aren’t going to make it. Now hear me out. That should, in no way stop you from doing something you love. It also doesn’t mean you can’t continue to make progress for the rest of your life. I still love climbing and the outdoors; but after 5–6 years of hard training and hundreds of pitches under my belt I was better than many, above average for sure, but hardly phenomenal.
  • Challenges Ahead for a Rational Analysis of Vitamin D in Athletes: “Vitamin D deficiency is common in athletes and most reviews have demonstrated consistently that increasing serum 25(OH)D levels have a beneficial effect on muscle strength, power, and mass of the general population, and the muscle strength performance of athletes.” Seems important right? I’ve talked about Vitamin D and hormone / immune system function before so let’s look specifically at athletes here. Athletes who have been restricted from outdoor training to avoid/control the infection/transmission of COVID-19 will be at more risk of injuries in the aftermath of the pandemic because vitamin D levels are endogenously synthesized in response to sun exposure.” How about that?! Though this paper refers to “deficient” as < 10 ng/ml; other sources (1, 2, 3) have put that number between 20–30 ng/ml. “Optimal” levels are generally considered 50–60 ng/ml with some folks suggesting >70 ng/ml. This paper suggests “toxic” levels at >80 ng/ml; but other sources (4, 5) put the upper limit at 150 ng/ml. This paper talks specifically about methods of measuring Vitamin D, but what I want to hammer home (as I’ve mentioned this a few places recently) is that telling folks that they’re getting “too much Vitamin D” is like telling them “over-exercising” increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.” Technically, these are both true statements, though on a population scale the problem is grossly skewed the other direction. This article rightly warns against over-supplementation(!). As I’ve talked about with (alleged) Vitamin A toxicity; why are we relying on supplements? Can we not reap the above benefits with food and sunlight? Heaven forbid we have, not just functional, but thriving physical prowess, and yes immune and hormone function too!

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