Book Review: The Longevity Paradox Part 2

Diving right back in my book mark on page 198 I’ll just block quote this bit

It turns out that the real anti-inflammatory compounds made from DHA and EHA (two types of Omega-3s) in fish oil are called resolvins, and these guys are the superheroes of blocking inflammation in your nerves and eyes. But here’s the caveat: you need a little bit of the active ingredient in aspirin (salicylic acid) to get these effects.

with a quick google I found there’s a lot of foods (green vegetables and nuts) that contain salicylic acid, including my beloved pumpkin seeds. Pumpkin seeds are the new walnut, they are good for everything.

Moving on, he talks about glucosamine acting as a lectin blocker. Good, because I take glucosamine, specifically he singles out glucosamine MSM.

My next bookmark is a reminder to get 1000mg of DHA per day and a little note to sprinkle some rosemary on fish. Ultimately Gundry wants you vegan but I guess if you’re not he’s still at bat for you.

And my final bookmark is his liver protection supplement stack and he particularly mentions while fasting; milk thistle, D-limonene, dandelion, N-acetylcysteine, activated charcoal, and chlorella.

I’ve never heard of two of those and spellcheck doesn’t think 3 of them are words.

So that’s all my bookmarks. I’m tempted to go through the book cover-to-cover again, there’s a lot of information in it but a lot of it boils down to expensive and rare food and supplements.

I do think everyone should read this book but not first, it’s not intro-level clean eating. Someone still eating packaged food and whatnot is just going to balk at this and reinforce their bad habits.

What is intro-level? I still give it up to Clean Eating For Dummies, read that then Brain Food by Lisa Mosconi, then maybe you’re ready for the Longevity Paradox.

 

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Book Review: The Longevity Paradox Part 1

By Steven R. Gundry, M.D, subtitle How To Die Young At A Ripe Old Age.

First of all just oy. This book is a downer. I said when I was reading Food Prescription that the book wasn’t much help if you were already eating clean anyways, well there’s no such thing as clean enough for old Gundry.

I was baffled during the first 3/4 of the book wondering what was left to eat after he hates on meat, grain, dairy, sugar, beans, corn, and marathons. I know that’s not food related but I was just mortified that he disapproves of marathons.

Now there is good stuff in the book – I don’t think he’s wrong about anything I just think it’s asking too much – and I did takeaway a lot about fasting, which was the chapter that convinced me to buy the book.

The simplest takeaway on that is you want to be sure to go to bed hungry at least once a week, for your brain-health. This got me to switch from a 24 hour fast on Mondays (Dinner Sunday to Dinner Monday) to a 36 (dinner Sunday to breakfast Tuesday). And I do feel mentally clearer on Tuesday because of it.

So that’s my top-of-the-head introductory thoughts, let’s get into the bookmarks I actually left. There’s ten.

Oh he’s got me afraid of glyphosate, thank you. In case you thought being plant-based was enough it’s got to be organic plant-based otherwise you’re getting as much dangerous garbage in your system as an omnivore.

Lectins and auto-immune get a lot of coverage. I knew lectins were bad and about breaking down the lining of your intestine but apparently they also leak out of your gut, attach to your organs, and get attacked by your immune system damaging the organ in the process.

So that’s why he’s anti-bean, but I’ve heard elsewhere that proper cooking destroys the lectin in beans. Lectin is however in every packaged food I’ve seen recently. Whenever I get too in my head about how there’s this killer stuff in every food and oh no I have to avoid everything I remind myself that smokers still exist.

You can smoke, the absolute worst possible thing one can do from a health perspective, for decades, not feel awful, and clean up the damage in a few years. Life is for living and health shouldn’t make you hide.

But do cut down your lectin intake. And don’t smoke, obviously.

Still in the same chapter (called Protect and Defend) there’s talk about the importance of stomach acid. Most bacteria hate it and it keeps them in the intestine where they belong. If you too often neutralize it, particularly with other the counter heartburn medication, they can creep up and you get SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) which is bad, and/or autoimmune which is worse. And apparently drinking a baking soda solution is the, well, solution. Although no further detail is given.

Oh, the next book mark is on the next page and it’s the dreaded Thing Worse Than Gluten! Wheat Germ Agglutinin known as WGA because agglutinin is unpronounceable with any dignity. This little molecule has come across my desk before and convinced me that even the healthiest bread isn’t healthy. It gets through the gut barrier and causes inflammation but worse still it mimics insulin.

This explains how I was eating brown bread every day with as many added ancient grains as possible and still looking pre-diabetic in 2017.

Back to the bookmarks though we’re into a chapter called Dance Your Way To Old Age but really we’re still in the gut biome. This is where he gets anti-marathon. He’s against both acute endurance exercise like marathon running (or even halfs and 10ks) and so called chronic cardio.

Besides the heart scarring effects which I knew about and have written about there’s the effect on the gut. Long form exercise draws blood away from the stomach for so long that bad things go wild and it tanks your immune system, hence why runners are sick all the time and have digestive issues according to Dr Gundry.

But there’s got to be a work around. I was thinking about this on the treadmill when I ran my 3 10k intervals two days ago and noticed I’d get a chill after every handful of Smarties. Drawing blood away from the surface muscles and back to the gut, I figured.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the health consequences of running and it’s important to remember that it’s not equally bad to anything else. I’m going to write another dedicated post about it but there’s a nihilist dismissiveness that everyone suddenly gets when you talk about cancer. Oh everything gives you cancer is the common refrain. Because as evidence mounts and more and more seemingly fun things get seemingly taken away people just throw their hands up. But health isn’t about being perfect, it’s about being better. Yes, smoking and bacon will both increase your likely of getting cancer, but not equally. Yes, running and not running are both bad for you in excess amounts in long term studies, but not equally.

This is where I’m going to break the review in half so I don’t go down the bubble-living argument rabbit hole… see you tomorrow, unless too much awesome running kills me.

Weight-loss Grants Are Dumb And Such A Good Idea

Because no one but worker bees listens to the radio anymore you might not have heard the ads for Weight-Loss Grants but they’re close to what they sound like. It’s actually a company that will rebate you some money for losing weight on any program you want and some more money if you lose that weight with one of their approved companies.

So yeah they’re meh.

I like the idea though. The money and time cost of being sick later because of being overweight will always be more than the investment of getting and staying healthy. From a government or a companies point of view it’s better to invest a thousand dollars while you’re living than ten thousand dollars when you’re dying.

From a private company point of view maybe something like a Marathon Bonus and for the government a Marathon Tax Credit to reward and incentivize a running population.

The company I work for will subsidize the cost of a gym membership 100% for some level of employees but that just makes it a take-it-or-leave-it thing, what if they also had a No-Sick-Days bonus or a Can-Dead-Lift-The-Most-In-The-Office incentive to make people want to go to the gym?

I’m trying to think of a way to incentivize good eating but it’s all analogous to drug testing and that’s a slippery slope I don’t want to come down on.

Where I work there’s a struggle to keep people sober before big days but there’s no effort to get them to not eat crap everyday that makes them sick. In fact trying to be healthy at my workplace is a hard swim upstream (so kudos to all my peeps bringing their own lunches and stuff).

At the end of the day I don’t think most people know what it feels like to live clean, even slightly. They think of fitness in terms of wanting to be thin and sexy but it being too much work and that’s that. When really being thin and sexy is one of the last of a million benefits you’ll notice with a few minor changes and some time. People think they feel as good as they’re going to because they’re always acquiescing to their cravings. But some incentives could get them on the slippery slope, get the dopamine flowing in the right direction, and we’d all be better off even if economics was all you cared about.

The Day After Fasting Again

Progress.

The key to avoiding crashy, mental and physical fatigue the day after a fast is to fast longer.

When I fasted for 24 hours, ate, and went to bed full I felt like crap the next day. When I fasted for 36 hours, going to bed still fasting, I felt perky and rejuvenated the next day.

The next thing to watch out for, and everyone online has talked about this too, is eating too much and too permissively the day after.

Your sense of smell and your cravings for everything are unnaturally the day after fasting and it’s kind of fun, you feel like celebrating. I was doing great, eating paleo and slightly more than normal until there was pizza in the staff room left over from catering. I had one and then just started wolfing.

My tummy… did not like. But I burped enough and felt better. The real trouble was after I had a jugo juice and came home and had a protein shake. Then my stomach went full rebellion.

But it also passed and I had some dinner and went to bed.

I’m going to try moving my fast day throughout the week. I love getting everything done on Monday in order to have a strong week but fasting seems to throw off the building blocks, like it’s Wednesday now and I feel like everything is settled and normal and the week can start.

Friday might be a good day, everything’s easier when you can see the end and it’ll cut down on weekend indulgences. And I really don’t think any mid-week day is ideal but I’ll give it a shot just for something to do.

A Successful Day Of Fasting

Dinner Sunday to Breakfast Tuesday.

The motivation to pull it off came from reading The Longevity Paradox, in it Dr. Gundry wants you to (at least) skip dinner once a week and go to sleep hungry for your brain.

And I suspect that feeling like crap last Tuesday had something to do with fasting for 24 hours then going to sleep full last Monday.

I did notice that I slept deeper and had more vivid dreams last night.

Another thing I know about calorie restriction is it decreases your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (or NEAT, what a cool little acronym), which is how much you naturally move around without really thinking about it. I was stock still yesterday, normally I’m looking around a lot, normally I toss and turn in bed, and I was a corpse yesterday.

Weird thing is you get a lot done. I had no urge to relax, I never felt sleepy. I actually felt wired up and edgy underneath a zombie fog. It’s hard to capture, but I can see why there’s a relationship between fasting and psychedelic experiences.

The entire day rushed by and yet each moment felt long, so I guess fasting makes you more present. Even if that presence is coming from just scanning yourself for the effects of fasting.

We’ll see how today and the remainder of the week feel but I already wonder about wisdom of doing this every week – I wasn’t really who I like to be yesterday evening. My lighthouse is that all the health stuff I do has to be mood boosting, there’s no point in battling depression with diet and exercise if you’re going to commit to things that mimic depression.

We all have terrible notions of purity that motivate us to feel bad if we’re not doing things all the way. Like ‘just’ being low-carb makes you a pussy and you ‘should’ go full keto in order to be legit. But I need to hold onto my lighthouse and acknowledge that going to keto increased my emotional volatility. Giving up fruit brought back that sense of panic and doom that I used to think was the normal background noise of my life and during that week I was aware of the thought I shouldn’t be taking this risk.

With fasting it’s not quite that. I have a sense that maybe this is too far for my emotional well-being but we’ll have to see. Either way we’ll have left no doubt, we got in there and looked at what it was really like rather than assuming.

When Am I Strongest Throughout The Week? What To Put On Mondays In Your Split

I’m obsessive about getting things out of the way on Mondays. If I can get all weekly maintenance done on Monday then I the rest of the week is a victory lap, no waiting, no dreading.

And it makes perfect sense for Monday to be the day of the week that I fast since I’m coming off a weekend of cinnamon buns and gelato.

I used to put bench press Mondays after work but I thought I’m not in any danger of putting off bench whereas I put off swimming all the time so Monday became swim day which is better because if I’m fasted I can swim but strength training bench when I’ve been working fasted all day isn’t great.

So I thought maybe I can get it out of the way even earlier! I’ll go hit the gym before work – get bench out of the way, go to work and get my weekly cleaning done and out of the way, then swim after work and get that out of the way, all while not eating! What a sane use of everyone’s most hated day.

Stay tuned for how this turns out

Book Review: The Virility Paradox by Charles J. Ryan

The title sounds like a paperback thriller but it’s the subtitle that hooked me; The Vast Influence Of Testosterone On Our Bodies, Minds, And The World We Live In.

And of course the book proves its point, I’m astonished at the effects of testosterone. What’s most interesting is when you give test to low test people they become more focused on systems and less on feelings.

People with what Chuck calls the Virility Triad (high fetal testosterone, high androgen receptors – meaning the body’s ability to receive test -, as well as high testosterone itself) get tunnel vision, collect things, love to win, track numbers, etc.

The thing is, it’s true regardless of gender. In fact if you simply give a woman with baseline female levels of testosterone a bunch more she’ll become more systematized and less empathetic. And feel an increased love of winning.

Testosterone and dopamine are closely linked and there’s a feed-forward mechanism with both, the more you get the more your body designs itself to receive. So winning at something gives you a boost of testosterone which makes you more likely to win, and to want to win, at something else. You want to know who has high levels of testosterone? Trial Lawyers. Makes sense now doesn’t it?

Now of course female athletes have more than average testosterone and success tracks upward with it, some even have T levels that are naturally as high as if they were doping and are so successful the sports don’t know exactly what to do about that. It’s a natural advantage like height or muscle fiber so you don’t want to dampen it but if no amount of training will get other women up to that level then should they be allowed to supplement?

Maybe in the future instead of gender-based divisions in sport it’ll go by base-testosterone.

Just when the book has you convinced that boosting your testosterone would be inherently great it gets into the effect on rape and massacres so don’t go running to your pharmacist. But a little boost, by working out or priming with virile images, can help you get stuff done.

It’s also interesting that lowering testosterone, which happens naturally to men as they age, makes one more nurturing and interested in the feelings of others. The book has a bit to say about the role of grandfathers from an evolutionary perspective that’s quite touching.

Speaking of touching, oxytocin causes T levels to drop as well, which again makes sense because evolution wouldn’t favor someone being organized and aggressive when cuddling his mate or offspring.

All in all, great book. Read it if you see it.