A Royal Vibram Fan VFF barefoot running five fingers paleo diet natural fitness-min

A Royal Vibram Fan?

Apparently Prince Harry has just bought some Vibram Five Fingers in California!

It’s great to see the increase in popularity of the VFF’s.  I can’t wait for the day they become more mainstream.  I still get so many funny looks wearing my Vibrams around Sydney.  Some people even comment about how they must be damaging my feet, which is especially amusing, as I have the exact same thought about their feet in the cushioned, padded, arched trainers they insist on wearing.

My Vibrams

Do you think in a few years time EVERYONE will be wearing vibrams?

A Royal Vibram Fan VFF barefoot running five fingers paleo diet natural fitness-min

Conventional wisdom bad advice paleo diet primal-min

More Health Advice/ Conventional Wisdom

Another gem from my afternoon of reading “health” magazines in all of their Conventional Wisdom glory.  This one was in the October issue of “The Australian Healthy Food Guide”, in an article all about fat.

Conventional wisdom bad advice paleo diet primal

  • Choose a canola, sunflower or olive oil reduced fat table spread instead of butter

This sounds very similar to the advice in yesterdays post, based on an irrational fear of saturated fat.

  • When cooking, use spray oil wherever possible

I’ve not seen spray coconut oil, so can only assume they must mean spray “vegetable” oils.  The whole reason for spraying is to use less fat.  In that respect I guess it’s better to use less vegetable oil – but none would be a much bigger health improvement.

  • For salad dressings, choose a vegetable or seed oil such as canola, sunflower, olive, soybean, sesame or peanut

+1 point for the olive oil.  But I’d personally rather have my salad undressed – with a serving of meat & an avocado to make sure I got some good fat with my lunch.  As for putting soybean oil on my salad – what a horrible thought – don’t do it!

  • Choose low-fat varieties of foods whenever possible

Instead of natural, whole foods, with no added or altered ingredients, go for Franken foods instead!?

  • Choose reduced-fat or skim dairy foods

Fat soluble vitamins in the dairy can’t be absorbed, without the fat.  Also without the fat, the sugar content is proportionally higher – increasing the insulin effect.   Not to mention the fact fat is not the villain?

Fat is essential for so many functions.  It is a great energy source, without the crash and burn of relying on carbohydrates for energy.  I wonder how many more years it will take before health magazines catch up?  Will they actually tell us to increase our intake of good fats and give up the grains?  One day?

Conventional wisdom bad advice paleo diet primal-min

Margarine or Butter paleo diet primal health nutrition-min

Margarine or Butter? Seriously?

I couldn't help myself.  I read through October's Issue of “Good Health” magazine today.  Our ideas on what constitutes good health couldn't be much further apart.

I thought conventional wisdom was starting to come round to realising that natural, animal fat maybe isn't so bad after all.  Clearly not.

So, let's compare the ingredients: –


  • Cream

Margarine (this example is Flora)

  • Water
  • vegetable oils (including sunflower oil) (so other vegetable oils are also in the mix, with a high omega 6 ratio)
  • plant sterol esters (12.5%) (this is an additive that reduces cholesterol, but interferes with absorption of fat soluble vitamins & hormones)
  • modified tapioca starch, salt (1.0%) (this is a chemically altered thickener)
  • buttermilk
  • Emulsifiers: Mono- and di-glycerides of fatty acids, sunflower lecithin
  • Preservative: Potassium sorbate, citric acid, vitamin E, flavouring (often synthetic chemicals), vitamin B6, folic acid
  • Colour: Beta carotene, Vitamins A, D and B12

So, this article specifically mentions trans fats.  Well, as Julianne Taylor clearly explains, “trans fat free” margarine doesn't sound too great either.  And as for the trans fat in butter – natural trans fats are created in the stomachs of ruminants (like cows) – and have a completely different fatty acid profile to trans fats found in artificial foods.  A lot of evidence suggests that these natural trans fats may actually be beneficial.

Margarine or Butter paleo diet primal health nutrition-min

Margarine, seriously?

LighterLife anti paleo diet

Lighter Life, The Anti Paleo Diet?

There's been a lot in the UK press recently, about British actress Pauline Quirke.  Quirke has lost about 47kg (105 pounds) in just eight months.  This extreme very low calorie diet seems really popular in the UK, but thankfully it doesn't appear to have taken off in Australia and New Zealand.

She has done this by following the LighterLife program, which fascinates me.  The program is for people with high BMI's – and a lot of weight to lose.  It is a very low calorie diet, where about 500 calories is eaten a day.  You eat this in the form of shakes, soups or bars  which come in “food packs” provided by the company.  The idea is that by having under 50g of carbohydrates a day you'll go into Ketosis forcing the body to use bodily fat for fuel.  I'm completely on board with ketosis, but the idea of this diet sounds completely miserable to me.  You can easily become fat adjusted (and go into ketosis) on more calories than this, whilst eating normal Paleo foods and plenty of fat.  It seems dangerous to go from obese to such few calories overnight.  I also hate the idea of existing only on processed “nutritionally balanced” foods.

I've found the ingredients for lighter life  and am horrified, but not shocked by what they show.

Chicken Flavour Soup: Ingredients:  Skimmed milk powder, Maltodextrin, Soya protein isolate, Soya flour, Milk protein, Soya lecithin, Inulin, Flavouring, Hydrolysed wheat and maize protein, Potassium chloride, Calcium phosphate, Stabiliser (Xanthan gum), Magnesium oxide, Onion powder, Calcium carbonate, Parsley, Ascorbic acid, Pepper, Ferrous fumarate, Nicotinamide, Copper gluconate, Zinc oxide, Vitamin E acetate, Manganese sulphate, Calcium d pantothenate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamin hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin A acetate, Sodium molybdate, Chromic chloride, Folic acid, Sodium selenite, Potassium iodate, d-biotin, Vitamin K, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12

Fruit Flavour Meal bars: Ingredients:  Maltitol syrup, White coating (sugar, hydrogenated vegetable oil, skimmed milk powder, whey powder, emulsifier: soya lecithin, stabiliser: E492, flavouring), Milk protein, Soya protein isolate, Whey protein concentrate, Polydextrose, Whey powder, Potassium phosphate, Sunflower oil, Calcium carbonate, Magnesium oxide, Maltodextrin, Ascorbic acid, flavouring, Ferrous fumarate, Nicotinamide, Copper gluconate, Zinc oxide, Vitamin E acetate, Manganese sulphate, Calcium d pantothenate, Pyridoxine hydrochloride, Thiamin hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Vitamin A acetate, Chromic chloride, Sodium molybdate, Folic acid, Sodium selenite, Potassium iodate, d-biotin, Vitamin K, Vitamin D3, Vitamin B12

So no meat in the chicken soup (obviously, meat is bad, right?), skimmed milk powder (we don't do fat), lots of soy, sunflower oils, sugars, trans fats and grains-a-plenty.  I think the only thing I'd consider eating would be the parsley…  For these “foods” to be the only fuel you consume for several months is quite a scary thought.  I'd love to find out more what these ingredients do to the body, I'd imagine they are very inflammatory.

Obviously consuming such few calories, weight loss is inevitable.  But then what?  Once you get to a healthier weight, you still have no knowledge about eating healthy, so presumably you go back to your former eating habits – and back to square one.

I'd love to see some studies about extreme diets like this.

What do you think about diets like these?  Do you think the ends justify the means?  Would you willingly consume those ingredients?

The magic pill paleo network instant quick fix solution diet-min

The Magic Pill

So many people seem to blame being overweight on a factor outside of their control.  It's in their genes, it's hormonal, it's their metabolism.  It can't be their diet, they eat wholemeal bread with margarine, cereal with skimmed milk and a low fat meals every day!

Articles like this one in the Daily Mail (my guilty pleasure) further fuel this lack of responsibility.

The article explains how it might not, in fact, be your fault that you are fat.  What a relief!

The magic pill paleo network instant quick fix solution diet-min

Apparently you might really be fat because you have a slow metabolism – which is made even worse by strict dieting.

Or, you might really be fat as a side effect from your medication.  Diabetes medication is listed as one potential drug with a side effect of weight gain.  But surely people commonly put weight on – and are then diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?  Anti-depressants are another drug, they tell us, that can have a side effect of weight gain.  But given the links with depression & inflammation – and diet, isn't this the wrong way round too?

The wrong type of exercise is another reason it is just not working for you, apparently. If only you'd swapped from crossfit to zumba!

“Painful Fat Syndrome” could also be your real problem.  The mind boggles…

Thyroid problems, hormone issues, polycystic ovary syndrome are other potential causes.

Or it could be genetic – or failing that, it might be your friends fault.  Seriously.

Food intolerance does get a mention, but eliminate wheat, milk or eggs and you should be fine.

Must be a coincidence how people who change to eating Paleo have more energy, lose weight, overcome depression & diabetes and stop chronic cardio?

Nope, it's nothing to do with nutrition & lifestyle.  Take a magic pill and carry on as you were.

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health newspaper Telegraph paleo diet health advice-min

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health!

I really shouldn't read health supplements any more.  They generally just annoy me.  But I could resist.  I found this gem in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday.


Just before I ditched Paleo and went out to buy some soy and margarine, I thought I'd see if I could find out a bit more about the study.

So it appears the study split 351 men & post menopausal women into two groups for the six-month period.  One ate low fat, the other low fat – with “special cholesterol lowering foods”.  Hmm, interesting, low fat compared to low fat…  The group with the special cholesterol lowering foods lowered their LDL by 13%.  But then there was also a 22.6% drop out rate.  This is taking me back to Tom Naughton's Science for Smart People lecture at the AHS…

The group with the “special food” also received sessions with a dietitian.  The other low fat group did not.

They summed up saying that because the diet was complex, researchers couldn't tell which foods made a difference in lowering cholesterol.  Excellent.  Regardless, write ups of the study, like the one I saw are still identify these foods as being proven to help lower LDL: –

  • Soy proteins such as soy milk and tofu.
  • Viscous or “sticky” fibres from oats, barley and psyllium.
  • Nuts, including tree nuts and peanuts.
  • Plant sterols in margarine.

Whilst Loblaw (a Canadian food retailer), Solae (who sell Soy products) and Unilever (who own lots of products, including margarine) sponsored the study and provided some of the foods used, that obviously had no impact on the study.  Whatsoever.

I think I'll stick to my high fat diet…

Soy, Grains & Margarine for Better Health newspaper Telegraph paleo diet health advice-min