Pass the Fluffernutter

I was raised on Fluffernutters. Always seemed as common as a PB & J.

However, as I pointed out in my Y’all vs. You Guys post, it seems colloquialisms extend to food products.

When I moved out of the Northeast – specifically Massachusetts – I realized the rest of the world is currently living in a state Fluff shortage.

Dark times, indeed.

Sure, there are random sightings of Fluff outside of MA, but for the most part, the Fluffernutter is strictly a Masshole tradition.

  • Fluffernutter = marshmallow Fluff and peanut-butter on bread. Toasted is always great because it melts the marshmallow and peanut-butter just a little. The perfect combo.

Don’t be fooled by “marshmallow spread.” Respect the Fluff.

Here’s a great story about the “What the Fluff Fest” from Boston.com, and a pretty sweet video highlighting the craziness that is the Fluff Fest.

Fluff sold 8 million – with an M! – pounds of sweetness last year.

I will admit the “festival” looks a bit lame. Although, Fluff did lead to an engagement, and you can’t deny the awesomeness that is Fluff.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuuZK205MC8[/youtube]

Hat tip to my Padre for spreading the love.  (You like what I did there? Spread? That’s good stuff.)

Dude’s Flow: Off the Reservation

The Dude’s Flow – i.e. where I put my energy and attention on a regular basis – is always adjusting, always evolving.

The mass of information available to us on a daily basis can be a bit mind-numbing. However, with the right focus – or flow – the plethora of info at our fingertips can be liberating.

Information has the potential to create knowledge. And knowledge leads to power.

Although, on the flip side, the more wisdom you acquire, the more you realize how little you actually know. Life sure is a slippery slope.

Somewhere in the middle of life’s slippery slopes is a point of balance. A point where we can flow. Finding this balance is the challenge.

As I consume our daily cornucopia of information, I am constantly categorizing and filing information into areas of my life where my flow can be drawn into a tighter focus.

My flow is constantly flowing. Shifting focus. Moving in new directions. Experimenting.

And sometimes this flow sends me off the reservation into areas that may seem extreme and buck the commonly held beliefs, knowledge, and/or dogma.

In my view, going rogue is a good thing (BTW, www.RogueFitness.com is a great site for fitness equipment ;)). Moving off the reservation generally leads to the potential for big rewards. Group-think often does a great job of holding us back.

Don’t worry about what anyone else has to say or thinks of your decisions. The only person that can take care of you, is you.

Self reliance.

“Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.” – Thoreau

I’m doing my best to use the information superhighway that dangles at our fingertips to build a strong foundation of self reliance.

As my self reliance foundation grows, it develops a feedback loop that perpetuates my belief that a hefty dose of self reliance would do wonders for our collective conscious as well.

Do “authorities” really have all the answers? Probably Definitely not. Find the answers yourself.

This post could meander in a wide variety of directions…just like the Dude’s Flow. It will definitely create jump-off points for future posts. But for now, I’m going to try to keep the focus relatively tight.

I’m going to open the Dude’s skull and take a gander at where the Dude’s health is flowing these days.

A bunch of links, a few comments here and there, perhaps a tangent or two, and most definitely a trip off the reservation for anyone clinging to the status quo for their health knowledge.

More to come as the flow flows, but for now, let’s dive in….

…after a couple quotes and one of the Dude’s fav jams to get us primed…

“All of our life is nothing but a mass of habits.” – William James

“What you give your love , you give your life.” – Mumford Sons

Be careful with the habits you choose. You’re the only one that can take care of you…

And don’t be afraid to change…

Blind Melon: Change

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdXXgppVU4c[/youtube]

Dude’s Timeline: A quick timeline to offer a bit of perspective on where the Dude is coming from…

  • High school and college: Ate anything in sight and worked out consistently for athletics.
    • Graduated high school at 165 lbs.
  • College+: Working out for athletics morphed into working out for size. I realized the crucial ingredient of diet – mainly protein = muscles.
    • By 25, I tipped the scales at 235. It was eye opening to see how much I could control my body with a conscious focus on eating and lifting heavy weights. But I wasn’t healthy.
  • 25+: I reduced my processed food intake, drastically limited my salt intake (Does salt really effect high blood pressure as much as “they” say? Probably not.), and overall focused on fresh, whole foods – including whole grains.
    • Dropped down to about 195 pounds.
  • 34 – today: I’ve jumped on the primal/paleo bandwagon big time.
    • I’m maintaining at about 185 pounds with a very streamlined workout regimine, the cleanest diet I’ve ever eaten, and some “wacky” dietary practices – including intermittant fasting and butter in my coffee!

Dude’s Workout

  • I’ve already shared a down and dirty of my workout. It’s evolved and morphed a bit over the past few months, but that post is still very relevant. I won’t reinvent the workout post here. But there will be more to discuss down the road.
  • Although, I will highlight a point I made in that post. Diet is 80% (maybe more) of your overall health and physical fitness. You should pay close attention to what you put in your body and make conscious/educated decisions.

Status Quo:

  • I’m not going to spend much time dissecting the misguided health information the status quo has perpetuated through the years, in this particular post. However, I do want to point out a very interesting statistic/article I recently came across. Are you aware that medical care is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US! Wow. 
  • Should we add to this stat the fact that The Man – big med, big pharma, big govt – is also the source of questionable dietary and health guidelines? I wonder how many deaths result from poor guidance? 
  • Question authority; build self reliance. 

Paleo/Primal

  •  At the bottom of the post is a great infographic that covers the Peleo lifestyle very well.
  • Think in terms of lifestyle, not diet.  Flow = lifestyle, not quick fixes.
  • Paleo, or Primal, is gaining in popularity these days, and as a result, there is a lot of good info/opinions online. However, my advise is start with Mark’s Daily Apple and build from there. No need to get overwhelmed, Mark Sisson has the direction you need to get rolling.
  • A few highlights
    • Stay away from grains – yes, including whole grains. No bueno.
    • Check out this Dr./Author – Wheat Belly.
    • Figure out how to get grass-fed meats, dairy, etc. Grass-fed makes a significant difference. The industrial food production system is muy no bueno.
    • Go barefoot.
    • Get dirty.
    • Soak up the sun.
    • Play.

Bulletproof

  •  Paleo is most definitely divergent from the mainstream, but now we’re headed way off the reservation – The Bulletproof Executive.
  • Dave Asprey is Silicon Valley executive who has turned his diligent business perspective on his health. He considers himself a “bio-hacker.” He researches and experiments with himself to find the most efficient and effective methods to obtain optimal health and well-being. He has some pretty rad ideas – diet, supplements, sleep, mindfulness.
  • In the end, Dave’s research has led him to a diet/lifestyle very similar to Paleo, however, Dave kicks it up a notch in a few ways.
  • For one, the Bulletproof lifestyle focuses on reducing toxins – mycotoxins…mold. Apparently there is a huge amount of mold – i.e. mycotoxins – in the food we eat.
  • Bulletproof also focuses very heavily on consuming good fats. Paleo does as well, but Dave takes this to a new level…and the results are very impressive.
  • Let’s get crazy with some Bulletproof coffee – remember, the right fat is VERY beneficial.
    • High quality coffee (single origin, wet processed) + grass-fed butter + MCT oil + vanilla = an amazing breakfast.
    • No carbs + high fat = ketosis.
    • High energy and a fat burning machine.
  • FYI – I’ve grown to love great coffee, but I’m more of a green tea kinda dude (stay tuned for a green tea post). I’ve tested butter and MCT oil in green tea, and it’s pretty darn good.

Intermittent Fasting

  • If you told me a year ago that I would be substituting my breakfast for coffee with butter and not eating until 1 or 2 PM on many days, I would not have believed it. Yet, here I am doing just that on most days of the week.
  • Along with Paleo, intermittent fasting has grown in popularity recently, so there is a large amount of info out there. Here’s what Mark’s Daily Apple has to say about IF.
  • Bulletproof coffee takes IF to a new level because you’re not really fasting, but you are creating a perfect environment for ketosis – i.e. burn fat for energy.

Carb Back-Loading

  • Continuing waaay off the reservation…carb back-loading. How about saving your carbs for night?
  • Here’s a Master’s Degree physicist turned health/fitness guru that has developed an amazingly successful protocol for consuming carbs backasswards from the beliefs perpetuated by the people in the “know.”
  • 7 reasons you need junk carbs at night

Mobility

  • Before we meander back to the reservation, let’s wander back to the physical rather than the dietary for a final piece of the Dude’s healthy flow. Mobility.
  • The idea of “mobility” wasn’t even on my radar until the passed year or so, and now it’s a daily activity.
  • Our bodies are in rough shape. We may not know it because we mask the pain and/or grow accustom to it, but physical activity wears you down and creates all sorts of hidden damage.
  • The awareness and exercises I get from MobilityWOD are amazing.
  • You need to stretch and you absolutely need to “smash” your muscles, connective tissues, etc. with massage on a regular basis.
  • This is a very rewarding process because your body feels great when your bits and pieces are working well. However, it’s far from easy…and it hurts. In fact, things may get worse before they get better.
  • Mobility as a metaphor for life? You’ll be amazed by how much is connected. A mangled muscle in your lower back will lead you “up and down stream” from issues in your legs to issues through your neck. It’s amazing.

Whew, that’s enough for now. I think about the Dude’s health/lifestyle flow everyday, and even my head hurts trying to wrap itself around what seem like crazy ideas. But crazy is all about perspective.  Crazy comes from many moons of poor guidance.

Self reliance is our ticket to the truth, regardless of what may seem crazy to some…most. Don’t be afraid to travel off the reservation…there’s some great scenery out here.

Bonus: Here are a couple great examples of practical use of some of the above ideas by Dr.’s…

  1. Dr. Terry Wahls defeats her MS with diet…not drugs!?

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLjgBLwH3Wc[/youtube]

  2.  Dr. Mary Newport helps defeat her husband’s Alzheimer’s with coconut oil and a ketogenic diet?!
Paleo Infrographic

Paleo Infrographic

The Processed Food Monopolies

A few days ago I shared an infographic about the media monopolies controlling our news.

Yesterday I shared a post about mass produced meat being fed with an over-abundance of drugs.

And today we’ll build a bridge between the two ideas and look at the monopolies controlling our processed food industry. Although, it stretches beyond food. It’s more like “life products.”

10 companies controlling almost all of the isles in the grocery store.

Does something seem wrong with so much power in the hands of so few? How much influence do you think these companies play in the world of politics?

Food Monopoly

Food Monopoly

Majority of Americans Want Food Without Drugs. Duh.

Consumer Reports has started a new campaign to fight the use of antibiotics in the mass production of the meats we eat; “Meat Without Drugs.”

Evidence shows that the vast majority of Americans support this cause.

Duh.

Doesn’t it seem like a lot of the issues facing the world are obvious?

Yes, please put antibiotics in our meat so you can grow animals faster and larger, and please keep them in ridiculously gross conditions that will severely disturb us if we actually pay attention to it. And when super bugs form that are resistant to said antibiotics, let’s just add more…and ignore the obvious issues.

I’ll end my rant, which has the potential to veer in a wide variety of directions, but take a peek at the video. It seems to make a lot of sense to the Dude.

There are no shortage of remedies needed for the issues creeping up on our society, but this is a great place to start. Stop poisoning our food. Makes sense.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_pr1T33-EM&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

And here is the press release from Consumer Reports:

A majority of Americans want meat raised without antibiotics to be sold in their local supermarket, according to a new national poll conducted by Consumer Reports. The poll is part of a report released today, “Meat On Drugs: The Overuse of Antibiotics in Food Animals and What Supermarkets and Consumers Can Do to Stop It,” available online at www.ConsumerReports.org.

Consumers Union, the public policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, has simultaneously launched a new marketplace campaign, urging supermarkets to sell only meat raised without antibiotics─starting with Trader Joe’s, one of the leading national chains best poised to make this commitment. It also sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) asking it to tighten labeling standards for meat raised without antibiotics.

Consumer Reports sent “secret shoppers” out to stores in the 13 largest supermarket chains around the country to see whether and to what degree those stores offer meat and poultry raised without antibiotics. We also conducted additional label research. The shoppers found wide differences among the stores─from Whole Foods, where all meat and poultry sold is raised without antibiotics, to Sam’s Club, Food 4 Less, Food Lion, and Save-A-Lot, where they could not locate such products at the stores visited.

“We are asking supermarkets to step up to the challenge and tell their suppliers to procure only meat and poultry that has been raised without antibiotics,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives for Consumers Union. “Antibiotics are losing their potency in people, leading to a major national health crisis, and we need to drastically reduce their use in food animals. We are calling on Trader Joe’s to be a leader and make this change now.”

Key Findings

  • Eighty-six percent of consumers polled indicated that meat raised without antibiotics should be available in their local supermarket.
  • More than 60 percent of respondents stated that they would be willing to pay at least five cents a pound more for meat raised without antibiotics. More than a third (37%) would pay a dollar or more extra per pound.
  • The majority of respondents (72%) were extremely or very concerned about the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed, including the potential to create “superbugs” that are immune or resistant to antibiotics. More than 60 percent were just as concerned with the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed allowing them to be raised in unsanitary and crowded conditions for livestock, human consumption of antibiotic residue, and environmental effects due to agricultural runoff containing antibiotics.
  • Consumer Reports’ shoppers visited 136 supermarkets in 23 states, including at least five stores belonging to each of the 13 largest (by sales) supermarket chains in the nation, and collected data on more than 1,100 different “no antibiotics” meat and poultry items. The shoppers found wide geographic availability, and big differences among chains and stores in availability of meat and poultry raised without antibiotics. Whole Foods guarantees that all meat and poultry sold in its stores is never treated with antibiotics. Shoppers also found wide selections of meat and poultry raised without antibiotics at Giant, Hannaford, Shaw’s and Stop & Shop. Shoppers at Sam’s Club, Food 4 Less, Food Lion, and Save-A-Lot stores, however, could not find any meat or poultry indicating they were raised without antibiotics.
  • Meat and poultry raised without antibiotics does not have to be expensive. While prices of “no antibiotics administered” meat and poultry varied considerably depending on store, type of meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey) and cut, in some cases our shoppers found prices that were actually lower than the national average for all of that type of meat. Chicken raised without antibiotics was available for as little as $1.29 a pound at several stores including Trader Joe’s, Publix and Jewel-Osco.

Label Findings

Consumer Reports’ shoppers found more than 20 different labels related to antibiotic use, such as “never ever given antibiotics” and “humanely raised on family farms without antibiotics.” Consumer Reports analyzed the labels, conducted additional label research and concluded that consumers can always rely on the “organic” label, which by definition means no antibiotics can ever be used. In addition, consumers can generally rely on labels that imply that no antibiotics were used especially if they are also “USDA Process Verified” (this means USDA has checked up on the producer).

However, Consumer Reports identified a few labels that consumers should not rely upon as indicators that a product has truly had no antibiotics throughout the growing process. Labels such as “antibiotic-free,” “no antibiotic residues,” and “no antibiotic growth promotants” are not approved by USDA and should not appear in the marketplace. They could mislead consumers. Also misleading but USDA-approved is “natural” which can be confusing since it does not ensure that antibiotics were not used.

“Consumers who want to buy meat raised without antibiotics need a system they can rely on to feel secure that the labels on those products are meaningful and accurate. Our shoppers and research found several instances of labels that could mislead consumers to believe they were buying meat from animals that were not given antibiotics, when in fact that is not necessarily the case,” said Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director, Consumer Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Reports. “Consumers would benefit from one standard, meaningful, USDA-verified label that is consistent on all meat and poultry products from animals raised without antibiotics.”

In letter dated June 18, 2012, Consumer Reports called on the USDA to establish such a standard label and publish the names of the companies who are approved to use it, and for what products. It is asking that USDA also take action against labels that fall short of its definition.