Whole Whatevey: Why My Whole30 Coffee Is Not Black

“Drinking your coffee black. Is. Not. Hard. You’ve done harder things than this, and you have no excuse not to complete the program as written.”

It’s right there, spelled out in inky black and staunch white.

Doing an officially-labeled Whole30 does not include the use of heavy cream, even grass-fed and organic and fueled by hippie love, in one’s coffee. Period. One’s Whole30 cuppa must look like a dark pool of char.

On the left, official Whole30 coffee. On the right, my typical coffee:

That’s okay with me, and it’s also okay with the Whole30 powers that be, as long as I don’t call what I am doing a real Whole30. To call what you’re doing a real-deal Whole30 you must follow their rules and that is completely fine by me. I could come up with a new name, like . . .

WholeUltra.

WholeRunner.

WholeTenacity.

WholeDirty.

WholeHurty.

WholeSporty.

WholeRunny. Ok, I’ll stop now.

My WholeWhatevey and its practices will not be not sanctioned for one or two other reasons relating to endurance running, regardless. I will, for example, consume energy gels on VERY long training runs because they are useful and convenient tools that serve a purpose during the run itself (and then I will take care to not go all snacking crazy as I am wont to do). I will not follow up a long run with a recovery shake or other processed foods. Only during the super-crazy long runs (by that I mean more than 4-5 hours) will I consume off-plan calories such as gels and all of those will have minimal ingredients and (it should go without saying, but still) no grains or gluten.

But here’s what I discovered about coffee. I’m not going to stop it entirely, though I could be convinced to do that in the future. No, what I realized about coffee and my own success on the Whole30 is that I really really enjoy the goddam cup with grassfed cream in it. But when I drink it black, it just doesn’t work. Now, that means I can buck up and either give it up or drink it black and “suffer”. However, if that is about the only thing standing between me and doing a pretty legit clean and healthy 30 days, I am going to have the freakin’ heavy cream. ONLY grass-fed, because nothing else tastes good. That would be Organic Valley, yo.

organic-valley-heavycream

Ok, let’s do this. WholeWhatevey begins.

 

$12K For 25 Stitches: American Healthcare is Broken (Part 1)

Part One of several posts about how health care can be a heck of a lot better in this country.

It’s about the least surprising thing to say when talking about health and medicine in the western world: it’s totally fucked up. The system doesn’t serve people in the best way for their health, opting instead in many cases for pure survival. And that’s just the actual medical establishment, the place folks end up when something is going really wrong, whether it’s emergency trauma or the culmination of a chronic illness.

The pieces of health are not just what it takes to not “spend your last 10 years in a diaper and a wheelchair” (a genius post by Chris Kresser, who lured me into a lot of this research about 5 years ago by those very words). No, the pieces of health are far larger than just showing up at the doc’s office or the hospital when things are really wrong (or even just somewhat painful).

Emergency medicine in our society is extremely effective (and expensive), so if you are in a car crash, even if you don’t have money, you can and will get “fixed”. That means you’ll have bones pinned together, skin sewn up, fluids replaced, and (hopefully) infections prevented or addressed.

Original source: Broken Heart Source Image

Original source: Broken Heart Source Image

But even if you are faced with a relative trauma, the current state of the system can take down to slivers the savings of most average adults. Take, for example, something that happened just a few days ago at a massive health conference in Austin, TX called Paleo f(x). Darryl Edwards, one of the activity gurus, ended up with a mis-timed head butt and split open his eyelid. He didn’t think it would need intervention at first, but then he was convinced it wasn’t just a scratch by folks who kept noticing the bleeding gash.

Once he finally figured out that he really did need stitches, someone wanted him to get an ambulance. BUT. Because Darryl is from the UK, an ambulance would be about $4K right out of his pocket. Ok, so he should find someone to drive him to the ER. BUT. Emergency rooms have pretty long wait times. It was suggested, “go to urgent care”. Finally, word got around to the wife of a local dermatologist. He was taken right to their office and was taken care of, sewn right up to the tune of 25 stitches as a favor to a fellow health guru for no charge. The dermatologist told him that it would normally cost about $12K. TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS.

Even before the ambulance when it was looking like $4K out of his pocket, Darryl considered getting on a first class plane back to UK so that he could walk into a local doc and get things taken care of for free. The fact that someone without insurance considers a transatlantic flight in order to NOT spend about $16K on stitches is, a little, crazy.

In the next few blog posts I’ll go from panic-inducing examples like this to somewhat of a means to a solution. It involves the word OWNERSHIP. And we’ll get there.

Pick Up Ethical Meat on Your Way Home

Roadkill: quite possibly the only ethical meat if you are squeamish about animals raised with the express purpose of ending up on your plate.

I suppose hunting and fishing would also fall into this category, but then YOU actually have to kill the thing and for some folks that apparently steps over some line of culpability.

But roadkill? That’s like the dollar-bag of wilting produce at your favorite hoity-toity grocery store where local carrots with the dirt still attached are like $9.89/lb and the cashiers have dreadlocks AND mustaches.

In some states it’s legal, in others it’s just . . . tolerated. Usually.

As to the actual culinary merits, that’s up to you. Get some recipes ready and your butchery skills honed.

http://modernfarmer.com/2013/09/eating-roadkill/

Procrastinating Is Easy When You Are Not Suffering

I recently found myself in a quasi-challenge with a friend to remove a few things from our daily eating habits that were making us generally cranky, or were bothering our guts. No problem, right? Sometimes you are totally ok to walk by the ice cream at the store?

WRONG.

Here’s the thing. We are both very, very healthy. We feel good a lot of the time, AND we eat well, move around, and sleep a decent amount. Therefore, what we are doing is just the window trim, or the fluffy frosting rose on the otherwise done wedding cake. We are fine-tuning.

Dinner Option 1

Dinner Option 1?

And, fine-tuning sucks.

That’s a lot of the source of resistance to “whole food eating” (whether you call it Paleo or primal or ancestral or vegan+bacon, whatever) to average/normal people: normal people feel FINE most of the time. Sure, we have allergies, or we get sick, or our necks hurt a lot, or we poop weird a lot of the time, but hey, that’s just getting older, isn’t it?

Why the hell should we adopt this very specific diet because whatever we are eating now will/might/could make us disease-riddled in 30 years??? Fat chance. And thus, perhaps, we ensure some negative consequences down the road. But they are down the road.

Folks who have MS, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s, Crohn’s, or any auto-immune condition – THOSE are the highly motivated who turn their life outlook around when they use diet and lifestyle to fix themselves. They have everything to gain and only some minor inconvenience to deal with as they transition away from ramen and fried cheese balls and Pop Tarts. When they feel better, they feel GREAT.

And then they tell everyone about it. But, those they tell – the rest of us – are not highly motivated, usually. Normal folks are not-so-thirsty horses that don’t really care to be led over to the water, thanks.

Dinner Option 2

Dinner Option 2

I still think the “whole fooders” are right (whatever that means), and they are doing great things like:

But. Hmph. Sometimes the only marginally motivated just want some damn ice cream. Challenge? Hmph.

Chocolate Without Sugar = Paleo? Sure! . . . ?

Kakawa's elixir and truffle

Kakawa’s elixir and truffle

Yesterday, the final day of the Ancestral Health Symposium in Atlanta, I was in Santa Fe, former stomping ground of the Robb Wolf clan, sipping on a tiny cup of ridiculously good Aztec style drinking chocolate. The place is called Kakawa and it has seen a handful of owners in the last 15 years but never has the quality of those cups of chocolate declined. At least not that I can tell.

For those more keen on a bit of sweetness, they offer everything from sustainably sourced chocolate bars to handmade truffles with goat milk, rosemary, chile, and even local cherries. Not all in the same truffle. Usually.

On this visit I kept to the drinking chocolate and a truffle, forgoeing the very good housemade ice cream and a gluten-free, coconut-sugar-sweetened brownie that nearly tackled me and snuck into my paws.

If and when the Ancestral Health Symposium decides to alight on Santa Fe, we’ll be ready with treats like this, as well as a vibrant farm scene and some pretty awesome locally raised pastured meats. Santa Fe is ahead of the curve for a town it’s size, and that’s good for all of us.

Why I Forfeited My Ticket to Ancestral Health Symposium 2013

Feet of AHS12Not long after attending Paleo f(x) in Austin this spring, I lept on the chance to sign up for late summer’s Ancestral Health Symposium. Why not? I had attended 2012’s Symposium on the Harvard campus, but I was just 6 months into the thrall of Paleo and ancestral pathways. I had a blast meeting new friends, mentors and inspiring brains by the dozen. Also, I took foot pictures.

Like a hummingbird I circled around Robb Wolf, Abel James, Chris Kresser, Nora Gedgaudis, Gary Taubes (whom I’d met years earlier doing early website work for his book), Denise Minger, Diane Sanfilippo, and Terry Wahls. Each had made a distinct impression on my sponge-like brain.

And yet, those were just a few of the well-known-to-me folks, and due to being famous their time was extremely limited. It was the folks who were behind the academic scenes or who were more like me – students enthralled by the knowledge – that ended up being the charm of the whole event. People like Adele Hite, Amber Dukes (who lives here in ABQ!), Chris Williams, Matt Lalonde, Stefani Ruper, George Bryant, Amy Kubal, Patrick Earvolino, Josh Whiton, I could go on. These are just a handful of the ones who want to make this a bigger part of their lives – maybe even the biggest part of their lives. Soon, I will join them, though I haven’t found my ancestral calling, yet.

Which brings me to the topic of this post. Why the bloody steak aren’t I in Atlanta RIGHT NOW for Ancestral Health Symposium 2013, reacquainting myself with everyone in a ritualistic rubbing of neurons?

Basically, I’m a chickenshit. In one year I have done a ton of research and a smidgen of writing about health, nutrition, and paleo-esque lifestyle. I bought some cutesy ancestral domain names. But researching ain’t crap, and neither is domain squatting. When I meet up with these amazing minds again it should only be in the context of collaboration and contribution. MY contributions to furthering this better way of life to those that are looking for answers.

Those contributions and collaborations are coming, but by forfeiting a few hundred bucks in that ticket, I resolve to invest TIME to actually make things happen. Not research. Writing. Not mulling. Making. Not “if”. Now. By not spending another grand in travel and lodging, I pledge those resources to more local use: my ancestral emergence.

Will it be:

All I know is that what is needed is ACTION. It starts today. It starts every day.