Heroic Tales are Paleo Too!


I fear I have dwelt too much on the small stuff of Paleo- what we eat, and how we exercise, and how we sleep a bit too much.  In fact, I think that is what has happened to virtually ALL Paleo podcasts over time- now, don’t get me wrong- all of that is crucial, and definitely the first step in gaining health along with a wonderful, fulfilling life.  

But that is key: we also want an overall wonderful, fulfilling life!  We could sit in a laboratory run by Loren Cordain, never leaving, and have all of our life functions monitored, day and night, for nutritional excellence.  We could be trained by Frank and Christine Zane, and have perfect physiques.  Our sleep could be monitored by Chris Kresser, and Robb Wolfe could lecture us about Paleo each and every day, and yet…  Would THAT be a good life??

Obviously not.  And so, on my PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe podcast, I am going to start to explore the items that are listed on my blog page around the big blender:

Featuring: Recipes, Health, Music and Philosophy!

Side Dishes: Fun, Energy, Renewal, Life!

All of these are just as important, at least, as nutrient composition and the raw ingredients of health.  And so, from now on, on PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe I will be stressing the really important parts of life- the music, the fun; all those things that bring us every, renewal, and life!  Don’t worry, Paleo Quick Tip of the Day still be there, coming out weekly, with more down-to-earth recommendations, shortly and succinctly!  (I am increasingly bothered by how paleo, and other podcasts are getting more and more long-winded- who has the time for all of that? Podcasts of an hour and more?  Sheesh, you can usually say it in 10 minutes or less- remember that brevity is the soul of wit.

But today, we will start with a short story, read by your own PaleoJay!  It a new Conan short story, written by newcomer Jess Thornton, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  If you only know Conan the Barbarian character from comic books and the movies, you will come to see that the original version, as created by Robert E. Howard back in the 1930’s, is a very different animal indeed.

 And so, get a large jar of your green paleo smoothie out, for here is the audio version of Conan Returns!


Plan Now for your 65th year anniversary and 96th birthday!


That’s right, my mother and father are celebrating two events in one tomorrow- both their 65th wedding anniversary, and the birthday of my father turning 96!

I know in this day and age, both milestones are very, very, very rarely attained!  I remember, a few years ago, I was visiting in Illinois in Chicago for an event along with 4 of my brothers.  A black man of middle years asked me “are you all a rock band?”  I guess my hair, and a couple of my brothers was a little on the longish side…

“No,” I said, “we are all brothers!”

Without missing a beat, he asked incredulously, “All from the same Daddy??”

I assured him we were, and as we walked away, I saw him shaking his head in disbelief.

I say this to point out how rare it is, in this day and age for:

1. A couple to stay together for 65 years

2. This same couple to live in good health to the ages of 96 and 90, respectively

3. To have raised 8 children, all of whom are healthy, happy, and graduated from college and working- (except for mois, paleoJay, since I am retired, 64, and only working part time at jobs I love!

4. To still be living at home, in the two story house they have lived in since 1960, when yours truly, their eldest son, was in 4th grade!

Of course, to me this is a big deal!  But what does it mean to you, oh Paleo aficionado?  Well, aside from your massive allegiance to PaleoJay.com, it means that you should try to live as they have lived.  

How is this?  Simple, really- 

1. My dad walked, and still walks, everywhere.  He used to take the train into the city for many years, either walking or riding his bicycle to the train station about a mile away.  Then, he would walk to his office, another mile or so away.  He used to be amazed at his friends, who would be dropped off at the train station by their wives, and then take a taxi to their office!  He really didn’t like it, and like his son PaleoJay, he would try to get them to follow his lead into better habits.  

Oh, even now, he always parks as far as he can from the entrance to any store he visits.  Always!

2. Although not paleo, (no one was back in his day), he always knew that “bready” things were bad.  He never tried to eliminate them, but he always knew to minimize the bread, whether pasta, dough, or whatever.  Also, remember that for most of his life, grains were the ancient grains of the Bible- the “waving fields of tall wheat”, not the squat, hideous altered high-gluten grains of today.  My mother felt the same way, and ate the same way.

3. My parents always ate lots of fruits and vegetables, and woke early.  They didn’t stay up late watching television like so many of my parent’s friends, and they always had a vegetable garden.  Also, they never put chemicals on their lawn like so many started doing in the 1970’s.

4. They always walked around barefoot in the yard, and encouraged us to do likewise!  I think part of this was to save on the cost of shoes, but heck- they did it too!  And we all spent most of our free time in the yard.  We played games, whiffleball and kickball, we built a monorail, we had a rope to climb- that was where we all hung out- all eight of us!  And also, we were the home that our friends wanted to come visit- it was fun.

5. Other neighbors of my parent’s age started moving when their kids (usually one or two at most) moved out from home to go to college.  They moved into ranch houses or, (worse in my dad’s and my opinion), into “retirement communities”, where they were entertained and protected from any rigors of living like mowing, or snow shoveling, or- well, anything hard at all!  And then, when they were so “softened up” that they couldn’t even get out of their easy chairs anymore, they could easily transition to “assisted living” in a nearby facility.

Most of those parents are long gone now, before their time.  My parents are still living in their two story, rambling house with a huge yard, and enjoy their upstairs bedroom still, after all these years!  “The stairs are healthy!” is one of my father’s favorite refrains, and I even hear myself repeating it after all these years.

There are other things my parents did that are Paleo, or ancestral, or else just healthy.  They stayed married to the same person.  They kept their “tribe”, their large tribe of relations, friends, and the friends of their children and fellow church members close, and never abandoned any.  They kept playing and enjoying music throughout their entire lives, and still do.  

They have always been friendly, and honest, and true to their word!  They raised their children well, and set an example that we all could follow to our advantage.  They were very conservative, and lived according to their faith.  

Tomorrow, I and my 7 siblings will all go back to the house we grew up in, and honor them.  Many of our children will be there, and our spouses as well.  Also, there will be dozens of friends; the kids that used to come to our yard to play!  For them, it is like a time capsule: all of us are old now, the little kids that played kickball and hung from the monorail as it whizzed down the cable are now in their 50’s and 60’s…

But my parents are still there, look pretty much the same, and smile and remember them all!  I will give a report later, but I am expecting a live version of It’s a Wonderful Life.

Oh, I did write a book about my parent’s respective lives in tribute to them- they don’t know it yet, I will present the published version to them tomorrow.  It is called Milky and Soupy, and it is available here- https://www.amazon.com/Milky-Soupy-Mailman-tales-3/dp/1534855750/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1468629079&sr=8-1&keywords=milky+and+soupy

Or, you can just get it on iBooks, Amazon, or just about anywhere else!  It’s a good read, with lots of pictures!  


PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe #132 Weeds are the Answer!


If you are any kind of long term listener to PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe, you know one of my constant drumbeat-of-a-recommendation is for Green Paleo Smoothies! I know that just by adding the discipline of drinking a single 8-16 oz glass (or canning jar) full each and every day, you will increase your health and wellness dramatically! 

It’s true- the nutrient density that you gain from just such a simple addition to your diet is amazing- more that what you’ll gain from the rest of your days actual solid food eating, for one.  Also, since green vegetable consumption is automatically hugely increased, which loads us up with antioxidants, magnesium, and virtually everything else that modern civilized folks are chronically deficient in!  

Also, by substituting such a wonderful, paleo and ancestral meal as a green smoothie as breakfast, you displace another meal that would be undoubtedly much worse, like cereal, toast, or pancakes that spike your blood sugar and insulin response, rather than drinking the most incredibly healthy thing you can put into your body- a Paleo Green Smoothie!

And now, I am going to tell you how to make your daily smoothie much MORE nutritious!  And for FREE!!

Weeds are the answer!  

Now, I’m not being a smart aleck hear.  Well, maybe a little- but the point is this: certain weeds, perennial weeds like dandelions, broadleaf plantain, purslane, and lamb’s quarters are all not only as nutritious as something like kale- they are way, way MORE nutritious by far.

Start with dandelion- you know what it looks like already, no problem.  Gather a few plants, leaves are easiest to use, but the entire plant (including the root), is edible and wonderfully nutritious.  Just start with the leaves.

I store them in container in the freezer, and each time I make a smoothie I add a handful or so.  (Free, remember?)  You really can’t taste them at all in a smoothie, at least the PaleoJay Green Smoothie at www.paleojay.com and in the pages of PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe, the book.  

The nutrient composition of all of these wild plants are far, far beyond that of cultivated vegetables of any type; for instance dandelion has 4 times the beta carotene of broccoli!  And all of the nutrients are that magnified, as wild plants have not been hybridized and genetically modified for taste and storage superiority- they are as vital and wild as Conan the Plant Barbarian!  Think of wild plants as the exact opposite of GMO’s!

Broadleaf plantain is at least as common and available as dandelion, and almost as identifiable.  I gather up handfuls, and store them right beside my dandelions.  Lamb’s quarters are the most common weed in my garden, and when I think how much time I wasted pulling them out from between my lettuce plants, I could shoot myself!  Just cut them right into your lettuce as you are cutting your lettuce for salads!  They are far, far, far more nutritious than the lettuce and other greens you put into your salad, and actually taste quite good as well.  

Lamb’s quarters grow quite large, and even if you don’t have a garden they are everywhere!  The large leaves are better in smoothies, since they are not so mild tasting, but the nutrition is still just as good.

Purslane is probably the most strangely nutritious of all since it is very high in Omega 3 fats!  Very unusual for a plant… also, it is loaded with other nutrient benefits, and grows almost everywhere, even in cities.  Have a container for this one in your freezer as well!

As you can see, it is quite easy to get smoothie ingredients in your yard, and in many other places as well- just make sure that the ground you get it from is not contaminated with chemicals like Roundup and glyphosate in other formulations!  This is only on weed-free carpets of lawn from anally retentive people who need total control!  Avoid these lawns, and probably you need to avoid such people as well…  They are clueless on priorities in life, and also on matters of health.  Although I enjoy golf, I would never ever either walk barefoot on, or pick a weed from a golf course- (of course, that is if I could ever find one!)  But, not even from the rough would I take a weed there.

Soon, there will be available a line of wild vegetable powders available, but they are not available yet.  When they are, be sure I will include a link on my site, www.paleojay.com.  When that day comes, even urban dwellers will be able to simply sprinkle a small amount of “wild powder” into their smoothie canister, or even atop their salad or casserole to receive all the benefits of wild plants, easily, safely, and quickly!

I will keep you posted.


PJSC 131 Illegal Immigration is the Leaky Gut of Nations


I thought I would phrase todays thoughts in “paleo terms”.  Leaky gut- we all know what that means, right?  If not, here is what it is: when the walls of our small intestine become so damaged, so leaky through constant insult in the form of gluten and gliadin, that the “borders” of our digestion can no longer protect us from invaders.

Invaders, in this case, consist of rogue food particles, bacteria- anything, really, that slips through our bodies intestinal wall defenses!  These foreign particles can cause a world of damage, since they cause our immune defenses to go crazy trying to defend us from this constant stream of invaders.  

In fact, our immune system gears up too strongly in the face of such massive threat, and becomes confused, even attacking the tissues of your own body.  This is what results in all auto-immune diseases, which are the very diseases now killing modern Westerners, while subjecting them first to an ever increasing disease plagued life.  Obesity, diabesity, diabetes, autism, rheumatoid arthritis- the list goes on and on.  If you have a chronic disease, it is most likely one of these autoimmune variety.  Eventually, the insult is enough to result in one of the big three killers: heart disease, cancer, or iatrogenesis (death by doctor)!

Luckily, you and I both know how to prevent all of this supposedly inevitable outcome:  we eat a paleo type of diet, with no wheat, and very little (if any) grains at all.  (This preserves our gut lining!).  We fortify the “terrain” of our body with nutrient dense foods, meaning loads of green veggies, some fruit, herbs and spices like ginger and turmeric, pastured meats and, if we can tolerate them- pastured dairy products.  We drink a Paleo green smoothie on a daily basis, assuring maximum nutritional support for our body, and we sleep 8 hours per night, exercise in the PerfectlyPaleo, non-damaging fashion, cultivate our “tribe” of family and friends, and try to minimize stress in our lives.

Common sense really, right?  Well, what works for our bodies also is what works in the body politic of nations…

Right now we have a nightmare situation, both in the US and western europe, where illegal immigrants of largely hostile intent are “migrating” through the “leaky gut” of our non -existent borders, or the nations “Gut Walls” if you will.  These hostile ‘immigrants” are the gluten and gliadin of our nation, slipping through not only unimpeded, but actually being welcomed into the country their religion instructs them to undermine and destroy.

It really is that extreme; the violence and destruction that has already happened would have been inconceivable even 10 years ago, and now it is commonplace.

I blame part of our acceptance of this situation on our ignorance of history- what kids are taught Roman history anymore?  Heck, they’re not even being taught American history anymore, except to point out how evil we always were!  What a bunch of crap.

Let me tell you this: from without the borders of the Roman empire, many of my ancestors of that era, the Germans, began to move into Roman territory.  At first, the Romans allowed them to do so… eventually, this small tide turned into a flood of “immigrants”, but that is the wrong word really- they were invaders!  They brought their own culture, their own gods, and wanted it everywhere, including Rome!  And once the invaders had breached the border defenses, Rome lacked the military strength to expel them.  

I hope you know what happened then… If not, here it is:  The Roman state was invaded, and gradually was destroyed from within, not only from the invading immigrants, but also because of the deep corruption and self-interest of her rulers.  

Sound familiar to modern day America and Western Europe?  Really, the nation-state is not that much different from the human body- once we lose our individual integrity and health, we fail.  All our ancestors built can be lost very very quickly, never to be regained.  So- heal your own gut wall!  Be healthy!!

And heal the walls of our nations.  Strong borders are vital for a nation.  So is a strong collective identity.  (Our tribe!)  Vote correctly, for our nations health.  If you consider yourself “liberal”, at this point that means that you are voting for lots of wheat and sugar, no exercise, or else chronic endless cardio, low fat, and low protein.  You are a S.A.D. American, and need to change!  

Save your body, mind, and health.  Using the same principles, you can save Western Civilization, the only culture that has assured women rights, the end of slavery, and even gay rights.  The only one.  Western Civilization is the ultimate hope of the entire world.


pjsc #130 Moving Meditation


Let’s talk about an essential ancestral life skill that I have never heard addressed:  How should you approach exercise mentally?  It really is a crucial skill that paleolithic peoples never even had to think about, just as they never had to think about what foods to eat (all foods were paleo back then), or how to exercise, (exercise, natural exercise, Perfectly Paleo Exercise, whatever you call it was just part of life!); so it was that your mind-state as you went through an early, ancestral lifestyle was also automatic.

Just what the heck am I talking about?  Just this: when you exercise, you must not be thinking about your job, or what you want to do this weekend, or anything at all, really- 

You should be completely and utterly focused on the moment!

You should be thinking into the muscles being worked, feeling them contract and work beneath your skin.  Intensify the contraction, I.e. make it harder simply by willing it so!  This really does work- using this method, you can make lifting a 5 lb. dumbbell as hard as lifting a 50 pound dumbbell, or more, simply by flexing harder and more intensely, and by “putting on the brakes” internally by thinking into the muscle and willing it so.

Focus your total energy into each and every rep, each isometric contraction, and into each exercise in turn.  This is like moving meditation.  If you’ve ever meditated, (I do it pretty much daily, and recommend you do as well), you sit with your eyes shut, and concentrate on one thing only.  (I use the number “1”, repeated over and over and over.  Every time your attention starts to wander, you just pull it gently back to that mantra of “1” again.  

At first, it seems quite difficult!  We are so programmed in modern life to try and multi-task constantly, to get more done, and more, and more!  But after awhile, it gets much easier, and carries over into how you approach life in general.  

So too does this “moving meditation” approach to exercise not only improve your exercise performance, and especially exercise results- it starts to carry over into all of life.  Your ability to concentrate improves along with your physique, as does your mental acuity and ability.

Now, I don’t mean to say that you shouldn’t listen to podcasts while you exercise, or even watch tv while you do so.  I do often!  Just so the bulk of your attention is focused on the exercise, it is fine to have music playing, or someone talking or interviewing, or even watching a gripping movie or news program on TV.  In fact, I feel that an additional distraction or focus while exercising is additional insurance against your attention wandering to your problems, your boss, your kids problems, insurance salesmen… you get it, right?  

Your workout is sacred, just as you should be totally in the moment while in church, or meditating, so should your workout time be spent in the moment.

You do need to spend time planning, not worrying, and this time too should be spent totally in the moment as well!  Then, you can plan, anticipate contingencies, decide what you will do if various scenarios occur, and then you can relax.  By staying in the moment, once again you have set yourself up of success.  You will not be distracted, because you have your plans in place- if something bad happens, you will simply deal with it, in the moment.  Whether it is something physical, or emotional, or intellectual to deal with, you will have developed the capacity to solve it.

Because you have turned your life into what it is meant to be:

A Moving Meditation


PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe #129 Roundup! It SUCKS!

One of the most common chemicals spread on the lawns of America is Roundup, made by Monsanto.  The active ingredient is glyphosate, which we have been told is completely safe for humans for years now.
It’s NOT!  The exact method by which glyphosate hurts is becoming clear, as we increasingly find out the immense importance of the human gut micro biome.  The little bugs that live in our guts actually determine our mood, whether we are fat or thin, and even provide us with essential nutrients for life!  No one knew this back in 1970, when Monsanto came up with the chemical compound.  So far as they knew, it was safe, or so they said.
It may be safe for human cells, at least in the short term, but not for our crucial gut bacteria, without which we cannot survive.  Glyphosate has also been linked with killing our essential honey bees that pollinate crops, along with butterflies and other creatures that share the earth with us.
But the main reason to avoid it entirely, as now most of the nations of the world are uniting in banning it (except for the United States, of course), is again the damage to the human gut micro biome.  Autoimmune diseases are now rampant, and becoming worse over time- these have been shown to be caused by a leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, which is in turn caused by a damaged gut micro biome- caused by glyphosate.  
This can set us up for type 1 diabetes, diverticulitis, arthritis, and all the other plagues of modern civilization. Roundup or some other brand of glyphosate is used on pretty much all standard corn and soy crops in the US.  Monsanto also sells Roundup resistant varieties of corn and soy seeds, so that the crops are more immune to the chemical, and more can be used!  This means more and more Roundup is being used on our food crops.
Just another reason for those of us of the Paleo persuasion to avoid grains and soy!  But it also gets into our drinking water, especially if you live near to big agribusiness operations of chemical farming.
The most irksome thing to me is the usage by homeowners on their lawns!  To get rid of dandelions, which are actually quite a pretty and very healthy to eat flower, most homeowners are more than willing to pour poison all over their lawns and gardens!  It makes me feel sick, and I’m sure it is making the folks that do it sick as well, but really physically sick, since they walk on it, sit on it, and let their children play on this chemical nightmare.

My suggestion?  Mow your lawn.  Hoe your garden.  Avoid grains.  And please, tell you neighbors that you would appreciate their lawns much more it they were more diverse, with yellow flowers, creeping charlie, burdock, and all of the other wonderful plants that make up Nature, and that so many of us have been brainwashed by the media and advertising to try to kill!


PJSC Brazil Food Guidelines Beat ours to HELL!


1.    Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet

2.    Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts when seasoning and cooking natural or minimally processed foods and to create culinary preparations

3.    Limit consumption of processed foods

4.    Avoid consumption of ultra-processed products

5.    Eat regularly and carefully in appropriate environments and, whenever possible, in company

6.    Shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods

7.    Develop, exercise and share culinary skills

8.    Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life

9.    Out of home, prefer places that serve freshly made meals

10.   Be wary of food advertising and marketing

Those are the Brazilian food guidelines.  Simple, understandable, supported by current science, not outdated, 1970’s science as is our “Food Plate” nonsense.  Anyone  following such commonsense advice would do very well dietary-wise, even if they did include grains, since if your eliminated processed foods, and ate real foods, prepared in the home, you would be more the one half of the way there!

But let me add a few more guidelines to this already inspired direction:

11. Eliminate grains, especially wheat- Use other grains sparsely 

12. Use natural fat like butter, olive oil, coconut oil, and animal fats instead of any sort of vegetable, or industrial seed oil

13. Avoid artificial sweeteners from chemicals like Sunett, Sweet One, Aspartame, Saccharin, and Sucralose  

14. Use Natural Sweeteners like sugar, honey, molasses, and maple syrup sparingly

15. Sugar alcohols like Erythritol and Xylitol are preferable

I know, grasshopper: that seems confusing, a little… it also seems a bit- daunting!  Everyone seems to have the knee jerk reflex- “I can’t give up bread!” And pasta, and packaged breakfast cereals, etc. etc. etc….

But you can, and in my opinion, admittedly from someone who has done it for many years, is that you can, and rather easily too!  You just resolve to:

1. Make most of your meals at home- this alone will save you big money!

2. Only use real foods in the preparation- this means no processed bread rolls or oils, only REAL FOODS like meat, seafood, real fats, fruits and vegetables!

3. You need to plan ahead.  Have your fridge loaded with good foods- throw out your flour, your processed crap- ONLY have good stuff in your house!  Have lots of mixed nuts, jerky, cut up celery and almond butter (no peanut butter, or at least very little)- and, for those emergencies when you might be tempted- have a couple of gluten free frozen pizzas on hand!  I love to “upgrade” these little numbers with shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, garlic, ham, and whatever else I have on hand- turn a nutritional nightmare into a nutritional goldmine when you are tempted!

4. My parting advice?  Golden words from PaleoJay?  Get a stock of really good sardines.  And some gluten free crackers.  AND some almond butter!  If you chow down on a bunch of this, you will be NOT hungry in short order, since they are so filling, and so good for you.  Herring is good as well; I love it in little glass jars…

5. Bottom line?  Drink a green, paleo smoothie each and every day- nothing else gives you total nutrition like that, nothing!  Just do it.  Once you get in a schedule of drinking a really great, nutritional powerhouse on a daily basis, you are not troubled by deficiencies that cause cravings that eventually make you fat and sick- you are immune.  You are Paleo- a golden child of the dawn of humanity!  You will gradually become Slim, Fit, and Abundantly Healthy! 

It really is that easy.


Live in the Moment Paleo podcast #127

A lot of us tend to be type A’s, paleo people are not immune to this!  And, it’s not all bad; I mean we type A’s are driven to achieve, and this can be quite useful.  I can’t even imagine not wanting to exercise, but then I have done so daily for more years than I would care to count.  
As for eating a proper, healthful, paleo type of diet- it is a desire to achieve that gives us the impetus to start living that goal of a really good diet.  And so it goes- by being driven in some sense, we accomplish very useful and important things in life.  But, it is easy to become a slave to achieving, just as it is easy to become a slave to sloth and idleness: once you start as a welfare person, either through a trust fund of else the government, the idea of actually working at anything seems utterly impossible to even start.
You have to learn to live in the moment.  Every minute of every day is not meant to be spent in “busy-ness”, an endless spinning of our wheels.  The really important times of life, the times that you will always cherish in memory, are those moments when you are literally in the moment, totally immersed in your life as it happens.  Often, this state comes to us easiest when we appear to be doing nothing: just relaxing with family and friends, sitting around a campfire or on our front porch, or just walking through the woods.  These moments are what really make up our lives!
Sure, when we are working really hard at something, whether it is doing a hard set of pull-ups, or sprinting barefoot across a grassy field in sets, we are very satisfied when we are done.  We have really accomplished something!  Our bodies are flooded with endorphins, are muscles are strengthened, body fat burned.  Great!
But, the real enjoyment of living comes afterwards, when we are totally relaxed, showered, and maybe heading outside to fire up the grill for some grass fed steak and baked sweet potato.  When we go for a slow saunter down the road with our dog and spouse in the evening, and we are just being there, in the moment.
It’s really not when we save up for a big vacation, go on a cruise, or buy that new car.  Those are fine, and can be worthy goals, depending on what you like, but it just is not the real stuff of life!   Life is simple.  Life is just being, enjoying the ability to move, to laugh, to feel the sun on our skin and cold water on our tongue.  And, life is all about people and relationships, family, friends, fellow church members and neighborhood folks- your tribe, if you will.
So go out and achieve!  Accomplish goals, big and small, write that novel, paint that picture.  Change the oil in your truck, mow your yard.  Work out, and eat a wonderful, clean, paleo diet, without junk food!  But remember that, at the end of the day, it is simply in living your life, and savoring it by being in the moment.  As Marcus Aurelius said long, long ago:

It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.


Forest Exercise on PJSC podcast #126


Hiking with poles.  Doesn’t sound too earth shaking, does it?  But, as you know if you are a regular visitor to www.paleojay.com or listener to either PaleoJay’s Smoothie Cafe or Paleo Quick Tip of the Day,  I pretty much go into my woods for a hike every afternoon.  Usually I take my “heavy hands” with me, meaning I pump small dumb bells in my arms as I go.  Believe me, if you have never tried this method of working out (which I combine with “forest bathing” by getting out into nature as I go) you really should!  It works your entire body, rather than just your legs, since as you pump your arms in curls, or side lateral raises you are engaging the upper half of your body at least as hard as the lower half.  

I really like to mimic cross country skiing with the dumb bells (usually 8 lbs in each hand), swinging the weights from high to the back as if I was poling myself on my skis.  (It’s actually more taxing than skiing, and thus more productive exercise-wise).  I do duck walks with the weights to really hit the quads, and other moves that I have made up over time.  Try it!  If you can find the book Heavy Hands by Leonard Schwartz, get it- he pioneered this form of exercise back in the 1980’s, and he explains it eloquently.

But, back to hiking with poles!  I have a slight shoulder injury I sustained while cutting and moving wood, and so I have been substituting hiking with ski poles.  I really lean into the upper body, and so the upper body gets a fantastic workout as I walk, just as it does with the heavy hand weights. But it is easier on the shoulder joint right now for me with the poles. 

Also, we have had snow the past couple of days (hurrah Wisconsin!), and my hilly land is quite slippery with a little snow- the poles keep you upright easily, and spread the load over four limbs (like a cat) rather than just two.

I was out this past summer in Montana, in the wonderful Glacier National Park.  I recommend you visit it at some point, it is spectacular!  Anyway, there are a number of employees of the park that monitor wildlife, and watch for forest fires.  They spend their days wandering the huge park, through the woods and up steep mountainsides.  They all hike with ski poles, and look to be very fit indeed!  They get the adjustable kind, that collapse really small when they want to get on the bus that takes them back down, or back up again.  

I have poles like that, and they are handy as can be.  In fact, I don’t like to hike without them!  

So there you go.  A simple little trick that will double your hiking ability instantly, and also double it’s effectiveness as exercise!  But above all, just get out into nature, however you enjoy it.  We are creatures of nature, even though we tend to forget it, and if we separate ourselves from the natural world we are pretty much locking ourselves into man-made cages.  Let yourself out on a daily basis, for at least a little while- your body and mind will thank you.


PQTD #125 Do NOT lift Heavy Things!

Oh boy, will this be contentious- NOT to “lift heavy things”, one of the Paleo/Primal cornerstones of healthy living!  It’s almost as if I said “Don’t eat grass fed beef”, or “Eat wheat!”  I know you’ve heard it, over and over and over again- “Lift Heavy Things”, probably immediately followed by “avoid chronic cardio”.  
Well, I do want you to avoid chronic cardio, which is doing endless running, biking, aerobics (wait- does anyone do that anymore!!?), spinning, even walking for hours and hours each day… That is excessive, and accomplishes very little in terms of strength or health.  It just generates cortisol, the stress hormone, and puts your body into the fight or flight alert mode that we want to avoid.  And it destroys your joints!!  And of course- do NOT eat Wheat!!  (But do eat grass fed meat, particularly organ meats).
But, to reiterate: do not lift heavy things.  Why do I say this?  Because lifting really heavy things, at the limit of your strength, destroys your joints just as surely as chronic cardio, perhaps even more so.  I know, strength training is essential; I would never disagree with that- I train daily, and at almost 64 it is more necessary than ever.  
This is the bottom line to me: 
"A person who "lifts" weights tries to make a heavy weight feel light, while a person who "trains" with weights tries to make a light weight feel heavy." 
Truer words were never spoken, although you might need to read that a few times until it sinks in.  
The ideal way to train for strength, health, and overall fitness is to use a weight only to help your concentration enough so that you can adequately stress the muscle!  If you have the concentration, you can do this with a 2 lb. dumbbell- you just flex enough by sensing the resistance of the muscles involved and making the resistance harder yourself.  Instead of “hitting the gas pedal” and making the muscles work super hard to lift a really heavy weight, you “put on the brakes” within the muscles, intentionally making the lifting harder.  

Here is a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who certainly knows what it is to lift heavy things:
“Well, my favorite exercises I’m not able to do today, because of joint problems. For instance, the basic squat. I would love to be able to squat again, but in order to protect my knees I do mostly the Lifecycle and bicycling and the elliptical, but no more squats. The knees are like a tire. When the tires last up to 30,000 miles, you have to decide how you want to use them. Do you want to use them up in one year, or do you want to use them over a period of 10 years? It’s the same thing with joints. So, I decided 10 years ago, when I started to feel the wear and tear and was feeling pain in my joints, that now I should adjust my training and do more high reps with less resistance.”  

Frank Zane recently said something very similar, but even more telling:

Many people have asked me over the years what I would do differently if I had the chance to go back to my early years of training in the late 60's and early ’70's?

In those days, I did what was necessary for me to win. This included training with heavy weights: a precursor for injury. 
So if I could do it over again, I’d train with lighter weights, higher reps, no sets below 10 reps, with negatives slower than positives, and avoid injury. If I had done that, my physique wouldn’t have been quite as bulky, but with more definition and with less pain.

  This says it all- One of the greatest physiques of all time, and he says LIGHTER weights would have been preferable...

Take this as a wake up call.  I trained for years, quite heavy, but drew back around the age of 50 or so, because of increasing joint problems.  Just in time!  I have rehabbed my shoulders, my knees, and my elbows; largely by practicing isometrics, self-resisted exercise along with calisthenics and “virtual” resistance, or self-generated resistance within the muscle itself.  All of this I detail in my eBook Perfectly Paleo Exercise, and also on my website www.paleojay.com  

In the old days, strength trainers knew- you train with light weights, or no weights to build strength, both in your muscles, but also in your ligaments and tendons. 

You lifted heavy weights only on occasion- to demonstrate strength!  Then, you drew back again to training mode, the positive cycle of NOT LIFTING HEAVY THINGS.

So, don’t lift heavy things.  Don’t run marathons, or triathlons, or get into marathon crossfit sessions that tax you to the utmost!  Don’t Power lift, or Olympic lift either; if health and strength over your lifetime are your chief concern. (As I think is appropriate).  
Learn to control your muscles, learn deep, abdominal breathing.  Meditate, and eat a Paleo type of diet.  Have a plant based smoothie each and every day, and get involved with your “tribe” of family, neighbors, friends and church!  
Now, you aren’t “heavy” or a "heavy thing"- you’re my brother!

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