Jamie Oliver 2010 TED talk…

This is old now but I just came across it.

I have started the video where Jamie starts to explain how much sugar American children are ingesting solely from milk based drinks served in school.

As he describes it… it’s simply abuse.

The rest of the talk is definitely work 20 minutes of your life.






3800 bits of proof that a primal diet is effective for weight management.

Modern, western adults accrete weight.┬á It’s simply a fact of life. The environment that we live in sticks fat to us… particularly around our middle. Eventually, that abdominal fat kills us – which is not a great outcome.

To avoid the unwelcome results of excess abdominal fat, it would seem to be a sensible idea to manage your weight within some parameters around your “ideal” weight. Maybe a couple of kilograms up and a couple down. I expect that people that make a living out of their body’s look might have tighter controls but I am talking about everyday people like you and me. So I control my weight – or rather I don’t. I let my body control my weight by providing it appropriate nutritional signals that say things like everything is all right in the world, you don’t need to store the food coming as fat, feel free to burn whatever you like. Oh and BTW we like muscle because we lift heavy things and we love available energy because we run and play and think about stuff too. So what does my body do with this information and food (food is information too)? It does this…

weight 2019

That’s about seven year’s worth of data comprising about 3800 data points showing my body managing its weight, by itself, between about +/- 2kg, simply on the basis of what I put in my mouth and the life I lead. No calories were ever counted or piece of saturated fat avoided in the making of this seven year data series. This is simply proof that a primal diet allows the body to control human adult weight by itself. 3800 objective, tamper free, repeatable bits of proof.

But why did I start recording only in 2012 when i lost my weight in 2004? Because that’s when I bought the wifi scales – d’oh! Seriously, wifi scales… if you don’t have them you need them!

So there you have it. The wiseacres of weight loss tell you that the difficult bit about weight loss is maintaining the loss over time. I say nuts to that… nuts, butter, cheese, cream and avocados with lots of mayonnaise.


World Expresses Astonishment as Medical Establishment Agrees With Itself! Primal Community in Tatters – If Only we had Realised Earlier…

They’re back… the carbohydrate loving members of the medical establishment, and this time they mean business. What kind of business they mean; you can decide for yourself.

Prof. Jim Mann (Professor in Human Nutrition and Medicine at the University of Otago) his team at the University of Otago Dunedin come armed with a meta analysis of

observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years [that] show a 15 to 30 per cent decrease in deaths and incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer, when comparing the highest dietary fibre consumers with the lowest.

In other words, they have (re)examined a lot of the studies that have been conducted over the last 40 years – now that would appear to me to exclude Ancel Keys’s 1955 Seven Countries Study but I’d take a punt it’s in there – and found, surprise, surprise that they agreed with the results.

Now here’s the thing… given that the kind of person likely to listen to medical advice is probably going to listen to all the medical advice (I listen to none of it, as far as food is concerned) and that over the last 40 years the medical establishment has flooded the planet with advice of all types – some good, some nonsense – why do they think it is eating carbs and fibre that has made such a magical difference to people’s health? Why do they not think that the same people that have increased their fibre intake, at the same time would not also be giving up smoking, taking more exercise, lowering their stress levels, reducing their exposure to pollutants, having blood tests and acting on the results, moving to the country and taking up pottery, making their own butter (new one for me, that) or maybe even stopping eating bacon (never!!).

The truth is they don’t know, they can’t know┬áand it looks to me like they are just trying to create a bit of (cheap) publicity, for reasons I can’t imagine… The study was commissioned by the World Health Organisation and frankly, I would have thought that the WHO could have been a bit more imaginative than to ask for a rehash of 40 (or more) years of the same old, same old. But what the hey, it’s not their money.

Meanwhile let’s have a look at the obesity statistics for children from some selected countries over the last 40 years, as the medical community again congratulates itself for getting its advice exactly spot on.

Graph showing increase in overweight children in the world

Finally a word about the organisation that carried out the study – the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre at the University of Otago, Dunedin in New Zealand, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but this is an interesting throwback…

Dr Robyn Toomath ÔÇô a diabetes specialist and obesity campaigner ÔÇô says after 14 years she has achieved nothing.

If you can’t be bothered to read the post, here’s a relevant chart from it, showing New Zealand’s obesity rates:

Hmmm… not much success there Prof. Mann. Maybe your countrymen and women aren’t listening to your advice? Or maybe they are…?

And now here’s a word from our sponsors, well the Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research Centre’s sponsors who, amongst others, are:

Eli Lilly. Whose diabetes related medical products are as follows:
Basaglar® (insulin glargine injection)
GlucagonÔäó (glucagon for injection [rDNA origin])
Glyxambi® (empagliflozin and linagliptin) tablets**
Humalog® Junior KwikPen® (insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL)
Humalog┬« Mix50/50Ôäó (50% insulin lispro protamine suspension, 50% insulin lispro injection [rDNA origin])
Humalog┬« Mix75/25Ôäó (75% insulin lispro protamine suspension, 25% insulin lispro injection [rDNA origin])
Humalog® U100 (insulin lispro injection)
Luxura HD
Humalog® U200 (insulin lispro injection)
Humulin® 70/30 (70% human insulin isophane suspension, 30% human insulin injection [rDNA origin])
Humulin® N (human insulin [rDNA origin] isophane suspension)
Humulin® R (U-100) (regular insulin human injection, USP [rDNA origin])
Humulin® R (U-500) (regular U-500 [concentrated] insulin human injection, USP [rDNA origin])
Jardiance® (empagliflozin) tablets**
Jentadueto® (linagliptin and metformin hydrochloride) tablets**
Jentadueto® XR (linagliptin and metformin hydrochloride extended-release) tablets**
Synjardy® (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride) tablets**
Synjardy® XR (empagliflozin and metformin hydrochloride extended-release) tablets**
Tradjenta® (linagliptin) tablets**
Trulicity® (dulaglutide)
Humatrope® (somatropin [rDNA origin] for injection)
Olumiant® (baricitinib)
Taltz® (ixekizumab)

Phew!!! That’s a lot of drugs for people who have (mainly) eaten too many carbs!!!!!


Novo Nordisk. Whose diabetes related medical products are:
GLP-1 analogue
Victoza® (liraglutide)
Basal insulin / GLP-1 analogue
Xultophy®  (insulin degludec/liraglutide)
Modern insulins
Fiasp®  (insulin aspart)
Levemir® (insulin detemir)
NovoMix® 30 (biphasic insulin aspart)
NovoRapid® (insulin aspart)
Tresiba® (insulin degludec)
Human insulins
Actrapid® (insulin human, rDNA)
Insulatard® (insulin human, rDNA)
Injection devices
NovoPen® 5 Blue
NovoPen® 5 Silver
NovoPen® 4 Bue
NovoPen® 4 Silver
NovoPen Echo® Blue
NovoPen Echo® Red
NovoPen® 3 PenMate®
NovoFine® Needles 31G 6mm
NovoFine® Needles 30G 8mm
NovoFine® Autocover® 30G 8mm
NovoTwist® Needles 32G 5mm
NovoFine® Needle Remover
GlucaGen® Hypokit 1mg

Bloody Hell!! I wonder how much money they make from this stuff!!! BTW, I like that all the needles are helpfully followed by a needle remover ­čśŽ

In case you had any doubts though, the Edgar Research Centre says that it provides more information on its sponsors in its annual reports and gives a useful link that takes you to this page (my bold):


Annual Reports for Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research

Our Annual Reports highlight our research achievements, funding, development of young researchers, dissemination of knowledge, publications, and our planning.

The report titles reflect the relevant name at the time of publication.

Last published report 2013. Word search “sponsor” – 0 hits.
The more I see, the less I believe.

A Week in Ketosis

Ketosis is not, unfortunately, a little known Greek island. I am far from soaking up the sun on a mini-break on the Mediterranean and actually sitting in England watching the rain for the second consecutive day of the weekend. So if it’s not a Greek island, what is ketosis?

Well, if you are rejecting surgery as an answer to getting rid of the excess fat you are carrying, ketosis is the only way you are going to do it. Ketosis is the state in which the body is using primarily fat for energy i.e. “fat burning”. Ketogenesis is the process by which the body turns fat into energy. Here’s what it looks like:


The two molecules at the top are acetyl-CoEnzyme A and are the result of the breakdown of fat molecules either directly from food intake or, if you are losing weight from your stored body fat. The three molecules at the bottom in pink are what is known as “ketone bodies” and are what the body actually uses as fuel. Wikipedia tells us that:

“The three ketone bodies, each synthesized from acetyl-CoA molecules, are:

╬▓-Hydroxybutyrate is the most abundant of the ketone bodies, followed by acetoacetate and finally acetone.┬á╬▓-Hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate can pass through membranes easily, and are therefore a source of energy for the brain, which cannot directly metabolize fatty acids. The brain receives 60-70% of its required energy from ketone bodies when blood glucose levels are low.”

So, if you want to burn off your body fat, all you have to do is persuade your body to break down the fat into acetyl-CoA then turn it into ketones and use it for fuel. Simple!  Unfortunately Wiki also tells us however that:

“Ketogenesis takes place in the setting of low glucose levels in the blood, after exhaustion of other cellular carbohydrate stores, such as┬áglycogen.

Hmm… so how do you do that then? Wiki to the rescue:

“Depletion of glucose and oxaloacetate can be triggered by fasting, vigorous exercise, high-fat diets or other medical conditions, all of which enhance ketone production.”

Now I don’t ever suggest getting ill is a good idea so let’s rule out the last one “medical conditions” which leaves us fasting, vigorous exercise and high fat diets. Does that remind you of anything? Oh yeah… a “primal” way of living. This is interesting! But if we were actually meant to base our diets around carbohydrates then why did we bother to evolve ketogenesis as it looks pretty complex? Because in reality, for early people, carbohydrates were not common in large amounts and an unreliable food source, we experienced frequent bouts of fasting when hunting was poor and when hunting was good, we undertook large amounts of vigorous exercise to catch stuff. And finally, if we were lucky enough to find carbohydrate to eat we immediately shut down ketosis to preserve our fat stores because fat is the body’s insurance against bad hunting. If we reflect on that for modern people, basically, if you are trying to lose weight you can only do it by using fat for fuel and if at the same time you are eating carbohydrate you are telling your body to stop burning fat. No wonder people feel weird on a low fat/high carb weight loss diet!

OK I hear you say, that all pretty easy to write but can you demonstrate any of it? have a look at my week. The pictures are of what are called Ketostix and they measure the amount of acetoacetate (one of the ketones) in urine. The more purple the end of the stick the more ketones and the stronger your state of ketosis i.e. the more fat you are burning. This isn’t scientific but I tested myself at the same time every day for nine days. My diet was mainly very low carb. Ketostix are not an accurate way to measure ketones in your blood as they are measuring the overspill in your urine, but they do demonstrate that some ketosis is happening.

Monday – low carb diet and lunchtime workout that was pretty strenuous. Heavy fat burning.

Monday keto

Tuesday – the same as Monday and still heavy fat burning.


Wednesday even more so!


Thursday and its the same again. Same routine same result.


On Friday I change my workout to a lower intensity stretching session and my ketosis dials back as I don’t need as much energy from my fat.


Saturday and I take the day off exercise and down it goes again but still in ketosis – still burning fat as my diet is very low in carbs and so there is very little glucose in my body – one of the conditions for ketosis. But watch what happens on Sunday…


BOOM!! NO KETOSIS!! Or almost none anyway – what happened here to stop things so abruptly? Carbs happened. For breakfast I ate half a smallish potato rosti fried in butter. Maybe the equivalent of half a medium sized potato and my fat burning almost completely stopped dead. Check out how much carbohydrate it took… half a medium potato thats all! No fat was getting burned by my body as it was preferentially using the carbohydrate from the potato and preserving its fat stores. I took all my readings at 6pm and so I had lasted the whole day on half a medium potato without having to touch any fat for fuel.


Monday was back to the usual routine and back to very low carbohydrate and working out at lunchtime and back into ketosis and back to fat burning.


Tuesday I worked it a bit harder in the gym and I think I just about went off the scale…


So there we have it. Don’t eat carbs and burn body fat, eat carbohydrate and completely shut down your fat burning and preserve body fat.

So how people expect to eat a low fat/high carbohydrate diet and lose their body fat at the same time is simply a mystery to me. Unless of course what they are actually doing is actually starving themselves by reducing their intake of food to a level that does not support the normal functioning of their body┬á in an effort to lose weight…. that might explain why they feel ill, suffer depression, find it unsustainable and put all the weight and more back on when they stop starving themselves.

One lump or two?

Boston Butts on a Big Green Egg

Lots of pictures plus lots of recipes as I haven’t blogged for ages! Anyway I’m back from holiday, autumn is on the way and the harvest is starting. Here’s something from last weekend that was just a triumph even though modesty prevents me claiming all the credit…. maybe 97%…. ­čśë

Rob the butcher has been explaining to me over several weeks about a specific joint of pork that he calls a blade of pork. I did a little research and found out that on the other side of the Atlantic the joint is called a Boston butt. Apparently because they were packed in barrels or butts in Boston. You live and learn…


Anyway I decided that I should try it out and as it was nice weather the Big Green Egg and a long slow cook, a couple of friends and some wine seemed to be the right approach. I asked Rob for enough for four people and he replied that, as it was me, I would need two of them for four… not knowing any different, I readily agreed. It turned out to be over 4kg (9lbs) of pork. That’s quite a lot for four people, but it looked great! Here they are…

The dry rub was salt, fennel and nigella seed (crushed a bit), smoked paprika and a little pepper. Rubbed over the joints the day before cooking and wrapped up and left in the refrigerator overnight.

Next morning, temperature probe set for 95C internal meat temperature and a grill temperature of 110-120C (if you look carefully).

Some soaked hickory chips for a bit of smoke flavour and off we go!

Here’s the thing though… if you are going to slow cook meat the same day as you eat it… you have to get up early! I was expecting to serve at 8pm so the meat was in the Egg at 8am…

About 11 hours later after a day of controlling the temperature with the upper and lower air vents  on the Egg, the desired temperature is reached and the meat is cooked to perfection. If you ever do this and watch the temperature of the meat carefully you will see that it goes up and down as various bits of the meat change their nature and consistency and some bits of it disappear altogether!

Looks a bit blackened but I assure you, that was the best bit!!!

And you simply pull it apart. The meat is beautifully cooked and soft, there is no connective tissue left in the meat at all and it comes completely cleanly off the bone.

So what would you serve with pulled pork Boston butts? Well, as I mentioned, the food from the garden is being harvested and I had all the ingredients for a coleslaw. Some of the carrots were a bit small… but never mind.

I am extremely proud of my cabbage that I hand reared from seed. It was absolutely perfect but that was purely down to beginners luck, no skill involved at all!┬á ­čÖé┬á Of course you don’t have to grow your own┬ácabbage and supermarket cabbages are perfectly all right, but growing your own is just a fantastic way to show off… you

I am a bit precious about the order to do the vegetables in, as I don’t like two things about some coleslaws – too much onion or pieces of apple that have gone brown! Yuk! This method should avoid both.

For a big bowl of coleslaw I grate half a medium size onion. When I finish crying, I juice half a lemon (not home grown) and mix it into the onion. The lemon juice “cooks” the onion a little and smooths the flavour so it’s less strong and raw tasting. Gentle onion is so much better in my view. Thinly slice half a white cabbage… and leave it on the board.


Core and small dice some desert apples to add some sweetness…

And mix the apples in to the onion and lemon juice straight away. If you leave them they’ll go brown but the lemon juice will keep them beautiful and for several days.


Grate the carrots and mix well it the apples and onion…


Then add the shredded cabbage, handful by handful, mixing as you go to make sure its all incorporated evenly together.

Now here’s the good bit… mayonnaise on its own will swamp the flavour of the vegetables but if you mix it 50:50 with creme fraiche you get a lovely light and creamy dressing that compliments the other flavours, but don’t use too much… its all about your cabbage. I use 2 desert spoons of mayonnaise and 2 of creme fraiche mixed well together for this big bowl.

A beautiful bowl of home grown coleslaw that will stay perfect (no brown apple pieces) if covered in the refrigerator for at least 5 days. Total time to make –┬á about 5 months┬á ­čÖé

Two butts was far too much for four people by the way… we barely ate one!! Which was good news as I took the rest for my lunch all week. With coleslaw!

And a dash of homemade chilli sauce from the excess of chillies, peppers and tomatoes that have been just perfect this year!

I love this time of year, don’t you?

Adventures with a Big Green Egg!

Long time no blog! Since my last blog, spring has arrived, then it went away and winter came back and then winter went away again but instead of going back to spring it sort of jumped straight to summer! By the time the warm weather returned the tulips in my garden were like a wound watch spring and came up, flowered and died in about 10 days… anyway the asparagus seems to like it and is cropping very well this year. I think I have the biggest asparagus spear ever!!


But I digress… this is supposed to be about my new acquisition for summer and maybe all year round. My new kamado grill by the Big Green Egg Co. Kamado grills are a Japanese barbecue and wikipedia tells me that they were brought back from Japan by Americans after the second world war where they became popular because they are much more versatile than an ordinary barbecue. The Big Green Egg Co. has been around over 40 years so they must be doing something right.┬á Rob the Butcher had been going on about how brilliant they are so I decided to try it. He was right! If you don’t know what one looks like, it looks like this –


A large fire box that can take enough charcoal for up to 20 hours cooking (yes 20 hours!) and a hinged lid over the grill to keep the heat in and all made out of ceramic that doesn’t flavour the food. Theres a top vent with an adjustable vent and a draft door at the bottom to control the airflow and therefore the temperature. you cab be pretty accurate, within + or – 10C or so. You can see my old Weber behind it for size.

So I have tried a few things on it but so far my favourite has been good old pulled pork. You need a large piece of pork as its going to cook for a long time – maybe 12 hours – and a small joint would dry out. So here’s mine – about 3.5kg bone in shoulder of pork.


I made a dry rub of salt, fennel seeds, black onion seeds and smoked paprika and rubbed it in and let it overnight. I got up at 7am to light the Egg as this was going to take all day! When the temperature was up top about 130C (indirect not directly over the coals) The meat went in with some soaked hickory chips over the coals for an intense smokey flavour.


Lumpwood charcoal is preferred and mine comes with excellent sustainability credentials as the trees grow about a mile from my house!


And then you wait… and monitor the temperature, keeping the grill temperature around 130C until the the temperature in the thickest part of the meat is about 95C. As you see I have a fancy dual probe thermometer that measures the meat temperature and the grill temperature, or if you want, two different meats. The meat is currently 8C… long way to go!


The meat doesn’t rise in temperature evenly though and sometimes it may actually go down! All sorts of this are happening in there and its important that you don’t panic and just control the grill. The meat will look after itself ­čÖé Eventually it will get there, the alarm will sound and your pork will be ready!!

Then all you do is take your lifting forks and gently pull the pork apart, it will fall off the bone, there will be no gristle or connective tissue and it will have a beautiful flavour! Some people put it in a bun but that would be heresy for me!! Just a simple salad from the garden for me, oh, and a bit more pork please! ­čśë


Here’s tonight’s experiment, belly pork with a crushed garlic rub. It’s cooking now. I’ll let you know how it goes. ­čÖé


More Big Green Eggventures to follow!!

Mark Rippetoe makes in into the Guardian!

How times have changed.

Spotted in the Guardian, an interesting article on weightlifting and the Starting Strength method as authored by Mark Rippetoe.


The article makes the point that lifting heavy things (not necessarily above your head) is good for you, may help prevent some diseases and may even help keep you young. I agree with that – just look at me!┬á ­čÖé What surprised me is that it’s the Starting Strength approach that the article recommends as a method.

Mark Rippetoe has been around for a long time now and published the first edition  of Starting Strength in 2005. Its been updated a couple of time since then and there is a Kindle edition too now.

Of course lifting weights is becoming more popular, as evidenced by the large and increasing number of free weights in my gym, and the popularity of Crossfit┬ábut, in my experience, the┬áStarting Strength approach┬áhas never featured very strongly in the favoured methods of strength training. Maybe that’s because Mark Rippetoe can be quite abrasive (he has fallen out with a few people over the years) but when you get over that, he’s quite funny. Here’s what he said when asked whether squats were bad for the knees (you may see there’s a BTL comment to that effect in the Guardian article!):

“Anyone who says that full squats are “bad for the knees” has, with that statement, demonstrated conclusively that they are not entitled to an opinion about the matter. People who know nothing about a topic, especially a very technical one that requires specific training, knowledge, and experience, are not due an opinion about that topic and are better served by being quiet when it is asked about or discussed. For example, when brain surgery, or string theory, or the NFL draft, or women’s dress sizes, or white wine is being discussed, I remain quiet, odd though that may seem. But seldom is this the case when orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, or nurses are asked about full squats.”

Starting Strength is based around four exercises: squat; press; deadlift; and bench press; and two lifts – the power clean and the power snatch. The book is hugely detailed on theory and technique and, if you are interested┬á in that kind of thing, it is a good book to read. If you are interested in becoming a competitive power lifter, as he was, then there would be no better coach than Mr. Rippetoe. However, not too many people are wanting to be a competitive power lifter and as a general exercise methodology for getting fit and strong and doing interesting things with your body, its got one major drawback. It’s boring.

When you think about the variety of exercise equipment that is available, why would you want to restrict yourself to a bar and some weight plates? What about kettlebells, medicine balls, dumbbells, TRX, all the different types of body weight exercises you can do? There are bags and battle ropes and tractor tyres and, although Mark Rippetoe hates them, there are all the different kinds of resistance machines too. He says resistance machines don’t work, I say they do. You can use them and make up your own mind.

Having said all that, there is much that I agree with:

  • using your muscles to move heavy things is good for you;
  • resistance training is a vital part of any exercise regime;
  • resistance training has been shown to help prevent or slow several diseases of ageing;
  • lifting weights above your head is fun, life affirming and empowering;
  • its never too late to start.

If you would like some proof that its never to late to start, check out this video on Mark’s website (and get a tissue ready)