Spotted in a London tube station (well you could hardly miss it) 

Did fat shaming just become acceptable? I was a little bit taken aback by the latest advertising campaign from Cancer Research UK which I discovered on my way to somewhere else. I didn’t really understand what the message is… apart from obesity causes cancer… it can’t be “if you are obese and you get cancer it’s your fault” can it? Really? 

But whatever the message is, CR UK seemed determined that we wouldn’t miss the posters…

And on both sides of the subway. No one seemed very interested though, apart from me.

Clearly if you thought you might be obese, you had the potential to be quite shocked at the thought you also had a high risk of cancer. But the message came without any suggestions about what you should do about it if you are at risk, no suggestions about where to go for help, not even any indication about what obesity is and whether the person looking at the advert should consider themselves obese.

All in all, and whilst I agree that people do not understand the risks of being obese, this is a pretty unhelpful approach in my view. People need help, not shaming, Cancer Research UK.

Love your garden and your butcher… the key to good eating! 

As my butcher is called Rob, it’s clearly love in a fraternal sense! Enough of that though… your local butcher is a resource to be cherished and cared for and of course used as much as you can.  By making friends with your local butcher you can start to ask him or her to source the best grass fed beef, free range pork or compassionately reared poultry and maybe get a good deal on the price too!! Here is my very competitively priced rib of beef from my local butcher on Ashtead Parade.

Now that is a beautiful piece of beef. Look at the marbelling of the fat that will keep it moist as it cooks. 

And then there is your garden (or allotment) if you are lucky enough to have one. Your own vegetables are a joy and totally organic, if you avoid using chemicals of course. 

Purple sprouting broccoli and asparagus from my garden. Perfect seasonal food. 

Meat cooked perfectly… 

Carve and plate with the vegetables 

Add some grated horseradish with cream and it’s paleo eating 101!

Love your butcher, love your garden, love your food. 

Friday = stretch

After my usual week of daily cardio/resistance workouts and leading multiple spinning classes, my Friday workout is always a 10 minute warm up followed by a full body stretch routine. Stretching is an exercise that is often overlooked or done as quickly as possible at the end of a workout without seemingly any focus or thought as to what the stretcher is trying to achieve.

If you read the literature you will see that there are different form of stretching – here’s a read out of the different types from Livestrong:

Static Stretching

Static stretching, the kind a fitness instructor leads at the end of a class, involves stretching a body part to its farthest position and then holding it for 30 seconds or more. It does not involve bouncing or rapid movements, just a mild, painless pulling sensation. You feel the stretch through the entire length and centre of the muscle and not in the joints.

Passive Stretching

Passive stretching is similar to static stretching, except that an apparatus or partner provides the force to stretch the muscle. For example, you may stand with your back against a wall while your exercise partner lifts your leg to stretch the hamstring. Passive stretching relieves muscle spasms and helps reduce muscle fatigue and soreness after a workout.

Dynamic Stretching

Dynamic stretching involves controlled swinging of the arms and legs that gently takes them to the limits of their range of motion. Here, parts of the body are moved with gradually increasing speed, reach or both.

Ballistic Stretching

Ballistic stretching forces a body part to go beyond its normal range of motion by making it bounce to a stretched position. It increases range of motion and triggers the muscle’s stretch reflex. Performing ballistic stretching can make you more susceptible to injury. Only highly conditioned and competent athletes preparing for strenuous activity should employ it.

Active Isolated Stretching

Active isolated stretching is most commonly used by professionals: athletes, trainers, massage therapists and others. To complete at active isolated stretch, you reach a certain position and hold it steady without any assistance other than the strength of your own muscles. Kick a leg up high, for example, and hold it up in that extended posture. Active isolated stretching works with natural physiological processes to increase muscle and fascia elasticity and improve circulation.

Isometric Stretching

In isometric stretching, as a muscle is stretched into position, you resist the stretch. For example, have a partner hold your leg up high while you attempt to force back your leg in the opposite direction. Isometric stretching is the safest and most effective method for increasing the joints’ range of motion, and it strengthens tendons and ligaments while retaining their flexibility.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation combines isometric, static and passive stretching to foster a high level of flexibility. Perform it by passively stretching a muscle; isometrically contracting it against resistance in the stretched position; and passively stretching it through the resulting increased range of motion. It is an advanced form of flexibility training that also helps improve strength.

My recommendation is to use a range of different types of stretches to keep it interesting so that you are actively involved in the exercise and thinking about what you are doing – that way you’ll keep focussed. I start at the top of the body and work my way down slowly and carefully stretching all the major muscle groups to the point of reasonable discomfort without overdoing it. Each passive (see above) stretch is held for 15-30 seconds. After holding for 15 seconds I look to develop the stretch as my stretch receptors stop firing and I can get a bit more length in the muscle and connective tissue. I also use some dynamic stretches to seek to re-establish the flexibility and improve my range of motion in my joints after spending most of the 9-5 working week sitting at a desk. All stretch exercises should be careful, deliberate and thoughtful and taken to a point of discomfort not pain.

But why bother with it? It’s not really exercise is it? It’s just striking a pose. Well no, it is actually exercise and your muscles respond to being stretched in the same was as if they were being contracted through CV or resistance exercises. Your non-insulin dependent glucose uptake by the muscles fires up, GLUT4 transporters move from inside the muscle cell to its membrane and pull the glucose out of your blood into the cell where it is burnt for energy.

glucose uptake stretching

Stretching is exercise that will help you regulate your blood sugar, improve your focus, let you think about your body and wind down for the weekend too – s   t   r   e   t   c   h.

Over 150 years of the same message… maybe, at last, people are listening? 

From 1863 (William Banting) Do you Bant? to 2017 (Gary Taubes) via Captain TL Cleve, John Yudkin and Nina Teicholz How Did We Get Here?, people have been documenting the detrimental effect sugar has on our health. However, for the past 40 years the advice from most official sources was that it was saturated fat that was the enemy, sugar intake was only relevant as a source of calories and weird, highly processed seed oils were positively good for us.

How this advice has managed to persist without a robust scientific basis against all of the available evidence of increasing levels of obesity and diabetes and now a global health crisis in human health will be something that future generations will discuss at length and in awe of our seeming inability to see what is in front of our noses. Always of course assuming there are some future generations.
Let’s take a hopeful view that there will be such generations holding those discussions. In which case, Gary Taubes has very helpfully set out one side of the argument for them… the case for the prosecution of sugar as a criminal addition to the human diet that is as poisonous as it is unnecessary.

He carefully sets out the way in which the sugar industry has sort to influence the medical and political consideration of sugar as a food, drug or health damaging additive to our diet and use its financial muscle as a potent influence.

A recommended read, particularly the sugar/tobacco link.

Whole30 results

So another January and another Whole30. What were the results? Actually a better weight loss – let’s call it “fat loss” as my strength didn’t decrease at all – this year and my weight is now as low as it has been since I was about 12 years old. I think I was 12 stone (168lbs) when I was 12. Here’s the data  below. You will see it’s a slightly longer period than 30 days as I wanted to get in the highest high (27 Dec) and the lowest low (2 Feb). Just keep in mind that the Whole30 isn’t a weight loss diet, it’s a “reset your relationship with food” diet. Oh and it’s really restrictive as the newspapers and medical community will tell you. Yeah right, here is my last Whole30 dinner… stir fry cooked in goose fat with slices of home cooked cold roast beef. It was delicious.

Anyway, here is my weight data, top graph weight, white line is the trend, bottom graph is body fat %age.

The “Whole30 is an extremely restrictive diet…” Right.

The doctors tell us…

Whole30 the worst diet

“…if you were considering trying the Whole30 diet, you might want to think again.

Whole30 is an extremely restrictive diet that you follow for 30 days – the plan requires cutting out sugar, alcohol, gluten, grains, dairy and legumes, but rather than focussing on weight loss, it’s all about resetting your relationship with food and – supposedly – changing your life.”

So 23 days into the Whole30 and what on earth have I been eating on this “extremely restricted” diet?

Well I had some burgers and salad made with grass fed ground steak with avocado

wp-1485079873397.jpg and salad.

Then I had some lamb stew


made with bone broth and root vegetables. Oh and then I had this


Porchetta… pork belly stuffed with delicious herbs.

Yes, if you were thinking about the Whole30, you may want to think again. But then again, you might not…

And what about my weight? My report will come at the end of the 30 days. Now I’m off to eat my turmeric roast chicken and squash. So very restricted…

#whole30 #dryjanuary

How to tell if your body is burning fat for fuel…

… and let’s face it, apart from surgery, there is only one way to get rid of unwanted body fat and that’s to burn it as fuel. 

So orthodox medical opinion will tell you that the way to burn body fat as fuel is to restrict what you take in as fuel through your mouth. Seems obvious doesn’t it? But is it true? Hmm… that’s more tricky… let’s look at the evidence… except there isn’t any.

Of course we can all point to a starvation situation and say “Well that’s a calorie restricted diet and these dying people are clearly not overweight…” but no one is suggesting that people that want to lose weight should commit suicide. Clearly that would be pointless. So what’s the evidence that calorie restricted diet activates fat burning in the human body? As far as I can discover, none, nix, nada.

Where’s my evidence that my diet, be it paleo or Whole30 burns fat as fuel in my body. It’s here:

My ketostix from today. The more purple it is, the more fat is being burnt for fuel in my body. I don’t calorie restrict. I eat as much as I want and I am still burning off my unwanted body fat. In my experience, losing unwanted body fat is nothing about how much you eat, it’s all about what you eat.