Absurdities in Plain Sight (AiPS) re: attack on paleo

I typically hate drawing attention to people who are looking for it and don’t deserve it but in this case it’s too good an opportunity to kick off something I have been meaning to do for a while.

AiPS (Absurdities in Plain Sight) is my shortcut/acronym for pointing out things that are just patently ridiculous yet somehow managed to make it into “print” anyway. While I generally am against ridicule of any kind these AiPS scream out for abuse. They completely lack reason and are often ill intentioned in their effort to promote a personal agenda rather than to educate the public.

An example is this post at Food Safety News.  The title, “Don’t Eat Like a Caveman” is intentionally provocative but that’s not really the issue.  The issue is that author is offering up unsubstantiated opinions as if they are fact in the manner of a carnival barker.

For instance:

A final problem with the Paleo Diet is that it promotes a high protein, low carbohydrate intake ratio, which puts stress on the body. High protein, low carbohydrate diets have been linked to high cholesterol, heart disease, cancer and kidney damage.

Really? Does it? Interesting, would love to read more about that, however, not a single reference is provided.  Forget about a footnote, not even a “according to so and so x causes y.”  One of my favorite things about the uninformed knocking the paleo diet is that they fail to notice the nuances, they also fail to notice that vegetables and fruits are a healthy, nutrient dense, source of carbs.

More importantly, I take issue with the following:

Another problem with the Paleo Diet is that it’s not environmentally sustainable if adopted on a mass scale — not to mention expensive (grass-fed, pasture-raised meats that the Paleo Diet encourages are more expensive and less available than conventional meats). Ninety-nine percent of farmed animals bred, raised and slaughtered for human consumption in the U.S. don’t roam on grassy fields, but are confined in factory farms – -a far cry from the animals that our ancient ancestors hunted and consumed. Animal agriculture is also considered the greatest contributor to global warming — producing more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined.

Holy crud! Is she really criticizing Paleo for promoting the consumption of healthy, environmentally friendly, meat production and consumption because not enough of it is available?  Even crazier, she is trying to subtly paint Paleo as a contributor to global warming and factory farming while acknowledging in the prior sentence that Paleo promotes the consumption of non-factory farmed meats (hence its limited availability). This whole paragraph stinks of the kind of petty manipulation that a well educated eight grader should be able to spot.

Moving on she writes:

Based on the evidence available today, it’s smart to stand by a plant-based diet. Consuming more whole, plant-based foods benefits everyone’s health. The phytochemicals, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals that are abundantly present in plants are essential components of a long-term healthy diet. A whole foods, plant-based diet includes liberal quantities of vegetables, fruit and legumes, hearty amounts of whole grains, nuts and seeds, and sparing amounts of dairy, eggs, seafood, meat and refined sugar.

Ok, sounds good, I’m pretty sure I saw the word evidence above. As in research, the kind you can read, evaluate etc, getting to the end of the article and still looking for a single reference.  Interestingly, not a single mention on the authors part to the quality of the food that should consumed other than the earlier blatantly manipulative knock at Paleo.

Lastly, and quite humorously, the author is not a doctor, or nutritional expert of any sort.  She is a psychologist, who likely knows better than to make extensive claims in a “public interest” article without providing useful and substantiated references.  What is worth mentioning though is that Loren Cordain‘s writings  provide extensive references to source materials.

In terms of Paleo, it is unfortunately subject to tremendous amounts of misunderstanding.  For a modern day approach I suggest reading Kurt Harris’s post on Paleo eating.  He is a physician and has some fantastic practical thoughts on eating safely in a continually changing and challenging food environment.

So, that is my AiPS example.  Hope you enjoyed it and will please share AiPS you observe on the AiPS page of this site.

Btw…no offense to Apes who are lovely creatures and probably shouldn’t be subject to the unfortunate comparison that comes with the same pronunciation as AiPS.

The important distinction between “de-cluttering” and “de-owning”

Sometimes I read a blog post that is so spot on that I wish I had thought of writing it.  The important distinction between de-cluttering, essentially re-organizing your crap, and de-owning, getting rid of your crap, is one that is unfortunately often overlooked.

Joshua Becker’s post “Don’t Just Declutter, De-own” does a fantastic job of laying out the differences and most importantly the benefits of getting rid of your extraneous crap.

Food thoughts worth reading (or revisiting)

I find it helpful to occasionally review why it makes sense to eat primal or paleo or however you choose to describe it.  I find the vitriol and “flaming” on the web around this subject silly and counterproductive to a level of epic proportions. I suggest focusing on the facts.  Kurt Harris’s thoughts on food strike me as reasonable and pragmatic and are worth the read.

When you have 20 minutes…

I hope the title of this post alone indicates that I realize how hard it is to find a spare 20 minutes.  It should also indicate how cluttered our lives have become that finding 20 uninterrupted minutes is so challenging.  Life gets busy for a lot of reasons but one of them is that we have way too much stuff. Or as I like to affectionately refer to it, crap.  This video has been around a while and is a great primer on the hidden costs of stuff and how they impact the world.

Unconventional Notions and The Five R’s Begin

What’s the deal?

Since my teens I have struggled with fitness, nutrition and general health issues. In the last couple of decades I have read literally hundreds of books and thousands of articles on strategies for improving my quality of life. Along with visiting some of the top medical specialists in the world I have experimented on myself with ideas from the inane to the truly insightful with various outcomes, most of them less than ideal.  However, in the last few years, I have made tremendous progress towards vastly improving my quality of life.

I attribute the progress to being willing to constantly research new ideas and to think unconventionally.  I have aggressively investigated the research that forms the foundations of things that are deemed to be “conventional wisdom” and found that we are often led to believe things that have been built on the flimsiest of underpinnings.  Essentially, a lot of the accepted “wisdom” is crap.

The way you identify crap is to view it through a critical lens and learn to think outside the proverbial box.  This works in business, health and life in general.  Hence, the name, Unconventional Notions.

Unconventional: not conventional; not bound by or conforming to convention, rule, or precedent; free from conventionality.

Notions: opinions, views, beliefs, conceptions, or ideas.

What’s in it for you?

The Five R’s are metaphors for the things that I have found have had the most profound impact on refining my strategy for life. They have had a material impact on my health and my overall well-being.  Living by the principles they represent is improving my life in ways I only imagined in the past.

This blog will be my outlet for publicly reviewing much of what I have read over the years and the things I continue to explore today.  Additionally, I will share my plan on how to implement the Five R’s in a way that will lead you to a higher quality of life.

Also, I truly enjoy pointing out the absurd crap that gets to pass for logic or wisdom on topics across the board.  I’m particularly offended by narcissistic creeps and organizations who knowingly promote things that they know are false to further their own agendas at the expense of the general public.  Hopefully my rants pointing out this type of silliness will give you some laughs along the way.

What’s in it for me?

This blog is effectively an interactive diary for me.  It’s a way to document the things I find useful and important while I continue to explore.  Additionally, for lack of a better cliché, I believe their are truly lots of ways to “skin a cat.” I like hearing about how other people have accomplished things.  Also, I love having vibrant discussions with skeptics who have retained their optimism and believe that doing it in a public forum benefits all of us.  Beyond that, I really want to help people avoid having to dig through the worldwide haystack of crap to find meaningful solutions to their issues.

So here we go…