Monday, March 16, 2015

The FairyTale

I was asked to contribute some interesting content. No chance for some more fiber science, or exosomes and miRNA talk today, sorry :-)

Instead,  here a song to start your day, and accompany your exercise (yes, do only that much you can, try the jumping push-ups if you feel like, perhaps. The back flips are for the advanced gymnasts only, though).

Have fun!

P.S. Actually, I have originally intended to present Nick Lane and his soon to be published book The Vital Question: Why is life the way it is? (yes I want it), but I heard this song on the radio this morning, and recalled that Nick Lane plays fiddle too, and I decided some exercise for the mitochondria would make a nice entry to the origins of life fairy tale.


  1. Thanks, Gemma! Keep 'em coming.
    I think that exercise is another area where people really need to get out of their comfort zone and establish a 'new normal.'

    During my 21 years in the military, we were pretty much forced to exercise daily. Exercise in the military means timed runs and lots of calisthenics. When I got out of the military, I stopped it all for about 6 years. I figured things like mowing the grass, tilling the garden, and having a somewhat physically demanding job (carrying heavy stuff, climbing ladders) was plenty.

    When I started getting serious about regaining my health, I was unable to do 1 pullup, more than a couple pushups, or run any distance. I started off doing pushups and situps during TV commercial breaks. Then added pullups, squats, and sprints.

    It took a while, but now I can do lots of pullups, run as far as I like, and feel even better at work or when working around the house.

    To prevent burnout, I switch up my exercise routine throughout the year. Last summer, I lifted weights outside, this winter I have been doing bodyweight exercises and lots of walking. In a few weeks when the snow melts, I plan on taking up jogging for the summer.

    I think that if people would start budgeting 20-30 minutes per day to do some simple bodyweight exercises, they would really like it and want to keep on. For me, a big turn-off was going to the gym. Half your time is wasted driving, changing, waiting on machines, and making muscle-man poses for the mirror (can't help it!).

    Seriously, just drop and give me 20. Too easy. Anyone who thinks they don;t need to exercise, do 30 easy squats or 20 situps and tell me how it feels the next day.

    I could probably find 100 links to papers saying that exercise is great for all kinds of things, but I won't bore you to death with that.

    Just do it!

    1. Didn't know where to post this, thought your readers may be interested...
      TEDMED 2014: John Cryan .....
      Published on Mar 16, 2015
      John Cryan, a neuropharmacologist and microbiome expert from the University College Cork, shares surprising facts and insights about how our thoughts and emotions are connected to our guts.

      He even mentions L. rhamnosus, one of your favorite bugs, if I remember correctly from earlier discussions at FTA.

    2. @ Newbie

      Thanks for that link. It reminds me about Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (gut and psychology syndrome) claims of gut health related to autism and other mental disorders including eating disorders long before all this exploded on the internet.

      Also why I read this blog. Such great post from Tim and great comment on how to care and feed your microbiome. It also reinforces how the environment (soil) is everything.


  2. I've exercised and lifted weights for more than 30 years. In my teenage years, I was a powerlifter. I had a career-ending injury warming up - my 10th rep in a set of squats with over 500 lbs on the bar. My max was about 680.

    I've always enjoyed working out hard.

    But after 30 years of this, I've discovered that I have trouble moving. Just can't do it. No flexibility. No strength in awkward, nonstandard positions. More injuries as I get older.

    In the last year, along with my shiny new fiber regimen, I've switched to body weight stuff. Yes, push-ups and chin-ups, but more movement based stuff. Crawling has been fantastic. It can be easy, or it can be extremely hard. I haven't touched a weight in months.

    My inspiration is Ito Portal. The video below gives some idea. The lizard crawl at about the 0:33 mark is HARD when done slow. It's basically a moving push-up. Some of the other stuff requires great strength too. I'll be there someday. It's very challenging.

    1. I tried deadlifting last summer, focused on form, and worked my way from 100 pounds to 300 pounds. Looking back, it was the stupidest form of exercise I could have ever done. The chance of a back injury are very high and rewards low.

      I did, however, enjoy doing bench presses and curls. I was also doing weighted pullups with 25 and 50 pound weights. It was a lot of fun and I put on a good 10 pounds of muscle. This year, I will probably do the weighted pullups, curls, bench press, and maybe get some kettlebells. But I really want to run again. I stopped last year after twisting my knee stepping on a rock while running. Didn;t want to chance worsening it, so I didn;t run all summer.

      I have been doing sprints a couple times a week for 3-4 years now. I don;t consider that 'running.' I just sprint my ass off for about 20-30 seconds, like from my truck to the door at work, up the driveway, or just where ever it fits in. Feels great. People say, "Wow! You must love your job!" hahaha

    2. I've read that a regular flat out sprint for about 30 seconds is a maximum bang for buck type of exercise. Probably something to do with staying alive in the primordial forest. Curiously it also produces the greatest surge of hgh of any kind of exercise.

    3. @Wilbur

      I love Ido Portal!

      The lizard looks super easy to do, and it is definitely not. Great to hear about movement and exercise from YOU. It would be so sad if people thought the way to some health improvements à la Wilbur means to find the right dose of their personal fiber mix only.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. @Wilbur,
      Yes, you are full of surprises. But I fear it would be a real challenge to even approach the grace and artistry that Ito Portal brings to his lizard.

      Have you kept your daughter's virus (?) at bay?

    6. Gemma - Thanks! I know we get somewhat focused on food and fibers, but it's nice to also think about the full spectrum of things that make a healthy lifestyle.

      I think a lot of people take it to the other extreme...only think about fitness and forget about diet. Need to have some balance.

    7. That whole balance thing can be a moving target. The more I'm able to downsize my life, the less that target moves and the more easily I'm able to hit it. Downsizing for me means taking on fewer projects at one time, eliminating possessions that are cluttering up my life, and taming my over-the-top expectations of myself. The cool this is, every improvement in one area (fiber, food, exercise/movement, sleep) helps the other areas, in one way or another.


    8. @Stuart. I have enjoyed life. Many of my experiences even surprise me!

      The virus thing is interesting. The daughter has been sick for 5 days. I think she will be well tomorrow. The wife is down with 101F fever, chills, aches, etc.

      Nothing is official for a couple of weeks. BUT, this has now happened 3 different times over the past year or so. This morning I woke up feeling fine. Then my throat starting hurtin, I got a headache, and my nose started running. My temp was 99.5-100.0 F. I felt sick. I got distracted, but later realized I felt fine. My temp was 98.6 F (normal in F, dunno C). I've been fine since.

      If true, and prior experience suggests so, I had the virus for about 4 hours. I want to give myself more time before declaring success, but damn this is wonderful if it holds.

    9. Gorgeous video Wilbur. Makes me want to go find a deck and do some crawling.

      That's interesting re your daughter and wife. Are they taking significantly less fibre than you? I seem to remember that they are taking some, maybe not as much though.

    10. @Wilbur, thank you for introducing me/us to Ito Portal. I've watched a lot of athletes but I've never seen such beautiful athletic ability. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been crawling around on the floor imitating lizards.

    11. @Lauren, Andrea, navilus, and Stuart

      The video below is one of my favorites. You may have seen it, but I wanted to point it out. It really shows his amazing strength, especially given his grace. I want to do the push-ups at about the 2:30 mark. I am hoping I am not too old, but I'm going to keep working toward them...

    12. @Wilbur
      I look forward to seeing your video of the cobra push up! You are never too old! My yoga balancing poses look like child's play after watching this video...sigh!

    13. @Wilbur,
      Wonderful. Great music too. He's simply poetry in motion. I really enjoyed the youtubes where he's being interviewed. Really interesting mind.

    14. And Ido Portal's managed to turn me off a lifetime of various yoga styles (Ashtanga for the last decade) in two days. It now just feels lame and static.
      Movement is clearly meant to be creative rather than just disciplined and rigorous. Feldenkrais and Alexander always just put me to sleep.
      And although I can see the physiological point of Pilates, I just find it so
      Working out will never be the same. Thanks Wilbur

    15. Well. I just read a Scientific Study that said that twice a day, Ido Portal conducts a balance routine that is so intense it effects Earth's gravity, resulting in a phenomenon we call, "High Tide."

      I also have it on good authority he is directly responsible for the Northern Lights, volcanoes, earthquakes, and quite possibly lightning. It must be true, I linked a phrase early in the discussion!

    16. But, in all seriousness. Damn.

    17. I knew you were kidding. Chuck Norris is responsible for all of those things.

    18. @Wilbur, he is amazing. Thanks for posting again. What an inspiration - and I wouldn't be surprised if he did indeed cause lightning. I did have to laugh, though, that the video starts with this on the screen: "suitable for beginners with no prior training." He then launches into a one-armed position holding up his entire body. LOL

      Did you see the video clip where he said he won't train vegans?

    19. cracking up at this thread you guys :D

    20. @Stuart re virus

      I meant I'd know in a couple of days. Oops.

      Anyway, whatever it was - my wife definitely thinks it was the flu - lasted only 4 hours in me. My symptoms were very mild, and I might have missed them if I had not been looking for them. There was no need to interrupt my day.

      My daughter and wife were miserable. My daughter still has coughing, sore throat, and sneezing after nearly a week. The same for wife after 5 days or so.

      I don't know how hard to push the kid. She gets maybe about 25 g/day. She's happy doing it. The wife doesn't want to push for some reason. She's also maybe 25. I'm not going to push her. She has a hectic job.

  3. I had to watch all the Ido Portal videos! The lizard is some serious upper body strength. I am going to try the squat routine.
    I am somewhat or drop the somewhat, routine, workout person. I have been doing yin yoga and restorative this winter and look forward to those days. Otherwise it is TRX, spin, kettlebells and tabata and a regular yoga class. But then I am more or less a routine person at home so the schedule suits me.
    OK, it is going to be 70 today and I am out the door to play some golf! ;)

  4. How about this...from today:

    Exercise slows tumor growth, improves chemotherapy in mouse cancers

    "One way many cancers grow resistant to treatment is by generating a web of blood vessels that are so jumbled they fail to provide adequate oxygen to the tumor. With oxygen starvation, the tumor gains a sort of cloaking device that protects it from the toxic effects of chemotherapy drugs and radiation, which are designed to seek out well-oxygenated tissue.

    Researchers have long tested various approaches to improving blood flow to the tumor in the hopes of restoring potency to treatments. Not much has shown promise.

    Until researchers investigated exercise."

    "We were truly amazed by these findings," Dewhirst said. "I have spent the better part of the last 30 years trying to figure out how to eliminate hypoxia in tumors, and have looked at a lot of different approaches—drugs, hyperthermia and metabolic manipulations. None has worked very well, and in some cases, made things worse. So these findings with exercise are quite encouraging."

    1. "exercise slows tumor growth"

      And that is just from today, as you say there would be lots of similar studies and papers.

      I have also wondered about the old habit of pilgrimage, meaning long journeys to a special place, with the hope of cure. Like walking to Lourdes, or Santiago de Compostela, for example. Maybe it was not only the belief that cured people...

    2. Ah! And fasting is involved in many of these rites. And avoiding certain foods at certain times. Could God be a microbe? lol

  5. Gemma, nice writing. I hope you are planning more. You should have your own blog. I follow your comments on blogs I would not normally read. You and Tim are a great pair, always so thoughtful and sincere.

  6. And who is Gemma, anyway?

    1. Good question! All I know is she's one smart cookie! It's funny, I used to stalk her comments around as well, and one day asked Richard at FTA to get me her email. That was nearly a year ago. Since then, we've been exchanging studies and having a real blast.

      I agree, Gemma could have a really great blog, and maybe not even in English. She speaks in many tongues, I'm told.

      I must say that one of the best things that's come out of all the time I spend on blogs, forums, and wherever the conversation leads, has been the friends I've made. You know who you are!


  7. lol, my own blog? You would be bored to death, people :-)