Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 304

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 304

Well, I am Covid Bound again. I won’t go into details as I don’t have enough information as I type this, but we are waiting on more results.
The upside is that I can focus on training, reading and mastering the basics of fermenting foods. I was hoping to take a hands-on course this year, but that is not going to happen.
I signed up for a MovNat course a year or so ago and I got a nice email back when they canceled the event. I was the only person to sign up! I would have enjoyed learning the method, but not everyone “shows up.”
So…now I take online courses. I have taken a lot of The Great Courses and I was looking at taking a few biology classes, but this fermentation course actually sounded better.
I get to eat the assignments!
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Here’s a link to Episode 58 of the podcast.
This was a special week because Dan read some sections of his new book for us. Here are the links to those sections:
Fluid Intelligence and Warrior Thinking
The Hangover Rule
If you haven’t picked up the book yet, I highly recommend it. It’s a great read.
Have a great week!
I enjoyed my conversation with Pat this week. We went into some depth on the whole cost to benefits ratio with certain lifts. We also review Dan Martin’s famous Humane Burpee.
With the quarantine, I rediscovered sardines (not herring!). A can of sardines and a piece of fruit (or tomatoes from our garden) fills me up more than a typical meal. They are a delightful addition to many of our light evening meals.
The health benefits of sardines are abundant—rich in nutrients and loaded with vitamins, the list is chockful of essentials such as Omega-3s, potassium, and more. Given the versatility of sardines—which, more often than not come packed in olive oil—you will find it easy to pair them with a diverse scope of dishes. Smoked sardines packed in a spicy chili sauce or with roasted tomatoes are ideal for those looking to embrace an additional range of flavors.
Tomatoes are a mainstay when it comes to said pairings—as the acidity of the fruit provides a refined complement to the delicate flavors of the fish—with butter standing in as another equally elemental component. Paired together, you’ll find yourself left with a dynamic combo that is filling and light.
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Marty has been on a roll lately. This is a great summary of bodybuilding and definition.
How do you keep a raging bonfire raging? You throw ever larger logs of dry, hard wood (clean calories) onto the blazing fire. “Clean calories” burn completely and fully, down to ash, no residual, no partially burned logs left to be stored as body fat. The elite bodybuilder uses a combination of disciplines to amp up the metabolism. An accelerated metabolism burns calories at an accelerated rate. What are some of the bodybuilder’s metabolism-amping procedures?
    Resistance training: every time the bodybuilder weight trains, he gives the metabolism a beneficial “jolt” that cranks up the metabolism. Bodybuilders prefer to weight train more frequently, train longer and lighter using less poundage than strength trainers. More sessions mean more huge metabolic jolts.
Nutrition: the digestive system must accelerate to digest fiber carbs and lean protein. This acceleration creates a milder (than exercise) metabolic jolt. A bodybuilder eats every 2-3 waking hours, 5-6 times daily. Six mini-meals (or feedings) a day equate to 42 mild metabolic jolts per week.
Cardio: intense aerobic exercise spikes the metabolism in a dramatic way. The accelerated metabolism remains accelerated for hours after the session. Bodybuilders begin each day with a pre-breakfast fasted cardio session. In the final weeks, the elite add a 2nd daily cardio session for 7-14 intense weekly jolts.
There is a lot of metabolic jolting going on here. The food/fuel needs to be perfect: clean, pure, organic foodstuffs, not too much, not too little, exactly the right kind in exactly the right amounts taken at precisely the right times. Between the near daily lifting and the daily (sometimes twice daily) cardio, the bodybuilders metabolism is being amped up all day long.
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Two sides of the paleodiet here. This first one, the “pro,” has some common sense, too.
By 2007, seven years after my initial diagnosis, I was too weak to sit up in a regular chair. I was constantly exhausted and had increasingly severe bouts of trigeminal neuralgia – intense jolts of electrical face pain that were harder and harder to stop.
That summer I researched what I could do to protect my brain, focusing on vitamins and nutritional supplements to further support my mitochondria – the powerhouse for each cell. According to one theory, brain diseases may be more severe due to mitochondria that are not working well. I began taking more supplements to support my cell health, but still little changed.
So I decided to self-experiment, hoping, if I was lucky, to slow the progression of my MS. As a doctor, I certainly did not expect to walk around the hospital again making my rounds. Or go hiking or biking again. Or lead an important clinical trial testing my theories on using diet to treat multiple sclerosis–related fatigue. But that’s what happened.
By identifying the key nutrients important to brain health, I redesigned my paleo diet. I wanted to maximise my intake of the nutrients I’d been taking in supplement form – getting them instead directly from the food I ate.
The new diet I created dramatically increased my vegetable intake: each day I consumed three platefuls of green leafy vegetables, sulphur-rich and deeply pigmented vegetables, and ate meat in moderation while eliminating gluten-containing grains, eggs, dairy and legumes. I also added fermented foods, full of good bacteria for digestive health, mineral-rich seaweed and more nutrient-dense organ meats.
Three months after starting the diet, my fatigue was gone. The electrical face pains were gone too. I began doing my hospital rounds using a cane. After six months, I began walking without a cane. At nine months I got on my bike again for the first time in six years and biked around the block. After 12 months of this new way of feeding my cells, I biked 18 miles with my family. If I went off the diet, the electrical face pains came back within 24 hours.
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This article asks some good questions. This last section really got me thinking.
One of the central themes in any palaeolithic diet is to draw on the arguments that our bodies have not evolved much over the past 10,000 years to adapt to agriculture-based foods sources. This is nonsense.
There is now abundant evidence for widespread genetic change that occurred during the Neolithic or with the beginnings of agriculture.
Large-scale genomic studies have found that more than 70% of protein coding gene variants and around 90% of disease causing variants in living people whose ancestors were agriculturalists arose in the past 5,000 years or so.
Textbook examples include genes associated with lactose tolerance, starch digestion, alcohol metabolism, detoxification of plant food compounds and the metabolism of protein and carbohydrates: all mutations associated with a change in diet.
The regular handling of domesticated animals, and crowded living conditions that eventually exposed people to disease-bearing insects and rodents, led to an assault on our immune system.
It has even been suggested that the light hair, eye and skin colour seen in Europeans may have resulted from a diet poor in vitamin D among early farmers, and the need to produce more of it through increased UV light exposure and absorption.
So again, extensive evidence has emerged that humans have evolved significantly since the Stone Age and continue to do so, despite some uninformed commentators still questioning whether evolution in humans has stalled.
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This article walks us through a very interesting word “wolf.” I had no idea.
The Swedish word for wolf, though, is varg. This descends from an old Norse word vargr, meaning someone outcast from society for underhand murder or oath-breaking, evil deeds in Viking society. This word itself comes from a Proto-Indo-European word, roughly pronounced as hwergh, which meant to commit a crime. Hwergh is found across Indo-European languages, surfacing as vrag, enemy, in Russian, and, in the ancient language Hittite, the related word hurkil signifies sin or perversion. In Old English, the word is spelled as warg. An Old English word for a gallows is warg-tree, and Tolkien co-opted the word to use for the evil fierce wolf-monsters ridden by the orcs in The Lord of the Rings. Varg is another way of avoiding the true word for wolf.
The Celtic languages take avoidance of the word for wolf to an extreme. In the older Celtic languages the Proto-Indo-European word wlkwos vanishes. Instead, some ancient Celtic tribes coopted a different word, derived from the Proto-Indo-European waylos, meaning howler. In Old Irish, a w at the start of a Proto-Indo-European word usually became an f, giving the Old Irish word for wolf, faol, the howling one. The Celts also used the word cù, which means dog, as a means of avoiding the word for wolf. Many ancient Irish heroes and kings, like Cuchulainn or Conchobar, have names apparently based on the word dog, but the meaning was likely that of wolf. In the modern Celtic languages, the taboo remains. Modern Irish uses mac tìre, literally, “son of the land,” since the wolf ranges freely across the countryside, while Scottish Gaelic has cù-allaidh, “wild dog.” In Welsh, the word is blaidd, which is a borrowing from a now lost ancient language of Britain, borrowed so long ago that no other word for wolf descending from Proto-Indo-European is found in the language.
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There are a lot of life lessons in writing. I like this article a lot.
    “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
    — Louis L’Amour
Inspiration is in the doing, not in before the doing. Roger Ebert said this many years ago, and I always think of that quote when I’m writing. You can sit there and think about your story forever. You can outline into next year. You can write bios for your characters that stretch forty pages long. At the end of the day, you need to start writing. Don’t worry if the writing is crap. Don’t worry if the novel isn’t everything you hoped it would be. Just get started.
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One of my athletes, Taylor, sent me this website. It is well worth your time to look it over. I’m not an apocalyptic nightmare scenario guy, but I have lived through earthquakes, floods, Covid lockdowns and massive snowstorms. We have been fine, of course, but the difference between inconvenience and tragedy might be as simple as knowing where the turnoff valves for the water and gas lines.
I like the definition of aging that is discussed here. I’m 63 and I have watched societies definition of the Sixties change as I have marched through life. Successful aging is an important discussion for any reasonable person.
If old age is to be more than a “pitiful appendage,” then we need a way of relating to ourselves, the life course, and death that gives getting older genuine significance. Current constructions of old age in individualistic terms of self-reliance, the fit body, productive accomplishments, or an imperative to deny or defeat aging technologically cannot but deepen our predicament and the need to render it invisible. This is what makes the cultural logic of these constructions irredeemable. They leave us in a cul-de-sac, hemmed in by a predatory commercial culture, a punishing ideology of health, fewer and weaker social ties, an ethic of active striving and mastery, and a mechanistic picture of ourselves. Moving beyond the devaluation of old age requires other orientations and other practices for which we must look elsewhere—to other societies, past or present, and to older traditions.
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That should keep you reading for a bit. This week, I will do some videos, train, read and try to make the world a better place. And, until then, let’s keep on lifting and learning.

For your quick access link, here’s Dan’s full OTP page, including all of his articles, books, lectures and videos, all in one place.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 158

“Well, Wart,” said Kay in an exasperated voice. “Do you want all the rug? And why do you have and mutter so? You were snoring too>”
“I don’t snore,” replied the Wart indignantly.
“You do.”
“I don’t.”
“You do. You snore like a volcano.”
“I don’t.”
“You do.”
“I don’t. And you snore worse.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do.”
“How can I snore worse if you don’t snore at all?”
By the time they had thrashed this out, they were nearly late for breakfast. They dressed hurriedly and ran out into the spring.

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With this, we close Chapter Eighteen. We don’t have far to go. We have a fun adventure coming up next with more magic and a giant, a transfiguration and a visit to London.
If you ever wondered how my brother, Philip, and I talked, you get a sense of it here. I am watching my grandkids bicker and it reminds of my children bickering and it takes me back to my youth with my brother.
There are some cycles (the Circle of LIFE, sing it with me) in this world that don’t need to be kept going. I’m sure someone has a cure for sibling fighting.
Maybe not.
We began this chapter with Wart waiting for Kay to sleep. We went past Kennaquhair to meet Athene, we saw the owls’ dreams and we now have arrived in the morning. I find this chapter to knit much of White’s vision of the universe and we get a front row seat on his vision of nature. Nature is very much alive in The Sword in the Stone.
I think this is part of the reason I love the book. Certainly, this book is a testament to the value of education and the importance of things like kindness and courage, but I also like how “alive” the book is for me. We talk with everyone.
Including trees and stones.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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