Follow me on manhacking

Hey,everyone. I wanted to let you know that I am putting primalfringe on the back burner for a while and focusing instead on a new site called manhacking.

What is manhacking?

Manhacking is kind of the next logical step in the primalfringe journey. I will absolutely be looking at human development (more specifically MY human development) through a historical lens, but I will also be incorporating more things into it. Manhacking attempts to answer – and eventually will answer this question via community – how we make ourselves be the very best we can be, how we find ourselves and work towards becoming not just a Rennaissance men, but a Resurgent men. From literature, to forestry, or needlework to snares, the Resurgent Man is a man infinitely capable, industrious, and critical, but above all, a man living in tune with both his time and his history.

So join me over at manhacking today and start hacking yourself into a Resurgent Man, and your life into a resurgent life.


Calories in =/≠ Calories out ? Or, eating rice and remaining thin?

This is a question that has been hounding me for a while, and a good friend of mine replied to a an article I posted by Gary Taubes: Why the Campaign to Stop America’s Obesity Crisis Keeps Failing. I’ve included the response while redacting his name. His comments are valid and thoughtful, so this is a good opportunity to look at them and at the larger question: Is the equation to obesity really just calories in = calories out, or are there other factors at work which are not accounted for? First, his reply:

Come on, man, you studied physics. Calories in – calories out (all channels, including excretion) = weight change. It’s simple conservation of energy. It *must* be true, as our understanding of physics allows no alternatives. Furthermore, if grains are really the root of all obesity, what the heck is up with Japan? Pretty sure they eat a whole lot of rice! Now one thing that might be true–and that I’m in no position whatsoever to argue about–is that sugars and the like are much easier to consume in a way that leads to habits of over consumption. And it might be true that sugars and the like are high-efficiency calories in that our bodies readily absorb a large fraction of them rather than excrete them. Those two things might be true. But the fundamental equation written above still holds.

My response:

While I agree that if the body were just a calorimeter and we were burning the food and capturing all its energy this would be true. However it is not, and we do not capture all of the energy from food in the same ways. In fact, the metabolic processes involved deconstruct the food in lots of different ways, storing, metabolizing, and converting the food into energy using varied energy pathways.

In addition to this, these metabolic processes, particularly insulin, are altered depending on other actions and activities external to what would be considered the metabolic process. In  the case of insulin, sensitivity is increased as physical activity is increased. Increased insulin sensitivity means that the body produces less insulin to handle the same amount of sugar. Lack of physical activity leads to insulin resistance, which requires the pancreas to secrete more insulin to handle the same amount of sugar. It’s illustrated in the following documentary clip.

That’s all great, but what does that have to do with Asian countries, rice intake, and their relative leanness. Looking in particular at Japan, where obesity rates are in the single digits (~3%), we can garner a lot of information from looking at their normal activity level. Measured Physical Activity and Health Behaviors in US Adults. When compared to Japan, where an average adult takes 7,168 steps per day, the US is woefully deficient, only taking 5,117 steps per day, which works out to about 30-40 minutes of work each day. (see also this article from the NY Times which looks at the previously mentioned study).

Why is this important? Insulin sensitivity was improved in overweight patients during a study which put patients on an intense lifestyle modification program. In short, the abstract states “In this analysis, the most powerful determinant of improved insulin sensitivity in overweight coronary artery disease patients is the change in PAEE (physical activity energy expenditure)”. So we begin to see a trend of better insulin sensitivity in some Asian populations (in this case the Japanese) due to their generally more physically active lifestyle than the insulin sensitivity of people in the US. This correlates (which I agree is not causation) quite well to the difference in obesity percentages between the two countries.

In addition to this, caloric intake is different in Japan than in the US. Japan enjoys mostly whole foods as their primary source of intake. In the US, caloric sources are more likely than not to be some sort of a processed food product (everything from hot dogs and raviolis to Hungry Man frozen dinners and Hamburger Helper). In fact, the US has 17,000 new food products made available to them every year. You can have an entire meal of prepared and processed foods without even trying. You might be able to make it through an entire month without repeating any part of any meal (well, maybe breakfast). While the Japanese may enjoy rice, they also enjoy it as a part of a larger meal filled with generally nutritious and unprocessed and natural foods.

So yes, in a calorimeter, a calorie is a calorie. In a human, the metabolic processes make it much more muddled than that.

Additional Reading:

Workout 4

Today’s workout involves pull ups. There are lots of ways to make or buy pull up bars, and you should absolutely have one.

How to build a pull up bar: (couple of different options)

 There are also pull up bars which will hang on a door jamb. (Please note that if you’re very tall, these will not work very well for you). These will work fine for most people.

The workout today is the following:

Warm up
Run 400 m. 15-12-9 Pull ups, Flutter Kicks, and Walking Lunges. The walking lunges should be performed

Cool Down and Stretch

Pull ups
Flutter Kicks
Walking Lunges

Ingredients – “Pay the doctor or pay the farmer” – the choice is yours

Incredients, a documentary about the local food movement, focusing a good bit of its time on the local food movement in Oregon and the rest on local food producers outside of New York City, is a beautifully made and constructed documentary. It provides clear insights, real-world situations, and thoughtful conjecture. It is not overly alarmist or inciting. It is a calm, fond look at local farming and how we can all, individually, make it a part of our lives.

Continue reading

Workout #1

I will be developing workouts for the next 30 days to accompany the 30 day challenge. This programming is not meant to supplant or even supplement an existing strength and/or conditioning program that you are involved with, but rather for people that do not have any existing plan. My goal is to make this program accessible to people at home with minimal or no supplies. If you choose to follow this workout routine, you do it of your own accord.

NOTE: I will not be held responsible for any injury whatsoever accrued from following this regimen. You are in the drivers seat and you know if and when something is too much. If it’s too much, stop. Take your time, focus on listening to your body, be safe, work on successful and correct completion of each movement. If you have any concerns or conditions which concern you, talk with your doctor before starting any workout routine. Continue reading

Paleo Thai Larb

Today for dinner we adapted a recipe from “Glorious One-Pot Meals” called Thai Larb. For those of you that don’t know, Larb is a meal that is considered the national dish of Laos, as well as being a staple in parts of Thailand. I had never heard of this before, but rest assured the paleofication of this meal was simple. It makes an affordable, filling and healthy meal, and for the most part it’s pretty simple to make. So let’s get down to business and take a look at the recipe and instructions.

  • Cooking fat (coconut oil is probably the best option for Thai food) – subbed in for Canola Oil Spray (or as I like to call it, the devil)
  • 1 head of cauliflower, grated – subbed in for 1 cup Jasmine rice
  • 1 lime, zested
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 c lime juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar (dunno if this is considered ‘paleo’ or not, but no sleep lost over this)
  • 1.5 tbsp honey – subbed in for brown sugar
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 scallions (green onions), chopped
  • 1 bell pepper (orange or red)
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh mint
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 head of chopped green cabbage
  • 1 c. snow peas

Make this in a cast iron skillet. Grease well with cooking fat.

Add a layer of riced cauliflower, spread evenly.

Add all ingredients except meat, mint, cabbage, and snow peas. Add meat to ensure it ends up crumbled. Add mint.

Arrange clumps of meat mixture over the cauliflower. Do not pack together – mixture should be loose.

Add a thick layer of cabbage and top with snow peas.

Cover and bake for 45 minutes @ 450 degrees. Serve hot.

And it’s some good stuff. Make a lot, because you’ll want to go back for more.

A little rooster sauce adds a nice kick, too.


Dealing with Plantar Fasciitis

First there was turtleneck and chain, now there's towel and ball.

First off – I’ve been fighting with plantar fasciitis for a while, now. Like years, off and on. Years ago I treated with off the shelf orthotics (Superfeet) with relative success. However, for the last year and a half or so – and really the last 8 months – I’ve been transitioning to barefoot and barefoot analogue shoes – both vibram five fingers and Merrell’s ‘Glove’ line. (Full disclosure – I prefer the Merrell’s and they have become my everyday goto shoes.) Continue reading

Thursday hike night

The great white mountain

Tonight my brother in law and I took a quick hike up to Mason Lake in the Cascades. We had both taken off a little early from work so we could make the whole trip without the need for flashlights. As it was, it worked out just perfectly. Continue reading

Solving problems, fostering hope

From steps to chairs to trees and beyond

“The world is collapsing/around our ears/I turned up the radio…”

– Michael Stipe, R.E.M.

This has been a topic that’s been brewing for a while, and was recently resurfaced when Peggy ( stated the following in a reply to a comment: “…I don’t think “hope” is about the world being saved. I think we should accept that we are out of control as a species. It’s fine. That’s the path nature is taking with us. “Hope” is a bit narrower to me. I have “hope” that each of us as individuals can figure out ways to skirt around all the mess the rest of the world leaves. And there is hope for that, as long as we all keep trying…” ( Continue reading