Author Topic: Born to run - Tarahumara, Barefoot running, POSE method, Chi running, Egoscue...  (Read 24082 times)

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Offline Michael

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Hi all,

I've recently finished reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall.  What a fantastic book about ultra-running, the culture of the Tarahumara indians of the Copper Canyon, anthropology, persistent hunting etc!  I'd highly recommend this book to anyone interested in running (or not!) and think it would appeal to many here as (despite it's dietary advice & commentary) it sits well with the interests of primal lifestyles.  It's also just a wonderfully gripping adventure true-story.

I've never been interested in running previously but have been inspired by this book and am now looking to take up running as my main mode of transport!!  (rather ambitious I admit!)  :)

At 38yrs old, I realise that I need to do this in an intelligent manner and am now investigating different running techniques, body alignment exercises, barefoot running possibilities etc with a view to avoiding injury.  I know that some of you guys have mentioned some of this stuff in the past so would be extremely interested in any thoughts or experiences in these matters?

I've spent the last 3 months following a daily exercise program utilising the Egoscue method which promises to re-align correct body posture.  I'm seeing definite improvements already!  Has anyone else had experience of the Egoscue method?

More recently, I've been looking into running techniques to prevent injury and increase efficiency.  The methods described in Born To Run of the world's greatest ultra-runners - the Tarahumara indians - along with modern scientific techniques such as Dr Romanov's POSE Method have all piqued my interest.  However, these styles with their fore/mid foot landings seem to conflict with Egoscue which relies on the accepted Heal-Toe method when body alignment has been corrected.

What are your thoughts on Egoscue, POSE, Chi running, barefoot running, Tarahumara style etc???


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Offline Guittarman03

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I'm in to the Egoscue method.  Great stuff.  I take his books as a starting point, as I have used other methods for realignment and strengthening to great benefit as well.  His books are written for the lowest common denominator (the mostly sedentary), and will put you back to a good state, but b/c it is a book, cannot be tailor made to your individual dysfunction, though it will greatly alleviate most of them. 

For example, he doesn't have much that deals with rotator cuff strenghtening, which was the source of my elbow and wrist problems for years.  When my girlfirend (a phys trainer) had me work on the rotator cuff, my elbow and wrist problems have all but disappeared.  But Egoscue mentions very little of that in his books - I also lift weights and do gymnastics, I'm sure that adds an element of complexity.

I used to be a sprinter, and I will tell you that once you reach certain speeds, tip toe is the fastest and most efficient way of moving.  I'm sure that some long dist runners can sustain these speeds.  But just jogging, yeah, heel-to-toe may be acceptable.  When jogging/running barefoot I tend to land on the front of my foot alot more to better absorb shock.  Also, I think that when Egoscue says we are supposed to land h-t-t, he's prob referring more to walking than running.  I'm not an expert, so that's really just a SWAG (scientific wild ass guess).

My thoughts on taking up different forms of running at 38:  start slowly, take breaks often if you need them, and perhaps most importantly, make an appointment with a sports alignment/rehab specialist.  They will help spot sources of dysfunction that you may never have noticed, and can give you a tailor made program for your pariticular quirks.  Stretch and try to become as flexible as possible in many different planes, and do lots of ankle rotations.

Good luck!
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Offline van

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google barefoot running.   I forget his name, but Dan something does long distance races all on the forefoot, as well as Charles in the zc forum, as well as myself.   A good place to get used to it is on a poured rubber track or at the beach if you have one or the other.  At first your calves get sore.  So stretch and strenghthen as you go. 

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Offline PaleoPhil

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google barefoot running.   I forget his name, but Dan something does long distance races all on the forefoot, as well as Charles in the zc forum, as well as myself.   A good place to get used to it is on a poured rubber track or at the beach if you have one or the other.  At first your calves get sore.  So stretch and strenghthen as you go. 
Van is right. There's tons of info on the Net and we've discussed this in this forum here, including a very good Esther Gokhale somewhere here. Once you've done a fair amount of research, report what you've found and let us know if you have additional questions.

I wouldn't advocate h-t-t for anything, especially not the exaggerated rolling motion that gets advocated a lot by the mass media and some shoe companies, though my own walking in Vivo Barefoot shoes currently resembles more of a landing-flat walk or very slight h-t-t than fox walking. I suspect that fox walking is more for special situations like hunting or stalking, or maybe my arches are just not strong enough so that I don't naturally fox walk in bare feet. I'm not sure.

If you run in bare feet, you'll see that heel-running is not good, because you'll feel the full force of the pounding that comes from heel running.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline Michael

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Phil, I was really just interested in the thoughts/opinions of people on this forum as I respect many on here - past and present - having been a member since Sept 08 (unfortunately, I don't have the opportunity to get on as much as I'd like!).  I've read on here before similar topics of conversation but wanted to bring these various subjects together for a comparative discussion.  I've already done much research on the net and read the views and thoughts of others.  Of course, I am continuing to do this also.

Good to hear that you're also into Egoscue, Guitarman.  I agree that the books are not sufficient to be relied upon alone.  I've actually paid for a tailored service through the Egoscue website which involves uploading personal standing posture photos for receiving analysis, diagnosis and a prescriptive exercise plan.  I've been doing this for the last 3 months and it's been working well.  Do you still run or sprint?  How did you used to find your proneness to injury with your forefoot landing technique?

I've been building up my foot strength slowly so far by lots of walking in minimalist/barefoot shoes.  In a few weeks I hope to slowly start introducing some running.

Any thoughts on the POSE method?  This seems to be an accepted method with many of the barefoot community including Barefoot Ted and Ken Bob Barefoot.  Anybody here practice it?
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Offline Guittarman03

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I played 1.5 hrs of tennis plus 30 mins of sprints 5 days a week back in high school.  I never really worried about technique and I never really had many problems with injury, but I was 10 years younger, more resilient, and hadn't devloped much dysfunction.  I still do some light sprints about once a week, and also lift legs in the gym.   

I broke at least 7 bones in my left mid foot a few years ago, so I tend to not push too hard.  I'm not really into the different forms of running other than the occasional shoe'd jog or rare barefoot jog through a grass park.  I'm playing a little tennis today.  Should be fun.   

POSE looks intersesting.  I'm not sure if it will do much for injury prevention, but it looks like it has potential for increasing long distance running times.  It looks more like an energy conservation technique, I don't think it will do much to increase sprinting times as the form for greatest speed is quite different. 

If you're looking to prevent injury, run on grass or the beach, and do tons of ankle rotations.  It will keep away shin splints.  Also, be sure to mix it up.  Some days do sprints, lunges, frog leaps, etc.  Other days run a mile for time, and still other days go for a 5k.  Try not to get locked in to solely long distance running, as it probably isn't all that great for the body.  Mix it up alot, and make sure to take care of the upper body as well: push-ups, pull-ups, body weight exercises.   

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Offline PaleoPhil

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OK, I'm not sure exactly what you're after, Michael, but here goes: I hadn't heard of Egoscue until you mentioned it, so I checked out a Website and liked the static-back pose they showed there. That's the sort of simple, low-impact, physiologically safe exercise I gravitate toward, but the lingo was a bit technical for me.

POSE, Chi running, barefoot running, and Tarahumara style all looked good to me when I learned a bit about them from Barefoot Ken Bob's site, Youtube, etc. I found them during a search for info about toes-first walking after I learned about Paleo diets, which in turn caused me to remember a scene from a TV movie I had seen years ago. It was a detective movie. A Native American looked at the footprint of a murderer and told the European-American detective that it was the footprint of a white man.  The detective asked how he knew that and the Native American said it was because the print was of someone who walks heel-first, instead of toes-first "like an Indian." It occurred to me that maybe that's the way all human beings used to walk. I think now that "toes-first" is a bit of an exaggeration, but not far from the truth. Pounding one's heels and thus shocking one's musculoskeletal system is definitely not the way to go. Heels on shoes were apparently not common until the 1500s and are an abomination.

I also recommend checking out the Esther Gokhale video that was posted somewhere in this forum, if you haven't already.

If you have any specific questions, let me know.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 03:51:12 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline djr_81

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I'm firmly in the toe-heel camp on this one (after reading about and migrating towards barefoot walking/running here on the site).
At first my speed, endurance, and efficiency did go down when I switched but over time I realized this was more due to an over-exaggeration of foot movement. Once I evened out a more flat footstrike things got better. I didn't notice a big overall change in endurance to be honest but I did have less soreness in my knees which was more than enough for me.
My ultra-flat feet did get a noticeable arch back to them after a while too which was nice.  ;D
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Offline Michael

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Phil - Thanks for the recommendation to investigate the work of Esther Gokhale.  I couldn't seem to find the link on this forum but Googled her name and have justt watched one of her videos on YouTube.  It looks most interesting.  I think I'll get her book from Amazon and look into it further.

You're certainly right about Egoscue.  It is very low-impact, safe and non-strenuous exercise.  I've fell asleep more than once doing some of the exercises which I don't expect will happen whilst running!!   :)  From first impressions, Egoscue and Gokhale don't seem to compliment each other as their respective ideas of what constitutes 'natural' body structure/form seem in fundamental opposition.  But, it will be interesting to investigate and experiment with both and upon further reading I may discover that's not actually the case.  Essentially, I expect they both have something to offer.

Good to hear that you, too, had previously considered and reflected upon these various techniques.  Your observation of the Native American movie clip is very interesting and must've been quite an epiphany.  Likewise, I'm certainly leaning away from the heel-strike philosophy at this point in time.  I'd highly recommend the Born To Run book if you've demonstrated an interest in these areas in the past.  I think it'll appeal to your inquisitive nature in addition to being a great read!


GuitarMan - Thanks for your further thoughts.  You sporting prowess leaves my own in the shadows so it's useful to gain insights into your personal experiences.  I hope the tennis went well?!  I'm longing for spring to get in a few more games of grass-court tennis!  The POSE method does seem to be mainly about gaining 'efficiency' but also promotes significant reduction in proneness to injury.  I have ordered Dr Ramanov's book so will post later updates with thoughts and progress.  Thanks for the further tips for injury prevention.  I've been doing alot of ankle work with my Egoscue exercises (incl rotations) so hope to reap the reward of these.  I was also interested in your suggestions to mix it up - particularly after reading Dr Harris' thoughts on marathon running on his PaNu blog (http://www.paleonu.com/panu-weblog/2009/11/1/cardio-causes-heart-disease.html).  Some food for thought there and a subject worthy of a new topic of discussion here on RPF!


1. When offered something that is too good to be true. It is.
2. Greed and fear are poor states of mind in which to make decisions; like shopping at the supermarket when you are hungry.
3. Exponential growth is mathematically unsustainable.

Offline Michael

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djr_81 - Wow!  That's great positive feedback to hear.  How long have you been running with the new techniques?  How frequently and what kind of distances are you covering?  Are you running barefoot or in minimalist shoes?  Have you had any injuries since adopting the new style?  I think the change of foot shape alone is significant evidence of correct technique being applied.  Congratulations!!   :)
1. When offered something that is too good to be true. It is.
2. Greed and fear are poor states of mind in which to make decisions; like shopping at the supermarket when you are hungry.
3. Exponential growth is mathematically unsustainable.

Offline djr_81

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I ran very consistently from August until early October (5 weekday mornings [and some nights if I had too much energy] a week it was 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 mile runs, I'd run longer on Saturday mornings in the 4-6 mile range). Once the colder weather and darker mornings started my willpower to get out the door and run drained. Even with the extra light due to daylight savings time I haven't been out in the mornings. I just catch infrequent runs now if I feel so inclined. I'll go back to regular runs in March/April when it gets warmer out. I also am hoping my cold tolerance is better next winter so I can run year-round.
I was biking too and this went much the same way. I did get a 28 mile ride in for my birthday last August which felt great after ~12 years of almost no riding. ;D

I've been running since late June or early July. Switched techniques sometime in August.
I run in Vibram Five-Finger shoes. I have run barefoot a couple of times but push it too far distance-wise each time and end up with painful callouses.
No injuries since the change and the aggravation I did have to my Illiotibial Band lessened when I switched.

Of note, my knee has had intermittent pain since I stopped running daily. I think the warming up and loosening I did with a morning run helps keep my joints flexible.
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Offline Michael

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That sounds similar to my own expectations in terms of distance and frequency djr.  I can relate to your reluctance now that winter is upon us.  Perhaps a time for more sedentary exercises in preparation for spring such as Egoscue?  That's my own timescale.  I'm starting to build up my foot strength now with barefoot/minimalist footwear walks and will perhaps do a little running but don't expect to start running seriously until the spring.  By then, I will also be moved home and will be surrounded by countryside for preferred cross-country runs.

Good to hear about your experiences with reduced pain/injuries.  If the thoughts shared in Born To Run are to be believed it's no surprise that your knees were better when running.  We're designed to move!
1. When offered something that is too good to be true. It is.
2. Greed and fear are poor states of mind in which to make decisions; like shopping at the supermarket when you are hungry.
3. Exponential growth is mathematically unsustainable.

Offline PaleoPhil

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I'm firmly in the toe-heel camp on this one (after reading about and migrating towards barefoot walking/running here on the site).
At first my speed, endurance, and efficiency did go down when I switched but over time I realized this was more due to an over-exaggeration of foot movement. Once I evened out a more flat footstrike things got better.  ...
It's interesting that you're tending to a flat footstrike too. I don't know whether this is an intermediate step for former heel-strikers like us, or the natural way of walking and jogging. Forefoot running on the upper ball and toes of the foot does seem to be the best sprinting method and is how Usain Bolt runs. It's only a matter of time before all sprinters copy him and the other world-class sprinters who forefoot-strike. I wonder if other sprinters will also copy his type of diet that stresses tubers like yams over grains? That's an improvement, at least.

Quote
Good to hear that you, too, had previously considered and reflected upon these various techniques.  Your observation of the Native American movie clip is very interesting and must've been quite an epiphany.
Yes, it surprised me that some people walked the opposite way that European-Americans do, or that there was a different way of walking at all, so I remembered it years later. Little unusual details like that strike me for some reason. They may seem unimportant to most people, but they signal to me that something much bigger is going on here. Something revolutionary (or reactionary, depending on how you look at it ;) ).

Does anyone else here recognize the enormity of what all these various things that we're learning add up to? That much of what civilization has taught us is wrong, beginning with very basic things like the food we eat, how we walk, stand, sit and go to the bathroom, for heaven's sake? That we moderners are mere babes in the woods when it comes to knowing how to live as human beings were designed/adapted to live? That often times you can do the opposite of what the "experts" recommend and get better results (not all the time, of course)? That the "savages" who our forefathers conquered actually knew how to do many things better, and our forefathers should have been asking them for advice instead of enslaving and killing them? As the British said when the rural, ragtag army of George Washington soundly thrashed them: the world is turned upside down.

Quote
I'd highly recommend the Born To Run book if you've demonstrated an interest in these areas in the past.  I think it'll appeal to your inquisitive nature in addition to being a great read!
Yes, I read an article about it when it first came out and added it to my to-read list, thanks.

And yes, Guitarman's--as well as SkinnyDevil's--athletic prowess is quite impressive.

I have also developed better arches on formerly flat feet, but most of the improvement came from diet alone, before I bought barefoot-style shoes. The shoes have seemed to increase the strenght of my calves and toes, however, which is important for barefoot-style walking. My nephew scoffed at my barefoot-style shoes and said they must require extra work from my calves (which was a brilliant observation). I said something like "Yes, that's the point. They exercise them so your calves get stronger." He was silent, so I think this made sense to him.

So many of the modern innovations remove the work as a "convenience," "time saver," "labor-saver," or are "fashion accessories," but the result when combined with modern foods is atrophy of the joints and muscles. Modern shoes with their raised heels are one of those atrophying devices. High-heeled shoes are the worst. They must have been designed by some Middle-Ages dungeon torturer. I would never wear those if I were a woman, and I knew this intuitively even before I knew about Paleo and barefoot walking. They are patently insane. I cringe when I see women teeter on them, and often topple or trip and strain their ankles. Madness! And I don't blame the women, for I presume they are doing what they think is required of them by society.

...I'll go back to regular runs in March/April when it gets warmer out. I also am hoping my cold tolerance is better next winter so I can run year-round.....
I find that eating lots of fat and avoiding carbs improves my cold tolerance. My hands still get cold, but they no longer get painful and stiff like they used to from cold. YMMV


« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 10:29:31 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline djr_81

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It's interesting that you're tending to a flat footstrike too. I don't know whether this is an intermediate step for former heel-strikers like us, or the natural way of walking and jogging. Forefoot running on the upper ball and toes of the foot does seem to be the best sprinting method and is how Usain Bolt runs. It's only a matter of time before all sprinters copy him and the other world-class sprinters who forefoot-strike. I wonder if other sprinters will also copy his type of diet that stresses tubers like yams over grains? That's an improvement, at least.
As I mentioned I began with a full forefoot strike but when I softened this back into a less dramatic forefoot strike my efficiency went up. I'd say I strike at a 10-15* angle with the toes and forefoot flat. If I up the intensity I do have a larger angled strike but this isn't sustainable, for me, over long distances. I get maximum push of this way but fatigue quicker. :)

I find that eating lots of fat and avoiding carbs improves my cold tolerance. My hands still get cold, but they no longer get painful and stiff like they used to from cold. YMMV
I've had this to a point but I'm not as cold tolerant as others on here yet.
I used to get arthritis in my hands when it was too cold out and this disappeared when I cut the offending foods out of my diet (pre-raw days).

So, I'd been fairly sedentary the past month due to the cold but yesterday was beautiful out (~60*F) and I took advantage of it to do some stuff around the house. I did some car repairs (gotta love exhaust systems and salted roads in the winter l)) and then moved a large section of a chain-link fence by about 8 feet which involved a lot of vine trimming and exertion pulling it out. Slept like a rock due to the exercise and woke up very rested which is a welcome change (I've been waking up tired feeling since I changed to raw but it usually goes away in 5-10 minutes). I put on a heavy hat and insulated gloves and went for a run. It felt fantastic and I'm going to try to stick to it through winter anyways. You definitely need to work it into your routine Michael, it really makes the rest of the day that much better. ;D
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Offline Michael

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djr - Well done on the winter exercise and run.  I'm not surprised it helped you sleep like a baby!  (although not MY baby I might add!!!)  :)
I am certainly itching to get out for a run but am taking note of the advice to take it extremely carefully when adapting my feet from 'shoe prison'.  In addition to my existing VFF, my new pair of FeelMax Niesa's arrived recently.  They're amazing!  The sole's are made in colaboration with Continental Tires and feel more like walking in barefeet than any other minimalist shoe I have.  The highly durable sole made from CeraPrene UHAR (lSee http://www.benecke-kaliko.de/pages/produkte/mtp/sub/mar/mar_ceraprene_uhar_en.html) is just 1mm thick!!  I can feel every crack and pebble walking around my streets and even the raised metalwork on draincovers!  They also appear very waterproof.  The only downside is that the toebox seems a little restricted for my wide feet.  Otherwise, highly recommended!  Another week or 2 walking and then i may try a little running.

I think you have your technique correct djr with the angle of foot landing.  From what I've read so far, one should aim for a fore/mid foot landing and use the legs to pull off rather than an exaggerated rolling motion with the foot incorporating the calf muscle.  According to the POSE method, this is far more efficient and enables greater sustainability over long distances.  I haven't studied the technique in any great detail yet but it sounds as though you're applying similar methodology.

Phil - Spot on!  Isn't it just incredible when the realisation takes hold that all of the basic tenets of how we're supposed to live are totally incorrect!  I find that it it becomes increasingly difficult to live within the compromised boundaries of recognised society.  Fortunately, more and more homo sapiens sapiens are peeking through the ajar doors of perception!  Will we sustain our own existence long enough to reach a critical mass during the clamour for survival?!



1. When offered something that is too good to be true. It is.
2. Greed and fear are poor states of mind in which to make decisions; like shopping at the supermarket when you are hungry.
3. Exponential growth is mathematically unsustainable.

Offline Nicole_German

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I run very long distances and never get inured. I attribute that to my running technique and the fact that I do run on a consistent basis.
I believe that we evolved as long distance runners (as the research of Liebermann for example suggests) and that the body needs exercise in order to be healthy, just as it needs the diet it evolved on.
In the past my knees would swell and hurt and my doc said it was arthritis. Ever since I have eliminated grains from my diet I never had that again...
To my mind runners that have injuries are either starting out too fast (meaning they dont give their bodies enough time to get used to the stress), have an "unnatural" technique or eat foods that are poisoning. Most often a combination of the three... ;)
Cheers
Nicole

Offline miles

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Barefoot running ftw.
5-10% off your first purchase at http://www.iherb.com/ with dicount code: KIS978

Offline TylerDurden

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Here's a very recent Daily Telegraph article on those Indians running barefoot:-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/6968891/Why-expensive-trainers-could-be-worse-than-useless.html

Offline Stig of the Dump

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Hi all,

I've recently finished reading Born To Run by Christopher McDougall.  What a fantastic book about ultra-running, the culture of the Tarahumara indians of the Copper Canyon, anthropology, persistent hunting etc!  I'd highly recommend this book to anyone interested in running (or not!) and think it would appeal to many here as (despite it's dietary advice & commentary) it sits well with the interests of primal lifestyles.  It's also just a wonderfully gripping adventure true-story.
Thanks for the book recommendation.  I need some inspiration to start some proper exercise and gyms just feel stuffy and noisy to me.

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In chapter 28 of Born to Run, McDougall discusses the evolution of man in several different respects to demonstrate that we have developed as long distance runners with the ability to exhaust prey which can not run at high speeds for long distances. He continues to discuss the diet of our evolutionary predecessors and cites a common theory that explains the development of our brain was due to a diet rich with protein and fat:

"Everyone knew that at some point in history, early humans got access to a big supply of protein, which allowed their brains to expand like a thirsty sponge in a bucket of water."

"Liberman could pinpoint the exact moment when the caveman menu changed: it had to be two millions years ago, when apelike Australopithecus--with his tiny brain, giant jaw, and billy-goat diet of tough, fibrous plants--evolved into Homo-erectus, our slim, long-legged ancestor with the bed head and small, tearing teeth perfectly suited for raw flesh and soft fruits.

Now the reason my interest had been piqued is because of the prevalence of a zero-card diet. This implies a diet heavy in proteins and fats. According to the research of McDougall, however, as "running men" homo-erectus and homo-sapiens are designed to be light on their feet in order to catch prey where as the Neanderthal was able to enjoy a diet rich in animal fats and proteins because they needed to be more muscular in order to hunt large, slow land mammals (mammoth, elk, buffalo) in groups.

"Neanderthals wouldn't touch bug and dirt food; they ate meat and only meat, and not gristly, little antelopes, either. Neanderthals went Grade A all the way: bears, bison, and elk marbled with juicy fat, rhinos with livers rich in iron, mammoths with luscious, oily brains and bones dripping with lip-smacking marrow. Try chasing monsters like those, though, and they'll be chasing you. The Neanderthals would lure them into ambushes and launch a pincer attack ,storming from all sides with eight-foot wooden lances."

Then comes the end of the Ice Age and the Earth experiences a period of global warming.

"The new climate was great for Running Men; the antelope herds exploded and feasts of plump roots were pushing up all over the savannah."

However, it is the following excerpt which leads me to believe that while foods should be eaten as close to pure as possible (that means dirty, raw, and fermented) but a diet strictly of raw meat (such as in a zero-carb diet) would be better suited for the parallel species the Neanderthal. Because we are not Neanderthal, should we not indulge in a diet more suitable for our species?

"The Running Man could get a load of meat by running, but they couldn't run with a belly load of meat, so most of the time they carbo-loaded on roots and fruits, saving the antelope chops for special, calorie-boosting occasions. Everyone scavenged together... but... [the Running Man was] more likely to dine on grubs than wild game."

==

In light of this, my ancestry, and my body build, I think a diet that McDougall promotes would be ideal compared to a diet that is too rich in animal foods.

Any thoughts?

Offline PaleoPhil

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"Neanderthals wouldn't touch bug and dirt food"

How would he know that? I'm disappointed that he wrote that. I hope he was joking.

"and feasts of plump roots were pushing up all over the savannah."

I doubt that many here disagree with eating roots that are edible raw, it's those of the tubers that require cooking, such as white and sweet potatoes, that are controversial here.
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline zeno

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As for the bug and dirt food quote, I'm not certain of the veracity of McDougall's point.

My only point was that in light of McDougall's perspective, wouldn't it be more appropriate to balance the intake of animal proteins and fats with tubers, fruits and nuts? Going to the extreme of a pure raw meat diet sounds better suited for the Neanderthal--that is, if you found your argument along historical traditions of our primitive predecessors.

Obviously, the effects of the modern SAD diet are detrimental for the gene pool of homo-sapiens, but my curiosity lies in the implications of a zero-carb diet for homo-sapiens. I suppose, when reflected upon, there may be some answers in cultures, that although being homo-sapiens, still rely a diet predominantly consisting of animal foods, such as the Inuit.

Upon first pondering the idea of homo-sapiens thriving on a mixed diet I thought the idea of a zero-carb diet suddenly seemed foolish, but I suppose there are examples of homo-sapiens thriving on such diets despite the hypothesis McDougall proposes.

Offline PaleoPhil

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My only point was that in light of McDougall's perspective, wouldn't it be more appropriate to balance the intake of animal proteins and fats with tubers, fruits and nuts? Going to the extreme of a pure raw meat diet sounds better suited for the Neanderthal--that is, if you found your argument along historical traditions of our primitive predecessors.
Possibly. Even Lex suggests that most people might be better off including a little salad and berries in their diet, and there's some evidence from the diet-book-Dr. McDougall and others that starches can be beneficial, but I don't know for sure.

Today's cooked tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes weren't consumed by Stone Agers, but are instead stand-ins for Stone Age foods (which I've never seen Dr. McDougall or Don Matesz or any other promoter of cooked tubers discuss). Where I suspect that Dr. McDougall and others go wrong is in (apparently) assuming that today's cooked tubers are equally as beneficial as Stone Age African tubers. One thing I found in my readings is that some of the African tubers that were consumed by Stone Agers were actually legume tubers that are edible raw (and most of the others were apparently herb tubers). Thus, they were probably more like jicama (another legume tuber) than potatoes. Ground nuts were also eaten raw. They are also legumes and the closest equivalent in the USA is peanuts. Does this mean I should eat lots of tuberous or nutty legumes that are edible raw? Not necessarily. Besides, these foods are much rarer in the USA than in Africa. I've never seen raw peanuts for sale and the only legume tuber I've seen for sale so far is jicama and there's no guarantee that it's as healthy as African legume tubers (though I just bought one, coincidentally--I'm giving it another try after not liking it at all on first try, and so far I'm liking it better).

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Obviously, the effects of the modern SAD diet are detrimental for the gene pool of homo-sapiens, but my curiosity lies in the implications of a zero-carb diet for homo-sapiens. I suppose, when reflected upon, there may be some answers in cultures, that although being homo-sapiens, still rely a diet predominantly consisting of animal foods, such as the Inuit.
One must be careful when making conclusions based on the Inuit or any other single extreme culture, as their genetics may be different from yours and the foods available to them likely were/are (for example, you probably can't get whale or seal where you are). I would look at all the hunter gatherer and traditional peoples rather than focus on a single culture.

The idea of eating only cooked muscle meat, butter and water like some at ZIOH do never made sense to me and has no equivalent in Inuit or any other culture. Eating some meat raw and including organs and marrow or suet like Lex does makes a hell of a lot more sense (I think that most folks who exclude organs and fat depot foods from their diet do so more because of taste preference and social reasons than real health reasons--for example, CW admitted to not eating liver because he can't stand the taste--and they tend to seek info that will justify their preference to not eat these foods, which appears to be an unwise course), but is not necessarily optimal for all in the long run. There are no guarantees.

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Upon first pondering the idea of homo-sapiens thriving on a mixed diet I thought the idea of a zero-carb diet suddenly seemed foolish, but I suppose there are examples of homo-sapiens thriving on such diets despite the hypothesis McDougall proposes.
I don't think humans are limited to Inuit or Dr. McDougall diets. If that were the case then I doubt that humans would have come to dominate the planet. Our flexibility and adaptability enabled that. For that reason I'm comfortable with people calling us omnivores, regardless of whether an omnivore diet is necessarily optimal or not and whether the term is scientific or not. I'm also comfortable with the term "facultative faunivore" and and maybe even "facultative starchivore" (a diet emphasizing roots, tubers that are edible raw, nuts and organs like liver, with other foods?). :P As Lex has said, no one really knows for sure what Stone Agers ate or what the optimal diet is for humans, so when someone says that the Inuit diet or the McDougall diet is optimal for all, it seems more like wishful thinking than science.

I'm comfortable with uncertainty re: humans as a whole, though it's interesting to explore. What's more relevant to me is whether I can further improve my remaining health issues. If an Inuit diet will do it, then fine, if Dr. McDougall's starchy diet, then fine. So far for me it's been more Inuit-like than McDougall-like that has been working for me, but that says nothing about what will work for you. It's up to you to figure that out.

To bring us back on topic, it's also the case that no one knows for sure (yet) whether humans are optimally adapted to run long distances rather than sprint. So scientists and bloggers will probably continue to debate various forms of both diet and exercise for the foreseeable future.

My current guess on diet for me, based on what I've learned and experienced, is to eat a hunter-gatherer-style diet composed of the foods I seem to tolerate best, which happens to be foods that don't require cooking, interestingly, and happens to be low carb (but others report faring better on high carb). As for exercise, both the Tarahumara and world-class sprinters seem to be rather healthy, so either method may be beneficial. I like the way that sprinters and weight lifters look better than the way the Tarahumara look, so I tilt more in the sprinter direction, but I don't know that it's necessarily healthier. Art De Vany and others think it is, but Born to Run says otherwise and no one really knows for certain. It's an interesting puzzle--maybe both are equally healthy. If I had to guess I would say a mixture of the two might be best for most (such as occasional long-distance running and more frequent sprinting and weight lifting of a MovNat natural sort, done outdoors and in nature as much as possible), with individual genetic variation.

It's info like the following that prevents me from ruling out meat-heavy diets as potentially healthy for some people:

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H. ergaster seems to have evolved during a long period of terrible drought which dried out tropical rainforests and created vast deserts.

This human species was equipped to cope with heat. They would have been smooth and largely hairless, allowing them to sweat more efficiently. H. ergaster could also travel and hunt in the middle of the day, when most animals rest.

And we know that he travelled long distances because he did not stay in Africa. A hungry meat eater, ergaster became the first human to leave Africa and colonise Asia.

(Why is there only one human species? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13874671)
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline zeno

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Thank you for the insight!  :D

Because I can only source high quality meat, my diet has slanted to a zero-carb diet. Since beginning this diet, I know that raw meat is a powerful food that I want to incorporate into my diet definitely, but there seems to be something missing. I don't feel comfortable relying solely on meat--it feels unnatural and unbalanced. I like the idea of snacking on tubers and fruits. Domesticated fruits and tubers, however, are much too sugary or inedible in their raw state.

I'm curious to know what these beneficial tubers are that could have been eaten raw from Africa? You mentioned jicama. Does anyone know of any others?

Do you have any recommendations when experimenting with one's diet, Phil?


 

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