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Nutrition Diet, supplements, weightloss, health & longevity

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Old 02-19-2003, 09:57 AM   #1
Robert Tappan
 
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Hi All,

Just out of curiosity, since much of Bass's site is referenced in the CFJ and other places in the CF methodology, I wonder why the favoring of paleo eating over Clarence's approach (i.e. relatively low-fat, high-card, mod-protein)?

I'd like to see critiques and criticisms, or even hunches why one is to be preffered over the other.

Thanks!
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Old 02-19-2003, 11:15 AM   #2
Robert Wolf
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If one buys into the theory of evolution...paleo is what we and our prehuman ancestors ate for millions of years. The neolithic defines the transition from a huntergatherer economy to agriculture and domestication of animals. The standard of health of primitive agriculturalists was abysmall compared to that of their HG predicessors.

I think coach mentions around here somewhere that what Bass advocates is a good step above the current diet of most americans...but it is NOT optimal. All of the articles at www.thepaleodiet.com are excellent (and free) but I am just struk dumb by the sample diet here:
http://www.thepaleodiet.com/articles/JANA%20final.pdf
Why? Because eating this way is like taking a nutritional supplement! This is perhaps the most convincing point: If one puts the ADA recomended diet for your theoretical 70kg person it is IMPOSSIBLE to reach measly RDA levels of virtually all vitamins and minerals. Let that sink in for a moment. We are being told to eat a diet which even after it is "enriched" ( bread, pasta etc) it WILL lead to nutrient deficiencies in a sedentary person...to say nothing of the demands of an athlete to say nothing of the benefits of ingesting vitamins and minerals at levels well above the RDA. When the nutrient density of grains, legumes and dairy are compared to that of lean meat, vegetables and fruit the neolithic foods are like eating cardboard!
It is intriguing to me that Bass when refering to Art Devany's EvolutionaryFitness said "it makses perfect sense" yet bass still makes the base of his diet from neolithic foods...that does not make sense.
I hope this helps!
Robb
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Old 02-19-2003, 08:50 PM   #3
Tyler Hass
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Guys, what an incredible coincidence. I just happened to receive the responses from Clarence today with regards to our upcoming interview in Girevik Magazine. There is still plenty of time for a follow up question or two. Let me know if there is a particular question you would like to ask him.
From what I have already, the interview ROCKS!
www.girevikmagazine.com
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Old 02-20-2003, 04:57 AM   #4
Robert Tappan
 
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Hey Gents,

Thanks for your responses. Tyler, no specific quesetion for Clarence, other than perhaps his view on the two styles of eating. He's obviously picked one over the other, just as Coach has. I'd like to know the rationale of each.

Thanks and as always, looking forward to the next Girevik. That's what brought me to Crossfit!
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Old 02-20-2003, 08:38 AM   #5
Dan John
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I have emailed back and forth with Clarence for a couple of years. I read "Ripped" a number of times and commented to Bass that his OWN experience found that he was "most" ripped on a ultra low carb diet.

Then, I commented on his "Mistake." His is a lawyer-type...doesn't like to hear this concept of "Mistake." He complains in the book about moodiness on low carb, but you will note that he is in total "Rabbit Starvation." He only ate tuna, chicken breasts and a very dry salad. Well, that is not low carb. I commented he should have eaten lots of fats (oils). He is dogmatic about his anti-fat stance...so, he looks at low carb as high protein only.

If you adopt a low carb lifestyle (I am more paleo, but when I cut I go meat and eggs), you have to not freak out about fats...you are becoming a fat burner not a sugar burner. Doctor Greg Ellis told me he made his best cuts when he ate basically just Pemmican...which is about 60% fat and 40% protein (depending on recipe).

I have great respect for Clarence Bass. His rigidity about some things is something I enjoy...but you will notice that he also constantly leaps out and tries new things. He is a guy who uses Nautilus machines after an Olympic lifting workout after kettlebells and a long hike.
That's variety!

BUT, he is also antifat and pro-grains...a food that doesn't settle with me!

I think driving across a desert with deVany and Bass would be very...illuminating (or very dangerous!).
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Old 02-20-2003, 05:35 PM   #6
Tyler Hass
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Dan,
It's funny how I really like Clarence's approach to training, but I don't really like his approach to eating. Then take Ellis, whose approach to dieting I like for the most part, but I really can't say that I care for his style of training. From what I gather he does weighted walking 3x per week and a Steve Reeves bodybuilding routine using machines 3x per week. There is so little variation in there and it's purely for cosmetic effect. I just don't see any great athleticism coming out of such a routine. I had a long debate with him via e-mail about whether or not neurological training for strength gains is possible. He believes that you can for about 5 weeks, then you have to gain mass. I disagree pointing to myself as an example of someone who has doubled his strength in less than a year without adding a pound. Yet, there are people built just like me that are twice as strong as I am. Perhaps his view applies to bodybuilding training, but this has very little neurological effect, so it's hard to compare that to the training of an Olympic lifter. Also, on a purely personal point, Ellis is a bit quirky. Say something bad about his book on a forum and you have an e-mail waiting for you the next morning, calling you a traitor and whatnot. Pretty odd...
I think DeVany is probably the mid-point between Bass and Ellis, taking the best from both. I think Paleo is the best I've seen yet, in both diet and fitness. I see CrossFit as being a pretty Paleo-friendly approach to training.
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Old 02-21-2003, 08:54 AM   #7
David Wood
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The only request I would make is that Mr. Bass be shown respect . . . at least to the level which he is getting in this conversation so far.

I say that for two reasons:

(1) I briefly communicated with him (by old-fashioned snail mail!) many years ago (pre e-mail, pre-internet), and he was helpful, generous, and an all-around gentleman,

and

(2) I'm not sure what the average age of CrossFitters or Grivek readers is, but those of us pushing 50 may be able to remember a time 20, even 30 years ago when Clarence Bass seemed like ONLY sane voice getting published. (There may have been others, but I sure wasn't aware of them.)

His "Ripped" columns in the old Muscle & Fitness were the only thing in that comic book that wasn't bull**** . . . and, you'll note, most have stood the test of time pretty well.

As far as his diet goes . . . everytime I looked at it, it basically amounted to a low-calorie diet, with mixed foods and generally no junk . . . which would be a huge improvement for most Americans. Regrettably, very few could or would follow it.

I don't mean to imply that he wouldn't get respect in your magazine, Tyler, and the discussion in this thread so far has certainly been honorable. I'm just trying to offer a longer-term perspective to remind us that there was a time when Bass was a true pioneer, taking the best of Arthur Jones' maniacal ideas and making a viable application of them for people interested in long-term health. For that alone, he deserves our respect.
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Old 02-21-2003, 09:00 AM   #8
Dan John
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Absolutely, no question about my great respect for Clarence Bass. In fact, if you look at my general approach to discus training, you will find Bass's ideas from the 1988 book, "Ageless Athletes."

What I like best about Bass, as I noted in my post, is that he has his hand in everything...kettlebells, O lifting, everything.
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Old 02-21-2003, 05:31 PM   #9
Coach
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I like Clarence Bass a lot. He is, perhaps, my favorite bodybuilder. Generally, bodybuilders are irrelevant to athletic discussions. It's his openness and attitude that I like -really like. His workout and diet are wide of the mark. We've long known that we could improve his mass, keep his leanness, and dramatically improve his performance.

Even in his prime he lacked muscle, and where I've seen his numbers his performance has not been athletic or even close. He holds himself up prominently as evidence/support of his protocol, so he's fair game. Otherwise I'd not go there.

His chief physical attribute is his leanness. I can make you lean and also leave you malnurished. So what. Lean and muscular is admirable. Lean, muscular, and elite performance is the goal.

I favor the Zone diet because of its accuracy and precision. I don't know of another diet where I can prescribe with even similar accuracy or precision. We favor the Zone because it works and when asked why, we attempt to explain in terms of CR and paleodiet. But the paleodiet and CR are for us valuable perspectives or paradigms offering theoretical explanations of a successful regimen and not diets. Why? Lack of precision and accuracy is the answer.

Alas, there is no nutritional science, not yet at least. The corpus of "nutritional science" is, to the extent that it exists, more dangerous than anything else. Don't think I'm saying that no one is looking at nutrition objectively or rationally or even in a scientific manner. What I'm saying is that there is no science of nutrition. Nutritional science is like pschology, economics, sociology, and anthropology - fruitless at best and frequently dangerous.

Historically (evolutionarily) culture has provided and ultimately represents successful models for genetic success. Tragically, "diets" (low fat, high carb, vegetarianism, etc.), politics, and the industrialization of food have replaced long successful models that were man-made but designed by no man (See Frederick Hayek)and the cost has been deadly.

Finally, we've seen what looks like nutritional optimization from more protocols than we can count. Some have been purely cultural, some have been ridiculous (I knew an athlete who religiously avoided "white foods" to great result). Where some have found success with simple models others have found the same success with more elaborate paradigms. Diets are templates that endeavor to optimize performance in systems (human physiology) that seem ulikely to be understood for another 150 years.



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Old 02-21-2003, 06:32 PM   #10
Tyler Hass
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David,
Do not worry, I have a huge amount of respect for Clarence Bass. To be doing what he is doing at his age is remarkable. I agree that his diet is better than the typical American diet. But to compare anything to the typical diet is comparing apples and rotten oranges. Pretty much anything will be an improvement. He has some great ideas, like whole foods. However, Clarence seems to hold onto a fear of fat, which I know not to be true.
I also respect Greg Ellis, despite personal feelings that many people have against him. It wasn't until I read his book that I realized that fat is not evil. However, his approach to training was to me somewhat laughable. It's better than the typical American training regimen, but it does not hold up to CrossFit or Kettlebell training.
If you read what I wrote about Raymond Brennan, you may think that I am not a very respectful person. In truth, I am quite the opposite. I always look for the best in everything. Even if I don't like the whole, I will take parts I do like and keep going. Rather than trash bad products in my Gear Report, I prefer to point out good products that I do like. In Ray Brennan's case, he is a nice guy, but his article was way off base. I wrote a pretty thorough criticism of his article, but I also took some fun at his expense. Normally I wouldn't do this, but it was pretty hard for me to take his article seriously. Nonetheless, I am publishing his response to me in the upcoming issue and it does not have many kind things to say about me.
I would never ask a person to be interviewed in my magazine if I did not respect the person. As is the case with Clarence Bass, I was honored that he agreed to do the interview. It will be up in a few weeks and I will let you know exactly when. It's a great interview.
Of course it's not fair for me to criticise the diets of others without putting my own diet out there. I would call it a combination of the Paleo Diet and Nourishing Traditions (Fallon and Enig). It is pretty high in fat and protein and about 20% carb. In reality, my diet does not quite live up to this ideal. I live in a dorm and eat cafeteria food. It's not always whole, almost always higher in carb, but it's what I have and I do my best.
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