Monday, February 14, 2011

Enough with the "Paleo" already: Dynamic Methodology is king, Segue to Quinoa and Lectins

  "Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own." 

  • Characterized by continuous change, activity, or progress  
  • The systematic study of methods that are, can be, or have been applied within a discipline
Forwarned:  Counter-Contrarian Multi-Tangent Rant Ahead.  

  I'm really, REALLY sick of Paleo.  There.  I said it.  And I'm going to explain why.

If fact, I've kinda hated on the tag from the start.  Seems everything with a "tag" has some serious flaw, from The Zone, Atkins, South Beach, Mediterranean, Okinawan, Tokelaun, Kitavian. (those last two are exempt, but you get my drift)  Nutrition aside, the same can be said for Crossfit, PX90, Wendler's 5/3/1, LSD, HIIT, etc etc.   Paleo is no different.

   One of the biggest, and most serious roadblocks in progress regarding nutrition, performance, training, and athletics is cognitive dissonance.  If the term is a little murky, think of the perpetration of the lipid hypothesis, of the belief that saturated fat causes heart disease.  Even in the light of solid science, people will just stare at you like you're from another planet. 

  Folks often want to embrace one idea as being THEE way, the ONLY way, and that it's far superior than ANY other way.  Personal bias is often at play here, as well as other variables like naivety, ignorance, and herd mentality.  I'd explain this from a religious point of view, but I should probably only piss off a few groups at a time.

  If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you know my thoughts on Crossfit; while it's a successful and attractive system, it has it's serious flaws, and it also has legions of followers willing to throw themselves madly into the flame of metcon without nary a thought on self-preservation.  This is an oft discussed scenario amongst trainers, and it's easily dealt with.  <---Keep that last point in mind

Enter my dislike for...Paleo.  Much like Crossfit, my introduction to paleolithic nutrition vastly changed my life for the better.  While I had been interested in all things from an athletic nutrition standpoint my whole life, Paleo put such a common-sense spin saturated in science that it couldn't be ignored.  BUT---it too, has it's flaws.  The whole "eat like a caveman" dealio.

While this is the most simplistic way to explain it, it is NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL.  Just like your individualized training regime (pure chaotic group programming, with 100% dependence on general adaptation syndrome, will only take linear progress so far), nutrition needs to be personally tailored.

  • Crossfit is glycolytically demanding.  Hence, the preferential need for carbohydrates as fuel.  For optimal performance.
  • Endurance athletes require high glycemic carbs during race events for optimal performance.
  • Patients on the IBS spectrum require the addition or exclusion of specific FOS (Fructo-oligosaccharides).  Some require the prebiotic inulin, while others will only suffer at it's inclusion.
These are merely the tip of the iceberg; my point is, nutrition is just as individual as training is.  What is positive stimulus for one person is overtraining or potential injury for another.

--->The definition of Dynamic Methodology, and the quote from Bruce Lee, align perfectly with my view on both training and nutrition---take what is useful, discard what is not, apply positive biases, and constantly change and adapt.

Needs meat, but it ain't a fail.
Saponins, phytic acid, tannins and protease inhibitors in quinoa
Jenny Rualesa, b and Baboo M. Naira
aDepartment of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Chemical Centre, University of Lund, PO Box 124, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden
bInstituto de Investigaciones Tecnológicas, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Apartado Postal 17 01 2759, Quito, Ecuador
Received 1 July 1992; 
accepted 5 January 1993. 
Available online 2 October 2003.


The seeds of quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa, Willd), a food crop of the Andean region of Latin America, contain protein of good quality and high amounts of carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, and minerals. An industrial process for manufacturing infant food using quinoa as a basic raw material is being developed. The presence of antinutrients are of importance in this context, and this paper deals with saponins, phytic acid, tannins and protease inhibitors in quinoa seeds.
The samples of quinoa analysed in this experiment contained two main types of saponins. The amount of saponin A (β-d-glucopyranosyl-[β-d-glucopyranosyl-(1 → 3)-α-l-arabino-pyranosyl-(1 → 3)]-3-β-23-dihydroxy-12-en-28-oate methyl ester) was 0·7% of the dry weight and that of the saponin B (β-d-glucopyranosyl-[β-d-glucopyranosyl-(1 → 3)-α-l-arabino-pyranosyl-(1 → 3)]-3-β-23-dihydroxyolcan-12-en-28-oate was 0·2% of the dry weight. These were the major saponins found in the quinoa bran collected while polishing the seeds.
After scrubbing and washing, the level of saponin-A remaining in the seeds decreased to 0·31% of the dry weight, and saponin-B was completely removed by this process.
The content of phytic acid in the quinoa seeds was about 1% of the dry matter, and scrubbing and washing reduced the phytic acid content of the seeds by about 30%. Neither protease inhibitor nor tannins were detected in the quinoa seeds.

 My Thoughts:
Quinoa is an interesting "pseudo-grain" that has been pretty much shunned by anyone that's been indoctrinated into Paleo-land---which is a bit unfortunate. It has a great nutritional profile as far as a carbohydrate goes, being one of the few that has a complete protein profile. If used in the PWO period, is an excellent source for glycogen repletion. I normally recommend starchy carbs like potatoes, yams, and white rice, but quinoa can be substituted nicely.

Assessment of Lectin Inactivation by Heat and Digestion

Proteins/glycoproteins from plants, particularly lectins, are more resistant to heat denaturation than animal proteins (1, 2). With legume seeds, whose lectin content is appreciable, this presents potentially serious problems in nutritional practice. Therefore, before they can be used safely, legume-based food/ feeds usually require thorough and expensive heat processing to inactivate antinutritive components. Indeed, dry or moist heating of seeds at 70°C for several h has little or no effect on their lectin activity (Fig. 1) and treatment at much higher temperatures is needed to inactivate the biological and antinutritional effects of legume lectins (1, 2). The safety aspect is even more serious with some monocot lectins, such as wheatgerm agglutinin or a number of oilseed lectins, such as peanut agglutinin and many others because they are extremely heat stable and normal cooking or other conventional heat treatments may fail to inactivate them (3) Thus, the best way to avoid potential harmful effects of these heat-resistant lectins is to limit their dietary intake to a minimum.

My Thoughts, Take 2: While I'm definitely NOT a bean fan, and I generally agree with the recommendation NOT to include them in one's diet, the whole point of lectins and anti-nutrients is moot one proper preparation and cooking takes place. Neolithic? Yes. But not entirely the devil it's made out to be.  If you take a close look at the chart, cooking at 100 degree C. for a mere 10 minutes deactivates any lectins present.  Boiling water, anyone?  This doesn't even include the traditional preparation of soaking and/or sprouting.

Just a couple of reasons to always look at the "Why" with a skeptical eye.

Various Training

Jan 28th, 1PM, CFLA
20 Rep Squat
Kept it light, as my back was still a mess from the tempo front squats earlier.  Felt good though, I see more of these in my future.

Jan 31st, 2PM, south of Lethbridge
Ice Climb x 2hr
First time out, and even at -25 Celsius, had an absolute blast.  Still partial to technical sport climbing, but fun, nonetheless.
Yoga x 1.5hr, 7:30PM

Feb 1st, CFLA, 2PM
Snatch Balance 5-5-3-3-1-1-1
Got slow as I hit the singles, but felt solid in the hole.

Death By Kettlebell Swing (KBS), 1.5pd/53lbs
Started  at 7 reps, ended at 20 when my back started twitching.  Uncool.

Feb 4th, CFLA, 1PM
Split Jerk 3-3-3-1-1-1
Been a while, but felt good to do these again.  Gotta hit that 225# goal this year.

Feb 10th, CFLA, noon
AMRAP 20 Minutes of 5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 squats
25 rounds + 27 reps.
Previous PR from Sept was 26 rounds, so I'm pretty happy hitting this.

Feb 14th, CFLA, 1PM
Barbell Split Squat, 5/side x 3 sets, worked up to 135#

25-20-15-10-5 of Toes-to-bar (T2B) and walking lunges
5:50.  Major form breakdown on T2B after the 25s...I'm talking total hip flexor/low ab fail.  It was ugly!

3:30PM, West Lethbridge
Run x 20 minutes.  I ate a complete container of chocolate covered coffee beans.  Running was NOT an option, it just happened.

7:30PM, Yoga x 1.5 hr.  Caffeine worn off by this time, wow.