Is Southern Food Unhealthy?

 Recently I've been researching Southern food in the 1800s for a dinner that I'm cooking for. Weirdly, this style of cooking is somewhat in revival in Chicago with restaurants like Big Jones and Carriage House serving fairly authentic period foods. I was at Big Jones recently and all their biscuits are made with pastured lard. That's pretty hard to find in the South these days.

Compulsion and complexity in food

When I was first becoming a foodie in college I decided to switch my major to food science. I registered for most of the required basic science courses, as well as the intro class for majors. Unfortunately that class is why I'm not a food scientist. It was taught by a former head food scientist from Kraft and you could have retitled it "how to sell massive and ever increasing amounts of garbage commodity foods to Americans." I remember in one lab we toured they were making crispy puffs out of some soy byproduct that they told us would otherwise go to waste.

Ancestral Health Symposium Part 1

 I'm typing this on my rather nice Virgin America flight from LA to NYC, so maybe it won't be the most complete post ever. I'm sad I didn't get to spend much time in California, which is one of my favorite places in the United States, but it was a pleasure getting away from NYC even for a short while (hopefully I can someday make this permanent!). I had tons of fun at AHS, though it was overwhelming at times. It was surreal to be surrounded by so many interesting people and I wish I had been able to make time to talk to more of them!

The Produce Delusion

 Sometimes it seems like NYC government isn't sure what to do about food. There is a push towards a more paternalistic food policy, but it's rather laughable. For example, the "food desert" issue. Some time ago, food policy researchers started talking about "food deserts", places where it's almost impossible to get fresh fruits and vegetables without traveling a great distance. Some places in NYC were pegged as food deserts and the city had a few insipid initiatives to "help" the situation.

Babies need their mothers, science confirms this, but medicine lags behind

 Some of my readers might be interested in The Atlantic's debate on "alternative medicine." Reading it, what amused me is that opponents of alternative medicine accuse it of not being "evidence-based." Unfortunately our "normal medicine" isn't really evidence-based either. What doctors and hospitals do often seems more about the status quo than science. That explains why my sister (a biologist) and I are not exactly our doctor's favorite patients.

Reflections from an (aborted) paleo challenge

I tried it to be game and see if I could give orthodox paleo a chance. Most of you by now realize I'm not a fan of "orthodox" paleo. And doing it again reminded me why.


In the next few days something important is coming up. No, not Halloween. It's my own made-up holiday called NOvember. I thought about doing a 30-day-community total-paleo challenge, but with travel and general business it's just not feasible. Instead I'm looking to knock off some small bad habits. I'm just going to say no to them for one month and hope their spell is broken.

A wreck who eats well

Thanks for all the kind words yesterday! I have learned so much recently and had to face up the fact that eating paleo isn't going to erase staying up until 4 AM. So far my plan to get better includes:

1. Blackout curtains

2. Going to bed at a normal time and working normal hours

3. Morning sunlight

4. Not pressuring myself to do something all the time (easier said than done)

5. Meditation

6. Quitting the coffee treadmill

Evolutionary Psychiatry and thoughts on love & cooking

I'd like to point the compass to an excellent new blog that I've been reading called Evolutionary Psychiatry. The hot topics in paleo health are diseases like heart disease or diabetes. While this are alarmingly common, the elephant in the room is that mental disorders are just as much of a threat to modern human health.