The Paleo Guide to Japan: Shochu


Oh do I miss this…


I’ve told you before to drink clear, distilled liquor if at all possible. It has the least non-alcohol stuff in it, and thus doesn’t ruin a good time with weird party-crashers like gluten and sugar.  The best of these will have a unique flavor to enjoy, or at least learn to appreciate, like tequila, rum, scotch, bourbon, tequila etc. Well, you can include shochu (焼酎 – Japanese distilled liquor) in that group. To take things one step further, while trouble with the grains in grain-derived alcohol isn’t a problem for most, supporting monstrously unsustainable grain-production remains morally questionable to some. Alcohols like tequila, rum and shochu (where its made from more sustainable stuff) become better choices for the concerned.


Amami Oshima’s favorite ‘sun’, Asahi (literally ‘morning sun’): clear, dry flavor, made from the Amami region’s famous “black” sugar, 30% alcohol.

So shochu: it’s a low to medium strength distilled liquor that can be made from a variety of different things: barley, potatoes, sugar, rice, wheat, buckwheat, chestnuts and a few other things. It’s pervasive: just about any place you can get alcohol in Japan, you can get shochu, and it’s one of three drinks served in a traditional izakaya, along with beer and sake. It has a very distinct, unique, strong flavor; some will be thrilled by it, and some will turn up their noses at first. It seems, anecdotally (and somewhat off the subject), that it’s these strong flavors that make for the lasting psychosomatic symptoms which turn people off of tequila, rum, etc. after an… over-indulgent experience. Perhaps that’s just what I’ve heard.

Tips: the shochu I’m referring to above as having a unique, strong flavor is “Honkaku” shochu. Honkaku shochu is distilled only once, and thus retains its flavor, which varies depending on what its made from. The other kind of shochu is “Korui” shochu, which is flavorless (at least to my palate), and is used in mixed drinks. Again, I’m a fan of distilled liquors, unadulterated or on the rocks, so Honkaku is my preference. Kokuto (黒糖 – “black” sugar) or Imo (芋 – sweet potato) if you please. Still, Korui in mixed drinks is fine, and Japan offers some mixed drinks that are much healthier than anything you can find in America (shochu mixed with green or oolong tea, hot or cold!). I’m quite partial to having shochu mixed with seltzer and lemon, which is called a “nama remon sawa” (生レモンサワー) or “Japanese Norcal Margarita” (only by me, actually). One of these “sours”, made with lemon, grapefruit, yuzu (a Japanese citrus fruit), grapes, etc. is refreshing on a hot night, and has gotten me through many a meal at local yakitori-ya and izakaya. When you order, however, make sure that you’re getting all of the words you’re trying to say understood: “nama” (生 – raw) is the Japanese shorthand for a beer from the tap. Not the same thing.


Before we go on… I do not mean to disparage sake! I love sake, and it’s obviously more famous, both in Japan and abroad. It even has the best song: 酒よ. Most Americans I meet don’t even know what shochu is, but nearly everyone’s heard of sake (pronounced “saki”… unless you’d like to be understood by Japanese people, then its pronounced sake, with a “e” like “bed”). But sake isn’t distilled, so I’ve just found it harder on my system in general, and I’m not always ready for the hangover, much as I love it. For most nights, shochu quickly became, and has stayed, my preference.


Imo shochu from the Kagoshima area, Shiranami (‘White Wave’) 25% alcohol

History: I will try to be as informative as I can, though I’m not much of an alcohol historian, and anyway the origins of shochu aren’t definitively understood.  We believe that shochu came to Japan from Thailand (that’s the best theory, anyway).  It is said to have made its way to the mainland through Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands, first to Kyushu, the southernmost island of the Japanese mainland. The tradition of shochu remains strong in southern Japan, especially in the Ryukyu Islands and around Kagoshima.  Chinkan, the Chinese Envoy to Shoseio, the fourth King of the Ryukyu Kingdom, wrote in his 1534 “Record of Serving in Ryukyu” about “Nanban-Shu” – Southern Barbarian Alcohol, which had come to the islands from Shamuro (Thailand), and was distilled in the same way as Kanroshu, Chinese distilled liquor.  Additionally, the first written records of shochu on the mainland come from the southern island, Kyushu. In a famous anecdote, a Portuguese tradesman who arrived in Japan in 1546 wrote about a piece of graffiti on a Shrine in which a carpenter refers to the local lord as “so stingy he wouldn’t buy you a cup of shochu.”


Edo drankin’

I guess I’ll wrap this up here. If you’re in Japan and have a chance to imbibe, I hereby encourage you to expand your horizons to shochu. If I missed something important, don’t be afraid to comment about how much I suck.


Yoroshu ni,




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“That’s not Paleo!”

This is one of my favorite topics ever! I just love hearing about how something “isn’t Paleo”; you can be assured I won’t swear my face off about this.

Yeah fucking right. It’s time to go Beastmode.

Yes, that is a thing. STFU a second.

My answer when confronted with the “cavemen didn’t eat that”/ “there’s no such thing as a ‘Paleo Diet'”/ “that’s not Paleo” sort of half-baked dumbass shit depends on which kind of idiot is saying it: do you just not have the time/ mental fortitude to read? Did you actually think that was a reasonable argument? Or are you an asshat trying to get a rise outa’ me?

In the first case, feel free to come on back when you’re willing to put in the same effort reading as you do whining. There are plenty of people, myself included, who’ve made it clear: this is not re-enacting. In the second, realize that we’re here to pass on sound health advice, not argue the details of human evolution (I’m not sure but that MIGHT have been in the disclaimer). In the third? Fine, you got your rise, now talk to the intro, douche-bag.

I’m too busy not having heart attacks and diabetes to deal with each of you, one at a time. Sorry, but fit people just have too much else to do: eat meat, lift heavy shit, be fuckable, DESTROMINATE, have sex, eat meat, be liked… among other things. We’re even good at grooming:


By the way, I sometimes have to hear related shit from a N00B-client or N00B-friend: “so-and-douchebag said that my hamburger wasn’t Paleo!” My response? “FUCK. THEM.” Guys, you should have known to ignore this POS when it first opened its bread-hole. Stop listening. You really need advice, Mr. /Ms. well-meaning and confused? Here you go: HTFU, or you get the WOLFSLAP.

That is all.


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Squat Shoes and Why

There is something that really chaps my hide about CrossFitters and Paleo enthusiasts: the arrogant purism that makes everyone and everything else into something inferior.  Often this comes free with a big bag of ignorance about the the topic in question.  Today’s subject is weightlifting shoes:

Bad OHS 1

“Ah, well, no, I don’t think so. They don’t seem to confer any kind of advantage — I certainly squat less with them than without them. I think most people do.”


“‘Should’ is a bit unfair, but for the most part people can either can squat without them or can be taught to squat without them, yes.”


OOH BOY Facepalm

NO.  If they were a work around for inflexibility they wouldn’t be allowed in the tightly controlled, minutely scrutinized sport of weightlifting. Further, weightlifters of all sizes, proportions, ability levels and degrees of flexibility wouldn’t use them.  What they are is an injury prevention device.  Here’s how the most famous weightlifting coach in America, Greg Everett, put it:

“Weightlifting shoes exist for a reason. It’s not an accident. You have a raised heel ‘cause that increases the range of motion of the ankle. And the ankle has to flex — dorsiflex — a great deal to hit those bottom positions with an upright torso, which is just unavoidable unless your femur is only four inches long. So in one regard, it’s a safety issue: If you bottom out that ankle, you’re going to be in big trouble. It’s not going to feel good, it’s going to take a long time to recover from, and it’s going to be a huge limiting factor forever, essentially.”

The principle problem I see with suspicion of lifting shoes is ignorance about how they work: people tend to think that increasing the flexibility of the hips will fix the problem being covered up by lifting shoes.  But there is no amount of hip flexibility that will re-balance a person whose weight is behind them.  I repeat: your hips can be as flexible as you like, if all your weight is behind the center of your foot, you’re going to fall over.  No two ways about it.  Thus Greg’s comment about the length of the femur: the longer your upper leg, the more your hips (and consequently your upper body and the weights it’s carrying) are going to be displaced behind your foot as you squat; that distance reaches it’s longest as the thighs get to parallel.  Increasing the flexibility of your hips isn’t going to do anything to change that.

To put it another way, here’s what people seem to think is going to happen:

mistaken squat

Someone should tell this chick that there isn’t any benefit to squatting in zero gravity

But this is so obviously wrong, and our subject is so obviously off balance that anyone can see it, right?  If you can’t, grab a ruler and hold it up so it shows a vertical line from the middle of her foot.  No, really, try it.

I hope you saw it: if she was an athlete in your gym, she’d be falling over backwards. The only thing holding her up is the power of illustration.

For those of you out there who think that you look this way when you squat, you’re fooling yourself: either your butt is closer to your mid-line (your ankles are dorsiflexed enough to carry your knees forward past your toes, and your femurs are, as Coach Everett puts it above “four inches long”)  OR your torso is inclined forward, so your chest and shoulders are over the midpoint of your foot OR your toes are pointing waaaay out. It has to be one of the three; physics doesn’t allow for other possibilities, including the hand-wavy, “because I say so” hip-flexibility voodo preached by Yoganistas.

And by the way, the picture above has more forward lean in the upper body than most, if not all, oly coaches would accept! Let’s let Coach E demonstrate:


See his upright torso? Cover up his legs with your hand. He could just as well be standing, right? Aimee Everett agrees:


Alright, I’m being a bit too harsh, so lemme’ walk that back: you do need (NEED) hip flexibility in order to squat properly. Even with oly shoes. Coaches who preach every day about hip flexibility and range of motion aren’t wrong, they’re doing most people a big favor. That said, without the deeper knowledge it takes to improve intermediate athletes, most CrossFit coaches are going, ultimately, to fail their members.

For more, here’s an external link that should help:

Yoroshu ni



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kanpai0日 本では外食をする事は伝統だけではなく義務で有る時、忘年会時期など、もある。パレオダイエットを食べようとしている人に、この時一体どうしたらいいん だろう?レストランに行かなければならないのであれば、レストランで食べるについて、できるだけ多く知った方が安全であろう。









焼肉もパレオで食べるのが簡単:焼き野菜と肉をタレなしに注文し、自分でタレを付けずに、獣であるあなたは獣のように食べまくる。秘訣は「タレ無し」、若しくは「塩こしょうだけ」と言う注文の仕方で ある。殆どの人が甘いや辛いや物凄く旨いタレを付けて食べているが、我々、健康が気になっている人たちは食べられない。そこはどうすれば良い?自分に とっては塩こしょうのみで食べることが最も美味しいが、食べたい方にレモン汁が置いてあるところは殆ど。もう一つ選択肢としては胡麻油がある。塩こしょうを入 れて、ちょっとだけお肉につけると美味しい。



















Rik Smits











健康を支えてない食してるのが解ってるハズ。要は” you know what you doing”









最良の飲み方は早く始まり早く終わる事にある、要するに最後の一杯と布団に入る時刻の間、できるだけ時間を置く事。その理由が単に一日でやっている運動などが、寝て身体を復活させなければ、健康のためにならない。これが運動がよく理解されてないとこだけれど、ウェートレーニングをして強くならない。いっぱい走って身体が細くならない。その良い結果が運動した後、休み、特に睡眠を取る事で得られるのである。アルコールは良い、深い睡眠を邪魔し、人間成長ホルモンをブロックする。HGH(Human Growth Hormone・人間成長ホルモン)は筋肉の回復に最も大切であるので、眠りつくまで飲むのがあんまり名案ではない、健康的に。




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Mark Rippetoe, Happy 4th!

If Ripp said it, it’s probably true.

No, wait, it’s absolutely true and you’re a commie if you don’t agree.

Errr… whatever. Happy 4th!


“Just because some jackass asserts a thing does not mean that it is worthy of refutation. If the same guy tells you that every space shuttle launch perturbs the Earth’s orbit, and that the cumulative effects are just about to start the process of the loss of the atmosphere into space, thus creating a vacuum that will destroy all life on the planet in approximately 36 hours, would you deem this necessary to refute? How much time would you spend explaining to him why this cannot happen? Would not your time be spent better doing other things? And if you devise a concise explanation, why would you assume he would understand?”

“Yes, if you squat wrong it fucks things up. If you squat correctly, those same fucked-up things will unfuck themselves.”

“And the book is not any more expensive in Australia than it is here except for the shipping, which is what you get for living in Australia.”

“Poor form in the gym is caused by insufficient yelling.”

“Mediocre athletes that tried like hell to get good are the best coaches”.

“You are right to be wary. There is much bullshit. Be wary of me too, because I may be wrong. Make up your own mind after you evaluate all the evidence and the logic.”

“There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat.”

“Ask Old Santa for a squat rack. Preferably one that won’t fit down the chimney. You can’t do the program without it, and that would leave you forever an elf.”

“Anyone who says that full squats are “bad for the knees” has, with that statement, demonstrated conclusively that they are not entitled to an opinion about the matter. People who know nothing about a topic, especially a very technical one that requires specific training, knowledge, and experience, are not due an opinion about that topic and are better served by being quiet when it is asked about or discussed. For example, when brain surgery, or string theory, or the NFL draft, or women’s dress sizes, or white wine is being discussed, I remain quiet, odd though that may seem. But seldom is this the case when orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, or nurses are asked about full squats.”

“Absolutely not. Never — and I mean NEVER — try anything that someone in authority, like Me, has not specifically approved in advance. This is not allowed, and is specifically prohibited, because if you do this irresponsible thing — this Trying Things For Yourself — you might learn on your own, and again, this is PROHIBITED…. Let me ask you a question: Are you from North Korea?”

“If nothing is wrong with your shoulders, benches are fine. But when someone asks me about rotator cuff injuries, I assume they’re not asking for their cat.”

“If you can’t train and work in a warehouse at the same time, you probably have ovarian cancer. Consult your gynecologist.”

“The vast majority of women cannot get large, masculine muscles from barbell training. If it were that easy, I would have them.”

“Okay, have you ever been around chickens? They are stupid, uncooperative, inconvenient, ill-tempered creatures. They get what they deserve. Fuck chickens.”

“Baby mammals drink milk, and you sir, are a baby mammal.”

“You must wear socks or workout pants on the Dead Lifts. We don’t want your DNA on the barbell.”

“There are few things graven in stone, except that you have to squat or you’re a pussy.”

“Soy milk is essentially Coffee-Mate laced with estrogen, and is best left to vegans and other socialist vegetarian types that can’t bring themselves to eat the completely natural-for-humans flesh of our friends the Animals but who have no trouble with slaughtering trillions of our other friends the Plants and processing — in gigantic factories run by multinational corporations with shareholders that eat meat themselves — very selectively chosen components of their poor little bodies into gooey shit that humans have never had an opportunity to adapt to digesting. Why, eating such material, with its high levels of isoflavones, touted by gynecologists as tantamount to Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT), will make you grow boobs, and this will screw up the clean lines of this fine young man’s Under Armor. I recommend against it.”

“Deadlifts that are too heavy to pull generally don’t take very long; the bar just kinda lays there. So if trying to move immovable objects was dangerous from the standpoint of stroke, the history of the human race would be littered with stupid people’s corpses.”

“Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general.”

“The only time LSD (long slow distance) is necessary is if your going to compete in a sport that requires it. It is far inferior to CrossFit-type metcon for producing an increase in VO2 max, it interferes with power and strength production, it can be quite catabolic and immune-suppressive in high doses, it destroys muscle mass, and the people that do it usually wear silly clothes. Read the stuff on the CrossFit website regarding this, and you will learn many good, important things.”

“We never consciously squeeze our asscheeks in the weight room. It’s not a valuable biomechanical cue, and it might get misinterpreted by the guys on the next platform.”

“You can’t make people smarter. You can expose them to information, but your responsibility stops there.”

Yoroshu ni


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Your Children Are Not Special


“You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else.”

This is for all of you out there who advocate everyone finding their own way, who say that everyone is unique and their diets should be too.

Each of you most certainly are unique… unless you’ve been doing the same thing as everyone else and getting the same results as everyone else.  That doesn’t quite qualify as unique, and if that’s your excuse…


I mean really, ‘if it doesn’t work why fix it’?!  Who the fuck goes for that logic?

While we’re on the subject, don’t give me this shit about ‘you have to understand how people are’ and ‘people need a more understanding touch’.  These are just excuses to keep codling folks so we can have more milksop assholes who only think about themselves and their inner childs.  YES, I SAID CHILDS.  FUCK YOU.  People don’t need more gentle let-downs, more ego-soothing or more excuses:  you just don’t have the ovaries to tell them the truth.  Maybe I just have more faith in humanity than most: I think you can read a whole blog-post or a whole email,  and I think you CAN HANDLE THE TRUTH.  What you do with it from there is up to you, but we don’t have to be supportive of cake-eating just because you were having a bad day.

The truth is, if you’re having the same problems as everyone else and doing the same things as everyone else, you’re not fucking unique.  And oh-by-the-way, trainers hear this shit all the time, so your excuses aren’t even unique.  Either do the work you need to in order to fix yourself, or admit that you’re too weak to save your own fucking skin, plop yourself down on your couch and wait to die.

Sad Bill Hicks

“If you have children here tonight, and I assume some of you do, I’m sorry to tell you this, they are not special.”

Yoroshu ni


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An Evolutionary Framework for Understanding Health‏

Hey all,

I wrote something on Facebook that I thought I’d post.  Here’s the article we were talking about:

So this is the latest in a line of articles and books ‘attacking’ the paleo diet; the most recent previous to this were ‘The Paleo Fantasy’ by Marlene Zuk ( and the TED Talk ‘Debunking the Paleo Diet’ by Christina Warinner (  Each of these critiques are, in my view, mixed in terms of their value: some criticisms add something to the debate around diet, some don’t help at all. This article is particularly bad, but rather than talk about any of them on their own, it makes more sense to me to explain what the ‘paleo’ diet is, so that people have a better idea of what’s actually being advocated by people on the ‘other side’ of this critique.

The Paleo Diet is nothing more than a logical framework for looking at medical problems that’s been, yes I admit it, poorly named.  Essentially, advocates of ‘an evolutionary approach to medicine’ look at how and where humans evolved, and use that as a basis for asking questions about health, much the same way The Standard Model is used to ask questions and make hypotheses in physics.  From our perspective, as the famous quote goes “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”: if we see health problems (and we do), we advocate first looking at, and experimenting with, the environmental factors that differ significantly from those involved in our evolutionary milieu.  It’s a simple, logical and uncomplicated approach.

NO ONE IS SAYING THAT HUMANS HAVE STOPPED EVOLVING.  Nor is anyone saying that paleolithic environments were/ are all the same.  Well, no one sane, no one whose opinion is worthwhile, is saying that.  It’s annoying, but most of the time articles like these are arguing against this less-than-sane faction, and then throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  Indeed, when Chris Kresser posted this same article to Facebook he commented: “Another preposterous “Paleo critique” full of straw man arguments and mischaracterizations. I don’t even know where to start.”

The other big criticism that wasn’t brought up in this article, but anyone familiar with the topic will be quick to point out: there there are examples of animals changing their diets or other environmental factors and getting along just fine (proto-humans beginning to consume meat, as one good example).  Its a good thought, but we don’t seem to be getting along just fine:

Logically, this seems like the best place to start when thinking about how to address problems, and the recommendations of this framework have done a lot of good when actually tested.  What are those recommendations?  Handily, I wrote that blog-post already.

For any go-getters, here’s Robb Wolf’s critique of the TED talk ‘Debunking the Paleo Diet’ I linked to above:

Yoroshu ni



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