Skepchick Quickies, 1.4


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. Re: Paleo Diet – Cordain writes that our Paleolithic ancestors were “lean, fit and free from heart disease and other ailments that plague Western countries.” Now, he adds: “Look at us. We’re a mess. We eat too much, we eat the wrong foods, and we’re fat.”

    And we don’t get eaten by bears, we bathe regularly, we aren’t infested with parasites, we generally don’t have fleas, we survive infancy more frequently, we live past 30 pretty easily…. ARGH! THE STUPID, IT BURNS!

    You want an effective diet? Eat less and exercise. There you go. That’s it. I lost 20 pounds that way, and am on my way to losing another. Oh, and by exercise I mean do things as simple as walking around a lot, not spend money in a gym. Jebus people, it’s not hard to do*.

    *(For most of us. I am aware of conditions that some people have that may require more specific efforts, but for the majority of us doughy folk the answer is easy)

  2. On the paleo diet…

    One reason we had less heart disease and the like was because we didn’t live as long. A number of things that people see as the scourge of the modern world (most cancers, heart disease) come about in part because we live long enough for carncinogens and fats to accumulate (the other part is McDonald’s Sausage, Egg, and Cheese biscuits and cheese-smothered burritos).

    The other part is, well, her mother is Vietnamese, so I’m guessing Jeremias is not a pure-blooded Native American. This would kinda lead to the conclusion that her Paleolithic ancestors were cultivating rice long before they were eating turkey, ground or otherwise.

  3. I want to make a diet and call it the R&J. Romeo and Juliet were young and beautiful and in love and healthy for their whole lives! All you have to do is do just what they did! Come on kids you can do it too.

  4. She figures she spends $100 a week for groceries, and puts effort into preparing meals that are “really beautiful and really delicious. . . . It makes me really happy about being on this diet and staying on it.”

    She spends ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS on groceries for a week. Is food a fucklot more expensive outside of Mississippi? Because my roommate and I spend half that on groceries for two people. Hell, I don’t spend $100 a week on food period, and that includes eating out a couple of times a week.

    Apparently that’s the cost of being thin.

    I also notice how the pitch for the Paleo-diet neglects the fact hunter-gatherers were thin in part because food wasn’t plentiful, and how agriculture was what made food plentiful for people, which was the entire driving force to shift towards it.

    A hundred fucking dollars a week. Christ.

  5. @Mythology: It’s not the same thing, exactly. The clitoris is that little nub covered in a hoody. The G-spot is (supposedly) a concentration of nerves, inside the vagina. Some people think it *is* an extension of the clitoris’ nerves, however, which to me makes a lot of sense — it’s not necessarily a separate entity and would explain why not all women seem to have it.

  6. @Elyse: I don’t know that the g-spot itself exists, but I do think not all women are made the same and some are more “sensitive” in their vagina, have more clusters of nerves (possibly an extension of the clitoris?) in their vagina, and thus why they think they may have a g-spot. Basically, some women are more “sensitive” than others.

    Of course, I could be talking outta my ass, and I can’t really research “g-spot” and “clitoris” while at work. :P

  7. I probably do $100 a week on food, but it’s not unheard of for me to eat out every meal… $4 at breakfast, $12 at lunch, and $6 or so at dinner… but, as I said, that’s eating out for every meal.

  8. @Mythology: The clitoris is stimulated externally via a method of your and your partner’s choosing. The “g-spot” is stimulated internally with a gentle “come hither” motion of your finger. Milage will vary; as noted that doesn’t work for everyone.

    I think that there is a mythology that the g-spot will cause instant orgasms, but I suspect that notion has grown out of a kind of male desire to please his partner with a minimum of effort, or perhaps a female desire to experience orgasm as easily as men do – perhaps both.

    My experience has been that it’s just a pleasurable internal region that can be stimulated in addition to the other things that are going on, to greater or lesser effect that depends on a wide variety of conditions.

  9. Am I the only one who remembers that back when Rebecca was merely being interviewed for the SGU, one of said interviews revolved heavily around the argument about whether or not the G-spot exists?

  10. The paleolithic diet was awful. Six months of mammoth steaks, mammoth burgers, mammoth stew, braised mammoth in white wine sauce, mammoth surprise…

    McDonalds may not be real food, but at least there’s a little variety.

  11. The study in the article was interesting in that the “study” was only a questionnaire, nothing more and nothing that could even creatively be called clinical research. And the researcher stated she “was anxious to remove feelings of “inadequacy or underachievement” I wonder if those feelings of anxiety affected the nature of the questions for her survey. I don’t worry much about finding G-spots anymore as I’m more concerned with my impending blindness and lack of recent miracles!

  12. @James Fox: Obviously this calls for some in-depth research to probe the potential location of the g-spot. It will require a sort of apparatus capable of both reaching and stimulating the area, possibly taking advantage of a vibrational movement to increase sensitivity in its wake, but where could such a device be found….

  13. Cordain’s research in the Paleo Diet is actually rather well-executed, and though with coverage like that its almost certainly going to be blown up and conflated as a new fab diet based on some primitivist/naturalistic fallacy, its really just a few major assertions with solid evidence:

    1) People get most of their “plant calories” from foods that are calorically dense and nutritionally sparse, and it should be the other way around.
    2)The science behind being afraid of meat and dietary cholesterol was frakked up beyond all recognition and doesn’t hold up well at all.
    3) Omnivorous animals fed equal caloric loads but with lower glycemic loading have better health outcomes.
    4)You need to be more active than you almost certainly are.

    And that’s it. Nothing woo-tastic. Most of the actual researchers are apologetically quick to point out that, while those facts may be true because of the relative strength of selection in different environments, and that until quite recently agrarian civilization had worse mortality than hunter/foragers, and the whole “paleo” thing makes a good hook, it’s all incidental to the fact that those four assertions are well substantiated. It’s really not a “hooray for caveman living” luddite-esque argument at all. Functionally, it means you have a chunk of animal the size of your palm, a handful of some kind of nut, and fill the rest of your plate with fruits and veggies prepared as you please, minus grains and beans, adjust the number of meals to your activity level, (in training for me, that sits around six :-)

    Now, the interesting part is that the paleo diet folks seem to be the only layfolk interested in intermittent fasting, where model animals get all the life extensions and cardiac and neural protective benefits of caloric restriction, but without any of the loss of muscle mass or a decrease in activity level, by eating double one day and nothing the next, upregulating the same Sir2 pathways that seems to be the source of caloric restriction benefits- and prelim tests show better cardiac outcomes in humans feed calorically identical amounts but with one on an intermittent fasting schedule. Neat stuff.

  14. @Aristothenes: Yeah, I figured there was actual research behind it and it was just piss-poor reporting, just like I’m sure I could eat that diet just fine on my current grocery budget by not going to places like Whole Foods for the items.

    Still, I find the article’s phrasing amusing. It’s about a step away from “Elusive electron videotaped!”

  15. @LtStorm:

    just like I’m sure I could eat that diet just fine on my current grocery budget by not going to places like Whole Foods for the items.

    It would depend on where you live. I’d imagine finding quality lean meats and fresh produce isn’t easy or cheap everywhere.

    Especially quality lean meats.

    And it bothers me that they are suggesting you need to rid yourself of grains — those are the cheapest, easiest foods for someone on a budget and are quite healthy for you.

  16. @LtStorm:


    Though I’m not living in DC anymore, I visit a lot.

    I can confirm that Whole Foods is obnoxiously expensive in the DC area. There are plenty of places she could shop that wouldn’t cost her as much.

  17. @ Elyse, Marilove, and Zapski – Thanks for the feedback.

    Who needs a Paleolithic diet, since we now have the revolutionary Taco Bell Drive-Thru Diet?

  18. @marilove: There is pretty public admission that this isn’t a global food security prescription, or the most affordable of all possible diets- but there’s no reason that the crops that produce the most calories per unit area represent the best diet for an organism, and that’s the argument, which has enough evidence to at least spare it immediate dismissal.

    As for grains being “good for you”- which is a term I pretty well hate- the question is- compared to what? Compared to the corn syrup and transfat cookie diet, yeah, whole grain bread and water does okay. But both per calorie and per unit mass, most cereals deliver pretty pitiful quantities of micronutrients, fats, deliver high glycemic loads, have a propensity for being processed into stealthily high-calorie products, and as far as protein goes, gluten is one of the few proteins that doesn’t completely hydrolyze upon digestion and so is largely excreted (unless you have malfunctioning tight junctions in your intestinal lining and suffer an autoimmune condition like celial disease.) Now I’m fond of technology solutions to these issues, like the BioCassava Plus project and others to genetically upgrade staple carbohydrate crops for better nutrition in the developing world, but the problems remain all the same. Cereals in general are special thanks to their abundance and ease of processing and storage, not their nutritional qualities.

  19. That G spot study is awful methodology. I want to see more research on this subject, but a twin study is not the way to go about this one.

    I think a big part of the problem is that there doesn’t seem to be a good consistent definition being used. When asking people if they have a certain body part, defining it would be a good start. Does the back end of the clit count as the G-spot? Does it have to be a location with a different cellular structure? Part of the vaginal wall that is thicker or thinner, or with more nerve endings? These are all proposed ideas of what could constitute the G-spot, and each of them needs to be investigated. Just asking people “have you got one?” is not a study. It only muddies the waters.

  20. Re: Paleo Diet.
    No cabbages, no cauliflowers, no savoy, no brussels and apples that are small hard and as sour as lemons none of these wre developed until after the paleolithic times. She also left out the insects and grubs but I guess they are in short supply even in weird diet shops. Plus everything was very seasonal. Another weird idea that can be sold to the unsuspecting.

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