Manly and Organic are NOT Contradictions in Terms

September 6, 2011 01:58 PM

MartyG article
Say "organic" around a group of hardcore lifters, MMA fighters, Spec Ops operators or elite athletes and watch as the sneers appear and listen to their derisive, obscenity-laced comments. Organic brings to mind visions of effete, well-heeled urban and suburbanite female and metro-sexual males purchasing tofu and $18 a pound sockeye salmon at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s on their way home from Bikram Yoga or Pilates class. Organic food purchases at one of these upscale yuppie supermarkets can easily generate $400 per week grocery bills for the stylish foods consumed by under-eaters and eternal dieters. This type of individual and this type of establishment give "organic" a bad name.
Ponder this: up until 1960 everyone ate organic because that’s all there was. In the late 50s and early 60s agricultural conglomerates were created to service a new American phenomenon: the chain supermarket. By raising animals in captivity (in concentration camp conditions) the price of meat plummeted. By shipping fruits and vegetables long distances fruits and vegetables normally only available at certain times of the year became available year round. By "farming" seafood the prices dropped and year round availability became commonplace. From a pricing and availability standpoint, supermarkets were a godsend; the downside was the inferiority of the products.
Over time agri-business and chain supermarkets caused local dairies, farms and artisanal protein, fruit and vegetable sources to disappear. Which would not necessarily have been a bad thing had food potency been retained. Unfortunately the produce and proteins available at the local chain supermarkets were decidedly impotent and decidedly inferior to the far more potent locally obtained food products that were commonly available and seasonally appropriate. The advent of the modern supermarket marked the onset of a potency catastrophe.
Organic beef, chicken and pork is, by definition, derived from animals raised outside in sunlight and in pastures; organic seafood is caught in streams, lakes and oceans; organic produce means locally raised, seasonally appropriate fruits and vegetables. Organic means eggs and milk and cheese raised and created in local dairies. Organic was and is synonymous with chemical purity and nutritional potency. Before 1950 "nutrient dense" food was cheap and powerful and readily available at small, local markets that existed in every neighborhood, markets that sought differentiation and took pride in obtaining the finest proteins and the freshest produce from local farmers and growers. Potency equates to taste and taste in the food world is the once and future King.
Jesus once said, "Love – then do as you will." We would expropriate that motto and modify it. "Eat organic – then eat what you want when you want." So much of modern nutrition is caught up in meaningless minutia, i.e. what percent of fat to carb to protein should we consume? How many calories? What about meal timing? How about meal composition? How about Lite and Low Fat? Is fat evil? Are carbs good? Are carb bad? High protein? Low protein? When to eat? How much should we eat?
This is meaningless rearranging of the contents of the conventional nutritional box: we need to step outside the box of nutritional orthodoxy. In our primitive, simplistic world, the quality of the nutrient is paramount and held above all other nutritional concepts and considerations.
Food quantity, meal timing, food selections – these are all important factors – but secondary to eating organic. We humans are genetically encoded with primordial hardwiring. For 900,000 years men everywhere ate seasonally appropriate, organic foods. Refined carbs, grains, agriculture, alcohol and trans-fats all lay tens of thousands of years in the future.
As humans we are preprogrammed to engage is maximally taxing exercise and eat copious amounts of nutrient-dense organic food. Train the body, feed the body, rest the body and grow the body stronger and more powerful while dissolving stored body fat: in our optimal primal state we use fat and body fat as a source of energy for locomotion. Organic food is the fuel on which the human body was designed to run on.
Primal man was lean and capable, subsisting on organic proteins and animal fat combined with a smattering of wild fruits and vegetables. This was the food/fuel the Soft Machine (William Burroughs apt description of the human body) was designed to run on and run it did for hundreds of thousands of years with no cancer, no diabetes, no obesity, no heart attacks and no cardiovascular disease.
Grains, refined carbohydrates, manmade "foods" constructed in factories, sweets, alcohol, breads and baked goods were never eaten as the human creature evolved, formed and solidified into its final finished form.
By eating trash nutrients we are running a racecar on garbage fuel; or more appropriately, we are running our Monster Trucks – designed to run on purified nitro-methane – on low grade kerosene.
Modern "diets" seek to rearrange the contents of the orthodox box when what is needed is to step outside the dietary box completely. Diet plans will champion meal composition or speak of calories and micronutrients and amounts and diet strategies champion certain nutrients while damning others; they extol specific meal timing strategies and attempt to dazzle us with fancy footwork without addressing that most fundamental of all nutritional questions: what is the quality of the food we consume.
While dietary surface skimmers become immersed and enthralled in meaningless debates about how many calories should be eaten and when they should be eaten and in what proportion of fat to carb to protein; while we debate with great ferocity and passion about the pros and cons of animal fat and while arguments erupt and elaborate treatises are proffered about what our diets should include or exclude – zero attention is paid to the single most critical factor in nutrition: food purity.
The ultra-basic core fundamental theme of nutrition is food purity. Regardless the amounts or type of food you consume if the nutrients are chemically-drenched, toxic, steroidal-infused, pesticide-laden and corrupt, all your pious theories about protein-to-carb-to-fat ratios, all your cherished dietary orthodoxies about how much to eat and when to eat are rendered meaningless; the equivalent of bickering children playing in a sandbox.
We are a poisoned species in desperate need of detoxification. Estrogenic poisoning is the most under-diagnosed malady in western societies and the reason for it is the foods we eat and the toxins we are exposed to: the solution to detoxification is to pay strict attention to the purity of our nutrients. The bottom line is that the copious consumption of organic food creates an anabolic environment in the human body.
The studied use of potent natural foods, combined with intense, barebones, hardcore resistance training is the timeless and magical method by which to morph the human body from fat to fit, from sickly to healthy, from weak to powerful. If you are serious about taking your power, strength and performance to the next level, rip a page from our primordial playbook and train simple and eat organic. Remember: organic and manly need not be an irreconcilable contradiction in terms.
Organic Food Poster-Child
Marvelous Marvin Eder
 MarvinEder1 MarvinEder2
Back to the Food Future
Organic food eaten in copious quantities has amazing anabolic properties. One of the reasons men like Marvelous Marvin Eder were able to develop otherworldly physiques and otherworldly strength and power in the golden, pre-steroid era was their expert usage of potent, widely available, cheap, organic foods. Eder was the first man under 200 pounds to bench press 500 pounds and weighing 195 he exceeded the then world record in the clean and military press with an astounding 345 pound lift (shown.) Marvin deadlifted 660 and was so strong that he was able to hold his two arms straight out in front of him and have 170 pound Dominic Juliano perform 10 reps in the dip, using Eder’s wrists as dip bar handles. Eder’s training routines were the model of purposeful simplicity…here is an exact Eder workout as observed by Gordon Venables in 1953.
Clean and overhead press:   135 x 8, 205 x 5, 255 x 2, 290 x 3, 300 for 5 sets of 3!
Dips:   8 sets of 10 reps with 225 strapped to his waist
Squats:    after warm-up sets, 8 sets of 3 with 500
Snatches:   after warm-up, 8 sets of 2-3 reps using 255
Now that’s one hell of a workout and not atypical. Marvin’s eating habits were equally primitive and equally effective and totally organic. To quote the Maestro from an issue of Strength and Health Magazine,
"Every day I eat muscle-building foods: meat, fish, shellfish, fresh vegetables, and eggs, lots of unpasteurized milk and diary products. I avoid foods that add to the body’s fatty tissue and concentrate on foods that build muscle and amplify strength."
Needless to say all his foods were organic and all were obtained from his neighborhood Brooklyn butcher, fishmonger, fruit and vegetable stand and local dairy. You can see that we have much to learn from these pre-steroid Iron Icons. Eder used the most primal, purposefully primitive resistance training and underpinned his savage training with copious amounts of powerful, nutrient-dense organic foods. He was not fat-phobic or dairy-phobic. We can replicate Eder’s strength approach by getting back to barbell and dumbbell basics: we can replicate Eder’s primordial nutritional approach without ever once venturing into any of those over-priced metro-sexual food bastions of organic sissy-dom. Can I get an Amen?

Marty Gallagher is one of the world’s leading strength theoreticians and coaches. As an athlete, Gallagher has won seven national titles in both powerlifting and Olympic lifting as well as the world championship in the master’s division of three separate organizations. As a coach, Gallagher guided Black’s gym to five national team titles and served as team coach to the United States squad that beat Finland, Russia and China to win the 1991 world team title in Orebro, Sweden. You can visit his weekly column here: Marty Gallagher’s Primitive Synergy – Iron, Mind, Cardio and Nutrition