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Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 in #AskGrizzly, Master, Music and Rants, Rant

#AskGrizzly | Episode 1

#AskGrizzly | Episode 1

I started the #AskGrizzly hash tag awhile back kind of as a joke but also semi seriously to see what the response would be like. At first it raised a couple of good questions about Glutamine and another about power development but then it kind of diet out, and I let it. Much to my surprised last night my facebook “ding”-ed at me as Megan, of the now famous Harris family, wanted a place to ask me questions. Of course I mentioned the hashtag but apparently “I’m too old to twitter…” is an acceptable excuse now. If the Queen of England has a twitter account I think you can do it too.

Her Question:

Onions… worth eating? Any nutritional value? I don’t particularly like them, and often pick them out of food, but I will eat them if they are good to eat. Thoughts?

This one is a tough one for me, because I literally eat onions every single day. I’m going to have to reach into my objectivity tool kit and pull out my unbiased hat. Aside from providing a massive amount of flavor to food, and being a corner stone of multiple recipes that I find delicious. Let’s take a peak at the nutritional value of an onion.

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 9.50.42 AM

So first part of the question, nutritional value, pretty minimal, not a significant source or anything necessary for life, so from that perspective you could easily live without onions Megan. Of course I could leave it there – but if we look a little closer there might be more here. To wikipedia!

Turns out – as you can see in the graphic above, onions are highly anti-inflammatory. They contain compounds called phenolics and flavonoids that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that might contribute to overall health. Especially if you’re already eating a pretty inflammatory diet. The chiefest researched compound in onions is one called Quercetin which has been studied a great deal, mostly in rodents, and shown to exhibit a number of pro-health benefits. All that being said – Quercetin has neither been confirmed scientifically as a specific therapeutic for any condition nor approved by any regulatory agency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved any health claims for quercetin. So at best it’s a preliminary finding.

Megan – pick them out or leave them in, I don’t think you’ll fall to pieces if you haven’t already. But you’re missing out on the best experiment of all!

Next question:

What about peas? I hate them and pick them out of everything. Do I have to eat them?

The short answer is…No! Yay! You don’t have to eat your peas especially if you hate them already. I will use this as an opportunity to ruminate on the subject of should eat peas. Dogmatic views on optimal diet and health can be misleading, in the end it really comes down to what your physiology tolerates which of course will be a product of genetics and environment. If you and your ancestors were raised on beans and peas, odds are the genetic tolerance mechanisms exist within you to digest them more or less properly, or at least not react to them so violently. Of course the only way to know this is to try a 30 day Whole 30, GAPS, Auto-Immune, or strict Paleo protocol, eliminating all known problems then adding them back in one at a time and evaluating the result. By most of these accounts, legumes, peas, beans, peanuts, etc should be left out. The reason being is that they contain lectins and phytic acid which are known “anti-nutrients,” basically they make it harder for your body to absorb the things it needs and cause inflammation in the gut or “leaky” gut.

Peas especially are the “seed” of the bean or pod and as such deserve the most protection (lectins and phytic acid are used by plants to protect themselves). Therefore, the pea actually contains the highest quantity of these anti-nutrients. Naturally there are varieties and preparations that get around some of this, and can be read about here. Of course nuts also contain these compounds. At this point it becomes a question of quantity, are you eating a plate full of nuts? Likely not, but could you eat a plateful of beans or peas? Much more likely. Thus, the overall quantity of anti-nutrients is much higher, and therefore so is the risk of developing the ill symptoms of anti-nutrients. So, especially if you already don’t like them, I’d leave the peas, beans, lentils, and all legumes alone.

Final Question:

If my left ankle hurts during a heavy split, what are the top remedies for some mobility work??

This one is trickier, because I know nothing about the original, what I’m guessing is acute onset of this pain. I’m also guessing here that the left foot is the forward, dominant foot. A guy by the name of Gray Cook has an approach to joint mechanics that is simple and fascinating all at once, it’s call the “Joint by Joint” approach. The basics are that if you start at the ankle and work joint by joint to the neck, you can alternate between mobile and stable. Some joints are designed to provide mobility, others are designed to provide stability. Problems arise when we ask our stable joints to become mobile, or conversely mobile joints are too stable. Really both of these situations describe the same issue. In this dynamic as you can see the ankle is a mobile joint.


Typically when we get joint pain in this model we have to ask, in the movement involved or in general, are we using our joints properly, and if not, look up and down stream from the issue to see where we can go. The ankle is at the end of the system so really there’s only the knee to look at, we know already the knee isn’t affected so it’s likely not a classic mobility concern. In other words, you don’t need a joint mob specifically, you probably need a technique change. Feel free to work through a couple of KStar’s ankle mob’s to be sure, but I’d be surprised if this was the source of the problem, if anything it might just alleviate the symptoms.

The biggest issue with jerks for most people, is foot position and subsequent body position. The jerk is a deceptively complicated movement that most people treat more like a press and less like a powerful dynamic movement. In essence it’s no different than a snatch or clean. You’re transferring power from the hips into the bar and attempting to lock yourself into a stable position underneath it before the weight of the bar squishes you like a pancake. The chiefest concern with the jerk is foot position, going from feet under the hips, to a kickstand style position is not the most intuitive. If the ankle pain is on your front foot, I’d be inclined to say you’re probably pressing too far forward with the knee on the catch. The goal should be a mostly vertical shin with the knee over the outside edge of the foot.

Screen Shot 2013-04-23 at 10.28.39 AM

I took this from one of the MDUSA team practice videos, not the best picture but James Tatum is probably one of my favorite lifters and his positions are pretty phenomenal #nohomo. If we look here, you can see the knee is just over the outside of the foot, with the foot straight. The back leg is about a foot outside the front leg giving a “kickstand” type support, with the weight centered over the hips, and the back foot slightly raised. If you go through and watch any high caliber lifter split jerk, you see their front foot lands in place, with their knee more or less in proper position. It’s common to shove the foot into place once you’ve already started to put weight on it. This shoving effect usually manifests itself in terrible knee pain, but I could see a similar pattern causing some ankle pain as well, especially if your foot position is incorrect. If the ankle pain is on the back ankle, then I’d be inclined to say that you’re putting too much weight on the back leg, in the split jerk, I would say at least 75% of the load is on the front leg, the back leg is merely there to stabilize and help you stand it up, if you shift too much weight backwards you’re probably going to reach your maximum dorsiflexion and start impinging.

To summarize since that got a little verbose, take the focus off mobility, having seen you squat and snatch before I can pretty safely say your ankle mobility is adequate if not exceptional Matt. Instead watch your footwork in the split and see if you spot any of these two faults and then work some technique drills to see if you can’t sort it out. It could also be the case that this was simply an acute injury that hasn’t had the time to properly heal, perhaps a couple days rest, some Aleve and a good quality fish oil would be all you need.

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