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08 September 2014

Insecticidal- Getting Jacked On A Zoophagous Madman (aka Renfield) Diet

"R. M. Renfield, aetat 59. Sanguine temperament, great physical strength, morbidly excitable, periods of gloom, ending in some fixed idea which I cannot make out. I presume that the sanguine temperament itself and the disturbing influence end in a mentally-accomplished finish, a possibly dangerous man, probably dangerous if unselfish" - John Seward.

It's pretty rare, even in the modern era, that one refers to a 59 year old man as either having great physical strength or of being "possibly dangerous", provided his name isn't John Grimek and he's not carrying a loaded firearm.  RM Renfield, however, was considered to be both, in an era when life expectancy in the United States was right around 45 years.  Sure, you might say, but RM Renfield wasn't a real person, so this conversation is about as useful as pixelated Japanese pornography.  Not so, however, because I'm going to take a leap of logic and ascribe the great strength and dangerous nature of Renfield's character not to a flight of fancy, but rather to his diet.




Anyone who's seen a Dracula movie is familiar with Renfield's diet- he's the dude crazier than a bag of wet cats eating mealworms in the lunatic asylum.  Tom Waits apparently munched on one in the filming of the cinematic travesty Bram Stoker's Dracula, and though that had most viewers in the West recoiling in horror, it happens that 80% of the world's population eats insects as a part of their regular diet.  In fact, it's only the pinkies-up-when-quaffing-our-champagne developed Western world that doesn't partake of our exoskeleton-clad friends, as we can afford far more expensive protein sources than insects (Michels).



They love their bugs in Thailand.

The practice of eating arthropods (non-seafaring ones), which modern science refers to as entomophagy, is shared by all primates and is ubiquitous to every corner of the world.  Over 3,000 ethnic groups around the world are known to engage in this practice, and the number of creepy-crawlies they eat makes the "diversity" of my own diet seem laughable- I never even considered the fact that there were over 1,400 species of meat-sicles for me to eat, but then I despise seafood and generally stick to beef and chicken (Ramos-Elorduy 13, 44).  As you might have noticed by my qualification, most people are already used to eating one type of arthropod- crustaceans.   The other three types, insects, spiders/scorpions/horseshoe crabs, and trilobites, are all related edible species.  Well, one would assume trilobites would be edible, but they're extinct.  In any event, eating arthropods is hardly unknown in the West.



The Club of Rome is Full of good news.  Don't worry- this is how we're going to hang onto our gains in the coming apocalypse.

Though it's become very popular among the effete and the "green" to advocate the consumption of insects as a protein source, just as the Club of Rome nuts advocated soy as the savior of all mankind in the 1970s, Western authors have been advocating for the consumption of insects at least as far back as the 1880s, with the publication of Why Not Eat Insects?  As many of us in the strength community, at least those in the know, are averse to faddism, one might otherwise shy from a discussion about insects as a protein source- once something is advocated in the New Yorker, most skeptics turn a blind eye.  This concept, however, has both precedent and merit, as the consumption of insects is so common and in many cases lauded.  Why then, do we shun the shit that crawls on shit, in spite of the fact that half of the modern world under 40 has seen 2 Girls 1 Cup?



I'd venture to guess most people would react the same way to a plate of live mealworms as they would to that video.

Damned if I know, because by all accounts, insects are good eating.  "Because of their exoskeleton most insects give off very little odor and, therefor, smell has little influence on palatability.  Conversely, this same shell greatly influences texture.  Insects are crunchy and the act of chewing, couples with the resulting salivation, carries with it great oral satisfaction, similar to the pleasure of eating pretzels or crackers.  The exoskeleton is chewable and is actually an excellent source of fiber" (Ramos-Elorduy 16).  After spending time in Cambodia, Angelina Jolie stated that her kids were eating crickets "like Doritos" because they loved them so much (Angelina), and the wealthy housewives of Mexico City flock to upscale restaurants for a dish referred to as "Mexican Caviar", which is actually boiled ants' eggs (Armstrong).  Dubious?  This dish, known as escamoles, was selling for $25 a plate in 1999, which means it's running closer to $35 these days if one adjusts for inflation (Defoliart 36).   White "gusanos", or maguey worms, which are larvae of the skipper butterfly, sell for the same price, and the harvesters of those two insect dishes are the richest people in rural Mexico (Defoliart 37).  Apparently, eating bugs is literally the tits.




I am psychically sensing that no one is as yet on board with this idea.  Would it help to know that ancient Romans, conquerors of the Western World, ate snails and referred to grasshoppers, which were eaten incredibly frequently, as 'four legged fowl'" (Brothwell 66, 70)?  Or that ancient Greeks, rampaging through East Asia on an empire-building mission led by the inimitable Alexander, thought cicadas were one of the world's great delicacies (Brothwell 70)?  Eating snails in the desert could actually keep you alive in lieu of finding a water source, as a snail common to Libya, the Eremina, would be sufficient to enable survival for days if eaten in sufficient quantity (Brothwell 67).  Not in the desert but trying to get ripped?  Fried termites are the ultimate keto food- their exoskeletons provide fiber, and the rest of them is 44% fat and 36% protein, and rocks hard as a caloric belly bomb at 560 calories per 100 grams (Brothwell 68).  On a hike through the desert, leaving the granola at home and bringing a big bag of snails and another of fried termites would have you crushing trails like you're a one man Badwater Ultramarathon.



Judging by those scars, Edward James Olmos got less ass in high scool than I did, which is impressive.  How do you get negative amounts of ass?

I realize that this is, quite literally, hard to stomach- the thought of eating insects is more repellent than Edward James Olmos's acne scars.  I can attest, however, to the fact that ants actually taste pretty awesome.  In a hilariously failed effort to get small children to leave me alone at a backyard party- I tried to gross them out by eating ants.  I ate a hell of a lot of them.  Instead of grossing them out by eating what essentially taste like tiny little lemonades, the little shit machines decided I was officially the coolest adult on Earth, and they proceeded to collect a wide array of bugs for me to eat.  As I had no interest in having a live grasshopper in my mouth, I declined.  The memory, however, still serves to remind me that bugs definitely taste better than you'd think.  According to people braver than I, here's what the most popular edible insects taste like:



If I were trying to sell beetles to people as food, this is not the posterchild I'd pick.  Nevertheless, there aren't many picks of Westerners happily munching beetles, so you fuckers will have to settle for a forlorn Sub-Saharan African.
  • Beetles.  Most beetle larvae taste like pork rinds, and those from aquatic environments have a fishy flavor (Ramos-Elorduy 20-21).  One type of beetle, the sago palm weevil, is supposed to taste exactly like bacon (Strochlic).
  • Butterflies and moths.  These are, thankfully, always eaten in the larval or pupal stage.  Their flavor depends on the environment where they lived and the manner in which they're prepared- some taste like chicken, others like codfish and herring.  The white agave (the worm at the bottom of bottles of mescal) is the most popular insect in the world from a luxury standpoint- a kilo of them costs $32-$35 (Ramos-Elorduy 21).  Like the white agave in South America,caterpillars are considered delicacies in southern African countries. Because it eats nothing but bee wax and honey, the wax moth caterpillar / wax worm, apparently tastes like an enoki mushrooms mixed with pine nuts (Strochlic).
  • Bees, wasps and ants.  Wasps are known for their pine nutty flavor.  Bees, however, range in flavor from pine nuts, peanuts, or almonds.  Ants are almost always nutty, though certain species have a citrusy flavor (Ramos-Elorduy 23)
  • Grasshoppers, crickets, and locusts. Grasshoppers are the most consumed type of insect in the world, and their flavor depends entirely on their method of preparation (Ramos-Elorduy 24).  Some people describe cooked locust as similar to smoky bacon, which most of you should get excited about (Dubois).  Africans call them "desert shrimp", though, and claim they taste quite a lot like the locust's sea faring cousin (Murray).  There, the dip fried locusts in a chili powder called yaji (the recipe for that is here), and it's basically become one of the most sought-after protein sources in Nigeria in recent years. As such, I'd start here or with ants and a bunch of sriracha.
  • Flies and mosquitoes. The flavor of flies depends on where they were raised.  Flies raised on cheese (like in Sardinia) taste like cheese, while ones from water environs taste like duck.  Fresh mosquitoes taste like fish (Ramos-Elorduy 24)
  • Water boatmen and backswimmers. I grew up calling these things water striders, but irrespective of what you call them, their eggs are known as Mexican caviar and taste like fish when fresh and shrimp when dried (Ibid)
  • Stink bugs. Horrible as it would seem to eat one of these noxious motherfuckers, they're damn good for you.  They possess anesthetic and analgesic properties, and add an apple flavor to sauces.  Additionally, they contain iodine, which is awesome for people in regions where it is not readily available (Ibid).  Just don't eat them raw, or the toxins they contain might kill you.
  • Witchetty (witjuti) grubs.  Apparently these are only found in the land of Crocodile Dundee, but the larva of the cossid moth has been a staple in the diets Aborigines for centuries.  These little high protein, mobile boogers taste like almonds, and when cooked their the skin becomes crisp like roasted chicken (Food).
  • Tarantulas.  Having seen wolf spiders up close, all I can think when approached by a spider as big as my fist, all I am capable of is complete arachnid destruction.  For those of you who can stave off the "destroy everything" Hatebreed-esque respond and just stick to simple murder, tarantulas are said to taste like to soft-shell crab or shrimp (Strochlic).  As I hate seafood almost as much as spiders, I'll leave that to you lunatics to test.

What's weird in the above list is that the favorite of internet weirdos, paleo outliers, super-green non-vegan psychopaths, and every bizarre foodie on Earth is the mealworm.  When looking for Thanksgiving Day recipes, I happened upon 10,000 recipes involving mealworms, for no reason whatsoever.  Mealworms are apparently the shit.  They can be eaten live, they can be pan-fried, or you can do what most people do- dry-roast those nasty little sons of bitches.  Dry roasted mealworms would make for excellent post-apocalyptic food, if nothing else- roasting removes most of their moisture and retains all of their nutrition.  On top of that, they apparently taste just like peanuts, but lack the allergens that have housewives all over America shitting their collective pants (even though it's half as common as bee sting allergy), and their macro nutrient and amino acid profiles ball harder than P Diddy in a room full of ATMS and big bootied white women.  Mealworm meat compares incredibly favorably with red meat, as mealworms average between 45-55g protein, 40-57g fat, and 1.4-2.3g fiber per 100g of dry weight.  As for aminos, they contain more of every amino strength trainers care about (especially leucine) than beef:      



(T. molitor = tenebrio molitor = mealworm beetle)

Please disregard the hilarious mispelling of "beef".  Not sure who fell asleep at the wheel proofing this academic paper.
  
As I don't own anything ironically, don't wear tweed, and cannot stand indie rock, I've not yet tried eating mealworms.  Since I lack that hipster street cred, I'll just relay the preparation methods for mealworms I've found in case you're curious:
"Dry roasted mealworms can be salted or dipped in chocolate and eaten as a snack, sprinkled on salads, and added to soup. They taste a lot like peanuts and can replace nuts in cookies, cakes, and other desserts. Since roasted worms are brittle, they can be ground and mixed with flour when you bake muffins, pancakes, or bread. The different ways these insects can be added to recipes is almost limitless.
How to dry roast mealworms
Place your live mealworms in a colander and toss and rinse them under cool water. This is to remove any food and substrate from the worms. Be sure to pick out any dead worms or pupae.
Pat the worms dry with paper towels, place them in a container or plastic bag, and put them in the freezer for about fifteen minutes. This will quickly kill the worms.
Spread the mealworms out evenly on a non stick cookie sheet. If you are worried that the worms may stick, you can lightly grease the sheet.
Place the worms in an oven at 200 degrees and bake them for one to two hours until they are dry and crispy. Some people do not like the smell of baking worms and prefer to cook them outside on a gas grill set to a low temperature" (Mealworm).
That is precisely what it looks like- a chick masturbating with her a cunt overflowing with carnivorous (yeah, they start a-nibbling right away) mealworms.  I circled the overflow for you, just in case you wanted a closer look.

If worms aren't your bag, it's not just mealworms that crush red meat in a battle to protein overdose induced kidney-failure death- insects in general hand beef and chicken a pretty stout ass whipping.  They're crazy high protein, keto-friendly, paleo-friendly, organic, naturally fed, free-range, and the only carbs they contain are fiber, so they have no chance of throwing you out of ketosis.




For most of you, this will have absolutely no impact on your life- you'll just carry on eating the same poorly fed, poorly treated, factory farmed animals... as will I, likely.  This information is likely going to fall into the "good-to-know" category, then, but if you ever find yourself in a situation wherein you're heading facefirst into catabolism without a helmet fashioned from an array of protein bars, you know know you can get your anabolism on ancient Greek and Roman style.  One thing to note, however, is that not all insects are edible.  Though the list I'm about to give you (Bryant, "How", seems pretty much a full listing of insects, it's apparently not. I'm not an entomologist and don't pretend to play one on TV, so I'm not even going to make an attempt to help you identify the safe ones.  



They are, however:

  • Anoplura - lice
  • Orthoptera - grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches
  • Hemiptera - true bugs
  • Homoptera - cicadas and treehoppers
  • Hymenoptera - bees, ants and wasps
  • Diptera - flies and mosquitoes
  • Coleoptera - beetles
  • Lepidoptera - butterflies and moths
  • Megaloptera - alderflies and dobsonflies
  • Odonata - dragonflies and damselflies
  • Ephemetoptera - mayflies
  • Trichoptera - caddisflies
  • Plecoptera - stoneflies
  • Neuroptera - lacewings and antlions
  • Isoptera - termites 

Given that most of us couldn't tell a caddisfly from a sparrow, you might want to bear in mind the following little rhyme if you decide to much on bugs:
"Red, orange yellow, forget this fellow.
Black, green or brown, wolf it down"
(Bryant, "Entomophagy").
It's also best to avoid eating overly colorful bugs or bugs with a strong odor (Bryant, "Entomophagy"), as that sort of gay pride parade style flamboyant is intended to warn predators they'll get fucked up if they try and fuck with the bugs.  If that's all you have for eating, just boil, roast, or smoke the bug.  Boiling is the safest way to kill of toxins, but roasting or smoking should serve the same purpose, and any kind of cooking will vastly improve the taste and texture (Bryant, "Edible").


Entomophagy: Third world tested, hippie broad approved. 

So there you have it.  Bugs, they're what's for a ketogenic, paleolithic, green, socially conscious dinner.

Sources:
Angelina Jolie admits her children eat insects.  Mai FM.  20 Jul 2011.  Web.  4 Sep 2014.  http://www.maifm.co.nz/Angelina-Jolie-admits-her-children-eat-insects/tabid/76/articleID/1402/Default.aspx

Armstrong, Hilary.  Ant’s eggs, Mexico.  MSN Travel.  Web.  4 Sep 2014.  http://travel.ca.msn.com/international/photogallery.aspx?cp-documentid=23957391&page=17


Brothwell, Don R.  Food in Antiquity: A Survey of the Diet of Early Peoples.  New York: Prager, 1969.


Bryant, Charles W..  "How Entomophagy Works"  15 April 2008.  How Stuff Works. Web.  3 September 2014.  http://people.howstuffworks.com/entomophagy.htm


Bryant, Charles W.  How can I tell if a bug is edible? How Stuff Works.  14 April 2008.  Web.  8 Sep 2014.  http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/survival/wilderness/edible-bug.htm

DeFoliart GR.  Insects as food: Why the Western attitude is important.  Annu. Rey. Ennmol. 1999;41:21-50


Dubois, Sirah.  The Nutritional Value of Locusts.  Livestrong.  24 Oct 2011.  Web.  3 Sep 2014.  http://www.livestrong.com/article/549444-the-nutritional-value-of-locusts/


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.  Edible Insects: Future Prospect for Food and Feed Security.  Fao Forestry Paper.  Aug 2013;171:67-89.  http://www.fao.org/docrep/018/i3253e/i3253e06.pdf


Mealworm Care.  Web.  3 Sep 2014.  http://mealwormcare.org/recipes-nutrition/

Michels, Spencer.  Bugs for dinner?  PBS. 7 May 2012.  Web.  2 Sep 2014.  http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/bugs-for-dinner/


Murray, Senan.  In pictures: Desert shrimps.  BBC News.  Web.  3 Sep 2014.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/picture_gallery/07/africa_desert_shrimps/html/7.stm


Nutritional Value of Various Insects per 100 grams.  Iowa State Entomology Department.  Web.  3 Sep 2014.  http://www.ent.iastate.edu/misc/insectnutrition.html


Ramos-Elorduy, Julieta.  Creepy Crawly Cuisine.  Rochester: Park Street Press, 1998.


Siemianowska E, Kosewska, Aljewicz M, Skibniewska KA, Polak-Juszczak L, Jarocki A, Jędras M..  Larvae of mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) as European novel food.  Agri Sci.  May 2013;4(6):287-291.

Strochlic, Nina.  Cicadas, Grasshoppers, Locusts, Ants Among the Tastiest Insects.  The Daily Beast.  14 May 2013.  Web.  3 Sep 2014.  http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/05/14/cicadas-grasshoppers-locusts-ants-among-the-tastiest-insects.html

29 August 2014

The Lemmy Of Strength Sports- Inside The World Of The USAWA


Of all of the bands in metal, one stands out as forever existing in the conversation, though you'd be fucked if you had to find a die-hard fan of the band- Motörhead.  Formed in the mid-1970's, Motörhead's been hailed as one of the seminal heavy metal bands, and are credited with being the progenitors of thrash metal.  In spite of the fact that metal fanboys will namedrop Motörhead for any reason or none at all, you would be hard pressed to find a person who can name a single Motörhead song beyond The Ace Of Spades, and only then because the hard rock anthem was in three Rock Band releases.



The singer of Motörhead, Lemmy, is the only human whose appearance could be compared with that Chinese Hairless that won World's Ugliest Dog a few years back.  Known affectionately by his fans as "The Warted One", Lemmy is to rock star good looks what a gelatin tuna salad mold (yeah, people ate that shit in the 1960s, apparently) is to delicious comfort foods, and his face is to Ben Affleck's what krokodil is to Adderall.  Beyond that, the man drank at least a bottle of Jack Daniels a day for 37 years, and essentially lived off LSD and speed for the entirety of his career, which might not account for his face but should earn him a trip to a medical think tank to determine what sorcery gave his heart and liver better longevity than a naked mole rat.


Looks more like the kind of guy who's fucked a handful of chicks in the dumpster behind fast food joints, and might occasionally land the diner waitress with some hard miles on her face, a speed habit, and a bunch of C-section scars than the white Wilt Chamberlain.

In spite of the fact that his music is generally unmemorable, he's uglier than a can of smashed assholes, and he consumed massive amounts of every substance commonly believed to make your dick limper than Philip Seymour Hoffman's wrists, Lemmy's banged over 1200 women.  While many of them were likely of the brown snaggletooth, massively bespectacled, infamously ugly 1970's British variety, that's still quite a feat.  Oh, and did I mention the man credited with inventing speed and thrash metal has stated in numerous interviews that he fucking hates the genres of music with which he's credited?  If Jesus had only managed to convert colonies of syphilitic hermaphrodites and subsequently decided that Mithraism was far cooler than modern Christianity, it still wouldn't do justice to Lemmy's quizzical actions.


If I entered one of their meets, I am betting I would be struck my lightning as I tried to enter the venue.

Like Lemmy and Motörhead, all round lifting and USAWA/IAWA (United States All-Round Weightlifting Association / International All-Round Weightlifting Association) don't play nicely with the strength sports to which their traditions gave birth.  Instead, all round lifters seem to inhabit their own niche miles distant from powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, and strongman- instead of raving about massive numbers and brutal training regimes, the USAWA guys are handing out courage and sportsmanship awards (no shit- it's as if their organization is run by a kindergarten teacher who lives next to a trophy shop) and discussing the weirdly massive age ranges of their competitors.  Nowhere on the USAWA website will you find anything with a BR00TAL or extreme theme- everything is tidy and polite, nodding respectfully to the drunken lunatic strongmen of the past as if they'd actually hang out with them if, say, Saxon were to stumble into one of their gyms demanding a barrel of beer for himself and another for the people in the gym, and then lifting random shit until everyone else collapsed from exhaustion, they'd be super psyched he'd vomited all over their platform.


Grimek busting out an exercise of which I've never heard- the Kelly snatch.

Weirder still, one sees very little crossover of athletes from USAWA into the other three disciplines, or vice versa.  Despite the apparent likeness of the two sports, it's not been widely publicized if a strongman ever made a crossover into USAWA.  Instead, the sport is content to garner the occasional mention in Milo... which is a far cry from its roots as the beginning of organized strength sports competition in the Western Hemisphere.



Though its roots are in the late 19th and early 20th Century, all-round weightlifting as an organized sport began in the US in 1985, when groups of odd lifts aficionados from the US battled lifters from the UK.  Lifting competitions at the turn of the century were formal affairs often contested for decent sums of money, but they had no set format.  Instead, the contestants, usually two, agreed upon a number of lifts, then determined the winner when one lifter defeated the other in more events.  In that way, it was much the same as how strongman events are contested now.  With the resurrection of the Olympics, weightlifting became a bit more organized, as the focus shifted to one and two hand versions of the snatch and clean (and for one Olympics, the swing).  Perhaps due to the fact that fun and the Olympic lifts are more akin to matter and anti-matter than anything else, informal lifting competitions persisted locally as "odd lift" competitions, which also included a physique round to determine the overall winner (Salado).


Only a people as awesome as the Germans would turn the deadlift into a drinking game.

Though the competitions were a far cry from those of the Bavarian beer gardens half a century and an ocean away, lacking both the standout lifters and large crowds, odd lift competitions flourished in the US in the 1940s and 1950s (Ibid).  With no set program of lifts, the participants themselves chose the events, which ranged widely between power lifts, Olympic lifts, and bodybuilding movements, the points from which were then added to the evening physique competitions to determine a winner (Salado).  Now, before you channel your inner Leslie Chow and shout "HA! GAAAAAYYYY!" at the screen, bear in mind that these competitions, while small and local, were incredibly popular.  So much so, in fact, that the godfather of Olympic weightlifting and evil authoritarian overlord of strength sports, Bob Hoffman, decided to destroy them.


Terry Todd busting out the world's first 700 lb competition squat.

Awed by the lifting feats of Terry Todd, who at the time was the strongest man in America not named Paul Anderson, Grimek had taken a shine to what were then being called the "power lifts", as the bench press, deadlift, and squat started to pull away from the odd lift contests (Fair 212, Sutphin 413).  Seeing powerlifting as the best method by which Hoffman could counter Weider's growing legion of oily man magazines, Hoffman founded Muscular Development as a powerlifters' training and diet resource (Fair 215).  He had, however, an even more nefarious goal- to destroy the sport of odd lifting, which he saw as a threat to his beloved Olympic weightlifting.  According to Hoffman, "there were not enough Olympic lifters in America and that physique and odd-lift contests were 'killing our chances of victory' in international competition (Fair 216).  To that end, he advocated upright rowing and behind the neck pressing for "power-lift" programs and sponsored the first two national powerlifting meets in 1964 and 1965 in an effort to force lifters' hands into choosing a side (Ibid).   If that seems to be counter-intuitive to you, as it would seem that powerlifting would simply steal great lifters from Olympic lifting, you're not the only one.  This would be like a Christian pastor decrying the loss of straight men in a bar to a club for bisexuals and deciding to sponsor a homosexual-only bathhouse and promote the gay lifestyle as a stop-loss.


Hoffman celebrating the death of odd lifting in the US.

Predictably, odd lifting was all but dead by the 1970s (History).  Like the martial arts masters of China going into hiding in the mountains when the Qing took power to refine their arts while living in caves, odd lifting aficionados retreated to the dusty corners of forgotten gyms and practiced their art in secret, awaiting a day when they could again pit themselves against other lifting Renaissance men.  One of these men was Ed Zercher, the guy for whom the zercher lift is named.  Ed was well known in Missouri for helping any young lifter in the area, and they all trained in Ed's dungeon basement.  For those of you who know what a zercher lift is, it will come as no surprise that Ed's gym lacked a squat rack, so it stood to reason that he and his lifters would begin to keep track of the weird shit they did, just so they had a metric against which to measure themselves.  It was this small group that eventually formed the basis for the USAWA, training in a tiny gym in a backwoods town, doing lifts of their own invention, those they'd heard about in passing (like the zercher lift, which Ed heard of being referred to as an elbow squat and started using), and those they had read about in the books of turn of the century strongmen (Van Vleck 99-100).


An ancient and wizened Zercher- like a leg pressing Yoda in a singlet.

For some reason, these pasty subterraneans eventually came into contact with other groups of like-minded, anachronistic, Morlocks.  Over the first few years of the 1980s they had enough of a cohesive structure that groups of odd lifters from both the US and the UK made contact, and by 1987 the first international odd lifting competition took place.  For whatever reason, the sport's gained very little traction in the interim, but like Lemmy and Motörhead, the mere fact they seem anachronistic isn't necessarily a reason to ignore them altogether.


Ever the egalitarian, Lemmy on women: "Women, they’re the same as me, with tits. If they want to be crazy, well, that’s all right, because I’m a little crazy myself sometimes."

Here's where it gets tricky, though, because the number of lifts that can possibly be contested in the IAWA borders on ridiculous.  A rival organization, the Odd Lift Strength Association, had a much shorter list of contested lifts, but appears to have been dead for the last few years.  Their competition lifts numbered only 25, and none of them seem esoteric enough to deserve a mention in a Dennis Miller monologue.  By contrast, the IAWA's website lists no fewer than 170 movements, many of which are likely only known to a few people on the planet.  That is not going to stop us from finding out just what the fuck it is these guys are up to, however.  So, next time, we are going to delve into the lifts of the odd lift movement and see if we can figure out why that entire sport is consigned to a possibly interconnected, Viet Cong-style series of basements in the Midwest.

Only because i knew there'd be bitching if I left out the tits.

Sources:
Fair, John D. Muscletown USA: Bob Hoffman and the Manly Culture of York Barbell.  University Park:  Pennsylvania State Press, 1999.

History of I.A.W.A. (UK).  IAWA.  Web.  29 Aug 2014.  http://www.iawa.org.uk/HISTORY.html

Salado, Julio.  From Odd-lifts to Power-lifting: Boston’s weight lifting pioneer Archie Burgess.  Fitness Foundry.  10 Aug 2013.  Web.  29 Aug 2014.  http://fitnessfoundry.net/2013/08/from-odd-lifts-to-power-lifting-bostons-weight-lifting-pioneer-archie-burgess/

Sutphin, Paul.  Powerlifting: The Total Package.  Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2014.

Van Vleck, Thom.  Do You Zercher?  Milo.  2009 Sep;17(2):98-103.

19 August 2014

Baddest Motherfuckers Ever: Henry "Milo" Steinborn


For the vast majority of you, Henry "Milo" Steinborn is (erroneously) the inventor of the squat.  As I've mentioned in my weight lifting history "There Is Nothing New Under The Sun" series, however, that's absolutely not the case- the barbell squat has been around in the fashion Milo Steinborn did them since the middle of the 19th Century.  "What fashion?", the less well educated and sadly confused among you might be asking.  This fashion:


Having cleared that up, Henry Steinborn might not have invented the squat style subsequently named after him, but he was definitely the greatest of all time at it.  Lacking a rack out of which to squat, Steinborn loaded up a barbell with 553 lbs, up-ended it, dropped that quarter ton onto his back at the bottom of a squat, and powered out of the hole with it.  No person before him had ever come close to that record, and it's only been in the last decade or so that anyone has done so since (IAWA World Records).  Steinborn was so far out ahead of his peers in the squat that at one point the richest man in the world at the time, Jean Paul Getty, took notice of Steinborn and ended up paying him a considerable sum when Steinborn busted out 33 reps with 315 at a bodyweight of 205, presumably after betting him that Steinborn couldn't break 30 reps with 315 (Strossen 5).


Before you turn into a smug little Dennis Miller impersonator and start blabbering an esoteric list of relatively unknown people who can do that off the top of your head, bear in mind that Steinborn did them from the floor, and he was the world's first squat specialist.  Well, that's not entirely accurate- Steinborn was an all around badass who made lifting historian David Willoughby shudder and spontaneously climax when Steinborn's name was mentioned- he just also happened to be the world's greatest squatter at a time when the squat was about as well known and understood as electrical light.  According to Willoughby, Henry "Milo" Steinborn was a super athlete who "manifestly possessed the requisite combination of strength, speed, agility, and endurance" to be considered one of the greatest lifters of all time, (Strossen 5) and whose awesomeness exceeded so far beyond the limits of human comprehension that the man correctly predicted the year of his own death decades before he died (Orlando Sentinel).


Henry Steinborn's Stats
Height: 5'8"
Weight: 205 lbs.
One Hand Snatch: 218 lbs.
Two Hand Snatch: 247 lbs.
Clean and Jerk: 375 lbs.
Squat: 553 lbs.
Strict Curl: 175 lbs. x 5 reps
One Hand Jerk: 255 lbs. 


Looking at the numbers above, you might be thinking, "So?  Who givers a shit?  Plenty of 200 lbers can move those weights."  Indeed, they can.  Using today's rankings, Steinborn would only be ranked 110th in the world at 198 lbs... but that fails to take into account that the Berg barbell had only been existence for a short time and was hardly the finely lubed, smoothly rotating, springy-steeled wonder of engineering with which modern lifts are completed.  Additionally, Steinborn wasn't an Olympic weightlifting specialist, and he put up those numbers when the lifting world was still trying to figure out what in the hell Olympic weightlifting was.  Put more strongly- Steinborn and behmouth Louis Cyr went back and forth taking the world record in the clean and jerk until Steinborn accidentally clean and jerked 375 (he'd asked for 350 and the bar was misloaded to 375).  At that point, Louis Cyr was considered untouchable in strength sports, and he's still considered by many as the greatest strongman of all time.  Steinborn beat the man badly by accident- he wasn't even really trying.

The closest thing the world will ever see to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: From left to right, Henry "Milo" Steinborn, Olympic weightlifter John Terpak, Mr. America and former world record holder in weightlifting Steve Stanko. badass heavyweight champion boxer and wrestler Primo Carnera, first man to win world championships in three different weightclasses and Olympic gold medalist Stan Stanczyk, and weightlifting and bodybuilding legend John Grimek at the York Weightlifting Club.  Steinborn and Carnera were passing through to go to a wrestling match in Baltimore and decided to hang out with Hoffman's guys for a bit.

While that was not an official record (Steinborn was a professional strongman and was ineligible for the Olympics), no one on Earth at his weight came close to a 375 clean and jerk for nearly half a century, and it was only super heavies who could get more weight overhead in any fashion for decades.  If Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Barry Sanders, Jim Thorpe, and Mariusz Pudzianoski all threw their cum into a blender and created a delicious, frothy milkshake of elite man goo to pour into a heavily sedated Ronda Rousey, the kid they produced would not be as dominant in any sport as Steinborn was in lifting in the first half of the 20th Century.  350+ lb Karl Swoboda was capable of continental and jerking 401 lbs, and Paul Anderson managed to put 400 overhead in a clean and jerk weighing even more than his fat German counterpart, but it wasn't until John Davis hit 390 lbs in 1948 that anyone in Steinborn's relative weightclass was able to best the German superman in the clean and jerk.

I would definitely start some sort of a cult over this.

At this point, you might be thinking we should all move to French Guinea and start a cult with a taste for Koolaid to bring about the second coming of this wondrous beast of a man, but I'm not even halfway through a comprehensive retelling of Henry Steinborn's epic Santa Claus bag of awesome.  Henry Steinborn was born in Siegburg, Germany in 1893.  Not much is known about his upbringing, but Steinborn's introduction to training came in the most unlikely place imaginable- he learned to lift in the four and half years he was Australian prisoner of war after he was captured in World War I (Strossen 5,8).  Life in post-war Germany fucking blew- inflation was through the roof as the Germans were saddled with massive reparations payments, and life for Steinborn basically consisted of trying to make a buck by entertaining people with his lifting.  Unlike the modern, communist, vegan, skinny jean clad Germans, early 20th Century Germans spent their evenings in the pub, in the back of which were were barbells so the men who'd spent all day shoveling coal or hauling pig iron in a factory could get hammered and test each other in drunken feats of strength (Strossen 5).

Steinborn lifting at Hermann's Gym, the site of which interestingly enough, is only two blocks from my brother's cupcake shop.  

As incredibly awesome as that sounds, Steinborn realized that earning money that was worth less than the paper on which is was printed was pointless, so after coming in second to 5'2" 220 lb Karl Moerke in the German National Championships in 1920, he stowed away on a ship to the US and applied for citizenship as an economic refugee (Ibid).  By 1921 Steinborn's name was already well known in the US, as Steinborn had broken three world records in front of Alan Calvert at Hermann's Gym in Philidelphia (Orlando Sentinel, Klein).  After an intervention by Arthur Saxon, who convinced Steinborn there was no real money to be made in exhibition lifting, he adopted the nickname Milo (because of his affiliation with Calvert and the Milo Barbell Company), and proceeded to wrestle in over 300 ultra-violent catch style matches in every corner of the world from 1922 to 1953.
That elephant appears to be the opposite of psyched.

Steinborn wasn't done blowing off faces with nightly displays of weightlifting awesome, however- apparently snapping limbs every night wasn't enough of a challenge for this Teutonic Destroyer Of Hopes, Dreams, and Limbs.  Under contract for Pepsi in the 1940s, Steinborn had to squat at least 400 lbs at every performance, and Steinborn often participated in what has been described as "one of the most lethal fighting arts the world has ever known" twice a day... when he was over the age of 50 (Strossen 7).  At the 1950 World's Fair, Milo backlifted an 800 lb elephant while wearing a suit (at age 57), and busted out another 400 lb squat for an audience when he was 70 (Strossen 8).  All of this is even more incredible considering Steinborn had his had and legs crushed when his famous leg bridge feat, in which 5000 lbs of car and people traversed a bridge Steinborn held up with his legs, went horribly awry in 1926 (Boff).  Exactly 0 fucks were given and no excuses made, and the dude who had been squashed 60 years prior was still squatting 300 into his 80s (Ibid).

Milo weighed around 170 when he was 92.  Here, he's in his 80s and looking better than 3/4 of the people in any gym you visit.

I think at this point, we all understand- Henry "Milo" Steinborn was indeed one of the greatest strength athletes, and without a doubt one of the baddest motherfuckers to ever live.  To what, then, can we credit his badassery?

  • he started out as a gymnast.  Due to his background in gymnastics, Steinborn had great flexibility, body control, and balance.  This ingrained the necessity for good form, so conscious thought was unnecessary while lifting (Strossen 8).
  • he was concerned with overall health.  Steinborn sunbathed regularly, took a lot of long walks, and ate a ton of protein (Strossen 8-9)
  • he was obsessive about training through a full range of motion, and abhored cheating on any movement (Strossen 9)
  • he wasn't a disgusting fatass- Steinborn showed the world that muscular "development, speed, and technique" are what makes good lifters, rather than massive bulk and retard strength (Strossen 7).

Given his rigorous traveling schedule and the fact he had to perform feats of strength so regularly, Steinborn had no training routine.  According to his son,
"Before he did any heavy lifting he did some stretching exercises.  He had an exercise stick that he used for stretching and calisthenics.  He did dislocates on the rings.  He could do giant swings [on a high bar]" (Strossen 8).  
Lifting, then, generally consisted of the quick lifts- one arm snatches and clean and jerks, then the two hand lifts (Strossen 9).  The one exercise he always did was, of course, the "squat- it was the foundation, whether he could do any overhead lifting or things like that.  The squat was like the fountain of youth- he could keep going back there and rejuvenate himself" (Strossen 7-8).


From those descriptions, Steinborn's training seems no more out of the ordinary than a girl pissing in my mouth on the first date.  The apparent banality of this training methods, however, stand in stark contrast to his eating style, which is so bizarre it borders on unbelievable.  As I'm not one to be a contrarian simply because there's no video of the feat on Youtube, and given Steinborn's amazing muscular control in his wrestling and strength feats, I shall treat the following as both possible and true.   Henry "Milo" Steinborn could, according to eye witnesses, chew food without swallowing and bring up individual pierces of that food at will, to then masticate and swallow.

Something tells me Steinborn might have been into this.

I am not making this up, and one author thinks this may have played a role in Steinborn's success, though i would contend it's just evidence of Steinborn's preternatural ability to control his own body.
"Shortly after that we had gone to dinner and I witnessed his method of eating. On this occasion he had eaten boiled onions and steak. He had bolted it down in a tiny fraction of the time I required to consume my own dinner. As I watched him swallow his food in great chunks I thought, what is this? I had always read that strong men were deliberate eaters. They chewed their food well, keeping it in their mouths as long as they could while reducing it to the smallest possible particles. But here was something new. I didn’t ask Steinborn about it because I had only met him and did not feel that I knew him well enough to interrogate him concerning his eating habits.
A few minutes later we were walking down the street and I noticed his jaws moving methodically. “What are you chewing, Mr. Steinborn?” I asked. “A piece of steak,” was his reply. I wondered where he got the steak, could he have a rubber pocket in his coat and have slipped part of his dinner in there? Then Steinborn said, “It’s a gift I have to be able to eat hurriedly and then bring the food up for more thorough chewing. Do you want to see me bring up the onion?” He showed me that his mouth was empty and then almost immediately a big, white onion popped into view. He chewed this carefully and swallowed again. “Now do you want to see a piece of steak?” and then he brought up another piece of steak" (Schmidt).
Second from left next to the human the man with the impossibly skinny-fat arms, Karl Moerke.  Presumably, this was taken after the 1920 German National Weightlifting Championships in which Steinborn took second.

Bob Hoffman, who was then the coach and sponsor of the US Olympic Weightlifting team, apparently stated in his book Better Nutrition that "Steinborn swallowed 24 hard-boiled eggs, bringing them back up one at a time for thorough mastication" (Ibid).  In yet another account, Alan Calvert claimed Steinborn could bring up individual pieces of lettuce from a salad at will (Ibid).  Yes, I know it sounds insane, but "washing out his stomach", as Steinborn referred to it, ensured healthy digestion and good overall health (Ibid).  Whether or not it did so, it is certainly further proof of Steinborn's badassery.

The feat of strength that nearly killed him when he was 29.

So, there you have it- Steinborn could outsquat everyone on the planet, kicked ass at the Olympic lifts in spite of only having a few years of practice at them in a POW camp, was a prolific and dominant wrestler, and had control over his digestive tract the likes of which the world has never seen.  Not only that, but the man had longevity- he was still asking people to jump off of tables onto his ripped six pack at age 92 (Boff), three years before he died the exact year he'd predicted and had carved onto two watches at the ripe old age of 95.  Not bad for an illegal immigrant prisoner of war, eh?

As hard as I try not to use oldtimestrongman.com images, this one was unavoidable.  Apparently no one wanted to photograph Moerke's disgusting fatbody.

A random aside:
While Steinborn gets credit for being one of the sickest squatters of all time, and he is, the aforementioned real life troll doll Karl Moerke deserves some notice.  Though shaped like a trashcan at 5'2" 220 lbs, Moerke was an unequivocal lifting badass.  He "bounce squatted" 650 lbs, which apparently meant he cut the lift short but did it otherwise in the same fashion as Steinborn... making him ostensibly the better squatter, Facebook comments regarding depth notwithstanding.  He also represented in Olympic weightlifting, rocking the following lifts:

  • Right hand snatch 187 lbs 
  • Right hand continental jerk 248 lbs 
  • Two hands snatch 231 pounds lbs 
  • Two hands military press 265 lbs 
  • Two hands continental push 308 lbs 
  • Two hands continental jerk 386 lbs 
  • Squat (bounce style) 650 lbs 
  • Dead lift 650 lbs

Sources:
Boff, Vic.  Reminiscing about Henry "Milo" Steinborn.  Iron Game History.  Web.  18 Aug 2014.  http://www.bobwhelan.com/history/steinborn.htm

Grimek, John. Unforgettable Moments. The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban. 7 Dec 2008. Web. 19 Aug 2014. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/12/unforgetable-moments-john-grimek.html

Henry 'Milo' Steinborn, 95, Weightlifter, Promoter.  Obituaries. Orland Sentinel. 11 Feb 1989. Web. 18 Aug 2014. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1989-02-11/news/8902110537_1_steinborn-milo-weightlifter

Klein, Sigmund. My Quarter Century in the Iron Game – Chapter Three. The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban. 7 Feb 2009. Web. 19 Aug 2014. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/02/sig-klein-chapter-three.html

Schmidt, Bob.  Henry Steinborn.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  21 Mar 2009.  Web.  19 Aug 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/03/henry-steinborn-bob-schmidt.html

Strossen, Randall J. Henry "Milo" Steinborn: A conversation with Henry Steinborn, Jr. Milo. Apr 1993;1(1)4-9.

Willoughby, David P. Karl Moerke.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban. 8 Aug 2008. Web. 19 Aug 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/08/karl-moerke-david-p-willoughby.html

13 August 2014

Fuck The Treadmill 2.5- Answering Sundry Questions About Tanning And Sunscreen

Tanning does a body good.

For the sake of my sanity, since I've been running myself ragged this week, I am just going to address the questions I've received in re the last article as a question and answer format.  While I expected a lot of blowback on the previous series, I honestly didn't expect it about something as innocuous as doing what every human prior to hardline Judeo-Christian faiths overtook the West and Near East has done- which is to say, get a tan.  Quite frankly, I'm not certain when people started viewing glorified pimple-poppers as the saviors of all mankind who are never to be questioned, but I suppose every day is a new day in which I can be even further disappointed by humanity as a whole.

One would think this topic might garner a bit more attention, especially in the strength training world, as I'd posit most of us are vain enough to warrant the use of a snorkle every time we peer into a pool of water to check out our swole status, but apparently the world at large disagrees.  What we do know for sure, however, is that tan people are considered more attractive (at least in the Western world- I'm aware it has negative class connotations in other cultures), and given our communal narcissism, that information should make you perk up a bit (Chung).  Thus, without further adieu, the questions and comments I received.

If the chick in Thanatomorphose has just gotten a fucking tan instead of rocking that SPF 100, this whole movie could have been avoided.

"Sunblock DOES NOT cause cancer. Halfwit" and "What sunscreen ingredients should we be avoiding then?"

I don't know that I ever stated sunblock absolutely caused cancer- instead, I stated that it was carcinogenic.  As I mentioned, many sunblocks contain carcinogenic substances, and others, like phenylbenzimidazole and titanium dioxide particles, cause DNA damage in rats (Yu).  All of that sounds like a big bag of not-fun to me, especially when one considers that most of the shit that blocks UV rays generates free radicals, and free radicals are basically cellular terrorists (Allen).  When compiling a short list of some of the carcinogenic substances in sunscreen, I took a look at the shit I had in my bathroom- Coppertone Sport SPF 15 contains oxybenzone, while Ocean Potion Sport SPF 30 (which I think is my roommate's) contains the same.  I'm simply listing the stuff that was easy to find on carcinogens and sunscreen, but if you want to check out how horrible your sunscreen is, go here and search yours (mine were 4 and 5, respectively).  Here, then, is a short list of the worst shit to avoid in your sunscreen:
  • oxybenzone- This ingredient really is the biggie, but it appears that it's in so much shit and causes so many health problems, it's going to get you in the end anyway.  Oxybenzone has been linked to "allergies, hormone disruption, and cell damage", and in spite of the fact that studies show it to be toxic, the cosmetics industry seems to think it's either indispensable or good for you (Allen, Nakajima).
  • benzophenone- Benzophenone, while not quite the bad, bad man that walks into the bar, smashes a bottle of the head of the first man he sees and rapes his girlfriend, then burns the bar on the way out, still sucks for you.  It's been shown to cause DNA damage (Cuquerella), which should be considered a bad thing unless you're putting all of your eggs in the "it's a mutation that will turn me into a superhuman mutant" X-Men-style basket.
If only hippies would stick to toplessness and leave the "science" and nutrition to thinking people.
  • octyl methoxycinnamate- Otherwise known as OMC, this is bandied about by hippie "science" websites as a "mutagenic toxic substance", though like other hippie websites, an attempt at confirming that just led me into a Google ring-around-the rosie between sites that would smell of patchouli if sites could smell.  Despite the fact, however, that OMC is not the secret ingredient in the ooze that created the teenage mutant ninja turtles, it's not great for you.  It's not great at blocking out sunlight, and the "gene expression results suggest that the overall cellular response to DNA damage was significantly altered by OMC" (Duale)... and not in a good way.  This would be another substance to avoid.
  • retinyl palmitate- This one had me skeptical, frankly, because I've mentioned before I find the panic about Vitamin A toxicity to be even more overblown than Rex Manning's dick.  A study by the National Toxicology Program, however, showed that retinyl palmitate increased the incidence of skin lesions and tumors, and decreased the life expectancy of the rats in the study.  While not nearly as compelling as the oxybenzone results, it's worth noting that this stuff may have the potential to have you looking like a krokodil addict at some point.
I think Lass Suicide might actually be hotter pale than tan.

"Is melanotan acceptable for ginger Irish people who just burn and get more freckles in the sun?"

Melanotan II is an interesting substance.  You can purchase it from peptide resources as a "research chemical", as it's not gotten FDA approval and so it's not scheduled.  It was developed at my alma mater as a method of inducing more rapid tanning, and thereafter produced the world's first actually positive side effect in the history of pharmaceuticals- it works as an aphrodisiac and causes uncontrollable and random boners.  I suppose the reason it's not being distributed for free on the street is that guidos and frat boys are tan and rapey enough, but for the rest of us, Melanotan II is basically manna from heaven.  Direct from Web-MD:
"Melanotan-II is POSSIBLY SAFE when used under medical supervision for treating ED (erectile dysfunction). It may cause nausea, stomach cramps, decreased appetite, flushing, tiredness, yawning, darkened skin, spontaneous erections of the penis, and other side effects" (Web MD). 
In other words, have at it.

I do not miss working like this.  Jesus fuck, what misery.

"Any suggestions for UV producing lamps for those trapped in an office?"

This was an interesting question for me, because my knee-jerk reaction was "just go tanning, for fuck's sweet sake."  Tanning is, for me, intensely relaxing, provided you use a bed and not one of those bullshit standup contraptions.  you lay down, have a nap, and wake up feeling warm, fuzzy, and generally awesome.  If you happen to find a gym with a tanning bed, even better- pop your preworkout before you get in the bed, hit up a 15 minute nap, and come out fucking swinging.  As I mentioned in the first, ancient part of this series, studies have shown it gives a marked performance benefit.


That's neither here nor there, however- you wanted to know about UV lamps.  I did some research, and it appears that the light boxes designed to treat seasonal affective disorder do not aid in Vitamin D production- those lights filter out UV rays (Stopa), and UVB rays are what get you tan and trigger Vitamin D production (Bianchi).  Thus, I dug deeper and discovered that they do make desktop tanning lamps you could have at your desk.  Apparently, the bigger appliance companies got out of the sun lamp business years ago due to liability, but you can still get stuff like the CalSun Facial Tanning Sun Lamp on Amazon.  It's apparently not super awesome, but it's better than nothing.

On the other hand, you have the Naturebright Suntouch Plus Light has gotten some badass reviews, is super ridiculously on sale on Amazon, and combines bright light and negative ions for mood improvement, but you don't get the Vitamin D production or a bit of color on your pasty epidermis.  Frankly, I'd never heard of negative ion therapy, but studies have shown that both bright lights and negative air ions result in a 50+% improvement in mood for people suffering from depression (Goel).  So, using something like that will kill a couple of birds with one stone, though I still doubt it tops rubbing one out and napping in a tanning bed (wipe that fucker down when you're done, if you would).

In re being an indoor worker- you actually appear to be at a higher risk of getting melanoma than outdoor workers (Godar).  UVA rays are the shitty, non-Vitamin D-inducing, cancer causing fuckers, and those pass through glass, while UVB rays don't.  As a result, the incidence of skin cancer has risen steadily since 1940 in indoor workouts, but not people who actually work in the sun (Rivers).  As such, you might want to jump on some sort of tanning solution, stat.


"Pale girls are better though, should women instead increase vitamin D intake by bathing in milk and/or milk enemas?"

Sadly, highly lipophilic vitamins like vitamin D have too many factors at play to determine whether or not they'll be adequately absorbed in the intestine (Borel), but enteral absorption of Vitamin D has been successful in rats (Khamiseh).  This is happy news for me, as I thoroughly enjoy pissing into a girl's ass and making her hold it while I go down on her, so if I double up on my Animal Pak, I could square her away on vitamin intake as well.  As to the bath, the answer there is going to be no- a plain old Vitamin D supplement taken orally should suffice if you're not trying my unique enteric method.  Additionally, you could always try my plan, golden shower style, if she's into urophilia- just shoot for 1000-2000 IU of Vitamin D per day, which is what one of the professors of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard University recommends (Giovannucci).


"I'm about the palest cracker on earth, and I'm in def considered 'high risk' for skin cancer (had multiple severe sunburns as a child, my father had a pretty bad case of melanoma and has had a lot of cancerous or pre-cancerous growths removed, etc etc). So I've always been the clam who hides from the sun and lubes up in sunscreen when I have to."

Well, dude from the shitheap of a movie Powder, that sucks for you- a recent study showed pretty definitively that adult sunburns don't seem to cause melanoma, but early-life blistering sunburns do (Wu).  You might as well start a skin-cancer savings account, just in case, because while melanoma isn't exactly the most common thing (only 1 in 5,000 people ever has any incidence of it), you're pretty much a rock solid case for getting it (SEER).  At least now, I suppose, you can just tan to your heart's content- whatever damage is going to be done already has been, unless you start taking daily sunblock baths.

So, there you have it.  Questions answered, idiots silenced, and boobies unleashed.  You're welcome.

Sources:
Allen JM, Gossett CJ, Allen SK.  Photochemical formation of singlet molecular oxygen in illuminated aqueous solutions of several commercially available sunscreen active ingredients.  Chem Res Toxicol. 1996 Apr-May;9(3):605-9.

Bianchi, Helena De Souza.  Which sun ray is responsible for the production of vitamin D: UVA or UVB? Examiner.com.  12 Jun 2012.  Wen.  13 Aug 2014.  http://www.examiner.com/article/uva-or-uvb-rays-which-one-is-responsible-for-the-production-of-vitamin-d

Borel P.  Factors affecting intestinal absorption of highly lipophilic food microconstituents (fat-soluble vitamins, carotenoids and phytosterols).  Clin Chem Lab Med. 2003 Aug;41(8):979-94.

Campbell JA, Morrison AB.  Some Factors Affecting the Absorption of Vitamins.  Am J Clin Nutr. 1963 Mar;12(3):162-169.

Chung VQ, Gordon JS, Veledar E, Chen SC.  Hot or not--evaluating the effect of artificial tanning on the public's perception of attractiveness.  Dermatol Surg. 2010 Nov;36(11):1651-5.

Cuquerella MC, Lhiaubet-Vallet V, Cadet J, Miranda MA.  Benzophenone photosensitized DNA damage.  Acc Chem Res. 2012 Sep 18;45(9):1558-70.

Duale N, Olsen AK, Christensen T, Butt ST, Brunborg G.  Octyl methoxycinnamate modulates gene expression and prevents cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer formation but not oxidative DNA damage in UV-exposed human cell lines.  Toxicol Sci. 2010 Apr;114(2):272-84.

Giovannucci, E.  Quotes on the State of Vitamin D Science, Reference to IOM Report.  Grassroots Health.  Nov 2010.  Web.  13 Aug 2014.  http://www.grassrootshealth.net/iomquotes

Godar DE, Landry RJ, Lucas AD.  Increased UVA exposures and decreased cutaneous Vitamin D(3) levels may be responsible for the increasing incidence of melanoma.  Med Hypotheses. 2009 Apr;72(4):434-43.

Goel N, Terman M, Terman JS, Macchi MM, Stewart JW.  Controlled trial of bright light and negative air ions for chronic depression.  Psychol Med. 2005 Jul;35(7):945-55.

Khamiseh G, Vaziri ND, Oveisi F, Ahmadnia MR, Ahmadnia L.  Vitamin D absorption, plasma concentration and urinary excretion of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in nephrotic syndrome.  Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1991 Feb;196(2):210-3.

Nakajima D, Asada S, Kageyama S, Yamamoto T, Kuramochi H, Tanaka N, Takeda K, Goto S.  Activity related to the carcinogenicity of plastic additives in the benzophenone group.  J UOEH. 2006 Jun 1;28(2):143-56.

NTP Technical Report on the photocarcinogenesis study of retinoic acid and retinyl palmitate in SKH-1 mice.  2012 Aug.  NTP TR 568.  National Toxicology Program.  Web.  13 Aug 2014.  http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/results/pubs/longterm/reports/longterm/tr500580/listedreports/tr568/index.html

Rivers JK.  Is there more than one road to melanoma? Lancet.  Feb 2004;363(9410):728-730.

SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Melanoma of the Skin.  National Cancer Institute.  Web.  13 Aug 2014.  http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/melan.html

Stopa, Marsha.  Winter Blues Tip 3: Light therapy and Vitamin D don’t mix.  Winter Blues Coach.  12 Dec 2012.  Web.  13 Aug 2014.  http://winterbluescoach.com/tip-3

Wu S, Han J, Laden F, Qureshi AA.  Long-term ultraviolet flux, other potential risk factors, and skin cancer risk: a cohort study.  Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2014 Jun;23(6):1080-9.

Yu, JX, Li TH.  Distinct biological effects of different nanoparticles commonly used in cosmetics and medicine coatings.  Cell Biosci.  2011;1(19)1-15.