Search This Blog

Sunday, December 11, 2011

How Doctors Die

 If you have already invited disease into your life and your end looks immenent, what do you want your last days, weeks and months to be?  You know me, my first choice is prevent disease.  Heal what's already going on and live to your full human potential.  But if it's beyond healing, the end of life can go many ways.  

I commend this article for your consideration.

Food for thought.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

So what IS a healthy diet, really that prevents disease (and cures it?)

...or what one of my readers asked yesterday, "So what DO you eat when you don't eat grains?"

The question is illustrative of how prevalent is grass seed in our diet--yes, all grains and cereals are grass seeds.  Most Americans eat so much grain--cereal, bread, rice, pasta, corn, etc--that they cannot imagine eliminating it.  It forms the backbone of the American diet.  And it shows!

So let's talk about how we got here--from hunter/gatherer ancestors of which there are only a few scattered tribes left...They had no grocery stores.  They had nature.  They hunted and fished and gathered eggs and frogs and insects and shellfish if they were near the sea.  They found leaves and twigs and roots that were tasty.  They picked berries and other fruit and nuts when they found them.  Grass seeds were too labor intensive to eat.  The roots they found were full of fiber and often very colorful (not like a potato that is just chains of glucose with almost no nutrients.)  The leaves and greens our ancestors ate were organic (of course) and fruit was seasonal. 

The animals they ate roamed free eating natural stuff too.  No cramming them into feed lots, no cramming corn and oats down their gullets and then shooting them full of antibiotics when they got sick.  Those animals didn't have marbled meat.  They were lean.  But the humans from whom we decended ate the whole animal--fat, brain, heart, tongue, liver, kidneys, bones and meat--so they got the fattest parts of the animals besides the lean meat.  That's our heritage.  The BS we've been told (saturated fat causes heart disease, cholesterol is dangerous, whole grains are healthy) comes out of the agricultural complex, not our biology.  Read my booklet (50 pages) "Inflammation Run Amok" for more details of why that BS is so wrong, or read
"Good Calorie Bad Calorie" by Gary Taubes, or read "The Great Cholesterol Con".

There was a big hoopla about "The China Study" a book written by a vegetarian named Campbell that looked at diseases in China.  He concluded that animal products were the cause of disease in China.  The data was revisited by a reseacher (also a vegan at the time) but she demonstrated how Campbell fudged to get his conclusions and that more correctly, wheat was highly correlated with heart disease, and those that ate more animal fat actually had lower disease. Read her blog here for a lot more detail.

So what do I eat now that I'm off grains?  Well, it was touch and go for a while while I figured this out, but now I eat eggs and bacon, salads, vegetables and fruit, meat at most every meal, and full fat dairy and dairy products to my heart's content.  I make a lot of soup.  It's an easy way to get meat and veggies in one bowl and I can make a big pot of soup and eat it several days in a row.  No sandwiches though.  Taking a lunch is a little different now.  I make beef jerky for travel sometimes.  I have been known to take a carton of cottage cheese and fruit when I am away from home.  I hope it goes without saying that I drink no sodas, juice or alcohol and about one pound of sugar a year--only incidentally, as in my homemade mango chutney.

I drink milk--but I'm not sensitive or allergic to milk.  If you are, avoid it.  Don't know?  Try ten days with none and see if anything changes.  I avoid vegetable fats.  I use macadamia nut oil in salad dressing I make (oil and vinegar) butter and coconut oil for cooking now and then. 

Meat and good animal fat and vegetables is very filling.  Yes, it puts you out of step with America.  But frankly, since all America is pretty sick and aging badly, being out of step is a good thing.

Read the book "The Primal Blueprint" by Mark Sisson.  I think it is the best of the books about eating like our ancestors did and like we're designed for.  The Primal/Paleo/Ancestral movement is huge and growing--and healthy!!

One more suggestion.  Watch this 17 minute youtube video.  If this doesn't convince you, I'll be very surprised.  It's a TED talk by a doctor who cured herself of Multiple Sclerosis (an incurable disease) and gives good info about mitochondria and nutrients.

One more comment, then I'm finished for now.  If you have health issues now, all this information is far more important than if you do not.  A primal/ancestral diet can cure what ails you--including the biggies (see video) and keep you healthy.  What I'm pretty sure tho, is that the sicker you are, the more important it is to stick to it 100%.  Every time you cheat (and I no longer even want to) you invite in damaging processes again.   You can't heal damage while inflicting it!!!

Best wishes!  And have a healthy and happy holiday season! for e-books about this stuff!

Preventing Cancer and other Noxious Stuff...

Remember last time in talking about cancer screenings I said I opt for preventing cancer rather than screening for it (as tho it were inevitable).  That's because cancer (and a lot of other health disasters) are diseases of civilization.  By that I mean we know that a "civilized" diet causes them.  Our Paleolitic ancestors did not get cancer or heart disease or arthritis or alzheimers or get depressed or a million other things.  Granted, they may have been eated by lions, tigers and bears, but they didn't get the diseases of civilization because their diet wasn't civilized. 

Generally anyone with a brain, the time to look into this stuff and no agenda from agriculture, pharmaceuticals or other monied interests, has figured this out.  That's why there is such a strong (non-mainstream but vocal and persuasive) movement toward Paleo, Primal or Ancestral diet. 

Still, the powers that be must do studies and justify their existence and budgets.  So here's a new one in Nutrition & Metabolism 2011, 8:75, by Klement RJ, et al, titled " Is there a role for carbohydrate restriction in the treatment and prevention of cancer?"

Well, duh! 

Ok, my temper tantrum is over.

Here's what they conclude (the abstract of the paper):

Over the last years, evidence has accumulated suggesting that by systematically reducing the amount of dietary carbohydrates (CHOs) one could suppress, or at least delay, the emergence of cancer, and that proliferation of already existing tumor cells could be slowed down. This hypothesis is supported by the association between modern chronic diseases like the metabolic syndrome and the risk of developing or dying from cancer. CHOs or glucose, to which more complex carbohydrates are ultimately digested, can have direct and indirect effects on tumor cell proliferation: first, contrary to normal cells, most malignant cells depend on steady glucose availability in the blood for their energy and biomass generating demands and are not able to metabolize significant amounts of fatty acids or ketone bodies due to mitochondrial dysfunction.

Second, high insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 levels resulting from chronic ingestion of CHO-rich Western diet meals can directly promote tumor cell proliferation via the insulin/IGF-1 signaling pathway. Third, ketone bodies that are elevated when insulin and blood glucose levels are low, have been found to negatively affect proliferation of different malignant cells in vitro or not to be usable by tumor cells for metabolic demands, and a multitude of mouse models have shown anti-tumorigenic properties of very low-CHO ketogenic diets. In addition, many cancer patients exhibit an altered glucose metabolim characterized by insulin resistance and may profit from an increased protein and fat intake. In this review, we address the possible beneficial effects of low CHO diets on cancer prevention and treatment. Emphasis will be placed on the role of insulin and IGF-1 signaling in tumorigenesis as well as altered dietary needs of cancer patients.

If that's hard to understand, what they've said in a nutshell is that carbohydrates makes us sick.  As I've said here and elsewhere, blood sugar and insulin cause most of the chronic inflammation that causes all disease.  The body is a self healing, self regulating system that WILL stay healthy and functional if you give it what it needs and do not screw it up with anti-nutrients and toxins. 

Our ancestors ate a low glycemic diet for thousands or perhaps millions of years.  That enabled them to survive.  Chances are high that your diet today (if you're a typical American) is a VERY high glycemic diet.  That raises blood sugar to toxic levels and then raises insulin to toxic levels.  THAT CAUSES DISEASE.
Ok, I know, I'm shouting, sorry, forgive me.  If you want to figure out your chances of being sick, non functional and complaining about the aging process, look up the glycemic load of everything you put in your mouth for about three days. There's a handy site for looking up foods.

Here's the thing.  Glycemic load of 10 or below will not raise blood sugar into the red zone.  Anything over 10 is progressively more and more toxic.  Glycemic load is additive.  If you eat a cup of chopped broccoli with a glycemic load of 4 you're good.  But if you add a cup of brown rice with a glycemic load of 22, not only is your load not low but it's now into the high zone (over 20) at 26, and highly toxic. 

Your ancestors didn't eat grains (grass seeds).  You're not adapted for grains.  They make you sick.  The hype all over the media about WHOLE grains is the biggest lie ever perpetrated on the Ameirican public.  And don't get me started on sugar and vegetable oils that are just toxic as all get out!!!

So I suggest you read Dr. Briffa's post for yourself, here:
but I will excerpt below his explanations for why (high glycemic) carbohydrates make you sick.  In case you want to know the mechanisms...

1. Cancer cells feed preferentially on sugar (glucose)
Glucose (from sugary and starchy foods) provides the prime fuel for cancer cells, so a diet lower in carbohydrate may therefore reduce tumour development or progression.

2. Insulin and IGF-1 can stimulate tumour cell growth
High carbohydrate diets increase levels of insulin and what is known as insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which stimulate tumour cell growth. A lower carbohydrate diet may reduce tumour proliferation as a result.

3. Ketones suppress cancer
Very low carbohydrate diets can lead to the production of ‘ketones’ (mainly produced from fat) that suppress tumours.

4. Low-carbohydrate and ‘ketogenic’ diets ‘starve’ cancer
Low-carbohydrate diets mimic caloric restriction and ketogenic diets mimic starvation – and caloric restriction/starvation is linked to reduce tumour development and progression.

5. Low carbohydrate diets can reduce inflammation
Inflammation is believed to be a risk factor in the development of cancer, and high-carb diets encourage inflammation. Low-carbohydrate diets have been found to be more effective than low-fat ones in terms of reducing markers of inflammation.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Better Cancer Screening tool, if you must screen

In the last blog post I talked about the problem with typical cancer screening. namely mammograms.    Today I want to give you a solution--or two.

First of all, this quote from Dr. David Jockers:

Research has shown that the major mechanism involved with all degenerative disease is inflammation.  Most medical testing searches for disease processes that have already developed.  They are looking downstream to the effect rather than upstream at the underlying cause.  More advanced health care practitioners use instruments and technology that searches upstream for the cause of physiological abnormalities in the body.

So the best health strategy is to avoid inflammation and that, it turns out, is nearly 100% within your power.  That's what I talk about in this blog/newsletter.  BUT...if you've abused your body, have ignored the nutrition that it needs, then maybe testing for cancer is smart.  It makes sense, however to do so in ways that do not add to the risk.

Enter Thermography.  It is a screening that reads surface heat patterns in your body.  Extra heat indicates extra blood flow and that is an indication of inflammation, i.e. disease processes.  So here's what thermography shows in breast tissus.

Thermography is not invasive and does not expose you to ionizing ratiation, itself a cause of cancerous changes.  So my first choice is diet and supplements to eliminate chronic inflammation--the major mechanism of disease.  The human body is self-healing, self regulating and self correcting if given the raw materials to function correctly.  By impication, if it's not functioning correctly--if there is disease process going on--you can still self-correct.  Our culture has this erroneous assumption that diseases jump out and get us--especially when we are aging.  WRONG!!  Actually, we invite them in.  I choose to recind that invitation!  I hope that I'm encouraging you to do that too.

But, if you're worried about disease, choose screening that does not add to the body's toxic burden. Not so you will live forever, but so that whatever years you have ahead are great, fun, invigorating and thriving years!  More information about how to tackle the chronic inflammation that's making you tired, painful, and sick found at for the booklet, "Inflammation Run Amok"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cancer screenings and such

Dr. John Briffa in his post today, here, talks about the statistics regarding mammograms.  We are often given high percentages of lives saved from mammograms.  New studies now tell us the percentage of lives saved is way lower than the 25% number bandied about, perhaps as low as 3%.  Why?  Well, the cancer may have been easily detected by other means and treated successfully at a later date.  The cancer may have been one the woman could die WITH--not of.  Just because a mammogram detected a cancer early does not guarantee that it was life-saving!  But those who sell mammograms don't necessarily want you to hear those statistics.

While we're on this subject, let's ask more questions--like is there a downside to mammograms?  It turns out there are big ones, not the least of which is that mammograms are executed with ionizing radiation.  Ionizing radiation can cause genetic changes that result in cancers!  WHAT?  The diagnostic tool for cancer can cause cancer?  What's with that?

It turns out there are some other problems with this cancer screening tool and others, too, that the purveyors of these tests do not tell you, although these downsides are well known, well documented and you OUGHT to know them!!   How come?  Well, I bet you thought medicine was about helping people be healthier, didn't you?  No, FIRST, medicine is a money making business.  And like all money-making businesses, the thing they're about (making money) takes precedence over all other concerns.

I know, I sound very cynical, don't I?  Perhaps.  And I don't think you should give up doctors and medicine.  What I think is that you darn well ought to know more about what you're signing on for before you do.  For more about the risks of various cancer screening tests -- the ones you don't hear from those who order, execute or profit from these tests, read my e-book, "How to be a Smarter Health Care Consumer" here.

Even more importantly, remember in a culture that promotes fear of cancer, we have a huge body of evidence that all cancers fall into the category of "diseases of civilization."  Indigenous populations all over the earth for millions of years, but even today--when they eat their native diet--do not have cancers of any kind!

I just finished a book "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" by Weston Price, written in 1939 after he and his wife traveled the world documenting native populations before and after they were exposed to 'civilized' foods.  We've been sold a huge bill of goods about what's healthy eating--not the least of which is the whole grains crap and the low fat/saturated fat fiasco.  So to wrap up this blog today, let me just say and cancer does not have to be a consideration for modern people, but if you believe conventional wisdom and eat that way (putting toxins in your mouth three times a day) maybe you have good reason to be afraid of cancer and other diseases of civilisation.  But it doesn't have to be so.

Vibrant good health is your birthright, but you have to quit believing what you hear from the Medical Industrial Complex and what the grain growers and vegetable oil producers of the world would have you believe.  Read more, follow the money and enjoy (or return to) your healthy birthright. 


Saturday, November 12, 2011

This is So Frustrating

Stanford University just came out with a new study that says osteoarthritis is not just a disease of wear and tear on joints.  It’s actually a disease process of the body’s inflammatory response that damages joints.  WOW! 

This is NOT new information.  What this information is, is not mainstream, but very well known by all but the most mainstream of modern medicine.  I’ve been saying that for a couple years, and I came to it quite late—unfortunately, so late that I now have four metal joints. 

The very name of osteo arthritis tells us it is inflammation of joints.  Here’s the frustrating part.  In the article they do mention why a pill won’t cure it, then conclude with this: “And it is likely that a healthy diet makes a difference, too, with enough nutrients.”

Well, duh!  But they do not say what constitutes a healthy diet, of course, because what’s a healthy diet for human beings (one that avoids all disease and disability) is not popular.  It’s hard in our culture to eat a healthy diet because there are enormous financial and political interests pushing an unhealthy diet.  And a huge medical industrial complex that thrives on your dis-ease.

No, the doctors didn’t help me when my joints were going to hell.  They do not have any curative help for diabetics or wisdom for cancer patients beyond more toxicity.  They’re not curing autoimmune diseases, or even the mental plagues (alzheimers, depression, brain fog, anxiety and aggression) or any of the other ills of “inflammation run amok” (title of my e-book about this stuff).  Inflammation causes all health problems.  ALL!  Mental and physical.  You are a self-healing, self-regulating biological system but it has to have the right fuel.  Just like a car.  You simply cannot put crap in the gas tank of a fine auto and expect it to run well.  Why would anyone think you could put crap into a fine biological system and expect it to function well???

If I can find that out by reading a bunch of books and researching on the internet, anyone can.  But few want to hear that.  It means that the lifestyle you’re living (mostly food you put in your mouth) is causing all your health problems and so you are not a victim but completely responsible for how you feel. 

I just got a new book, written by Weston Price in 1939.  (that’s 72 years ago—not new, folks!)  Dr. Price, a dentist, covered the entire globe with his wife documenting indigenous populations before and after they were exposed to the diet of civilization.  Now, Dr. Price is a dentist and his interest was mostly in things like teeth, dental arch crowding and facial deformities.  Duh, again.  And this was new to me but of course makes absolute sense.  The diet of civilization doesn’t just make us sick and psychotic, it also makes us ugly with crowded teeth, cavities, and facial deformities. (Healthy bone formation of the head and jaw is also dependent on good fuel).

This is not new stuff!  We do not need Stanford to tell us that diet causes osteoarthritis.  What frustrates me is that so few want to hear they are responsible for their own problems.  To me it was a huge aha moment to realize I can feel good, stop the progression of my arthritis, and prevent a lot of the other things I see around me by putting better fuel into my body.  I can feel great—not just good, but absolutely great, even at this age.  The jokes about aging and all the stuff people think aging brings—NOT!  Aging does not have to be a time of decline.  You don’t have to have disease or even aches and pains.

Is it easy?  No.  You are bombarded day in and day out with enticements to eat crap.  Much of what’s available in grocery stores is grown on depleted soils with few nutrients and it’s  fertilized with petroleum.  It’s hard to eat the fuel that makes you feel good.  But here’s the truth:


Read my e-book.  Do your own research.  Find out what creates disease and aging.  Do you want to have an old age that is vibrant and vigorous or do you want health problems and mental fog?  I plan on the former!  And at 67, I’ve demonstrated to my own satisfaction that it works!!!

Short answers below.  For the reasons that this works, see e-books or do your own research.

Things to eliminate:
            grains (grss seeds--wheat, oats, corn, rice, etc)
            vegetable oils
            as many toxins as you can

Things to add:
            More animal protein
            More vegetables
            More fruit
            More animal fats
            Judicious supplements (big a topic)

Best wishes for a wonderful, feel-good life ahead!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What does an Anti-inflammatory Diet and Lifestyle do for you?

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I will then be 67.  Not that I am particularly excited about another birthday, but I think there are some things worth noting.  I never felt better in my life.  I am pain free.  My blood pressure is normal.  I take no prescription drugs.  I have lots of energy, more than people half my age.  I am alert and my memory is as good as it's every been.  Next weekend I will teach a workshop in Michigan for 7 or 8 full hours.  At home I spend much of my day gardening and I'm writing a new book about superfruits and what I'm learning about gardening with exotics.  Not bad for 67.

This morning in the tire store as I waited for tire rotation, I overheard two older women visiting and commiserating about the pains and problems of age.  They were my age or younger.  My heart goes out to them.  Life is not much fun when you hurt and feel crappy.  I know.  I used to be there.  It's not easy, but it's so so worth it to feel this good (and still losing weight) and enjoying life and activity so much!

Is it easy?  Well, a lot easier now than it was a year ago.  The food cravings are gone.  The cooking part is easier because I know what works.  I don't miss junk food or grains or things that make me hurt.  I'm woefully not in step with my culture and I prefer not to put myself in situations where I have to explain why I don't want bread with my steak or dessert.  I'm more self contained.  And a whole lot happier.

I'm reading a book, "The Biology of Belief" by Bruce Lipton.  It's good for a number of reasons.  But here's something he mentions in one of his chapters.  In 2000 the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that doctors are the third leading cause of death in the US.  I've reported that many times.  Those deaths are called iatrogenic, caused by the actions of treatment.  120,000 are deaths from adverse drug effects.

But here's the new information I had not known.  Just three years later, Null et all reported (based on 10 years of government statistics) that iatrogenic cause of death is the number one killer in the US with 300,000 deaths from prescription drugs.  I'm appalled!  I am more committed to staying off prescription drugs and staying healthy the way I know works--diet, exercise, judicious supplements, staying out of doctor's offices and hospitals.

If you want to know how to stay healthy, read my booklet, "Inflammation Run Amok" for the why and the how of it. and "How to Be a Smarter Health Care Consumer."  Among others also at that site.  Join me in healing and preventing the problems that most of your peers are dealing with!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Shame on AMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine

I'm borrowing today's post from the following website.

I saw the "news" blurb about how a new study says vitamins cause you to die sooner.  Here's the bummer problem with media and with junk science.  I was going to write something similar, but these folks have done it so well!  Don't believe everything you read about health.

Shame on AMA’s Archives of Internal Medicine

October 11, 2011

Did you hear the breaking news last night—that multivitamins may shorten your life? Here’s how junk science from the AMA set off the media frenzy.

Bloomberg phrased it this way: “Multivitamins and some dietary supplements, used regularly by an estimated 234 million US adults, may do more harm than good, according to a study that tied their use to higher death rates among older women.” The study’s authors outrageously concluded, “We see little justification for the general and widespread use of dietary supplements.”

The study, published in the American Medical Association’s (AMA’s) Archives of Internal Medicine, assessed the use of vitamin and mineral supplements in nearly 39,000 women whose average age was 62. The researchers asked the women to fill out three surveys, the first in 1986, the second in 1997, and the last in 2004, reporting what supplements they took and what foods they ate, and answering a few questions about their health.

That’s right, all the data was self-reported by the study subjects only three times over the course of the 19-year-long study. To say the data is “unreliable” would be a generous description. This kind of “data” has no place in a valid scientific study.

Then the researchers looked at how many of the women had died by 2008. They reported that the number of deaths were somewhat higher for women who took copper, a little bit lower for women who took calcium, but about average for most of the women.

In the study, all of the relative risks were so low as to be statistically insignificant, and none was backed up by any medical investigation or biological plausibility study. No analysis was done on what combinations of vitamins and minerals were actually consumed, and no analysis of the cause of death was done beyond grouping for “cancer,” “cardiovascular disease,” or “other”—there was certainly no causative analysis done. The interactions of potential compounding risk factors is always tremendously complex—and was ignored in this so-called study.

“Multivitamin” can mean many different things, and of course changed tremendously over the 19 years during which this “study” was conducted. Were they high quality?  Were the ingredients synthetic or natural?  How much of each nutrient was taken? Were they really taken at all? How good is anyone’s memory in describing what took place over many years? One would assume that that the women’s diets fluctuated greatly over the same period; when self-reporting only three times in 19 years, there is a great deal of information one would naturally leave out even if some of it was accurate. No analysis was done of the effect of supplements on the women’s overall health, nor of their effect on women of other ages.

In short, this study is less than useless: it is dangerous, because it is being used by the media and the mainstream medical establishment to blacken the eye of nutritional supplements using poor data, bad analysis, and specious conclusions—otherwise known as junk science.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why do Diabetics get heart disease?

Below are parts of other people's recent take of the diabetes/heart disease/alzheimer's link and the CRP (C-reactive Protein) test results.  As you know, I've been saying for a while now...INFLAMMATION CAUSES ALL DISEASE!!!  And CRP tells you how much inflammation is going on.  I guess scientists need work, just like everyone else, but please don't wait for their future studies about why diabetics are getting heart disease and alzheimer's.  Start now reducing your chronic inflammation.  And if you have any pain, especially chronic, that's inflammation.  Take a look at my website ( for my booklet on inflammation is you want strategies for reducing your own! 

People with diabetes are at increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke at an early age. But that’s not the only worry: Diabetes appears to dramatically increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia later in life, according to a new study conducted in Japan.

In the study, which included more than 1,000 men and women over age 60, researchers found that people with diabetes were twice as likely as the other study participants to develop Alzheimer’s disease within 15 years. They were also 1.75 times more likely to develop dementia of any kind.

“It’s really important for the public health to understand that diabetes is a significant risk factor for all of these types of dementia,” says Rachel Whitmer, PhD, an epidemiologist in the research division of Kaiser Permanente Northern California, a nonprofit health-care organization based in Oakland, Calif.

Whitmer, who studies risk factors for Alzheimer’s but wasn’t involved in the new research, stresses that many questions remain about the link between diabetes and dementia. The new study was “well done” and provides “really good evidence that people with diabetes are at greater risk,” she says, “but we really need to look at other studies to find out why

There is more to the diabetic CRP story than heart disease. CRP correlates very highly with insulin resistance and measures of blood glucose control. A study at the Medical University of South Carolina published by ADA concluded that "the likelihood of elevated CRP concentrations increased with increasing HbA1c levels. (your long term blood sugar) These findings suggest an association between glycemic control and systemic inflammation in people with established diabetes."   (and you and me, too!)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today's guest article: Social Proof

I teach marketing as well as issues of health and nutrition so this article by Bette Dowdell fits both bills and appeals to me.  I think to be healthy in this day and age is a challenge and takes some willingness to be pretty different in diet and many typical social situations.  Bette's contact info is at the end.

Social Proof

Social proof is a advertising concept based on the fact most people don’t like to be different. To get people to accept a new idea or product, you have to reassure them that anybody who’s anybody is climbing on board.

If would-be customers think you’re asking them to be different from others, they won’t buy.

For example, a few years ago I was asked to give the invocation at a Martin Luther King program. As the program went on, a group of Native Americans got up to introduce a tribal dance. To start the ball rolling, the leader asked me to join them. So up I got, joined the circle and started bobbing and weaving, proving right there in front of God and the whole world that I don’t have a drop of Native American blood in me. Fortunately, the whole point was about going beyond what separates us, so my lack of native dance skills worked well.

It obviously didn’t look like nearly as much fun as it was, though, because most people refused the leader’s invitation to join in. But he kept at it, and after a while another game soul accepted the invitation, then another, and another, until it became more a group thing than individual performances. The poor guy had to work almost the entire, very large room, but social proof finally arrived.

People who had previously refused to join our merry band realized they were being left out of the fun and all but ran to get into the quickly expanding circle. At that point, joining in became the popular thing to do, and they didn’t have to worry about getting funny looks for being different.

What in the world, you might be asking, does this have to do with health?

Right now, social proof aren’t us. Only a relatively small group of health-field natives talk about becoming our own health advocate. So most people, concerned about fitting in, still follow doctors, the media–any “authority figure” that makes them feel comfortable–and not responsible.

When things go south, and as one neighbor said to me, “It just gets to be patch, patch, patch,” they’re still part of the majority. The sick majority, but a majority none the less.

Those of us who take time to learn how to be healthy and do pretty much anything it takes (notice the allowance for an annual Snickers bar), are the oddballs.

And I salute you, fellow oddball. Yes, being different can get wearisome at times. And having people sneer at the decisions you make gets old really fast.

Well, I’ve been sick and heard people suggest I give in to “my lot in life.” Instead, I walked the road less traveled, made my health a priority and took responsibility for my decisions.

I may be an oddball, but now I’m a healthy oddball.

And here’s some good news. I talk to everybody, everywhere I go, usually about health, and people are more receptive than they used to be. Social proof is still a ways off, but we’re gaining ground.

Maybe we should start an “Odd Like Bette” club. We could wear buttons and figure out a secret handshake and stuff. Maybe that would take us over the top, into the land of social proof.

Or maybe not. No matter.

The important thing is that we take responsibility for our own health–no matter what others think. Living the best possible life is always better than following the crowd into the ditch.

Bette Dowdell

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Have you gotten the "NEWS"--high fat diets cause Diabetes?

Apparently the media is in "hype" mode to get the results of a particular study out there.  Here's where you can find the abstract of the study:

We ought to be careful whenever the mainstream media tells us about research.  They have an agenda.  It is to sell newspapers or magazines or whatever they're pushing.  So when this study is actually dissected, it turns out that the high fat diet (IN MICE, not humans) was (fat at 58% of calories) 7%  soy bean oil (ugh) and 93% was hydrogenated coconut oil (what????)  Oh, and by the way, 25% of their calories was table sugar.  This is not a diet that can tell us anything about health or wellness.

For the full dissection, Denise Minger covers it all here:

Denise Minger is one of the scientists who dissected the data used in the China study, the book by that name claimed some junk that Denise showed was not in the data but the authors belief system.

Be careful believing what you read.  Including even this.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Here's one of my Soapboxes...

SALT!  Like several subjects I write about, salt has lots of bad science sticking to it!  I talk about salt in my e-books, along with my other soapboxes (cholesterol and saturated fat) with their bad science we've been force-fed...So today I'm reprinting an article by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. a doctor who mostly treats chronic fatigue syndrome and fibrymyalgia, but this article applies to all.  The article can also be found here:

Eat Less Salt — and Die?
I'm being sarcastic, right? The official health wisdom — the wisdom everybody knows is right (because all the top health officials repeat it over and over again) — is that if you "restrict" the salt in your diet, you'll live longer.

That's because (once again, according to those official pronouncements) your blood pressure will be lower, putting you at less risk for a heart attack or stroke, the #1 and #3 causes of death in the U.S.

There's only one problem with that widespread "health wisdom," as I've been telling my patients and readers for many years. It's not true! And a recent article in the May 4, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association is the latest evidence to run counter to the medical (and mistaken) myth of "Low Salt Good, High Salt Bad."

Low-Salt Diet = 4X Death Rate From Heart Disease
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium. First, they measured the urinary sodium levels of 3,681 healthy people in their 40s. Then they tracked their health for the next eight years. The folks with the highest urinary sodium levels — a sign of a higher dietary intake of salt — had the lowest risk of developing heart disease. Looked at another way, the low-sodium folks had four times the rate of dying from heart disease, compared to the high-salt folks.

The conclusion of the researchers was straightforward: "Our current findings refute the estimates…of lives saved and health care costs reduced with lower salt intake. They do not support the current recommendations of a generalized and indiscriminate reduction of salt intake."

The recommendations they're talking about are those from the American Heart Association (AHA), which suggests you limit your intake of salt to 1,500 milligrams (mg) per day — way down from the 4,000 or so mg most of us eat every day.

What did the study researchers have to say about the low-salt pronouncements of U.S. heart honchos? Yes, they agree, salt restriction may be a good idea if you already have high blood pressure or congestive heart failure. But for the rest of us? Previous scientific research has overestimated the effect of salt intake on healthy people, they say. And, they point out, hardly anyone actually achieves the level of salt restriction suggested by the AHA — a sign that the salt-needing body naturally triggers you to eat more salt when you try to cut back.
Of course, this isn't the first study to report that salt isn't bad for you. (And, in fact, it's good for you.) Many other studies say the same thing.

7 More Studies Throw Water on Salt Bashing

The Cochrane Library is a widely respected scientific organization that analyzes previous studies (a so-called meta-analysis) on a topic and reaches "evidence-based" conclusions about what's likely to work and not work in medical practice. In May of this year, they published a meta-analysis that looked at seven studies on salt and health involving more than 6,000 people. Their conclusion? "We didn't see big benefits" from salt restriction, said the lead author of the study, Professor Rod Taylor from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Exeter. No lower risk of heart disease. No lower rate of early death.
Another recent study analyzed data from the government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) — one of the most respected (if not the most respected) nutritional databases in the country. It found the lower the intake of salt, the higher the risk of death!

So do take the advice to “restrict” the salt in your diet with a grain of salt — in fact, a lot of grains of salt! Now, I’m not saying that the insane amounts of salt added by food processing is a good thing — it’s not. But I am saying that of all the things we need to worry about for better health, salt isn’t that big of a deal — with the exception of people who already have high blood pressure or congestive heart failure.

Bottom line: let your taste buds be your guide to the right level of salt. If you want more salt, salt away!
Most importantly, for people with CFS and fibromyalgia, restricting salt is a setup for crashing and burning, and is very ill-advised — especially in summertime, when you sweat and have more salt loss.
Salt restriction is also a terrible idea if you have adrenal exhaustion. How do you know if you’ve got that problem? The symptoms include intense irritability when hungry, low blood pressure, and a tendency to collapse physically, mentally and emotionally when you’re under too much stress. Salt supports the adrenals.
And when I’m talking about salt, I’m not just talking about sodium chloride, or table salt. Saying sodium chloride is the be-all and end-all of salt is sort of like saying the human being is $5 worth of chemicals and nothing more. When you’re at home, consider using sea salt, which is a complex combination of minerals. I think it has many health benefits that are not yet understood by our current medical technology.
References (can be found at the web address given above) 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Elder's Birthright

Ok, this seems to be a theme this week, and more power to us!  Update on Diana Nyad, who swam 29 hours but called off her swim due to winds and currents.  see the article here.  But here the interesting part...
Before the swim, Nyad told journalists she hopes her swim will inspire others her age to live active lives.

And here's another news article this morning.  98 year old Keiko Fukuda has become the first woman to acheive the tenth degree black belt in judo.  see the article here

Next time you catch yourself thinking or feeling "I'm too old for this," remember you're not!  Take a look at the things in your diet and life that age you, make you tired, hurt and ill.  Growing old is what everyone does; growing old with vigor is what is possible! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Diana Nyad, age almost 62...

Is swimming from Havana to Florida.  103 miles.  At age almost 62.  Here's the article in today news.  Read it for some inspiration!  I especially like how she mentions that she's in the prime of life.  I don't even think the important thing is whether or not she makes it all the way.  To me, the important thing is that she thinks the 60's are a time of life to try great challenges.  I do too!

If you don't have that kind of energy and zest for life and challenges...
If you're bored or tired...
If you hurt or feel bad in some way or are ill...

Remember Diana Nyad.  She shows us our birthright.  As I've mentioned and linked here before, aging well, staying active and involved and sharp and creative is the heritage of being human!

I'll keep talking about ways to age well on this blog.  See the info and ebooks at, too.  It might just save your life!

Best wishes,
Ellie, who at 66 feels better than ever before and is beginning a new book this month:  Superfruits and Exotics :  Adventures in gardens and feasts! (or some permutation thereof)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Diseases of Civilization and such...

Diabetes is the quintessential example of a disease of civilization.  Therefore, we can learn from diabetics.  Many studies--of large numbers of diabetics--show that those who keep their blood glucose under tight control avoid the complications that diabetes causes. I just read a “groundbreaking” article this morning that now reports Type II Diabetes is reversible.  Actually, many knew that already, but I am glad to see mainstream medicine catching up!   I commend this website to you and for those with this disease.

Clearly, high blood glucose (blood sugar) and resulting insulin equals disease.  While I have written much about why that is (chronic inflammation) today’s information is about blood sugar.

Just as a side note, why are diabetes (and others like heart disease) called the diseases of civilization?  Because primitive (uncivilized) people, the hunter/gatherers of the world do NOT get these diseases, only people of civilized societies do.

Since this whole blood sugar/insulin system is also involved in insulin resistance (the precursor of diabetes)  and the cause of metabolic syndrome and much of the woe of the middle aged middle, fixing insulin resistance interests me enormously. 

While official diabetes consensus says that a high-carbohydrate diet is best for people with diabetes (boy don’t I wish I could unravel the money interests behind this deadly stance), many more experts, led by endocrinologists like Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, recommend a low-carbohydrate diet.  Carbohydrates raise blood glucose to dangerous levels and they stress the body's insulin system and are probably the chief culprits in insulin resistance, obesity and chronic inflammation.  So this deadly and official stance has some challengers!  Thank goodness!

Enter the glycemic index and the glycemic load—scientific ways of measuring the impact on blood sugar that a food produces.  And by the way, ONLY carbohydrate foods have an impact on blood sugar.  Fats and protein do not convert to glucose, do not raise blood sugar and do not trigger insulin production.  Here’s the “official” word:  “In fact, recent studies indicate that neither protein nor fat have more than a minuscule affect on blood glucose.  This seems to be true for people both with and without diabetes.  The protein studies are particularly interesting as there was no increase in blood glucose levels after the protein meal.  Fat delays the peak but not the total glucose response of the carbohydrates in the meal.  And protein plus carbohydrate nets nearly the same results as plain carbohydrate, so protein just has zero impact.   

The glycemic index measures how quickly an ingested carbohydrate converts to blood sugar.  Some foods convert quickly some much more slowly. 

The glycemic load measures how much sugar is in a serving.  For example, watermelon has a high glycemic index (it turns to blood sugar quickly) but there isn’t much sugar IN it, so the high index still doesn’t make a high load.

The index is a starting place and the GI number must be multiplied by amount to give a useful number.  All the above by way of explaining that glycemic load numbers really matter:  Low is 10 or less (little impact on blood sugar and what your biology is designed for.  Medium is 10-20 and high is over 20.  Glycemic load numbers of what you put in your mouth might be the single best predictor of how you feel, how you age and your risk of all disease.  Remember, we’re talking long term health and wellness, not short term.  The whole insulin system is in part an emergency backup system.  That hunter/gatherer ancestor may have found a beehive and gorged on honey once a year and the body needed a way of dealing with a spike of blood sugar.  But when the system is forced to be in emergency mode every day, every meal, every week, month and year, disease is the only possible outcome.

For many years the glycemic index and load were difficult to come by.  Fortunately there is an easy website today that will give you the numbers easily.  You can search for particular foods and choose serving size.  Even this easy search option will take a little time for a few days or weeks.  Invest the time.  You will eventually know the majority of your favorites and not have to look up so many.  Remember, healthy blood sugar results from a glycemic loads of 10 or less.  And it is additive.  If you have a piece of watermelon and a plum, the loads add together in your blood sugar.

The next time you hear advertising or even an “expert” tell you how healthy whole grains are, do a quick search on the nutrition data website and just look at the glycemic load.  All grains—whole or not whole—are very condensed packets of blood sugar.  Tell me how healthy that can possibly be!  They are basically no different from eating a serving of plain table sugar.  Want to end up with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease?  Just eat more sugar, more whole grains!  The foods of civilization cause the diseases of civilization!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Two youtube videos to showcase two critical wellness subjects

The first is about the blind faith in doctors that is part of our culture--click here

and the second is more information about salt.  Click here

If you've followed me for long or read any of my e-books, you know that I've reported that restricting salt has no good evidence behind it.  This doctor explains further why this is not only not effective treatment, but deadly if you don't get enough!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Diet That Shook Up Tennis!!!

The full Wall Street Journal article is at the below link. 
The article is about the new Wimbledon winner, Novak Djokovic, from Serbia.
Here is a quote:
"But no one would have predicted what has transpired since January. Djokovic's season has gone from good to great to outrageously, impossibly, unrealistically phenomenal. In an age when even small sports achievements can get enormous hype, there's really no superlative to describe what the soon-to-be 24-year-old has done this year."

And what made the difference for this elite athlete?  He discovered his gluten allergy and got off gluten--no wheat!  And went from a pretty good tennis player to the world's best. Can eliminating wheat really make that much difference?  Well, Novak defeated Andy Murry of Great Brittain in the semi finals.  Murray is ranked fourth in the World.  Andy Murray’s diet was in the news earlier this week too (before he got knocked out of Wimbledon). It’s the usual carb-loaded fare many sportsmen and women are advised to eat--and the same level of blood sugar and insulin swamping of the typical American diet.

What elite athletes show us is a microcosm of the larger area of nutrition.  If you want optimal performance (for your life) try an anti-inflammatory diet like your long ago ancestors were adapted for.  Your genetics are the same as theirs.  No, there has been no adaptation in humans for grains and sugars in 10,000  years.  None.  It wrecks havoc.  Elimingating that havoc is most likely why Novak Djokovic beat Nadal and Murray at Wimbledon and has the Wall Street Journal speaking in such over-the-top-superlatives.  What do you suppose it could do your your ability to feel and perform better?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More on Gut Bacteria (and enzymes)

Below you will find some links to general information and some specific info, too, about what's known or strongly suspected about gut bateria and the health and aging issues I talked about briefly last time.  They are worth at least a quick perusal.

But while I am still on this subject I want to discuss som major MIS-information that shows up in gut flora/fermented foods discussions and also in many other areas of nutrition--especially the raw foods stuff.

Enzymes in food.  Touted as being very health-ful to eat raw, untreated enzymes.  Here's the deal.  Yes enzymes are important--even critical for well being.  They are proteins with a very specific 3-dimensional shape and they help chemical reactions that otherwise could not happen.  You body makes trillions of enzymes over your lifetime.  They always need the right building blocks to be constructed, of course--like particular vitamins or minerals.

The enzymes in the food we eat are specific for the compound it comes in.  Enzymes in carrots help the carrot plant in some way.  Enzymes in kefir (for instance) are specific for the bacteria and yeasts in the kefir, so they can digest the components of milk in the fermenting process.  When you eat the enzymes from something raw, the acid in your stomach and the digestive process denature that enzyme just as your digestion breaks down ANY protein molecule.  They're protein and they do not survive your stomach acid.  They have the same use to you as a molecule of any protein--nothing special.

There are those who would have you believe eating enzymes is particularly healthful.  No!  Having adequate nutrition to build the specific enzymes your body needs is very healthful, but eating those from "out there" doesn't mean diddley!  This kind of junk science is all over the net.  Be wary.  Enzymes you build internally keep you alive.  Enzymes you eat are fuel--nothing more!

Ok, here are some links to gut flora:  make you anxious  in digestion in aging in disease general info and disease discussion

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Role of Healthy Gut Flora in Health

Sometimes I learn slowly.  I got a lot of really bad health information over the years--especially before I started asking questions and challenging a lot of "everybody knows" stuff.  Some was by omission.  Or almost omitted.  Like the whole thing about gut flora.  What's really the case is that the healthy bacteria and yeasts in your digestive tract play a huge role in wellness, aging, digestion, how fat or thin you are and what diseases you have.

Boy, that's a lot to lay on gut flora!  Over the coming months I will try to recreate the links to the above information and be sure to give them to you.  But you've probably only heard about gut flora in terms of a very luke warm suggestion to eat some yogurt after you've been on an antibiotic.  That's because antibiotics kill all the good guys in your gut as well as the bad ones that are making you sick.  Unfortunately there are only two or three good bacteria in yogurt and you need lots and lots--both in variety and in numbers.  Remember that our ancestors--those hunters and gatherers--didn't wash their hands or their food.  They must have eaten a lot of dirt and bacteria all day long.  There is evidence that we are designed to eat dirt and bacteria!  Ok, not so practical now days!

So I have recommended to family, friends, and clients that they take a probiotic supplement.  That's a good start.  But most are not much better than yogurt.  In the literature and blogs I comb, many knowledgeable people are recommending fermented foods for the many healthy bacteria they provide.  Among these are  sauerkraut, kefir, kimchee and miso.  Other pickled, brewed and fermented foods may also provide good bacteria.  In these foods, friendly enzymes, fungi and bacteria pre-digest the food and it increases the flavor, medicinal value and nutrition.

I tried kefir.  It is a fermented milk product.  The closest thing I can say is similar is buttermilk, but it's way better!  The commercial stuff I tried was unremarkable and expensive (nearly $5 for a quart of it) and as a digestive aid (cure for diahrrea or constipation) a non starter.  Which highlights the importance of LIVE bacteria and yeasts!  If it's pasteurized or heat treated, those bacteria are killed and not doing you any good. I acquired live kefir grains and started making my own.   I now love kefir. It's too early to say it's making me healthier (probably) for one thing because I'm already darn healthy!.  But digestion is working without problems and I continue to slowly lose weight.  I certainly recommend kefir for anyone and everyone.  Ask me where to get your own grains (and they grow and multiply, too!)

But I started this today to tell you about a study that shows that kefir stopped the proliferation of at least one kind of malignant cancer cells.  Kefir might be the next great cancer drug!  OK, probably one cannot extrapolate yet to that degree--but it's suggestive.  And since we know that the development of cancers are a response to chronic inflammation, we probably can extrapolate that kefir is anti-inflammatory.  Get some!  make your gut healthier but it also reduces the inflammation of a gut out of balance!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How To Avoid or Heal Out-of-Control Inflammation

Chronic inflammation (the out-of-control kind) is the immune response that changes biology from normal to simmering disease incubation.  Chronic inflammation is the body's attempt to heal insults to its biology.  Get a bee sting?  Your immune response walls off the poison with swelling, keeping it localized.  It gets red, hot and painful while the body heals the insult.  Get cut and the same response occurs.  If you are invaded by noxious viruses, your sinuses swell, become inflamed, your nose runs and you might run a fever.  Normal immune response.  Serves us well.

But when your body receives an insult that human biology didn't have to deal with in earliest  development, like something slightly toxic--not enough to kill you, but enough for the immune system to respond, it doesn't have an immune response pre-programmed in.  So your body does the best it knows how.  It causes inflammation just like it would for a bee sting or cut or virus.  Only the response is body wide because the insult isn't localized.  Every cell, now, not just a local area, gets a dose of those inflammatory chemicals the immune system uses for insult repair.

Over time, with enough chronic insult to your biology, inflammation begins damaging the body instead of repairing it.  The damage (as in the last post here) might be low thyroid or depression or the aches and pains of arthritis (or any other itis) or exhaustion.  Chronic inflammation is at the root of all of our wellness woes, large and small.  To the degree you are not vibrant, energetic, pain free, disease free, you have allow this normal repair process to go awry.


There are three main ways chronic inflammation becomes part of your experience.

   1.  Eating or being exposed to things you are allergic to or that are toxic.  Smoking, alcohol, pesticides, smog, food allergies (known and unknown) industrial chemicals, air fresheners. 

   2.  Eating things that raise blood sugar and insulin.  High blood sugar is toxic and the insulin your body releases to deal with it is inflammatory.  A double whammy.  What raises blood sugar?  Most of the foods that are a) expensive and b) advertised endlessly!  Sugar, wheat, flour, oats, barley, rice, corn--and anything made from any of those like bread, pasta, deserts, ice cream, soda, cake, cookies, corn meal, hamburger buns, lemonade, sweet tea, crackers, chips, candy, fruit drinks, dipping sauces--well, you get the idea.  If it has sugar and or flour in it it's going to raise your blood sugar and cause inflammation.

   3.  Omega fatty acids out of balance.  Omega 3 fatty acids metabolize into anti-inflammatory chemicals.  Omega 6 fatty acids metabolize into pro-inflammatory chemicals.  If they are balanced, your body works beautifully.  About 30 or 40 years ago you were sold a bill of goods about animal fat ("dangerous" saturated fat equals heart disease)  and told to use vegetable oils instead.  But animal fat is high is Omega 3's vegetable fat is high in Omega 6's.  Hydrogenated vegetable oil is a highly toxic frankenfood!  By time a few brave souls challenged the whole saturated fat and vegetable oil bad-science-hypothesis, America was badly inflamed and sick as dogs and the medical industries dealing with that were entrenched. 

No one has a vested interest in telling you this stuff.  There's no money to be made in telling you you have total control of your wellness.  If no one bought fast food or junk food and things made from wheat, what would happen to the Gross National Product.  If no one got diabetes or cancer or arthritis, what would haven to hospitals, oncologists and endocrinologists and orthopedic surgeons???  What a financial disaster that would be!  But the alternative is that it's a disaster for how people feel, age, and their health.

You have control.  Your wellness is in your own hands.  I won't tell you that it's particularly easy to swim upstream from the conventional wisdom that "everyone knows."  I will tell you that it matters to your life and your aging and when and what you die of.  Best wishes!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Inflammation in two disorders

I  listened to a podcast today by a fellow who calls himself the Healthy Skeptic.  Click here   He often has interesting things to say about health and nutrition.  The first subject he covered today was about thyroid supplements.  That was interesting enough, but buried in there he made an almost off-hand comment.  It was that  older women often show some hypothyroidism because chronic inflammation interferes in the conversion from the inactive to the active form of thyroid hormone.

Ah, so as we age (and if we don’t pay attention to chronic inflammation) that increasing inflammation can be at the root of low thyroid.  Most doctors simply supplement levothroxine the pharmaceutical form of T-4 the inactive form of the hormone.  If the problem is in conversion to the active form, clearly that prescription will give nice numbers but not change symptoms.

So thyroid problem as we age are also laid at the door of inflammation.

You may have heard me say that many mental disorders are now known to be caused by chronic inflammation—including depression. 

Meanwhile, the magazine “Psychology Today” had a recent article titled, Depression - Caused by Inflammation, Thus Like Other Diseases of Civilization.”    See the article here.

It very thoroughly talks about the mechanisms by which out-of-control inflammation triggers depression.  In my e-book, “Inflammation Run Amok” I talk about the mechanism of inflammation causing heart disease and other diseases.  Here, then, in my version of in a  nutshell how it causes depression.

1.  Tryptophan, an amino acid is a precursor of serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter.  But tryptophan is also the precursor of a lesser known neurotransmitter—kynurenic.   In the presence of inflammatory cytokines, tryptophan converts much more to  kynurenic and not to the serotonin, leaving serotonin in short supply.

2.  We have receptors (called NMDA receptors) for a neurotransmitter (glutamate) that causes excitation.  Too much glutamate pounding on these receptors causes depression among other brain problems.   Cells called astrocytes are supposed to clean up extra glutamate to prevent that.  It turns out that inflammatory cytokines interfere with the mop up process.

3.  The article doesn’t explain this thoroughly, but simply states that inflammatory chemicals (cytokines) push the brain from “happy” plasticity to a neurotoxic environment by depressing the production of a type of brain “fertilizer” called BDNF.

To sort of tie the two subjects together today, one of the symptoms of low thyroid is depression (along with a myriad of others) and now we can see that chronic inflammation is playing its negative chemical message in both thyroid and depression problems.

Why inflammation makes some people get a heart attack, some get depressed and some others get diabetes or cancer or osteoporosis (and on and on) I do not know.  It’s easy to just say we’re all different and we all have different histories, diets, and genetics.  As the scientists discover these different pathways to dysfunction, I will continue to report.  Reduce inflammation to reduce risk, cure ailments and age with vigor and function into your late years!!!

Want help with that?  Email me with questions and concerns.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Saturated Fat Again...

I’ve been on the lookout for an organization with whom I could volunteer some time and perhaps make a little difference in the world.  A friend sent me some info about a group locally that is teaching “Better lifestyle habits” to kids.  Since I support that concept I asked for information from the group coordinator.  In the material she sent me was a sample lesson plan, and among it was a unit about how low fat milk or skim milk was the way to go.

Even though there is oodles of research that debunks the "fat is bad" theory, it is persistent and ubiquitous among the “experts” especially those with a formal education in nutrition (registered dieticians) where they’ve been pushing this nonsense for decades!  (And how’s that working for you, America?)

So I thought I’d hit it once again from the perspective of the ‘minority report’—the information that’s not subsidized by special interests or pharmaceutical companies.

Humans developed in bands of family groups living on animal products plus the few fruits, berries, leaves, nuts and roots they could find.  The biology of those ancestors (10,000 years ago or beyond) was EXACTLY the same as our biology.  We are not designed for vegetable oils, grains, tofu and the convenience of fast food or packaged meals.  Those are constructs of profit driven industries looking for the cheapest and most addicting way to separate you from your money.

Grains are a subject for another day and another post.  Fat—especially animal fat—is my subject today.

Our ancestors not only ate all the animal fat they could get (admittedly, antelope or mastodons probably had little extraneous fat) but they also ate every edible part of whatever animals they hunted.  That would include bone marrow, liver, other organ meats including the fatty brain.  That’s our heritage.  If it were bad for survival, we wouldn’t be here; homo sapiens would have died out or been out-competed by some other species.

So with the profit motive in place, we were sold a bill of goods about 40 or 50 years ago.  Saturated fat is bad, substitute vegetable oil and eat a low fat diet.

An America got fatter and sicker.

Animal fats are good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.  Vegetable oils are mostly Omega 6 fatty acids.  You need both but in a balance to each other because they mediate the balance of inflammation.  Enough inflammation to protect you from bacterial invaders, to clot your blood when injured, to manage anxiety so you’re alert but not paranoid, to constrict blood vessels when needed.  But too much inflammation and those actions (in hyperdrive) cause disease (yes all disease starts with too much inflammation).  See my e-book, “Inflammation Run Amok” for lots more info.

As long as omega 3 and omega 6 oils are about even, your body produces the right chemical messengers for just the right inflammation.  Drop Omega 3 fatty acid sources (animal fats) for Omega 6 fatty acids (vegetable fats) and inflammation quickly get out of hand.

There’s more to this inflammatory story, of course.  High blood sugar and high insulin are also inflammatory.  So are allergens.  So are smoking and environmental toxins.  But the body can handle some assault—it was designed that way.  What it can’t handle is low animal fat and high vegetable oils over years, along with the other assaults. 

By the way, vegetable oils are hidden in most of the restaurant and prepared and packaged foods you may be buying.  Read labels.  Decrease Omega 6 oils and increase animal fats.  Yes, butter, whole milk (if you drink milk) beef, pork, lamb and fish.  Of the animal products readily available in your grocery, chicken is very high in Omega 6.  Less chicken, more beef.

Right, beef fattened with corn is not my preference—grass fed, not factory farmed beef—would be first choice.  But factory farmed beef beats vegetable fats and grains—hands down!
Need some experts’ information?  Here’s a bit: 

In 2001, Dr. Hu, writing in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, noted, "It is now increasingly recognized that the low-fat campaign has been based on little scientific evidence and may have caused unintended health problems." [duh] Or, as Michael Pollan pithily puts it in his In Defense of Food, "The amount of saturated fat in the diet may have little if any bearing on the risk of heart disease, and the evidence that increasing polyunsaturated fats [vegetable sources] in the diet will reduce risk is slim to nil."

See for answers to health questions and e-books for real health!