I've kept this latest self experiment under wraps for some months. In truth, it's perhaps what's most responsible for my reasonable body composition improvement recently.
It was some months ago I was up at my vacation home in Arnold, CA, and found myself driving by this encampment of bikers all sitting around, appearing to be smoking something. I stopped to inquire, admire the bikes, that sort of thing.
They were smoking Peat.
Peat (turf) is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter that is unique to natural areas called peatlands or mires. The peatland ecosystem is the most efficient carbon sink on the planet because peatland plants capture the CO2 which is naturally released from the peat maintaining an equilibrium. In natural peatlands the "annual rate of biomass production is greater than the rate of decomposition" but it takes "thousands of years for peatlands to develop the deposits of 1.5 to 2.3 m, which is the average depth of the boreal peatlands". One of the most common components is Sphagnum moss, although many other plants can contribute. Soils that contain mostly peat are known as a histosol. Peat forms in wetland conditions, where flooding obstructs flows of oxygen from the atmosphere, slowing rates of decomposition.
But this wasn't just any Peat. First, these guys have a biker club (Sons of Peat) with a chapter in Scotland (Musky Original) where this very special Peat is obtained via—it's rumored—special ties with the Irish Republican Sphagnums. Second, smoking this Peat gets you pretty Stoned and it's tradition to sit around singing Scottish folk music while passing the Peatpipe. ...Yea, everyone lafs when you say 'Peatpipe,' especially if you do a Joaquin Phoenix impersonation.
But that's not even the most interesting thing about this secretive tradition. The Peat has to be harvested only after exposure to the proper Rays of sun, until it obtains a precise temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit—and you harvest immediately. While some wait until 98.7—or even what's commonly considered an irresponsibly crazy 98.8—this is not advised for inexperienced Peat-Stoners. This has been dubbed The Schwarzbein Effect. Now, you can hit it or miss it—some are known to just stab a thermometer into the peat at all hours in order to find just the right sweet spot by accident. But those experienced and in the know, understand that sprinkling crystalline refined sugar and salt on the Peat has a profound effect, such that the Rays of the sun magnify upon the Peat and the Shwarzbien "trigger" is reached much more quickly, uniform, and sure.
It's a far better Stoning.
But I have to tell you. I wasn't going to reveal any of this until a discovery last Sunday morning that just put the whole thing over the top for me. I whipped up a batch of pancakes, and added some of my Peat stash to the batter. The added effect was unmistakable. I still haven't sorted it out, but I think a rapid re-heating to something over 98.6 after it has been chilled may have some connection with the gut biome. Perhaps it interacts in ways with other gut foods, such as resistant starch, and so we come full circle.
Of course, more study is needed, but I'm quite optimistic.