The Hunt is On: Tiger Nuts, Per Grace Liu

It was interesting skimming Grace Liu's latest post (part 6 of her Gish Gallop on how RS2 is gonna killz U—after making you fat, destroying your "ancestral core," and giving you hamster gutz, among other very bad stuff), in spite of thousands of anecdotes to the contrary, including a couple of recent revelations of individuals stopping their intake on her advice, and getting worse again (see here and here). Tim Steele has a comprehensive view of the whole deal that includes laughing.

In her latest, tiger nuts (high in RS2) are now implicated. Now, rather than a beneficial mainstay that helped Nutcracker Man flourish for 1 - 1.2 million years and possibly profoundly altered hominoid evolution, it's only suitable for non-cooking hominids and you should never eat anything raw—not just tiger nuts: but any nuts, fruits, vegetables (right, by implication?). Because, once you've moved on to cooking meat, everything that contributed to the evolutionary steps is now poison, kills your ancestral core, gives you hamster gut...and hangnails. Basically, anything that now goes wrong with you, if you consumed RS2, that's the cause.

It reminded me of what I still do consider to be the most interesting idea she came up with for the book the three of us were working. Tim had drafted a tiger nut overview that Grace insisted on expanding. Below is 80% Grace. I edited to remove words in caps, too many "hawt" references, and 'explanation' points!!! Thought you might take a look and ask yourself why she's now willing to have people be worse off in embracing a 180 degree different view. What's the real agenda?


Nutcracker Man was lifted from his plight as that of an intelligent ape, to a lineage that would become fully human. His growing brain was fueled not by hard-to-obtain foods that required nearly all his time to find, but by tiger nuts—the roots of what we’d think of as weeds—that were rich in iron, fat, protein, and carbohydrate. [1] Each thumb-sized tuber of the tiger nut was the equivalent of eating a small frog. It wasn’t meat but it distinguished him from his neighbors and predecessors. [2] Coming from frugivore (fruit eater) and foliovore (leaf eater) backgrounds, this new food was the equivalent of an energy bar. [3] [4] No longer are plant tubers of this nature thought of as "fallback food," used only for basic survival, but as a source of primary sustenance. Tiger nuts and other tubers shaped man's evolution just as Darwin's finches beaks and morphology were shaped by radical changes in source allocation of seeds on the Galapagos Islands. [5]

Tiger nuts were the original ribeye steak compared to leaves and fruit. But unlike a delicious steak, tiger nuts also furnished ample plant fiber food for our vital gut bugs. It’s rich in insoluble fiber, resistant starch, and other fuel. Tiger nuts also supplied a generous source of carbohydrates, fats, short-chain omega-3 fats (ALA), protein, vitamin C, and a full spectrum of the minerals (iron, zinc) and micronutrients needed to enable the rapid growth of a large brain. Is it any coincidence that stone tools began to be crafted by these early men shortly after this ground-breaking meat-like main dish appeared, making up Nutcracker man’s entire food pyramid? Nutcracker Man thrived, grew a bigger brain, and made tool technology to collect and process more food. He lived the longest out of all the Australopithecine. He weighed the most and grew the tallest. After him, all of our ancestors possessed grander noggins and more slender jaws. Exceeding one million years of domination, Nutcracker Man was ultimately replaced by the more advanced hominin, Homo erectus. The meat- and seafood-eating versions became human evolution’s breakthrough prototypes —Homo ergaster, Homo erectus, Homo neanderthalensis and us. [6] [7]

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[“Comparative context of Plio-Pleistocene hominin brain evolution“ Journal of Human Evolution (2001) 41, 1–27 doi:10.1006/jhev.2001.0475. Increased brain size ~440 cc to ~540 cc in during 1mya duration A. boisei with longveity and diet rich in C4 sedgenuts and tigernuts.]


Nutcracker man outlasted, outsurvived, and outsmarted many of his bigger-brained, notable contemporaries: A. robustus, H. rudolphensis, H. ergaster, and H. habilis. This was no easy feat as weather patterns shifted and food sources changed radically. Forests which were flush with waterways and rich resources only dot the landscape during the Pleiocene epoch. Nutcracker man’s peers became successively extinct at 200 to 300 thousand year intervals, yet during the one million years he claimed a wide ecological niche (~2.4 mya to 1.4 mya), Nutcracker man’s brain actually expanded and grew by a significant ~25% from a measly ~440 cc in volume. During this period, H. ergaster and H. habilis grew slightly larger brains as well; however, they failed to last as long as Nutcracker man and his progeny. It appears that the diet which archaeology determined was dominated by sedge tubers and tigernuts likely drove this distinctly larger brain for Nutcracker man and distinguished longevity. No other foods other than roasted starches and hunting and fishing supplied similar brain nourishment: starches, sugar, and omega-3.

Tiger nuts still grow just like they did over 2 million years ago and are still enjoyed by Homo sapiens the world over. This isn't a food that just "sticks to your ribs." It is quite possibly is your ribs (and your liver, kidneys, and brain). Along with the development of our brain, tiger nuts surely had a huge part in the development of our "second brain," the trillions of neurons located in and around our digestive tract that provide two-way communication between our guts and brains. As our brain increased in size from 400cc to 1500cc, it is not much of a stretch to assume that our brain-gut connection tripled in importance during this same time. [8]

The modern human brain and gut are deep sinks for energy use, just like your air conditioner and outrageously high energy bills during blistering summers. Each organ requires massive amounts (15-25%) of resting energy to feed these two organs. Cnsidering the relative weight of each organ compared to the rest of the body, this is quite enormous. The brain, gut and microbiota contribute only a tiny fraction of the total body weight (averages for 65 kg person): [9] [10]

  • brain (1.4 kg): 2.2%
  • gut (1.1 kg): 1.7%
  • gut microbiota (2kg): 3% (not use energy but produces 10% via fermentation)

Energetically speaking, these are some of our most expensive organs, and these changes evolved during the long reign of Nutcracker man and immediately afterwards. Compared to other mammals, modern human brains burn up large sections of bandwidth when it comes to the distribution of background energy production from food digestion and burning body fat. For adult humans, as much 20-25% are allocated for brain metabolism, and this is ~3-fold more than primates (7-9%) and ~9-fold more than non-primate mammals (3%). [11]

These differences brought about the genesis of a new animal that the world had never seen.

Compared with primates, Nutcracker man’s ancestors and Homo lost:

  • large muscle mass
  • low dietary quality
  • large vegan/frugivore colon for fermentation of massive volumes of low quality plant fiber (leaves, flowers, gums, bark, fruits, seeds)
  • great apes: 87-100% plant material high in insoluble cellulose
  • gut microbiota: tree-, fruit- and leaf-sourced probiotics (above ground)
  • 50/50 energy extraction from small v. large intestine (herbivore)
  • small brains and small 2nd brains in the gut

Instead, they evolved organs which were new and unique in the animal kingdom:

  • less muscle mass
  • higher dietary quality (tiger nuts, meat, seafood, omega-3 fats, minerals)
  • dramatically smaller colon for fermentation of starchy plant fiber and less cellulose (oligosaccharide, resistant starch and plant fiber from broader array of nuts, tubers, roots, leaves, stalks)
  • return to carnivorous small intestines of our jurassic predecessors [12] [13] (shrunk, but relative size to total gut volume expanded > 2-fold compared to primates [14] [15] [16]) and greater dependence on nutrient dense food: starches, high-butyrate fermenting RS2, insoluble RS3-fiber, fats, meat, seafood, and low-moderate insoluble cellulose
  • hunter-gatherer/pastoralists: 10-70%; agriculturist: 80-95% plant material [17]
  • gut microbiota changes: root and soil-sourced probiotics (below ground)
  • 90/10 energy extraction from small v. large intestine (carnivore/omnivore) [18]
  • change in gut bugs and their preferred fuel (complex carbohydrates, RS)
  • 3-fold bigger brains and bigger 2nd brains in the gut
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Source: MILTON 1999, nutritional characteristics of wild primate diets

Emerging approximately 1.8 to 1.9 mya, Homo erectus shared the paleo landscape with Nutcracker man during his last 400,000 years. During the overlap, many commonalities including omega-3 and starches (tiger and sedge nuts) likely forged parallel changes in bigger brains and bellies for both groups. [19] [20] Sustained and stable sources of more and more carbohydrates and special fiber (resistant starches) for both intellect and intestines might have provided the first extraordinary catalysts for evolutionary jumps toward humanity. Whether Nutcracker man knew that or not, sedge and tigernuts cemented our bright futures as he dug up those muddy jewels. Ultimately, the hominin that won was the one who learned to hunt and char their tigernuts-n-tubers.

The demise of Nutcracker Man is a Pleistocene mystery. [21] It’s possible he doomed his bright future by over relying on too narrow a niche of termites and raw tubers—failing to broaden to other roots and shoots, to diversify to scavenging and hunting meat or seafood like his replacements did [22] [23] or to learn culinary skills like firing up the BBQ.

Though rich in vitamin C, sedge nuts lose this vitamin with time and storage. We and our anthropoid primate relatives do not make vitamin C, and neither do our gut bugs. Without regular intake, reserves dwindle within 20 days. Blood vessels leak, immunity weakens and later, death ensues. Vitamin C requirements for Australopithecine were probably not that different from that of modern humans. [24] A large supply of fresh tiger nuts (1-1.5 kg) would’ve easily supplied this. However, as immense bogs, lakes, and peatlands dried up over time, so did their perpetual supply of sedge and tiger nuts. Additionally, extensive storage in the ground for months over months would have subjected stored vitamin C to degradation. Nutcracker Man saw his final act approximately 1.4 mya, just as arid savannahs and grasslands spread across the landscape. It may have been “curtains” for Nutcracker Man, but the gut bugs were to be the main attraction anyway, along with the more modern, evolved hosts they would inhabit.

Our Homo forerunners, however, may have successfully averted scurvy and death by finding mixed nourishment that not only provided iron and fat, but vitamin C as well. [25] With the scavenging of meat, marrow, brain and organs from herbivores, Homo may have taken the opportunity to fill the nutritional chasm that a big brain and sedge-heavy diet created—critical deficiencies of omega-3, iron, iodine, zinc, vitamin C, A and B12. [26] H. erectus may have been the first to use fire to cook underground tubers, and thus so inadvertently added new calories and brain-needed complex carbohydrates. The evidence fails to reveal that Nutcracker man fired up the grill for his tigernuts or other food.

It’s enlightening to consider that just when a food came along that fed our intestinal microbes at the same time it fed the human host in a high density fashion—unlike leaves and the like—the greatest leap in human evolution took place. Soon, early humans were fishing, hunting, and cooking. No longer was evolution measured in millions of years, but thousands. For the last part of our evolution into modern man, several species of hominin appeared at the same time, all eating the same plants—but only Homo had the wherewithal and savvy to begin cooking these foods, extracting even more nutrition for himself and his intestinal microbes.

The unrelenting ice ages, microbe-wrapped tiger nuts, and unlocked fuel from cooked food gave birth to the greatest superorganism to ever walk the Earth. No longer were our ancestors fueling puny brains with fruit and leaf fallback foods. Tiger nuts and cooked tubers got humankind out of Africa, and it only took two million years. [27]
[1] Lee-Thorp, J. "From the Cover: Isotopic evidence for an early shift to C4 resources ..." 2012. <>
[2] O'Connell, James F et al. "Male strategies and Plio-Pleistocene archaeology." Journal of Human Evolution 43.6 (2002): 831-872.
[3] Sherwood, CC. "A natural history of the human mind: tracing evolutionary changes in ..." 2008. <>
[4] "Full text of "Physical Interactions of Humans with Primates ..." 2013. 5 Feb. 2014 <>
[5] Grant, PR. "Darwin's finches: population variation and natural selection." 1976. <>
[6] Richards, MP. "A brief review of the archaeological evidence for Palaeolithic and Neolithic subsistence." European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 56.12 (2002): 16 p following 1262-16 p following 1262.
[7] Montmayeur, Jean-Pierre et al. "Evolutionary Perspectives on Fat Ingestion and Metabolism in Humans." (2010).
[8] Henneberg, M. "Evolution of the human brain: is bigger better?." 1998. <>
[9] Aiello, LC. "Brains and guts in human evolution: The Expensive Tissue ..." 1997. <>
[10] Aiello, Leslie C, and Peter Wheeler. "The expensive tissue hypothesis." Current anthropology 36.2 (1995): 199-221.
[11] "Guts and Brains: An Integrative Approach to the Hominin Record." 8 Jun. 2014 [page 32] <>
[12] Ley, Ruth E et al. "Evolution of mammals and their gut microbes." Science 320.5883 (2008): 1647-1651.
[13] Montmayeur, Jean-Pierre et al. "Evolutionary Perspectives on Fat Ingestion and Metabolism in Humans." (2010).
[14] Milton, Katharine. "Nutritional characteristics of wild primate foods: do the diets of our closest living relatives have lessons for us?." Nutrition 15.6 (1999): 488-498.
[15] Milton, Katharine. "Primate diets and gut morphology: implications for hominid evolution." Food and evolution: toward a theory of human food habits (1987): 93-115.
[16] Milton, Katharine. "The critical role played by animal source foods in human (Homo) evolution." The Journal of nutrition 133.11 (2003): 3886S-3892S.
[17] Leonard, William R. "Dietary change was a driving force in human evolution." Scientific American 288 (2002): 63-71.
[18] McNeil, NI. "The contribution of the large intestine to energy supplies in man." The American journal of clinical nutrition 39.2 (1984): 338-342.
[19] Perry, George H et al. "Diet and the evolution of human amylase gene copy number variation." Nature genetics 39.10 (2007): 1256-1260.
[20] Snodgrass, J Josh, William R Leonard, and Marcia L Robertson. "The energetics of encephalization in early hominids." The evolution of hominin diets (2009): 15-29.
[21] Lee-Thorp, Julia. "The demise of “Nutcracker Man”." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108.23 (2011): 9319-9320.
[22] Leonard, William R, J Josh Snodgrass, and Marcia L Robertson. "Effects of brain evolution on human nutrition and metabolism." Annu. Rev. Nutr. 27 (2007): 311-327.
[23] Sponheimer, Matt et al. "Hominins, sedges, and termites: new carbon isotope data from the Sterkfontein valley and Kruger National Park." Journal of Human Evolution 48.3 (2005): 301-312.
[24] "Different Forms of Vitamin C - Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State ..." 2003. 13 Feb. 2014 <>
[25] van der Merwe, Nikolaas J, Fidelis T Masao, and Marion K Bamford. "Isotopic evidence for contrasting diets of early hominins Homo habilis and Australopithecus boisei of Tanzania." South African Journal of Science 104.3-4 (2008): 153-155.
[26] Milton, Katharine. "The critical role played by animal source foods in human (Homo) evolution." The Journal of nutrition 133.11 (2003): 3886S-3892S.
[27] Perry, George H et al. "Diet and the evolution of human amylase gene copy number variation." Nature genetics 39.10 (2007): 1256-1260.


OK, did you get all of that? I think it was excellent thinking and analysis on the part of Grace Liu.

Unfortunately, it's now more important for her to act stupid, wave hands, lie her ass off, and harm people.

Overlooked: Fasting For Gut Microbiome Health

Just a kind of quick one here Sunday morning. Haven't been that motivated to blog lately and plus, I'm all excited about finally doing this auto transformation I previously blogged about: Zombie Apocalypse X5.

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So, to the left is what it looked like when I dropped it off with Tommy at California Wheels yesterday (then footed it the 7 miles home). It's getting a 2" lift and similar steel wheels and tires...along with wheel adapters/spacers to bring them out about 1.5". In all, wheel/tire "height" goes from 27" - 31". Later, I'll do a wrap, probably either matte black, or olive drab green—kinda like this.

...Anyway, last week I kinda got to feeling just a bit "overloaded" digestion wise. Just kind of a general bla. Y'know, with all this talk of the gut biome we do, all the starch and fibers supplementally, the's always in the context of 'what foods, sups, etc. do I eat or avoid in order to...' when one option is: nothing at all.

It's called fasting, or intermittent fasting ("IF"). I used to blog about it quite a bit going way back but got out of the habit of doing it, as well as blogging about it. That changed last week when, spur of the moment, I just ended up not eating from about noon on Tuesday to late afternoon Wednesday—about 28 hours water only. It was remarkably easy. The cool thing? Have felt really good since in all the right areas: great sleep, digestion, TMI. Plus, just a really nice feeling stomach wise, like an enormous calm.

It got me to thinking. I'm really tired of all the bla bla about SIBO (99.9% self diagnosed—oh, I burped, or got a little bout of heartburn: I've got SIBO!). Or, perhaps you've got bullshit in your brain is what you've got.

First of all, you're always going to have gut bugs in your small intestine. Second of all, if you eat chronically; that is, never give your gastrointestinal tract a break ever for more than a few hours, then the bugs in your small intestine are likely going to multiply and begin causing bouts of problems.

And sure, you can go down endless rabbit holes trying to "weed," eradicate certain things, go on weird ass diets with an ever growing lists of things you can't eat. But have you tried a different approach, a natural cleansing one? You don't eat green smoothies to "cleanse." You eat nothing for a day or two, and let those trillions of critters engage in a little survival of the fittest. Or, think of it as a war of attrition where even though all men present get starved, if you're more or less normal, you'd expect the bad guys to have their populations reduced to nothing before the more numerous good guys bit the dust entirely.

Or, perhaps you have good guys that are on the verge of being too numerous. Ought to fix that as well, for a better overall "core" microbiome.

OK, gotta run. You can connect dots from here.

Here’s Your “Gut Goddess” Right Here

There's other comments to highlight, but I'm on a roll. Haven't felt like blogging, I have a big post in draft on everything you never knew about honey, so this just hit me and I picked it.

I am one of those too that tried to follow Grace and take out the rps [Raw Potato Starch - Ed]. I did just inulin and acacia gum for awhile. And for awhile nothing. I became a bloated mess. I was constipated (again!) and just feeling blah. I added the rps back in a few weeks ago and my stomach is back to flat. I am not gassy. I look great. And feel great. I had done rps for a year before this. This time I am mixing in more variety and it is awesome. I am one of those people who when starting rps gained ten pounds but you couldn’t tell. It was, I believe, an increase in my gut bio dome. Rps helped make me regular for the first time in my life. Thank you and I look forward to being a beta tester!!!

Out of the blue, Duck goes to work, in his usual style with perfect html coding.


Unfortunately, Grace has become a fiber supremacist.

Furthermore, she has claimed that raw RS2 is only typically found in plants that aren't safe to eat raw. However, she's not done her homework in that regard, as there are important instances of non-toxic RS2 staple foods that she has not considered. Here are two:

In Ethiopia, the Ensete plant (Ensete ventricosum), also known as 'False Banana' is often cooked theses days, but it is an excellent source of RS2 when eaten raw. No doubt, it would have been a tremendous source of RS2, in Ethiopia, before cooking was invented.

From: Enset - The 'False Banana' as Food Security

Enset - what is it?

Also known as "false banana" due to its striking resemblance to the banana plant, Enset (Ensete Scitamineae) is a traditional staple crop in many parts of densely populated south and south-western Ethiopia. Records suggest that Enset has been grown in Ethiopia for more than 10,000 years. Indigenous hunter/gatherers of southern Ethiopia are thought to have been the first to cultivate Enset, and later introduced it to the Cushitic-speaking people of the northern highlands, only for it to be replaced by cerealbased crops due to the migration of the Semitic people. Enset is virtually unknown as a foodstuff outside Ethiopia and in western countries, variants are often grown as ornamental garden plants. The root of the plant provides food in the form of starch, the stem is used to produce a coarse fibre, and the leaves are fed to cattle, whose manure is in turn used to fertilise the plant. Although Enset is a protein-poor crop, its deep roots give it a greater resilience to drought than other cereal crops and consequently, a greater degree of food security to those who grow it...

...The major food products obtained from the Enset plant are kocho, bulla and amicho, all of which are simple to produce once the plant is harvested, and can be stored for long periods without spoiling.

While Ensete is now often eaten cooked, it is also safely eaten raw and obviously would have been eaten raw before cooking was invented. John Hame explains:

From: Humane Development: Participation and Change Among the Sadama of Ethiopia, by John H. Hame, p. 18

"To serve ensete as food a woman first removes it from the pit, wraps the mash in a handful of the stringlike fibers from the stem of the plant, and squeezes out the liquid content. She then kneads and sifts it into a fine flour. Transformation from raw material to food is now complete, and the finished product is referred to as wasa. It may be served as raw, sour-tasting flour mixed with vegetables, made into small pancakes, or occasionally baked into bread."

And here's the kicker... Enset starch has roughly the same amount of amylose as potato starch does.

Literature Review On Enset Starch: Physico-Chemical Properties And Pharmaceutical Applications, by Wondimu, et al. (2014)

According to a study by Gebre-Mariam and Shimidt the amylose content of enset starch was estimated to be 29.0%. Another study, however, indicated that the amylose content to be 21%. The variation could arise from differences in the methodologies used for determination of the amylose content. Both of the studies showed that the amylose content of enset starch was comparable with that of potato starch...

...The average granule size of enset starch was 37.7μm, which was comparable to that of potato starch (38.2 μm).

Basically Enset is the Ethiopian non-toxic version of a potato, and it's a major staple for Ethiopians. But, no, it doesn't end there. Those Peruvians that gave us potatoes full of hormetic glycoalkaloids apparently never bothered to tell the Spanish about Canna, the edible rhizome that is very high in amylose and is safe to consume raw.

From: Wikipedia: Canna Agriculture Group

The Canna Agriculture Group contains all of the varieties of Canna used in agriculture. Canna achira and Canna edulis (Latin: eatable) are generic terms used in South America to describe the cannas that have been selectively bred for agricultural purposes, normally derived from C. discolor. It is grown especially for its edible rootstock from which starch is obtained, but the leaves and young seed are also edible, and achira was once a staple foodcrop in Peru and Ecuador...

...Canna is still grown for human consumption in the Andes and also in Vietnam and southern China, where the starch is used to make cellophane noodles.

Rootstock - actually a rhizome - can be eaten either raw or cooked. It is the source of canna starch which is used as a substitute for arrowroot. The starch is obtained by rasping the rhizome to a pulp, then washing and straining to get rid of the fibres. This starch is very digestible. The very young rhizomes can also be eaten cooked, they are sweet but fibrous. The rhizome can be very large, sometimes as long as a person's forearm. In Peru the rhizomes are baked for up to 12 hours by which time they become a white, translucent, fibrous and somewhat mucilaginous mass with a sweetish taste.

We can learn more about Canna here: Eat The Weeds: Canna Confusion.

Here's a paper showing that the starch grains of Canna are higher in amylose than potato starch.

From: Characterization of Starch from two Ecotypes of Andean Achira Roots (Canna edulis), by Cisneros (2009)

"Achira (C. edulis) roots (70 kg of each ecotype) were obtained in the year 2001 from the San Gaban and Sandia regions of Puno in southeastern Peru...

...The amylose contents of San Gaban and Sandia achira starches were 39 and 33%, respectively. These values are relatively high when compared to traditional sources of starch such as potato (27%) and corn (24%) (Table 2). These results confirm the high-amylose values reported for achira starch in previous studies (12).

...In summary, achira starch showed some unusual properties, such as very large granules and relatively high amylose content"

It's not hard to see that RS2-rich staple foods were eaten raw by ancient Ethiopians and Peruvians. There are likely other examples, but I suppose it's apparent that Grace won't be looking for them.


Like I told you before, she ought not to have gotten herself all fucked up with me, then started harming people for spite. Richard hates that, especially the latter.

Did Impotent Give a National State Welfare Speech?

I was delighted to learn that I'd missed all media reference to a Grand State of The Union speech before it happened. Next day, I heard whispers of aftermath and I'm like: 'cool, it's not important anymore.' It's not. It's pretending to be important. I like how Matt Welch put it in a bit over a minute: Obama’s 2015 SOTU: Magical Pain-Free Prosperity For Everyone!

My fave:

Obama's economics are stuck in the 1970s, without the added benefit of wide lapels and airline deregulation.

He's a fucking commie, married to a stupid bitch. I said it way back and it still holds true.

barack obama smoking weed1
Your POTUS: While millions sit in prison for that

I didn't even bother to look up the percentages of people wasting their time on the annual show in '75 for the peanut farmer.

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It's all up to the AARP In League With The NAACP Now

One thing you can count on the MSM for, and that's having a sense of no longer being able to garner more ad revenue from the SOTU address than Mork & Mindy reruns and besides, Robin Williams has always been more popular that your average president. RIP.

Janet went off on some of his pandering, commie-era, AARP/NAACP moronism:

...The one that struck me in particular was his suggestion that community college tuition be reduced to zero, and I was left shaking my head that the goddamn President of the most successful capitalist, free market economy in history does not appear to understand how markets function.

Hey, parents: give your kid a free car too; and pay their insurance, gas, and maintenance...while they go off to community college, stay in your spare room, eat your food, and insist the TV is channeled to UFC, rather than Navy CSI and Bluebloods.

Live the dream.

Internet Security: A Lesson in Diminishing Returns

I've had my own PC since 1990 (used one since '87, leading the SEVENTHFLEET to do stuff different—we literally bought a bunch of IBM clones in Hong Kong) and have been on the Internet since 1992. That's 23 years. My first modem connection was via a CompuServe account that came with a heavy manual and everything was via Command Line. Don't know what that is? You have an app on your computer even now: be it PC, Mac, Linux, Unix—or whatever OS—where you can use just text commands (DOS guys remember...and I knew a guy who installed Windows 95, but still did everything DOS command line in an open CL window).

...I was actually a Rush Limbaugh fan in 1992, and once exchanged a couple of CompuServe "emails" with him. Prodigy and AOL apps (I had both, too) really brought the Internet to the ignorant mainstream by making it fairly easy with the first GUI apps. CompuServe soon followed with their own GUI for Windows 3.0.

That introduction out of the way, I have never once had a single account hacked, not a single web-based it a bank, trading account, or this blog. Why? Because I'm neither ignorant, nor a moron. Guess what else. I use the same password everywhere. It's 8 characters. Try to guess it. It used to be only six—four small case letters, two numbers, but too many places began having password minimum requirements, so I had to change it in order to not be constantly annoyed with internet security-paternalism all the time, for the sake of the inept.

A huge percentage of the Internet world is being needlessly scared to death over an ever increasing barrage of new "measures" in order to log into your own shit. It's reaching diminishing returns for me. I might soon have to go back to a simple checkbook and paper bank statements.

Let's put this in perspective. We're talking about people so woefully ignorant in some cases, that they'll break into a cold sweat over putting a credit card number into fields of a website (I've done it thousands of times, no problem ever—because I only do so on trusted sites I haven't gone to from a link in email); but a dozen times per week or more, they hand their credit card to someone making six bucks per hour in some establishment.

What do you think is more likely for someone getting your credit card number and using it like a thief? Russian or Chinese hackers putting brute force computing worth thousands of dollars to hack your passwords; or, Jenny, that "nice" waitress? Actually, it's probably neither. And, even those highly publicized hacks of big companies getting millions of CC numbers scraped pale in risk to you handing your CC to someone who takes it out of your sight (most restaurants) where they can not only get the number and expiration, but the code on the back (where billing address is still going to be an issue, so not really that viable, either). ...In Europe, they've had chips in credit cards since I first went there in, 1989. I felt like a poor stepchild, in 1990—25 years ago—having to always sign, rather than enter a pin in their wireless swipers waiters would bring to your table.

Here's what you're not being told: It's You!

The very vast majority of "hacks" aren't hacks at all. They're run of the mill "confidence schemes." Old as the hills, now on a diet of Red Bull when it comes to the Internet.

To boil it down for you: 99% of the time someone gets into your stuff, it's because you gave them your login or otherwise opened the door and invited them in. And, because of your utter ignorance, people like me now, increasingly, can't even count on accessing our shit with username, password, or even a security question of where we first stopped beating our wife.

No, now we also have to be near a phone we've previously registered, where we can get a pin either by text or voice, and enter that. Good luck if you're somewhere without cell service for your carrier.

These annoying measures are all touted as "for your convenience." You know, "for your shopping convenience, the store is now closed." In fact, what the companies don't really want to tell you is that you're probably too stupid to be on the Internet.

You believe everything you read; and so, you get an email that looks exactly like it's from your bank, PayPal, or whoever. It contains—deliciously ironic—a dire warning about your account security, and you're supposed to click this link and go to your account to receive an important message, change your password...or receive a free-gift redundancy. When you do, it will look just like the login page you would expect—assuming you actually have a critical brain cell expecting anything in particular. Adding insult: As soon as your account then gets hacked, you'll chalk it up to them, not you. It's beautiful.

...That's how they get your logins, silly people. It's called phishing. Thing is, it's so easy to know every single phish that comes your way. Look at the from address. Look at the link address. This is kindergarten, "don't talk to strangers" stuff, yet millions of you belly up to the bar every year and ruin it for the smart people.

And you still believe you're being victimized (your ignorance and willingness to believe—like you were taught to believe in sky fairies—is at root), and that these companies are looking out for you (they're socializing the burden or your ignorance to reduce costs).

It's very simple: if nobody ever went to a login page from a link in an email, without exception, Internet security would be as simple as a username and short password and almost no problems would ever happen.

...This post was motivated by a kind of phishing I hadn't seen before. I got an email from a guy who wants to advertise on the blog, but in the form of a sponsored page with unique URL. $200 per month. I reply: Send me the html (simple text code that's easy to verify). He emails a PHP file (code that, unless you know PHP—I can rudimentarily futz with it in some contexts—could do a lot of nasty stuff to your site).

The point is, all of this security stuff is bullshit and annoying, and you don't even need particularly complex passwords, or even different ones for everything: Why you don't need long, complex passwords. Here's the super-geek version that goes into maths.

What you need to do is understand that your ignorance and willingness to trust, and believe everything that hits your eyeballs is the root cause of all of this. Stop blaming it on others.

I would want to go back to a simple, absolute username and password. To sign up, you have to agree that the service "is not responsible for items you leave laying around." Then, let fools and their money be soon parted. Darwinian.

After all, con artists, like lots of predators, serve a vital role in society. Ask any atheist.

What Happens When Fake Doktors With Authority Complex Get Hold Of You

It is very important to understand that since the beginning of this resistant starch revolution, two people have been pretty humble (Richard and Tim Steele) and one has ceaselessly tried to mount the pedestal of all knowing authority on all things gut (Grace Liu—and even though when you read gut studies, they are often shrouded in more mystery than certitude).

The only thing Tim and I have been really adamant about is that feeding the gut is critical (and RS has a big role to play), and that feeding is probably more important than "weeding." Those trillions of bugs have well evolved ways of managing an ecosystem we're only scratching the surface of. We both come down on the side that says: you can't really figure it out precisely, so feed it, let nature take root and work magic over time. In other words, it's better to just throw lots of darts than engage in the futility of hitting bullseyes. Grace wants you to believe you can throw lots of Bullseyes; and oh, she's the single "Goddess" to direct your hand.


I quote from Lisa in comments to my Animal Farts 1.0 Supplement Powder With 13 Gut Foods.

...I don’t think I’ve ever posted but wanted to tell you thank you and Tim for your great blogs and how they have benefited me. Resistant starch has made my life so much better. It cured insomnia probably caused by very low carb diet. It also improved my metabolism via better thyroid and adrenal function. I am warmer and have to take less thyroid and have more energy and feel happier. Who wouldn’t feel happier when they increase their sleep from 4-5 hours sleep a night to 7 or 8? I just reread your refining the resistant starch story [Part 2]. I was looking for help because for the last several months I had been reading grace Lius blog regularly. I got sucked into her opinion that raw potato starch is bad and dropped taking it. She seemed like a smart lady and I trusted her. I also didn’t know for some time that you and Tim disagree with her. The first time I caught wind of that was several weeks ago. It was the last time Tim posted over there. Grace was saying he’s messed up because he has bifidus animalis rather than bifidus longum and that it is obvious rps did him bad because he has Nash and gout. Tim seemed pretty peeved and disagreed, don’t remember exactly what he said but seemed to go off in a huff and never posted again. I wasn’t totally sure what to think. I was disappointed cause I love Tims posts but Ive reall liked Graces blog and it has helped me. Some of her recommended probiotics have been really helpful. I told Grace I was really disappointed about dropping rps because it had helped me so much and that I was trying just doing rs3 from food and it wasn’t getting as good results. I told her I thought maybe it was because it was hard for me to get enough rs just from foods to get results for my particular body. I asked her if there were any convenient rs3 powders like rps that someone can quickly easily boost their rs with no matter what is going on how busy they are traveling etc and she said no she doesn’t recommend processed items like that just whole food. I told her but I sleep with rps and I don’t as much without it. She said that she just doesn’t recommend rps because in the long run it cuts off at the knees our ancestral core, was I think the way she put it. You know akkermansia, b longum etc.

[Don't listen to how you feel in your core. Listen to a Fake Doktor instead. -Ed]

So I’ve believed her and tried it. But gosh darn it I just don’t feel as well. Last week I was traveling and couldn’t eat as well as normal and my sleep had gotten pretty bad by the end of a week and night before last I had a hard time going to sleep and then woke up after 4 hours and couldn’t go back to sleep. Yesterday I was tired and grumpy. So I had had it. I thought I don’t know whether rps will cut my ancestral core off at the knees or not but I know if I take it I’ll sleep! So I took a tbsp with each meal yesterday along with my rs3 whole food and other fibers and last night I went to sleep easily. My head hit pillow and I was out. I slept six hours straight, woke up needing to go to the bathroom and then fell back asleep as soon as head hit pillow again and slept for another 2-3 hours. I woke up feeling rested and great. Yesterday I was thinking that I didn’t know how something could help me so much and be so bad. I Decided to go to his blog and yours to explore rs2 and whether it really does hurt people. I found your post about that and it was very helpful. Now I’ve been reading the refining resistant starch story. I had read it before but I didn’t remember what it said about rs2 being in the traditional foods of numerous people groups. I hope you do go ahead and analyse more of the claims she is making. The info you are providing is helping me get to the truth so I can benefit from rps and not get ripped off from that because of a false idea that the benefits I’m seeing are some kind of short term trick that rps is playing on me only so it can stealthily destroy my most important gut microbes and take me down.

I like grace and I don’t think she is being intentionally malicious [I do. You have no idea how she hates me and will chew up anyone to get to me. -Ed]. What is going on is that she had some problems after starting rps like gerd and weight gain. Somebody convinced her it was the rps causing it. I think it was some guy a lot of people would listen to like some microbiota researcher, maybe the one that she follows saying that the microbes she calls the ancestral core are the holy grail. I don’t remember his name.

It wouldn’t be the first time that someone has gotten convinced of an idea backed by a lot of emotion and then interpreted studies to support their view even when they don’t. I think a lot of times people actually believe they are seeing and interpreting correctly because their filter prevents them from seeing the evidence that contradicts their view.

It really helped me to see that all these people have been eating rs2 for millennia. How could rps be so bad then? And maybe it did cause problems for grace but for me it has seemed to do nothing but good. Or maybe it was just coincidence and rps had nothing to do with problems grace was encountering.

It would be interesting to tackle graces claims that rps is responsible for Tims Nash and gout. I saw in some post where you or Tim clarify that gout was caused by cocoa nibs or some such. I have had gout like symptoms before from having too much Oxalate containing food.

In closing, I appreciate your work.

Don't expect Tim or I to attempt to prove the negative that RPS didn't do something bad, any time soon. It's too ridiculous. Grace doesn't even have the ethics necessary to actually only reference studies that actually support her statements—rather relying that people won't actually read them.

To make the motivation of this post explicit: this went up because, and only because, this good person went to "Dr." Grace sincerely, telling her explicitly that potato starch helped her hugely (sleep, body temp, less thyroid meds), then she stopped taking it it per Grace's "Goddessness" (typical doG, eh? They have a plan for you) and stuff went to shit again. What does the "Good Doktor" do? Tells her, essentially, that her vision of the perfect gut just doesn't jive with Lisa's real results—so suck it in and tough up; after all, we have to discredit Richard and Tim and you must be willing to sacrifice your well being for that cause.

She goes back to using potato starch and regains the well being she'd come accustomed to.

Astounding "malpractice" on the part of Grace. Thankfully, she decided to get herself all fucked up with me, because I will highlight this kind of stuff. I want all y'all having good sleeps and dreams out there, feeling warm & cozy. It's your life.

Animal Farts Powder 1.0 Beta

IMG 2910

Part inspiration, part scouring around, part listening to some commenters, part total shot in the dark...I've made perhaps the 1st HUGE gut biome food designed with them in mind.

May they blister your dreams.

It's 13 different powdered gut foods in one—from pectin to potato starch and mung bean; to FOS, psyllium, and a bunch of exotics. Yea, there's even Amla, too. Larch? You kidding? Of course. Glucomanna? Surely you jest. Yes.

I'm stress testing it now, with water only on empty stomach (mixes up nice in a shaker with an agitator ball). 2 TBS with water only this afternoon. Tomorrow, 2TBS morning and night. Next day, I'll take it to 8 TBS (60+g gut fiber). Beyond that, you're on your own.

Question: What are your thoughts on paying less than a whey protein powder product, but with everything mixed and conveniently packaged for you, as a fiber supplement? Should not be a meal replacement except for serious LC/Keto folks. I'm thinking 1-4 TBS (9-40gish) per day for most people, depending on what works for them. No real idea on pricing yet—except that if you give up your Starbucks habit, buy this, bank the difference, it'll put a kid through college.

My plan is to set up a small manufacturing facility in the basement of my cabin, and initially do everything myself from sourcing in 50lb sack bulk, to mixing to packaging, and shipping. (I'll have someone else design and print a label). Go from there if people like it.

Provided 8 TBS doesn't explode me, that's the plan. Strike a balance between your annoyance and incertitude, and my making another income stream.

We'll see. What a business plan.

MLK: Hero For Me; Just Like Gandhi and the Guy They Both Read: Henry David Thoreau

It's About Civil Disobedience AGAINST the State. Not cozying up to its managers, to ask for favors—like a good nigger.

And thus, virtually every single thing you heard all damn day, like you hear every danm year, is all about professional racists snake-oil pretending they're not.

To my mind, nobody who hasn't read MLK's Letter From Birmingham Jail is really qualified to speak to what he was really about in the way back. I make it a point to read it every single Martin Luther King Day, and have been doing so for about 15 years.

You're welcome to listen to all the professional racists who have never read it.

16 April 1963

My Dear Fellow Clergymen:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities "unwise and untimely." Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statement in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

Read the whole thing and do it every single year, and thank me for a good steer.

Virtual Surgery On Back Pain: Combining Convensional Therapy and John Sarno

Here's the previous two posts on my own process in returning to full physical function:

Let me do a brief way-back, from late 2010 / early '11, where owing to heavy weight lifting, I ended up with intense pain in my right shoulder and arm, accompanied by weakness and some numbness. After some weeks of waiting for it to go away (I had never experienced chronic pain before), I ended up going to a chiropractor for ART. When that did nothing but empty my pocketbook after some sessions (thought it was a rotator cuff issue), I blogged about it and both Dr. Kurt Harris and Dr. Doug McGuff told me to get a book by John E. Sarno: Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. It covers neck, shoulder, arm and a bunch of other pains too (all essentially the same thing).

I kinda dismissed it. You're telling me this is all in my head? What absurd, woo woo gibberish. Then, I got an MRI and sure enough: cervical herniation. Ha! See? Cause (herniation, "pinched nerve") ---> Effect (pain). Fix the herniation/pinch, pain goes away; healed, all nice & tidy. But there's a few things I wasn't aware of:

  1. Very few people get relief from spinal surgery.
  2. Most people over 20 have some level of spinal degeneration (just like hair falls out, wrinkles appear, etc.) and over 50, almost everyone has disc herniations. Kurt Harris, longtime MD radiologist, confirmed this. Dr. Sarno calls these "normal abnormalities."
  3. Most people in #2 have zero symptoms of pain (also confirmed by Harris).
  4. And if #3 isn't cause for hmm, something's not adding up here, Harris also told me that people with crushed vertebrae from an accident 1) have far less general and specific pain than these people with 'normal abnormalities', and 2) the pain typically goes away after a few weeks, just like a broken leg.

So I read Sarno and literally, as I'm reading the introduction, I begin to get some relief after a couple months of near constant pain. Over a process of two weeks, it was eventually gone completely. Came back twice, separated by a couple of months each time and I dispensed with it in two weeks and then a week, respectively. Pain free there ever since. Eventually, the weakness and slight numbness went away, too.

Unfortunately, I didn't learn my lesson because this time, I was convinced that this time, I really had an injury that required addressing and that it was possible to make things worse; so I babied myself, not realizing that was just feeding into whatever was going on in my head.

That said, I think there's a better way to do Sarno than just approach it from a mind only standpoint. I'll explain. But first, what is Sarno and this TMS? Here, you can get a very decent overview in this John Stossel 20/20 segment from some years back. (Stossel himself got rid of 2 decades of back pain in one 3-hr. Sarno lecture.)

The very most common error people make when first presented with this information is just how I dismissed it at first. Here's how I put it in a comment reply under that video:

"But it would be your subconscious tricking the body that it's in pain???"

This is the most common misunderstanding of Sarno's work. The pain is not "in your head." The pain is absolutely, 100% real and physical. It's caused by oxygen deprivation to muscle, tendon and nerve tissue, and oxygen deprivation causes intense pain—this is why often, someone with a tiny herniation, or nothing at all, will be in far greater (real) pain than the real pain experienced from crushed vertebrae or a broken femur (both of which will heal in weeks and the pain will go away).

Anyway, the pain is real. However, it's not being caused by whatever structural thing you think you have. It's real pain being caused by your mind. Once you realize this and that there's nothing wrong with you (except whatever is going on in your head), you're on your way. Ironically, most people don't even need to understand what emotions or stresses or rage might be going on, such that their mind is creating a diversion from that mental pain (your brain thinks it's doing you a favor) by means of creating physical pain. Simply understanding that's what it is is enough for most people, including myself...

The pain is real, absolutely physical, but also psychological in origin—not a pimple on your spinal disc (nor stenosis, that virtually everyone has as they age). It is, in fact, a coincidence. Just because you find firemen at fires doesn't mean they're typically the cause of fires.

Sarno is pretty damn simple.

  1. First and foremost, realize that your condition is normal and common, normally with zero symptoms, and that there's nothing wrong with you.
  2. Pushing through the pain rather than baby yourself will not produce greater injury, because there is no injury.
  3. It is completely unnecessary to psychoanalyze yourself to determine why your brain is sending signals to tissues to constrict, thereby causing oxygen deprivation to those tissues, thus enormous pain. Is is sufficient that you understand that's what's happening and absolutely accept that as the cause of your pain.

Of course, you get better at it, just as I did each time the shoulder and arm pain returned for me and why, in just a few days (now that I finally decided to go full force with those steps above), I'm completely pain free a very good portion of the time—and have even been doing some sitting at the computer now, for the first time in two weeks exactly—since I picked up the Topo ergonomic standing desk mat.

So, that's the experience I wish to pass on now, since in my reading, while a lot of people use Sarno and only Sarno, some take pretty long to fully recover—months even. I think you can shorten that by using a number of therapeutic temporary pain relieving techniques: NOT to heal your chronic pain, but to better understand what's really going on, affirming those three keys to making Sarno work.

So, this is where you get to self experiment, to see what gives you the best relief and you enjoy doing the most. The key is, it needs to be something that increases blood flow to the painful tissues, or dilates their blood vessels directly. Why? Because the real pain is being caused by oxygen deprivation to tissues. Increased general bloodflow or direct dilation brings more oxygen, pain goes away or you get significant temporary relief. Some ideas.

  • Deep massage
  • Focussed meditative or Yoga like relaxation
  • Exercise with an aerobic element (get blood pumping)
  • Heat application
  • Vibration
  • Stretching
  • Chiropractic (with a chiropractor who understands Sarno and can direct therepy towards increased blood flow)
  • Postural stuff (dependent upon where the pain is; e.g., standing a lot for back pain)

There are probably others. Here's my go-to list in order of effectiveness, enjoyment and ease, for me.

  1. Sunbeam 730-811 Heating Pad plus Massage. Hands down the most effective, easy to use device. I carry one in my backpack. The heat dilates blood vessels, undercutting the oxygen deprivation, and the vibration confuses your local senses, aiding in relaxation. I think the vibration aspect greatly increases the time with relief.
  2. Hot baths and the hot tub. Same thing, only more widespread blood vessel dilation. I also use a couple cups of epsom salts in the bathtub. No idea if the magnesium absorption does anything. Can't hurt.
  3. Teeter Hang Ups EP 560 Inversion Table. This took a while to implement and may have made things worse initially because I was anything but relaxed; I was more tense. Easing the ankle hold one notch changed that and made it into a focussed relaxation table for me. It's most effective on the hip pain. It's probably a combination of stretching and relaxation increasing general blood flow, thus undercutting oxygen deprivation.
  4. VARIDESK PRO combined with a Topo Ergonomic Standing Desk Mat. Probably a number of complex postural, exercise things going on here. It's really what finally put me over the hump by essentially not sitting for two weeks until later in the evening for TV. Plus, at that level it's quite fatiguing so sleep (and relaxation) was improved.
  5. Walking. No brainier. Do it more, even if it hurts. Push through the pain.

So, please keep in mind. None of this will work to fix your chronic pain issue unless you see it for what it is. What it is is to demonstrate to you exactly what you have accepted in those three Sarno steps I outlined. Because, once you dial your mind into what's going on, you're going to notice that when, for instance, you apply that vibrating heating pad to your right hip and the pain recedes, now your calf, shin, or hamstring aches—or your left hip. Or, now you have a tension headache. Or, you suddenly have angina-like chest pain.

That's when your self-diagnosis becomes real. You become a "believer," and it's all downhill from there. That's when, actually, the pain becomes amusing; and once you can sincerely laugh at it and yourself, you'll know you have it nailed.

One last thing: but what about the fact that spinal surgery works for some? For the same reason sugar pills work for some. The placebo effect is well documented and very real. What's likely happening is that subjects sincerely believe cutting away some tiny part of a vertebrae will give their pimple-pinched nerve more "room," and it won't cause pain anymore. This belief, for some, is tantamount to understanding the Sarno process, which minimally requires suspension of disbelief; so bang, no more pain. The downside is, what happens if the pain eventually comes back—which happens for the vast majority of those who've had spinal surgery? What happens is they become one of those people you all known, who've had 4, 5, 6 and more back surgeries.

So, I'm glad I finally decided that I was once again going to forget about surgery, and go full force with Sarno; and this time, it took 2 days. I'm 100% pain free 95% of the time since yesterday. Took a drive in my X-5 for lunch a bit ago (I was barely leaving the house weeks ago). That's the seat that causes me the most excruciating pain no matter how I adjust it. Got in and bang! There's that pain. I smiled, laughed a bit, said something like "nope, you're not going to get me," and by the time the light turned green, it was beginning to fad away and soon was a mere shadow.

And, when I got back in the car to return, less shadow still.

This shit works. But hopefully, like me, you'll find that a combined process, so that 1) you get some temporary relief, and 2) understand the true purpose of that relief (to affirm what's going on) will greatly accelerate your recovery over a Sarno-only approach.

“The Microbiome Diet: Evolving Past Paleo”

I don't usually like to blog one single article, but I sometimes make an exception because there are some keen insights here. And I especially like them because all of them have been in my book draft for some time. :)

This is an article by Dr. Raphael Kellman, author of The Microbiome Diet and the founder of the Kellman Center for Integrative and Functional Medicine. I was actually sent the book back when it came out but have done nothing more than leaf through it and no nothing of the proposed diet. At any rate, this article is worth a read.

For the past several years, the biggest buzzword in diet has been Paleo. This approach to food supposedly re-creates the way our ancestors ate during the Paleolithic period, before the invention of agriculture. Although there are many different incarnations of Paleo, they all agree on one thing: Human genes evolved when our ancestors were still hunters and gatherers. Therefore, according to the Paleo perspective, our genes have simply not had time to catch up to a diet of grains and legumes.

But our bodies are far more flexible than the Paleo people would lead you to believe. That's because Paleo leaves out a crucial factor in the equation: the microbiome.

Now, here's key insight #1:

It's Your Bacteria's Genes That Matter

That's right. While everyone has heard over and over that in terms of cell number, the bacteria in our guts outnumber our own cells by a factor of 10 (estimates vary, actually), it's really the massive disparity in genome that's the biggie.

Not only do our bacteria outnumber us, their genes outnumber our genes -- by a factor of 150 to 1. In many ways, their genes have more of an influence over our day-to-day life than our own genes do.

When your microbiome is balanced, you have a terrific ally that keeps your body healthy, promoting good digestion, clear thinking, balanced mood, and glowing overall health. When your microbiome goes out of balance, however, you risk such symptoms as brain fog, depression, anxiety, bad skin and insomnia -- and, down the road, obesity, diabetes, and cancer.

I personally have experienced a pretty profound gradual "chill factor" over many months that's ongoing, actually. Sure, I still go off in rants and rages now & then, but I get over them quickly and I sure do pass up a lot more opportunities than I used to. Not perfect, but better

Key insight #2:

Now, what does this have to do with Paleo? Well, the Paleo view is that human genes evolve with glacial slowness, and that humans haven't yet caught up to the dietary changes brought on by the invention of agriculture.

Maybe human genes do change that slowly (although they have changed more since the Paleolithic era than Paleo orthodoxy would suggest). The population of the microbiome, however, changes extremely rapidly -- often, within a single day.

After all, the average lifespan of a microbe is only 20 minutes. That's long enough for your entire microbiome to change its composition.

And when your microbiome changes, its genes change too. You literally could wake up with one set of microbial genes on Monday and a whole other set of microbial genes on Tuesday.

Yes, and then integrate horizontal gene transfer and you've got a real whopper of a very complex picture on your hands.

Key insight #3:

You Are What Your Bacteria Eat

It's arguably as important or even more important than the nutrients going toward your own cellular nourishment. The makeup of your microbiota can change very rapidly.

A breakthrough study from Harvard's Peter J. Turnbaugh and Duke's Lawrence David reveals some of the ways in which our diet shapes our microbiome -- and thereby affects our ability to digest various types of food. In 2011, the researchers fed volunteers two very different diets. One group was given a high-protein diet consisting of bacon and eggs, spareribs, brisket, salami, cheese, and pork rinds. The other was fed a very high-fiber diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans. Bacterial analysis of fecal samples collected before, during, and after the experiment showed that what each group ate had a huge -- and almost immediate -- effect on their gut bacteria. [...]

The microbiome's dynamic ability to respond to our diet is why our bodies can adapt to so many different ways of eating -- regardless of how long it might take for our genes themselves to change. Our genes aren't what matter -- our microbiome's genes are the key. We don't have to move at the millennial pace of genetic evolution. We come equipped with a mechanism that is exquisitely responsive to a number of different types of foods, which is why humans all over the world can survive on a remarkably wide range of diets.

Key insight #4:

We Can Eat Almost Anything -- But Should We?

The Paleo diet varies depending on which expert you listen to, but they all agree on one thing: We humans can't digest grain. They say that our genes just haven't evolved enough to metabolize it properly, and that therefore grain is responsible for all sorts of serious disorders.

Not only is that bad genetics, it's bad nutrition. [...]

...Nor do you want to consume a typical Western diet -- refined flour, sugar, unhealthy fats, additives, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners -- because those ingredients also feed exactly the wrong kind of bacteria.

So, it's a bit nuanced. Your microbiota can handle a lot of grains. Eliminating of greatly curtailing gluten may be important for some or a lot. But at the end of the day, grains (and legumes) are likely one whole lot less of a problem than is all the crap that comes in boxes and bags of highly processed modern industrially produced food.

I'll close with a short section from Chapter 1 of my own book in draft (without formatting or references—just a quick copy/paste).


Bacteria are living creatures made up of exactly one cell. They’re amongst the simplest forms of life—probably one of the earliest forms of life on Earth. Our personal microbes are mainly either spherical (called cocci) or rod-shaped (bacilli). They all have cell walls that protect them from the surrounding environment. Bacteria require nourishment, but have no mouth. Its skin (cell wall) is rigid, but it can allow molecules to travel in and out. They have no nose, ears, eyes, arms, or legs; but they’re mobile, and they communicate. Many of the bacilli have tails, used to navigate the fluids in which they inhabit. As with the lizard, their tails are detachable. Some have special tubes, known as pili—used to transfer material to other microbes. But what could a single-celled organism have that it needs to share? Information! For instance, when an antibiotic (a poison to the organism) is detected, this information is shared with its fellows. Over many lifecycle generations, bacteria evolve to resist antibiotics and become what the medical profession calls superbugs—bacteria that can’t be eradicated by the antibiotics du jour.

Even though we know bacteria to be single cells, they’re anything but simple. Within the cellular membrane of each is contained mostly water. Within this water resides the material of DNA. DNA carries genetic information that’s literally billions of years old, and all cellular functions are controlled by it. That’s right: our microbiome is operating, in part, on basic instructions billions of years older than primate life itself! If that’s not impressive enough—recalling that our gut microbes possess a combined 3 million genes to the 24,000 for our human cells—also present in this watery interior are ribosomes. These free-floating structures attach themselves to DNA to carry out instructions to manufacture proteins, antibiotics, vitamins, hormones, poisons...a veritable complete line of synthesized chemicals. Our microbes, each of some 100 trillion, are only single cells that are, nonetheless, microscopic chemical plants, the likes of which ought to make Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, Herbert Henry Dow, and Friedrich Engelhorn all blush.

Microbes are astoundingly complex, versatile, and resilient, even though a single complete microbial life might be measured in mere minutes. Various strains have obtained the ability to live in a wider array of environments than any other life form. They can be equally at home in boiling water, and polar ice caps. They can live and thrive in oil spills, hot sulfur, salt water, the air, dirt, and everywhere in between. Some have evolved ballasts to control buoyancy in liquids. Some microbes are magnetic, navigating by means of the Earth’s magnetic field. In terms of our gut microbiota, they all have one thing in common: whatever it takes to get inside your gut, as that’s where its kind took up residence millions of years ago in the first primates.

Since they’re quite effective getting where they belong, in a protected environment with a constant supply of nourishment, our bodies are teeming with them. The vast majority are mutualistic. But a few can be deadly—meningitis, tetanus, cholera, pneumonia, and anthrax are all common bacteria that thrive in, on, or outside the human body, potentially infecting and killing millions. The lengths to which bacteria have evolved to do good or harm in all facets of life is staggering. ...Corkscrew shaped microbes called spirochetes cause syphilis and Lyme disease. ...Rickettsia is a pathogen that can only live inside of other living cells, causing typhus and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Other bacteria, such as the much maligned e. coli, the culprit behind many food-poisoning outbreaks, are only harmful when found in large numbers or where they don’t belong, but when living happily in your gut are crucial to keeping other pathogens at bay. And conversely, there are gut bugs that appear to do nothing but good things for us...bifidobacteria is one type of microbe with no downside—their presence is linked with excellent immune function and vigorous health.

Hans Christian Gram was a Danish bacteriologist who, in 1884, invented a way to classify bacteria into two large categories. He found that he could stain bacteria with special dyes and if they turned purple, they were considered ‘positive’; but, if they turned red, ‘negative'. Later, these classifications became Gram positive and Gram negative. To this day, Gram staining is one of the most important tests done on bacteria.

Gram staining allows medical professionals and lab technicians to differentiate between two distinct bacterial groups—critical in a medical emergency where minutes count. Gram positive bacteria respond well to certain types of antibiotics, like penicillin, while Gram negative bacteria are very hard to kill and require harsher drugs. Without this knowledge, it would take much guesswork to treat patients, with lives lost to time wasted.

There are dozens of other ways in which bacteria have been classified over the past 50 years, with new methods being developed all the time. Later on, we’ll introduce classifications such as domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.