“The problem with designing bear-proof food lockers is that we’ve found there’s a significant overlap between the smartest bears, and the dumbest humans.” — A Yosemite National Park Ranger heard in a radio interview years ago
I believe it was a Jimmy Moore podcast way back with the heart surgeon Dr. Steven Gundry that I first caught whiff of the reality of hibernating maminals, and what a robust, complex metabolism they’ve evolved as a survival adaptation for when food is scarce. It was a simple statement I never forgot, paraphrasing: Bears basically become Type II Diabetics right before hibernation. I never forgot it because, well: “Free the Animal.” My fundamental and deep focus—in spite of every diverse thing I’ve ever written—is that animals in their natural habitat, given sufficient resource, have zero of our man-made problems—and 100% of human problems in this context are 100% man “mad.”
It’s my crazy belief that we can take lessons and learn from them and at minimum, live the robust life to which we’re intended and entitled (thanks, Dog), in relative healthful exuberance, right up to the point where our number gets called out of the pack, tribe, or coven hierarchy; and then, it’s game over.
Nobody is safe; nobody gets out alive.
I fell prey to others of my own species strutting around, acting as though the survival adaptations we’ve evolved through death, mayhem—may the best man win—constitute a 24/7/365 HEALTHY LIFESTYLE!!!
It’s bullshit. It’s all bullshit, and I’m not sugar coating it for anyone. I will endeavor to embarrass, expose…and when I realize it, admit it to myself and everyone else. It helps when you have zero problem saying to everyone—indeed relish: I fucked up. I was wrong! Is it really that hard?
Let me ask and answer a few questions before I get into the underlying theme.
- Is gluconeogenesis cool? Answer: absolutely; it’s a survival-starvation adaptation for if and when we have only fat & protein, or unpalatable fiber (the gut makes glucose too). Depending upon individuality and “keto” adaptation, the brain needs a minimum of 60g glucose per day, up to 120g glucose per day. Your body has the ability to make it if it has to.
- Is ketogenesis cool? Answer: absolutely; it’s a survival-starvation adaptation for if and when we have only fat & protein, or unpalatable fiber. Depending upon individuality and adaptation: brain, other organs, and muscles need more fuel than can be supplied solely through #1.
- Do bare survival adaptations constitute healthy 24/7/365 lifestyles? Answer: no, and a-priori (you don’t even need to get up off the couch to understand that truth).
- Is it possible that these adaptations constitute a “life hack” that “tricks” evolution, and equals longevity? Answer: I very much doubt it. Our big brains and their energy requirements are well baked into the human cake. Had ice ages persisted and we’d have had to live on the edge all the time, maybe; but we’d probably have smaller, more specialized obligate carnivore brains and have evolved more natural predatory weapons like flesh ripping fangs, claws to hold ’em while we’re vampiring them, and speed (oops, vampires have that already…sorry). But we went on to spend relatively little time worrying about food and instead, built societies, skyscrapers, damns, bridges, roads, transportation, communication, and lots of leisure time with cool vacation spots…and edifice, black robes, marble pedestals, lots of Bibles printed, and awesome war machines to use against those with other Words to Live By (Bibles).
None of this sounds like bare survival or just getting by, to me. It’s just evolution. Count on humans to misinterpret it and fuck it up while animals go about their evolved routines and largely live the life they live, and as they should: from birth right up until game over man. GAME OVER!
Many fascinating examples exist. A diminutive rodent, the grasshopper mouse, is resistant to the excruciating sting of the bark scorpion. For longevity, nothing can top the naked mole rat, which is naturally resistant to types of pain, cancer and, possibly, Alzheimer’s disease. After weeks of fasting, Burmese pythons are able to enlarge their hearts by as much as 40 percent within two to three days of eating in order to accommodate the increased metabolism — a degree of cardiac hypertrophy that would be a leading predictor of mortality in humans.
All of these animals have evolved ways to overcome conditions considered pathological in humans through unique mutations in key genes. I believe nature has even figured out how to convert profound obesity into a benign state. Enter my object of study: the grizzly.
Hibernation by bears is an astonishing feat of evolution. After an epic period of late-summer gorging, during which, every day, a bear may consume more than 50,000 calories and gain up to 16 pounds, it will fast for up to seven months. Then it subsists solely on stored fat, without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating.
Bears also shut down their renal function during hibernation, resulting in badly scarred kidneys and high levels of blood toxins that would kill a human. What is truly remarkable is that the bears’ kidney failure is reversible: Upon awakening from hibernation, their kidney function is fully restored with no lasting damage. […]
But bears are able to modulate their insulin responsiveness, so that when they are most obese, in the fall, they are most insulin sensitive. In other words, even as they pile on the pounds, their cells retain the capacity to take instructions from insulin.
Just weeks later, the bears render themselves completely insulin resistant while in hibernation; they become, in essence, diabetic. But hibernating bears differ from diabetic humans in that they maintain normal blood sugar levels while in this insulin-resistant state. Once they wake, in the spring, the grizzlies restore their insulin responsiveness. So bears modulate insulin sensitivity not to maintain normal blood sugar levels but to control when fat is stored and when it is broken down.
Put another way, bears naturally and reversibly succumb to diabetes. […]
Grizzlies also handle obesity in a much different manner than humans — without tissue inflammation or storing fat where it does harm. Bears store their winter fuel only in fat tissue, not in the liver or in muscle, as occurs in humans with pathological obesity.
Now, there is an example of a mammalian animal with a metabolism far more complex than yours, and yet, a bear doesn’t even need to get up off the couch to deal with it.
Human obesity is man made. Through and through, top to bottom and wall to wall; i.e., voluminously so. We ought resist being even dumber than is evident we already are. Bears get fat, diabetic and give themselves kidney damage for a reason. They go into ketosis and use gluconeogenesis for a reason. If they could talk, they’d growl at you for suggesting that the latter is a healthy all-around lifestyle. If they could laf at you, they’d laf at you.
The point is this: survival adaptations that are amazingly Dog-like-cool—for when the shit hits the fan—do not at all constitute a health lifestyle anyone ought to adopt all the time. Use GNG/Ketosis like a drug, with all negative side-effects and tradeoffs accounted for. Stop fucking pretending it’s “healthy,” anymore than taking any sort of drug is prima-facie counted as healthy.
And Free the Animal!