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

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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.


OK, I Guess It’s On Me To Do Virtual Surgery On Back Pain

I danced around the house yesterday just like my dogs do when we bring them a new toy. Beatrice and I went to dinner and I was enamored of showing off all my new (old) moves (again). I had renewed life in oldish bones.

Did something structurally change? Did my L4-5 disc herniation go from 5mm to 4mm, and I felt an equational mathematical relief? Was I "healing," finally, after 10 months? If so, in what precise mathematical/chemical/physical way? 'Just the numbers, ma'am.'

...2 things happened since I posted yesterday: Hacking and Tweaking at Back Pain Day By Day. It's in important order, this time.

  1. Doing the post itself, then reading and engaging in comments made my pain recede even more. That's pretty amazing, wouldn't you say—when an act that involves writing, verbalizing, thinking, etc., reduces pain—and even if you're sitting on your ass on an iPad (see the post, sitting is a big factor)?
  2. Exuberant by #1, I had a renewed interest in how my own brain is fucking with me. I've already read Sarno and I hate to watch movies or read books a second time. So I looked, and found something new: The Great Pain Deception: Faulty Medical Advice Is Making Us Worse. The guy is a TOTAL unpolished geek and I love it. I'm well into chapter 2, now.

I got up this morning, Teetered, and soon got a comment on yesterday's post from a retired surgeon.

Sorry to hear that you are still having that much trouble with your back. For what it’s worth: you have fiddled with it long enough. Get it fixed, L4-5 takes a while for the nerve root to recover. Over age 50, your chances of a repeat decrease. I wish you the very best of lucks. Been there, done that, and had that. (Retired orthopedic surgeon).

TJ has been in comments a while, and I see where he's coming from. I respond like this.

Hi TJ:

Well, I do have the anecdotes of my dad and 2 brothers who swear by their surgeries for the exact same thing (dad and 1 bro by the same surgeon). OTOH, I have my own experience in getting over a cervical herniation (also confirmed by MRI), with months of ache in my right arm. Years later, nothing at all, and no surgery. I lafed it away, literally.

I’m reading a new book I started last night:

The Great Pain Deception: Faulty Medical Advice Is Making Us Worse

by Steven Ray Ozanich

He’s not a doc or professional practitioner, but a sufferer himself for 3 decades who’s helped a lot of others. And he seems to be on 1st name basis with Sarno and a lot of other TMS focussed docs and naturo's.

Thing is, I find that when I laf at or apply heat to one pain area, it often goes away and comes back in another place. How does structural deficit medicine address that?

I understand fully the pain is real (oxygen depravation to an area), but I question whether it’s ALL and ONLY about some structural problem (like a herniation). If I break my femur in two, it’ll be pain free in a few weeks, healed in about six. How can a petty little disc herniation (which almost everyone over 50 has, and most with zero pain) CAUSE pain for decades? Pinched nerve? OK, then how come if I physically pinch a nerve, it goes numb, not cause excruciating, aching pain for hours upon hours?

This happened when I read Sarno and eventually got over my arm pain. I could feel the pain dancing from place to place as I read the book and simply realized there is nothing physically wrong with me, that for whatever reason, my brain is fiddling with the oxygen supply knobs to various places. Eventually, it all quieted down. Came back twice months later (did I “reinjure?” No). First time it came back I was able to mentally set it aside in 2 weeks and the 2nd time, in one week and have seen neither hide nor hair since.

In this case, I finally began to see this as exactly the same thing and not some structural problem, and I’m 70% better on average, almost perfect standing, walking, and laying. My working hypothesis is that all the standing is simply forcing increased blood flow, hence more oxygen, hence undercutting the oxygen knob futzing my brian is doing, and so I’m getting a ton of pain dancing, now, which is the sign it’s running to find new hosts.

But, interested in your take.

And I am interested.

So, I decided to do a bit of original digging. Right off the bat, via PubMed:

Is spinal surgery effective for back pain?


There have only been a few randomized controlled trials of surgical treatment of chronic low back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Fusion surgery has been compared primarily with nonoperative treatment, whereas disc arthroplasty has been compared with fusion surgery. The results for either of the two surgical procedures are modest in terms of pain relief and improved function.

[The Introduction and Analysis section is a good read to assist your future endeavors in not just automatically fooling yourself. Nice statement of limitations and challenges. Nice.]

Implications for clinical practice

Surgeons and others believe that surgery is effective for back pain. They base this belief either on their own experience or on observational studies. This belief is, by and large, not vindicated by the outcomes in well-reported clinical trials. Those trials indicate that only a small proportion of patients do well from surgery. If surgeons achieve better outcomes than those reported in the controlled trial literature, the community would benefit from the publication of those outcomes. In the absence of contradicting evidence, the benefits of surgery must be regarded as small. Because improvements from surgery are small and because not all patients benefit, it becomes critically important to carefully select patients in whom fusion surgery is performed for chronic back pain. Furthermore, it is important that patients have a clear understanding of the procedure and its potential results and complications so that they can participate in the decision.

Differences in results from one study to another may be explained by the selection of patients, but the surgical procedure itself and its performance are likely to influence outcomes as well. In an editorial, Fritzell [8] posed the question: ‘is surgical treatment consistent with evidence-based medicine?’, and answered it with: ‘yes, in selected patients’. But surgeons have not yet articulated the definition of the correctly selected patient, and tested it prospectively. The reputation of surgery rests on the observation, after treatment, that some patients sometimes do well, with some procedures. That is little solace to the majority of patients who do not do well, who suffer complications, or who are rendered worse by surgery.

Yes, I understand fully that this specific literature review deals with fusion and not the 'dectomy thingy. Feel free to make Grand Distinctions if you like.

I wish to go a WTF step further, and integrate a political/social aspect. It completely does not go unnoticed with me that reported chronic pain appears to be a disease of modern societies with their advanced geopolitical maneuvering everyone believes they're a very important (not impotent) part of (among too many other differences to mention, of course). They wear stickers on their lapels signifying their importance in the grand scheme of things they have zero control over.

So, is modern social antagonism more likely to breed stress, or catharsis? It's a simple question.

I read a really strangely different book in 1990: The Neo-Tech Discovery. I took many things from it, but the one most important thing, the one thing that has guided my life generally ever since—a lot of times very imperfectly, but I know where home base is—is:

The human mind is a reality integrating organ, not a reality creating organ.

Don't gloss over that; because, when you begin to unpack, you'll find that very, very much in the realm of human social interaction from relationships to families to states turn very much on a whole lot of mind-created "realities," and these "realities" are in conflict with one-another, and antagonism is the result. On a geopolitical scale, war, murder and genocide is the result, and there will always be millions cheering on their mind-created "reality" if they're on the winning side—making excuses if on the other.

Let me leave you in the lurch on that, for now. Best to see how much mind created reality comes my way in comments....

Hacking and Tweaking at Back Pain Day By Day

I've had a very multi-faceted epiphany this last weekish in terms of excruciating back, butt, hip, and leg pain that goes as far back as April last year (2014). It required confounding variables to be offered a clue, which I'm delighted to share and explain.

...A brief historical synopsis. In April last, I was up at our cabin to work on a book project, but suddenly could barley walk without some ghost stabbing a knife in my lower back with every step. I got over that using a silly heating pad with a vibrating function and Netflix (Parks and Recreation—the whole series to date). It soon returned though, and I did the same thing (The Wire, House of Cards, Game of Thrones). It returned again with added vengeance—then, with the sticks and needles in hips, butt, and going down my left leg; i.e., if I sneeze or cough, I feel sharp pain in my big toe...then my whole foot tingles, as though to mock me. I was overcome once more, but only long enough to watch all of The Walking Dead—bitterly analogous to how I myself was walking. Long story short, I have an L4-5 herniation that pinches the nerve root. Confirmed by MRI.

The saga continues...

So, I 'm considering all options, including surgery...but also trying just about everything else that makes some sense to me. This post is about the everything else, because it's interesting to me, and perhaps can be of value to others. Because, it's particularly enlightening when you don't just automatically yield to what you're supposed to do: which is, of course, to do what everyone else does...and because everyone else does that, then that's what you're supposed to do—and if for nothing else, to give everyone else comfort in their own decision.

I'm weird. I feel like someone cutting into my spine is a BFD, and I really don't care how many other spines he's cut into with good results. I wish to avoid him cutting into mine. I have help, too. Rick Mehaffy, a nearby Chiro. He's read my blog for a long not sure how sane of a chiropractor he is. :) Seriously though, Rick has admonished me a number of times, and his admonishments include: you may actually have to get the surgery.

But to not make this too long, let me cut to the most recent developments by way of another semi-long story, short. I did a big session in Rick's Chamber of Horrors right before the Holidays, intending to take it up again after the NY. First few days after that session, all was golden. He told me it wouldn't hold, and it didn't. To make matters worse, I got my first cold virus in 2-3 years on Xmas eve, where Xmas day was a snot-soaked, paper towel nightmare. In this condition, every sneeze and cough is a spasm of a knife in your butt, leg...even left big toe. Even worse: I got over all that virus stuff, but then right after the NY, came down with even more 'flu-ish' like symptoms: whole body ache, fatigue, wanting to be dead, etc. And snot. There's always snot.

Oh, there's another variable still. Both Beatrice ('cause she knew someone) and Rick (who has one in his practice) suggested I add a Teeter Hang Ups to all the other factors I'm dealing with. So I did. Got a brand new one from a guy who didn't like it, for a hunerd bucks less on The Craigies' List.

I'm utterly and miserably defeated this last Monday morning, a week ago, and Teeter hurts to much in my ankles (since resolved). I email Rick that it's probably useless to continue; depression is setting in, I can hardly write a sentence, the pain is enduring and intense all all over the fucking place. I'm probably just going to knife-punt. He says to come in. 'We'll, I'm coughing up a storm, likely contagious,' so I say wait.

Weird happens. First, my flu-ish symptoms subside soon that day. I realize I've conflated the general ache with the specific chronic pain. Check.

Even more weirdness. I wondered whether my initial exuberance in terms of auto-traction on the Teeter Hang Ups inversion table is tantamount to a workout where acute inflammation = pain. See, it's pretty obvious when you get on one, that underutilized (in that context) muscles and tendons come into play. You may realize: they're tense due to general unfamiliarity that you naturally fight against; and you gradually learn to relax them and just hang-ups out (in addition to relaxing the foot hold one notch). The process causes acute soreness, like a workout. So I was conflating that pain along with the flu symptoms and the root problem.

What a fucking mess of conflation and confusion, with little enlightenment or relief in sight.

More weirdness still (now I'm integrating and connecting dots fast). At about the same time I recognized all of the foregoing, I felt I had to get out a post on behalf of Kit for his launch of something that was conflating all my variables even more. And I did. And that was early last Wednesday. What I didn't know at the time of the post in the early morning, was that my butt wouldn't touch a chair for about another 12 hours. All told, I ended up getting out of bed at 6:30 AM in some pain, and being on my feet—most of it on Topo—until after 9pm, when I caved to my DVR until 2am the next morning.

But, that DVR came at a cost. I had just spent the first day since I could remember almost completely pain free...and with such range of reasonably comfortable pain-free motion that I could put a sock on my left foot without a pistol nearby—just in case it got too excruciating, and all needed an end. By the time I went to bed, I was in the pain again.

I slept a whopping 2 hours, 45. When I got up, I thought it was 5:45, but no. It was 4:45. Whatever! I ached again: all my exuberance from the day before, gone in a flash.

So I did something weird. I repeated. Stayed standing, did "laps" on Topo, then finally a short inversion session on Teeter's teeter, and all pain melted away. Fast forwarding, here I stand many days later and scores of hours mostly standing and shifting, and I have my first clear sign that this is actual recovery and not just a good day waiting to be spoiled and mocked.

Basically, it seems as though I've completely nailed standing, and laying in bed. In the former case, after an hour or two standing, I'm completely normal and can walk normal. In the latter, just small jabs now & then when I toss & turn but otherwise, completely doable and restful sleep-worthy. The one catch still is being able to sit.

Want a weirdness? If I drive my wife's FX-35, I'm pretty much fine. Drive my own X-5, and the pain in my left shin is nearly unbearable, no matter how I adjust the seating configs. Working on it. At any rate, that's now the key to this: being able to sit for normal amounts of time without undue pain. Should I nail that—and it's looking good because I feel a process in the works—then I'll indefinitely postpone the knife and go neener neener.

To conclude, this has motivated me to think. Critical MAS worked on his chronic back pain by doing a written log, so as to correlate pain with activities. A bit too late in the game for me, since I have too many potential therapies in play. So I wondered: when, what, where did I have back pain in the past?

I recall distinctly. I was bending over the sink in my little beach house in Hayama, Japan, 1987, doing the dishes after having made chili in the crockpot. It plagued me off and on, but never got anything serious. Then, a couple of years later, over my 2 years living in France, it just stopped. A couple of years latter, in 1992, once I returned to the US, it started again and was an intermittent nag for 8 years. In 2001, it stopped again and stayed stopped until weirdness in 2010 and beyond, seriously confounded by heavy weight lifting.

Now, here's the more dots. In 1987, I went from standing bridge and other watches on USS REEVES—from 1884, where I was on my feet and pacing 8 hours per day—to a staff, desk job on SEVENTHFLEET. In 1990, I went on exchange to the French Navy, and as navigator of both COLBERT and DUQUESNE over those two years, went once again to bridge watches and on my feet many hours per day. In 1992, I came back to the States and sat on my ass trying to be an entrepreneur and make money with my brain and fingers. in 2001, I took up walking, where every morning I did 3-4 miles for years.

Notice a pattern?

Sitting is the enemy and being on your feet is your friend—my working hypothesis. Of course, we kinda have to sit, and I did plenty of sitting all during that time. What I have seen though, is that doing it par the course, at the expense of almost all standing and walking, eventually comes home to roost.