Photographic Evidence: Bird-Brained Birds Are Smarter Than Vegans

A few weeks back there was a sprinkler problem. It was all about vegan vegetation, in jeopardy of browning.

The low-IQ, dumb, browned-skinned Mexican gardeners come every Thursday to tend to my vegan bounty. But they aren't vegans. And while they may certainly be undocumented—PC speak for illegal—I'm at a loss to understand why me or my browning lawn should care about that. I told the Chief Illegal, "It's probably a broken wire, since the sprinkler station can be activated manually, and all other stations work fine when activated manually from the timer."

That dumb, brown-skinned wetback Mexican somehow knew. He nodded; went to his truck for a Power Meter—likely assembled from discarded San Diego tires and bubble gum from under the tables in Tijuana bars—to measure for resistance in ohms, or absence thereof (I'm sure every white person on earth knows all about that, given their relative high IQs—so I won't take the time to explain it; IQ is everything). Upon his confirming my suspicions...by means of chicken bones tossed into a bowl and dancing around naked in my backyard (embarrassing), he got dressed, went back to the truck for wire, a ladder, tools and supplies—like "twist caps" (I'm sure you all know what I mean, to a man & white high-IQ woman). He had it fixed in a jiffy.

Thank Quetzalcoatl.

He also reprogrammed the digital controller (divine guidance...since his dark skin color has surely caused him to be incapable of such things as rudimentary ROM programming—and I'm sure all you whities know all about ROM programing, so I won't explicate).

He changed the sprinkler start timing, from 1am, to 7am—without telling me. I'm sure 7am has some cosmic, mystic significance, but Google has been balls in terms of figuring it out! ...Probably some ignorant superstition not even documented enough to be picked up by our new White God Google. If so, I'm sure it has roots in the totally idiotic cosmological fantasies of the Inca and Aztec civilizations. We can surely rest assured it's not rooted in the valid cosmology represented by white, European Catholicism—colonial cultivators of language and culture worldwide—or Christianity in general...or anything you might have seen in late night infomercials.

I was just about to change the sprinkler timing back to 1am, when I noticed something.

Bird with Worm
Early Bird with the Worm(s)

That pic's highly cropped, because our daily deal—Me and, Mrs. J...uh, Robin—is that I don't get too close to her. She keeps catching the dozen or so earthworms I see her catch every single morning from about 10am to noon—with astounding jab-to-ground precision, eating them to later regurgitate them for cat food, I assume. After that, I presume she's off hunkered down for the hottest part of the day before she comes back for some late afternoon and evening gathering. After all, she does have a bird brain the size of a filbert nut.

Oh, shit! I just realized that Ive gotten highly digressive over many paragraphs and even a pic! This post is about birds & vegans, and I've only just got started. It was certainly not to be about dumbass Mexican illegals, or any dumb people suffering the dumb disease of dark skin!

But oh, wait. Isn't it really about normal birds who happen to be smarter than vegans? ...Isn't it just that the dumbass brown-skinned Mexicans got my sprinkler system working and modified, mystically bringing forth this whole mystical scenario—like perhaps a shit smear that looks of an immaculate conception apparition, of an unmarried little Jewess mixen who got feisty—then self conscious, masterminding Planet Earth's biggest coverup of all time in her Jewish shame?

I'm so confused!

In truth, I have zero idea whether any of these quirky references or totally fucked up juxtapositions resonate with anyone. It's merely that thinking of totally off the wall shit makes me laugh, and when I think of that which makes me laugh, I get motivated to write it down. And guess what? I have an App for that!

Welcome to my app.

...I do wonder, on a slightly more serious tack: Doesn't Mrs. Robin know that she's the one animal on earth perfectly adapted to heartheathywholegrains & seeds? I've no doubt she knows this, given birds have to eat upwards of body weight in food every day. Then, give 'er a nest of wiggling, chirping cat food to raise, and you end up upping the ante in daily requirements. I'm sure vegans know all about all this, incidentally. Most are white....High IQs... That so many have come up on charges worldwide for their inability to properly nourish just one single human offspring, things are certainly looking up for the prominence of birds who manage an entire nest...so long as the cats don't come and cuddle up, in between eating their salads.

OK, ok, let's just suppose that birds are vegan at heart. Really. They just really want to scratch around for grains & seeds. They loath themselves when they just can't help themselves...and sneak into my backyard in the early hours over temptation...desires of the bird-flesh, engineered by dumb and evil illegal Mexicans changing sprinkler watering timer shit.

...It's as scandalous as a B-12 deficient vegan sneaking a couple of raw oysters per week, then telling everyone else who feels like shit that they just aren't doing it right.

A little secret. ...A bird told me: They're worried about B12, too. That's why they eat worms. "No CNS," she chirped...wait! She tweeted that.

Man is the only animal that can sink below his nature — Ayn Rand

I've always been a bit reluctant to use that quote, that I first read 20 years ago...even though my blogging is all about animal nature, especially including humans. I've found the quote to be always used by statists (fans of Rand) who think their form of statism is exemplary, while others sink below their pro- and prescriptions of how they want everyone else to conduct their lives. It's always, however, merely another form of statism. Rand made me an anti-statist within weeks of reading her in spite of her own ignorance and intellectual dishonesty in the matter, which I recognized quickly.

Why else might I shy away from employing that quote? Because of Francis Bacon, whom Aynstein actually quoted in this, quite a few times:

Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed — Francis Bacon

I'll only ever quote them together.

Aynstein never got fully integrated, but I've always given her a pass for that. She hated libertarians and anarchists, but basically made me one in spite of herself, and it happend very quickly. I simply looked to the logic, principles and completely honest integration of her writings. Her personality and celebrity was but a mere curiosity. I wonder if she'd have wished to be worshiped and revered unquestioningly as she is by so many, today.

I'd love to do as well over the next decades of writing but won't. The world won't change enough in my lifetime. You still have to court intellectuals, and all I want to do is speak to plain smart people.

...Like people who fix your sprinklers and bring birds, to illustrate that vegans can't even muster the essential animal intelligence of a tiny animal with a brain the size of a filbert nut.

And you get to write a whole entire blog post about just that.

Disclaimers:

  1. My Mexican wife approved this post.
  2. I'm white.
  3. No animals or vegans were harmed in the drafting of this post.

A Bunch of Random Stuff (Food, Diet, Veganism, Vacations, and LED Light Bulbs)

...Just a silly post about what's on my mind and a recounting of a random last few days.

~ A spontaneous meal on Friday evening with friends from our former downtown lofts residence ("what's in your fridge?...here's what's in mine"). We worked it out like we always did. Not shown is the homemade pineapple ice cream with fresh bing cherries. Meat wise: grilled burgers and taco meat (all grassfed in this case). There's guac as well. The tortillas are corn.

Serendipity
Serendipity — Do what YOU like

Robert and I handily handled Beatrice and Julie in Spades, and I think that in my case individually, the marijuana helped. That's by no means always the case. It turns on what I've ate & drank. But now & then, I'll get that certain Rock Star feeling with an herb buzz, and every now & then—for inexplicable reasons—it'll prove itself in various ways. It's a rare moment when you really know and take cognizance of everything that's going on. I just wish I could extinguish the downside elements which in my view, honestly, are far too pronounced to make this sort of thing a regular deal. That's why I've been only an infrequent pot smoker since college. I get it. But I don't like it anywhere near regularly.

~ We left Saturday to get up here to the "cabin." It's rented out most weekends of the year but we'd blocked this weekend for us. Bea is off school for les vacances (do not ask me why, for the French, vacation is always plural—just accept that the idea of vacation as a plurality). The other thing is that while we've housekeepers to take care of it year round—even the odd handyman thing now & then—there was a list of things detracting from 1st impression creds, as well as a couple of things that weren't worth a handyman that I took care of today.

For us, it's about bringing our place back up to the same sheen according to our standars that's made it the top vacation rental in Arnold, CA, for the last two years. With turnover and the task that housekeepers are charged with (think linens & towels washing—the kitchen), some of the deeper stuff just gets neglected and that's why we're here. Beatrice & I both have sets of complimentary peeves that work well.

  • I loath dusty window screens. After closing the windows off the deck that covers two sides of the house, I used the leaf blower. Then, a pressure wash. Spiders and their webs are fucked. You could eat off the place now.
  • Carpet sucks. Some form of hard floor—tile or wood—is best. Dust balls collect over time under various furniture and they mind their own business until collected. Try it, rather than having a literal breeding ground under your feet with 24/7 disgustingness. You'd be better off in a sewage treatment plant. "No carpet ever." That's my motto.
  • Repaired a loose faucet. And cabinet repairs (how in the world do people fuck shit up like this?).
  • I feel satisfied that after two years now, we've brought the place back up to the standard I want when a guest who has paid me good money arrives: unless he or she says: "I'm so glad, this was the right choice,"...unless that's what people viscerally feel, I will go and do something else.
  • As an aside, the vacation rental in Cabo is going great. Three 7-night bookings in the last couple of weeks. I love doing it, too. So cool dealing with people excited about taking a trip. I've found, to my surprise actually, that I'm good at it, love it, and so I might be expanding my little venture.

~ We arrived on the hottest day of the year so far. Not every year, but most, there will be a random day or two where a temperature inversion gives you Arizona fucking weather at 4,000 ft. elevation. It was 110 driving through the valley, then dove down into the lower 100s as we began climbing the Sierra foothills, but then began climbing again—and by the time we arrived around 4pm, it was still around 100, down from 105. Holy hot!

As per usual, it began to get more comfortable in the early evening as the temperature dropped into the lower 90s...but then felt worse later, as relative humidity increases as the temperature continues to drop, such that by 10 or 11pm, it's more miserable than ever and your body's cooling mechanism breaks down because sweat won't evaporate.

In such case, there's only one thing to do and guess what that is? The tap water is still at spring mountain temperatures. Probably in the 50s. A completely cold shower at 10pm, then another at 1am before bed, and it did the trick. From sweat hog to shivering in 5 minutes. It sure makes you feel alive, ready to put on a Rock Show.

~ The price point for LED lighting finally arrived for me. I had previously calculated that at about $20 per bulb, the investment would pay back in both electricity costs and replacement costs (LEDs last about 20 years per bulb)—not to mention the convenience of basically never having to replace bulbs again (I'll be over 70!)—in about 2 years. I didn't want to spend $1,000 to replace around 50 bulbs in the cabin. Thanks to Cree, I spent about $500—about $10 per bulb.

Back when it was just our place I never had an electric bill over $100. Most were under like $20—because we were rarely there. Now as it's occupied with renters who don't care about turning off lights, I've had electric bills of $400 (and gas is a different company!). So, I'll be interested to see if I get the roughly 80% savings I'm planning for.

I always hated compact fluorescent bulbs (CLF). Dumbest thing ever and the light just sucks. I think it was early 90's when I took note of the LED technology for the first time but it was SUPER expensive. But then, when I saw it, I relaxed. I knew it would leapfrog BOTH incandescent and fluorescent, soon as economies of scale combined with better technologies got the price down (just like flat screen TVs). Accordingly, I have laughed for years at libertarians and others stockpiling incandescent bulbs, especially 100 watters. Here's the deal: put a 60W LED equivalent next to a 100W incandescent and tell me there's much visible difference in light output (I replaced most 100W incandescents with 60W equivalent LEDs—9.5W actual usage—and the 60W bulbs got replaced with 40W equivalents—6W actual usage).

An example. The main level bathroom had 4, 100W bulbs over the vanity mirror, and a 100W bulb in the ceiling. I tested with 60W equivalent bulbs, then 40W. the 40s actually provided more than ample light. So, I went from 500 watts of actual usage to 30 watts. Wowzers! That's 6% for plenty of light and the bulbs last 18-20 years. And, they come with a 10 year guarantee.

Already available now but still very expensive, are bulbs that actually join your WiFi network and can be controlled with an app on your smart phone. Within a few years, price will come down and you'll not only be able to individually control specific lights or a whole room from your phone, but will be able to adjust both intensity (unlike common CLFs, LEDs work with dimmer switches) and color. Yep, that too. LEDs in their current most expensive configurations will let you change the color of light the bulb emits.

Edison, your time has come. It was quite a run, though.

~ The new wasabi chicken wings menu item at Snowshoe Brewing Company is amazing. Best chicken wings for me, ever.

~ Well, all y'all did always say that you wanted "a government that listens to the people." Satisfied?

~ On the health & diet front, Jimmy Moore has apparently dropped around 100 pounds over the last year or so on his "Nutty K" experiment. I think he was down about 60 when The Big Guy bear hugged me at AHS in Boston last August. Cool for him.

There's a podcast interview he did with Dr. John McDougall, a promoter of a starch-based vegan diet, up now. And it has some steam in raising to the top of the iTunes charts in the health podcast category. My stream of consciousness:

  • Eat real food. Eat starch if you like. Eat soluble fibers if you like. Eat animal protein if you like. Eat plant and animal fat if you like. Or starve.
  • My second point: Eat real food. Eat starch if you like. Eat soluble fibers if you like. Eat animal protein if you like. Eat plant and animal fat if you like. Or starve.

~ Englishman Sam Feltham decided to do a 21-day deal where he ate 5,000 calories per day in a high fat, low carb regime. He started as about a 190 pound dude, so roughly a 2,800 cal per day guy with moderate activity. Accordingly, if you go by the strict calories in/out numbers where 1 pound equals 3,500 excess calories, he should have gained about 13 pounds.

He gained about 1 pound, and he lost an inch on his waist. Now watch for him to be charged with lying about it.

For my money, living daily is not an experiment. However, HFLC seems to work for a lot of people, and particularly those who have issues with appetite control. For more money, I'm at a point in life where regardless, gluttony is simply of no value to me and at times a bit disgusting (I've been there). So, I find fault with what I often perceive as the gluttonous allure to LC (and to some but lesser extent, Paleo). This is why my main focus now it:

  1. Reasonable portions/consumption, no matter what the macro distribution.
  2. A very healthy gut. It makes you behave differently (much more on that later).
  3. Nobody should ever have to count calories except for extreme outliers. The goal ought never be a specific body composition  or weight. The goal should be to look to the fundamentals that keep you eating too much of whatever too often, such that you lose your animal.

~~~

OK, that should about do it. I have a project to get back to. I'll definitely be blogging more about Resistant Starch within a few days, but not before Anarchy for Dummies tomorrow. I have tons and tons of stuff on RS and at this point, the problem is how best to present it.

Can’t Vegans and Paleos Just Get Along?

Nope. And for good reason.

In a post he titled Why Vegans and Paleos Should Stop Hating Each Other, Matt Frazier says, principally:

I’m not suggesting we throw away the labels. Vegan means a lot to me, for ethical reasons and for health-related ones too. I’m sure Paleos feel the same about their tribe. I’m just saying let’s work together, instead of against each other, for the good of everyone who simply wants to learn to be healthy, and doesn’t care how.

Apparently his dad has gone Paleo and that has helped him. Good for him. And also good for Matt where, if you check the comments he took quite a lot of heat over this, much of which goes straight to my "nope," above. In fairness, he probably got more support than not, but it's just kinda touchy-feely and doesn't really take count of the irreconcilable cat & dog nature of the thing.

I dropped a comment (emphasis added).

The essential problem is that you vegans have absolutely nothing to offer us. To the extent you eat whole foods, well, we already have that. I see veganism as a force, often a lobbying force, to restrict or even eliminate our choices to eat nutritionally dense animal sourced foods and I simply cannot and will never tolerate any sort of alliance.

It is war, plain and simple. A war I wholehearted embrace and advocate.

As far as individuals go, hey, everybody gets to go to hell in their own go-cart. So yea, I have vegan friends.

The problem is that it's an apples & oranges deal. When have you ever heard a Paleo accuse a vegan of being "unethical" in their dietary choices? When has even the dumbest Paleo on earth proposed laws or other sorts of restriction that would limit what vegans eat in the slightest? In fact, to the extent that Paleos do propose silly laws and various political activism (labeling, outlawing GMO, etc.), these are all vegan issues as well and will presumably "benefit" them the same way (Note: I don't agitate politically. I just vote with dollars.).

Have we ever had death or harm wishes issued to Paleos who've gone off the reservation? Perhaps you've heard about Alex Jamieson's defection from veganism: I’m not vegan anymore.

Cravings from my body would SHOUT for meat, and my brain and logic would violently shove it away.

This went on for months.

I would secretly visit restaurants or stores and buy “contraband” animal foods, scurry home, and savor the food in solitude. [...]

And I realized that by keeping my truth a secret, I was adding to the hostile food-culture that so many feel trapped by.

The food culture that makes being overweight a crime and a weakness.

The food culture that makes eating what your body needs a moral dilemma.

This culture that has produced the most unhealthy, food-and-weight obsessed and ashamed generations the world has ever seen.

And it’s killing us in so many ways. [emphasis added]

Check out a goodly number of the more than 1,000 comments, if you dare.

Here's a 2-minute video interview with Alex by The Globe And Mail, where you learn of people wishing her dead, "friends" being most concerned for how her turn from veganism would look; so on—you know the drill. In the end she says she learned that everyone is an individual and every individual is their own best health advocate.

In the end it's an an ideology of taboo, moral condemnation and forceful restriction where legislatively possible vs. and omnivore's framework or foundation based on human evolution and migration across the planet. While we know that humans evolved on plants and animals, we don't know what mix of same is optimal for any individual. They must decide for themselves.

And vegans have absolutely nothing to offer us.

Google Trends
Google Trends (click image for full size or see full report)

Update: Just dropped another comment in response to Eliot:

"If I was convinced that eating meat would improve my health..."

Two ideas, for your consideration.

1) Two raw oysters per week and a vegan will have zero B12 issues (good zink, too) and oysters have no CNS so don't "suffer." Oysters are basically an "animal-like plants;" same for mussels, clams, and other such.

2) On the more daring side, back when I did the live internet and call-in-debate with 30BAD Harley Johnstone, hosted by the very cool & kind Steve Prussack @ Raw Vegan Radio, at a point in the debate I challenged vegans to take 4 OUNCES of beef liver and see how much raw fruit would be required to roughly equal the micronutrients (vits and mins). Here was the result:

http://freetheanimal.com/2011/04/nutrition-density-challenge-fruit-vs-beef-liver.html

Hint: about 5 pounds of mixed fruit = 4 oz of beef liver; if you toss out vitamin C or both, it gets much worse. Ounce for ounce, liver has over 2-THOUSAND% more nutrition than fruit. Later on, in editing v2.0 of my book, I reworked stuff and included other comparisons, like to grains & things:

http://freetheanimal.com/2012/07/grains-vegetarians-vegans-and-nutritional-density.html

Anecdotally, both my wife & I grew up eating liver (and for me, often fresh venison because we were hunters and fishermen) and both love it. She makes me cook up about a pound every Sunday. Her typical breakfast is 1-2 OZ strips of cold leftover liver wrapped in a heated corn tortilla, and she swears she feel SO AWESOME!

Update again: I was in the mod queue after not having been since my first comment. Perhaps Matt was a bit wary given this post. Understandable, which is why I made no mention. But, he published it. Stand up guy. Respect.

Why Elementary Schools Going Vegetarian Will Be an Increasing Trend (Money)

Saw this today: Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Vegetarian.

A New York City elementary school cafeteria is one of the first in the nation to go meatless.

Students at P.S. 244 , the Active Learning Elementary School, are being treated to eclectic fare, including black bean and cheese quesadillas, falafel and tofu in an Asian sesame sauce.

"It's been a really great response from the kids, but they also understand it's about what is the healthiest option for them," principal Bob Groff told ABCNews.com. "Because we teach them throughout our curriculum to make healthy choices, they understand what is happening and believe in what we're doing too."

Well, in a truly rational world, principal Bob Groff would not be able to talk out of his toothless mouth, anymore, given that he would already have been beaten to a bloody pulp.

All meals have to adhere to USDA standards, he said, making sure students get plenty of nutrients, including protein, for their growing bodies.

He wouldn't know a nutrient if it knocked his teeth out.

The sort of brain rot infecting the general population nowadays (like this...do take a quick glance) is just the quotidien norm. It's like everyone is in a mad rush to be demonstrably more stupid, more led by the nose, more conforming, more "team moron" than the next guy.

But it's a simple thing, easy to understrand. This is about money. It's all and only about money. It's combined with the sort of 1984, NewSpeak ignorance where War = Peace, and so bankrupt food conglomerate nutrition = Healthy!!! ...Real, fresh, quality food—meat, fish, fowl, vegetable, fruit, nuts—is comparatively far more expensive than the cheap, packaged, multi-year-shelf-life industrial EXCREMENT that Bob Groff is feeding the children of that school.

And the derelict parents are probably lining up to applaud because they get to be as stupid as they want to be.

Guess how this would go over in France? No, really; just guess. And that's just France. Here, you can see that just about every country on Earth cares far more about the nutrition of children than here is good ol' Merca, land of the perpetually moronic, a veritable Idiocracy.

Here's but one quote of many.

This spring I joined the International Exchange Forum on Children, Obesity, Food Choice, and the Environment in France’s Loire Valley, where 16 of us met first with each other, then with our French counterparts working in diet and health, and finally in the lunchrooms of two schools. The school lunches we ate were meals I’d be proud to serve.

At one school, students were served a choice of salads — mâche with smoked duck and fava beans, or mâche with smoked salmon and asparagus — followed by guinea fowl with roasted potatoes and carrots and steamed broccoli. For dessert, there was a choice of ripe, red-throughout strawberries or clafoutis. A pungent washed-rind cheese was offered, along with French bread and water. Yes, the kids took and ate the cheese.

French schoolchildren eat in brightly colored lunchrooms. Lunch hour includes exercise and lasts for two hours.

Our second meal was a little simpler, but then, the kids were younger, too. Children served themselves a butter lettuce salad from a bowl set on the table. The main dish was mashed potatoes with a sauce of ground beef (delicious!). Bread and water again were offered as well as the pungent cheese, and a choice of fresh strawberries or a little pastry.

In addition to the goodness of the food, there were other good things about these school lunches. First of all, they weren’t rushed. About two hours are given for lunch, a portion of which is used for very loud and active exercise. Second, they were civilized. Food was served on heated plates; real silverware and glasses — not plastic — were used; and the lunchrooms were pretty and comfortable for the kids.

I think it's wonderful for America to be so dreadfully shamed by the French in this regard. There is no other word for it. Hey, Americans: stick your "Freedom Fries" up your pathetic asses. You can't carry France's bread, or water. Fact.

Another:

"The food is very good, Madame. The meat is 100% French," the official said, picking up a brochure from her desk. I knew this brochure well, having e-mailed it to friends in the U.S. last year as a this-could-only-happen-in-France conversation piece. It lists in great detail the lunch menu for each school day over a two-month period. On Mondays, the menus are also posted on the wall outside every school in the country. The variety on the menus is astonishing: no single meal is repeated over the 32 school days in the period, and every meal includes an hors d'oeuvre, salad, main course, cheese plate and dessert.

There is more: the final column in the brochure carries the title "Suggestions for the evening." That, too, changes daily. If your child has eaten turkey, ratatouille and a raspberry-filled crepe for lunch, the city of Paris suggests pasta, green beans and a fruit salad for dinner.

I finally saw the system in action earlier this month. Caught short by a sick nanny, my son, who was accustomed to eating leftovers from the refrigerator, sat in silence with his 25 classmates at tables in the nursery-school cafeteria, while city workers served a leisurely, five-course meal. One day, when I arrived to collect him, a server whispered for me to wait until the dessert course was over. Out in the hall, one of the staff shouted for "total quiet" to a crowd of 4-year-olds awaiting the next lunch seating. "I will now read you today's menu," he told them. "First, you will begin with a salad."

"4-year-olds." This country is pathetic in this regard, and principals like Bob Groff are too ignorant to even understand the depth of their stupidity (it's why it's hard to fix stupid: ignorance gets in the way).

In other news, a mother emails in to let me know that in an annual 5th grade state study project, part of it is the "foods of..." and the kids always look forward to the various regional specialties that get served. Not this year, though. Doesn't conform to the USDA guidelines for cheap-ass crap, so the kids have to be content with pictures of food.

Oh, well, it's just another day in "The Land of the Free."

Two Success Stories: Rescued from Vegetarian and Back to High School Weight

It's always great to stop and realize that eating an evolutionarily appropriate diet for human animals actually helps human animals improve their lives. Yep, there's a point to this after all and it goes far beyond any drama or nit-picking minutiae anyone can bother to conjure up.

The first is a story from The Independent that I think reads real well: From vegetarian to confirmed carnivore. And, he has a book out: The Meat Fix: How a Lifetime of Healthy Living Nearly Killed Me!

Some excerpts.

John Nicholson was a strict vegetarian for more than 20 years. But when he and his partner became ill, they had a carnivorous conversion.

Growing up as a working-class kid in the North in the Sixties, food was incredibly limited. It wasn’t like today, where everyone has groaning cupboards of unused goods; we had just enough food to get through each week. Meals were plain and boring, but everything was wholesome and home-cooked. [...]

...By 1982, I was living in the North of Scotland in a sort of croft with my partner, Dawn. Two years later, we decided to stop eating meat because we used to see all the cattle taken away to the slaughterhouse and we were growing a lot of our own food anyway. That’s where the adventure into vegetarianism, wholefoods and healthy eating started. [...]

...With things such as salmonella in eggs, BSE in beef and the rest of it, the diet we’d chosen based on wholegrains­, lentils, pulses, fruit and veg, and all that other groovy stuff, made us seem like we’d been ahead of the curve.

We were very smug about our lifestyle, which we thought was both healthy and morally correct. But after about six or seven years of being vegetarian, we both started to get slowly and progressively more ill.

The first thing was I started to develop what was later defined as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. It began as a vague digestive discomfort but within a couple of years had developed into a situation where whenever I ate anything my gut would stick out and it felt like there was a lead weight in it.

...By 1998, it was absolutely chronic. I went to doctors but nobody had a clue what to do about it. [...] But not one doctor suggested it might be my diet. As well as my condition getting worse, I was actually putting on weight – despite the IBS – and I became clinically obese.

I would take food diaries to the doctor, who would tell me everything was fantastic, and congratulate me on not eating butter, cream and cholesterol. [...] Dawn was developing very depressive moods and suffering mood swings. I was also experiencing a lot of headaches, which occurred pretty much every day. I was also knackered and would have to have a sleep in the afternoon. I was just falling apart. By the time I got to 40 I felt 60.

...Dawn suggested that perhaps it wasn’t what we were eating that was making us feel that way but what we were not eating.

...The first thing I ate as part of my new diet was ox liver, so I really threw myself in at the deep end. [...] The second thing I ate that day was a rare steak. That was when I had a transformative experience. It felt like my body was immediately telling me that was what I was supposed to be eating. It sounds really naff but that’s the nearest I can sum it up as. It was quite a profound thing, really. After 24 hours, I never had another IBS episode again. It went overnight.

After 17 years of having something you get used to it, you just think it’s always going to be with you, and then, suddenly, it’s not. I stopped filling my entire meals with carbohydrates – wheat, rice and potatoes – and introduced all meats, butter, cream, lard and goose fat. But it was pure food, nothing processed. And I thrived on it.

I dropped three and a half stone within the first six months. And it wasn’t just weight; what was really freaky about it was that I dropped loads of body fat, going from 28 per cent to 13-14 per cent. In fact, the entire composition of my body changed so I went from being apple-shaped to triangular. And this wasn’t doing a new fitness regime, it was just a change in diet.

My new diet went against all the health advice at the time...

As he and others can attest, that speaks to the quality of health and nutrition advice in general. The comment thread where the article was published stands at 463 and John Nicholson is active in the thread.

~~~

Here's a great email I got yesterday afternoon. Love getting these. Just so you don't get a bit confused as I did when reading it the firs time, I take it to mean that the girlfriend is a friend or former GF from high school that's now Paleo, and his fiancé is [still] vegetarian—at least until she reads the first testimonial, above. :)

My name is [W]. I was introduced to this way of life by a girlfriend from high school about 10 months ago. To make a long story short, had she not reached out to me, I would be on a path of self destruction via SAD. A little over year and a half ago, I tipped the scales at 230+ pounds and I was extremely hypertensive. To be exact, my BP was 191/100 when I saw my doctor. I was in denial about it, but when my girlfriend contacted me and shared her experience, I made a choice to try it out. And I did it with a passion and started working out….religiously. That was September 17, 2012. Now, I am high school skinny and I wear a size 34, down from a size 38 and I’m not done. I’m still hitting the gym and my physique is improving with each passing day. I look and feel great thanks to this way of life. And, my girlfriend has benefitted greatly too. She looks and feels amazing. I’ll say it again, if it wasn’t for her, I would be in a sad and sorry state.

The hardest part for me was ridding myself of grains and sugars. I still struggle because my fiancé is a vegetarian which doesn’t leave her a lot of options in terms of protein. So, as a result, there is still a lot of grain and carbs around the house. But, that’s OK. I’m still disciplined enough that I stick to my new way of living and enjoy every moment of my life now. I was sick – literally – of being sick and tired.

For what it is worth, a lot of folks don’t get what I’m doing. They think it’s odd that I don’t eat bread and pasta like I used to among other foods. They think I’m starving myself when in fact I’m not (although I will confess that my appetite has gotten a little out of hand. I think it’s because of the exercise I’ve been doing and the muscle mass I’m building). And, saying no to bad food is lot easier now than it used to be.

I appreciate what you’re doing. I hope more folks get with it and see the light. This has really changed my life and I’m really fortunate that an old friend took the time to find me and eventually share this way of life with me.

What's left to say? Eating real food most of the time, to the exclusion of cheap junk food just works.

Low Carb Critiquing and Constructive Criticism vs. Slamming and Tearing Down Values

Looks like my post yesterday about deciding for yourself, and 13 Low Carb Resources was well received. Thanks for all the Facebook Likes!

I received an email about it.

I'm at work but I've been mulling over your 13 low-carb post...

Is there going to be a 13 Pretty Good Churches post at some point? :)

I'm being a dick, but there is a built in deterrent to commenting on that post, since most disagreements are nit picky (especially among one's own readers). We can find the good in almost anything. But, the problem with a lot of those low-carb sites is that:

  1. they employ religious thinking
  2. they are married to low-carb at the identity level, which means they are totally closed to information and research showing that low-carb isn't necessarily ideal
  3. sometimes people set themselves up as gurus, manipulate their followers, and use despicable marketing tactics to sell total crap

It's worth pointing those things out. If anything there is less disagreement than agreement, anyway. The people who disagree are shunned or humiliated. Same kind of shit that got us the low-fat nonsense.

I began tapping out a reply from my perspective and when it began getting long, I said 'aww, what the hell—let's just put it out there.'

First, it serves to take a bird's eye view of the whole thing and in general, my view and judgment tells me that the LC community, for all its warts, is a net value and helps a lot of people. Everyone I've ever known of on LC...

  1. loses fat
  2. tends more toward real foods more of the time
  3. improves health, vitality and energy

A big percentage stall at some point, but losing 40 instead of the 60 you wanted is still a huge net benefit, in my judgment.

Now that we have Paleo, that's a next logical step for LC folks to try, and because of the underling religiosity of society (not just LC), Paleo can be a tough nut to crack right off the bat. So, another way to look at Jimmy Moore, for example, is that he serves the value—as a religious man whom religious people trust—of telling people: "Paleo is OK, even if it has an evolutionary foundation." So, ironically, the religious thinking that Jimmy subscribes to (and, I think, does a very good job of not wearing on his sleeve constantly) is responsible for getting more religious people interested in a Paleo approach—where they're going to be exposed to the science of evolution—than you or I ever could.

This is a good thing. So you have people out there saying "Jimmy's just trying to horn in on Paleo; I mean, look how religious the guy is," when in reality, he's to be commended for leading people to a more Paleo, Real Food way rather than saying "don't go there, stay away, they believe in evolution."

As to the other points, well, that's the realities of business and self-help in general and so that's why you check out a bunch of sources and find the one(s) you're most comfortable with. Some people really get into the promotions, contests, challenges, giveaways and such that guys like Jimmy Moore and Mark Sisson engage in. That's great. Doesn't interest me—either as a participant or doing any such thing myself—but clearly there's a lot of people who, for whatever reason(s), get into it and it helps keep them in the game. I see no reason to criticize or bemoan that. Different strokes.

Here's what I am all for:

  1. General critiques. This post itself is a bit of an overall critique of the LC community and I've done it in the past for Paleo as well. It recognizes the overall net value and either explicitly or implicitly suggests improvements to the value. The way to make errors and the bad stuff less and less relevant is simply to increase the value.
  2. Constructive criticism. Same as (1) but typically directed at one person or organization. I have constructively criticized Jimmy a few times. He's taken my criticism well, has blogged about it, even had me on his podcast. What more could one want? So, he exposes his own readers to my criticisms of him, but what exposure to those criticisms would his readers get if I, like so many, attacked him personally or suggested that everything he does amounts to a pile of crap?

So to summarize, step one is to get the macro, bird's eye view and make a judgment call: net value or net disvalue? Everyone knows my judgment in the matter. LC and Paleo are strong net values in many ways for, among other things, educating people about good Real Food, dispensing with the myth that saturated fat will harm you, that cholesterol will kill you, that you need your X servings of hearthealthywholegrains per day...etc., etc.

Conversely, most of the conventional wisdom is a net disvalue (just look around you). I put "vegetarinism" (that allows dairy and eggs) about in the middle because you can get adequate nutrition and there's a strong Real Food thread to it. Veganism, the rest of the conventional wisdom catechism, fat & cholesterol phobia, processed food pushers, et al, I put at net disvalues and as such, am happy to contribute to their complete, merciless, utter destruction...and eventual grave peeing.

For LC and Paleo, it's as easy as not tossing out the baby with the bathwater. Dry that baby off and get more good Real Food in it—and ignore the dirty water.

...Oh, yes, I do have a PGC (Pretty Good Church) idea. Check out the Unitarian Universalists. Any church that welcomes atheists and secular humanists is A-OK in my book. I blogged a bit about them here.

Big Dairy & Big Potato as Big Post Workout Meals

I've come full circle on a lot of things lately. More disciplined, motivated, and nose to grindstone in a fun way than in a long time. Way back, in terms of diet & exercise, my routine was LC-Paleoish diet; 1-2, 24-30 hour fasts per week; 2, 30-minute fasted workouts per week (varied weight, plyo, Xfit)...and that was about it. Dairy consumption was pretty much butter, a little cheese and cream now & then. Now this.

IMG 1515
Blurry Image; details of the meal later in the post

Potatoes were an indulgence. Milk, an indulgence. But I just never really understood why, so much (milk posts / potato posts). They are real and nutritious foods. Folks can talk all they want about teh "toxins" and teh "anti-nutrients" and teh what-tever. But at the end of the day, we live in a world of toxins, anti-nutrients, bacteria (3 pounds—10s of trillions of them in and on your body right now), viruses and a host of other things...and people sweat saponins in potatoes and IGFs in dairy? Really? A break gimme, please. In fact, I don't even really believe it matters marginally a whole lot whether you're eating factory farmed or the most pristine pastured, grassfed organic—so long as your diet is plentiful of Real Food. Real vs. processed in boxes and bags loaded with grains, sugar, and vegetable/seed oils. There's where 90% of your marginal utility is going to come from.

Pareto, man. 80/20. Or 90/10, or whatever you like and are comfortable with; but beyond that you're surely going to be hitting the tar pit of diminishing returns in any added cost/ marginal benefit analysis. And that's going to be a bummer; and for a great many, perhaps most, people are going to get sick & tired of it and just go back to frozen dinners in boxes: because it's easier. People talk about "sustainability" a lot. Well, unless you're a true zealot that gets off on being a true zealot, how sustainable is zealotry in dietary terms when it always takes far more time, effort & money? In the end, the one that doesn't sweat the small stuff is leading the sustainable "tortoise" lifestyle and will do a lot better than the faddish, zealot "hairs" in the long run.

Seen on Twitter earlier today: I've been a vegan for 3 minutes and the best part has been reminding people I'm a vegan.

...Here, you have the time for a real education on all this toxin, anti-nutrient stuff and what a mountain of a molehill much of it is, by someone who generally supports a Paleo diet, but has the misfortune of having earned Harvard PhDs in both organic and inorganic chemistry? Listen or read the transcript of this Chris Kresser podcast with Mat "The Kraken" Lalonde: What Science Really Says About the Paleo Diet – With Mat Lalonde. There's tons of stuff covering the gamut of what you've probably heard about all the nasties in various foods. Guess what? A lot of it is either not true (phytic acid, for example) or way overblown. Mat himself admits to having harbored some of these myths for a time. A couple of excepts, on milk in particular (there's a lot more on dairy in general), and potatoes.

Mat Lalonde: That’s right. Now, that’s very different than saying, well, nobody should eat this because we’ve never eaten these foods in the past. And it is a very different statement, and it forces people to think about themselves, which is what you do all the time. It’s like, OK, where do I sit on this spectrum? What do I tolerate and what do I not tolerate?

Chris Kresser: Right, and that’s why I have a problem with this kind of argument. Let’s take dairy, which I know we’re gonna talk about when we talk about antinutrients, but one of the typical arguments you hear about why humans shouldn’t be eating dairy is that no other animal drinks the milk of another animal, right? So therefore, humans should not drink the milk of another animal. Well, as far as I know, no other animals are cooking their food either.

Mat Lalonde: Yeah, and again it assumes that you can’t possibly discover a better source of food, right? It’s this ridiculous assumption that that can’t be the case. What if the milk of another animal is this great food that we haven’t tapped to in the past?

...

Mat Lalonde: And if you look at the potatoes — I think Stephan Guyenet had a really good post on that — there’s only one species that has a significant amount of these saponins in the flesh, and it’s the Snowden potato. And it turns out the Snowden is not available on the shelves. It goes directly to making potato chips.

Chris Kresser: Right. Fried in polyunsaturated fat.

Mat Lalonde: That’s right. So if you look at a potato, it has a decent amount of nutrient density. It actually has complete protein for plant matter. That’s important to vegetarians. The same is true of the sweet potato varieties, even though they’re completely different. I know that they’re not the same species. It’s actually good food, and it’s just starch, which will decompose into glucose. There’s no fructose there. So I don’t see the problem. Like, have your potatoes. Just don’t eat the skin if you’re worried about it. But the people that make a big fuss about that, again, I think you’re losing some credibility here because people are, like, really? Are you serious?

Chris Kresser: Yeah, and of course, we want to be clear here. That doesn’t mean that there may not be other reasons not to eat potatoes. Like, for example, some people are sensitive to nightshades and they just don’t do well with potatoes, but that’s a far cry from saying that nobody should eat them.

Well, I ate two large baked potatoes and I felt just fine. And I drank two pints of whole milk and I felt just fine. And altogether, I felt excellent eating it all after a 20-minute session of the Body by Science "Big-5," which I make a Big-6 by adding deadlifts as my first exercise. I do the workout in my own style, sometimes one set, sometimes two, but usually some combination of super slow reps, static holds at varied points of extension and retraction and some reps at a regular pace (except for the DLs). I typically take a few minutes between exercises. In all, 20-minutes per week.

IMG 1516
2 large taters, 4 pats of butter, 4 oz pot roast and 2 dollops of yogurt

I recorded a podcast interview this morning as a guest of Jonathan Bailor (The Smarter Science of Slim) and unlike al of the other podcasts I've done, this focussed on the gym for the majority of the time. More details when it comes out in a couple of weeks, but one thing we talked about is perceptions people have about workouts; the perceived need of being athletic, when being "athletic" is not necessarily healthy and has significant risk of injury costs associated with it. That is to say, it's really hard to wrap your mind around the notion that 20 minutes per week in the way I do it is very likely optimal for someone who's not training to some athletic goal typically involving competition and hopefully, payment to provide some benefit in exchange for the risk.

IMG 1517
Killed it, along with 2 pints of the whole milk

In the end, my body tells me that the 20 minutes I did was plenty sufficient and probably a lot more efficient and safe that some of the Plyo and Xfit stuff I used to do, jumping on boxes, running up stairs with a sandbag on my back, wringing myself out to the point of no fun. Hey, if that's your thing, more power to you. No beef. And some people just like the gym enviro. I get that, too. I work out at a swim & racket club, so other days I just go and enjoy the sauna, jacuzzi, and pools. No stress, and in an environment that's uplifting and wholesome.

Here's another way to use potatoes, especially when you want less potato and more meat (message: don't do the same thing all the time—duh).

IMG 1502
Pot roast (with peanuts OMG!) and potato "skins"

I bake lots of potatoes at once. Put them in the oven, turn it on at 400F, leave for 1:15 (no need to preheat). Then I put them in the fridge to form resistant starch, and the next day, just take them out and put them on the countertop for use. They'll keep for a couple of weeks easy, probably longer. I don't usually even reheat them. In the case above, I just took a jumbo and sliced off skin and flesh, as you see, leaving a cylinder of plain potato that can go in the fridge to use later, like quickly frying up with eggs (fried potatoes are really quick when working with baked potato).

Then you just eat it. And yes, things are going very well. Slow & steady. I'll gain 2-3 pounds in the 2-3 days after a workout and by the next workout a week later, just a bit under where I was a week before. I'm just going to keep doing that over and over.

Update: For an actual example of how this works each time, from Wednesday before my workout, this big meal and eating big generally on Thursday, I had gained exactly 2 pounds by Friday morning before writing this post. This morning, Saturday, I'm down 4 pounds in one day. Thats the biggest drop yet, but I'm a net 2 down in only three days since the workout, and I didn't even fast (I skip a meal now and then is all). Of course, water, fat & lean all play a role, but I'm pretty sure that I'm not losing any lean.