Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Good Old American Greed

This letter (from me) is in response to the recent defeat of prop. 37 in Cali, where the people were asking to have the genetically modified food labeled (outside America over 61 countries have either banned or require labeling, they are not as greedy as we are).
Congratulations to the following companies, because of your self interest and greed many Americans (including infants) will continue to consume genetically altered food, products that have never been tested in human trials.  
If you work for, or buy from the following companies, you just be part of the problem.

















Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Refrigarator

This is a look at a typical Paleo refrigerator (mine). On the top shelf you'll find codfish oil, filled with Omega 3's, vitamin A, and vitamin D (and various drinks you can't see, coconut milk, coconut water, Trader Joe's low sodium Vegetable juice, etc.)
On the second shelf we have an abundance of raw unpasturized cheese, fermented dill pickles, bone both, and chaga tea.
On the third shelf we have pasture raised eggs, pasture pork roast, grass feed beef roast, and tomatoes.
On the next shelf we have grass feed beef and buffalo marinating (soon to be jerky), previously made jerky, and more bone broth.
And of course the crisper is filled with various organic vegetables.
Life is good!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Ornish Diet is Flawed Science (Dogma)

As one who spent many years as a vegetarian (but has now seen the light, about me) I know there are three major reasons one would consider a departure from the food chain:
a) health reasons (which upon closer inspection and education won't hold water).
b) compassionate reasons (you don't want to kill Bambi).
c) or maybe you just don't like meat (it could be you just haven't found the right sauce). 
What ever your reason it's something you should look at a little closer to see if it truly fits with the prevailing science and reality.
For now let's take a look at the premise you follow a vegetarian/vegan diet because of health reasons, maybe you believe it will 'reverse heart disease', especially as put forth by the cult leader Dr. Dean Ornish. Do you really believe his science?

The world according to Dean: The Ornish Diet is a low-fat, high-fiber, and vegetarian. The diet emphasizes on removing cholesterol and fats from one’s diet, and consuming more of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.

Even entry level Paleo enthusiasts will quickly see through the flawed diet put forth by (pseudo) Dr. Orinsh, he's actually putting those with heart disease at risk (and I'm not even a doctor and I know it).
I truly believe Dr. Ornish is himself a case study in ego entrenchment. At first (a very longtime ago) his intentions were noble, find a way to reverse heart disease, but his methodology was flawed, something he himself should of known. Yet even if we give him the benefit of the doubt, in the beginning of his speaking career his intentions may have been to do the right thing, in the light of today's discoveries his ideas no longer hold up. 

"I’ve lost all respect for the Dean Ornish’s integrity. I think his heart is in the right place, but he so clearly believes eating meat is bad and wrong that he entirely ignores any evidence that conflicts with his belief, and eagerly distorts any evidence that vaguely appears to support his belief."...Chris Kresser L.AC (non-egotistical Paleo writer)

Where Dr. Ornish goes wrong is he can not (egotistically) defer to and include today's scientific studies, studies that have been reproduced, unlike his. He only looks towards validating statements even if they themselves are flawed, a common mistake in religion, philosophy, and dogma.

Dogma: is the official system of belief or doctrine held by a religion, or a particular group or organization. It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it can not be changed or discarded without affecting the very system's paradigm, or the ideology itself. Although it generally refers to religious beliefs that are accepted regardless of evidence, they can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, or issued decisions of political authorities.

For those with serious health concerns, look closer at what you are being told. Look at both sides before you take a course of action that may actually be departmental to your health, it may just be snake oil you end up buying (especially in the case of Dr. Ornish and his closer minded approach to science).  

In closing, and since I'm not a doctor I'll defer to one, one who has dome the research, written by Dr. Terry Simpson (please check out his blog at
The Ornish Myth
"It has been 15 years since Dean Ornish published his data showing a 3 per cent reduction in the plaques seen by coronary angiograms on a select group of patients who followed his Ornish diet and “lifestyle” plan. To be exact: the 28 patients who followed his plan had a 1.75% decrease in atherosclerotic plaque after one year and 3.1% decrease after five years. With the control group there was an increase of 2.3% in one year and 11.8% at five years.  
In 15 years no one has reproduced that data. No one. Still, from one old paper Dean Ornish has made a career; first being the anti-Atkins, and riding the anti-cholesterol, low-fat band wagon with the same religious fervor as Keyes did thirty years before. Ornish has since become the lead health-blogger for Huffington Post, has influenced Bill Clinton – turning him into a vegan, and is favorably mentioned by Dr. Oz. Ornish then did a few experiments with prostate cancer and aging (telomere length)- to who his lifestyle is good for everything from cancer to aging.  
The difficulty is this: science has caught up with him, and we know a lot more about how atherosclerotic plaques form. We know that dietary lipids and their carriers are far less important that what the body makes. We know that the dietary component is far more related to the trigycerides – and triglycerides are raised much more by the grains and pastas that Ornish preaches on (in his trial, the “Ornish lifestyle” patients had a rise in their triglycerides).  
What Ornish and his crew call a landmark paper, would not be accepted by the same journals today for a number of reasons:  
(a) No one compares angiograms – a two-dimensional photograph of an artery – because they can be manipulated so easily and interpreted differently from one experienced radiologist or cardiologist to another. Depending on the angle you take the angiogram from, you can show a reduction in plaque by varying the recorder by a few degrees. Today intra-vascular ultrasound is the test of choice – this gives us a three dimensional view of the artery, from within the artery. The recent article in The New England Journal of Medicine, comparing lipid medications and their long-term effect on atherosclerotic plaque, is the most accurate measurement of plaque and its formation.  
(b) We know about the science of lipids, plaque formation, and how we can manipulate those to provide a better answer for atherosclerosis that does not involve severe manipulations of a diet. For example, it appears it is the carrier proteins that cause the damage to the arteries – and more carrier proteins are made in response to certain stimuli (triglycerides being one).  
(c ) There were deep and troubling issues with the groups of patients serving as controls. For example, we do not know how many pack-years of smoking were in one group or the other. This is not a minor flaw, as science understands the highly inflammatory changes that are made with smoking as opposed to those made with hyperlipidemia.  
(d) Lipid lowering drugs were used in some, and not others – however, the drugs today are far better, and more targeted than before.  
Personality, the willingness to believe in your hypothesis no matter what science says, and the desire by the public to see “natural” leads to a great career in politics and entertainment but when it comes to science—not so much.  
While his article appears comprehensive, much like the Titanic- it is full of holes that would sink it. Still, people follow Dr. Ornish’s teachings, believing that the changes he advocates will reduce heart disease, cancer, and provide better aging. Odd how the claims of a lifestyle giving benefit to heart disease, cancer, and aging consistently comes up with junk science. The only product Ornish sells are his books, speaking engagements, and his groovy clinic.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

My Story

My Story: My journey (back) into the Paleo (the name given to those that attempt to eat a primal or ancestrally balanced diet) began after some rather dire consequences encountered living a Vegan lifestyle.
Twenty years ago I was told during a routine physical I would probably have my first heart attack by the time I reached forty, a number that was only a few years away. How the physician reached this conclusion was the fact I smoked (heavily), high LDL cholesterol, low HDL, and of coarse high triglycerides (caused by excess alcohol).
Now although I could be considered (at least back in the day) a self medicator, I resisted the prescription advice I was given (no smoking, no drinking, statins, and blood pressure meds), instead opting for a more natural approach.
And down the rabbit hole I went.
My first stop was vegetarianism, high carb, low fat, where protein was a subject most of the so called experts disagreed on (I should also mention I was salt restrictive).
So far so good, I certainly THOUGHT I was on the right track, but the numbers just weren't cutting it, blood pressure didn't seem to stabilize as all the so called vegetarian experts predicted. 
Next stop Vegan, unlike vegetarianism where I found a little wiggle worm with diary and fish, vegan avoided all forms food that had a mother. My weight which I never had a problem with began to decrease, and of coarse the blood pressure went down with it, but so did my energy. It was here in the world of the Vegan my health seemed to decline at the same rate as my weight. The first odd health issue to rise its ugly head was a bout of Iritis, an inflammation of the iris of both eyes. I was told at the time that this condition was a precursor to Lupus, MS, of RA, all autoimmune, all diseases I wouldn't look forward to battling. The specialist recommended I have some type of bone arrow test to predict which disease was in my future. I refused the test and dug my heals into perfecting my diet.
Next came candida, an over growth of yeast, usually found in infants, not adults. WTF, how could this be possible, I was at a loss. I did the old swish and spit went Macrobiotic (the ultimate vegan diet).
I now began to live on brown rice, sea vegetables, land vegetables I never heard of, and all sorts of tofu. 
It was at this time I began to experience dental and gum problems, little did I know at the time I was in the beginning phase of periodontal disease. At the same time I came down with my first case of diverticulitis, a painful condition where your digestive tract becomes infected and inflamed. Back then this was usually blamed on a lack of fiber, a problem I certainly didn't have WTF!
Yet I persevered, not only was the ultimate vegan, I found the ultimate religion that would justify my decision not to eat meat, Buddhism.
Upon reflection here I was embracing a new found religion that embraces our interconnection with nature and everything in it when I was actually attempting to deny and suppress my primal roots (here we find the spiritual side of food choice).
So here I was doing everything the so called experts told me to do, Ornish, Weil, McDougall, Campbell, and I was just getting sicker, so sick I wasn't to find out till years later I did in fact have that predicted heart attack, I just didn't know it (as I'm writing this my right coronary artery is completely shoot). 
Even though I was going down the tubes, I persisted. That is until one day while checking out at the local health food store my eyes noticed something they had not seen before. The clerk, whom I had talked to on numerous occasions, now suddenly appeared gaunt, pale, and sickly. I knew she was vegan, a diehard like myself, but that day was the first time I really noticed how bad she fallen.
I left knowing then and there I was done with the vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic path, I had seen the results and decided I didn't want to go THERE.
Sure I had to reeducate myself, and a very big part of that was learning to live in harmony with nature (and my nature), and this is my journey.