Home » Food Systems » Recent Articles:

Sugar and Fructose – The best post yet on the causes of the epidemic of chronic illness

F1.small

We are close now to a strong agreement that the epidemic of chronic illness is diet related and that sugar and fructose is at the heart of it.

This chart showing sugar consumption is I think the smoking gun for looking at the role of sugar and now fructose in the epidemic of chronic illness.

This article – link here – is complete. It goes into depth on the process by which sugar and then fructose affects us and some people more than others. All who care about their health should read this. All who are in health care should too – for  we have to acknowledge that, until now, we must have been wrong. Our failure to make progress is the proof.

Here are the facts about the load:

Sugar consumption continued to increase in the 1900s, with an overall doubling in the United States and the United Kingdom between 1900 and 1967 (34). By 1993, >110 million tons of sugar were produced worldwide (33). Whereas sugar intake continues to be marked in the industrialized nations, it is in the developing countries that the greatest increase in the rates of sugar consumption has been observed (35 ). By the early 1970s, an additional sweetener, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), was introduced in the United States, which had certain advantages over table sugar with relation to shelf life and cost. This sweetener, the composition of which is similar to that of sucrose, is used extensively to sweeten soft drinks, fruit punches, pastries, and processed foods. The combination of table sugar and HFCS has resulted in an additional 30% increase in overall sweetener intake over the past 40 y, mostly in soft drinks. Currently, consumption of these sweeteners is almost 150 lb (67.6 kg) per person per year (36), which has resulted in the ingestion of >500 kcal/d (37; Figure 1).

Here they make the connection:

 recent history in the United States has shown that, although a low-fat intake has been promoted, rates of obesity have continued to increase as sugar consumption has continued. In addition, recent studies showing that a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet has no adverse cardiovascular effects (4041) suggest that it is time to revisit the causes of the cardiorenal disease epidemic. In 2002, Havel’s group (37) made the case that the fructose content of sugar may be the critical component associated with the risks of obesity and heart disease. Sucrose is a disaccharide consisting of 50% fructose and 50% glucose, and HFCS is also a mixture of free fructose and glucose of approximately the same proportion (55:45).

There are some striking epidemiologic associations between sugar intake and the epidemic of cardiorenal disease. For example, obesity was initially seen primarily in the wealthy, who would have been the only ones able to afford sugar. Also, the first documentation of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity occurred in the very countries (England, France, and Germany) where sugar first became available to the public. The rise in sugar intake in the United Kingdom and the United States (Figure 1) also correlates with the rise in obesity rates observed in these countries. Furthermore, the later introduction of sugar to developing countries also correlates with the later rise in their rates of obesity and heart disease. A series of epidemiologic studies linked the ingestion of soft drinks to obesity, hypertension, and diabetes (4243) and the consumption of fruit juice and fruit punch to obesity in children (4445). Although these epidemiologic associations suggest a potential causal role, are there any direct experimental data to show that sucrose or fructose can induce obesity or hypertension?

Please invest the time to go further. Link here.

 

Brush your teeth every day? The better choice – Stop eating shit

 

 

Screen-Shot-2012-10-11-at-1.26.59-PM

 

Image Source: Paleo Foundation

Our mouth is an ecology of bacteria. It can be a good community or a bad one. If you eat a narrow highly processed food diet, it will be a bad one. We eat food that promotes bad bacteria and we use chemicals that kill any good bacteria. The better option is to eat a better diet and to work to enhance the good. Here is a good guide to all of this:

 

“Dental bacteria aren’t necessarily bad. They’re just some of the trillions of microbes that share our body, and that are as much a part of us as our own flesh and blood. Those in our guts get the most attention and are involved in digesting our food. But microbes abound in other body parts too. Some of those in the mouth are involved in repairing damage to teeth and barring the way to more dangerous germs.

As Europeans moved from hunting and gathering to farming and agriculture, these oral communities changed from healthy, diverse ones into those that we’d typically associate with disease. The advent of processed flour and sugar during the Industrial Revolution made things even worse. “You see the diversity plummet, and the rise to dominance of opportunistic nasties such as Streptococcus mutans, which causes cavities,” says Cooper.

Our mouths are now a gentrified shadow of their former selves. And as Carl Zimmer described earlier this week, ecosystems with an impoverished web of species are more vulnerable to parasites. He was writing about frogs and lakes, but the same is true of bacteria and mouths. The narrow range of microbes in industrialised gobs are more vulnerable to invasions by species that cause disease, cavities, and other dental problems.  “As an ecosystem, it has lost resilience,” says Cooper. “It basically became a permanent disease state.”

More here

And much more here about your mouth and what we do in there

How to avoid the flu? Bump up your immune system!

You and I have an immune system. If it healthy, then it will defend us from a lot of illness. The future of Health Care will be not a fix after we are ill but taking care so that we have the best immune system possible.

So how best to protect yourself against the flu?  Here is what taking care of your immune system looks like:

 

Avoiding a serious case of influenza is not about vaccination but more about maintaining a healthy, well functioning immune system. By following these simple guidelines, you can help keep your immune system in optimal working order so that you’re far less likely to acquire the infection to begin with or, if you do get sick with the flu, you are better prepared to move through it without complications and soon return to good health.

    • Optimize Your Gut Flora. This may be the single most important strategy you can implement as the bacteria in your gut have enormous control of your immune response. The best way to improve your beneficial bacteria ratio is avoid sugars as they will feed the pathogenic bacteria. Additionally, processed foods and most grains should be limited and replacing with healthy fats like coconut oil, avocados, olives, olive oil, butter, eggs and nuts. Once you change your diet than regular use of fermented foods can radically optimize the function of your immune response.
    • Optimize your vitamin D levels. As I’ve previously reported, optimizing your vitamin D levels is one of the absolute best strategies for avoiding infections of ALL kinds, and vitamin D deficiency may actually be the true culprit behind the seasonality of the flu – not the flu virus itself. This is probably the single most important and least expensive action you can take. Regularly monitor your vitamin D levels to confirm your levels are within the therapeutic range of 50-70 ng/ml.

Ideally, you’ll want to get all your vitamin D from sun exposure or a safe tanning bed, but as a last resort you can take an oral vitamin D3 supplement. According to the latest review by Carole Baggerly (Grassrootshealth.org), adults need about 8,000 IU’s a day. Be sure to take vitamin K2 if you are taking high dose oral vitamin D as it has a powerful synergy and will help prevent any D toxicity. But be sure and get your level tested as that is the only way to know for sure.

  • Avoid Sugar and Processed Foods. Sugar impairs the quality of your immune response almost immediately, and as you likely know, a healthy immune system is one of the most important keys to fighting off viruses and other illness. It also can decimate your beneficial bacteria and feed the pathogenic yeast and viruses. Be aware that sugar (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) is present in foods you may not suspect, like ketchup and fruit juice. If you are healthy then sugar can be consumed but the LAST thing you should be eating when you are sick is sugar. Avoid it like poison while you are sick.
  • Get Plenty of Rest. Just like it becomes harder for you to get your daily tasks done if you’re tired, if your body is overly fatigued it will be harder for it to fight the flu. Be sure to check out my article Guide to a Good Night’s Sleep for some great tips to help you get quality rest.
  • Have Effective Tools to Address Stress. We all face some stress every day, but if stress becomes overwhelming then your body will be less able to fight off the flu and other illness. If you feel that stress is taking a toll on your health, consider using an energy psychology tool such as the Emotional Freedom Technique, which is remarkably effective in relieving stress associated with all kinds of events, from work to family to trauma.
  • Get Regular Exercise. When you exercise, you increase your circulation and your blood flow throughout your body. The components of your immune system are also better circulated, which means your immune system has a better chance of finding an illness before it spreads. Be sure to stay hydrated – drink plenty of fluids, especially water. However, it would be wise to radically reduce the intensity of your workouts while you are sick. No Peak Fitness exercises until you are better.
  • Take a High-Quality Source of Animal-Based Omega-3 Fats. Increase your intake of healthy and essential fats like the omega-3 found in krill oil, which is crucial for maintaining health. It is also vitally important to avoid damaged omega-6 oils that are trans fats and in processed foods as it will seriously damage your immune response.
  • Wash Your Hands. Washing your hands will decrease your likelihood of spreading a virus to your nose, mouth or other people. Be sure you don’t use antibacterial soap for this – antibacterial soaps are completely unnecessary, and they cause far more harm than good. Instead, identify a simple chemical-free soap that you can switch your family to.
  • Tried and True Hygiene Measures. In addition to washing your hands regularly, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. If possible, avoid close contact with those, who are sick and, if you are sick, avoid close contact with those who are well.
  • Use Natural Remedies. Examples include oil of oregano and garlic. These work against bacteria, viruses, and protozoa in your body. And unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics, they do not appear to lead to resistance.
  • Avoid Hospitals. I’d recommend you stay away from hospitals unless you’re having an emergency and need expert medical care, as hospitals are prime breeding grounds for infections of all kinds. The best place to get plenty of rest and recover from illness that is not life-threatening is usually in the comfort of your own home.

The Good Poo Guide – Your Poo a key marker for your health

As we understand more about how important our gut health is (Lots here at this link on this topic), our poo becomes the key marker. Today we look at blood to see our health and only at stool to see if we have cancer. Soon stool may come first as it shows earlier than blood if there is a problem.

New research programs are springing up on Indiegogo like this one where you can have your gut health checked.

But in the interim we can pay more attention to our own poos. Here is a guide to this and we start with a visual chart:

stool-chart

Look, Listen and Smell Before You Flush

What’s normal and what’s not when you look into the toilet? The following table will help you narrow down what to look for, so that you aren’t needlessly alarmed. Of course, there are a few signs that ARE cause for concern, and those are listed too. If you have a change in stools accompanied by abdominal pain, please report this to your physician.4

Healthy Stool Unhealthy Stool
Medium to light brown Stool that is hard to pass, painful, or requires straining
Smooth and soft, formed into one long shape and not a bunch of pieces Hard lumps and pieces, or mushy and watery, or even pasty and difficult to clean off
About one to two inches in diameter and up to 18 inches long Narrow, pencil-like or ribbon-like stools: can indicate a bowel obstruction or tumor – or worst case, colon cancer; narrow stools on an infrequent basis are not so concerning, but if they persist, definitely warrant a call to your physician5
S-shaped, which comes from the shape of your lower intestine6 Black, tarry stools or bright red stoolsmay indicate bleeding in the GI tract; black stools can also come from certain medications, supplements or consuming black licorice; if you have black, tarry stools, it’s best to be evaluated by your healthcare provider
Quiet and gentle dive into the water…it should fall into the bowl with the slightest little “whoosh” sound – not a loud, wet cannonball splash that leaves your toosh in need of a shower White, pale or gray stools may indicate a lack of bile, which may suggest a serious problem (hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatic disorders, or possibly a blocked bile duct), so this warrants a call to your physician; antacids may also produce white stool
Natural smell, not repulsive (I’m not saying it will smell good) Yellow stools may indicate giardia infection, a gallbladder problem, or a condition known as Gilbert’s syndrome – if you see this, call your doctor
Uniform texture Presence of undigested food (more of a concern if accompanied by diarrhea, weight loss, or other changes in bowel habits)
Sinks slowly Floaters or splashers
Increased mucus in stool: This can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, or even colon cancer, especially if accompanied by blood or abdominal pain

Had a heart attack? On a low fat diet? Why this is not a good idea

Make Believe? (From Grass Based Health)

Imagine you’ve got a group of men who’ve survived a heart attack. They agree to participate in a four-year-long experiment where they’re placed onto one of two diets: Diet One is a “Mediterranean Diet” high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, fish, and poultry, along with cholesterol-rich read meat and full-fat dairy products; Diet Two is the “Prudent Diet” recommended by the American Heart Association (and, not coincidently, by most physicians), focusing on restricting saturated fat intake. What result might you expect?

Turns out that the men restricting their cholesterol and saturated fat intake had a greater than 50 percent higher rate of fatal heart attacks and 70 percent more cardiac events! And the total cholesterol, LDL, and HDL levels of both groups were almost identical.

Perhaps even more interesting is that despite the fact that this research was published inCirculation * (the American Heart Association journal, no less!) over a decade ago, we’re still being told to restrict our intake of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat!

* Michel de Lorgeril, et al., “Mediterranean Diet,Traditional Risk Factors, and the Rate of Cardiovascular Complications afterMyocardial Infarction: Final Report of the Lyon Diet Heart Study.”

From http://grassbasedhealth.blogspot.ca/2013/02/make-believe.html

Do you have Celiac Disease? Here is a great resource

Many people who have Celiac Disease now eat food that is labelled Gluten Free. I even saw Gluten Free Ham for sale the other day. Most labelled Gluten Free food is just more factory food and will only make you more ill. For Celiac is not just an allergy to Gluten but is a sign of Leaky Gut.

Here is a great resource for all of this.

“The bottom line is: If you have Celiac Disease, you have leaky gut and bad gut flora.

We’ve talked about how prolamines and lectins cause inflammation and leaky gut.  We’ve talked about how SIBO causes inflammation and leaky gut… and all within the confines of a gluten-free diet.

When your gut flora is out of balance and your gut barrier is damaged, your gut is going to be inflamed.  Inflammation triggers leaky gut and leaky gut triggers inflammation[19].  They all feed on each other in a vicious cycle that looks like this:

leaky-gut-inflammation-cycle

The only way to begin treating Celiac Disease is to break this inflammation-leaky gut cycle… and the first step is to recognize that gluten-free isn’t enough.  There’s a better way to eat that can begin to halt this process.

So what can a Celiac eat to feel better?

The answer is: eat easy-to-digest, low-toxin, real foods.  Foods that don’’t feed bad bacteria or promote inflammation… but at the same time provide adequate nutrition and improve intestinal permeability.

In other words the ideal Celiac Disease diet:

  • Doesn’t contain processed foods filled with added sugars, vegetable oils, additives, or dyes that damage health
  • Eliminates disaccharides and polysaccharides to starve out overgrown bad bacteria (SIBO)
  • Eliminates the most toxic food groups: cereal grains and soy
  • Encourages consumption of low-toxin whole foods in their natural state
  • Encourages plenty of nutrient dense animal products filled with protein and healthy fats
  • Encourages plenty of good bugs (probiotics) through fermented foods or supplements

The gluten-free diet doesn’t fit the bill…

Simply eliminating cereal grains that promote inflammation and leaky gut is a step in the right direction.  But if you remove the other 3 toxic foods I mentioned above (soy, industrial seed oils, and sugar) you’ll be one step closer to recovery.  At that point, you’ll be eating a whole food, non-processed diet – which is ideal for optimal health based on what we know.”

Much more on the site itself here

 

Why the meat industry is so bad for us

abx_sales_infographic_2

Source

The massive use of antibiotics is essential to how meat is produced today. Mass confinement and the feeding of corn to grass eating vows demands the use of antibiotics in massive quantities.

The result is that we will lose antibiotics soon AND that we will be exposed to pathogens that we have no immunity too. The meat business also produce meat that is full of Omega 6’s – from the corn – and that drives more systemic health risks.

And finally, the ethics of treating animals like this!

So what to do? Vote with your wallet. Buy local pasture raised meat. When enough of us do this, the old system will fall over.

The myth of healthy vegetable oils is being busted

A corner stone of the establishment is that saturated animal fat is bad for us and that vegetable oils are good. It is part of the larger fallacy about what is healthy eating and not.

becel

Here are the summary conclusions of a recent study looking at  men in Australia who ate either saturated fats or vegetable oils.

“Conclusions Advice to substitute polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats is a key component of worldwide dietary guidelines for coronary heart disease risk reduction. However, clinical benefits of the most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid, omega 6 linoleic acid, have not been established.

In this cohort, substituting dietary linoleic acid in place of saturated fats increased the rates of death from all causes, coronary heart disease, and cardiovascular disease. An updated meta-analysis of linoleic acid intervention trials showed no evidence of cardiovascular benefit.

These findings could have important implications for worldwide dietary advice to substitute omega 6 linoleic acid, or polyunsaturated fats in general, for saturated fats.”

 

Why dentists are such a risk

hbcamera 031

It is increasingly clear that the health of our gut flora my be the single most important driver of our health. If this stands up, then this may be why oral health is so important too.

But a problem with oral health is how dentistry is performed today. Massive fillings with mercury and invasive root canal work set us up for more infection and contamination.

But there is good news. Just as massively invasive surgery is going away, so there is a rise in minimal dentistry. An approach that is aligned to real oral health and so to gut health and so to total health. And we too can do our own part. If we eat right, then the preconditions of dental decay and disease do not arise. We can take charge of our teeth!

“Contrary to conventional dentistry, minimally invasive dentistry, like biological dentistry, is not about “drilling and filling;” creating an endless loop of revisits and retreating the same tooth again and again.

Instead, by using dietary prevention to create a healthy cavity-fighting bioflora in your mouth; dental prophylaxis such as brushing and irrigating with baking soda, and oil pulling; combined with minimally invasive restorations starting as early as possible, you can prevent about 80 percent of future dental problems.”

The full story + video is here on Dr Joseph Mercola’s site

Which Meat to Choose

Now you have decided to eat a more Paleo diet, you are confronted with the question of how to judge the meat you eat. Sebastien Noel has come up with an excellent guide here.

This article will explore several different types of meat: red meat (beef, lamb, goat, bison, etc.), poultry (chicken and turkey), pork, and seafood. These types of meat differ significantly in their nutrient quality, and especially in the quality of the fats they contain. Since fats are the foundation of Paleo nutrition, it’s important to know what fats are in your meat, so you can make educated decisions about what to eat and when to supplement with other fats, such as coconut oil. In general, grass-fed ruminant meats (beef, bison, and lamb) are nutritionally superior to poultry and pork, but this doesn’t mean you should never eat chicken again. Focusing mainly on seafood and ruminant meat as a staple source of calories, and eating moderate amounts of poultry and pork alongside plenty of healthy fats like butter of coconut oil will let you maximize both the variety and the healthfulness of your diet.

The entire article is here.

Raw or Cooked Food? #Wrangham

Many advocate eating raw food. Is this a good thing or not?

Dr Richard Wrangham thinks not. His work suggests that humans have been cooking for a very long time. For well over a million years. There is no fossil record of fires but there is a physiological record. Homo Erectus lost that big veggie processing gut and those big veggie grinding teeth and jaws. And HE’s brain increased by 20%. I find this pretty convincing. (A good intro to his ideas is here)

Australopithecus-Erectus

(picture source here)

It would take a massive change in environment to create this change to the body plan.

Here is a short video where Wrangham speaks to his findings

He also looked at a large modern study to see how well people do on a veggie diet. (source)

There are only three studies conducted on the body weight of raw foodists, according to Wrangham’s book. The most comprehensive of them was the Geissen study, which questioned and examined 513 raw foodists. This isn’t quite as legit as confining people to a zoo for 30 years, but what was shown was that the higher the percentage of raw food in the diet, irrespective of whether or not they consumed meat, the lower their BMI. One third of those who ate purely raw had body weights that categorized them as being in a state of chronic energy deficiency. The Geissen study also found that 82% of long term raw foodists included some cooked food in their diets. The study also showed that the more raw food women ate, the less likely they were to have regular periods, many of whom had completely ceased to menstruate. This equates to being infertile and losing bone mass. Some raw foodists (and I did hear this one at a raw food guru talk I attended once upon a time in Boulder) claim that menstruation and ejaculation are just a body’s way of eliminating toxins and once you become truly clean, ejaculating and menstruating is no longer necessary. Facepalm! Seriously, I remember the promises of menstrual cycles practically becoming “unnecessary”, provided you really stuck to it. While this does sound like an upshot, it’s kind of like promoting the loss of your legs by saying you’ll never have to run 400m repeats. Locomotion: just for the overachievers!

The last sort-of nail in the coffin for the theory that raw foods are our evolved diet, is that they would never work in the wild. Wrangham found no reports of long term survival in the wild on a raw diet. Most commonly, rapid starvation is the biggest threat to survival in the wild on raw foods, even with intimate knowledge of edible forage, just ask Robb and the I Cavemen cast. What makes a modern raw foods diet livable is that we now have unlimited access to food processing, making nutrients a little more available. Blenders, dehydrators, grinders, sprouting, and grocery stores that can provide year-round access to produce and nut butter that clearly would be hard to scrounge up in the wild. Also keep in mind that these domesticates are a wee bit more energy dense than they were in the wild. The German team also found that 30% of the raw foodists’ calories came from lipids that would have been inaccessible to any hunter gatherer.

So without these modern conveniences, how well do you think they would do? Anybody really wanna try? And judging by the fact that many of them cease to be reproductively functional, how well do you think we’d do if this was our evolutionary strategy?

 It looks to me that a diet that makes nearly half the sample infertile is unlikely to be a sound one and to have any basis in our own past. And imagine eating only raw food in a northern winter without the modern food system.

The best introduction to why Gut Flora is the key to your health

intestinal-microflora-4101

Sebastien Noel is one of my favourite resources. He makes the science easy to understand and he deals with the practical aspects very well. 

It is becoming clear that the central issue for health is the health of our gut flora. Here is Sebastien’e excellent review of all that you need to know.

The goal of this article is to tackle gut and gut flora problems and what to do about it. Granted, following a Paleo diet will often provide great relief and maybe even cure whatever ailment you’re dealing with. Also, other than being very strict with the diet, complete elimination of dairy, egg whites, nightshade vegetables, nuts and seeds and limiting fruit intake should be a priority, as discussed in my articles about dealing with autoimmune diseases and about the benefits of egg yolks.

With all these tactics implemented though, some diseases or conditions related to the gut still persist and can prove to be a real challenge to deal with. This article will dig deeper into the subject and I will recommend a general strategy to cope with most gut and gut flora ailments. Note that each condition usually also requires a special approach, but the general ideas discussed here usually applies to all of them.

Here is a summary of the subjects discussed here:

Note that in case of a hard to treat condition, I would tackle the problem with a shotgun approach. This basically means that I would eliminate any possible offending foods at the same time as I would try and maximize my immune system strength, gut healing and good flora rebuilding. Forgetting a step or doing things only partially often leads to poor results unfortunately. I’ve been dealing with tough problems myself and it sometimes seems that even the stars have to be aligned to start seeing progress, so hang in there and make anything possible to regain health as soon as possible so you can laugh about it afterwards.

Here is the link to the full piece

 

Constipation – The Truth

man-straining-on-loo

Apparently 63 million people in the US suffer from constipation. That’s about 1 in 4 people. At one time or another I bet we all suffer from this. We are told to add more fibre, but in the long term we do this and this does not help. In extremes, we take laxatives. But over time, we become dependent on these too and we lose the ability to have a natural poo.

So what to do? For the medical system has no answers other than the ones we have learned do not work.

Kris Cleary is a pioneer in the non medicine approach to constipation. Here is our online interview. You will see why fibre and laxatives don’t work and you will see the pathway to being well – Having Healthy Gut Flora

The intro goes to the fold and the full interview follows. Read and get well!

So what did you learn from these people who had cured their own constipation?

There were dozens of key lessons I learnt.
However, some of the most important things I’ve learnt in curing constipation are:

  • The essential importance of overall gut health, especially gut flora
  • Reducing stress (especially the stress one is not even aware they have)
  • Eliminating toxins and eating real food for proper nutrition
  • Eating normal amounts of fiber rather than the ‘high fiber’ diet that is widely preached in our modern world
  • Including plenty of natural fats which is a core part of true health

All that I learnt from these people started me on the path of self-discovery in relation to my bowel health and my health overall.

I started to experiment with the various ideas and approaches I received from them and I was able to finally start joining the dots. The more I experimented, the better I was able to figure out what was actually triggering my symptoms and, on the flip side, what was allowing my bowels to work how they should naturally. It was a really exciting time to be honest. I was making so much progress quickly that I started to feel I was cracking the constipation code, so to speak.

I started to look into health and nutrition from an evolutionary view-point which was another game-changer for me. The more I researched and experimented, the more crucial information I was able to obtain. ‘Seek and you shall find’, I guess. I started to get in touch with research by guys like Loren Cordain and Staffan Lindeberg that really opened my eyes and had me jumping down the rabbit hole so-to-speak.

… Continue Reading

Humans are carnivores – get over it – and get well

Wise Traditions London 2010 – Barry Groves from Wise Traditions London on Vimeo.

An outstanding review. Everything you need to know about what we are meant to eat and why in half an hour.

Barry Groves shows how we adapted to a mainly meat diet – millions of years of ice age when there were few plants that we could have eaten – and the result. A large brain and a small gut.

Since the dawn of agriculture we have been shifting away from the food that we are best suited. Since 1980, and the advent of industrial food. we have made a dramatic shift away from fat and meat. And so have set up the epidemic that confronts us.

The very best video on the choices before us

Dr Wahls is an inspiration – all the context – the practical steps – the pull of her success in curing her MS and the choice

What would a new food system be based on? A better fit with nature surely!

I doubt that the early users of the plough could predict what their new approach to food production would bring. They were simply addressing a problem. How could they get more output of grain along the fertile banks of the Nile?

They were also building on all sorts of other connected innovation that had taken place before. Grass had been bred to have a higher yield. Oxen had been domesticated. Pot making had enabled more storage. The plough was a capstone element that brought all of this together and made it into a system.

It is likely that most of the parts of the new system exist today. They just need to be brought together. Maybe a crisis will do that? The crisis may be driven by an oil crisis.

With expensive oil, we will not longer have the inputs that drive our system such as fertiliser and pesticides. We will not have the equipment such as tractors. We will not be able to use concentration and corn fed confinement as the basis of meat production. We will have much reduced refrigeration. We will not have the fuel to transport food and goods so cheaply.

It may also be a health crisis. For we can no longer tolerate the costs of the illnesses that stem from our making grain and corn in particular the key component in all our food and in what our animals eat.

These are the problems that we will have to solve soon. So what can we see that is going this way.

Meat – New Old/Models - We have bred animals that are designed to be confined, live in barns and eat corn. We have “Poodleized” them and made them weak. But there have always been grazers that can tolerate being outside for most of the year.

Buffalosnow
The Buffalo herd was 60 million in 1800. We slaughtered them to kill off the plains Indians and the clear the land for cattle. In 1900 there were less than 1,000 left. But in the last 20 years there has been a renaissance. In 2005 the North American Herd was about 500,000 and in Canada 2000 ranchers have a herd of about 250,000. It is even larger today and the issue that confronts the folks in the buffalo world is how to expand the herd.

Why the success and what does this teach is as an element? It is that there are animals that “Fit” our environment. Buffalo are the natural herbivore in North America. They can cope with the worst weather. They build up the grassland. They certainly don’t need a barn.

There are two reasons why the herd is booming and that more people are getting involved. Most importantly, there is demand for the meat. Meat from a true grass grazer is on the top of the health lists now for those that can afford it. On the rancher side, the costs of keeping buffalo are much less that for cattle. 

They are not easy to keep. They are to cows as wolves are to dogs. They are a wild animal. So they cannot be confined. They need large areas and really strong fencing.

BUT they offer us a clue I think to the future of meat. Today we set up an entirely artificial environment for the animals that we depend on. What if instead we selected animals like the Highland cattle seen below that fit and thrived where we live instead?

250px-Cow_on_Pupers
I am NOT saying we have to all be buffalo ranchers – though out west this could be vast. I am saying that our new paradigm might be to favor animals that fit well with local conditions and so need very few inputs and capital to ensure that they thrive.

If we can breed a Holstein to have more milk than could be imagined, we could breed more adapted animals like this Highland Cow that can tolerate cold very well.

250px-Sheep_on_the_isle_of_Lewis (1)
In the UK the Blackface Sheep is the Gold Standard meat sheep who can tolerate extreme cold and poor pasture. Their wool is also highly esteemed making it a multipurpose sheep.

Berksow
The Berkshire pig does well outdoors even in Atlantic Canada.

There are breeds of all our basic domestic animals that can be rescued from history and offer us a low input low cost alternative to the “poodle” breeds we have now.

You do not have to wait years for Organic certification to beging this way of raising animals. You can start next year. There is also a large and fast growing market for this kind of meat now. Maybe not here on PEI yet but there is an export market that will enable us to get up to scale for when we all have to eat locally like this anyway.

If you start small with other your risk is low.

Grass – the opposite of the plough - The plough is all about getting rid of the existing natural system and replacing it with an artificial one. At Polyface Farm, the system is all about keeping and building on grass. Each animal has part of a rotation that uses different parts of the grass and that fits into a larger system.

220px-Pigs_at_Polyface_Farm
Pigs have their job at the edge of the system.

220px-Eggmobile_and_flock_of_chickens_at_Polyface_Farm
Chickens come in after the larger animals. All add more back so over time the grass improves and so can carry more load. The opposite of our current system As the years go by the ROI on the farm goes up. the opposite of our current system.

As well as producing meat and eggs that rely on very few extra inputs, this system produces the very healthiest of product. Why? Because the animal fits its environment. Chickens and pigs were designed to live like this and to eat like this. If we go down this road we work WITH nature.

This can all be done locally.

Imagine if we made grass our focus? We have such ingenuity. Polyface Farm is to the future what the crudest early plough is to our modern system.

So what then about crops – what about veggies, fruits and nuts? How might we tie into a grass system a system for this?

I think that the answer is in Permaculture.

Permaculture
This is what Permaculture looks like. Looks chaotic but it is not. Again the principle is “Fit”. We plant to mimic nature and to enhance nature. Most are perennials. As the system ages, it gets more productive. For the parts all reinforce each other as the animals do on a grass farm. Too many slugs = not enough ducks!

This is the DNA of the structure.

Permastructure
Ponds and woods are key to the design.

The Salatins at Polyface have discovered the importance of linking their woodland to the grass land. Both feed the other.

Both get stronger over time. Both end up needing almost no inputs. Both have an ever increasing ROI and offer the farmer more and more margin and so independence.

This is what working with nature looks like. It’s early days now. But I think that these two related ideas have great potential. Could they not work for you? If they did what would happen to you?

In the next and last post of this series, I will play with what this might do for society. For how we get our food shapes our culture and power. I will play with how this might work in small place like PEI.

I have no idea as of today how this imagining will work out – please join me in speculating.

How big a deal was it to develop agriculture? It changed Everything – So if we change our food system – it too will change everything

So if we shift to a new system – then all will change again.

What might the new system be like? Grains are the centre piece of Ag as we know it. If we returned to a more Paleo diet of meat and veggies, then we could lose the plough and go to a pasture system for meat and a permaculture system for veggies. What might this look like? Like this!

A broad view of much of the best thinking on Ancestral Health

Earlier this month, the Ancestry Foundation hosted the first of what will be many conferences on Health as seen through the perspective of Evolution.

FRIDAY

“Dimensional Mastery: How understanding where we’ve come from gives us valuable insights into where we’re headed” by Matt Wallden

“How to Triple Your HDL” by Jonathan Carey

“Bone Broths: The Missing Link in the Evolution of the Modern Superathlete” by Catherine Shanahan

“The Multifactorial Influence of Chronic Sleep Reduction on Body Weight” by Dan Pardi

“What Does the USDA Really Represent?” by Adele Hite

“Paleo Made Simple: A Template for Avoiding Common Errors When Adopting an Evolution-Based Diet” by Melissa and Dallas Urban

“Does physical activity impact dietary choice in a modern Western population to correspond to hunter-gatherer macronutrient profiles?” by Stephanie Schnorr

SATURDAY

“Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet, Healthier Dog Food the ABC Way” by Steve Brown

“Declining Age at Menarche: An Indicator of Declining Public Health” by Meghan Gillette

“How psychological dysfunction arises from disparities between hunter-gatherer and modern lifestyles: A new theoretical and therapeutic model” by John Montgomery

“The Ancestral Classroom” by Steven Platek

“Neuroregulation of Appetite:  Paleo Nutrition Supports Homeostasis of Macronutrients and Energy Balance” by David Pendergras

“Grass Based Health: The Big Picture” by Peter Ballerstedt

“Ancestry: A Re-imagined Approach to Education” by Brian Geremia & Justin Park

“Game Over: Comparing the Childhood Play Style of Modern Western Societies with Hunter-Gatherer Societies” by Anna Floyd

“Foods from Our Past: Reclaiming the Paleo Diet Experience in Latino Communities.” by Armida Ayala, PhD, MHA

Contact Form

Subscribe by Email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Facebook

Comments

  • Anita: Amen to this article. Too many people receive disability as...
  • matt: isn't the "sugar" in soda high fructose corn syrup? why do y...
  • Caroline Cooper: Hi Rob, Nice to see you're writing again. I have been thi...
  • Patrick Meadows: People, can and have lived solely on meat. Eskimos go months...
  • ike: Maybe you veggies need to eat meat so your brains can develo...
  • robpatrob: Of course - but we are talking much more recently here about...
  • Rob: "I come from Northern European stock. My genes are the most ...
  • Gemma: Don't forget regular exercise! Prevention is better than cur...
  • Daniel: Nothing can live on just meat. Carnivores such as cats and s...
  • robert: Your retarded, so why is it most vegans need pills as vitami...
  • Dario McNut: It is true that erectile dysfunction can be associated with ...
  • robpatrob: Google Richard Wrangham - His book is on Amazon - much more ...
  • A Question: Thanks for this video! Half of the urban women who had a raw...
  • robpatrob: Great questions - thanks. Just as 300 years ago a few misfi...
  • Garfield: I really like the parallels too...I live like this also. Twe...

What is the Missing Human Manual All About?

Do you want to age well? Most of us do. If you are my age, 60, this is more important a question that if you are 30. But most of us would not wish to have heart disease, cancer, dementia when we get old.

Most of us think it is normal that we will get ill like this.

But science today tells us that this is not "Normal". Our evolutionary past designed us to be active and fit until we drop dead. Why? Because raising human children takes so long. Mature adults had to do most of the hard work enable us to invest up to 25 years in our kids.

We are designed by our evolution to reach a plateau of fitness in mid life. So why do most of us not live like this?

We don't because, we have strayed away from the best way of living that fits our evolution best. Our culture has got too far ahead of our biology. We eat foods that make us ill. We have lost our social identity and power and that makes us ill. And we have lost touch with the circadian rhythms of the Natural World, and that has made us ill too.

We have lost our fit with our true nature.

This site will be a Manual. It will show you what the best fit is. It will show you the science behind this. It will share with you some methods for getting your fit back with your true human nature.

So welcome to the "Missing Human Manual" . I hope that we can help you and I hope that you can help others as a result.

Featured Posts

Disability – the cost of modern life

  This chart shows the shift in the nature of disability in America since the early 1960’s. What is hows is that the stress of how we live is crushing millions of people. The images in this post come from an excellent article here. Back pain is strongly linked to …

Your baby’s gut health – the platform for good or poor lifetime health – what to know and to do about this

It is clear now that a child’s gut flora drives many allergies – including eczema – Here is a short and illuminating article on this that joins the growing literature on the importance of gut health generally and how, in infants, gut health drives lifetime health. This is yet one …

Your Waistline – The key measurement for predicting Heart Disease

A fat tummy is a sign of visceral fat which is the #1 predictor of heart disease. We have posted about this before here. But here are some charts that help us see the range. It’s not just men either. More here on Mercola’s site: Like this:Like Loading…

%d bloggers like this: