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Diet – Where your ancestral heritage is important

Surely we must have adapted to agriculture by now? The answer is no and sort of yes to that question. It depends on what your ancestral heritage is or how long you have been exposed to agriculture.

Let’s take dairy. (Click to go to full size)

 

This map shows the distribution of lactose intolerance. Note that the exceptions in the US are Native Americans and African Americans – whose heritage introduced them to dairy very late. If you are Asian, milk is not part of your heritage either.

This map shows the spread of agriculture in the west. It’s not that long ago.

Evolution takes time to make an impact – if at all. It must have taken a very long time for humans to evolve to eat mainly meat For instance, Chimps love meat but cannot eat much of it. If they do, they get ill. Chimps, like early hominids, have a very large digestive system that is designed to process raw veggies and powerful jaws and teeth designed to chew for hours. About 8 hours a day. It took maybe a million years for our ancestors to adapt to cooked food and meat. As a result they also changed their physiology. We lost 1/3 of our gut and all those big teeth and jaw muscles.

In the next series of posts we will explore how your ancestral heritage fits into the modern diet. In summary:

  • If you are from the Middle East you will have the best adaptation to wheat – But remember that the wheat we have today is a 50 year old modern strain with an exceptionally high gluten content. It is not the old wheat. You will also lose your adaptation in middle age
  • If you are from Northern Europe, you will have the best tolerance for dairy. But again, if you live in the US where growth hormone in cows is permitted, you are not drinking even your parents milk. You also will lose this tolerance in middle age.
  • If you are from Northern China, you will have a good tolerance to wheat with all the provisos – if you are from Southern China and Asia you will have a strong tolerance for rice. Again as you age and if you select very processed rice, you will lose this.
  • If you are from Asia and Southern Africa and America you will have a low tolerance for all dairy.
  • If you are from a recent Hunter Gatherer heritage, Inuit – First Nations – you will have no tolerance for Agriculture.
  • None of us have any tolerance for highly processed industrial food.

More here is Thesis 47

Beer today – Gone tomorrow – Are you at risk?

My son who is 31 likes what he sees in how I have changed but is having trouble with giving up modern foods for himself. Especially beer!

I told him that, as a Scot – he is a Celt and so is more at risk over time. More on why this is so for Celts later (basically Celts are the First Nations of Western Europe – Non Farmers pushed to the edge in the Agricultural Revolution).

James raises the issue of who is at most risk and why. Who is at most risk of aging poorly – developing the debilitating diseases of modern civilization – and what is it about their heritage that is so important.

So today a general rule and in the next few days I will focus on a number of key heritages and we can see where you fit. The general rule then is that even for those of us with a heritage that is most adapted to agriculture – if we persist in eating it in our 40’s and later, we will suffer. (Thesis 51)

Do you have questions and or answers on how best to live the Paleo Way?

Finding out how best to live in a way more attuned to our Paleo past is not a well established protocol yet. How do we give up sugar if we are addicted? What is the best form of activity to take? Where does alcohol fit?

What we need is a Hacker Community to share our questions and advice. The good news is that such a site is here.

The Paleo Diet

Paleolithic Diet Explained
Learn more about the Paleo Diet.
More here
And here Paleo Hacks

“Carb Loading” is surely not what we all did for millions of years?

 

Many of you who take serious exercise believe in “Carb Loading”. But please step back for a moment. How did our ancestors who ran down prey – who used their bodies all day do all of this without carbs – for they did not have them? They used our primal fuel – fat.

The Problem: The Basic Assumption of the Carb Paradigm is Wrong

Glucose is not the preferred fuel of muscle cells under normal human resting metabolic conditions or even under most normal human movement patterns (exercise). Fat is. Sure, given an unlimited supply of glucose and regular refilling of glycogen stores, skeletal muscle will burn through it during exercise the same way a fire burns through kindling when that’s all you have to offer. The body can shift carbohydrate oxidation to keep up with intake. But skeletal muscle can burn fat with great efficiency (and far less oxidative fallout) at relatively high outputs for very long bouts. Cardiac muscle actually prefers ketones, and the brain can run just fine (maybe even optimally) on a blend of ketones and minimal glucose.  Our survival as a species has depended on these evolutionary adaptations away from glucose dependency. Entire civilizations have existed for ages on what is practically a zero-carb diet. Think about this: there is actually no requirement for any “essential dietary carbohydrates” in human nutrition. It’s possible to live a very long and healthy life never consuming much – if any – in the way of carbs, provided you get adequate dietary protein and fat. The same can’t be said for going too long without protein or fat. Cut too far back on either of those macronutrients and you will eventually get sick and die.

Much more here from Marks’ Daily Apple.

 

Toothpaste – A Risk – So what?

There is no doubt that good oral health extends to our entire body and system. It’s no surprise that if you buy a horse you should look at the teeth as an indicator. But is brushing your teeth with toothpaste the best you can do?

Most toothpaste today contains fluoride. There is a lot of doubt about it safety – especially for the young. Toothpaste also tends to contain novel chemicals for sweetening and also for foaming. I cannot assure you or myself about their safety either. There is no doubt though that much of what is in toothpaste is questionable.

So what to do – bearing in mind that good oral hygiene is very important?

There are 3 things that I do now. Firstly I have gone back to a Paleo diet that on its own has changed the environment in my mouth. I have gone upstream to reduce the risks before I brush with anything. With almost no sugar and its equivalent – simple carbs I have reduced the core risk factors in my mouth anyway. I have massively reduced the bacteria food!

But I still eat some carbs and so what do I use as toothpaste?

4 parts of baking soda and 1 part salt. This both oxidizes the mouth and shifts it to being alkaline. I mix it myself and it costs me next to nothing. I also floss twice a day and scrape my tongue.

The key ph number is 5.5. At that level, acid eats into our teeth. You want to get above that. (link)

Acidity is measured in “pH“. For this experiment, the pH measurements we’re monitoring fall between 1 and 7. If something has a pH of 1, it’s a strong acid. A pH 1 acid is similar to the stomach acids your body uses to digest that tasty cookie. Moving up the scale, we get less acidic: Lemon juice has a pH of 2. Human saliva has a pH of 7. In terms of your teeth, a pH of 5.5 and above will cause little or no harm. Any pH below 5.5 is bad. At 5.5 and below, a liquid will work to strip the protective enamel from your teeth. You’ve heard the term “tooth decay”? That’s exactly what we’re talking about here – acidic drinks will cause your teeth to literally decay.(link)

I think that the best cure is to not drink much juice and other high acid drinks.

Once a month I rinse and gargle with a 50% mix of water and hydrogen peroxide (more here).

Low acid and high oxygen is what I am aiming for – this is also cheap!

So what to avoid drinking if you can – or what to look out for.

Here is a view of drinks by order of goodness to the worst:

Cutting back the sugar – 6 practical steps

Okay, so some sugar isn’t really bad for you but some sugar, like fructose in high amounts, is unhealthy. Since fructose is plentiful in many processed foods, how can you eat better and still enjoy the sweet things you like? What follows are some suggestions. Some require a bit of sacrifice and will be difficult—but more effective—and others are easy enough for anyone to incorporate in his or her diet. If you want to try and curb your sugar intake, be reasonable about what you can accomplish. Failure is a lot more likely if you try to pack in large amounts of change at once . When you cut back on anything slowly, it feels much easier and is more likely to stick.

Go to this link for the list  lifehacker.com

Great post – good luck in your challenge!

Health – Mortality is the wrong place to look now – Look at “Disability”

Most of our health statistics still focus on mortality. This is a left over of the time when infectious disease was what concerned us the most. Infection kills quickly. It was the correct focus to have when this was the battleground.

But today infection has largely been pushed into the corner and we face instead long term chronic illness that takes years to kill but that can and does disable us – making it impossible to work or even look after ourselves. On PEI the average man becomes disabled by 65 and lives for 9.6 years in this state. This is where the real costs are to be found. Costs to each of us as we are unable to earn or cope with daily life. And costs to us as a society – for medicine can only keep us ticking over.

This group do die at the latest in their 70’s. Leaving another group the Very Old who have been fit and active all their lives. Why is another question for later. But this group too reach a stage when they too become disabled and this is where the costs and the burden mount. For their families and for the state. Until now there have been so few of these that we could afford to shelter them in institutions. But with so many that will live well into their 90’s in the pipeline – we will not be able to afford this.

Ironically, the worst thing we can do for people like this is to institutionalize them. Their health collapses when they have all control and role taken away. But as I am finding with my own mother, medicine can keep us ticking over for decades.

CIBC and VAC have worked for over 15 years on reducing the load on their medical systems.

Together they offer a useful model for how any population might look at its own load issues. Load being defined here as the impact of those people that become disabled by illness and live a long time. For the most important cost drivers in any health system are not mortality or morbidity but disability. It is disability and not acute illness that drives the costs. Once we understand this term, many options open up for us to reduce costs and increase care.

  • Disability Load = incidence X duration of reduced capacity.
  • Disability rate – has to be addressed though policy, better support for wellness activity, working conditions etc.
  • Reduced capacity – person perceives that they cannot fulfill their full function.  More likely to seek medical care and as a result drive other benefit costs.

The total population contains two Disability risk segments. The “Young” aged up 65  and the “Very Old” aged 75 – 110.

The Young increasingly develop chronic illness such as Type 2 Diabetes. This segment becomes progressively more ill until they are disabled and require both ongoing treatment and social support sometimes for decades. We call these diseases, the Diseases of Modern Civilization

Diabetes drives many other conditions including cardiovascular disease. On PEI adults in 2006 with diabetes had to be hospitalized much more often than those without it. 16 times more often for lower limb amputations. 6 times more often with kidney disease. They had 5 times more heart attacks. 4 times more heart failure. 3 times more strokes. They stayed 3 times longer in hospital. Had 2 times more visits to physicians and 2 times more to specialists

Most diabetics don’t just take one medication, but several. A typical regimen for an adult diabetic after a couple of years of treatment and following the dietary advice of the American Diabetes Association includes Metformin, Januvia, and Actos, a triple-drug treatment that costs around $420 per month. Two forms of insulin (slow- and fast-acting), along with two or three oral medications, is not at all uncommon

The real societal problem is not that we die of these diseases but that we that suffer from them. All or concerns in the past have been mortality. But with this large and growing group of people, the issue becomes not mortality but care.

Diet is at the core of this epidemic. Most of the information related to diet today is at least misleading or even wrong. A new understanding of our evolutionary past shows that grains, the core of the recommended diet, are in fact the pathway to insulin resistance and so to this family of diseases.

Social Status and Managerial Culture then act as an amplifier on vulnerable people. Those in organizations with the least amount of control will have a mortality rate 4 times greater than executives with more control and status.

The breakthrough then in costs and care are that diet and issues of managerial culture can be positively affected by social intervention.

The issue of control and social status is the vector for Load in the very old as well. Social Intervention works best here as well.

The  “Very Old” aged from 75 – 110. This group has usually avoided the chronic illness and has remained well and independent until they become too frail to live on their own. But if they are institutionalized, they tend to lose their health and then can also live for many years.

Currently we just treat these groups medically. CIBC and VAC treat them socially to great effect. They can prevent, reverse and mediate the illness. I will offer up 2 case studies to show you how.

CIBC – the under 65 set

VAC – the over 75 set

How a Paleo Diet could connect to a more sustainable food systrem

I gave this short talk in a meeting at home on PEI about local food. The format is unusual. Each speaker has 20 slides and 6 minutes – which is why I go so fast – but I think as a format it works. It forces the speaker to be concise.

The future will depend not only on what we eat but how we get our food. It was our overshooting as hunters that forced us into agriculture. Our overshooting as farmers using oil is also threatening all life now on the planet. Is there another way? I think so – I think we now know enough to work with nature and I will expand on this over the next months. But in this short video you will see where I will be going.

A Local M.E.A.L. – Robert Paterson from nick battist on Vimeo.

The connection between Agriculture and Disease

The new diet and our new way of life created the diseases of civilization as this extract shows. Living close together and with domesticated animals + the new diet was the set up – as it is today. For flu and viruses and pandemics still have their origin in this mix. And our new industrial diet is at the heart of the global chronic illness that is replacing infection.

Cooking Made Us Human

Many people imagine early man eating raw food. Have you tried eating raw steak? It’s hard. Have you tried eating raw tubers? Professor Richard Wrangham makes a strong evolutionary case for Cooking as a key shaping factor in our evolution.

How did we get here – A Food Crisis

Why did we stop hunting and gathering and what has our choice of a new food system mean to us – James Burke sums it all up in this brilliant segment from his series Connections.

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  • robpatrob: Many things that are bad for are are not illegal and are eve...
  • August: This article brings up some health concerns i would like to ...
  • Susan: I wish I had known this information years ago. I am a second...
  • robpatrob: The link in in the post http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work...
  • Thibault: Very interesting blog, especially the link between disabilit...
  • Emma Johnson: Needed this to lighten the mood at the end of the day. Give...
  • RJ Jamieson: The mammary tissue was consumed repleat with raw milk drippi...
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  • Phantom The God: Don't forget Coke damages your teeth and make your bones bri...
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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.

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