There are few things worse than insomnia.
Here is the best – complete but short – guide that I know of from the wonderful Sebastien Noel
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.
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.
The role of Vitamin D in our health is rapidly becoming better known. It is clear now that low levels of D can have a wide range of negative effects. While you might know your cholesterol levels, do you know your D levels?
I am going to join the Vitamin D Council
Here is a link to a very complete round up of how D affects us.
Chris’s book opens with the best context for Fitness and its link to health and how we grow old that I have yet seen.
This site has talked a lot about the false claims for diet – “Eating Healthy Grains” etc. The real diet is to give up the modern foods!
Chris shows how our modern obsession with “Exercise” has taken us down an unhelpful alley too. The real issue is “Strength”.
Our ancestors did not “Take Exercise”. They led active lives and they carried a lot of stuff and they moved around a lot. They did not need a gym not expensive kit. Chris shows us how we can do this again. And he shows a focus on strength this will help our health in a way that “Exercise” does not. This approach also then deals with the issue of time. For to get strength the requirement is intensity and not time. In fact as we get stronger we need to use less time and increase the intensity. We don’t have to spend hours a day.
Oh and don’t forget that we are designed to walk – a lot!
We are designed to spend a lot of time outside. I am 61. When I was a kid, I was inside only for class or sleeping. Today few kids spend almost any time outside. Why most don’t have enough Vitamin D.
Here is the low down:
Earlier this month, the Ancestry Foundation hosted the first of what will be many conferences on Health as seen through the perspective of Evolution.
“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
“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
Every day we read of a new study that says “This is bad for you” and “This is good for you”. No wonder when it comes to taking control of our health, we are confused by science. I read a post today that said that there are “No perfect foods”. This is rubbish. There are – if you have the right perspective.
In this post I will be as clear as I can about the simple idea that can give you this power.
So what then is wrong with the perspective that most science and all of medicine uses that makes it all so confusing and contradictory? Let me tell a few stories and I think you will see.
Imagine that she is you.
You see your GP. She of course sends you to a dermatologist. After all, what is wrong is your skin – right? Well not really. He will talk in a limited way about diet but he has no deep diet context. He will treat your skin mainly topically and if all fails, he will prescribe Accutane. A drug that can have very serious side effects. Accutane is like chemo – it is a brutal treatment. But even through you may clear up – you are not cured. Your acne is in abeyance.
You are severely depressed. Your GP sends you to a Psychiatrist who no longer will talk through what has gone on but will prescribe one or more drugs that will interrupt the mechanism of your thoughts. For a while. Over time the risk is that you will get worse and even suicidal. He will raise the dose and add new drugs. You are on a treadmill.
You have cancer. Your GP sends you to the Surgeon who adds in the Oncologist and the Radiologist.
They remove the cancer cells that they can and then give you chemo and radiation. You look and feel like this. (My wife went through all of this and I dare not show you what she looked like)
You may be “cured”. My wife is still here after 9 years. But this is not a CURE. It – like Accutane or Antidepressants has knocked the disease back on its back foot.
So what then is the pattern here and how do we do better than this?
Note how all these stories start the same way. You notice something wrong and then you go to the gatekeeper the GP. There has been no work done before you are ill. For medicine has no answers to WHY you get ill.
You might know this. But what you don’t know maybe, is that NONE of these diseases affect in a major way populations that don’t eat the modern diet.
Note how each of these “specialists” deal with a silo of you and few or none expand this silo to includes the wider you of your entire bodily system – your social world – your ancestry – and how you inhabit your body and the physical world. They only know their bit. This is what I mean:
This is the ignition system of an engine in a car.
This is a broader context – we drive cars on roads with people in them in varying conditions. To understand CAR – you have to work back from this and not up from the ignition system. If all the context you have starts from the parts – you MUST get lost. So it is with medicine and cell biology. They fuss about the working parts and the direct linkages. Worse, becuase they focus on direct linkages, they miss the side effects.
For we are NOT MACHINES. We are complex systems nested in complex systems. Their basic metaphor is wrong.
This is why they miss WHY we get ill as we do. They miss the connection between their areas and all others. They miss the truth that there is one simple big idea as to why we get the diseases of modern civilization. And that is this –
We are designed to be naturally healthy – all living beings are – so long as we live our lives inside the parameters of how our nature has evolved. That means that if we eat what we are designed by our nature (How we have evolved) to eat AND if we live in social systems that suit our nature best (Think of how all our hunter gatherer ancestors lived) and if we inhabit our bodies and the natural world as we have evolved to do ( Be active and outside a lot) The we will be healthy.
This is true because of the systems aspect of our context. Get the optimal systems fit and our system will do fine. We are NOT machines with simple direct causes and effects.
Simple isn’t it? You and I can all use this simple and huge idea.
Just as 150 years ago, we also learned how to combat infection. Also behind that was a huge but simple idea. If we lived in large numbers in a concentrated space, we would set up the ideal systems conditions for infection. Once we learned how germs and vectors like mosquitoes and fleas worked, we could change the systems conditions. At a large scale such as in a big city and on a small scale such as in the OR.
All the mumbo jumbo of pre germ medice was swept away. Only to pop up in how medicine works on chronic disease today.
They will tell you that only if your kid is vaccinated, will you be able to protect her from infection such as measles. But they have missed the history.
We defeated infection not by drugs and not by a speciality in a disease. But by smart use of the knowledge of the systems issues and clever public health.
All these infectious diseases are the product of the modern world. They arise from our living in close contact with animals and other humans. They are novel to all who have not lived a modern (defined as agricultural and urban life). So when they were introduced to people who did not share this life and who therefore had low immunity, they killed millions. Western man killed of most of the natives in the Americas.
All infectious disease is related. It takes hold inside the crucible of close contact between man – animal and man. The plague came from this and so does flu. The breakthrough is not a drug, for the germ or virus will adapt. It is to work in a systems way to break the cycle.
So it is with chronic disease.
All are related. All stem at first from a mismatch in diet and then are amplified by a mismatch in our social and natural environments.
So if you have bad acne, depression and cancer – or arthritis – or IBS or crohns – or worry about alzheimers – or have heart disease – or have their marker and best pathway type 2 diabetes – then know that all are related.
On PEI, the average man becomes disabled by 65 and lives on in this state for 9.7 years. The main cause for this is Type 2 Diabetes. It is estimated that by 2030 1/3 of the population will have it. So, as more people hit their 60’s and more suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, the need to respond rises exponentially. We live in a time of epidemic and medicine as it is practised today cannot help you.
Diabetes drives many other conditions including cardiovascular disease. 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
You can help yourself by understanding the ideas on this site and on our sister site The 55 Theses
Now how you apply this knowledge is not simple. Changing your diet in a system that pushes the wrong choices on you is hard. You don’t just “Buck Up” when depressed. You don’t just get cured with cancer either.
But knowing what we do now – gives us the kind of start that we all had back in 1880 when the pioneers took on infection and rolled it back in a generation.
Michael and I are working to provide you and policy makers the best context so that you can make the best choices.
You get ill when you look like this – this is how I looked aged 59 – I weighed 205 lbs. How I look here has all the signs that you have not lived your life according to the rules.
This is how I looked aged 18 just as I was going out to celebrate my sister’s 16th birthday. I weighed 140 lbs. I was just about to go to South Africa to work as a diamond prospector. I would walk 11 miles a day in the Kalahari desert and think nothing of it. I was at my peak of fitness.
This story is not all going to be about weight though. It is going to be about knowledge and hope.
This new fat and unfit me was also a new thing. For right up until my late 40’s I was relatively thin and still able to do a lot of things.
Then one day in my 50″s, it seemed as if a switch has been turned on. Each year, I put on a few pounds and became progressively weaker. Then about 58, this process started to accelerate. My knees also were hurting a lot and I was investigating knee replacement! But I thought that all of this was normal.
I thought aged 59, that putting on weight and feeling poorly was my destiny. After all we all get fat and ill as we age – don’t we?
I did try the conventional way – a bit. My wife Robin begged me to lose the tummy. The conventional wisdom meant that I had to take a lot more exercise and I had to eat less. I tried. I signed up and took more exercise but I injured myself and felt awkward and gave up. And I loved my food…. So like so many of us, I was resigned. The “Cure” that all talk about was too hard for me.
Anyway, I told myself that this was my destiny. I would be like all the other people and get ill as I got older. If I had not learned what I know now and if I had done nothing
What had happened to me is surely what has happened to millions – maybe to you too.
When did the “switch” turn on for you and you started to get fat and weak? Do you think that, like me, that this is the new “normal” for you? Do you think that that this is all that is going on?
For what I have learned that this is not all about the weight and the visible?
What is really going on is that inside of you and I is a progression of deterioration that will lead to the chronic diseases that plague us today.
So how and why do we get them? And why do they seem to turn up suddenly as if a switch is thrown? Why is medicine so bad at preventing us from getting them? Why does medicine do such a bad job of “curing” us – for once we get heart disease, we have it. Once we get depression, we have it. Once we get cancer, it can come back. Once we get Type 2 Diabetes, we always have it – NO MATTER what meds we take. The meds do not cure us. They enable us to stay alive in poor health.
Let’s find the answer simply by going back and looking at infection. When we see the model here, we can see the answers to the questions above about chronic disease.
Cholera is always around. But for humans to get it, Cholera has to have an ideal environment to propagate and to spread. Cholera is not spread through the air but through direct contact with human feces. So, if you put a lot of people together and you have no proper sewage disposal system and you allow the sewage to contaminate the water supply, you have the ideal conditions for an epidemic.
Now you can develop a “cure” – (now we know how to treat Cholera – heavy hydration with pure water). But the real cure is to take away the environment that gives cholera the edge. For instance, Cholera is always a threat today when a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane damage sewage or water systems as happened in Haiti. You cannot contain the epidemic by vaccination or treatment. You have to work upstream and fix the sewage system and supply clean water asap.
This chart tells the story. See how most of the scourges of infection were beaten back BEFORE the advent of drugs.
All were “cured” by work on the upstream issue of environment. All these diseases were the product of changes to our social and physical environment caused by Industrialization. It was when millions of us left the small communities that fitted our own nature better. We arrived in the cities knowing nothing of the consequences of overcrowding. We found ourselves in the same predicament as say these animals now!
All these animals will die if they live like this. To prevent this they are given antibiotics as a routine. This is not sustainable and is dangerous as we are breeding super bugs as a result.
The only way that is sustainable is the change the environment. That is what we did for ourselves.
It was John Snow, a Dr, who discovered that Cholera was water born. He was never accepted by the establishment and died before his discovery was accepted. It was Joseph Bazalgette who built the sewers that made it possible for 8 million people to live in London.
We think that medicine “cured” infection. Medical knowledge about the environment for infection was the cure not any vaccine or drug. But of course Big Pharma and the Medical Profession take the credit and today tell us that the ONLY way to be healthy is to use drugs.
All of this story about how we really conquered infection is true for the Chronic Diseases of our time. They all stem from environmental causes. Which in turn arise because we have not known the consequences of changes we have made to our diet, our work culture and how we live and work.
For just as we can never adapt to living in concentrations of millions without a good sewage system and a secure water supply, we also can never adapt to:
My getting fat and pre diabetic was all related to not knowing any of this too. I too had no context. I bought the Kool Aid about the fact that I should eat MORE grains and dairy. I had no idea that how much control I had in my life was a key factor in my health. My only thought about my body was that I should “Take more exercise” which is only a fragment of the larger truth and a part of my life where I would have to find the time and pay someone else and do – for me – silly things not connected to what I did every hour of the day.
I also did not know this.
Every animal has evolved to be healthy throughout its life. Evolution would not support a population that had to “carry” a large segment who could not cope.
We humans are no exception. In fact, in all societies where people live according to our design, we remain fit until we die. People who do not eat the modern diet, who have a culture that is more personal and who are active and spend a lot of time outdoors live long and healthy lives. Like this man.
He is from Kitava and he is my age. I hope I can be like him! Don’t you?
Our challenge is time. If you get cholera, you can be well this morning and dead by supper. The impact of Infection is obvious and quick.
But the diseases that we get today are slow building and hidden.
This is the “Switch” I was talking about. You seem fine – and then you have a heart attack. You are thin and in 10 years you are obese. You are fit and then crippled with arthritis. You go off to your routine breast exam and find you have stage 3 cancer.
This moment is different for us also depending on our ancestry. If your ancestry is longer adapted to the modern diet, the switch may not go on until your 50’s. If you are a First Nations person, it may go on right away from birth.
I think this delay and difference has hidden the danger from us all. Not helped by a vast industry – Food and Medicine – that makes a fortune from this and who have captured the media and so public opinion with their message – “Eat more grains and take a pill”.
So in my next post we will explore why we cannot adapt to this any more than we can adapt to drinking water contaminated by feces.
It seems that the only people speaking the truth these days are comedians – sad
Is the Paleo diet just another fad diet? Is Crossfit just another fad fitness craze?
They are not – and you should not dismiss them.
They are in fact the early signs of a new revolution in human society, economy and culture. A revolution where we return to working with nature and where we accept that we too are part of nature.
Where we accept that trying to dominate nature and so each other is an idea that is taking us and much of life on the planet to doom.
For we can only abuse the rules of Nature so far and we can only abuse our own nature so far and Nature will push back. And when she does, we lose. The Natural world and our own Nature is not infinitely plastic.
Nature can take a lot of damage but a Tipping Point will arrive when we go too far. We can only take so many fish out of the sea, clog up the atmosphere with only so much CO2, lose only so much topsoil, use more water than we have.
The same is true for us as part of Nature. We can eat junk food, live in crazy circumstances and in crazy social and political systems – for a time. But when we do, nature will push back at us too.
For the planet is a closed natural system with key rules. And so are we. The closer the planet is to its interacting norms, the more it can support life. And the same is true for us.
Millions of years of evolution have set up an ideal set of environments, food, social, physical in which we are designed to be at peak health and happiness. The closer we live our lives to this set of ideal environments, the healthier and happier we will be, (Thesis #2). Conversely, the further away we live our lives from these ideals, the worse our health and our happiness.
We live today at a time when most of us live as far away from Nature and our Nature that is possible. She is pushing back harder and harder. As more of us get sick and as change to climate makes life hell for millions. we see her as the enemy but in fact, she has always rewarded those that work with her.
Our only chance as a species is to “Go Home”. To go home to working with her.
The beauty of this impending revolution is that we know how to be in this new relationship with nature and each other – for we are hardwired to do this. We have just been distracted by 10,000 years of a phase of development. Maybe we have been like teens – all about me? Maybe this is our time to be young parents and be a true member of the community of life again?
Ideally we are designed for this new/old relationship with nature and our nature – the life of a Hunter Gatherer.
Does this mean we have to go home to the caves and wear skins? No – no more than at the time of the Renaissance, we went back to wearing Togas. No it’s all about ideas and principles and mindset.
Men and women in the 15th century applied ideas that had been forgotten and even prohibited to how they lived their lives and so created the modern world. A world based on observation rather than dogma.
What I think could happen now is the same. We can and should use the PRINCIPLES of the Hunter Gatherer World to design the Post Industrial and Post Agricultural Society that will have to evolve to help us get though Peak Oil and Climate Change.
This series will explore how this is taking place – without any “Plan” or leader. The new world is naturally emerging as it should be! But what I think we can do is accelerate the process of transformation by seeing it more clearly.
For to “Get There” all we have to do is to accept that we are there – all Dorothy had to do to go home was to say “I want to go home”.
For “Home” is deep inside us. It waits only for us to say yes. All we need to know to do well in this New/Old World is hard wired inside us. All it has to be is remembered.
You and I can immigrate to this New World today.
Today the New New World is a State of Mind. We don’t have to get on a boat. We just have to see ourselves in a new light. The moment we do, we have arrived at the pier. Life will still be hard, it always is for immigrants. But few who got off at the pier ever wanted to go back to the old country.
So in this series I hope to paint you a picture of what this new country will be like. You might see that you are almost there. I doubt that many of you will be surprised. The ideas are not new they are older than us. But we have forgotten them.
So I offer you not a new book but a mirror. And at the heart of it all is the heart and love and the acceptance of our true place. We will, as Paul hoped for, have grown up.
“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”
Here then is the structure of the series:
1. In the next post “The Emergent New Hunter Gatherer Society”: we will see how the new Unemployed, the Under Employed and the Freelancers are not failures or misfits but are New Immigrants who are in engaged in a massive new project – to redesign our economy and food system using these principles. We are creating this new world for ourselves and for our children because we don’t fit the existing system and worse it works against our real needs.
2. “The Principles of HG Life as they are practised today”: We will extract the principles from the emergent patterns and see how they can be used as our guide for making our own choices and how they put meaning on our lives. What can each of us do to disconnect us from the old system and connect us to the new?
3. “The Principles of Real Revolution”: The full power of the old system is lined up and is already pushing back at the new. “THEY” know we have their number and they know we are death to them and they will fight tooth and nail to defeat us. So it is important for us to know how to deal with this and people like Gandhi and Havel show us the way.
4. “The Heart of the Matter – Food”: There are several factors that shape human culture. Our primary energy source, climate, our primary communication tools. So Peak Oil, Climate Change and the Web will rock the old system and make the birth of the new essential. For the old system cannot cope with these changes. But the real deal is the food system. How we get our food is THE most powerful factor is shaping human society, culture and so power. What will it be about the new food model that is the Game CHanger? Why will it set you free? Why will it change everything – where and how you live and who has power and who does not.
You and I can go home – all we have to do is to change our mind about who we are and where we are.
Here is a piece that make me cry every time I read it out loud – it says it all for me.
There will come a time when humanity will choose to go against nature, to exploit her bounteous gifts, causing a sickness across the planet. People will forget the ecstasies of communion, and life will become drab and colorless.
In these coming dark ages, though, a deep sense of loss will cause the beginnings of a Great Return. They will look at the landscape and the old temples, built to withstand the cataclysms of millennia and understand once again the sacred laws of Existence.
When this day comes, humanity will have come of age. It will consciously acknowledge its role in the creative impulse that comes from the Sun, fertilizes the Earth, and calls forth the flame in the hearts of men and women to worship Life and the miraculous forces behind Creation.
Miller, Hamish & Broadhurst, Paul. The Sun and the Serpent: An Investigation into Earth Energie
Prince Edward Island, where I live, has a very high obesity rate. So do many rural parts of America and of cource the rest of Atlantic Canada.
We have looked at why there is an physical environmental difference between cities and the rural and we have looked at the social environment where our friends influence how we look.
But why is the rate of obesity and related illness SO MUCH worse in certain types of rural settings? Now we are going to look at who we are as people.
The issue here is in our ancestral heritage. Those of us who live in rural Canada and the rural US tend to come from a heritage that is only recently exposed to agriculture.
PEI and Atlantic Canada are settled mainly by Scots Irish. So is the large Appalachian region of the US. It is mainly here in Canada and there in thje US that obesity and related poor health is the worst. Why?
The answer is that we are Gaels.
Gaels, are the Hunter Gatherers of Europe who got pushed to the edge of the continent by the new farmers.
Look at the thin sliver on the far left of Scotland and Ireland. That is the edge. We were pushed here like so many other Hunter Gatherers have been pushed to the edge where the land is marginal and not suitable for farming.
That is the edge – where the land is the poorest – where life is really tough and so are the people. It is where we come from and here is why this is important when we ask abut why so many of us are so fat today.
For the answer is this. We are the people in Europe with the least exposure to agricultural food. We are the least adapted. We are the most at risk of all Europeans to an adverse reaction to the agricultural diet.
For this diet is new when we look at evolutionary time lines. We have ALL come from a Hunter Gatherer past that extends back for millions of years.
We mainly ate meat, fish and plants. We never ate grains, dairy or beans. Imagine milking a wild auroch!
The maximum time that any human group has had to adapt to agriculture – what I call the “Modern Diet” would likely be 6,000 years ago. Here is new evidence on when agriculture began in England. In Evolutionary terms this is yesterday. Some Europeans have made a partial adaptation – but even this is lost by middle age.
The key point to bear in mind is that we are designed to be healthy and fit – PROVIDED – we live the plan that evolution has worked out with us.
As with all hunter gatherers, we did very well on our ancestral diet.
This engraving is of a Mi’Maq made in the 1800th century. This is what most adults would have looked like before they adopted our diet and way of life.
Here is a 60 year old Kitavan Chief who has never been exposed to our diet – see the similarity in body?Kitavans have no diseases of modern civilization.
Here is the late great singer Israel Kamakawi’ole just before his death. He is an example of the kind of reaction a recent hunter gatherer can have to the modern diet. He shares the same kind of Pacific hunter gatherer heritage to the Kitavan.
The closer you are to a hunter gatherer past – the more vulnerable you are to reacting badly to the modern diet. This recent exposure to the modern diet is a powerful force in why so many in the First Nations community have such a risk of Type 2 Diabetes and related illness and why the Gaels run them a close second.
So what to do?
So if you are of First Nations or Inuit heritage with maybe 150 years maximum exposure – the western diet of mainly grains, dairy and so sugar is toxic. It is also why alcohol is such a problem as is sugar – for they affect the brain in the same way. They are the same.
If you are a Gael – you are next on the list of at risk. Note the importance of sugar and alcohol in our way of life too. We are very attracted to it.
When I say Modern Diet – I mean bread/grains, dairy and legumes. The Industrial Diet is a separate category and is even more a disaster for us.
If we were to go back to eating a diet that was comprised of the traditional foods – mainly real meat and real fish and seasonal plants and fruit, we would be the ancestral groups most likely to “heal”. Even better, we stand a chance of doing what the Kitavan Chief has done. Plateau our aging in mid life.
The irony is that while we are the most at risk – we have the best chance of reacting well to a shift back to the traditional diet.
It has taken me 6 months only to undergo a radical change for the better. For when I say “We” I am Gael too from Ayr. I started to feel better after 3 months. I think in 5 years I will have got myself back to a metabolism of my heritage.
This then is a huge health opportunity. The First Nations and the Gaels are really suffering. Medicine has not arrested our decline. But by going home to who we are can heal us.
But there is a huge BUT. A BUT that I will deal with in my next post.
The BUT is this. We Gaels and First Nations’ Peoples have lost confidence in our culture and our tribes. We don’t fit into the Industrial World. WE think and others think that this makes us failures. We don’t want 9 – 5. We don’t want to make work the centre of who we are. We hate regimen. We hate offices – we want to be outside.
We were were never farmers and so never were serfs or slaves. We lived according to the time of nature not the clock. But of course farmers were ideally suited to becoming indistrial serfs – no change at all in how they lived.
We will explore this tommorrow. We will ask – “who is the greater fool?” – We will look at how the web and a new economy might enable us to bring back a hunter gatherer way of life in a modern context.
We will look at our tribal values and traditions – respect for our elders and for women – our love of music and the dance – our love of art – our love for our children – our deep respect for nature and sense of connection to it – our eternal view of time and see these as the values that all men and women need if our species is to survive what our industrial culture has done to us and the planet.
By Going Home we might give our kids a chance.
Lack of power and control and low social status is a major factor in making us ill. So if we cannot change the system, how can we get more power, control and social status?
This week we will look at how we might do this.
These posts will all be about each of us as individuals. For the revolution starts with each one of us and not out there. On Monday we will look at the most extreme example – how Viktor Frankl kept his power in the death camps. For he could not change his world he could only control how he reacted to it.
“I did not know whether my wife was alive, and I had no means of finding out (during all my prison life there was no outgoing or incoming mail); but at that moment it ceased to matter. There was no need for me to know; nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved. Had I known then that my wife was dead, I think that I would still have given myself, undisturbed by that knowledge, to the contemplation of her image, and that my mental conversation with her would have been just as vivid and just as satisfying. ‘Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death.‘” pp. 56-58.
We today are also confronted by a culture that can overwhelm us and is bad for us. It has taken us away for being human. For the centre of the Industrial Culture is “Work” and “Industry”. We ask each other – “What do you do? We tend to answer by giving our work role – “I’m an engineer” or “I work for Bell”. We almost never say “I like to garden” or I am a dad. The Question “How are you?” is usually answered with “I’m so busy!”
Work not life is what our culture is all about.
From our earliest years we are taught that paid work is the centre of life. We have to work hard at school so that we can get paid work. We have to focus at school – because we have to give the right answers to the set questions. If we do get paid work, we have to focus all the time. For it is focus on the expected results that is the way – isn’t it? We have to try and balance work and family and usually work wins. if we dont have good work and pay, we are also doomed as failures. So we cannot win.
Our industrial culture means that every other part of life than work and industry is secondary. By giving up the rest of ourselves and our world to this meme we have to get stressed because we know we are missing out on important parts of ourselves. We have next to no power or control.
So how do we get our power back?
Do we have to take to the streets? Maybe. But even then we have no power or control.
The irony is that power and control and social status does not come from outside but inside. Like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz – the way home is always in our control – all we have to do is to ask.
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.
So much choice in shampoo and other soaps and personal care products. We use masses of them every day to look better and small sweeter. But what’s in them?
Here’s the story – now I can see what the risks are I have changed my bathroom completely. Here is what to watch for:
So what am I doing now? I am going to buy my soap from real soap makers – you can too and here is where I am going to start – she is on PE and also does mail order on the web.
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.
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.
Vitamin D is a hormone and like Insulin and Cortisol has a major effect on our system
” Vitamin D is by far the greatest deficiency in the civilized world. Surveys show that at least 70% of all Americans are vitamin D deficient, and up to 85% of African-American women of child-bearing age are deficient. 48% of young girls aged 9 to 11 are deficient. 76% of pregnant mothers are severely vitamin D deficient causing widespread deficiencies in their unborn children. 90% of all hospital patients are deficient, and 99% of nursing home residents are deficient. 65% of Chicago residents are deficient and even doctors living in southern Florida are 42% deficient. It is estimated that at least 1 billion people worldwide are deficient.” Saunders Vitamin D Deficiency (Link pdf)
A week of editing 63 videos for Michael and splitting wood for me left me unable to use my right hand. The pain was excruciating – especially at night.
So what to do?
The medical profession of course leads off with anti inflammatories and then defaults to surgery. Others have splints and prosthetics to see you.
But I looked to see for advice that would enable me to undo the strain and here it is. It could not be more simple and in 4 days I was completely better.
This image shows a shift in lifespan. Back in the day living in the city such as New York was bad for your health and lifespan. Today people in New York live linger and healthier lives. Why?
This article suggests that once the crime issues had been addressed in the 1990’s, that it was the basic design of the city that has made the difference. Above all people are more active in New York – they don’t drive everywhere – mainly they walk. So we see the activity issue in play again – for in rural areas, we all get into the car for any reason. New York has 2 out of the 3 areas of Evolutionary Fit all there by design. Rural areas have none of them. You have to work hard in the rural areas to find this fit – odd isn’t it. Here are the details..
The new reality was that living in the suburbs and the country was the killer. In January 2005, Vlahov and his colleagues penned a manifesto they cleverly called “The Urban Health ‘Advantage,’ ” and published it in the Journal of Urban Health. Cities, they posited, were now the healthiest places of all, because their environment conferred subtle advantages—and guided its citizens, often quite unconsciously, to adopt healthier behaviors.
Three years ago, Lawrence Frank, a professor of urban planning at the University of British Columbia, set out to measure this effect, examining 10,858 people in Atlanta and the type of neighborhood they lived in. Some were in purely residential suburban neighborhoods, where you had to get in your car to buy a carton of milk; others lived in “mixed” downtown areas with shops within walking distance. When he checked the results, the health difference was shockingly large: A white man who lived in a more urban, mixed-use area was fully ten pounds lighter than a demographically identical guy who lived in a sprawling suburb.
“The more you drive, the more you weigh,” Frank tells me after I call him to talk about it. He was unsurprised when I described New York’s increases in life expectancy. “You put people in an environment where public transportation is rational and driving is almost impossible, and it would be shocking not to see this outcome,” he says. Other scientists suggest that New York’s benefits do not occur merely because the city is walkable. It’s also because New York is old and filled with attractive architecture and interesting street scenes—since, as it turns out, aesthetically pretty places lure people out of their homes and cars. A 2002 study by the National Institutes of Health found that people living in buildings built before 1973 were significantly more likely to walk one-mile distances than those living in areas with newer architecture—because their environments were less architecturally ugly.
At the same time, New Yorkers are also more likely to visit parks than people who live in sprawl, because the parks are closer at hand. And proximity matters, as a study by Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at the rand Corporation, discovered. When she examined the use of several parks in Los Angeles, she found that almost half the people using any given park lived no more than a quarter-mile away. In contrast, only 13 percent of the people using the park had come from more than a mile away. “The farther you are, the less willing you are to go to the park,” she notes.
Interestingly, urban theorists believe it is not just the tightly packed nature of the city but also its social and economic density that has life-giving properties. When you’re jammed, sardinelike, up against your neighbors, it’s not hard to find a community of people who support you—friends or ethnic peers—and this strongly correlates with better health and a longer life. Then there are economies of scale: A big city has bigger hospitals that can afford better equipment—the future of medicine arrives here first. We also tend to enjoy healthier food options, since demanding foodies (vegetarians and the like) are aggregated in one place, making it a mecca for farm-fresh produce and top-quality fish, chicken, and beef. There’s also a richer cultural scene than in a small town, which helps keep people out and about and thus mentally stimulated.
Here is a link to a pdf by David Vlahov on the “Urban Health Advantage that inspired this article and this further research.
So we see here the full irony – a big city like New York offers us at least 2 out the the 3 major areas of “Fit”
So if you then eat real food – you have the trifecta! And a place like New York offers better food too – like a magnet..
We also tend to enjoy healthier food options, since demanding foodies (vegetarians and the like) are aggregated in one place, making it a mecca for farm-fresh produce and top-quality fish, chicken, and beef.
Sitting, it would seem, is an independent pathology. Being sedentary for nine hours a day at the office is bad for your health whether you go home and watch television afterward or hit the gym. It is bad whether you are morbidly obese or marathon-runner thin. “Excessive sitting,” Dr. Levine says, “is a lethal activity.”
The good news is that inactivity’s peril can be countered. Working late one night at 3 a.m., Dr. Levine coined a name for the concept of reaping major benefits through thousands of minor movements each day: NEAT, which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. In the world of NEAT, even the littlest stuff matters. McCrady-Spitzer showed me a chart that tracked my calorie-burning rate with zigzagging lines, like those of a seismograph. “What’s that?” I asked, pointing to one of the spikes, which indicated that the rate had shot up. “That’s when you bent over to tie your shoes,” she said. “It took your body more energy than just sitting still.”
In a motion-tracking study, Dr. Levine found that obese subjects averaged only 1,500 daily movements and nearly 600 minutes sitting. In my trial with the magic underwear, I came out looking somewhat better — 2,234 individual movements and 367 minutes sitting. But I was still nowhere near the farm workers Dr. Levine has studied in Jamaica, who average 5,000 daily movements and only 300 minutes sitting.
Dr. Levine knows that we can’t all be farmers, so instead he is exploring ways for people to redesign their environments so that they encourage more movement. We visited a chairless first-grade classroom where the students spent part of each day crawling along mats labeled with vocabulary words and jumping between platforms while reciting math problems. We stopped by a human-resources staffing agency where many of the employees worked on the move at treadmill desks — a creation of Dr. Levine’s, later sold by a company called Steelcase.
Dr. Levine was in a philosophical mood as we left the temp agency. For all of the hard science against sitting, he admits that his campaign against what he calls “the chair-based lifestyle” is not limited to simply a quest for better physical health. His is a war against inertia itself, which he believes sickens more than just our body. “Go into cubeland in a tightly controlled corporate environment and you immediately sense that there is a malaise about being tied behind a computer screen seated all day,” he said. “The soul of the nation is sapped, and now it’s time for the soul of the nation to rise.”
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.
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 …
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 …
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: