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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

If you are in the 99% and have low control, this is how stress affects your health #freedom99%

More and more evidence is available that tells us that what we eat – an industrial diet – is a major cause of the chronic health epidemic. But what is less known is the affect of social inequality and so lack of control. With so much power concentrated in so few hands today, this issue of lack of control is a major driver of stress and so is a major driver of our health epidemic. On this site I have introduced you to the thesis behind Stress and to the 2 giants in the field, Robert Sapolsky and Sir Michael Marmot. Here is a stunning documentary that uses the power of video to tell the story of how all of this works.

This is part 1

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here

Part 4 is here

Part 5 is here

Part 6 is here

Michael Rose is clear – we are designed to be healthy and to age well. So long as we abide by our evolved design and heritage. In the modern world most of us have lost control over all aspects of our life. We rely on people who we don’t know and who cannot care for us for food, shelter and energy. We rely on them for our income and for our health. The more we take back control of these areas of life, the more we reduce our stress and the more healthy we become.

One of the first areas that we can work on is how we eat and where then we get our food. If we choose to eat real food and we choose to eat food provided by local people, people we can know and people who do care, then this is a start for how we take more power back.

In my own case, this alone has transformed my own life and the effects of this choice has removed my worries about being ill and disabled as I get older. I have found at least control over my health – no small thing. It’s a start. I also re-allocate my spending from the 1% to the 99% who live near me. Mini farmers and food distributors get more income. More money stays in my community – we all benefit.

We don’t have to remain helpless.

Hospital in the US – One of the most dangerous places you can go to

September 1, 2011 Context, Infection, Resources No Comments

This data reminds us that Hospital is not a safe place and that going to Hospital in the US is positively dangerous. I take all of this into consideration when I think of the choices ahead of me. Will the conditions in Hospital get better or worse in the next 30 years as I get very old? What do you think?

The Hazards of Hospitals
Created by: MedicalBillingAndCodingCertification.net

Let’s stop the nit picking re Ancestral/Paleo and Focus on the Big Context

I have to admit being guilty of nit picking and loving a good fight and spent a lot of this weekend involved in such little fights – but my wife and best friend Robin reminded me that this was not the best approach. And then I read this – a comment on the Ancestral Health Conference and I am convinced. If this movement is like a church – the broader the gates the better – best we stay at the context level rather than fight about the details of what is in or out – like how many angels could stand on the head of a pin – a major debate back in the early years of Christianity! Here is the link (Stumptuous.com Krista Scott Dixon)

Why is studying ancestral health and primal diets important? And what do we plan to do with that knowledge?

Well, let’s back up.

Here are a couple of fundamental concepts behind the notion of “ancestral” or “primal” health.

Concept 1: Hominids evolved to eat a particular range of foods, in a particular context.

There is no ONE “ancestral” or “primal” diet. Humans do just fine on many diets that vary by region and seasonal availability. That can mean anything from all-tubers-all-the-time (as in Staffan Lindberg’s research on the Kitavans) or the blubberiffic no-veggies-no-problem diet of indigenous northern peoples.

Humans did not dominate the globe by being picky eaters.

We did, however, get very used to eating stuff that we could hunt, gather, and/or dig up. We got used to working for our dinners. We somehow forgot to invent TV right away, so we ended up getting riptshizzled by climbing trees, running from tigers, hauling logs, playing (more than you’d think) and trying not to die.

Concept 2: We lived for millions of years with this primal diet and lifestyle. High-fructose corn syrup was introduced in the mid-20th century. Hilarity ensued.

The mismatch between 99.99% of our genetic history and our currently 21st reality causes most “diseases of civilization”.

Now, most folks focus on the content of the diet. Which makes sense. You are what you eat.

Thus, many presenters covered things like the conversion of fructose to craptabolism and why that matters; how vitamin D will make you immortal; why inadequate fat will make you insane; or the importance of understanding the specific molecular structure of lectins (giant geek boner for Mat Lalonde!! *making “call me for o-chem study sessions” thumb-and-finger gesture*).

Other presenters added context by focusing on specific health effects.

Frinstance, is your GI tract healthy and are bacteria our overlords? Did you know that some people have juicy white plaque sausages in their arteries? Why are Westerners such diabetic lazy bastards? and so forth.

All of this was entirely awesome. You know that feeling (any of you born earlier than 1980) of eating Pop Rocks fizzy candy? Well that was my brain.

Still, despite the often crudely drawn nerd-porn of molecular structures and chemical conversion pathways, the overall vibe, at times, lacked a certain je ne sais quoi. Actually we do sais quoi, and it came from Frank Forencich. Which is this.

It’s great — crucial, even — to focus on what we ate, and eat. This knowledge alone, if put into practice, could save millions of lives.

But humans did not live by bread organ meats alone. It is also essential to understand:

  • how we ate — with others, in a structure of mutual interdependence
  • how we got what we ate — hunting and gathering communally, reading the signs of the land and the animals, moving in all kinds of ways
  • that we played as well as worked
  • that we were intimately connected to our group, tribe, community, ancestors, stories, land, and other organisms; and our sense of self was derived from a deep relationship with all these things
  • that we lived in and through our bodies as well as in and through our perceptions and foci — our realities were comprised of what we paid attention to (think about that as you’re diddling with your Blackberry)
  • that we lived in a physical and geographic context with changing seasons, temperatures, physical sensations, light levels, vegetation, and animal populations

By the way, although hat tip to Boyd Eaton for the discussion of egalitarianism and gendered divisions of labour, next year I’d like a little less on “Man the Hunter” and a little more on “Woman the Gatherer”. Hello, did women even exist in the Paleo period? We know from studies of modern foraging societies that even top-notch hunters strike out more often than not, and women’s foraging labour typically sustains the group more consistently.

Anyway, you see where I’m going, I hope.

Don’t get hung up too much on the “what”. Ask also about the “how” and the “why”. Don’t miss the ancestral forest for the carb-and-protein trees. Human history offers us a tremendous, rich, diverse, nuanced narrative. Dig in to this conceptual buffet.

Think big. Bigger.

This primal/ancestral stuff is huge. Let us not constrain ourselves to amino acids and carbon groups (as delicious as the debates may be). Let’s not focus on whether coconut flour is “Paleo”. Let’s get contextual all up in that shit. Let’s dive into the exuberance of the big, big, BIG picture.

Let us get over ourselves and find out what our ancestors have to say. Let us shut up and listen to their histories, their stories, their bones, their insights, their genes, their movements, their social and physical geography, the undulating rhythms of their seasons and lives, and their dancing bacterial overlords.

Oh, but the grass-fed beef jerky can stay.

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

Cholesterol – The Fake Issue for Heart Disease

I Have High Cholesterol, and I Don’t Care (Part I) from The Healthy Skeptic on Vimeo.

When you look at this short video – you will stop worrying about it. But you may worry why your Doctor does? Why does she? I wonder if the $23 billion sales of Statins might have a bearing?

Your Lifespan – Part 4 – Why Medicine is part of the Problem and what you can do to change this

You are reading this post because you believe in a new understanding of how our health works. You know that you can take charge of your health. So why, if you know this to be true, is it so hard to persuade others? What is in the way? The quick answer is the medical profession and the vast majority of the people who believe that their health depends on the healthcare system are in the way. The good news is that you can also act to change this – even though you are only you and not the establishment.

Why should this be? And why can you have the hope that you can make a difference?

After all don’t THEY know best? Well as I am about to show you, they don’t and “They” have often stood in the way of real change. The medical profession tried their best to stop the last revolution. But in the science won.

Let me show you a few examples.

Back in 1850, EVERYONE believed that disease was spread by smells. This was called the Miasma Theory. It had a logic to it. Corruption does smell. This well-established belief was of course held not only by the public but by the establishment. All the top doctors knew this to be true. Miasma was the foundation of the medical system at the time.

So when Dr John Snow discovered that cholera was spread directly in water and could prove that one pump was the source and showed how the pump had been contaminated – the establishment shut the pump but dismissed his findings. If you have a look at the map above you can see what Snow and everyone could see. The black marks are deaths by location. All Snow could measure was deaths. He did not know what he was looking for.

Can you see it? Can you see what he had the openess to see?

The deaths cluster around one pump. (The Broad Street Pump)

The establishment could see this too. They closed the pump. BUT they would not allow themselves to go the next step and see this link as a link. They could not accept that cholera was spread by direct contact with the water and some unknown thing in it. They held to the theory that it was smell.

When Ignatz Semmelweis discovered that if doctors washed their hands after autopsies and then helped women give birth, they did not die of fever, he was hounded out of his position.

Neither Snow or Semmelweis knew of germs. But they both were real scientists. They saw what was there and what was real. The establishment was captured by a theory. Worse, their careers and reputation all depended on the theory. So they had to deny and punish the people who could challenge them.

One last story about Florence Nightingale. She arrives in the Crimea with her nurses, an alien idea on its own, and finds the hospital at Scutari a scene of desolation. What you may not know about her was that she was one of the first ever to use statistics. Argument with the senior medical staff failed. After all who was she? Only a woman! What did she know compared to them – the male doctors? So she fell back on statistics.

In this chart, the areas in red are deaths are from wounds. The area in blue from disease. She was able to show that in time, the entire British force would die from disease. This was what she used to persuade the people above her that she could try a few novel things – like clean the place up!

She too knew nothing about germs. But she could see something what we have lost today in hospitals that making them immaculately clean was a good thing.

These stories tell me that the real pioneers in health always start out as rebels. They have to be this to be pioneers. That the real pioneers use the power of observation. Galileo did too!

That the establishment don’t. They hold onto the dogma. And they punish observation when it contradicts the theory. The Dogma has to prevail to help them keep their status, their power and their income.

These stories show us where we are today in the new Health Revolution. What we have now are results that don’t fit the theory. Paleo and Crossfit deliver results. Better, the science id there too. Taubes, Lustig are showing the fallacies in the Fat makes you fat Dogma. Lindeberg showing the population effects if diet. Marmot and Sapolsky showing the social drivers and Michael Rose, like Pasteur, has the big overarching umbrella – that all disease is environmental (as of course is infection) and that if we live in the right environments we will be healthy. That this is not a mad idea but a product of the process of Evolution.

This idea changes the foundation of how we see health today. The Miasma of today is that each disease is separate and has a pathway. So your heart is one area and you lungs are another. That heart disease is different from dementai. That each problem can be cured by a specific treatment. That medicine is transactional – each problem is a stand alone. And all of this mechanistic thinking has created a vast system based on this wrong view of how nature works. Made worse by how confusing this approach is. For it has no context.

Here is what we are up against:

Why is it that doctors are so fiercely resistant to change? Particularly at the cost of so many lives lost. Particularly when any honest physician must see they don’t have the answers when it comes to healing chronic disease.  What is it about the medical profession and the way it is structured that makes it such a depressing and bankrupt picture for the future? Yes there are villains. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for in the way it has co-opted and co-erced doctors. Yes, there are always those physicians who care a lot more about maintaining their authority and standing than about healing people, but the great majority of doctors are concerned and try their best. So why isn’t it working?

I believe the answer is twofold.

First there is simply so much scientific information out there that it is very hard to keep up with it all.

Second, the major pharmaceuticals have taken advantage of this fact. They make drugs. Drugs don’t cure people, but they can and often do relieve the symptoms. The drug companies bombard doctors with the information which says “this” drug for “that” disease. All the doctor now has to do is select which drug from the competing drug makers who duke it out amongst themselves to divide the spoils. The doctor is not in the business of healing any more, he has become a glorified pharmacist. When the drugs don’t hack it, he passes his unfortunate patient on up the medical food chain, to a specialist, a surgeon and finally a hospital.

A Legal Solution…..?
I’m not overfond of lawyers, but if you’ve got the money a reputable legal firm will go a long way to win your case for you and earn their share of the winnings. The medical profession ain’t like that. They don’t get paid any more or less if you live or die. What they get paid for is the number of people they see in a day. Even if you’ve got the money and you’ve got a life-threatening cancer, do you reckon your doctors would pull out all the stops to get a winning result in the way a team of attorneys would? I don’t think so.

So this is the Miasma Theory of our time.

So how can I be so hopeful that you and I can take this on and change it?

We need only have 15% of the population onside and the system will tip. This is at the heart of what is known as Adoption Theory. You may know it as the Tipping Point.

So how do we get to 15% and what is in the way? What is in the way is the system as it is now. I think it is to show our story to others. Be an example of health to you family, friends and colleagues. For now they believe the dogma. But as they see YOU. They will start to question it.

I am finding that I cannot convert by words. Only by example. So my friends “Be the change” and it will happen all around you.

It took the pioneers about 50 years back on the 19th century to tip the system. Look at the growth of Paleo and Crossfit now? We have come from nowhere in 10 years. People are noticing us. The epidemic gets worse every year. Weekly there is more evidence that our system does not work. It does not make us healthy.

The money to fund the Miasma is running out too. My hope is that in 10 years, we will have won. The Miasma will be on the back foot fighting for its life. In 20 years it will be gone.

So, it is up to us. You can truly be a real hero. By being the change, you will have bene part of this movement that will change the world for the better. More on this in my final post in this series.

 

Your Lifespan – Part 3 – What is the one simple but big idea that can help you be healthy?

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.

 

 

Your Lifespan – Part 2 – How you and I get ill

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.

Even TB!

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:

  • Eating a diet that is mainly composed of grains and sugars and other foods such as dairy and legumes
  • Living and working in a culture where we have little or no control or say
  • Losing touch with what our bodies really need in terms of activity, sleep and exposure to the natural world

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.

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Return – Part 5 – Why Food is the way Home

I have been trying to see how #Paleo is more than a diet. Taking control of our health will in the end be about changing how we live. For our system today not only restricts our diet to shit but treats us like slaves. Tinkering with the system will not alter this. Taking on the system in protest will not either.

So how do most of us take control of our health? It is by overthrowing the system in the same way that it overthrew the Hunter Gatherer system. By establishing a new system that has more power.

This post is all about how they will happen.

“Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains. One thinks himself the master of others, and still remains a greater slave than they” J J Rousseau – the opening of the Social Contract

Today we think we are free but we are not. None of us are free.

Even Princes have no real control. For we ALL depend on institutions for all the essentials for life.

We all have no control over our food, over our energy, over our shelter, over access to credit and so to work itself. Our children are expensively taught by strangers. Our health itself is controlled by a vast medical empire.

We are not free. We depend on a system as a slave depends on her master or a cow on the farmer.

So how did this come about? It all comes about as a result of the Food System – how we get our food drives the very essence of our culture.

Cavalier_assur2
Our current modern food system is based on the idea of domination. Domination over nature. Domination over people. Domination is our culture.

How we get our food will be the most powerful process we can use to change all of this.

The revolution will not be as a result of protest but of people coming together to grow food in a new way that does not depend on oil, on credit or the industrial food distribution system. That does not depend on Domination but on Cooperation.

It will be based not on small peasant systems that all still depend on agriculture. But on small networked farms that work instead WITH nature. Where we use our new understanding of how nature works to mimic her and to use her forces to help us.

There will be NO PLOUGH. And FEW grains. There will be no CONFINEMENT. Scale will come from aggregation not concentration.

The protein will rotate on grass. The vegetables will be part of that system and also use the principles ofPermaculture. The system will have a positive reinforcement. Each part will help the others and over time, most of the work will be done by nature herself.

Assyrianmap
We will get here not as a result of any Utopian dream but in the same way that the Assyrians pushed out the local Hunter Gatherers. This was not adoption but evolution – the system that could field the armies won.

The shift to a new food system will be finally achieved when enough of us live in the new that the old will have to die.

At first some of us will adapt to this because we will have no choice. With no jobs, no money, expensive oil, no credit – we die or evolve. We evolve by growing a new system that does not need the old system.

As more and more of us find a place here, the old system loses it power. More and more people will be attracted to it because it gives them what they cannot find in the old system.

The old system demands vast amounts of capital and energy. To pay for this, it has to rely on us slaves to pay. Well soon we will not be able to pay. So the old will be defeated by its own inability to fund itself and to find the energy that it needs.

What would it take? It is so vulnerable now that it 15% of us left it forever, I think it would fall. For that is the Tipping Point moment.

So how would this shift start? I think like all new systems. It will take a few pioneers who can see the choices. So in closing – here are some pictures of the old followed by the new. Do you see what I see?

Here is what the 2 systems look like side by side.

This cannot survive a system failure

6a00d83451db7969e201156fc96bd0970c-800wi
This can

6a00d83451db7969e201156fc96c6d970c-800wi
This cannot survive a system failure

Feedlot.jpeg

This can

6a00d83451db7969e20147e1ad2623970b-800wi
This cannot survive a system failure

Mexcity
This can

Ctown

So here is the choice. Which system do you want to bet on? Do you have kids or grand children? Now ask again which system do you want to bet on?

Here is your next choice. Will you wait and see how this develops? Or will you work to help this change come?

Will you fight this or embrace it? If fight, how will your kids benefit?

Getting home may be a hard struggle. What immigrant ever had it easy. But the New World we make, could be a much better one that the one we have. And surely our kids will thank us.

This is also not about “Them” versus “Us” – for as JJR said We are all in Chains, even the overseers. For we are prisoners of an idea.

Be the Change! How Michael Rose and PEI Saved me

Here I am in August 2009 – pre diabetic – a typical middle aged man. I thought that this was my destiny – that all men of my age had to be like this.

Rob at beach 09

But after talking with Michael Rose and then 9 months of eating differently and being more active – this is who I am now

Robsummer011

Not thin – but 35 pounds less and importantly most of my visceral fat has gone as have my man boobs.

With luck, I should be able to be healthy and fit and like this until I die. With luck I have pulled back from the normal on PEI where the average man aged 65 is disabled by ill health and then lives for another 10 years a drain on his family and the state.

My aim was not just to lose weight6 – this is so much more than just another diet. It was to return my body to its designed natural state which woudl allow me to plateau. To keep have a long “Healthspan”.

We talk all the time about Lifespan – but for me what counts is how long can I live and be healthy? My “healthspan”.

So how did I do this in such a short time?

Most of this has taken place as a result of a change in diet – I gave up most modern foods – grains – dairy – legumes. I do cheat now and then too. I am not perfect.  Routinely, I eat no processed food though – drink no pop or beer unless I am travelling and then very very rarely – I am only human!

I do drink a lot of wine. 3-4 glasses a day.

I don’t eat any kind of candy and no sugar at all.

I am never hungry. I rarely need to snack and if I do, I tend to have a few nuts.

I did spinning for 2 months in the late winter once a wek – but most of my “exercise” is activity based. Why pay for a gym when I can stack 4 cords of wood!

I feel so much better. Lighter – not just in weight but in spirit. My knees don’t hurt. You put a back pack on with 35 pounds of bricks in it and walk all day and you might see why my knees hurt.

My blood tests are of a 25 year old. I sleep well.

I work at a standing desk and can do that all day now without getting too tired. It took 2 months to be my new normal and is now. I garden, move wood, use the stairs and walk the dog.

Now it helps also that I have a ot of control in my life. I work for myself and Robin and I have a hunter gatherer life. We do a bit of this and that. I don’t have a lot of cash in hand but I din’t rely on one key person to pay me. By giving up my expensive life and big mortgage in Toronto, I have no debt.

By living not in a rush, I have time for my friends and family and have time to do a lot of work for free – to spend weeks with my kids – to help others on what they want.

I go to bed early and rise with the sun. I work outside all year. If it is not mowing – it’s shovelling. I walk our dog every day rain, snow, wind or shine.

I belong to a few great tribes of people that I love – who do the great work of our time. My life is an adventure again.

Changing my way of eating was in fact the easiest and fastest way back to health.

Leaving my old life in the big city and the big world was harder to do. It took maybe 10 years to complete the change and took me to the limit. I had to kill off the old me and leave my old life behind.

Coming to PEI saved me. And so did Michael Rose

Bill Maher tells the truth about health

It seems that the only people speaking the truth these days are comedians – sad

The Great Return – Part 4 – The Inquisition and Why it always fails

Gandhi
First they ignore you – then they laugh at you – then they fight you – then you win.

Today I am going to explore how we are about to experience all of this as we see the power of the Corporate World – more powerful than the Empire in India – go down. We see it now in media but we will see the final battle in the arena of health and food.

It is going to be in this area where the public will awake and discover how they and their children have been betrayed. I will show you today how betrayal is the key flash point of revolution that spreads the meme beyond the initiating cadre to the mass. 

All Imperialists from Rome to Britain and the Institutional/Corporate World have had the best of intentions. For after all Rome did actually do a lot good things. But the price of Empire is loss of freedom. And in the end this is what we all want. Espcially if Empire can no longer offer good roads, peace and justice etc.

The road to Freedom often starts with a funny man in a dhoti. How the Titans of the Empire laughed at Gandhi then. 

This process of ignoring – laughing – fighting and losing is what happens to the establishment in any paradigm shift. Who in 1935 could imagine the British Empire leaving India?

Who can imagine the Corporate Titans of our own time losing control of us?

Today time speeds by – what took decades now takes years. The Mad idea of working with nature and using her models, is very new. Maybe only 20 years old. In terms of a coherent way of eating and its relation to food maybe a decade. Blogging about this began in 2005!

In less than 6 years, millions are involved. The time of “Ignoring” has past.

The old system’s immune system has been alerted. And the laughing and the attacks have begun.

Paleo” is being talked about by the mainstream media as a joke – the Caveman Diet. Just another fad. Ignoring the point that this is not a diet but part of a larger context of health – that of aligning how we live to our evolutionary past.

Expect more “Jokes”.

The “Attack” is all about Food Safety.

We are seeing concerted attacks on people who raise animals in a truly safe way – small egg flocks – people growing veggies in their front yard. They tell the mainstream that this food is not safe. Ignoring that the factory systems food is at the centre of our long term chronic health crisis.

Expect more attacks designed to raise the fear of the public and fear among the pioneers.

Autodefe
They will “burn” them as heretics. In modern terms they will humiliate us and take away our livliehood. And do it all in the context of keeping the rest of us safe from heresy. 

The establishment are powerful not just because they have a few Titans at the top but because there are so many functionaries below them. People who make their living and have their power as a result of being in the system. 

But the smart revolutionary does not attack this group. They depend utterly on the Titan. When he goes they go too. The News of the World staff get fired and cannot be rehired. The Mubarak inner circle and support melt away when their man falls.

But they cannot be ignored – they will be the ones who attack the new. Not the Titan himself.

You cannot win by attacking this system directly. They will crush you.

You win by allowing them to commit an outrage on you! It’s very Zen!

The Titans destroy themselves by going too far in their attacks. At some point they outrage the sleeping people. 

Massacre
In India, the innocents were killed at Armritsar

Look at what is going on in England now. The entire political class in the UK now has to step back from Murdoch. His henchmen/women have gone too far.

The people did not mind the Hugh Grants of the world or the Royals being hacked. But they cannot tolerate the families of war dead, of murdered children being the targets. And now that Gordon Brown has been seen as being defiled by the Titan, all can see that the only way ahead now to to sweep Murdoch away.

The people move when THEY feel the injustice and the betrayal.

So now to us. What will be the moment?

I see two tracks tnat interact. The power of social media and the increase in awareness that we are all being betrayed by the system.

The power of social media means that the secrets of the Titans can no longer be hidden. The big betrayals are amplified by social media. The power of social media means that dictators can no longer oppress their people without the world looking on. The more they assault their own people – such as in Libya and Syria – the more inevitable it is that they lose.

So what about us in the west. The scale of the deception and so betrayal builds every day.

  • The War in Iraq was based on a lie
  • We have also lost in Afghanistan trying to support the unsupportable
  • The press is being shown to be mainly in the pockets of its owners – it has done its best to hide the truth
  • Wall Street owns the recovery and the people are bereft – there is no growth in employment
  • The young in Europe and the old are shut out
  • The Euro zone and America’s credit are on the knife edge but we were told that we have to pay back the bankers

Meanwhile the old contract is being destroyed

  • The pensions that boughtv our obediance when we worked for them are going
  • The schools and roads that we paid for are in ruins
  • The justice system is being gamed
  • Even our water system is for sale
  • We don’t own our homes annymore
  • Our children did all we asked and there are no jobs
  • We are told that we are not safe and our liberties are removed

You can add to this list – the reasons for consent are melting.

All of this is coming out of the New Media and the stories get bigger and get more traction every day – the Titans are shown not to care about us. They are shown to be cynical manipluators.

And now we come to the big lie – that our health and old age will be looked after by a Ponzi scheme of the transfer payments. 

This demographic and fiscal crisis will be the battle ground where the revolt will take place.

Rising oil and food prices and the debt crisis will all come together and the people will have nothing to lose by taking the risk of leaving the system. 

The entire basis of the western deal with its people will unravel and the people will be betrayed just when they are the most vulnerable.

So what to do? What do you and I do? Not easy question to answer but just as there are patterns of history that show us how true paradigm revolts take place, there are patterns that can help us see our best choices and what will happen in a pattern sense as the revolt gets under way.

Check back in a couple of days.

 

Paleo is not just another diet – It is about going home to being Humans again

Most new comers to “Paleo” think of it as just another fad diet. And we have had so many of them. And they ALL FAIL – so why would this be any different? It is different because it is not a diet but a call for us to heal ourselves from the damage that the industrial world has done to us. Food is a big part of this, but as readers of this blog know, there is so much more. Here Here Here Here

Here then is a call to all those who worry about diets and wonder if Paleo is for them:

Evolution doesn’t like this very much. That’s why we’re so sick in body and in mind these days. While most people seem pretty content to trade health and happiness with yummy tasting foods (or non-foods as I like to call them), a whole lot of others are questioning the validity of eating all their meals out of plastic containers only to wash it down with pills out of plastic bottles.

So, they head off to the Internet in search of answers. A Google search on a healthy diet yields the usual suspect:

1. the vegetarian diet. Change is always exciting but after a while of limiting meat and not seeing much of any benefit at all, they start to wonder (with a little nudge from rising awareness) if all the added breads, pastas, and other wheat products aren’t the culprit. Moving on, they decide to try out the diet everyone is talking about:

2. the gluten-free diet. They trade gluten grains for rice, beans, oatmeal, and the plethora of gluten-free alternatives. Their digestion is still a mess, they haven’t lost any weight, and the depression hasn’t lifted. Even if they were sensitive to gluten, they still feel terrible and assume gluten has nothing to do with it. So, back to the Internet now to narrow the problem down to red meat and saturated fat. With hopes of losing the weight they gained while scarfing down the almost, but not quite, tasty gluten-free snacks, it’s time to test out the tried and true:

3. low fat diet. Eating salads, chicken breast, and rice they drool over their friend’s plates and sneak little bites of forbidden foods. Week in week out they fail and miss their goals (because eating low fat is like abstaining from sex when a whole bunch of good looking, naked people prance around in front of you). They become more depressed and nervous and so they figure out a way to add some fun back in by:

4. counting calories. Finally at liberty to use ranch dressing instead of lemon juice, potato chips instead of saltines as they don’t exceed 1700 calories per day, they still aren’t getting jack for nutrition. They’re still depressed. They’ve lost a little weight but they’re not really cut like they so desire. Back to the Internets, they determine it was junk food slowing them down so they try the diet all their indie friends are into:

5. the raw vegan diet. This one actually tastes great and feels amazing too. They quickly pump themselves full of agave syrup and fruit sugar and feel great! Eventually, though, energy wanes. The cells start to dry out from the lack of saturated fats, the insulin plummets at shorter and shorter intervals, and muscles start consuming themselves from lack of protein. Emaciated, they amble back to the Internet craving meat and fat. Sitting at the desk with a bag of potato chips and other empty high-fat snacks, they enter search terms like “how much fat does a person need?” and “is saturated fat bad for you?” Finally they stumble upon the low carb diet and then finally:

6. the Primal eating strategy. They start eating as much as they want, when they want, and they’re eating all the fat they’ve restricted for the last 1 to 10 years. Within only a few weeks they’ve become tolerant again, hopeful, energetic, and stronger than ever. It seems this diet fuels itself with no extra effort required. Finally, satisfaction and results.

If you think about it, it’s kind of obvious that we shouldn’t be eating anything that you can’t pick or kill with a stick, but the world has replaced million year old tradition with lab-created/altered food variants. While these non-foods do manage to go in one hole and out the other without laying us flat in seconds, they are the cause of so many premature and miserable deaths. People are starting to realize it and it is because of this that:

Why are we so fat in rural settings – Part 2 – Because our friends are fat

For reasons that we are exploring in this series, there are environmental reasons why people who live in rural settings tend to be more overweight than those living in urban settings. But there are social environmental factors as well. And I think it helps to see theses for they represent powerful barriers to change.

Fatfrie1
Imagine that this is you and your family for a moment.

Weightlossjeans
Now imagine that this is you. Your are their sister and you have lost all this weight.

Would you be popular? Would you fit in? Would you be welcomed?

Probably not. I am myself getting push back from some of my friends who now think I am too skinny and who “worry” that I may be verging on anorexia!

Our need as social primates to belong is a powerful force in shaping conformity. If people in your circle are fat – then it is likely that you will become fat and stay fat too. (Article in the Washington Post)

Obesity appears to spread from one person to another like a virus or a fad, researchers reported yesterday in a first-of-its-kind study that helps explain — and could help fight — one of the nation’s biggest public health problems.

The study, involving more than 12,000 people tracked over 32 years, found that social networks play a surprisingly powerful role in determining an individual’s chances of gaining weight, transmitting an increased risk of becoming obese from wives to husbands, from brothers to brothers and from friends to friends.

The researchers found that when one spouse became obese, the other was 37 percent more likely to do so in the next two to four years, compared with other couples. If a man became obese, his brother’s risk rose by 40 percent.

The risk climbed even more sharply among friends — between 57 and 171 percent, depending on whether they considered each other mutual friends. Moreover, friends affected friends’ risk even when they lived far apart, and the influence cascaded through three degrees of separation before petering out, the researchers found.Why is this?

I think it is because, we are intensely social and tribal. If you work in finance, you wear the suit and use the “voice”. If you wore that suit and used that voice at Tim’s on PEI, you would not fit in. I have an English Toffee Nosed Accent – very hard to lose – I will never really fit in to my PEI home. Accents are also an important tribal marker. All good politicians have to sound like the people.

In Paris a 140lb woman would be considered overweight. Not only is Paris a City with physical environments that help increase activity and eating habits that reduce sugar consumption, but Paris has a powerful social environment that punishes the over weight. If you were a 140lb woman on PEI you would be considered trim – assuming you were 5.8 – but after a few months in Paris, you would be working hard to get to 125. You would feel out of place.

So this social power is no small thing in why so many of us are over weight in rural settings like PEI.

Being heavy has become our normal. This social power not only lets us off the hook and reduces our concern personally but actively encourages us to fit in.It also makes losing the weight very hard – socially.

The new thin you is felt as an attack on your friends and family.

So – What to do?

I think first of all let’s acknowledge this power and reality. Knowing this is another reason to stop this pointless yelling at each other to “Eat Sensibly and Take More Exercise” This has not worked and cannot work.

We have to explore all the powerful reasons why most of us in rural settings are over weight.

That is what I am trying to do here.

What the social part of the equation shows us that we cannot take charge of our weight alone. Our families and friends will work to sabotage this. We have to find a place in a new community that will support us.

This is why organizations such as UFIT work so well. Maybe UFIT’s most valuable asset is not the workout but the social environment that the workout takes place in. Here is a post that explains this power.

Ideally we have to be accepted to begin a big change. We have to be with people we trust. These may often NOT be our friends and family. We then have to do a lot of new things a lot in their company. We are in effect creating new habits. Then after 2 years or so – not a short time. We will become a new person.

I doubt that any serious attempt to reduce obesity in rural settings will suceed if we don’t add in a support piece.

Your don’t believe me? See for yourself.(Disclosure I have advised UFIT)

 

Why are rural folks fatter than urban folks? – a pragmatic series

Here is the lead in the Guardian – PEI’s paper of record.

Obesity rates in Prince Edward Island are among the highest in the country. Overall, about 62 per cent of Canadians weigh more than they should. The obesity rates vary from a low of five per cent in Richmond, B.C. to 32 per cent in Kings County, P.E.I. and nearly 36 per cent in the Mamawetan/Keewatin/Athabaska region in Saskatchewan. The rates were below the national average in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Clearly there seems to be a greater percentage of Canadians in rural areas plagued with excessive weight. What are the reasons for this? Is it because of less access to fitness and recreation programs?

We all know that we should be less fat as a group but other than exhort each other to eat better and take more exercise, we are lost. And anyway who knows that Eat Better and Take more Exercise means anyway. It’s not advice that works.

So I am going to play around here this week with a few ideas and insights that may help us do better.

Rural/Urban – Today I will explore with you “What are the Urban/Rural Factors Really?” – We will find that the difference has nothing to do with exercise programs or recreation. Later I will talk about:

Social Norms – How having fat friends makes us fat

Ancestral Heritage – How where your family come from has a huge affect. Why if you are First Nations or Scots and Irish (Much of PEI) you are more at risk.

Social Status and Control – If you work and live in a major city, like Toronto, New York, Paris and London you get status from that and if you live in a rural setting you lose status.

So today why people who live in Cities tend to be thinner than those of us who live in rural settings?

Marriage – Good and bad for our health

Many of us have heard that marriage is good for our health. But this may not always be true – if your marriage is full of conflict, it may be bad. You may be better off without him or her!

Here is a very good article in the NYT by Tara Parker Hope on the work of Ronald Glaser and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, are also, fittingly, married to each other.

“While it’s clear that marriage is profoundly connected to health and well-being, new research is increasingly presenting a more nuanced view of the so-called marriage advantage. Several new studies, for instance, show that the marriage advantage doesn’t extend to those in troubled relationships, which can leave a person far less healthy than if he or she had never married at all. One recent study suggests that a stressful marriage can be as bad for the heart as a regular smoking habit. And despite years of research suggesting that single people have poorer health than those who marry, a major study released last year concluded that single people who have never married have better health than those who married and then divorced.

All of which suggests that while Farr’s exploration into the conjugal condition pointed us in the right direction, it exaggerated the importance of the institution of marriage and underestimated the quality and character of the marriage itself. The mere fact of being married, it seems, isn’t enough to protect your health. Even the Healthy Marriage Initiative makes the distinction between “healthy” and “unhealthy” relationships when discussing the benefits of marriage. “When we divide good marriages from bad ones,” says the marriage historian Stephanie Coontz, who is also the director of research and public education for the Council on Contemporary Families, “we learn that it is the relationship, not the institution, that is key.”

 

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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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