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Humans are carnivores – get over it – and get well

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

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

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

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

Strength versus Fitness – A Critical Distinction

From Chris Highcock’s wonderful short PDF book which you can buy here.

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!

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

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

Your Lifespan – Part 5 – What we must do

As we all worry about the current fiscal situation – this is the time bomb. As so many of us age AND as so many of us who are not that old, get sick from the diseases of Modern Civilization, the costs of healthcare rise beyond the capacity of any nation to fund.

When the Boomers at in their 80′s, Medicare will cost the entire tax capacity of the US.  Of course it won’t, for we will be bust before then.

Many will demand that we get more efficient.

But this trend is unstoppable. And of course it’s not just aging.

42% of us are likely to get cancer. With 30% with Type 2 Diabetes, what will this be like in 20 years time. There are problems at the other end of the the population too. 20 years ago the Autism rate was 1 in 10,000. Now it is 1 in 160. Nearly one percent of the American Population will be unable to cope. And there is no reason to think that this trend will slow down.

So what to do? I think that our first step is to do all that we can to take care of our own health. Reduce the risk of illness and bankruptcy from our own lives. I am finding that my own example, is helping some of my friends take the same action. I have not been able to argue a single person into this. You my dear readers are the choir – it is our friends and family and colleagues that will not act if all we do is make the case.

I am finding that being the change is the best way. Once enough of us exist, then I think we will have enough power to persuade. What about at work. Health costs are killing your employer as well. What about at the state level? If some key workplaces, move then the power will build further. Then some states can move.

Then we will change the system. Then we will have the power to defend ourselves from those who make billions from making us ill and by treating our illness.

So this is very personal. By saving yourself and those that you love, you set in motion the forces that might make this apocalyptic future a lot better.

Good luck

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Your “Lifespan”? – Part 1 – How long have you got before you are really ill?

July 18, 2011 Aging, Context 1 Comment

This is an image that is all about Lifespan. Until the late 1800′s and the discovery of how infection really worked, this was what we all feared. Your child could be well in the morning and dead that night. Entire cities could die in weeks. Most children did die. We have found ways of avoiding this. But actually it was not a drug but public health. It was not medicine but medical knowledge that has extended our Lifespan.

This is our modern equivalent. It shows what is behind the “Healthspan” crisis of our time. When our children are exposed to a number of environments that will cause them to lose their health earlier and earlier and condemn them to a life of illness. They will live but more and more will reach a stage in life where they are so ill that they cannot function as full citizens. Medicine has found no way of preventing this. But it has found a way of keeping us alive – at great cost – when we get these diseases.

You have a greater chance today than 30 years ago in getting – Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, Kidney failure, depression, dementia, arthritis, CFS, IBS, Crohns and many other chronic illnesses. When you get these diseases your ability to work, to look after your self, to be a parent all erode to the point of failure. When you get these diseases the costs to you, your family, your employer and the state are rising so fast that all risk bankruptcy – even the state itself. And the rate of incidence is rising too. More and more of us are going to get these diseases.

“Consider that a National Cancer Institute study projects a 39 percent increase in cancer costs between 2010 and 2020. That figure represents in great part our success in extending the lives of those already afflicted with the disease. Kidney dialysis also has become an economic quagmire. A 150 percent increase in the number of such patients is expected over the next decade. The cost of Alzheimer’s disease is projected to rise from $91 billion in 2005 to $189 billion in 2015 to $1 trillion in 2050 (twice the cost of Medicare expenditures for all diseases now).” (link)

This is a global issue – look at cancer rates in the UK – it is estimated that 42% of Brits will get cancer. (link)

 ”There are currently 2 million people living with cancer in the UK and that number is doubling to 4 million over the next 20 years. Yet no one thinks the country can afford to double its spending on cancer,” Devane said.

So what to do? That is the point of this site and the 55 Theses Sister site.

I thought today it is time to make all of this more personal. For in the end this is not about statistics, it is about you and me. Many of these diseases oppress my family and so affect me directly too. It must be the same for you. Who does not have a friend with heart disease, or cancer or depression? You may have them yourself.

So in this series I will make it all about us.

To start, please think about how do you feel about your Healthspan? Have you lost it already? Has a loved one lost it? Do you see signs, as I did, that you are at risk of losing it? Have you done anything for yourself to prevent you from losing your health?

In this context, I will go back with a personal lens and talk about:

  • How do we get these diseases?
  • Why they are all linked – they are in fact the same
  • What is the role of Medicine?
  • What can you do?

But I would like to hear from you? How much Healthspan do you think you will have?

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

We are we so fat in rural settings – part 3 – Because of our ancestry!

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?

350px-Appalachian_region_of_United_States
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.

Scan -  Map of Europe, Racial, 1935 Literary Digest Atlas of the World

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.

Micmac5

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.

Kitavan

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.

Chart_watch-976440083-1251332296

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.

Here is Dr Michael Rose on this great opportunity for us. Thesis 52

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.

Robfat2
Me 2 years ago – pre diabetic and a typical middle aged Gael on the modern 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.

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)

 

Diet – What you need to know based on your heritage


Thesis 50 reminds us that if you are a person with a heritage that is adapted to the agricultural diet – say from Western Europe – then you can do quite well on the Agricultural diet for a while. 30 appears to be the time when you start to lose this adaptation.

But if you are a Celt or a First Nations Person – better you avoid it all times. For those that are new to to work – Celts are the Hunter Gatherers of Europe who got pushed to the harsh boundaries such as the Highlands and Wales by the early farmers. We, I am a Scot, are the least well adapted Europeans. This may also be why so many Islanders (I live on Prince Edward Island) have such poor health as most come form the Highlands or Ireland.

The good news though is that if you are a Celt or a First Nations person – if you go back to a more traditional diet and way of life + use all the modern medicine etc – you might arrest your aging earlier than any other group. You could be the vanguard of what the health revolution is all about!

All of us should avoid Industrial food though.

Beer today – Gone tomorrow – Are you at risk?

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

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

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

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

Aging – What is it?

June 14, 2011 Aging, Videos No Comments

What is aging? Is the deterioration we see inevitable? Are the diseases that come with age all part of the process? Is it inevitable that we get sick and decrepit as we get older?

On the surface it looks as if aging is a process that is inevitable. Most people that we know do get more and more sick and disabled as they get older.

But what Michael Rose has discovered is that this is an illusion. Before you laugh too hard think about another illusion.

The sun comes up every morning in the east – arcs across the sky all day – and sets in the west. The earth seems flat and stationary to us. But all of this is an illusion. It is real to us but none of it is true and as long as we believed that this was a true reality, we remained stuck.

The Galileo “saw” the truth – that the Earth was part of a much larger system that revolved around the sun. Then Newton was able to discover the rules that made this predictable. And then Einstein was able to understand that gravity was not a simple force like a magnet but a distortion in space time that was affected by mass. The larger the mass the greater the distortion – the greater the force of attraction.

So in Thesis 12 Michael shows us that “Aging” is a similar illusion.


That as we age, the forces of natural selection weaken and we are less protected. This is why you can party away at 20 but not when you are 50. This is why you can get away with eating crap aged 25 but not aged 50.

Illness and disability are growing risks as we age because the forces of natural selection are weaker as we age. That is why we do best to align how we live and our choices to give us the best chance of being well.

That is why it helps to know also that if we do align our life to our evolved state that we can plateau and keep fit and well until we die

When you are 85 – Don’t go to a “Home”

In 2036 PEI will have 12,000 people, mainly women, over the age of 85. It costs about $50,000 a year to look after one person in a manor. That is $600,00,000 a year based on current costs. Who knows what this will be in 2036 dollars? Will we not have to think of another way as we all get older? The good news is that we have.

Marmot’s insight into the power of social status on our health is proved also when we get so old as to lose our place in the family and society. As we reach 85, if we do, we become more frail. Many families encourage their elderly parents into an institution. My own mother is one.  But we are finding that this loss of identity drives a collapse in ability and health. With no control and no role, who are we?

Veterans Affairs Canada has had more experience in this field than any other institution in Canada. They have been supporting the families of the WWI and now WWII and Korean conflicts. What they have found is that supporting people to stay in their homes is the best way to keep them well.

… Continue Reading

The Correct Perspective for Health – David Brooks on Clouds & Clocks

May 25, 2011 Aging, Context, Videos No Comments
clock

I think that one of the barriers for us to see the power that resides in Michael Roses Evolutionary Context for health is that our prevailing culture predisposes us to see problems like a clock – made up of the sum of many different parts. Look at how medicine itself is organized into specialties that all seek distinct and non related pathways and simple cause and effect. But the reality is that our bodies and how we fit into the world are complex. They are like clouds. I find this very short video by David Brooks on this issue very helpful.

If you are seeing what he means then it may be good to now have a look at how Michael Rose sets the context in this context!

 

 

 

How do you want to grow old? Sick & helpless or fit and active – Our choice!

May 17, 2011 Aging No Comments

On PEI the average man gets so ill that by the time he reaches 65 is is defined as helpless and disabled. He becomes reliant on his family and the state to look after him.

Worse! He then lives for 9.7 years.

This is why our healthcare system will fall over as the majority of Islanders will be over 60 in 15 years time.

This is what will happen to PEI’s Economy. Already Healthcare is 78% of the province’s own tax resources. By 2015 it will be well through what we could possible tax and what we could possibly think our economy coud provide. By 2020 it will be double. So the crisis is in site.

So that is what is on the cards for us as a society – and this applies right across Canada and in the US medicare is under the same pressure. For it is the disability that our chronic diseases create later in life that are the cost driver. So long as our normal is to take care of things after they have gone wrong we are in trouble.

All of this applies to you and me as individuals too. I don’t want to be ill and helpless if I can avoid it. That is why I have decided to find out how best to avoid this. This is why it is such an eye opener to discover that this is not inevitable and that I and you can take steps to have a better outcome. Our design is the black line in the graph. We age well and fit and active. And then we die. Just like that.

I will do my best not to burden my family or you with my aging. So dear reader – what about you?

The Science behind Activity


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.”

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Comments

  • Patrick Meadows: People, can and have lived solely on meat. Eskimos go months...
  • ike: Maybe you veggies need to eat meat so your brains can develo...
  • robpatrob: Of course - but we are talking much more recently here about...
  • Rob: "I come from Northern European stock. My genes are the most ...
  • Gemma: Don't forget regular exercise! Prevention is better than cur...
  • Daniel: Nothing can live on just meat. Carnivores such as cats and s...
  • robert: Your retarded, so why is it most vegans need pills as vitami...
  • Dario McNut: It is true that erectile dysfunction can be associated with ...
  • robpatrob: Google Richard Wrangham - His book is on Amazon - much more ...
  • A Question: Thanks for this video! Half of the urban women who had a raw...
  • robpatrob: Great questions - thanks. Just as 300 years ago a few misfi...
  • Garfield: I really like the parallels too...I live like this also. Twe...
  • nj: Rob, check out the chart here for a broader perspective on a...
  • robpatrob: Not what was said...
  • VOfReason: Humans cannot live comfortably on only meat. that is the mos...

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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