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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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?

Does modern healthcare “cure” or mask disease?

Do many modern drugs and surgeries really help us? Or do they tend to mask the real issues and allow us to keep doing the things that will make us ill?

You have heart disease. Your doctor has prescribed statins. Your blood levels look better and you cheat on your diet. You eat more sugar. You take less exercise. Is this why 9% of statin users are more likely to get Type 2 Diabetes?

My dog Jay strained his back right knee chasing a fox. I put him on Metacam. The pain vanished – he was like a puppy! A day later he chased the fox again and blew his knee completely requiring major surgery. The Metacam masked his weakness and pain and he had no pain feed back to prevent him from damaging himself more. A few years later, Jay sprained his other back knee. That danged fox! This time, we just rested him. Put him on a lead for 3 months and walked him back to health. He was fine. his knee healed very well and he never had another knee problem.

You have a skin rash. Your doctor prescribes a cortisone cream. The rash diminishes but does not go away. You increase the dose and find yourself on a teadmill. You have done nothing about the real cuase of the rash which of course is not a surface issue at all but about something that you are eating or being exposed to.

I am starting to see a picture here – are you too?

Much of the medicine that we rely on to get us well – avoids the core issue. Why did we have a problem in the first case and what can we do to change our actions to reduce the risk.

Much of the medicine we rely on either merely masks the symptoms – like Jay’s Metacam – or allows us to continue to behave badly or continue to live in environments that are bad for us.

This is true of surgery as well. many of us – me included – asked about knee surgery. But when I lost 30 pounds my knee problem went away.  If we are over weight our knees will at least hurt or get into trouble. Surgery can fix this. But if we do nothing about our excess weight, this is only a “masking” process. Liposuction is  a brutal process. But if you don’t change your life what will it mean?

Many of us think that we need medicine and health care to be healthy. I have had a car accident – I would be all for it – but in reality most of our modern illnesses mask symptons.

Who gets cured of heart disease? Who gets cured of Type 2 Diabetes? Who gets cured of arthritis? Whose knee lasts a lifetime?

But in many cases, we can be “cured” if we deal with our lives – Just as it was not a cure for Cholera that stopped the disease – it was the understanding abut how sanitation worked. It was not a cure that put TB away. It was better living conditions.

 

Marriage – Good and bad for our health

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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.”

 

PTSD – Love – Dog Bless You

As Frankl says – Love is the cure and nothing loves us like a dog
 
More here

More on Trust and Betrayal – Dr Jonathan Shay

SHAY

“The need for trust, Dr. Shay argues, comes from human prehistory. Without claws, wings or other natural weapons, human ancestors survived by watching one another’s backs. As a result, Dr. Shay argues, the need for trust is part of human biology. Trust makes us feel safe; feeling safe is good for our mental and physical health.”

Our industrial world seems to work against trust. Marketing tends to be manipulation and much of management is as well.

Here is the text of a piece by David Berreby in the New York Times – That sums up Shay’s views – that PTSD is usually the product of a betrayal of Trust. That it is not confined to war and combat. That rape and abuse is an example of the betrayal. Trust is most betrayed when authority is discovered to be in it for itself. Sums up most of corporate and political leadership today and often the power in families too.

Shay reminds us that the way home cannot be limited to the use of drugs but demands the restoration of trust itself. That can usually only come from interaction with peers. And so his work with Veterans mirrors the work of AA.

There can be no medication to restore you – only your work with others like you.

… Continue Reading

Your Health – The Sleeper Must Awaken

June 24, 2011 Videos No Comments


All we need is asleep within us.

But to awaken we have to go on a journey – like Dorothy – we have to find out the hard way I think

Your mind & your health – Part 4 – Design for a Community of Support

In this series we have seen how the power of how we think can affect our health for good or bad.

How then can we do the hardest thing of all and change how we think about ourselves and so what we do?

I think that we can look at the work of Alcoholics Anonymous and the work of Dr Jonathan Shay with Vets for a set of principles that might then underpin how we might use Social Media to transform health. For I think that the latent power of Social media may be the perfect fit and may allow us to make much greater progress than would have been possible without it.

The Heart of AA and Shay’s work is the Trust that comes from being in a community of True Peers. As Alan Deutschman has learned, only a tiny few of us will act on technical advice. A Vet will only really trust another Vet. An alcoholic another alcoholic. So the starting point is not to be advised BUT TO BE HEARD by a person who is empathic – who understands you and who will not judge you. Not because they are good people, but because they have walked in your shoes.

But even before this first step of being heard – there is the hardest step of all – the personal decision to get help. Each of us on our own has to be ready.

Most of us are not. How many of us would like to eat better or be more active – but give ourselves excuses for not doing anything. “Life is too short to give up bread or beer”. “My life is shit and this food makes me feel comforted” “Next Year!”  There is also huge peer pressure to not change. We must use the power of a new community to offset the power of the old one. Not just to make the change but to keep it. For those that are close to us, often don’t like the new you. You fat family, feel that your health and thin frame is a rebuke to them. Your sober wife who has used your drinking as her excuse too now finds herself exposed by you being sober.

Without the ongoing new community – the gravity of the old can pull you back.

This is why AA also offers you the opportunity to give back as a mentor. If you have been through the complete 12 steps, you can now help others. And by helping others, you in fact become even more attached to your new community. When my wife’s uncle was dying, his 2 best AA buddies were at his side – faithful until death.

So we return to Alan Deutschman who uses 3 words to describe the framework for real change:

  1. Relate – You only feel safe enough to make real change if you really trust another person. For Early Adopters this may be information itself that you trust. This is what happened to me when I met Michael Rose. But I am an oddity. I was ready to change and had a lot of motivation and I am one of those odd folks who always changes a lot. But most people need more than information from a person they trust – they need to be heard by a person they trust and they need to witness the story of that person who have made the change before them. Then they can receive the information
  2. Repeat - Real personal change takes years. It takes the establishment of new habits. For it is the establishment of a habit that rewires the brain. Changing your palate is a new habit. As a youth I drank coffee with 3 sugars and cream. It took me a decade to lose the taste for sugar in my coffee. Think of drink. No one starts by being able to drink a bottle of Scotch. We build up to this. We rewire our mind and our body to tolerate it. So stopping will hurt. So, bottom line, real change is evidenced by new habits. New habits are new actions and new responses. They take time to wire. But wire they do. Our brains set up new and deep pathways. Old triggers that would have taken us to the fridge or the bottle now take us somewhere else.
  3. Reframe – By following this process, we change our reality. We immigrate to a new world. The reframing comes late in the process. Not at the beginning. The idea of America pulled 50 million people across the Atlantic in the 19th century. But the immigrants had to wait for their kids to grow up in the new culture to become Americans. No Israelite who had been born a slave coud enter the promised land – not even Moses. Ideas do not change us – living the new ideas changes us – over time.

I think that that these principles can guide us to design the community and the supports that we all need to help each other on this journey. I suspect that Social Media will be a great help. But I am also convinced that we all will need a strong face to face component as well.

I would love to hear your views as to what you think will help.

Your mind and your health – Part 3 – How do we change deep rooted thoughts/habits?

So how do we change? Is it as simple as knowing what is true? Not for deep change. I can hear you even from here. “But I can’t change my habits” or “Just telling me to think differently is not enough” You are correct. There is nothing harder to do than to think differently.

Alcoholics rarely stop drinking because they know their drinking is killing them. They rarely give up because their families beg them to stop. They can only stop when THEY decide to. And then only usually with a special kind of help. Here is the problem exposed and the beginning of the way home giving by my pal Alan Deutschman – author of Change or Die.

Deep real change in how we think and so our reality comes from a special process. In summary, it has to start with an act of will. Each of us has to want to change. We cannot be half hearted. So for many, we have to reach a desperate place.

Once we have made the decision to act we need something different from the expert. AA is the embodiment of the process. Here is how Alan Deutschman has summed the process up in his book Change or Die which I have found to the be the best resource for understanding this kind of change.

Reframe
Repeat
Relate – and the greatest of these is Relate

THE FIRST KEY TO CHANGE

Relate

You form a new, emotional relationship with a person or community that inspires and sustains hope. If you face a situation that a reasonable person would consider “hopeless,” you need the influence of seemingly “unreasonable” people to restore your hope–to make you believe that you can change andexpect that you will change. This is an act of persuasion–really, it’s “selling.” The leader or community has to sell you on yourself and make you believe you have the ability to change. They have to sell you on themselves as your partners, mentors, role models, or sources of new knowledge. And they have to sell you on the specific methods or strategies that they employ.

THE SECOND KEY TO CHANGE

Repeat

The new relationship helps you learn, practice, and master the new habits and skills that you’ll need. It takes a lot of repetition over time before new patterns of behavior become automatic and seem natural–until you act the new way without even thinking about it. It helps tremendously to have a good teacher, coach, or mentor to give you guidance, encouragement, and direction along the way. Change doesn’t involve just “selling”; it requires “training.”

THE THIRD KEY TO CHANGE

Reframe

The new relationship helps you learn new ways of thinking about your situation and your life. Ultimately, you look at the world in a way that would have been so foreign to you that it wouldn’t have made any sense before you changed.

These are the three keys to change: relate, repeat, and reframe. New hope, new skills, and new thinking.

This may sound simple at first, but let me assure you that it’s not. The people who run the health care establishment still don’t understand these concepts. Nor do the people who run the criminal justice system. Nor do most of the people who run America’s major corporations.

Tomorrow we will explore how Dr Jonathan Shay uses these principles to help veterans cope withy severe PTSD. On Friday we will look at how AA works and then imagine how we might use social media to help us all.

Your Mind and Your Health Part 2 – The Power of Neuroplasticity

This is the conventional picture of the brain – a thing with discrete compartments – a thinking machine. This idea of the brain – which is also how most of us “see” the body and so organize medicine is wrong.

Our brains and our bodies are not machines made up of parts but are instead complex organisms that interact both internally and externally. Every part of us is interacting in complex ways.

This dynamic and complex interactive system – that is us – includes even our thoughts and how they interact with the structure of our brain. How we think and what we think shapes our brain so it shapes our view of reality. It therefore governs much of our health. For recall, our social status and how much power and control, we have has a major influence on our health.

Many of us have little control, or power or status in the industrial culture we inhabit  today. A reason why so many of us are ill or depressed. In this post we can see the mechanism that will enable us to think differently about this predicament and so heal. Remember Viktor Frankl knew that his captors could kill him like a fly. That they could torture him at will. But he also knew that they could never kill his spirit. In this, he had control and power and this knowledge enabled him to endure the unendurable and live.

In this post we will see how this process works. It is not new age mumbo jumbo but is rooted in science and our biology. Any of us can embark on work that can literally reinvent us and the world that we live in. The process is called Neuroplasticity. It is based on how the brain is shaped by thought. Here is a quick video introduction that showcases the work of Dr Norman Doidge.

Here is a link to a full length film on the topic that explores this in more detail.

In later posts this week we will look at what we can do to enable this process – what is remarkable about the process is how social it is. We will look at Alcoholism and AA and at PTSD and the military to see the framework. We will then look at the work of Alan Deutschman the author of Change or Die - the book that In find the most heplful resource

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June 20, 2011 Resources No Comments

Your Mind & Your Health – Part 1 – If you cannot change the world – you can change how you think about it

Most of us understand that if we eat better (whatever better means) and if we are more active, our health will improve. But few of us know that if we use our mind “better” that this too will help us be well. This week I will post daily about why this is so and then what we can do to make it so. Today is the why.

Viktor Frankl had refused to leave Germany even though he had a visa because he could not leave his family behind. So he found himself in a cattle car on his way to the camps. He had no idea what it would be like but he knew that it would not be good. So he set himself an experiment. He would evaluate what gave people the best chance of surviving. Would it be their physical or mental state? Would the young and the fit have the edge or would those that could not allow this terrible place to get to them too much. The answer was resoundingly in favour of those that could use their mind to stop them from giving up. In particular those who could still hear the birdsong and those that still had a sense of meaning in their lives. The book to be written – the desire to see their family once again – even being a selfless helper to others.

“On my fourth day in the sick quarters I had just been detailed to the night shift when the chief doctor rushed in and asked me to volunteer for medical duties in another camp containing typhus patients. Against the urgent advice of my friends (and despite the fact that almost none of my colleagues offered their services), I decided to volunteer. I knew that in a working party I would die in a short time. But if I had to die there might at least be some sense in my death. I thought that it would doubtless be more to the purpose to try and help my comrades as a doctor than to vegetate or finally lose my life as the unproductive laborer that I was then.” p. 69.

How we think and how we therefore react to our environment is a critically important aspect of our health. Epic tales of survival reinforce this truth – such as Shackleton’s Antarctic adventure or the 47 days of floating in a life raft in the shark infested Pacific by Louie Zamperini.

Sir Michael Marmot’s work shows us that low social status and lack of power and control have a huge impact on our immune system and so health. Robert Sapolsky shows us the mechanism for how this works. But we are not condemned by our social environment or our predicament. In many cases we cannot change it. Frankl could not and if you have to work in a large bureaucracy – you cannot either.

But we can take charge of how we think about who and where we are. For how and what we think carves neuron pathways in our brains. If you feel helpless, then these feelings will increase and deepen. So you will be stressed all the time. With constant stress, cortisol will weaken your immune system.

Tomorrow we start with the how but I leave you with 3 small pieces from Frankl. The first is his epiphany in the camp. The second a short video where he shows us how to “see” others. Lastly he talks about where we can find meaning.

… We stumbled on in the darkness, over big stones and through large puddles, along the one road leading from the camp. The accompanying guards kept shouting at us and driving us with the butts of their rifles. Anyone with very sore feet supported himself on his neighbor’s arm. Hardly a word was spoken; the icy wind did not encourage talk. Hiding his mouth behind his upturned collar, the man marching next to me whispered suddenly: “If our wives could see us now! I do hope they are better off in their camps and don’t know what is happening to us.”That brought thoughts of my own wife to mind. And as we stumbled on for miles, slipping on icy spots, supporting each other time and again, dragging one another up and onward, nothing was said, but we both knew: each of us was thinking of his wife. Occasionally I looked at the sky, where the stars were fading and the pink light of the morning was beginning to spread behind a dark bank of clouds. But my mind clung to my wife’s image, imagining it with an uncanny acuteness. I heard her answering me, saw her smile, her frank and encouraging look. Real or not, her look was then more luminous than the sun which was beginning to rise.

A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way  – an honorable way  – in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words, “The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory….”[2]

And now – how to love even the worst person:

And where can we find meaning?

Power & Control – Going Home to our Paleo Selves

 

Lack of power and control and low social status is a major factor in making us ill. So if we cannot change the system, how can we get more power, control and social status?

This week we will look at how we might do this.

These posts will all be about each of us as individuals. For the revolution starts with each one of us and not out there. On Monday we will look at the most extreme example – how Viktor Frankl kept his power in the death camps. For he could not change his world he could only control how he reacted to it.

“I did not know whether my wife was alive, and I had no means of finding out (during all my prison life there was no outgoing or incoming mail); but at that moment it ceased to matter. There was no need for me to know; nothing could touch the strength of my love, my thoughts, and the image of my beloved. Had I known then that my wife was dead, I think that I would still have given myself, undisturbed by that knowledge, to the contemplation of her image, and that my mental conversation with her would have been just as vivid and just as satisfying. ‘Set me like a seal upon thy heart, love is as strong as death.‘” pp. 56-58.

We today are also confronted by a culture that can overwhelm us and is bad for us. It has taken us away for being human. For the centre of the Industrial Culture is “Work” and “Industry”. We ask each other – “What do you do? We tend to answer by giving our work role – “I’m an engineer” or “I work for Bell”. We almost never say “I like to garden” or I am a dad. The Question “How are you?” is usually answered with “I’m so busy!”

Work not life is what our culture is all about.

From our earliest years we are taught that paid work is the centre of life. We have to work hard at school so that we can get paid work. We have to focus at school – because we have to give the right answers to the set questions. If we do get paid work, we have to focus all the time. For it is focus on the expected results that is the way – isn’t it? We have to try and balance work and family and usually work wins. if we dont have good work and pay, we are also doomed as failures. So we cannot win.

Our industrial culture means that every other part of life than work and industry is secondary. By giving up the rest of ourselves and our world to this meme we have to get stressed because we know we are missing out on important parts of ourselves. We have next to no power or control.

So how do we get our power back?

Do we have to take to the streets? Maybe. But even then we have no power or control.

The irony is that power and control and social status does not come from outside but inside. Like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz – the way home is always in our control – all we have to do is to ask.

Here then is a simple tool that asks you the right questions – it’s a great start:

Your baby? What is she exposed to? A Guide

My grand daughter Sophia when she was very little not so long ago. Bath time is the best part of the day for babies and parents. Little did I know what might have been going on.

What is in the soap – shampoo – baby oil – powder? What does a daily routine like this do as it accumulates daily?

What is safe?

I don’t know but I do know this – that babies are exceptionally vulnerable and that I should do my best to keep the risk down as much as I can – for Novel Chemicals cannot be good for us and babies are so vulnerable.

So here then is a great resource where you can look up and see the relative risks for any product that you might use.

A quick to to veggies that have the most contamination

Avoid “Novel” things. Some of our favourite fruits and veggies are very contaminated by how we grow them in the industrial way – here is a quick list. (Source)

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.

Diet – Where your ancestral heritage is important

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

More here is Thesis 47

Beer today – Gone tomorrow – Are you at risk?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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