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Mother’s Milk – More than Nutrition – Medicine

Just as we are starting to learn about why real food is more than simple nutrition – so we are starting to see breast milk as being more than a meal too. It also sets the baby’s immune system and gut flora and may do many other things too.

“When we come out of the womb, we make our way to the breast. We enter the world knowing we’re mammals, with milk on our minds.

But even as grown-ups, we have never known exactly what’s in that milk—or, as strange as it may sound, what the point of it is. For decades, milk was thought of strictly in terms of nutrients, which makes sense—milk is how a mother feeds her baby, after all. But providing nutrients turns out to be only part of what milk does. And it might not even be the most important part.

“Mother’s milk is food; mother’s milk is medicine; and mother’s milk is signal,” says Katie Hinde, an assistant professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard. (She also writes the fascinating blogMammals Suck, which I suspect is the only place on the Internet where you can fill out a Mammal Madness bracket.) “When people find out I study milk, they automatically think we already know about it, or it’s not important. And I’m like, ‘No, we don’t know about it, and it’s super important.’”

But first, a disclaimer—because conversations about lactation always seem to require disclaimers, especially if you happen to be someone who will never ever lactate. (I’m pretty sure.) In my new bookBaby Meets World, I write about how, contrary to myth, not nursing has never been a death sentence. Hundreds of years before halfway-decent formula, infants were fed gruesome substitutes for breast milk (mushed bread and beer, say)—and although many more died than those who were nursed, many also survived. So the lesson of the new science of milk isn’t that formula is some sort of modern evil. (It isn’t modern or evil.) It’s that milk is really complicated—and evolutionarily amazing.

Here’s how complicated: Some human milk oligosaccharides—simple sugar carbohydrates—were recently discovered to be indigestible by infants. When my son was nursing, those oligosaccharides weren’t meant for him. They were meant for bacteria in his gut, which thought they were delicious. My wife was, in a sense, nursing another species altogether, a species that had been evolutionarily selected to protect her child. (A relationship immortalized in the paper titled “Human Milk Oligosaccharides: Every Baby Needs a Sugar Mama.”) In effect, as Hinde and UC-Davis chemist Bruce German have written, “mothers are not just eating for two, they are actually eating for 2 × 1011 (their own intestinal microbiome as well as their infant’s)!” That’s what’s meant by milk serving as medicine, and that’s only scratching the surface.

But Hinde primarily studies the food and the signal elements of milk. “The signal is in the form of hormones that are exerting physiological effects in the infant,” she explains. “Infants have their own internal hormones, but they’re also getting hormones from their mother. They’re binding to receptors in the babies, and we’re just starting to understand what those effects are.”

More here

We think of milk as a static commodity, maybe because the milk we buy in the grocery store always looks the same. But scientists now believe that milk varies tremendously. It varies from mother to mother, and it varies within the milk of the same mother. That’s partly because the infants themselves can affect what’s in the milk. “Milk is this phenomenally difficult thing to study because mothers are not passive producers and babies are not passive consumers,” Hinde says. Instead, the composition of milk is a constant negotiation, subject to tiny variables.

For example, she notes, in humans skin-to-skin contact appears to trigger signals that are sent through the milk. “If the infant is showing signs of infection, somehow that’s being signaled back to the mother and she up-regulates the immune factors that are in her milk. Now is that her body’s responding to a need of the baby? Maybe. Is it that she also has a low-grade infection that she’s just not symptomatic for and so her body’s doing that? Maybe. Is it partially both? Maybe. We don’t know. It’s brand-new stuff.”

The new awareness of this sort of signaling is why there’s been a paradigm shift in the study of milk. Scientists have gone from seeing it only as food to seeing it far more expansively—as a highly sensitive variable that plays a wide range of developmental roles.

This new perspective should change how we look at formula, too, Hinde says. Instead of comparing breast milk and formula, we should accept how little we actually know about breast milk. “We need to go back to square one and look at all the variation in breast milk and where it’s coming from and what it does,” she says. “Because how could we possibly know what the difference between breast milk and formula is if we aren’t even keeping track of what the variation in breast milk is doing? And so the more that we understand about what is in milk, and what predicts how it varies, the more opportunity there is for formula to better emulate what breast milk is.”

Almost 150 years after the first infant formula, the splendidly named Liebig’s Soluble Food for Babies, was proclaimed to be “virtually identical” to human milk, we now know how much we don’t know about milk. It’s a deeply intimate mystery. And the scientists who study it are a lot like almost any parent gazing down at their sucking child: They too are full of wonder.

Nicholas Day’s book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World, will be published in April. His website is nicholasday.net.

 

Why the meat industry is so bad for us

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Source

The massive use of antibiotics is essential to how meat is produced today. Mass confinement and the feeding of corn to grass eating vows demands the use of antibiotics in massive quantities.

The result is that we will lose antibiotics soon AND that we will be exposed to pathogens that we have no immunity too. The meat business also produce meat that is full of Omega 6’s – from the corn – and that drives more systemic health risks.

And finally, the ethics of treating animals like this!

So what to do? Vote with your wallet. Buy local pasture raised meat. When enough of us do this, the old system will fall over.

Taking Charge of your Health – Good Books – On Wheat and on Sugar

Getting back control of your health is more complex than simply changing your diet. But changing your diet is the best way to start. The new/old diet is also like a church with a spectrum of focus. Here then are two very helpful books that lie along this spectrum.

Wheat Belly by William Davis  – that looks at wheat

Fat Chance  by Robert Lustig –  that looks at sugar

It is important to take both out of your diet.

 

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

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

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

This post is all about how they will happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This cannot survive a system failure

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This can

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This cannot survive a system failure

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This can

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This cannot survive a system failure

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This can

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

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

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

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

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

ADHD – Look at Diet!

April 18, 2011 Diet/Insulin 2 Comments

Over 5 million children ages four to 17 have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in the United States, and close to 3 million of those children take medication for their symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But a new study reported in The Lancet last month found that with a restricted diet alone, many children experienced a significant reduction in symptoms. The study’s lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Center in the Netherlands, said in an interviewwith NPR, “The teachers thought it was so strange that the diet would change the behavior of the child as thoroughly as they saw it. It was a miracle, the teachers said.”

Dr. Pessler’s study is the first to conclusively say that diet is implicated in ADHD. In the NPR interview, Dr. Pessler did not mince words, “Food is the main cause of ADHD,” she said adding, “After the diet, they were just normal children with normal behavior. They were no longer more easily distracted, they were no more forgetful, there were no more temper-tantrums.” The study found that in 64 percent of children with ADHD, the symptoms were caused by food. “It’s a hypersensitivity reaction to food,” Pessler said.

This is good news for parents and children who would like to avoid many of the adverse side effects associated with common stimulant drugs, like Ritalin, used to treat ADHD — and bad news for the pharmaceutical industry. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that common side effects from the drugs are sleeplessness (for which a doctor might also prescribe sleeping pills), headaches, stomachaches, decreased appetite, and a long list of much more frightening (yet rarer) side effects, including feeling helpless, hopeless, or worthless, and new or worsening depression. But Pessler’s study indicates that up to two-thirds — or 2 of the 3 million children currently medicated for ADHD — may not need medication at all. “With all children, we should start with diet research,” Pessler said.

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  • Anita: Amen to this article. Too many people receive disability as...
  • 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...

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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