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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.

 

Your baby’s gut health – the platform for good or poor lifetime health – what to know and to do about this

It is clear now that a child’s gut flora drives many allergies – including eczema – Here is a short and illuminating article on this that joins the growing literature on the importance of gut health generally and how, in infants, gut health drives lifetime health.

This is yet one more study that highlights the importance — and complexity — of gut bacterial composition and development in early life. As we say, optimal digestive health is the foundation upon which total body health is built.

They key finding here is that prolonged breast feeding – well into 18 months – helps set up the ideal gut flora. But this is hard to do in today’s culture. The consequences of limited breast feeding are poor though. Maybe as we get to know more, it will be more acceptable. In the interim the author suggest this workaround.

It has been known for more than 30 years that children who continue at least partial breast feedings until age 3 have lower incidences of most all infectious diseases as well as asthma, allergies, and eczema. Since that is not likely to happen with the Western lifestyle, starting an infant on probiotics, fish oil, and vitamin D may help prevent this microbial shift, but I still think food and stress are primary shifters of the microbiome.

Much more here

When you sit/sleep 22 hours a day – 1 hour in the gym = fail

February 14, 2013 Activity, Environment No Comments

The average American spends 2 hours a day in the car. 5 hours watching TV. 8 hours sitting at work and 7 hours asleep in bed. 22 hours a day not moving! An hour in the gym is not going to make any difference. The issue is “Activity”. We have to be moving more ALL day.

Standing and walking are enough. Here is the research The conclusion is below:

According to the study, being active simply by standing or walking for long periods of time significantly improved insulin levels compared to both a strictly sedentary lifestyle, and one in which participants were largely sedentary except for an hour of exercise each day. The study concludes that when energy expenditure is equivalent, longer durations of low-intensity exercise may offer more benefits than shorter periods of intense activity.

And much more here

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.

The best introduction to why Gut Flora is the key to your health

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Sebastien Noel is one of my favourite resources. He makes the science easy to understand and he deals with the practical aspects very well. 

It is becoming clear that the central issue for health is the health of our gut flora. Here is Sebastien’e excellent review of all that you need to know.

The goal of this article is to tackle gut and gut flora problems and what to do about it. Granted, following a Paleo diet will often provide great relief and maybe even cure whatever ailment you’re dealing with. Also, other than being very strict with the diet, complete elimination of dairy, egg whites, nightshade vegetables, nuts and seeds and limiting fruit intake should be a priority, as discussed in my articles about dealing with autoimmune diseases and about the benefits of egg yolks.

With all these tactics implemented though, some diseases or conditions related to the gut still persist and can prove to be a real challenge to deal with. This article will dig deeper into the subject and I will recommend a general strategy to cope with most gut and gut flora ailments. Note that each condition usually also requires a special approach, but the general ideas discussed here usually applies to all of them.

Here is a summary of the subjects discussed here:

Note that in case of a hard to treat condition, I would tackle the problem with a shotgun approach. This basically means that I would eliminate any possible offending foods at the same time as I would try and maximize my immune system strength, gut healing and good flora rebuilding. Forgetting a step or doing things only partially often leads to poor results unfortunately. I’ve been dealing with tough problems myself and it sometimes seems that even the stars have to be aligned to start seeing progress, so hang in there and make anything possible to regain health as soon as possible so you can laugh about it afterwards.

Here is the link to the full piece

 

More research on why your office is killing you!

Here is part of the post – see the link to Whitehall and to Marmot – for more see these links on this site

We spend a large percentage of our lives at the office, engaged in the drudgery of work. Although we obsess over the medical benefits of various leisure activities – should I do yoga? take long walks? not watch television? — the amount of time we might spend in downward facing dog pose pales in comparison to the amount of time we spend seated in our chair, staring at the computer screen, surrounded by co-workers.

A new study led by Arie Shirom at Tel Aviv University reveals the powerful impact of the workplace on longevity. The researchers tracked 820 adults for twenty years, starting with a routine health examination in 1988. The subjects worked in various professions, from finance to manufacturing to health care. They were interviewed repeatedly about conditions at their workplace, from the behavior of the boss to the niceness of their colleagues. Over the ensuing decades, their health was closely monitored, allowing the scientists to control for various medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, smoking and depression.

The first thing the researchers discovered is that office conditions matter. A lot. In particular, the risk of death seemed to be correlated with the perceived niceness of co-workers, as less friendly colleagues were associated with a higher risk of dying. (What’s troubling is that such workplaces seem incredibly common.) While this correlation might not be surprising – friendly people help reduce stress, and stress is deadly – the magnitude of the “friendly colleague effect” is a bit unsettling: people with little or no “peer social support” in the workplace were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study, especially if they began the study between the ages of 38 and 43. In contrast, the niceness of the boss had little impact on mortality.

What’s driving this effect? Why are caustic co-workers so unhealthy? One interesting factor influencing the correlation between peer social support and mortality was the perception of control. This makes sense: the only thing worse than an office full of assholes is an office full of assholes telling us what to do. Furthermore, this model of workplace stress being driven by the absence of control has plenty of empirical support. The most impressive support comes from the Whitehall study, an exhaustive longitudinal survey launched in 1967 that tracked some 28,000 British men and women working in central London. What makes the study so compelling is its uniformity. Every subject is a British civil servant, a cog in the vast governmental bureaucracy. They all have access to the same health care system, don’t have to worry about getting laid off, and spend most of their workdays shuffling papers.

The British civil service comes with one other feature that makes it ideal for studying the health effects of stress: It’s hierarchical, with a precise classification scheme for ranking employees. This hierarchy comes with dramatic health consequences. After tracking thousands of civil servants for decades, the Whitehall data revealed that between the ages of 40 and 64, workers at the bottom of the hierarchy had a mortality rate four times higher than that of people at the top. Even after accounting for genetic risks and behaviors like smoking and binge drinking, civil servants at the bottom of the pecking order still had nearly double the mortality rate.

Why were people in the lower ranks of Whitehall dying at a younger age? The Whitehall researchers, led by Michael Marmot, eventually concluded that the significant majority of health variation was caused by psychosocial factors, most notably stress. People of lower status in the Whitehall study experienced more negative stress, and this stress was deadly. (To take but one data point: Fully two-thirds of an individual’s risk of stroke was attributable to the person’s socioeconomic status.) However, the Whitehall results aren’t a straightforward analysis of stress, at least not as it’s usually defined. After all, people in leadership positions often describe their jobs as extremely stressful. They work longer hours and have more responsibilities than those at the bottom of the bureaucratic hierarchy. Consider the self-report of Nigel, a high-status administrator: “There were 2,000 people, and I was responsible for all the personnel aspects, contracts, and all the common services … It had every sort of challenge that you could ever wish to meet. A very active job and a lot of stress, but a very enjoyable job, and you got a tremendous amount of satisfaction from doing a good job.”

The traditional top down machine culture is now being seen as a major contributor to poor health. This raises the question os what to do. For me it means looking into how large organizations are run and looking more at a networked alternative.

Can we set up organizations that can do big things but also offer people in them more control. That will be the topic of the series I will start next week – The Network Work Organization a Healthy Alternative. And just so you don’t think I am mad – think of how WordPress, my blogging tool – is such an ecosystem with thousands of people who are not on the payroll making a good living by being part of an ecosystem.

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

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

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

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

Let me show you a few examples.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is what we are up against:

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

I believe the answer is twofold.

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

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

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

So this is the Miasma Theory of our time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Every day we read of a new study that says “This is bad for you” and “This is good for you”. No wonder when it comes to taking control of our health, we are confused by science. I read a post today that said that there are “No perfect foods”. This is rubbish. There are – if you have the right perspective.

In this post I will be as clear as I can about the simple idea that can give you this power.

So what then is wrong with the perspective that most science and all of medicine uses that makes it all so confusing and contradictory? Let me tell a few stories and I think you will see.

Imagine that she is you.

You see your GP. She of course sends you to a dermatologist. After all, what is wrong is your skin – right? Well not really.  He will talk in a limited way about diet but he has no deep diet context. He will treat your skin mainly topically and if all fails, he will prescribe Accutane.  A drug that can have very serious side effects. Accutane is like chemo – it is a brutal treatment. But even through you may clear up – you are not cured. Your acne is in abeyance.

You are severely depressed. Your GP sends you to a Psychiatrist who no longer will talk through what has gone on but will prescribe one or more drugs that will interrupt the mechanism of your thoughts. For a while. Over time the risk is that you will get worse and even suicidal. He will raise the dose and add new drugs. You are on a treadmill.

You have cancer. Your GP sends you to the Surgeon who adds in the Oncologist and the Radiologist.

They remove the cancer cells that they can and then give you chemo and radiation. You look and feel like this. (My wife went through all of this and I dare not show you what she looked like)

You may be “cured”. My wife is still here after 9 years. But this is not a CURE. It – like Accutane or Antidepressants has knocked the disease back on its back foot.

So what then is the pattern here and how do we do better than this?

Note how all these stories start the same way. You notice something wrong and then you go to the gatekeeper the GP. There has been no work done before you are ill. For medicine has no answers to WHY you get ill.

You might know this. But what you don’t know maybe, is that NONE of these diseases affect in a major way populations that don’t eat the modern diet.

Note how each of these “specialists” deal with a silo of you and few or none expand this silo to includes the wider you of your entire bodily system – your social world – your ancestry – and how you inhabit your body and the physical world. They only know their bit. This is what I mean:

This is the ignition system of an engine in a car.

This is a broader context – we drive cars on roads with people in them in varying conditions. To understand CAR – you have to work back from this and not up from the ignition system. If all the context you have starts from the parts – you MUST get lost. So it is with medicine and cell biology. They fuss about the working parts and the direct linkages. Worse, becuase they focus on direct linkages, they miss the side effects.

For we are NOT MACHINES. We are complex systems nested in complex systems. Their basic metaphor is wrong.

This is why they miss WHY we get ill as we do. They miss the connection between their areas and all others. They miss the truth that there is one simple big idea as to why we get the diseases of modern civilization. And that is this –

We are designed to be naturally healthy – all living beings are – so long as we live our lives inside the parameters of how our nature has evolved. That means that if we eat what we are designed by our nature (How we have evolved) to eat AND if we live in social systems that suit our nature best (Think of how all our hunter gatherer ancestors lived) and if we inhabit our bodies and the natural world as we have evolved to do ( Be active and outside a lot) The we will be healthy.

This is true because of the systems aspect of our context. Get the optimal systems fit and our system will do fine. We are NOT machines with simple direct causes and effects.

Simple isn’t it? You and I can all use this simple and huge idea.

Just as 150 years ago, we also learned how to combat infection. Also behind that was a huge but simple idea. If we lived in large numbers in a concentrated space, we would set up the ideal systems conditions for infection. Once we learned how germs and vectors like mosquitoes and fleas worked, we could change the systems conditions. At a large scale such as in a big city and on a small scale such as in the OR.

All the mumbo jumbo of pre germ medice was swept away. Only to pop up in how medicine works on chronic disease today.

They will tell you that only if your kid is vaccinated, will you be able to protect her from infection such as measles. But they have missed the history.

We defeated infection not by drugs and not by a speciality in a disease. But by smart use of the knowledge of the systems issues and clever public health.

All these infectious diseases are the product of the modern world. They arise from our living in close contact with animals and other humans. They are novel to all who have not lived a modern (defined as agricultural and urban life). So when they were introduced to people who did not share this life and who therefore had low immunity, they killed millions. Western man killed of most of the natives in the Americas.

All infectious disease is related. It takes hold inside the crucible of close contact between man – animal and man. The plague came from this and so does flu. The breakthrough is not a drug, for the germ or virus will adapt. It is to work in a systems way to break the cycle.

So it is with chronic disease.

All are related. All stem at first from a mismatch in diet and then are amplified by a mismatch in our social and natural environments.

So if you have bad acne, depression and cancer – or arthritis – or IBS or crohns – or worry about alzheimers – or have heart disease – or have their marker and best pathway type 2 diabetes – then know that all are related.

On PEI, the average man becomes disabled by 65 and lives on in this state for 9.7 years. The main cause for this is Type 2 Diabetes.  It is estimated that by 2030 1/3 of the population will have it. So, as more people hit their 60’s and more suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, the need to respond rises exponentially. We live in a time of epidemic and medicine as it is practised today cannot help you.

Diabetes drives many other conditions including cardiovascular disease. PEI adults in 2006 with diabetes had to be hospitalized much more often than those without it. 16 times more often for lower limb amputations. 6 times more often with kidney disease. They had 5 times more heart attacks. 4 times more heart failure. 3 times more strokes. They stayed 3 times longer in hospital. Had 2 times more visits to physicians and 2 times more to specialists

Most diabetics don’t just take one medication, but several. A typical regimen for an adult diabetic after a couple of years of treatment and following the dietary advice of the American Diabetes Association includes Metformin, Januvia, and Actos, a triple-drug treatment that costs around $420 per month. Two forms of insulin (slow- and fast-acting), along with two or three oral medications, is not at all uncommon

You can help yourself by understanding the ideas on this site and on our sister site The 55 Theses

Now how you apply this knowledge is not simple. Changing your diet in a system that pushes the wrong choices on you is hard. You don’t just “Buck Up” when depressed. You don’t just get cured with cancer either.

But knowing what we do now – gives us the kind of start that we all had back in 1880 when the pioneers took on infection and rolled it back in a generation.

Michael and I are working to provide you and policy makers the best context so that you can make the best choices.

 

 

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

You get ill when you look like this – this is how I looked aged 59 – I weighed 205 lbs. How I look here has all the signs that you have not lived your life according to the rules.

This is how I looked aged 18 just as I was going out to celebrate my sister’s 16th birthday. I weighed 140 lbs. I was just about to go to South Africa to work as a diamond prospector.  I would walk 11 miles a day in the Kalahari desert and think nothing of it. I was at my peak of fitness.

This story is not all going to be about weight though. It is going to be about knowledge and hope.

This new fat and unfit me was also a new thing. For right up until my late 40’s I was relatively thin and still able to do a lot of things.

Then one day in my 50″s, it seemed as if a switch has been turned on. Each year, I put on a few pounds and became progressively weaker. Then about 58, this process started to accelerate. My knees also were hurting a lot and I was investigating knee replacement! But I thought that all of this was normal.

I thought aged 59, that putting on weight and feeling poorly was my destiny. After all we all get fat and ill as we age – don’t we?

I did try the conventional way – a bit. My wife Robin begged me to lose the tummy. The conventional wisdom meant that I had to take a lot more exercise and I had to eat less. I tried. I signed up and took more exercise but I injured myself and felt awkward and gave up. And I loved my food…. So like so many of us, I was resigned. The “Cure” that all talk about was too hard for me.

Anyway, I told myself that this was my destiny. I would be like all the other people and get ill as I got older. If I had not learned what I know now and if I had done nothing

What had happened to me is surely what has happened to millions – maybe to you too.

When did the “switch” turn on for you and you started to get fat and weak? Do you think that, like me, that this is the new “normal” for you? Do you think that that this is all that is going on?

For what I have learned that this is not all about the weight and the visible?

What is really going on is that inside of you and I is a progression of deterioration that will lead to the chronic diseases that plague us today.

So how and why do we get them? And why do they seem to turn up suddenly as if a switch is thrown? Why is medicine so bad at preventing us from getting them? Why does medicine do such a bad job of “curing” us – for once we get heart disease, we have it. Once we get depression, we have it. Once we get cancer, it can come back. Once we get Type 2 Diabetes, we always have it – NO MATTER what meds we take. The meds do not cure us. They enable us to stay alive in poor health.

Let’s find the answer simply by going back and looking at infection. When we see the model here, we can see the answers to the questions above about chronic disease.

Cholera is always around. But for humans to get it, Cholera has to have an ideal environment to propagate and to spread. Cholera is not spread through the air but through direct contact with human feces. So, if you put a lot of people together and you have no proper sewage disposal system and you allow the sewage to contaminate the water supply, you have the ideal conditions for an epidemic.

Now you can develop a “cure” – (now we know how to treat Cholera – heavy hydration with pure water). But the real cure is to take away the environment that gives cholera the edge. For instance, Cholera is always a threat today when a natural disaster such as an earthquake or hurricane damage sewage or water systems as happened in Haiti. You cannot contain the epidemic by vaccination or treatment. You have to work upstream and fix the sewage system and supply clean water asap.

This chart tells the story. See how most of the scourges of infection were beaten back BEFORE the advent of drugs.

Even TB!

All were “cured” by work on the upstream issue of environment. All these diseases were the product of changes to our social and physical environment caused by Industrialization. It was when millions of us left the small communities that fitted our own nature better. We arrived in the cities knowing nothing of the consequences of overcrowding. We found ourselves in the same predicament as say these animals now!

All these animals will die if they live like this. To prevent this they are given antibiotics as a routine. This is not sustainable and is dangerous as we are breeding super bugs as a result.

The only way that is sustainable is the change the environment. That is what we did for ourselves.

It was John Snow, a Dr, who discovered that Cholera was water born. He was never accepted by the establishment and died before his discovery was accepted. It was Joseph Bazalgette who built the sewers that made it possible for 8 million people to live in London.

We think that medicine “cured” infection. Medical knowledge about the environment for infection was the cure not any vaccine or drug.  But of course Big Pharma and the Medical Profession take the credit and today tell us that the ONLY way to be healthy is to use drugs.

All of this story about how we really conquered infection is true for the Chronic Diseases of our time. They all stem from environmental causes. Which in turn arise because we have not known the consequences of changes we have made to our diet, our work culture and how we live and work.

For just as we can never adapt to living in concentrations of millions without a good sewage system and a secure water supply, we also can never adapt to:

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

My getting fat and pre diabetic was all related to not knowing any of this too. I too had no context. I bought the Kool Aid about the fact that I should eat MORE grains and dairy. I had no idea that how much control I had in my life was a key factor in my health. My only thought about my body was that I should “Take more exercise” which is only a fragment of the larger truth and a part of my life where I would have to find the time and pay someone else and do – for me – silly things not connected to what I did every hour of the day.

I also did not know this.

Every animal has evolved to be healthy throughout its life. Evolution would not support a population that had to “carry” a large segment who could not cope.

We humans are no exception. In fact, in all societies where people live according to our design, we remain fit until we die. People who do not eat the modern diet, who have a culture that is more personal and who are active and spend a lot of time outdoors live long and healthy lives. Like this man.

He is from Kitava and he is my age. I hope I can be like him! Don’t you?

Our challenge is time. If you get cholera, you can be well this morning and dead by supper. The impact of Infection is obvious and quick.

But the diseases that we get today are slow building and hidden.

This is the “Switch” I was talking about. You seem fine – and then you have a heart attack. You are thin and in 10 years you are obese. You are fit and then crippled with arthritis. You go off to your routine breast exam and find you have stage 3 cancer.

This moment is different for us also depending on our ancestry. If your ancestry is longer adapted to the modern diet, the switch may not go on until your 50’s. If you are a First Nations person, it may go on right away from birth.

I think this delay and difference has hidden the danger from us all. Not helped by a vast industry – Food and Medicine – that makes a fortune from this and who have captured the media and so public opinion with their message – “Eat more grains and take a pill”.

So in my next post we will explore why we cannot adapt to this any more than we can adapt to drinking water contaminated by feces.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

This post is all about how they will happen.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This cannot survive a system failure

6a00d83451db7969e201156fc96bd0970c-800wi
This can

6a00d83451db7969e201156fc96c6d970c-800wi
This cannot survive a system failure

Feedlot.jpeg

This can

6a00d83451db7969e20147e1ad2623970b-800wi
This cannot survive a system failure

Mexcity
This can

Ctown

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

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

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

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

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

Bill Maher tells the truth about health

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

The Great Return – Part 2 – The “Industrial Clearances” and what they mean to you

Are all of us, who are today unemployed or under employed or never to be employed, failures and misfits?

I think that most of us think that we are in some way bad people. I think that, even as we hang up our Consulting Shingle, or our Craft Shop sign or offer our availability to do free work or volunteer work – or just wonder where the rent cheque will come from – still hope that we will once again get a “real job” that pays enough to give us a life.

I think we want to go home to a nice job.

Well my dear friends, I don’t think that is going to happen.

I think we are seeing a return of an early pattern. When the hunters became unemployed when all the big game died off 10,000 years ago. Or more recently when the landowners “Cleared” their agricultural peasants of the land.

We are the new displaced.

This is not your grand father’s layoff. This is not another downturn or recession. We live today at the turning point when one culture and its power system and economy will be decisively replaced by a new one.

In this context, those jobs are NEVER coming back. But all is not lost. WE have been here before and I think I see how we can see ourselves in a new and more hopeful light. Where we can create an entirely new economy for ourselves with each other. A new economy that will give us the opportunity for a much better life than the one we failed to hold onto or even get a taste of.

There are so many of us now – mainly the young and the middle aged – that we have reached a critical mass. All we have to do is to “SEE” the opportunity. The New Hunter Gatherer Economy.

So this is what really is going on – this is the pattern and this is where I think we might go.

History_clearances_325x325

The Industrial Revolution created its workforce by using new methods of agriculture to throw the people off the land. Waves of displaced peasants who had lived and farmed for millennia in rural villages in Europe were literally thrown out. They went to the new cities and their factories or to the New World.

They could never return. Their displacement was vital to the birth of industrial society. Not a good thing but a key systems factor.

By 1905, thanks to Henry Ford, wages in this sector had begun to offer a middle class life for labourers. Not an easy struggle to get there. But by 1950 it was normal to be able to life a good life with few deep skills. By 1970, the more literate could live an even better life in an office setting.

But then the process of Globalization began.

Rustbelt

7 billion people tied into a global trading system drives wages to the basement.

Empty cube

What started on the factory floor now affects white collar work as well. Now even call centres.

For those of us in the West with Western expenses, we are put in an impossible bind. We cannot compete with global wages.

Agmachine

Now Technology is accelerating this displacement and is stripping the work itself out of the system.

Planting in 1600 needed the entire village. In 1750 it could be done by one man and a horse. No land owner was going to bring back his old workforce.

As with farm technology in the 1750’s, machines and computers can do so much of what we used to do. Labour on its own in an industrial or office setting is also being replaced irrevocably by machines and technology.

Robots

The Jobs are not coming back and the jobs for our kids will never be there.

Chart-en
This is current data from OECD and Statistics Canada.

Unemployed

This is the modern equivalent of the Highland Clearances.

All the puffery of the politicians about getting behind job creation is misguided. How can the jobs come back in Europe or North American when our living costs are so high compared to places like China?

For all our key costs in the west are based on the old model. Housing, energy, education, health, food – all of these are based on the old reality and are systems costs based on the cost of the industrial and centralized model.

How can we bring the well paying labour based jobs back when technology has made us truly redundant?

OK enough doom and gloom – do you get my point though? The well paying jobs for routine work cannot come back. And here is the proviso – so long as we hang onto the industrial model!

So where is the hope and also the health? For this kind of stress – low self esteem – low status – lack of a sense of meaning is a killer.

The hope is here – that there are millions of us with talent and energy – old and young – who have nothing to lose by “Immigrating” to the Real New World Economy. The New Personal Networked Economy. Where the Household Oikonomia. Where the Household/Tribe is the core unit.

The irony of where we are going is that we the Displaced will have the tools that will take on the industrial economy on and decisively beat it.

Where we will use the new tools that empower the small and the network that gives scale and power to the aggregated small.

In the next post I will go into some detail about what this may look like – but here are a few teasers.

One thing that all of us share is that we don’t have much money and we worry about how we will afford to buy the things and services that we need.

  • Food - But if you grew your own or shared growing food with others – you would have food – Now you have the time to do this as millions are finding out. We can eat REAL food at a cost we can afford and employ a lot of us. We can also gain independence from the system. The key will be to learn how best to work WITH nature. The system which is based on oil has to fail anyway – this way we can get ready for the day and have a new more viable system in place. 
  • Paid work – New technology will enable you to sell your services and products personally and directly. We offer something that THEY cannot – Trust – we can offer authentic and truly good and safe things – THEY can’t
  • Manufacturing – New Technology – 3D Printers now enable the most complex things to be made locally – no more big factories. More true freedom – craft and skill returns to work
  • Energy – We can never replace oil in its ease of use – but we can redesign our lives and energy systems to do well. In doing so we can be free of depending on Big Oil. How and where we live and work is a big part of this as is a new food system that is integrated into our energy system.
  • Health Insurance and Care - With this kind of life we recreate the environmental fit that we need to be naturally healthy. Our dependence on Big Pharma will be broken
  • Day Care - If you worked from home you can work around this as parents did for all time before our own – Freelancers are recreating the old home economy – where all is centred on the home and the tribe
  • High Quality Education – All there today online waiting for you now – Homeschooling will offer more and better than any school and then if enough near you are doing this – you can have all the sports and social too
  • 2 cars or more – Essential for job families – Not for Freelancers – your energy costs will drop
  • Housing – You don’t have to move all the time to get work anymore. You may just make one more move to a place where all of this is emerging
  • Pensions - Where will the money come from to pay for me when I am old? – You will have a role and work in the tribe – if you are prepared to contribute
  • Elder care – Not if you rearrange how your family works – more labour at home and a real role for grandma and grandpa – I am ready!

So where are we Immigrants going too?

I think to a more dispersed and more stable pattern of settlement.

We are in the 1740’s in America – with the early colonies. Colonists who still have to obey the King’s rule and the King’s men.

But in a short time, we will start to organize. Our power will grow. In the end, the King’s men and all his power will not be enough to subdue us – we will create our own place.

And then my friends, the words of the Statue of Liberty will call out again:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

And millions will answer.

Next I will share the details of how the the pioneers are buildong this new system – it is all here in fractal form.

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.

 

You are designed to stay fit

mrkillerslide2


Georgina easter

This is Georgina Easter – she is 100 years old and here she is at her fitness class. She is unusual! But actually she is more “normal” than I had thought. We are designed to be like her and not like my mum.
… Continue Reading

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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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