Menampilkan postingan dari Juni, 2008

Celiac and Fat-Soluble Vitamins

One of the things I've been thinking about lately is the possibility that intestinal damage due to gluten grains (primarily wheat) contributes to the diseases of civilization by inhibiting the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. If it were a contributing factor, we would expect to see a higher incidence of the common chronic diseases in newly-diagnosed celiac patients, who are often deficient in fat-soluble vitamins. We might also see a resolution of chronic disease in celiac patients who have been adhering faithfully to a long-term, gluten-free diet.

One thing that definitely associates with celiac disease is bone and tooth problems. Celiac patients often present with osteoporosis, osteopenia (thin bones), cavities or tooth enamel abnormalities (thanks Peter).

An Italian study showed that among 642 heart transplant candidates, 1.9% had anti-endomyosal antibodies (a feature of celiac), compared with 0.35% of controls. That's more than a 5-fold enrichment! The majority of th…

The Seat of Power

Have you ever wondered why the buttocks is one of the most attractive parts of the body on both sexes?

The shape of the buttocks comes mostly from the gluteal muscles (maximus and medius), superimposed by a layer of fat. The 'glutes' are some of the strongest muscles in the body, due to their large size and efficient leverage. Thrusting doesn't even come close to tapping into the glutes' tremendous power. What does? Heavy lifting. Sprints. Jumps. In short, some of the most functional full-body movements we perform as humans.

In any full-body movement, the hips are the central source of power. The strongest muscles surround the hips, and muscle strength diminishes progressively as you move further from them. A shapely buttocks is typically a strong buttocks, and a strong buttocks generally means a strong person. So if you want to decide at a glance whether a person is capable of sprinting and jumping after large prey, and then carrying it home, the buttocks is …

Real Food VIII: Ghee

All this talk about butter is making me hungry. Richard mentioned in the comments that he bought some ghee recently and has been enjoying it, so I thought I'd post a recipe. Ghee is the Hindi word for clarified butter. It's butter that has had everything removed but the fat. Rich in fat-soluble vitamins and lacking the sometimes problematic lactose and casein, ghee has rightfully been considered a health food in India since ancient times.

Another advantage of ghee is its high smoke point, which is higher than butter because it doesn't contain any protein or sugars. Consequently, food sauteed in ghee has a clean, rich taste.

The recipe is simple but touchy. I recommend using the best butter you can get your hands on. 100% grass-fed, unsalted cultured butter is the best.

Ingredient and materials
Butter (1 lb minimum)Wide-mouth glass jarsCheeseclothRubber bands
Place the butter in a saucepan and turn the heat to medium until it's melted.
Once it begins to boil, tur…


Meditation is the single most effective tool I've ever found for cultivating calmness, positivity and self-acceptance. It's an ancient technique that's simple and free. In fact, it's so simple, I'm about to teach it to you in five minutes over the internet. I personally practice Zen meditation
several times a week, by myself and with a sitting group. Meditation is not fundamentally a religious practice, although it has been used by spiritual people in every major religion. Don't think you're patient enough for meditation? That's exactly why you should be doing it!

Let's start with posture. The main purpose of the meditation posture is to allow you to remain still for long periods of time without discomfort. I'll discuss two postures: cross-legged and kneeling. Before you elevate your mind though, you have to elevate your backside. Find something you can sit on- a firm cushion or a folded blanket will work well. Your pelvis should be at least four…

The Dhamma Brothers

I saw a movie a few nights ago called 'The Dhamma Brothers'. It's about a meditation program at Donaldson correctional facility in Alabama, one of the most violent prisons in the country. Two Bhuddist teachers of Vipassana meditation led a 10-day silent retreat for a volunteer group of inmates. They got up at dawn and meditated for several hours each day.Some of the inmates went through an amazing transformation.

They were forced to confront and accept the horrible crimes they had committed. When you aren't allowed to talk for 10 days, and all you have are your thoughts to keep you company, it's hard to ignore your feelings. Many of them had breakdowns as they felt the full force of their own suffering for the first time.

At first, the warden was skeptical that the prisoners were just acting to get parole; "fake it 'til you make it". Then he started noticing major changes in the inmates' behavior. They became less violent and easier to deal w…

Vitamin K2, menatetrenone (MK-4)

Weston Price established the importance of the MK-4 isoform of vitamin K2 (hereafter, K2) with a series of interesting experiments. He showed in chickens that blood levels of calcium and phosphorus depended both on vitamin A and K2, and that the two had synergistic effects on mineral absorption. He also showed that chickens preferred eating butter that was rich in K2 over butter low in K2, even when the investigators couldn't distinguish between them. Young turkeys fed K2-containing butter oil along with cod liver oil (A and D) also grew at a much faster rate than turkeys fed cod liver oil alone.

He hypothesized that vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin K2 were synergistic and essential for proper growth and subsequent health. He particularly felt that the combination was important for proper mineral absorption and metabolism. He used a combination of high-vitamin cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil to heal cavities, reduce oral bacteria counts, and cure numerous other af…

Activator X

Activator X, the almost-mythical vitamin discovered and characterized by Weston Price, has been identified! For those of you who are familiar with Weston Price's book 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration', you know what I'm talking about. For the rest of you, allow me to explain.

Weston Price was a dentist and scientist in the early part of the 20th century. Practicing dentistry in Cleveland, he was amazed at the poor state of his patients' teeth and the suffering it inflicted. At the time, dental health was even worse than it is today, with some children in their teens already being fitted for dentures. Being a religious man, he could not bring himself to believe that 'physical degeneration' was what God intended for mankind. He traveled throughout the world looking for cultures that did not have crooked teeth or dental decay, and that also exhibited general health and well-being. And he found them. A lot of them.

These cultures were all conside…


A friend and I went hunting for morels today in the Wenatchee forest. There was only one on the entire mountain, but we managed to find it:

We also found two "spring kings": spring-fruiting boletus edulis, also known as porcini or cepe. Firm and nutty, without a trace of bugs:

Raw is my favorite way to eat a good spring king. Here's an older one that was 6" across. Too old for me so I left it for the amateurs:

More Masai

I left out one of the juicier tidbits from the last post because it was getting long. Investigators Kang-Jey Ho et al. wanted an explanation for why the Masai didn't have high serum cholesterol despite their high dietary cholesterol intake (up to 2,000 mg per day-- 6.7 times the US FDA recommended daily allowance).

They took 23 male Masai subjects aged 19 to 24 and divided them into two groups. The first group of 11 was the control group, which received a small amount of radioactive cholesterol in addition to a cholesterol-free diet that I will describe below. The second group of 12 was the experimental group, which they fed 2,000 mg cholesterol per day, a small amount of radioactive cholesterol as a tracer, and the exact same cholesterol-free diet as the control group. For the duration of the 24-week trial, the subjects ate the experimental diet exclusively. Here's what it was (in order of calories, descending):Nondairy coffee creamer (made of corn syrup solids and vegeta…

Masai and Atherosclerosis

I've been digging deeper into the health of the Masai lately. A commenter on Chris's blog pointed me to a 1972 paper showing that the Masai have atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This interested me so I got my hands on the full text, along with a few others from the same time period. What I found is nothing short of fascinating.

First, some background. Traditional Masai in Kenya and Tanzania are pastoralists, subsisting on fermented cow's milk, meat and blood, as well as traded food in modern times. They rarely eat fresh vegetables. Contrary to popular belief, they are a genetically diverse population, due to the custom of abducting women from neighboring tribes. Many of these tribes are agriculturalists. From Mann et al: "The genetic argument is worthless". This will be important to keep in mind as we interpret the data.

At approximately 14 years old, Masai men are inducted into the warrior class, and are called Muran. For the next 15-20…


Why are we so soft today? Why is it that our ancestors were able to perform feats like killing bears and wooly mammoths in snow-swept grasslands? How do present-day tribesmen withstand days of ultra-cold temperatures in Northern Greenland and prolonged periods without water in scorching hot Kenyan deserts? Why is it that a century ago, children in the Swiss alps ran barefoot through ice-cold mountain streams on cold days, while now they get carpal tunnel syndrome playing video games? How did they do all this without succumbing to the chronic diseases that are so rampant today? I believe part of the answer lies in hormesis.

Hormesis is the process by which a mild or acute stressor increases resistance to other, more intense or chronic stressors. It can increase resistance to a variety of stresses, not only the one to which you are exposed.

It might sound like a foreign concept, but you're more familiar with it than you think. Exercise is a form of hormesis. It's a str…

Nature's Laws

Last night I was watching a little video clip of the Jack LaLanne show. LaLanne was an advocate of strength training and whole foods nutrition whose TV show ran from the 1950s through the 1980s. In the clip, he describes how his father died an early death due to heart and liver disease. A quote that really stuck with me was when he said his father died due to "disregarding nature's laws". That pretty much sums up my philosophy. Live in a way that generally mimics what our genes evolved to thrive on. Why did our paleolithic ancestors have strong, healthy bodies? Why are there still cultures that are free of chronic disease to this day, even into old age? Because they are following nature's laws. Break the law at your own risk.

Jack LaLanne and I do differ a bit on what constitutes a natural diet. For example, I don't throw out my egg yolks... But hey, the man is 94 and going strong. Here's another quote of his: "If man made it, don't eat …