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Showing posts from May, 2013

It Must Be Allergy Season

That's what I gather from my sniffling, sneezing coworkers. says dust and dander levels are high now. Huh. I suffered so long and so badly with allergies that it's strange to feel fine while others are going around with sinuses packed tighter than a 200-pound woman in size eight pants. Since I started a wheat-free diet, I've been mostly free of allergies. (My hay fever last year might have been brought on by drinking almond milk laced with carrageenan, a thickener and inflammatory. If your sinuses are inflamed, it won't take much mucus to fill them up.) I also don't use any dairy besides butter; it can cause congestion. To paraphrase an old saying, nothing tastes as good as a clear head feels.

More Evidence we Evolved on a Meat-Rich Diet

I'm getting the sense that human ancestors were serious meat eaters. I'm reading The Wisdom of the Bones by Alan Walker and Pat Shipman, a contemporaries and colleagues of Richard Leakey. They discuss evidence that humans moved up in the food chain: increased sociality, territorial expansion and decreased population density, and smaller GI tracts. Sociality As Leakey noted in one of his books, if you live on raw vegetation, you can just grab a leaf or a piece of fruit and eat it. You don't need a tribe to do so; in fact, you might want to hide your booty from everyone else so they don't bug you to share it. Hunting big game, on the other hand, requires cooperation. Richard Wrangham says in Catching Fire that some hunter-gatherers have strict rules about women sharing their vegetables only with immediate family members, while men are supposed to share their meat (hunted cooperatively) with the group ( Catching Fire, page 163-164). He who eats alone is an orangu

Paleo Vegetarianism?

Much more endnoting is needed! -Cindy Hoffman, one of my high school English teachers It's a shame that vegan activist Dr. Neal Barnard didn't learn English composition from Mrs. Hoffman: maybe we could see where he got the numerous pro-vegetarian quotes from paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey--enough to fill half a chapter in The Power of Your Plate . Leakey, according to Barnard, says that hunting in modern times isn't very important except as a macho male thing (page 175), that meat accounted for a small part of the diet on the African savannah (page 174), that the "excess of meat" from domesticated livestock is unusual (page 174), and that we wouldn't have had the teeth to deal with tearing flesh and hide (page 171). These statements are attributed to the same Richard Leakey who said, just two years before The Power of Your Plate came out in 1995, The expansion [of diet] involved making meat an important food source, not just an occasional items

How I Conquered Acne with Diet

Not many 44-year-olds can say that they still get acne--but I can. I've been on just about every acne treatment out there for pimples and cysts, but my acne came back every time I went off them. None of the over-the-counter products did any good. (Luckily, my skin didn't incur much damage from all this.) But on my new regimen, I'm almost 100% free of acne, and I've also noticed I don't sunburn as easily. I spent much of yesterday wearing shorts, but not sunscreen, in the sun and my legs didn't even tan, despite my fair skin and the high altitude. (My back burned the previous weekend, but didn't peel.) Here's what I'm doing: No dairy except for butter. Certain dairy spikes insulin beyond what the carb content would suggest; some people are also sensitive to dairy proteins. "Nuclear FoxO1 deficiency [which dairy can cause] has been linked to all major factors of acne pathogenesis," says this study . This article by Loren Cordain presents

Richard Leakey: Meat was a "Substantial Component" in Diet 2.5 Million Years Ago

Richard Leakey with skull of Australopithecus (left) and Homo habilis (right). Photo from Let me start with this: if you're a vegetarian, and enjoy good health on your diet, that's fine with me. Everybody should have a diet that works for them, and if you've found it, I won't discourage you from following it.  That said, evolution doesn't support human vegetarianism--unless you go back to Australopithecus (see photo). While doing a bit of research, I came across an odd quote attributed to paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey: "[y]ou can’t tear flesh by hand, you can’t tear hide by hand … We wouldn’t have been able to deal with food source that required those large canines” (although we have teeth that are called “canines,” they bear little resemblance to the canines of carnivores). It shows up on several vegan and vegetarian websites and articles, but with no source cited. I call it an odd quote because from what I'

Breakfast? The ADA Wants You!

There's a hungry kind of feelin' And every day it grows There's so much more of you Than anybody knows In the ADA, we eat more sugar before 9:00 am than some people eat all day.* Eat all the carbs we say 'Cause we need you in the ADA.** In the American Diabetes Association, you'll be eating pancakes, fruit smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter, toast, vegetable juice, eggs, and lean Canadian bacon for breakfast --and you'll be eating again before lunch! (I can tell you from long experience that the protein won't quell hunger from falling blood sugar.) Just look at all the sugar you'll get to eat: Three pancakes from Hardee's: 12g sugar (53g net carb) Banana berry 16-size smoothie from Jamba Juice: 73g sugar (80g net carb) One packet of prepared Quaker instant oats, apple & cinnamon: 12g sugar (23g net carb) Two tablespoons of smooth peanut butter on a slice of toasted wheat bread: 5g sugar (16g net carb) One cup of V-8 vege

Magical Research Shows Fat Makes you Sleepy

The Daily Mail has a story (1) about research (2) showing that a high-fat diet makes you sleepy. (See abstract 0977 in the research link.) This flies in the face of my experience and a whole lot of anecdotal experience, too (see the comments to the article). Since starting a low-carb, high fat diet, I haven't needed four-hour naps on the weekend. (See this , this , this , and this .)  I'm not exhausted come 7 p.m. on a Friday night. I have the energy at 44 that I should have had in my twenties. Are we low-carbers violating some law of physics or biology? No--the research and Mail article are magic tricks. The article is called "Why the Atkins Diet will make you sleepy but a packet of crisps will wake you up." Atkins is a specific diet: 20 grams of carbohydrate per day during induction with adequate protein and fat; most of Dr. Atkins' patients couldn't go over 40 grams of carbohydrate per day without gaining weight. Yet the research article that it refers

Many Refuse Bread & Other Good News

Pre-low-carb, a Sunday afternoon would have found me taking a four-hour nap. Since I no longer need them unless I'm sick, I've been working in the yard today. A couple of women came by while I was trimming the front yard. The hedge trimmer seemed to frighten them, but they stopped anyway and offered me some bread, which I told them I couldn't eat. One of them said quite a few people had told them that. The new portion of lawn I planted last year is still going, despite my lack of caring for it after I fractured my right arm in a bike wreck last year. The two roses I planted are sprouting leaves as well--they should look like this in a year or two: Salet, introduced in France, 1854. Photo from Mortgage Lifter tomatoes (an heirloom variety) are coming up in seed trays in the basement, and there's already volunteer lettuce growing out back, even though it snowed a few days ago. Yester

Potatoes Ain't Paleo

A potato is a lump of sugar. -Guest on Jimmy Moore's podcast Three years ago when I got into low carb diets and helping my mother control her diabetes, I gave myself a blood glucose test. Since I was wheat-free, I used a suggestion from the Blood Sugar 101 site : I ate a potato. That you can use a potato for a home glucose test should be the first clue that it isn't very good for you. Further clues take a little more digging (sorry). It's a given in camp paleo that grains and beans are Neolithic foods--foods that we weren't eating much of, if any, before we started farming. They're full of lectins and antinutrients. But so are some other agricultural products: potatoes have been cultivated for around 7,000 years in Peru,(1) and spread to the rest of the world only in the past 500 years.(2) Even if you're Irish, German or Russian, your ancestors haven't been eating potatoes for more than a few hundred years. Traditionally, potatoes went through a proces