Some New (Old) Health Concepts

I will be picking up pace on producing content for this blog. Currently I am interested in some schisms in different online communities, especially the MGTOW and MRAs, and will be writing about this (as it teeters on becoming mainstream) as well as my usual interest in health, fitness and sex. As I progress as a writer I will be attempting to tackle bigger projects as more of a scientific journalist and perhaps write scripts and produce content for a youtube channel.

Right now, I mostly just follow where my interests lay and get my information second-hand, from books, blogs, and articles based on scientific literature. There are many intelligent people out there that give excellent interpretations and a holistic view of scientific studies.

In this post, I’d like to go over some gems in other blogs.

You may have heard the saying, “you are what you eat”, but what about…

1)      You are your microbiome

2)      You are how often and intensely you induce hormesis

3)      You are the casts you “wear”

Let’s check it out. Continue reading

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Grass-Fed Butter in Alberta

Those following ancestral health inspired diets in Alberta may be excited to hear grass-fed butter and yogurt is coming to Calgary and will probably become more available across the country.

I originally started looking for grass-fed dairy about two years ago and found those determined to get it were ordering Kerrygold online from outside of Canada. Last summer I got my hands on some Organic Meadow pastured butter and realized this little addition to the label made a big difference to consumers.

butter1

However, not all dairies are indicating their butter is seasonally grass-fed. For example, Gay Hahn, CEO of Avalon Dairy in British Columbia, told me in an email their butter is seasonally grass-fed, but this currently not being indicated on the label.

I picked up Rolling Meadow grass-fed butter from Community Natural Foods a couple of weeks ago. I suspect this brand will become more available as time goes by and that dairies will indicate pastured or grass-fed indicator seasonally due to increased interest.

SaltButter-pgrid-2 (1)

I am an advocate of both ancestral health diets and restorative agricultural. Labeling grass-fed or pastured dairy and meat products gives consumers the opportunity to choose to support natural ecosystems, as our grasslands thrive with grazers, or healthier-eats, as dairy and meat produced this way tends to have more CLA, omega-3s and vitamins.

I am not much of a recipe blogger, but I often do a bulletproof style coffee or tea. Lately I’ve been having matcha green tea with a couple tablespoons of grass-fed butter, a table spoon of MCT oil (can be replaced with coconut oil), stevia and teaspoon or two of matcha. Delish.

Here is a more in-depth recipe I haven’t tried…but it looks good:

Make the Perfect Cup of Matcha

EDIT: PS, freezing butter works well; it doesn’t change the taste or texture. So when you see seasonal grass-fed butter on the shelves, buy in bulk. 😉

Living versus Surviving

Life can be hard. Some of us may go without basic necessities for periods of time and most of us will experience health problems and aging. Rich and poor, healthy and sick, we all fight for survival. As Steve DeMasco says in The Shaolin Way, survival living is often living to die, not living to live. Even very wealthy people can be stuck in “living to die” mode, never being satisfied by what they have currently attained or achieved and never allowing for enjoyment. It is like the plentiful harvest idea; we put a carrot on the end of the stick, work hard to get the extra time or money but never eat it.

Fossil fuels and technology have replaced a lot of the laborious busy-work needed for civilization to run. I think there is an art to fulfilling busy-work that helps connect us to the rhythms of life, but the fact we do not need to fetch wood to heat our homes in winter, produce or hunt our own sustenance or know how to make any of our own clothes, cars, computers, etc., leads to affluence like no historic civilization has seen. Standards of living do not correlate with the quality of someone’s life, unless standards are so low that there is very little quality of life. However, anyone perpetually stuck in survival mode, whether absolutely necessary (for example, a child fighting his or her way out of poverty) or a habit formed out of fear, is living to die, even if the illusion is to get that carrot.

The carrot. The reward. The pat on the back from your boss and approval of your peers, the vacation time so you can finally spend some time with the family, the extra money to buy a car, a house or sign up for a gym or a class, a big, cream-filled doughnut treat for keeping to a diet for a week.

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What begins in inadequacy will end in deprivation…

Continue reading

Arguement for a Local, Whole Foods Diet

Dr. Jay Wortman is a local low-carbohydrate diet advocate. Last night I watched his documentary My Big Fat Diet. Below is Part 1. Part 2 and 3 can be found here.

These ideas are extremely convincing and when put into practice the results unlike any fad diet can produce in health and fat-loss. Logically, if our ancestors lived in similar environments or more probable, environments with even less available plant starch and sugars, we can run well if not optimally on similar diets. I can imagine woody and fibrous plant parts with resistant starch would be something to munch on when there was not a lot of wild foods available.

There are not a lot of starches and sugars to be found in the ecosystems of the north. The sugar peak would probably be in the late summer and early fall, just in time for winter, and consist of fruit and starches loaded with fibre.

The sugar of our day and age is like rocket fuel, unbridled by the same amounts of fibre, nutrients or water as the natural state of sugar. This processed sugar doesn’t run clean in our bodies and creates all sorts of inflammation. Even fruit smoothies and juice creates an unnatural dose of sugar.

However, I do not think the conclusion should be starches and sugars are bad so cut them out completely, that is, unless particular health considerations dictate otherwise. Here are some arguments in favour of starch. Continue reading

The Human Ecosystem

“They are not on the earth, but within the earth. They are part of stone, of the animals and of the wind.” – Jean Malaurie speaking of the Inuit

A crucial factor in sustaining health seems to have been lost; the maintenance of external and internal ecosystems. There is a disconnection in what is naturally a closed system, a cycle, creating linear paths that lead to nowhere.

As Hippocrates stated 2000 years ago, “all disease begins in the gut”. With ten bacteria cells to every one human cell we are more microbe than human. These bacteria communities vary depending on our environments, eating habits and hygiene behaviours. The people that live the closest to the earth do live within it- they share the bacteria of the animals they hunt or herd with the soil and with the other people in their community.

ponijiao-babies-movie

Ponijao from the Babies movie growing up “within the earth” of Namibia.

These people are much healthier than urban dwellers and less likely to develop autoimmune conditions.

Recent studies are finding more symbiotic relationships and connections in studying microbes and fungi- but it has been part of a more primitive wisdom for thousands of years. The human food project is gathering data from American faecal samples and exploring the bacteria on and within Hadza hunters. I am excited to see what they find. Continue reading

Fulfillment

“Every living organism is fulfilled when it follows the right path for its own nature.”- Marcus Aurelius

I believe humans are driven both by their DNA’s demands to replicate and our altruistic nature (which is very much connected to the first). We are biologically wired up to not only survive to reproduce and help support the propagation of our kin’s genes through parenting, gift-giving and title-exchange, but to also work together as a social unit. That is, it is the animal in us that is empathetic, compassionate and socially-accountable.

The left and right hemispheres of the brain have different “personalities”. Although, the idea an individual’s personality can be related to right or left dominance has been debunked. The left hemisphere is generally the logical, pattern-finding and award-seeking motor while the right is like an eccentric, pot-smoking aunt. We need both to function. When Jill Bolte Taylor had a stroke, her left hemisphere became disconnected. Jill experienced something that resembles a spiritual enlightenment experience. She describes the right hemisphere as present, concerned only with the sensory input of the here and now, and as seeing the world in terms of energy:  “we are energy beings [in] one human family”. Molecules shifted into oneness and she could no longer tell where she ended and her environment began. Continue reading

Grassland Ecosystems Need Grazing Herds

bison

Around the world, grasslands are becoming deserts. The cumulative effects of over-cultivation and deforestation have degraded top soil and killed off grasses, perpetuating desertification. Over-grazing by livestock has been named one of the culprits, however, current studies by the Savory Institute provide a more holistic view of the problem.

I can understand the desire to create test-tube beef, however, I cannot understand the need. For millions of years grassland ecosystems contained large herds of ungulates. In the recent past, North America was home to enormous numbers of bison. Can any cultured meat really beat the energy efficiency of sun-to-grass-to-grazer? Sunlight is free, test-tubes (or whatever substrates they use, temperature control, facilities, etc.) are not.

And it turns out grassland ecosystems need grazing herds…

 

So who is “saving the planet”– those making technological advancements that make us able to function without parts of nature (like making meat without ungulates) or those shifting backwards in time, to past ecosystem states?

As I’ve expressed in previous posts, I am nature-biased. It may be that we will lose the grassland ecosystems and further develop our human environments. Organisms will adapt, evolve and many will face extinction but humans may prevail. However, the energy to replace ecological functions has to come from somewhere. Biological systems are amazingly complex, yet they provide us with such simplicity. I love innovations in technology as much as the next guy but everything was already provided for us: clean air, clean water, grass-fed steaks with a side of vegetables; producers, consumers and decomposers to help cycle nutrients (hey, remember the circle of life?…it moves us all)

Support your local ranchers – Eat Wild.

Serving the Calgary Area: Olson’s High Country BisonHoven FarmsTK RanchTrail’s End and Bite Beef (to return, I hope 😉 )

Further Reading:

Grasslands – Hinterland Who’s Who

Paleo Permaculture