Archive for November, 2011

Paleo Restaurant Menu

The idea of running a restaurant has been in my mind for years and years. Of course, these days these thoughts surround the Paleo diet and its foods. There is only a single Paleo restaurant in the whole world so far (in Germany), while at the same time the Bay Area is full of Paleo dieters. There’s definitely some business opportunity here…

Well, these are the dishes I’d feature in that imaginary Paleo restaurant, trying to cater primarily to Paleo & Primal diets, and secondarily to gluten-free, Atkins, SCD, or other low-carb or ketogenic diets. All foods would be cooked with virgin coconut oil, olive oil when indicated, while the sea salt used would have added iodine in it. Local plant produce, pastured meat, wild-caught fish would be used. All dairy is optional, lactose-free, and mostly goat-based (except grass-fed butter, and lactose-free sour cream which would be cow-based). Wherever sweetening is required, raw & unfiltered local honey is used.

Appetizers
– A grass-fed beef marrow bone, served hot with salted radishes
– Garlic & herb-roasted chicken wings
– Kale chips (oven roasted with olive oil, salt)
– Guacamole, served with endive leaves
– Mixed greens salad with bacon, apple, walnuts, olive oil vinaigrette
– Three separate tapenade: Olive, eggplant, and red pepper, served with almond-flax crackers
– Home-made honey/tamari-cured beef jerky
– Chicken liver pate with almond-flax crackers
– Fried minty meatballs, served with green olives

Main Courses
Greek Moussaka (lasagna-style) dish (optionally topped w/ cheese)
– Zucchini-based carbonara/alfredo “pasta” with eggs, cream, and your choice of bacon, chicken, or shellfish
– Fried white fish with boiled amaranth greens and lemon, olive oil
– Beef meat or beef tongue in multi-veggie stew, cooked in beef bone broth
– Shepherd’s lamb pie with sweet potato and cauliflower mash (optionally topped w/ cheese) (choice of side dish)
– Herb-roasted game (duck, goose, rabbit, turkey, ostrich, deer pieces) (choice of side dish)
– Grilled pork ribs and half a heart, roasted (choice of side dish)
– Tuna or salmon steaks, grilled or fried (choice of side dish)
– Meat & veggie loaf, with home-made ketchup (choice of side dish)
– Beef steak, grilled (choice of side dish)
– Beef liver, grilled (choice of side dish)
Kokoretsi (all parts of goat’s offal, including lungs, spleen, intestines) (choice of side dish)
Patsas (goat or sheep tripe avgolemono soup)

Sides
– Cauliflower-based colcannon
– Steamed broccoli & fried mushrooms
– Roasted squash with honey & apple cider vinegar-caramelized onions
– Celeriac, kohlrabi, cabbage and carrot coleslaw in home-made olive-oil mayo
– Root chips mix: sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, rutabaga, carrots, parsnips, sunchokes, fried in beef tallow, with herbs. Served with home-made ketchup, or Dijon mustard.
– Home-made live sauerkraut
– Sea vegetables medley
– Mache, purslane, cress, with avocado, tomato and cucumber slices in French vinaigrette
– Crust-free Greek spinach pie with spinach, beet greens, Swiss chard, leeks, turnip greens, etc.
– Soup of the day (various)

Desserts
– Almond/coconut flour and honey cookies (plain, nuts, chocolate)
– Almond/coconut flour with honey, fruits, cream-frosted muffins (for birthdays)
– Home-made SCD probiotic lactose-free goat yoghurt, served with nuts & seeds, berries, and live local honey
– Coconut milk “breakfast bowl“, served with nuts & seeds, berries, and live local honey
– Coconut and berries ice cream
– Paleo waffles, served with berries, and honey-based syrup
– Home-made chocolate bar with nuts, lightly sweetened with honey, coconut flakes
– Fruit salad of the season
– Fruit of the season sorbet (sweetened with live, local honey)

Drinks
– Coconut milk, with optional honey
– Fruit smoothie of the season
– Kombucha green tea (decaf available)
– Herbal tea (chamomile, or Greek Mountain Tea)
– Sugar-free (dry), local wines
– Evian mineral water

Paleo-Ketogenic Diet for Mental Disorders

Note: This article is updated constantly on the bottom with new reports and research papers.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and this is not medical advice! This information is for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be personal medical advice. Please ask your physician about any health guidelines seen in this blog.

Intro

I always thought of mental disorders as this whole other thing, medically. It’s not like a broken arm, where you put it in a cast, and it gets fixed in a month or so. Or even like with my own health problems, where you remove certain foods, while adding others, to fix my GI issues. Mental disorders are usually shrouded in this mystique of the unknown, which I always found fascinating, and scary as hell at the same time.

So while researching (some links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), I found that the known ketogenic diet for epileptics (used sinc the early 1900s), also has good effects also to some autism/aspergers, bipolar, migraines and unexplained headaches, depression, anxiety, and even schizophrenic people (research). Other positive benefits of a very low-carb, high-fat diet was found during the treatment of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, and even brain cancer patients! There are these who claim that most mental disorders are nothing but inflammation of the brain. A completely “physical” problem, that is.

The Theory

A ketogenic diet is a diet that removes most sugars and starches (carbs) from the diet. Adult patients are not allowed to eat more than 30-40 grams of net carbs a day, and it’s about 10-20 grams for children (“net” means that fiber is not included in the daily carbs calculation since it’s not digestible). After 2-3 weeks, the body stops burning glucose as its fuel, and instead runs on fat! While in this mode, the body then will produce a byproduct called ketones. There are sticks you can buy where you pee on them in the morning, that let you see if your body has gotten into a ketosis mode or not (also, bad breath, and stinky unine are other ways to know). These methods are good to know if you have reached ketosis in the first few weeks, but as your body adapts, ketones won’t be disposed by your body anymore (so detection won’t be possible anymore via sticks). Instead, these ketones will be now used by the body as fuel. The brain/body can also run on protein, but it prefers sugar or ketones/fat. By changing the fuel that floods the brain from glucose to ketones, the seizures get minimized or stop, because the whole dynamic/chemistry of the brain changes. Your gut flora also will change, which will have its own effect on the brain. Your mood should stabilize, you’ll focus better, and a whole new world could open up for you. Hopefully, that is — some people don’t respond to dietary changes since for them there are other physiological or genetic factors to blame for their condition instead of brain inflammation or a bad gut flora.

The Plan

These are the factors that help making asymptomatic a lot of conditions:
– The right diet, as described below.
– Vitamin supplementation as described below. Diet alone is not enough during the initial healing phases.
– Sleep by 10 PM, for 8+ hours (establish a natural circadian rhythm).
– Be for 15 minutes in the sun daily, with exposed skin. You need both the UV and the D3.
– Probiotics (found in pills and fermented foods), prebiotics (found in some raw foods), and some Resistant Starch.
– Walk barefoot in nature weekly (exercise caution to not cut yourself). Connect with nature.
– Do some lite exercise, lite weights, few short sprints, or some yoga. Avoid repetitive exercises (e.g. long distance running).
– Meditation for 15-30 minutes a day.
– Drink and cook with the right spring water (no chlorine, no fluoride). Use a non-fluoride toothpaste.
– Embrace the cold water in the shower before the hot one arrives (cold thermogenesis).
– Turn OFF all WiFi/Cell/cordless devices & routers at night. Avoid microwaving food. Minimize exposure to “non-native EMF” which is known to kill the gut flora and your mitochondria.
– Heavy Metal detoxification (eating a bit of cilantro almost daily helps with that).

The Diet

First month (intro phase): Cut off ALL gluten, most processed foods and sugars, cigarettes, alcohol (especially beer), most coffee, any recreational drugs. Get plenty of sunshine and walk. Add more veggies, wild fish, fruits and fermented foods in your diet. Cook at home with approved oils. The first month is to try to slowly go to the new regiment.

Second month (keto phase 1): Paleo-ketogenic diet (as described below), with up to 30-40 gr of NET carbs per day (fiber is always excluded from calculation).

Third month (keto phase 2): Paleo-ketogenic diet, with up to 50 gr of net carbs per day.

Fourth month (Very Low Carb Paleo phase): VLC Paleo/Primal diet, up to 75 gr of carbs per day.

Fifth month (Paleo phase): Paleo/Primal diet with up 100 gr of net carbs per day.

Sixth month to forever (maintenance phase): Relaxed Paleo/Primal diet with 120 gr to 160 gr of net carbs per day, depending on activity level. Legumes (soaked for 24 hours) are now allowed, and also minimal white or brown sprouted rice (but not plain brown rice).

How To

So, to start, follow the Paleo diet as described in that link (including bone broths, oysters, offal, seaweed, lactose-free home-made goat kefir, but not the suggested honey). Never put grains in your mouth again, not even in the form of a beer. You will have to avoid gluten the same way a celiac sufferer does — even if you’re not a celiac. You will have to measure your carbs to make sure you don’t go over your daily allowance number of grams!

For oils, go for any animal fats, grass-fed butter, and coconut oil for cooking, and extra virgin olive oil, raw, for salads. Avoid all vegetable seed oils and margarine, and make sure your olive oil is true olive oil (most olive oils these days are bastardized with cheaper oils, illegally). Coconut oil should be your main cooking oil, since it has strong brain effects.

No sugar, not even artificial ones. A small piece of 85+% dark chocolate is ok. A bit of raw, local honey is ok after you’ve transitioned away from Paleo-keto to plain Paleo later on.

From nuts and seeds, you can have all of them in moderation, except peanuts that are out completely (they’re not nuts, botanically-speaking they’re legumes). All these details are explained better in the Paleo diet link above, make sure you read that article, and its links. Almonds will give you access to more vitamin E, and sunflower seeds will give you access to more vitamin B1 and Mg.

For protein, give priority to wild oily fish (esp. wild salmon, mackerel, sardines) and shellfish (esp. oysters, it’s ok if these are farmed) over meat. Wild seafood has a lot of omega-3, which has mental stabilizing benefits. Prefer pastured eggs for the same reason. For meat, go for pastured/grass-fed if possible, but it’s ok to go for regular meat if you don’t have the budget for it. Eating pastured offal (e.g. grass-fed liver, heart, duck gizzards) is paramount though. I usually buy lamb/goat liver/heart, since most of these animals are pastured in the US (as opposed to cows). Duck gizzards look healthier than chicken offal, since ducks are less industrialized.

IF you can tolerate dairy, you should make your own home-made probiotic lactose-free goat kefir, which has strong healing properties. You can also eat goat/sheep cheeses (avoid cow cheese/milk). For plain milk, you go for unsweetened almond or real coconut milk without added stabilizers (not the beverage kind). If you can’t tolerate dairy, consider doing at home water kefir using raw cane sugar (google for recipes and what you need for it).

For fruits, you can chop two small strawberries in your yogurt, or 4-5 of the smaller berries per day (that’s overall about 3-5 grams of carbs). The rest of the fruits are pretty much out during the ketogenic phase, unless you’re ok eating very small pieces of them, pieces that overall don’t have more than 5 grams of carbs (e.g. 1/4 of a small peach). You can add more fruits as you go out of the keto phase and into plain Paleo.

Take 1-2 tablespoons of Resistant Starch per day, an hour before bed (dilluted in warm-ish water). Especially when in the ketogenic phase, you will need this undigestible type of starch to keep your good bacteria from not dying. Plenty of info about this online.

For soy sauce, go for the wheat-free “tamari” soy sauce (always check ingredients), or coconut aminos (you can take these with you at a sushi restaurant too — order sashimi). Garlic, and gluten-free herbs (always confirm!) are ok! Fermented foods (e.g. unpasteurized kimchi & sauerkraut etc) are very beneficial and they must be consumed 2-3 times a week.

Look above for a list of the kind of carbs allowed in the keto phase. After a few months you stabilize to the less restricting Paleo diet for life. Remember, glutenous grains will have to go 100%, forever.

Remember: While you’re calculating carbs, remove the fiber from the calculation, so that allows for more vegetables to eat. For example, if a veggie has 10 grams of carbs for 100 grams of its weight, but 4 of these grams are fiber, then in reality that’s 6 grams of “net” carbs. So add more than 100gr of the vegetable in your plate! Yum, more to eat! Here’s how to calculate “net” carbs. Create a free account with Cron-o-meter web site, and setup your profile with the right diet information (there’s a ketogenic option). Then, click “Profile”, “Carbohydrates” (from the tabs at the bottom of the page), check the “visible” checkbox for the “net carbs” (it’s not visible by default). Now, every time you add some food on the list, it will also show you the net carbs consumed, in addition to other nutritional information.

Supplementation is paramount. Unfortunately, modern food is so selected that doesn’t provide all the vitamins we need. So if you’re not out in the sun a lot, get 1000 IU of D3 every other day(but make sure you check your levels via a blood test every year, you don’t want to reach toxic levels). Also, the “fermented cod liver/butter oil” can stabilize the mood (google for it). Other interesting vitamins is Magnesium (and K2 Mk-4, if you don’t do the cod liver oil). For people specifically on a keto diet, it could be useful to get L-Carnitine (at least in the beginning), a substance that helps the body metabolize fat into fuel. Also, make absolutely sure that you cook mostly with pure coconut oil (MCT oils are imperative for mental health). Make sure your sea salt has added iodine in it, and that you do eat salt. Also, eat sea-vegetables (seaweed) weekly for their iodine (do not buy ready-made ones, they have glutenous soy — Costco sells a GF one). Beet *greens* and swiss chard can keep a good level of potassium too (you can also occasionally use potassium salt). It’s paramount that you drink enough water on a ketogenic diet, or you can get horribly constipated with it.

This is the best soil-based probiotic I know of. You will get your lacto-based good bacteria from your kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi, but for soil-based bacteria, you might need that to restart your gut flora.

Cut off most cigarettes, and completely cut off recreational drugs. Definitely get off most of caffeine. Caffeine has some good effects itself, but it can send some people with mental disorders into a manic state. Chamomile and Greek Mountain herbal teas should be in your tea pot. Limit alcohol (you could still have very little of dry wine or apple cider every now and then) or you’re in danger of killing yourself with ketoacidosis. If you’re an alcoholic, you must cut off alcohol slowly.

Try to sleep 8+ hours at night, no later than 10-11 PM. Sleep has a very important therapeutic role while you’re healing. Finding back your natural circadian rhythm is not just an added thing to do, it’s one of the must-do things in the described lifestyle. Some basic exercise will help too, nothing too strenuous. Yoga and meditation are good too.

If after a few months on this diet you saw no mental rebound, consider checking yourself for parasites, viruses, tumors etc. You might have to see a good specialist about all that.

Tweaks

To recap, this Paleo-ketogenic diet for mental disorders is a bit tweaked compared to plain Paleo, or plain Keto diets, in order to support the brain as much as possible. To recap, these tweaks are:

– In the first month, while you could be battling addiction to carbs/sugar, alcohol, or too much caffeine, go with a less-restrictive, relaxed version of the Paleo diet (up to 100-150 gr of net carbs per day — it allows for raw honey as a sweetener, tubers, more fruits). When you feel comfortable at that diet, only then go Paleo-ketogenic.
– You’ll need a cooking weight scale, and to use cronometer.com, to weight/calculate the “net” carbs of what you eat.
– Eat much more wild fish and shellfish than meat. Your brain needs as much DHA as possible. Have pork belly with some of your breakfasts, beef for Sunday lunch, poultry or game on Friday dinner, and offal on Wednesday. The rest of the time should mostly be wild fish (particularly low-mercury oily fish, e.g. salmon, mackerel, trout etc), and shellfish (particularly oysters or mussels).
– Coconut oil is your main cooking oil. Ketone production will get stimulated by coconut oil.
– Home-made non-chicken bone broth, slow-cooked for 24 hours (cook with some of it, or heat up and drink a cup daily). Drink it heated, or use in soups and stews. Can keep up to 1 week in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer (in plastic bags). I make two big batches per month.
– Home-made goat kefir, fermented for ~24 hours. Add a few chopped nuts, chia seeds, and berries in it and eat it at lunch time, or at breakfast time along 1-2 fried eggs (or in omelette) and occasionally, a bit of fried pork belly/patties.
– These crackers are your only “bread” from now on. Have no more than 4-5 pieces a day. Avoid insane amounts of almond/coconut flour for baking (they oxidize when baked — there’s no such thing as a “Paleo cookie”). Use whole ground flaxseed meal sometimes to increase omega-3s.
– Small amounts of various sea vegetable species, a few times a week. Avoid eating your seaweed/fish with any of the cabbage family of vegetables (including broccoli,kale, Brussels sprouts), because they block iodine absorption.
– Have beet greens almost weekly (they have lots of potassium). Slow-fry them in butter, garlic, 1 cup of bone broth. Sprinkle potassium salt instead of sea salt on some of your non-fish dishes.
– Eat enough high quality sea salt too. Ketogenic and low carb diets are diuretic, so you’ll be losing lots of water/salt/potassium.
– Live/unpasteurized sauerkraut/kimchi, and Greek Mountain Tea, if you can find it on your local Mediterranean store. Greek Mountain Tea (herbal) will help you sleep well if you drink it an hour before bed. Use chamomile if you can’t find the specific herbal tea suggested.
– Not too much coffee. You must establish your regular circadian rhythm back, and get enough sleep. Without enough sleep, this diet won’t reach high potency. Sleep from 10 PM until 6-7 AM. People who work at night: they’re screwed.
– Don’t forget your probiotics, and Resistant Starch.
– Walk or do some yoga, almost daily. Your skin must “see” the sun daily. Consider some meditation too.
– Learn to eat more types of veggies: turnip, rutabaga, spaghetti squash, kale, amaranth greens, radishes, jicama etc. Without adding more variety to your diet compared to the few “standard” vegetables most people eat, you won’t make it in this diet. You need the variety and adventure that comes with it. Same goes for game meats, and lesser known types of fish.
– Try to increase your raw food/recipes a bit after a while. I have many Paleo recipes for you here (avoid the tuber-based ones and most desserts, as these are higher carb).
– If you have digestive issues in this diet, also cut out the brassica/cabbage family for a while (broccoli, kale, cabbage etc). If the problems persist, you might have a food intolerance to one of the main allergens, e.g. eggs, nuts, shellfish, nightshades etc. Taking them out one by one for 30 days and reintroducing them slowly might shade some light about which one is the one that bothers you.
– A single Brazil Nut, 3-4 times a week. This will be enough to keep your selenium levels up! Don’t overdo it! Both selenium and iodine are needed for good thyroid function, but they’re also antagonists!
– Your dairy (kefir, yogurt, cheese) should always be fermented, and from goat/sheep/buffalo. From cows, only do grass-fed/pastured butter, and European style probiotic cream (or crème fraîche). If you can tolerate it, occasionally go for “European style” cow yogurt from Trader joes (unfortunately, most goat yogurt in the US has tapioca and other additives in it). Your dairy must ALWAYS be FULL FAT.
– Drink a lot of water to avoid kidney stones on this diet. If your tap water has added fluoride, you’ll need to hunt for the right bottled water. Fluoride leaves the body dehydrated.
– Legumes/beans are ok to eat after the 6th month (after reaching the maintenance phase), and only after you have soaked them for 24 hours prior to cooking. This includes lentils (look for barley among them btw). Prefer non-GMO soy if you have to have whole soy. Processed soy products (e.g. milk, tempeh, tofu etc) are still out, forever. Unpasteurized, non-barley-based miso is the only form that is ok.
– Sprouted brown rice or white rice (but not plain brown rice) is the least bad of the grains. Unfortunately, they’re very high on carbs too, so they must be consumed very rarely, and only after have moved to the long term maintenance diet.
– Very little quinoa or other pseudograins must be consumed, and only after reaching the maintenance phase. Some cultivars of quinoa can create gluten-derived-like symptoms, even if quinoa has no gluten. Same goes for oats and even some types of rice and corn.
– If you’re looking for the extra mile, here’s my recipe for home-made non-fluoride toothpaste too.
– Supplement with 1000 IU D3 (morning, 3-4 times a week), 1 pill of Fermented cod liver / butter oil mix (lunch), and Magnesium Malate (20 mins before sleep, 4-5 times a week). Supplement at dinner time (not daily, rotate them) with: CoQ10 Ubiquinol (not Ubiquinone), a B-Complex with at least B1, B12 and Folate in it (instead of just folic acid), and Acetyl-L-Carnitine (not plain L-Carnitine). Replenish only D3, Magnesium, and CoQ10 Ubiquinol when they’re out (you can also replenish the B-Complex, but don’t have that more than 3 times a week at that point). Don’t use multi-vitamins, they often use the wrong forms, or they’re missing key nutrients, while they over-do it on others. The vitamin K2-Mk4 is useful too for a while.
– Once a year check your iron, B12, D3, folate, potassium, calcium, Hs-CRP, thyroid T3 etc. status via a blood test, and tweak your diet/supplementation according to the results. Every individual is different, so further tweaks might be needed.
– Finally, and most importantly: AVOID GLUTEN AT ALL COSTS. Read food labels! No wheat, barley, rye or even oats, EVER again. Eat clean!

Dangers

Having said all that, be careful with such a diet, and always ask the permission of your doctor. Of course, most doctors don’t believe that a diet works for mental illnesses, because the research for it is brand new and most don’t even know about it. The main danger is ketoacidosis: avoid alcohol, and definitely ask your doctor first, if you’re a Type 1 diabetic, or such a diet can become fatal!

Other reported problems are kidney stones and constipation, so make sure you drink enough water. If your eyes are starting to get dry, add a few more carbs. Also, if you are exercising or working physically a lot, you need to add more carbs too than the suggested amounts.

Finally, you will feel headaches, brain fog, cramps, moodiness, and fatigue in the first 30 days of the diet, this is normal and to be expected (“carb flu”). Try to not eat more carbs to combat all this, your body will adjust to the new fuel eventually, as long as you eat enough fat. IF your body can’t adjust within 30 days, then you will have to add carbs back, gradually add up to 100-150 gr of net carbs daily (eat fruits, sweet potatoes), and after a few months try to stabilize down to about 150 gr of net carbs. This is explained here, and it’s mostly true for people who over-produce rT3 (thyroid problems), have malabsorption, high lipids, high cortisol, and are insulin-resistant. For these people (particularly women and for all people from ancestry near the equator), going ketogenic is actually a bad idea, and they’ll have to do with the fewer benefits of just going plain Paleo (mental benefits will still happen even with plain Paleo, just not as much). This talk explains why having women going ketogenic could harm them.

You might also want to check out your genes, to see if you’re APoE e4/e4. 3% of the world’s population have this gene, and they can’t digest fats properly.

Also note, that most people who got out of the diet had their symptoms eventually returned. A Paleo diet is not a panacea, but it’s a way to manage your problems, and eventually & hopefully (with your doctor’s approval), to stop taking these drugs that usually have so horrible side-effects, and most often than not, they just don’t work. But no matter what, always keep your doctor(s) in the loop!

Sample Menu

Here’s how a sample menu looks like in a Paleo-ketogenic diet:
* Breakfast: 2 eggs (or in omelette with greens/mushrooms/cheese), fried in coconut oil. Fried pork belly pieces with lemon, or half an avocado. Drink a cup of your home-made goat kefir, served with 4-5 berries, nuts, and seeds, all chopped. That’s about 10 gr of net carbs for breakfast. It’s best to eat within 30-40 minutes of waking up.
* Lunch: A small cup of a veggie soup made with bone broth and sour cream. 120 gr of left-over roasted chicken, re-fried in coconut oil. Serve with a cup of greens (mostly from the cabbage family), 1/2 cup fried mushrooms or other veggies. Have some goat of sheep cheese with it and 2 cheese crackers. Overall, that’s 10-15 net carbs.
* Dinner: Green salad with olive oil vinaigrette. 250 gr of wild fish fried in coconut oil, or shellfish. Serve with 1/2 cup of mashed cauliflower, or a cup of other veggies, bathed in cream or butter. Have some goat of sheep cheese with it and 2 cheese crackers. That’s overall another 10-15 grams of net carbs.

* Snacking: a few seeds/nuts (don’t overdo it with these, they’re too high in O-6), heated bone broth, unsweetened almond/coconut milk (or prepared as cereal), wheat-free jerky, canned wild sardines and lemon, aged non-processed cheese, a square of 85%+ dark chocolate. Herbal tea/chamomile 1-3 times a day.

Overall for the day, rounding up on error, that’s about 30-40 grams of net carbs, which is low-enough to keep most adults under ketosis, and high-enough to not be completely unmanageable. A considerable amount of fat should be consumed, since that’s what’s running the body now. Don’t be afraid about cholesterol, as with the Paleo diet, the diet itself will balance everything out. There are a lot of myths about cholesterol out there, but there’s also rebuttal (1, 2, 3).

Here are some Paleo recipes (some of them are ketogenic).

Conclusion

The most difficult part of the Paleo-Ketogenic diet and the rest of the lifestyle changes is of course to keep them up. Most people can’t keep it up for long. But if you can keep it up for 2-3 months, and then you see the benefits of the diet and lifestyle in both your body & mind, it’s up to you if you want to continue getting drugs for the rest of your life, or get with the program and find your inner peace. But remember, when after a while you transition to plain Paleo from the Paleo-ketogenic diet it’ll be easier to do maintenance for the condition for life. Think about it, and do your own research online. As importantly, start a blog about it, and share your progress while on such a diet! Spread the word if it worked for you!

Update Dec 20 2011: A new article, at NPR, about dieting and mental health.
Update Jan 6 2012: Coconut oil fixes Alzheimer’s.
Update Jan 20 2012: Positive effects of the ketogenic diet on behavior and cognition.
Update Mar 8 2012: Results from my own experiment with the Paleo-ketogenic diet.
Update Apr 26 2012: More Clues to Systemic Inflammation in Mood Disorders
Update Oct 10 2012: Research on Bipolar and ketogenic diet
Update Oct 13 2012: Two accounts about keto for bipolar, one successful, one less so (although I’d bet that the second person didn’t try the Paleo-ketogenic diet in particular, which is more effective than plain keto or plain Paleo).
Update 16 Dec 2012: One more great article about Bipolar from Dr Deans.
Update 27 Jan 2013: Is Schizophrenia an Autoimmune Disease? Article.
Update 31 Jan 2013: The actress who played Lois Lane in the ’70s Superman movies had massive bipolar issues that halted her career. For many years now she’s free of episodes, after going on a gluten-free, sugar-free diet in the ’90s.
Update 31 Jan 2013: Blog of a woman with bipolar who has managed a portion of her condition with the Paleo diet (not Paleo-ketogenic though).
Update 3 Mar 2013: The account of a Paleo-ketogenic dieter with Bipolar I and agoraphobia, and her success. Three more Reddit reports: 1, 2, 3.
Update 7 Mar 2013: Exclusive interview with DreaV, who successfully combated bipolar and agoraphobia with the Paleo-ketogenic diet!
Update 12 May 2013: More discussions on Reddit about keto and mental clarity: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
While these are not published research papers, but rather anecdotal reports, they are numerous, and they are consistent, making them difficult to dismiss the positive effects of a very low carb diet for mental disorders.
Update 15 Jul 2013: Schizophrenia and the ketogenic diet report.
Update 8 Aug 2013: A less-restrictive method on getting rid of depression and anxiety.
Update 26 Dec 2013: More anecdotal reports about the efficacy of keto, this time about schizophrenia! Read the comments too!
Update 30 Dec 2013: Biomarkers of gluten sensitivity in patients with non-affective psychosis: A meta-analysis.
Update 16 Feb 2014: Two articles, first one, and the second at the Scientific American! And a third one at NewScientist: Autoimmune attack behind some cases of schizophrenia.
Update 25 May 2014: Two more Reddit accounts about depression & bipolar and the keto diet (read comments too): 1, 2.

Best Music Videos of the year

My favorite music videos of the year, the ones I had on “repeat” all year on my Roku’s Vimeo TV app, from artistic, filmmaking, editing, and “fits the music” points of view.

1. The Soft Moon – “Into The Depths”
Director: Will Joines
Cinematographer: Zoë White
Editor: Sowjanya Kudva
Exhilarating, while reaching at the darkest parts of ourselves. This video is the only window I have to “understand” people who enjoy hurting themselves by one way or another. The fear and angst are undisputedly there, but ultimately they can’t run away from the thrills of self-harming.

2. Craft Spells – “After The Moment”
Director, Cinematographer, Editor: Tyler T Williams
A mind-bending story/puzzle, edited in a very modern style. I find this video both simple at first sight, but pretty complex after you try to take it apart in your head to examine how it was edited together. The atmosphere is just so spot-on.

3. Caribou – “Jamelia”
Director: Video Marsh
Cinematographer, editor: Nic Brown
Contemporary filmmaking, right there, yo! To some people this very fade look and at-first incoherent pictures might be a turn off. But the music has such a high, reaching the highs of classical music, that the video properly stands up to the challenge presented by the music. This is a video I think I could never make. It takes a different kind of thought, one that I admire, but I admit that I don’t possess. Yes, there’s a story in there, watch!

4. Rendezvous – “The Murf”
Animator, director: Scott Benson
This is my favorite animation, probably ever. The music video is really a sci-fi short story, spanning millions of years. Very cool to watch, far-reaching, funny at times too.

5. Danger Beach – “Apache”
Director: Ned Wenlock
Animator: Rodney Selby
My second most favorite animation ever. The music is simple but addictive, and the animation is very cute, fitting perfectly to the music. Pretty complex to make it, I imagine.

Runner Up:
Woodkid – “Iron”
Director: Yoann “Woodkid” Lemoine
Cinematographer: Mathieu Plainfosse
This is the most “epic” video of all this last year. Woodkid is also a TV commercials filmmaker himself, but he kept his best video for one of his own songs. The video looks a lot like beautiful still frames of a fashion magazine, but it’s kind of lacking substance when watched on repeat. This is the reason that it’s not on the top-5.

Why I dislike Florence + The Machine

Florence + The Machine’s new album “Ceremonials” seems to be the album of the year for most listeners. I’ve never seen so much positive feedback on any album before on iTunes. There were only very few negative reviews, while about 99% of the reviews giving the album a 5/5 rating. This was astonishing actually, truly something I haven’t seen before for any album.

But personally, I can’t stomach Florence and her “music”. She irks me to no end. And here’s why: she just doesn’t stop fucking singing (or shouting). She sings from one end to the other, about 95% of the duration of each song! She overpowers everything, there is absolutely no “music” to speak of in there. She just takes over, in a selfish, self-important role somehow, telling us “how it is”, leaving nothing to our imagination. There is no ambiance, there’s no atmosphere. There’s just Florence. The music that exists in the album is just background noise, just so Florence doesn’t appear acapella. It’s even mixed very low!

Make no mistake, Florence can write very nice hooks, in a way that other musicians simply can’t, no matter how hard they try. I do not question her talent to write great melodies and harmonies! But having easy-listening music is not the end all. You need a proper production too, a production which brings a balance between the voice, and the music. Such balance does not exist in Florence’s albums, especially in the second one. In a very surprising twist for me, Pitchfork had the exact same complain about Florence’s album, when awarded it with a 6/10.

But as I wrote in the beginning, people apparently love the style. Which to me is very disappointing, because this shows that most people today are sheep. They prefer to listen to a kind of music that’s hollow and straight to their faces. I can’t see much difference between Florence’s music and than saying “please government, give me more restrictive laws, I love those, because they tell me exactly what to do, what not to do, and how to think“. Maybe I’m overreaching here, but that’s how I feel about Florence’s (and Gaga’s, and Rihanna’s, and any other’s plain pop act’s) listeners: they want to be told how to think and feel. It’s like there’s no imagination or creativity left in these people’s brains anymore! They leach upon Florence’s instead. It’s the “easy” way out of art.

As I’ve written in the past, all this is why I stopped listening to mainstream pop and moved to what it’s now called “indie alternative”. Because alternative, puts way fewer limits to the listener. As a synesthete, I need to be able to build on top of a musical piece, I need to bring myself into it, and fill in the gaps that the artist left intentionally for me. This way, I become one with the work, in a personal and unique manner. Washed Out’s first EP in 2009 for example, was perfect for my needs. One of the most perfect music I ever heard (didn’t quite like as much his new album though).

Anyway, this kind of indie, alternative psych music I prefer is a lot like taking a philosophy test at school. There are questions, and there are hints in the questions, but there are no answers, you will have to squeeze your brain and provide these. But with mainstream pop, the test itself is a multiple-choice one, with the “right” answers already checked in! In other words, the music I prefer is READ-WRITE, while mainstream pop is READ-ONLY.

With Florence, I can’t do read-write. Florence occupies all the space. To like her music I must become her blind follower while she must become my priestess. And I’m not the kind of person who follows others blindly in any way. If anything, I’m known to have strong opinions and hold on to them. I try to progress myself through art and other means, but I can’t follow a fucking cult. That might be a kind of art, but it’s not my kind of art.

Fixing constipation

Note: Read on about how to fix other things apart of constipation too. Please remember though, I’m not a doctor, that’s just what I did to get out of the health situations I’ve been into.

You might have read my story about battling IBS-D for 10 years, and how the Paleo/SCD diets helped me got rid the IBS menace & all sorts of other problems. However, about 2 weeks into the diet, my diarrhea had morphed into constipation of sorts. Apparently, a lot of people (with IBS or not) get constipated on Paleo/SCD at first, because they enter these diets with a badly altered gut flora. Eating “more fiber”, doesn’t really help.

But early-on, a comment on PaleoHacks.com made me see the light. The guy said something to the effect of “diarrhea is usually the outcome of some food that shouldn’t have been consumed, and constipation is food that should have been consumed, but it wasn’t“. This made sense to me somehow. Since my diarrhea went away after I stopped eating grains/gluten, it only made sense that constipation was here just because I was not doing enough to fix my terribly damaged gut flora. I was not eating everything I was supposed to eat. I was simply eating “the Standard Western Diet, but without grains/beans/sugar”. The part I was missing from the whole story was that there were other, ancient types of foods, fermented foods, that our modern society has completely shunned off. In the olden days, people were eating fermenting foods all the time. Even their bread was fermented.

It’s been 2.5 months since I started the diet that saved my life, and based on this new information I was able to fix my constipation within a week of following the regimen below. As my leaky gut heals, bowel movements & overall health are getting better. For a month now I have one, firm bowel movement within 30 to 45 minutes of waking up (no matter if I eat/drink or not). It’s like a freaking clockwork. A few days I might have two BMs a day, but they’re always well-formed and looking healthy. This is a kind of healthiness I wasn’t accustomed to after 10 years of feeling like the shit I was over-producing.

If your condition is too extreme (I’ve heard nightmare cases about constipation — and I thought diarrhea was bad), give it at least 4 weeks on the regimen below. For me the problem went away in a week, but then again I had already started Paleo weeks before, and my case was very mild anyway (I never had pain for example).

This regimen might also be helpful for those with diarrhea who are following the mainline Paleo/SCD/GAPS diets, but somehow these diets haven’t help them alleviate their symptoms (because they might be battling mutated bacteria/parasites/protozoal/H.Pylori, which eat anything that falls into the stomach, not just carbs). In that case, add more carbs in to your diet (e.g. parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes, beets) to empower your “good” gut bacteria, while introducing more “good” bacteria and competition using with the regimen below.

1. Follow the Paleo diet. This is for now, and forever. It’s your new diet, for life. Get into the right brain mode, and accept the realities of why you’re sick and what you have to give up to get healthy again. The Paleo diet can fix, or make asymptomatic, a whole slew of inflammatory, auto-immune, gastro-issues, and even mental issues (e.g. light depression, ADD/ADHD etc)! If the mental issue is severe (e.g. bipolar, autistic etc), you might need to go Paleo-Ketogenic to see more change. If your auto-immune disorder is severe, you might also need to follow the auto-immune Paleo protocol (which also removes “nightshade” vegetables, shellfish, eggs, nuts, and all dairy — eliminating each for a period of time until you find the “offending” food). But just for IBD issues, the plain Paleo diet, is enough.

2. Kefir, kefir, kefir. Home-made, and from goat milk (not store-bought). Most dairy intolerant people can tolerate goat/sheep milk (different casein than that of cows), and if you ferment kefir for over 24 hours, little lactose remains. Kefir will also build better dairy tolerance overtime. If dairy is out of the question, then go for probiotics. I used to buy iFlora before the magic of kefir came to my life.

3. These are the superfoods to go after: bone broth, offal, sea veggies, some raw honey, and most importantly for IBD issues: fermented foods (e.g. live sauerkraut). And some supplementation: D3, Mg, K2-Mk4, fish oil.

Oh, and start researching for yourselves! All of what you read above is knowledge accumulated after spending hours and hours reading everything related to my problems that made some sense. From testimonials, to research papers, to science blogs. Don’t expect doctors to fix your chronic issues, this is almost never possible. For chronic issues, you need chronic, radical changes. There is no magic pill.

Good luck!

“Like Crazy”: Shot on a Canon 7D for $250k

Here’s the trailer for “Like Crazy“, a movie shot with the Canon 7D for just $250k, sold to Paramount for wide distribution in the theaters. Two-three known actors also in it (most would remember Anton Yeltsin as “Checov” in the new Star Trek movie). It would be interesting to go see this at the theater, if not just to check out how dSLR footage scales out in a gigantic screen, but the movie is great beyond its technical standpoints: it won the prize for best dramatic feature at Sundance.

Madonna: only as good as her team is

So Madonna’s new single leaked out (sounded more like a “calculated” leak to me). The song itself is a travesty. It’s a cheerleader song, sang by a 53 year old woman. It is reminiscent of early ’80s Blondie, but in a bad way. The song does not add its own spin on the era, the same way modern chillwave does to synthpop, or modern darkwave does to goth-rock. It’s just a copy/paste effort from that era, and not a great representation of it either. This is not the kind of music Madonna needs to do to stay relevant.

Madonna’s previous album was pretty bad as well. Except 2-3 songs in it, the rest were just “too easy”, too flat. But her 2005 album, “Confessions on the Dance Floor”, as well as her previous 3 before that, were really good albums. The music was memorable, and it was blending rather than having over-powering vocals. I’m afraid to say that if the rest of her new album is as bad as this leaked demo song, it would probably be her worst album to date.

The thing with Madonna is that she does a little bit of everything. She writes, she directs, she plays piano/guitar/drums, she sings, she dances, she acts, etc. She’s not that good in any of these in particular. She’s just good-enough in all of them though, enough to get her through the job, with the help of her team. So she’s not multi-talented per se, but rather multi-functioning. Her real talent is business. That’s what has kept her in the limelight for 25 years now.

She’s still the concept-creator though. She explains her ideas, she writes some of them down (music, but mostly lyrics), and then her team puts together the work/production for her. I don’t think this diminishes her as an artist, she’s the one with most of the ideas anyway. But the finished work can only be as good as her team is. If her team is crappy, the realization of her ideas will be crappy too.

Madonna has worked with pretty much the same producers for the last 13 years (after the birth of Lourdes, in the beginning of her re-launched second major part of her career). Before that, she worked for another 15 years with her previous team (usually band members from her first early ’80s band, “The Breakfast Club”, where she was a drummer). Of course, some producers came and go (e.g. Timberlake), but the core of her team hasn’t changed much all these years.

The problem is that people get old. Madonna obviously refuses to do so, but her team is not the same open-minded and creative people they were in 1998. Very few artists remain equally earth-shuttering in young age and later in life. Painters like Picasso seem to be able to manage staying fresh when they get old, but most musicians don’t. When Madonna put together her current production team, these guys were on top of their game at the time (e.g. William Orbit). But the time has come to move to her next team now. She needs new blood ASAP.

And that new blood can only be found in the hipster domain. Not in hip-hop (with Timbaland over-charging his crap), and not in pop (hint: Sweden). As much as some people saw Madonna as a pop marionette, she always tried to push forward with her art and her eccentricity. You might had to look a bit hard to find the glimpses of genius, but they were there. These days, the music scene that produces anything of worth is that of Brooklyn. That’s where Madonna needs to go and look for new blood (even if most bands of this movement aren’t local to Brooklyn). She has the money to put together a super-team from members of Grizzly Bear, Atlas Sound, Animal Collective, Phantogram, Washed Out, Beach House, Bear In Heaven, Crystal Castles, Fever Ray, M83, Neon Indian, Yeasayer, MGMT, etc.

Marry the progressive hipster scene with pop, and there’s no better way to do this than “using” the Queen of Pop to bring that kind of music to the masses: Madonna. Sure, this will be seen as a blasphemous act by many hardcore hipsters (who hate anything commercial), but my response is: fuck’em.

The style I’d go for her new album would be electronic, but not exactly dancy, and not exactly down-tempo either, but rather dreamy, with the vocals being a bit un-focused (clean shouting vocals of pop begone). She needs to bring layers and complexity to her music, because just as she is 53 years old and needs to act her age via her music, a lot of her fans are also older now, and not necessarily hooked anymore by easy pop. This is the kind of music style I’d like to see her do (mp3 is a legal download, hosted on Pitchfork, have a listen).

Since Madonna is all about a concept “theme and look” on her image & videos for each of her albums, I’d go for the space look. That’s one look Madonna has never done (she only touched it on her “Rain” 1993 video). Cut her hair very short, color them white with black stripes. Dress her in Aeon Flux-style fashion (samples: 1, 2, 3).

Conclusion: Madonna must musically evolve and go with the times, or die a painful artistic & business death.

Is “The Tree of Life” a pessimistic movie?

The Tree of Life” is hailed as one of the masterpieces of filmmaking, and it’ll probably be a contender at the upcoming Oscars. The cinematography is amazing, the editing even more so, and the impressionistic “hidden” puzzle messages is found throughout the 140 minute movie’s scenes or scarce dialog.

The movie tells the story of Jack, a successful architect. Through his flashbacks we see how his early life in the ’50s and ’60s made him the person he’s today: an unbalanced, confused and rather sad person. But that’s where the norms stop. A lot of viewers were put off by the way the story is told: in a very fragmented way (“Memento” is traditionally narrative compared to this movie). On top of that we get some seemingly off-topic imagery of the birth of the universe (a 10 minute non-speaking sequence).

Personally, I didn’t mind the way the story was told. I’m used to experimental cinema (I spend quite some time watching experimental short films on REDUX via the GoogleTV, or on Vimeo via the Roku), so I actually like the impressionistic approach to editing and filmmaking. Without such efforts, there’s no progress. Apparently, a lot of filmmaking students use this movie as their main study, same way Kubrick’s “2001” used to be in the ’70s & ’80s.

Where I hang up with “The Tree of Life” though is on some of the message(s). There are many messages on this deeply philosophical movie: grace & mercy vs nature & violence (and how we should achieve balance between the two), how small & insignificant we are compared to the universe, how everything dies but something new is born from it, how much glory there’s around us to keep up move on even after something traumatic happens to us, our need to heal, how we are all finite and so we must make the most out of our relationships — since that’s all we have.

Obviously I don’t disagree with many of the messages in the film. But the movie tries a bit too hard to show us that “we are nothing in the cosmic time”. On a personal level this is of course right. We’re all going to die, we are all less than nothing in the sea of everything.

But on a grander scheme of things, as a species, or as a collective consciousness (for when species won’t matter anymore), I refuse to believe that there’s nothing we can do to stop the end of our existence when our universe dies. I refuse to believe that we live in this universe (“we” as in a collective consciousness of all sentient beings in the universe) only as long as our universe is also alive. This does not resonate with me, because it’s a very Christian approach to life, the universe, and everything. It’s very limiting, very mold-y, very dogmatic, very restrictive. The Church has tried for centuries to mold us and remind us of what we aren’t or what we can’t be (God), and how we should strive to find happiness in our little, insignificant existence. Maybe out of just plain revolting, or maybe because I don’t believe in limits, I can’t give up easily to strive to be more than I am.

I always thought of myself as a pessimist, but in this case I feel I’m more optimistic than Malick, the writer/director of the film. Like Stephen Hawking, I also believe that there is an ultimate prize for having a chance in living, and that prize is to evolve and become so advanced, that the Universe, its laws, and its limitations and dangers won’t matter anymore. In that scenario, we could out-survive it. Maybe by creating the means to move to another, younger universe, or maybe by controlling our existing one from tearing apart. I don’t know how, and surely we won’t know how for a few more millions or billions of years yet (“we” as any species or collective consciousness with the capability to reach that state, might not be humans who get that ultimate prize). But one thing is certain, I won’t give up our fate to universe’s laws and rules. I will do my best to overthrow these laws, and rules, if they get in our way “to live”. Because as I mentioned in the beginning of this article, without such bending of the norm, there’s no progress. Progress is vital to me.

So overall, I just have trouble with the deeper meaning of the film when taken in a grander context (the film invited discussions such as this after its Creation sequence, which was in itself grand). The film works on a personal level, but I have the feeling that Malick has either a bit too much of a Christian influence in his philosophical and existential opinions, or he doesn’t see all the possibilities. The funny thing is that many Christians hated the film, just because the Creation sequence featured evolution & big-bang, and not a God Creator. Malick obviously tried to get both atheists and Christians to like his film (evolution/creation scenes and existential questions for atheists, and God, prayers and overall deeper meaning of the film was meant for Christians). But the movie’s dinosaurs & CGI won’t fool me.

Overall the rest of the deep meanings of the movie are great though (if only when applied at a personal level), and filmmaking-wise the movie is revolutionary. It’s funny that most people who hated the movie, hated it for its “incoherent” editing and “pretentious” feel. Personally, I found these elements amazing on the movie. Where I have a problem with the movie is in a few of its deeper meanings instead.

Rating: 8/10

Maximizing the enjoyment of music

The kind of music I listen to in the last few years is highly visual. For a synesthete like me it’s easy to close my eyes and create images, and whole stories to accompany a musical piece (kind of like a personal music video). But people wouldn’t “get” such music without an accompanied music video, since these melodies are different than standard pop & require extra work from the listener.

Even myself I don’t always “get” immediately some music without visual help. I largely passed through the “Keep Shelly In Athens” band in the last few months, but its video below made me understand it better after watching it for the first time tonight. Within a few minutes I was already a fan, while just cursorily listening to the band’s music in the past didn’t grab me as much. Funnily, I also just found out that the band is actually Greek, and that they play close to my home tomorrow night! How’s that for timing?

Playing back the visuals of a song in my mind, it’s not nearly as powerful as… being in them though. There are two ways to potentially go around this limitation. First one is to hook up in a machine that could take over my visual cortex and let me see & live what *I* want to see. Just as with recreational drugs though, that’s probably a pretty dangerous affair: “fooling” your brain for too long might ending up burning it. The second way is via a Holodeck-style room/device.

Whatever the solution though, today I feel constrained by our technology (and… gravity). Such technology won’t exist for another 100 to 200 years from now, and by that time I would be long gone. But when it does arrive, it would be the ultimate high. Living music. Feeling it, and seeing it all around you. Some kinds of music, is meant for such an experience.

Five TV remakes I’d like to see

Doing a remake for TV or the big screen is always risky business. Your effort must be accepted as better than the original, and even then, you’d still have the old fans cursing at you for your blasphemous remake. But you know, I’m not scared off that easily.

I have a few original ideas of my own for TV shows, but if I had to do a remake of a sci-fi show, these will be the ones I’d go re-imagining. And since I like fair business, none of these shows would last more than 3 seasons, with 12-16 episodes per season, and they would be fully serialized, mysterious, and complex (no episodic crap for me). I like my entertainment with a solid pre-plan, and a real, well thought-out ending. Having writers in an office brainstorming mid-season about where to go with their TV series, is my worst nightmare. If I can’t trust my fantasy land that I escape to, what can I trust?

– Alien Nation
Original run: 1989
Why Remake it: Because the original was too simplistic & formulaic.
Sub-genre: Political & social drama.
Year it takes place: 2020.
Background: A bunch of aliens who try to fit in on the daily lives of Earthlings with extremely narrow tolerance. The aliens that are unleashed on Earth are genetically engineered (hybrids) in order to be able to breath here. They look something between humans and their parenting alien race. None of the hybrids are more than 30 years old. The “parent” aliens who made them are a dying race and can’t breathe on Earth, therefore they have to stay in their 5 landed spaceships until they die out (can’t speak English either). As a thanks to the Earthlings for letting their legacy be remembered, after the last one of them is dead, their technology will be shared with the Earthlings. The hybrid aliens are like their parenting aliens in all intends and purposes, they just look more human than they do. The hybrids are hermaphrodites, and they can mate with humans too, either men or women. The engineered aliens are the only “good guys” in the whole story. Both the humans (who feel invaded), and parenting aliens (who feel screwed) have their own secret agendas. Humans want to get hold of the alien tech faster in order to use it against the aliens and get rid of them, while the parenting aliens want Australia & New Zealand, which are big and remote-enough, in order to terraform them by creating a micro-climate for the survival of their own (parenting) race. Obviously, the story is more inspired by popular modern mythology (Greys & human-Grey hybrids) than the original TV show, but I think it’s time someone tells the story from the point of view of the hybrids: unleashed into a strange & unforgiving world, and being the guinea pigs for both sides.

Space: Above & Beyond
Original run: 1995
Why Remake it: Because the original was cheesy & banal.
Sub-genre: Political & military action drama.
Year it takes place: 2190.
Background: I’d keep a lot of the original elements from the original show, but make it “more”. More characters, more complex story, more thrilling, more serialized, more political, more mysterious, and with a wider scope of the universe depicted.

Earth 2 / Outcasts
Original run: 1994 & 2011
Why Remake them: Because the originals were myopic & slow.
Sub-genre: Political, social, scientific action drama.
Year it takes place: 2170.
Background: A show about the struggles of the first human colony into an Earth-like planet, shortly after the invention of traveling via wormholes (still takes 3 years to get there). Is the planet really barren, or does it have intelligent life currently hiding? Similar concept to the original shows but with a more contemporary delivery, and I’d go a step beyond: the 10,000 colonizers might escaped Earth (which is in bad shape), but what if that new planet was once in as a bad shape as Earth? What if the new colonizers had to pay for past mistakes lingering in the planet, while also fighting the baggage they bring with them from Earth?

– The 4400 / Flashforward
Original run: 2004 & 2009
Why Remake them: Because the 4400 morphed into a soap opera, and FF into a hot mess.
Sub-genre: Mystery.
Year it takes place: 2017.
Background: Three months after a mysterious mental black-out that knocked out most people in the Northern hemisphere, 100 previously missing people come back from what appears to be 50 years in the future. They all have their memories intact of being kept into a future facility for 3 months. They all now have a higher IQ, better memory capacity, better health, better eyesight, maximum endurance & fitness, and can’t get diseases easily (no lame super-powers though). They’ve been shown bits of the past (our future), so when they come back, they’re able to predict public news, proving that they’ve been into the future. Or have they? Story is told from the abductees’ point of view, as they piece together what really happened to them. In the meantime, the abductees are blamed when the rest of the world starts dieing from a new, strange virus.

Babylon 5
Original run: 1994
Why Remake it: Because the original was cheaply made, and with bad dialog at times.
Sub-genre: Military, political, social, philosophical action drama.
Year it takes place: 2256.
Background: This would be the most difficult one to top off. Babylon 5 hit its stride on mid-season 3, making it one of the best TV shows of all times. It’s a true classic. I’d change/enhance a few things on the show, but the way things developed on the original series were pretty spot-on, so I’d keep that pace and the wide array of things depicted (politics, Mars, Earth, exotic aliens, war etc). The original was shot for very cheap, so even just 15 years later the visuals/dialog don’t do justice to the rest of the story anymore (while the story is more current than ever). A remake in this case would strive to mostly be better visually and with a more modern take on relations, rather than a full re-imagining.