Archive for the ‘General’ Category (feed)

Epi-Paleo Manifesto

These are the principles that I have built my diet around. Only changes I’ve made is that I do eat beans (as per my Mediterranean ancestry), and I don’t go too low on carbs (due to thyroid issues). Lots of veggies instead, and seafood. Working on getting closer on the lifestyle points too.


Jack Kruse vs the Paleo Establishment

Something very interesting is happening right now in the Paleo turf. The Paleo poster boy, Robb Wolf, got into an online shout match with Dr Jack Kruse, the “quantum epigenetics” poster boy. Robb calls Jack a quasi-mystical fraud, while Jack simply asks Robb to look at the evidence and research before he opens his mouth.

Robb is the big guy here, followed by many thousands, and having written the Paleo “bible”. Often, the 4-5 well known Paleo gurus would go in an all-out attack against the medical establishment, arguing how closed minded that establishment is for not agreeing with their points of view (e.g. that grains & pseudograins are all very bad for you, vegetable seed oils are bad, legumes are bad, dairy is bad etc). They basically call them out for not looking too hard at the evidence, that long-term health “starts with food”.

However, as with any system, after a while, it gets cemented. Same with the Paleo system. While it has somewhat evolved in the last 3 years, to not be as hard-core against fermented dairy, or against white rice, it still holds its basic truths cemented, and no one seem to want to research further. The various gurus have a reputation to protect, and products to sell now, so they need to stay true to what they originally preached.

So, when someone like Dr Jack Kruse comes along to shake their castle, by claiming that “it starts with light”, they themselves become the same as the closed minded medical establishment they hate. They react extremely violently against Kruse, without bothering to read his evidence or even just trying to understand his logic. They try to prevent the carpet pulling (that is probably inevitable as science moves on).

It’s funny, really. They fell under the same trap as the medical establishment has.

As for Dr Kruse, he has some blame for the situation too: the guy can’t write properly. The reason why Paleo gurus are “gurus”, is because they know how to communicate. They can write in a very understandable, friendly way, so the people fall behind them easily. Jack on the other hand, feels like he has a super-computer brain that is connected to the outside world only via a 56k modem instead. It also doesn’t help that he’s arrogant, and just not very likable as a person.

But that doesn’t mean that what he argues is wrong. It is my feeling that he’s the one who’s on the right path towards a deeper truth, but he has this extreme difficulty getting the information out properly.

Basically, what Dr Kruse is claiming is that we’re quantum machines. For that machine to work, we need a lot of natural UVB light (in the AM) and no blue light at night. Basically, he’s arguing that proper circadian rhythms, and being a lot outdoors, can have a bigger effect to long term health than “simply cutting down grains”. In terms of food, he argues that the biggest change one should make, is to add more seafood in their diet, because the iodine/DHA help with transporting energy in the mitochondria.

This could explain why Okinawans used to live to be over 120 years old, even if they ate a few grains, and lots of soy (both an anathema to the Paleo doctrine). It’s because they would also eat ungodly amounts of seafood (especially seaweed), and they would work outdoors in their gardens all the time.

Another thing he argues is that depending on location, and time of the year, your diet should vary. For example, most people in the Western world, should eat enough carbs in the summer, but be near-ketogenic in the winter. That’s how we evolved anyway. Also, people who live in the equator, can eat as many carbs as they like and not get fat (e.g. exotic fruits), because they expose themselves into a lot of UVB, and that balances things out in the “machine”. People in the North (or very South) though, need to practice cold thermogenesis, and they need to cut down on the carbs, and eat more seafood in order to be healthy in these harsh environments (which are locations we migrated to out of Africa, we are not fully evolved to live there, therefore, some food and lifestyle changes are required to be healthy in the North)

I can see what he says can sound like mumbo-jumbo, however, I think that what he’s arguing makes sense to me, and he does have basis on facts. Just not Western facts. A lot of the research he cites on his blog, are from Russian research papers. Some of that research has been done by UK and US scientists, but not everything. He has gone into great lengths to get access to these papers, and to have them translated.

So, he’s definitely controversial. But I really think he’s on to something.

Paleo-pesco-vegetarianism (or, Pegan)

I’m full on in my mostly-vegetarian (“Pegan”) diet now. I believe that all popular diets have something to teach, otherwise, their followers wouldn’t swear for their efficacy. It’s just that not a single diet has all its facts right. So, after years of researching the matter, I have finally found what works for me the best. This is how I have dissected each diet and what I get from each:

– Paleo agreement: no grains (except a bit of white rice), no sugar, no seed oils, no processed foods.
– Where Paleo falters: Not allowing beans, dairy, and having too much emphasis on meat. I now allow beans (except soy), fermented dairy, and mostly fish rather than meat (I eat wild seafood 3 times a week, and land meat only every Sunday — just as my own Greek ancestors did).

– Veg*n agreement: Veggies are good for you. Out of my 21 meals in the week, 17 are vegetarian and/or vegan.
– Where Veg*n falters: The right fish/meat can also be good for you, as long as you don’t over-indulge in it.

– Raw vegan agreement: Raw foods are really good for you.
– Where raw vegan falters: Raw foods ALL the time is not that good for you. We owe our big brains to cooked food, in part. I’d say 50% raw is a good balance.

Please note that my choices have nothing to do with animal ethics. For me, the choice of diet is only about MY health. I don’t see this as selfish, because I’ve been too sick over the years to have to give priority to others (humans, or animals). Having said that, I do choose pastured/wild animals only, while I mostly try to consume parts of the animal that are highly nutritious and are the parts that the animals were NOT killed for (e.g. bones, liver, heart — the parts that Americans throw away).

I find all these a good compromise in my mind.

Why “Dieting” will make you sicker

There are two types of dieting for weight loss: the one is plain calorie restriction, and the other one is cutting down specific parts of the normal human diet (e.g. carbs for low carb diets, or fats for low-fat vegan diets). Research has shown that the second way is a better way to lose weight and keep it off too. Many have gone either keto or vegan and have lost weight and seen health changes (at least for a while, because after a few months, it backfires due to lack of specific nutrients — these diets shouldn’t be followed for more than 3 months IMHO).

Speaking for me, while I’m Paleo for life (since it has fixed most of my health ailments), one thing hasn’t worked: weight loss. Men do lose weight faster on Paleo, without effort. They can eat what they want, as long as it’s on the approved list. For women, who are genetically designed to keep on their fat for evolutionary/birth reasons, it’s a hit or miss thing. For some women it works, for others, especially those with metabolic disorder, it fixes the rest of their health in general, but it doesn’t make them lose weight (in other words, it doesn’t clear the metabolic disorder completely). Even worse, 2/3 of women who go keto, end up with thyroid problems (like I have).

The only diet that works for weight loss for these women, is again, calorie restriction. Which of course, in the long run, also doesn’t work. Research now and again has shown that people on a calorie restricted diet end up getting all their weight back within a few months, plus an additional 10%.

So after a quick test with a low calorie Paleo diet (1200 calories per day, I’m very short), it soon became clear that it was unsustainable, since it made you think of food 24/7. Keto fucked up my thyroid, and plain Paleo simply doesn’t make me lose weight.

However, the real problem of low calorie diets exists elsewhere. The real danger is in malnutrition. When you go down to 1200 calories from 1800-2000 calories per day, it’s not just calories you minimize. It’s nutrients. IF the kind of food we had today was as nutrient-dense as it was in the ancient times, then going down to low calorie would not be a problem. In fact, many praise the traditional Japanese diets for being small-portioned. But the point these people are missing is that even if they were eating small quantities, they were getting A LOT of nutrients. They didn’t NEED to eat more!

Today, with modern, selected varieties, this is simply not possible. And the sad part is, that if you don’t OVER-EAT, you will NOT get enough nutrients. 2000 calories a day are bare minimum to acquire the right nutrients! And that’s an amount that doesn’t help with weight loss at all. In fact, in some research paper recently, they found that tribal diets are up to 15 times more nutrient-dense than western diets, and up to 10 times more nutrient dense than the Paleo diet. So basically, going Paleo helps your health, but since we don’t have access to ancient varieties anymore, even Paleo won’t ultimately save you.

This situation has given me quite some depression to be honest: Eat little, get malnutritioned. Eat more, get fat, and still remain malnutritioned. There’s no winning in the West.

These aren’t good times for food and health. The only thing that could work is to buy a farm (somewhere where the water is still clean), find ancient heirloom varieties for your garden, and non-selected breeds of animals, and take the matter 100% on to your own hands. Simply buying organic broccoli or kale at the farmer’s market will only get you so far. Father than the standard western diet, but not as far as some people must go to battle their medical issues.

Psychedelic vs Meta-Psychedelic

I do a lot of t-shirt design lately, which I enjoy immensely (possibly even more than making the collages that comprise the said t-shirts). On my store, I’ve separated my t-shirts as “pop art“, and “trippy“. The trippy ones are the t-shirt designs and collages that I call meta-psychedelic. They’re under the surreal category for sure, but they go a step further than traditional surrealism and towards psychedelia. But at the same time, they’re not these kaleidoscopic traditional psychedelic designs either. A more proper term would probably be “post-psychedelic”, but if the hippies of the world hear that, they’d be pissed off, so I think “meta-psychedelic” is a more universally acceptable term. So what exactly is it? Here’s the difference: traditional psychedelic looks is what you see after you get some low dosage LSD or shrooms (or some infused pot). Meta-psychedelia is what you could (potentially) be seeing when you breakthrough, with higher doses of shrooms, LSD, or DMT. The former just scratches the surface, while the latter goes deeper into hyperspace.



Is a veg*n lifestyle suitable for all?

A year ago on Youtube, a Philosophy professor asked if it’s ethical to eat meat. Here’s the video, and below, find my reply.

I’ll answer with some questions:
1. Is it ethical for an alien species to come and eat us? If yes, why is it not moral for us to eat an animal? If no, why do you apply your human morals to an alien species that you know nothing about?

2. Is it ethical for an animal to eat another animal? If yes, why can’t we? If no, who appointed you the evolution’s strategist?

3. Is it ethical for a species to eat its own species? If yes, why can’t we eat humans? If no, who are you to paint Komodo dragons unethical?

The usual answer to these questions is that “if you’re an intelligent species, you’re expected to adhere to higher ideals”. And my answer to the ethical and philosophical question posed by the video, is molded that way too: “if you’re evolved-enough, you could go veg*n”. But here’s where I part from all these vegans out there who are trying to push the vegan lifestyle to all humanity: not all humans are evolved-enough.

Our human condition is a mixed bag, there are trials and tribulations in each and every life. Some people need the vitamins, others don’t need them as much, others are in a spiritual path where they’re supposed to leave behind materialistic needs (such as good food), and others are just starting in this level of existence, living a rather animalistic life, and as such, we can’t ask them to just “go vegan” (it’s like asking a toddler to go work for a living).

In other words, the answer to “should we eat meat”, is “it depends“. Nothing is black and white, everything is grey, and it depends on the INTENT (possibly the most important factor), point of view of the beholder, evolutionary path, life goals, and many other factors.

So the right question should be, “are YOU ready to stop eating meat?”. And that’s a question that only YOU can answer. Deep inside you, you know if you should do it now, or wait a lifetime or two.

Aliens? On Earth?

Up to a few years ago, no one in the scientific world would even suggest that aliens exist somewhere out there. It would have been a career suicide. Today, it’s generally accepted that, mathematically-speaking, the probability of intelligent life out there is extremely high.

So where these aliens are then?

I’d like to believe they’re here. Simply because the opposite is too scary of a thought. If they’re not here, it’d mean that WE would NEVER be able to leave our solar system either. This means eventual death, since our species only thrives via expansion.

If on the other hand, there is a way to trick the natural laws and travel in vast distances (e.g. via wormholes), then that would mean that aliens ARE already here. Or have been here.

And honestly, I believe that the second hypothesis is true. The first one somehow makes no sense to me. Having no way to connect with others elsewhere, it would mean that this universe has a… bug in its design. That’s how I see it.

So, if these aliens are or were here, where the heck are they? Why are they hiding from us?

I think Star Trek has given a great explanation about this. According to the show’s Prime Directive, it’s best for each civilization to only be contacted once they have achieved “warp speed”. A similar Prime Directive possibly exists in this galaxy too, but I think that their rules aren’t about warp speed: it’s about proving that the civilization is not self-destructing. A self-destructing civilization means it’d be violent against other civilizations.

It seems logical to me that every single society that achieves technology, goes through what we’re now going through: massive man-made climate changes, exhausting and destroying the environment, life quality degeneration etc. We’re currently on the fast track to extinction, and THIS century is the MOST CRITICAL century in the history of the human kind. It’s a make or break century.

If we use common sense, we change our ways and we survive, then these alien civilizations will reveal themselves. If we do get self-destruct, then there was no point for them to make an effort to reveal themselves anyway. It’s not their job to save us, it’s ours. Their only job is to safeguard themselves and their allies. So it’s up to us to become galactic citizens, or return back to the caves.

Regarding obesity

Let’s address something here: obesity. I wanted to write about it for a while now, but this post on Reddit today convinced me to do so.

Please understand that this is NOT a hate post, because I’m obese myself. They’re my honest thoughts on the subject.

So, in the last few years, there have been a lot of social shift for obese people with messages leaning towards “be happy with who you are”, and “you are beautiful the way you are” etc.

Well, I hate to break it to you, but you are not beautiful the way you are, if you’re obese. You just have pounds and kilos of fat that’s killing you little by little (and I do too). You’re in danger. Not in a rainbow paradise.

There is nothing logical about glorifying obesity just so we can feel good about ourselves, and to fit in, and we feel accepted and all the rest that go with it. It’s in fact the pathetic way of going about it.

The reality is that we’re unhealthy, and we need change. I need that change too, but at least I’m not lying to myself that “I’m beautiful”. I refuse to accept *disease* as a normal way of life.

The Fall of the Bronze Age and Us

I was watching the Director’s Cut of “Troy” last night, so I soon got interested in reading about the Late Bronze Age.

Right about 1100 BC, all hell broke loose in the Mediterranean: there was massive depopulation & famine, ALL cities were destroyed and burned (not one was left unscathed, and some were burned up to 7 times!), and civilization almost disappeared (we have only small villages with very simple geometric art, while people forgot how to write). So basically, we’re talking about Greece, Asia Minor and Hittites, Israel area and Egypt, all but destroyed. That era is called the “Greek Dark Ages” or “First Dark Ages”, and archaeologists consider these 300 years as much more “dark” than the Dark Ages that followed the fall of the Roman Empire 1500 years later.

Historians give a number of reasons why this happened: raids from the north and from the “sea peoples” (people of different origins got together to pirate), drought and other natural disasters.

Honestly, I think historians got the causes wrong here. Yes, these things happened, but they were not the root of the problem. I believe what happened is rather obvious after a bit of digging among geologists’ information instead: the mines in the Mediterranean ran out of tin!

Tin is a rather rare metal, and without it, they couldn’t forge bronze. Without being able to create bronze, in the Bronze Age, well, you have no Bronze Age anymore. You see, the whole high civilization starting in 3000 BC in the greater area was basing itself on bronze. When that went bust, their trades and economy collapsed. When economy collapsed, massive famine arrived. The ones who survived were trying to kill everybody else to get their hands to a little bit of tin that some might had left.

I base this opinion on the following:

1. There is absolutely no reason to completely burn all cities and kill so many people when you’re simply trying to conquer them. You only burn the cities if you don’t care about the cities, and you only care about what these people had control over that was of little availability: tin.

2. People from completely different nations coming together to pirate (“sea peoples”), only happens when the economy has collapsed. Humans of different origins don’t band together and choose violence, unless there’s no other way. Humanity 101.

And the most damning argument:

3. Iron was known as a metal that could be used by 3200 BC already (pretty much the same time that Bronze was becoming popular). But because it required a special furnace and smelting technique, iron was used very little by blacksmiths. The Bronze Age happened before the Iron Age simply because Bronze was simpler to deal with, not because they didn’t know what iron was.

So, there was no reason for people to switch to iron (especially because we would have to wait many more centuries afterwards to invent steel). And yet, we see a gradual turn from bronze to iron during the Late Bronze Age, despite the practical problems iron had. This to me makes it clear that the people simply ran out of tin, and they were FORCED to *slowly* turn to iron. In the meantime, until they got iron right, the Dark Ages were upon them!

Now, there’s a reason why I’m writing such a post here today.

Think about it for a moment: we have major civilizations that they based their successes on a single metal. When that metal went bust, so did their civilizations. The few who survived, resorted into extreme violence.

Always use History to decode the present and to get a good glimpse of the future.

So, does the above situation remind you of anything? Could this what will happen to us in as few as 50-75 years from now, when our fossil fuels go bust?

We’re in a similar boat, you know: our fossil fuels are going away rapidly, and our solar panel technology is not nearly as effective (the best ones only have 25% efficiency compared to fossil fuels, just like iron was difficult to forge compared to bronze).

Unless Lockheed Martin comes through big time with their announced fusion reactor, we should expect nothing but a similar result: the collapse of our economy, wars over the little bit of oil (and water) that’s left, and a rather Mad Max-like world.

So, I hope I’m gone by that time, and not be re-incarnated for quite a while. 😛

Regarding tap water & farmed fish

I wish some people stopped asking others to “not drink bottled spring water”. While bottling is indeed harmful for a variety of reasons, my health would be harmed even more if I was to drink that fluoridated, chlorinated, DISGUSTING tap water. So, no, I will not stop drinking spring water (bottled or otherwise), and I won’t stop buying wild-only fish (another such thing the same kind of people ask).

Farmed fish is in worse fate than farmed mammals are because it’s treated worse: it’s fed food that it didn’t evolved with at all, like soy and beef bone meal. At least the farmed mammals, while miserable in these nightmare farms, they eat food that resembles the food they evolved with.

So if you want me to drink tap water, the quality must become as high as spring water. And if you want me to eat farmed fish, then I need the nutritional composition, health of the fish, and feed, to be the same as in the wild. For example, farmed salmon is advised to be eaten *only* once a month, because even the government agrees that it’s a sick fish. While true wild salmon, it can be eaten daily, without any consequences (only benefits).

So, fix all that, and then we’ll talk. But under no circumstances I would put my own health into jeopardy just to be among the few who fight for environmental causes that never have any true impact. I have been very sick for 38 years, so now, well, now, it’s my turn to be healthy. Having spent 10 years of these 38 years in nightmare health situation, I now owe it to myself to get the best damn water/food I can. Even if it’s detrimental to the rest of the environment. At some point, being selfish only means self-preservation, and not necessarily arrogance.

So get off my face with your “bottled water is evil” shiz. I don’t care.