Archive for the ‘General’ Category (feed)

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.

Are Smoothies Paleo?

Some say that smoothies aren’t Paleo, but I don’t agree with that sentiment. I would instead say that not ALL smoothies are Paleo, for example, the ones with just exotic fruits in them. I would also argue that it’s all fruit juices that aren’t Paleo, because they lack the fiber that stops fructose from running havoc in the body. But smoothies retain all fiber!

Yes, smoothies have more carbs than most Paleo meals (usually up to 30 gr net carbs, in the versions I make them as), but if you eat 80-100 gr net carbs per day overall (as I do — I will never go Paleo-keto again, I did that mistake once and I lost my hair), this fits perfectly into that diet regiment. Heck, I’m still low carb!

Smoothies are important in my diet for other reasons too: I get to add some powders that are not palatable otherwise (e.g. exotic berries that I can’t find in my grocery store, added fiber via psyllium husk, home-made goat kefir, goat whey, ginger & turmeric for extra health, ceylon cinnamon for extra blood glucose control), but most importantly, I pack my smoothies with GREENS, and often, other veggies too (e.g. raw carrots, beets). So basically, I get to eat more raw veggies this way!

If some fat is required on breakfast for satient/leptin/cortisol reasons, one can add a tablespoon of nut or seed butter in it too (except peanut butter, which is a legume and not a nut)! And sure, have an egg on the side too (why only have a smoothie?).

Having said all that, I would argue against the “Paleoification” of baked goods. These are not Paleo, even if they might be using coconut/almond flour and honey (which are Paleo ingredients on their own). When these nuts are flour-ed they become acellular (which is not so good to consume them often), when they’re baked they oxidize, and finally, honey loses ALL its medicinal properties when heated. So, for desserts, I would suggest people make RAW desserts (with the exception of adding some warm-ish grass-fed gelatin if the recipe asks for it), and even then, only ONCE a week, as a treat. Let green smoothies, or plain fruit, be your daily dessert otherwise.

How to make people give up processed foods

To make an educated guess or decision, you need to first have the educational part checked out. Unfortunately, for most matters, people don’t have the time or the interest to get “educated”, so they end up making bad decisions.

This is true for the subject of nutrition too. No matter the amount of “alternative blogging” and instagraming about how healthy Paleo is, the majority of people won’t follow it unless the government tells them so clearly.

This has worked with smoking. A lot of measures were taken against smoking in the last 40 years, however, one measure that is always omnipresent is that message of “Tobacco severely damages health”, on each and every cigarette product. It has worked for most!

What if we had something similar for all packaged food?

What if, we had an indicator score about the nutrition and anti-nutrition present in the said packaged food? For example, given that we know that wheat bread has many phytates, lectins, and other antinutrients going on, along with its capacity to bind into certain nutrients and neutralize them, it could get a score of, let’s say, 30 out of 100.

But kale or blueberries, having no major antinutrients to speak about, but instead having many nutrients, antioxidants, polyphenols etc etc, would get a score of, let’s say, 80 out of 100.

Yes, this would require re-sending all these products onto labs for full measurement on much more than just the 4 basic vitamins found on each label today (CoQ10, PQQ, iodine etc anyone?), but I’m confident that such a nutritional index could have such an impact.

I’m an artist, and it’s my job to know what makes people tick visually. Such a nutritional index could have huge implications in the decision of an individual to buy or not candy, donuts, bread, or cakes. When they can QUANTIFY how bad they’re doing diet-wise, then they have to ACT.

But right now, things are too abstract for them: eat this but not that, eat vegan not paleo, eat paleo not vegan, etc etc. There’s too much information flying from all over the place, so much, that most people simply prefer to shut out their ears and just ignore the whole thing.

But when they see an easy to understand number (without even knowing all the details behind it), clearly labeling the nutritional value of a product, they won’t be able to ignore it anymore.

10 Foods to Survive on a Deserted Island

Let’s assume you shipwreck on a deserted island (knock wood). Somehow, half-buried in the sand you find a magic box with a message in it. The message asks you to specify 10 foods that the box will magically bring to you every day. These will be the same foods every day, so your choices have to be very specific. If you choose foods like pizza, which hold no nutritional value, you will die within a few months.

I was inspired to write this blog post because of a folklore story about Napoleon. He was imprisoned for a while in the 1800s, and was supposedly asked what food he would like in prison. His captors would serve him the same food daily, hoping that he would expire “naturally” out of malnutrition.

But here’s how to trick the magic box (or your captors) to give you the highest bang for your buck, not only keeping you alive until rescue arrives, but to make you thrive!

1. 150 gr of pastured beef or goat heart
The heart must be cooked in bone broth with onion, garlic, sea salt, and grass-fed butter. We pick a heart over muscle meat because it’s more nutritious and it has the highest levels of CoQ10. We don’t pick liver because its extremely high levels of copper and A will work against your health if consumed daily (although liver must be consumed once a week on different living conditions, of course).

2. 150 gr of wild Alaskan salmon, sashimi raw
Very high levels of omega-3 and many other nutrients. Wild sardines or wild trout would be my No2 choices.

3. 100 gr of wild, raw oysters
If liver is the most nutrient-dense food of all, oysters is the No2. We pick it because of its high levels of zinc among others.

4. 1 pastured duck egg, raw or fried
Chicken eggs hold nothing to duck eggs. Duck eggs are more nutrient dense per gram, and they create fewer allergies than chicken eggs. Cooked in coconut oil if fried.

5.30 gr of sunflower seeds, soaked for 4 hours
These have very high levels of B1 and E (higher than that of almonds). Extra B1 is needed on a diet that doesn’t contain legumes or enriched flours.

6. 100 gr kale, raw
The most nutrient-dense vegetable. Served with extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

7. 250 gr of white potatoes, baked
We need some starches, no matter what keto people say. We carry friendly bacteria in our gut that can only live on starch. White potatoes also carry the important resistant type of starch.

8. 100 gr of asparagus, or 100 gr of an avocado
Asparagus seared in coconut oil. Avocados would be my personal second choice, but you might want to pick that instead, if you are after more fiber and even more nutrition.

9. 500 gr home-made raw, full-fat goat kefir
Fermented foods are needed, and some calcium too. Kefir is the definite powerhouse in this case.

10. 1 pink grapefruit per day
Antioxidants and enough vitamin C. If grapefruits are unavailable (due to season), 150 gr of blueberries will do.

And of course, lots of natural, spring water.

As you can see below (click to view larger), that set of foods daily give you pretty much over 100% of your daily needs for most needed nutrients. You can’t go wrong with these!

Don’t be afraid about the trans-fats shown there and the low omega-3 shown in the chart. The database that contained similar foods did not include their pastured/wild versions, and so the data in that respect are a bit skewed. The vitamins/minerals are pretty much correct though.

Review: “The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine”

Avery sent me a free copy of Dr Terry Wahls new book, “The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine” to check it out.

The book starts with Dr Wahls health story, and how she got Multiple Sclerosis (MS). She was a vegetarian, and an athlete, and yet, she became very ill in early 2000s. She tried various solutions, including taking huge amounts of vitamins, adding and removing foods, when she finally managed to almost reverse her illness after following a wholesome Paleo-like diet.

I’ve been doing various forms of Paleo for 2.5 years now, and I’m glad to see Dr Wahls recognizing the different needs that different patients have. In the book, she suggests three different diets, one more restrictive than the other, depending on the severity of the symptoms. The first one simply removes gluten, dairy, eggs, and processed foods, the second one additionally removes most grains and legumes (Paleo-like), and the third one is a strict Paleo-ketogenic diet (minus eggs). She went through all three diets herself while trying out things, and she’s currently in the Paleo-ketogenic regiment.

Throughout the book there are testimonials of other people with MS, who have tried the Paleo/Wahls-diet and have semi-reversed their condition (aka made their lives livable). The book is very easily read, everything is laid out in plain English for everybody to understand.

My favorite parts of the book (that in my opinion needed more expansion) were the hints that Dr Wahls was giving about non-native EMF radiation, infections, mold, and other environmental problems that can have as much impact in our health than eating bad food has. I also loved her suggestions on eating sea vegetables, and offal.

The only part that I really disliked in the book was her insistence on removing eggs from the diet. She is deathly allergic to eggs, but she’s trying to impose this restriction to others too. In a response to me she claimed that “egg allergies are actually dramatically under-diagnosed”, but I have my reservations on this. I also hold reservations on her dairy suggestions. In my experience, I found that often, dairy is a secondary intolerance, created by gluten intolerance. When gluten is taken out of the picture, and the gut is healed, after a few months fermented goat/sheep dairy could often be eaten again without ill effects. But even if dairy must be taken out, given the severity of MS, I think her no-eggs suggestion is still overblown. Sure, some people will be intolerant to eggs, but I don’t expect the majority to be so.

Another addition that should be made in this book is information about FODMAPs. In my dealings with the Paleo community in the last few years, I have witnessed a 5%-10% of dieters who didn’t get better on plain Paleo, but had to go Paleo+Fodmaps to finally have their gut healed.

Other than that, I think that this is one of the most important new Paleo books out there, and people with major health problems (not just MS), should have a good read of this book and follow its instructions. It’s a book that explains in very simple terms the whys and the hows, and in my own experience with my own health problems, it has worked.

Regarding sprouting

I’ve avoided legumes and grains for far too long. My body almost shut down in the 2.5 years of low-carb Paleo and even ketosis. Towards the end, I spent days and nights salivating about… rice. For someone so long on a high-fat diet, where I was fat-adapted, I should be getting my energy from fat, but instead, my body was instructing me that it needed starch. So I’ve added to my Paleo diet: legumes (lentils, beans — except peanuts), and rice. I felt better almost instantly.

However, this is not an article to shoot down the Paleo beliefs that legumes/grains are bad for you. I believe that when are cooked as-is, they are indeed harmful. They contain high amount of phytates and lectins. But then again, this is also true for nuts & seeds (if not more so!), and yet, the Paleo people are gulping them down like it’s candy.

After a lot of searching, I came to the realization that all these foods require soaking and/or sprouting. You see, the biological categorization of “seeds”, “nuts”, “grains”, “legumes” are all human categories. In reality, these are the same type of food: the babies of plants!

As such, the plant is protecting its babies by incorporating various poisonous ingredients in them, so humans and animals don’t eat them. And this is where soaking and sprouting is coming to complete the picture. These techniques are “fooling” the seeds to germinate. So when you soak or sprout from raw, these poisons are diluted away, or they get transformed to digestive enzymes (so they create no problems in the gut), or transform to even more vitamins (to aid the seed to supposedly germinate — or so it thinks!).

So now, I soak or sprout all my seeds, nuts, legumes and even brown rice. There are various techniques that can be found online. Especially for nuts, it was a revelation. Much better taste when soaked! I will never go back to eating dried “seeds”.

Why Planet Colonization might be a Pipe Dream

Dr Alessio Fassano, a world renowned researcher on celiac disease, said recently that even travelling from one continent to another changes your gut microbiome, and for some people this exacerbates autoimmune disease.

This made me think that if that’s true, then there’s no way in hell that we will ever be able to colonize other Earth-like planets. Not even if we terraform them. Humans require very specific bacteria & yeasts to stay alive, we are actually a shell made out of these colonies. We are not “I”, we are “them”, science has found in the last 3-4 years. Some doctors now wonder if we’re “humans with trillions of bacteria within us, or bacteria having a human experience”. Ponder on this for a second.

So just because a planet might have good levels of oxygen and gravity won’t mean sh*t. We won’t be able to leave our space suits and sealed colonies to just breathe that air. IF we do, and IF we survive that (I don’t believe we can), then in a few generations these people won’t be humans anymore. They’ll be something else.

In that light, I believe there are only two ways to visit “other places” out there. One, is a hybridization program. You make a hybrid between a native species, and humans. It’s possibly the way we’re going to go. Second way is to never leave your planet, learn to live sustainably here, and then visit other worlds with mind alone (e.g. meditation). Now, that second method is a more “out there” than most people feel comfortable with, but it’s the least intrusive method.

I, too, wish that the sci-fi wishiful thinking of simply finding a “habitable” planet was possible, but I just don’t see it happening. And that’s not because there aren’t any Earth-like planets, or that we don’t have the right inter-stellar travelling technology for it. I feel these are easier problems to solve than going around the problem of gut microbiome and actually surviving on a planet that we weren’t evolved with.