Sunday, January 31, 2016

vitamin A, or should i say A+

I guess I was distracted a couple of weeks ago when Chris Masterjohn posted his most recent article, because when i started rereading it this morning, it was all new to me.  It's no secret that i'm an enthusiastic promoter of getting pre-formed vitamin A, and that it really chaps my hide that it's acceptable to say vegetables contain any -- CUZ THEY DON'T.  CM gets extra credit from me for pointing this out, and also that there are a lot of people who CANNOT adequately convert the carotenes to the retinoids they need.

When i first began to concentrate on getting retinol into my diet-and-supplement regimen, i felt significant improvement in energy.  This influenced me to make liver a regular part of my diet, because that seems to be the single most reliable source (for those of us who don't raise our own chickens/eggs, cuz GOK what even free-range commercial chickens eat).

But there were more interesting things to be read in this article, and he promises us EVEN more in the next.  For one, he describes how a deficiency contributes to circadian disruption.  For another -- and this prompts a great big toothy evil grin from me -- DRY EYES.

Dry eyes:  the reason why a certain blogger claimed that a VLC diet made one "mucin-deficient"....

We've long known that THAT was hogwash, but here is a tidy little explanation of what he MIGHT have actually been suffering -- vitamin A deficiency.

The writer who annoyed me so much the other day claimed that we amateurs couldn't possibly know if we're dosing ourselves correctly because we can't "see inside" but again, if we have any insight concerning OUR OWN BODIES we can see an awful lot.  I can long-distance diagnose my own mother's malnutrition in A and Mg simply from knowing her and her health history, not that she'd believe it as a "moderation with healthyfruitsandvegetables" kind of person.  But "dry eyes," poor night-vision ... guess what?

Masterjohn also postulated another interesting thought -- since blue/bright artificial light degrades vitamin A in the eyes, perhaps those with light-colored eyes are particularly susceptible to depletion in the presence of lots of sunlight.  He, with light-colored eyes, thinks that may explain why he seems to need more than average amounts of vitamin A.  Coincidence that people evolving nearer the equator are more inclined to have brown or black eyes?  I doubt it.  My only excuse can be my genetics and the fact that my eyes are a rather LIGHT brown.

Friday, January 29, 2016

feet of clay, continued

I see that some of you figured out which once-respected paleo guru I excoriated yesterday?  ;-)  Stay tuned for the rest of the story....
Sure there’s some awesome science behind increased longevity and health being linked with caloric restriction and/or an abbreviated eating window – BUT if you don’t have all your ducks in a row (sleep, great nutrition, smart exercise, limited stress), then just NO ... Also, if you’re currently IF’ing and find yourself all, “OMG I’M GOING TO EAT MY ARM” hungry and can’t concentrate on a damn thing other than what you get to eat in two hours, then yeah, NO – not an awesome idea for you either.

As I suggested yesterday, not being able to IF indicates bodily malfunction.  In the latter case, above, that malfunction is between the ears.

We actually KNOW the reason why exercise is particularly good for type-two diabetics, and it hasn't got anything to do with "burning calories."  It's that exercise in an insulin-resistant person sucks the glucose out of the bloodstream and into working muscles independent of insulin receptors.  MANY gym-rats advocate fasting workouts ... and what happens when heavy exercise is undertaken in a fasting state?  You got it -- glucose is sucked up much faster than it can be created, and one becomes "OMG i'm going to eat my arm hungry." ... Do I detect a tiny little bit of cognitive dissonance here?

Nice of the writer to toss a bone to the increased longevity and health benefits of fasting, though.  But be careful -- as we know, living a longer life that's worth living isn't nearly as important as looking like a badass....
**FYI** If you are drinking a cup or two of coffee with butter and/or coconut/MCT oil (AKA: Bulletproof coffee) and pretending that you’re IF’ing – stop fooling yourself. You just ingested 200-400 calories and um, that shit counts.
OOH, CALORIES!  [headbangwall] All this time and he still doesn't understand that FASTING IS NOT ABOUT CUTTING CALORIES, IT'S ABOUT FORCING THE BODY TO BURN FAT/KETONES AS THE PRIMARY FUELS.  If the only fuel taken in is fat, you are not disrupting this plan.
But I made it with coconut flour (AKA – but the label says Paleo)… In case you don’t already know, this one REALLY lights me up – and not in a positive way… I mean really people, our Paleolithic ancestors were NOT baking ‘paleo’ breads, cookies, pancakes or other treats nor were they hitting the local Whole Foods and scoring ‘paleo’ bars and other -- READ: PROCESSED ‘paleo’ products. This probably means that you shouldn’t make a daily habit of buying, making and/or consuming these things either. I’m not going to expand on this any further here because I already wrote that story and you should probably read it if you haven’t. Here it is. You’re welcome.
This is what is known as "adding insult to injury."  We are too dumb to realize that even LC treats are still treats.  ...And I was even gracious enough to ignore the "paleo" part of this tantrum -- WE are thoroughly cognizant of the fact that MANY paleo-approved foods, even though "whole foods," are horribly fattening to the carb-sensitive.

Many a time have I ranted, myself, about the constant barrage of low-carb treat recipes online.  What the recipe-creators need to give us are easy, inexpensive, quick MEAL ideas.  Treat recipes are wonderful for the first pangs of people moving from the SAD to a more nutritious diet, who miss their cookies and pizzas and are in danger of backsliding.  Sometimes we need holiday-themed treats so we don't feel like the odd-man-out at Christmas or whatever.  But once we get our desire for sweets and snacks tamed, and get back to eating ONLY MEALS, the sooner we get better.
There is a time and a place for supplements and some of them are totally warranted, but if you’re doing what I refer to as “blind supplementation”, it’s time to open your eyes and see the light. I know this is super hard with all the information on the internet – but here’s what you do: STOP Googling your ‘symptoms’ looking for an answer in pill or powder form, instead go see a real (good) doctor and figure out what the issue is. Do NOT go out and purchase a plethora of vitamin, mineral, herbal, adrenal health or hormone supplements and try to figure it out on your own. That’s the perfect recipe for supplementing yourself sick. This is no joke, I’ve had a client that made herself Vitamin A toxic – not a good thing.
Here we go again, taking a plunge into the broad-insult pool!  WE are too stupid to supplement without help from a professional like him!  HE, though never having met or spoken to us, knows intuitively what we need -- WHOLE FOODS, especially all those anti-nutrient-containing things advocated-for in yesterday's post.  WE don' need no stinkin' VITAMINS!

Welllll, unless, maybe, we don't have good digestion?  Unless we're older, or have diminished stomach-acid, or a damaged small-bowel....

There probably are people who google a symptom and jump into a supplementation regimen that's potentially damaging, but there are also people who drive like shit and hurt themselves that way.  Does that mean we should outlaw the sale of fuel-additives?  [snort of derision]  I know, false equivalency, but my point is that SOME PEOPLE ARE STUPID.  I think it's well-established that it can't be fixed, and putting instructions on your bottle of shampoo is a worthless bandaid.  Intelligent people, such as those who are kind enough to read my blog and comment on it, are quite capable of not only discovering which vitamin might help, but also in reading about the caveats of its use.

Here’s the deal, you don’t know what’s going on in your body and even scarier, you don’t know what’s in the supplements that you’re putting in your body. Those things aren’t regulated! For all you know you might be swallowing a capsule filled with dirt from some guy’s backyard that his dog peed on earlier in the day. Before you ‘go in blind’; get checked out, do your homework as to which products to buy and if you start feeling worse on the new miracle cures – STOP taking them. Do not consult Google and add more. That is totally NOT productive. 
YES, we do know what's going on in our bodies -- it's what the ART of medicine used before it became the depraved, lab-test-based mess it is now.  SYMPTOMS.  And really -- what kind of IDIOTS are their clients, if they don't know how to shop?  Do they buy herbs from a stranger on the streets, REALLY?

But hang on -- the most risible irony is upon us:
My way or the highway… So, you know that paleo is great – it’s done totally awesome things for your health, body and life in general and yeah, you want to tell people about it. That’s great, in fact, you should talk about YOUR experience. What you shouldn’t do is villainize [sic] every other way of eating or try to convince everyone that paleo is the ONLY right way (I mean seriously, can you imagine the bacon shortage that would cause…). But really, if you take on an elitist attitude and stop seeing that there are other ways the work for other people and that in some (albeit rare) cases, paleo isn’t the answer – all you’re going to do is drive folks nuts. And sure, vegan bashing might be fun and all; but I’d venture to guess that there’s at least one or two super healthy vegans out there. Leave them alone.
Do as I say, not as I do!  I'm right, and you're not, and you should never copy my example.  Tell everyone about YOUR experience, but leave the vegans alone!  There might be, like, one or two, like, SUPER healthy ones out there! 

Guess who's been sleeping with a vegan recently....

Different strokes for different folks. What works for one will never work for all, and it’s important to remember that when you’re talking to people. Judging people for the way they eat or really for anything is just not okay. You don’t know their stories, their struggles or their whys, and they don’t know yours. My guess is that you’ve probably got a few less than stellar habits too, am I right? And – let’s be honest – you haven’t been paleo forever and there’s probably quite a few of you that would say you were a ‘healthy eater’ prior to the conversion.
More hypocrisy in spades, and that argumentative style which, when it runs out of logic begs "so people make MISTAKES -- have YOU never made a MISTAAAAKE?"  To which I usually answer something smartass, just because.

 Find YOUR groove and run with it – there’s no perfect recipe – health is a lifestyle, not a destination.
 But ... but ... but, at the beginning of this screed you were telling us that we were doing a lot of things wrong!  We HAD found our groove but YOU weren't happy with it!

Health is NOT a lifestyle, it is a condition of the body in which things are running as Nature intended they should.  Lifestyle affects it significantly, but depending upon a myriad of variables, what's sauce for the goose could be poison for the gander (if I may mix my metaphors a bit).  Many of the things which the writer said I MUSTN'T do under any circumstance are exactly what benefit MY body best.

So no matter if Robb Wolf himself wrote these lines, or one of his bro's, or that dumb chick WITH THE EATING DISORDER, it came out of his gym and is therefore it is HIS responsibility.  The biggest impact on me is that it lost him any remaining respect I might still have had.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

feet of clay

I just got a little present in my email in-box:

All right, I know that if you’re reading this you’re probably convinced that paleo is like the best damn thing since sliced bacon.... I also know that a lot of you think that you have it totally figured out and that there’s no question in your mind that you’re doing everything exactly right.... Well, I’m here to clear up a few things, and here’s my short list of stuff that you need to think about… (Brace yourself, this might hurt a little bit.)
Arrogant much?  He can't "understand it for us" so obviously if we don't agree, it's because what he says is zipping over our heads.  But listen up and try real hard, cuz we NEED to think about what he thinks our faults are....

I find that it's only a matter of time before an above-average coach or teacher begins to think they're much better than they really are.  If they spend more time with students or clients than they do with peers and superiors, they not only get used to being THE authority in the room, but the admiration of their underlings (sometimes adORation) leads them to believe THEY are the greatest thing since sliced bacon ... and that everyone is dying to taste.

Yes, I know, steak is awesome, bacon’s delicious and chicken is pretty ‘clucking’ tasty too; BUT as is true with most things in life – too much of a good thing is still TOO MUCH! One of the biggest mistakes I see folks make – they go whole “hog” for meat and fat but completely neglect vegetables and really anything other than meat and fat.

If you're eating all meat you're doing it wrong?  You mean if YOU eat all meat it's wrong.  How the bloody hell do you know what's right for a person you've never met nor spoken to?  How do you know what kinds of intolerances and preexisting conditions are suffered by people to whom you spew this highly-generalized tripe?
If your plate is made up of primarily protein and fat with a token broccoli spear or two, you’re doing it wrong. Seriously folks, you don’t need a pound of meat, eight strips of bacon and an entire avocado at each meal. Vegetables first! (and I’m not talking about sweet potatoes, yams, potatoes, parsnips or the other starchy stuff – but, like, REAL vegetables – think green…). Consuming copious amounts of meat and fat does not make you ‘better at paleo’. It does make you constipated, nutrient deficient and in a lot of cases, less than lean and/or healthy.
Quick, kids -- how many lies can we spot in this paragraph?  Hell, how many lies are in the LAST SENTENCE ALONE?
Contrary to what some say, not all of us need to be in ketosis; in fact that may be the worst thing some of us can do. That being said, there’s no reason to be eating starches and sugar ... 24/7 either and this is especially true if you’re not active, trying to lean out or lose weight or have issues with blood sugar regulation. The exact balance is going to look a little different for everyone....
Nice of him to finally notice that not everyone in the room is a mirror-image of himself, isn't it?  Still, the tendency for this guy to think that anyone who isn't doing exactly what he's doing is obviously an extremist wacko is an insult to ALL of us.
Not so (Intermittent) Fast… Yeah, SLOW DOWN before you jump on this bandwagon. Intermittent fasting is made out to be this awesome way of eating to get you healthy, lean and make you a serious badass. Well, I hate to burst your bubble here – it’s not a good fit for everyone and may do more harm than good in some cases (women and type 1 diabetics – I’m talking to you.).
This is where I stopped actually reading the email and decided to reveal "how the cow chewed the cabbage." 

I know very little about the care and feeding of type-one diabetics, but I sure as bloody hell know what it's like to live within a female body and HE ... DOES ... NOT.

Look, bucko -- not all of us are 25 and having a hard time getting pregnant.  In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that all your women who are trying to be "a serious badass" are the ones who are "doing it wrong" -- WHY are they having trouble with an intermittent fast?  IF, also known as "skipping a meal," is something everyone should be able to do.  If one CAN'T it's a sign of metabolic inflexibility or a malfunctioning liver.  Why are your lean and healthy weightlifting women unable to skip a fucking meal?

The whole purpose of paleo was to break out of the sick modern lifestyle, and help us reverse the damage done by the Neolithic Agents of Disease in our diets, exercise, sleep, etc.  It has the potential to make us look better, sure, but if one's goal in life is to be a "badass" there are some psychological issues to be addressed -- you're NOT training for the Zombie Apocalypse, no matter what kind of fantasy-life you like to cultivate.

The adaptation to be made is all about being disease-resistant, functional, and resilient.  Our n=1 experiments are all about defining what our bodies CAN do, what they object to, and what helps them operate in an optimal fashion.  Coaching people toward this goal is all about realizing that every individual is going to have to be treated differently, because "there are as many ways to god as there are breaths of the sons of men" ... and as many ways to fitness, too.

The works of certain bloggers whom I actually RESPECT have convinced me that metabolic flexibility is second only to nutrient repletion in importance, when it comes to health.  The most glaring problem in American obesity is that people who subsist on the authority-recommended high-carb diet CANNOT spontaneously switch fuels and be able to operate on the fuel they have so bountifully stored.  Even lean people have enough fat depots that there should not be a problem skipping a meal here and there.  People who are unable to do so because they become hypoglycemic have a PROBLEM, no matter how good they look.  A liver which cannot set free a little house-made glucose is a sick liver.  The body which cannot let loose free fatty acids and burn them is a malfunctioning body.

There's a lot left of this iniquitous "newsletter" but I think i'll save it till later, because this amount of horsefeathers is quite enough to metabolize in one sitting. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

taking my own advice

After all the madness in December, i concentrated on healing, rest, and reestablishing good nutrient repletion for the first almost-three weeks of 2016.  Then, on Wednesday -- after a special-event dinner at a charming local restaurant -- i was ready.  I'm back on the VLC wagon, and it feels GOOD.  :-)

Choosing arbitrary times to start our self-improvement programs can be self-defeating.  If the body doesn't indicate that THIS IS IT, all by itself, chances are that it is NOT ready.  It will refuse to cooperate and even might fight back.  No fun!  Swimming with the tide gets you where you want to be a lot more efficiently and with less stress.

I woke up early this morning and i was actually hungry.  That's not common with me.  I didn't rush downstairs to get some sustenance, though -- i was actually ENJOYING the sensation.  I remembered an old blog-post at, and went back to refresh my memory of its contents.

It's entitled "I Am a Ghrelin Addict," and it confirmed my positive memory of it.  J. Stanton writes:
Ghrelin is a hunger hormone. ... Yet ghrelin is so much more than hunger.
Ghrelin is neurotrophic. It enhances learning and memory — in fact, it is “essential for cognitive adaptation to changing environments and the process of learning.”
Ghrelin stimulates the secretion of growth hormone.
Ghrelin increases cardiac output.
Ghrelin increases the concentration of dopamine in the substantia nigra, the brain’s center of reward and addiction.
That is why ghrelin is a rush.
Part of why fasting feels good to me is that i'm sensitive to histamine/tyramine/salicylate, and no food going in means less of those disrupters of well-being.  When i'm hungry, i'm also low-insulin and low-BLOAT.  But another good part is definitely about the ghrelin.

From my own experience as well as in that article, i find it important not to try to ride THAT wave too long -- if i go too long without food under these conditions, the ghrelin high crashes into an energy low.  We have excellent bodily resources for providing emergency fuel, especially if we're fat-adapted, but tapping into them sometimes raises stress.  It's the same with exercise -- if it feels good, do it, but doing it when it does NOT feel good is counterproductive ... for me, at least.

Fasting after a carb-heavy day, or allowing myself to get good and hungry before eating acts as a sort of "reset."  When i finally decide to eat something, i do so with much more satisfaction.  On our December trip, at mealtimes, i would actually think to myself "jeez, do i HAVE to eat AGAIN?"  Where's the pleasure in that?  Eating IS a pleasure, or should be.  Alternating the ghrelin high with satisfying it properly is a joy that too few people in this country probably appreciate.

Friday, January 22, 2016

"...what should i DO?"

Almost daily, a certain ZC group on facebook sees a version of the above question.  I rarely answer them anymore.

Probably half of them say "I've been faithfully eating nothing but meat and drinking nothing but water, and i haven't lost any weight."  Others list a variety of symptoms strongly suggesting they need supplementation.  Some complain of constipation or its opposite number, and still others tell of a really troubling reaction to whatever it is they're doing.  Then come the comments.

I worry that the western world really is getting significantly stupider.  It's definitely worse in the US, but i see some pretty dumb stuff from all over.  COULD it be "chemtrails"?  <--joke

Let's start at the last thing -- if you are getting those really scary symptoms, get thee to a doctor, GO.  Honestly, people....  Some things are stoopid to take to the doctor's office, like a cold;  some things are stoopid not to.

As far as the poop-question goes, "it's complicated."  Please pay the receptionist on the way out.  Thank you.  [sigh]  That question could be discussed to the end of time and nothing definitive come out of it.  As a matter of fact, of all the questions i see, this one is LEAST annoying....

I have to admit finding the "to supp or not to supp -- that is the question" comments some of the most infuriating.  People who were overweight adolescents and who found LC in their twenties, lost fat and got healthy, are some of the WORST offenders ... because they ARE healthy.  There's not one thing wrong with them, save that at one point in their lives hormones got the better of them and they put on too much adiposity.  They could go on eating like everyone else in America and they would STILL be healthy, for awhile anyway.

They belong to the if-i-could-do-it-so-can-you club.  Everyone can cure every ill by eating nothing but muscle meat and water, and by doing an hour's heavy interval routine every day.  They remind me of the people who were "born on third base and then brag about hitting a home run" and of -- they can't seem to understand that a damaged body or bad digestion makes some people REQUIRE supplementation.

But the question that most often makes me want to run screaming into the night is the "i can't lose weight" club, when they're trying to do so on anything but a tried-and-true regimen.  They invent a system of their own which doesn't work, and they wonder why.  Something similar worked for their colleague's mother-in-law's first-cousin's roommate, of the opposite sex, after all!

I want to take them by the shoulders and look deep into their eyes, and tell them "LOOK -- how much do you REALLY have in common with those runway models?  How much, with college athletes?  How long have you been fighting to lose weight on diets out of magazines, and how successful have you been?"

"Who do you suppose can give you the best advice, a lab geek who only works with mice?  A naturally-slim person who lives in New York or Paris?  A professional weightlifter of the opposite sex, who is young enough to be your child?  Or maybe -- just MAYBE -- a clinical practitioner who specialized in obesity for decades, and who has a record of success?"

"Choose one:  take your choice of Atkins or Protein Power or Dr. Donaldson's Strong Medicine regimen*.  Read the book from cover to cover.  Do EXACTLY what it says -- do not change one blessed thing."

"Do not fail to measure.  Do not say (like one friend of mine used to) that you don't need to, because you're just THAT GOOD at eyeballing stuff (my friend's recipes often turned out poorly and she just didn't understand it).  Measure yourself while you're at it -- why do we CONSTANTLY have to tell people that they could be losing fat but gaining muscle?  Do not substitute.  Just because you had good luck tweaking it twenty years ago does NOT mean you can now."

"Do NOT follow your favorite guru's version -- go to the horse's mouth.  Do not get hung up on how much fat or protein a RESEARCHER thinks you ought to have -- do not follow the advice of gimmicky people like the ones who are courting longevity or make up cute acronyms.  You want efficient, in-the-trenches advisors who have succeeded with THOUSANDS of patients, not 'led hundreds to better health.'  WTF does 'better health' even mean?"

THAT is what i want to tell all those people who AGAIN AND AGAIN carry on about their weight-loss struggles on a bastardized plan which seems to be a cross between Donaldson and CICO, with a little IF thrown in.  At first i'd suggest snippets of those basic ideas, but not anymore.  The information is out there, and the main reason these people are failing is because they're being sloppy, or lazy, or not serious enough.

Sometimes, people ARE "doing it wrong."  It isn't "blaming the victim" when you tell Little Red Riding Hood not to diverge from the path, but she does, and whines about being eaten by the wolf.
* there are more of course, but i know these best.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fred-inspired thoughts

I started writing a comment on the Philosophy of Weight Management site, and -- as has happened any number of times before -- decided that the subject was too interesting to me, to drop after just a few sentences.  :-)  Now, everybody here is stuck, too....

Paraphrased in a nutshell, "Lifestyle" discusses the difficulty of changing, AND knowing what specifically TO change after deciding that one's lifestyle isn't satisfactory.  I replied:
The older i get, the easier it is to see that "being authentic" and telling the truth kindly takes a lot of the stress and drama out of life. We try to be what our loved-ones want, as Nature designed us, and in the modern world that just does not work. ...and ya know, i just got the urge to make a full blog-post out of the topic. ;-) Thanks, Fred -- i hope your winter is going all right!
Our parents begin by trying to make us the kids they want us to be -- not necessarily for our own good, but sometimes to be a prop in their Me-drama, or a servant, a little friend, a spoiled pet....  Then school gets hold of us, and we're subjects of more social-molding.  We are expected to be good little automatons, learning exactly what we're meant to learn WHEN we're meant to learn it, sitting still, not talking without permission, our little bladders being trained at the same time along with our muscles -- which in CHILDREN are designed to be as active as our brains.  It isn't long until our peers begin exerting influence upon us, demanding that we fit into their hierarchical clique-society, like chickens in a flock.  Before we're half-grown, we are rigidly formatted to be what someone else thinks we should be, not to be ourselves.

Simple souls in simple societies may do well.  They do what is expected of them, and are brainwashed to think that such is the ultimate good;  raise a peaceful, hard-working family with a roof over its head and food on the table.  Make the god happy by doing what the priest says, and you get to go to heaven.  There was no hope of rising from the serf caste;  God Himself put the king and the nobles in their positions of divine right.  Ignorance (and the kind of dullness brought on by malnutrition) was carefully sequestered from the dangers of learning -- sometimes even the nobles couldn't read.  Halleluia!

The Renaissance and Enlightenment eras really screwed that up.  Ordinary people got access to books, and the world changed.

American and French revolutions gave farmers and laborers the highfalutin' idea that they were as good as everyone else, and that Everyman had a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Unfortunately, Nature and evolution still haven't changed our hunter-gatherer brains;  we're still wired to belong to a tribe.

And our modern, over-size tribe wants us to fit in, dammit.  Our teachers (official and otherwise) often want us to play a particular role in a society where there are an infinite number of very-different roles, DESPITE what role is most appropriate to the individual.  Some people take the situation into their own hands and follow what they feel to be right for themselves, and some gentler souls try to  play the assigned role despite the misfit.

Another infinitude of possible results ensues from each path, but i'm confident that in most cases, the latter group end up with the worst health outcomes.  Frustration breeds illness, as modern science has clarified.  Stress and self-medication are rampant in the world, and social-media* has revealed the breadth of it, as we are able to talk to people in all parts of the world and "see" things only the most intrepid of travelers could have, in previous times.

Which brings me back to my response to Fred's post:  the experience of decades -- i.e., AGE -- has taught me that the best way to minimize stress is to refuse to play a role that isn't right for us, and to speak our truth without spite.  When we try to woo friends by putting on a mask we think they'd like to see, we set ourselves up for disappointment.  If they don't like who you ARE, they're not going to like you for the long haul -- divorce statistics prove this.  When we tell people only what they want to hear, they will soon suspect that they're being lied-to, which kills a friendship.  Of course, telling the truth of a malicious mind ends the friendship right there.

Minimizing our frustration and stress will minimize our need to self-medicate.  When not trying to numb ourselves to our misery, we have a clearer mind to determine what SHOULD be done to improve our mental/emotional situation.
*  it occurs to me to wonder if the whole low-fat debacle could have taken off if the internet had been there for us in the 1970s...?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

if i hear the word "detox" one more time....

Welcome to the world of online health information!  Here you will find a mind-boggling range of recommendations, from Conventional Wisdom Which Consistently Fails, through Tinfoil-Hat-Worthy and Thoroughly Flaky Pipe-Dreams.  You will hear ideas repellent to both Science and "Common-Sense" (you know, that sense which tells us the earth is flat) debated passionately by thirty-year-old dorkoid losers who exist only in the fetid, moldy depths of their parents' basements.  Cuz there's something about unlimited internet access that brings out the genius in those who barely made it through high-school....

In this world, one of the words which tends to bring out the screaming, destructive ranter in me is "detox."

Everything untoward can be blamed on detoxification.  If you develop a strange rash upon starting your "healthy" new diet (no matter which one that is), it's because you're detoxing.  If your mood is depressed (here in winter when SAD is prevalent, and you're not getting your micronutrients), it's because you're detoxing from that one Christmas cookie you couldn't resist.  If there's a new litter of pups in the cage, and the salesperson SWORE both mice were male, it's gotta be ... well, maybe not THEN....

Honestly, there's got to be a special place in hell for whoever popularized the concept of detoxification, when it comes to both explaining unexpected results of one's regimen, and for advocating the purchase and use of spurious products to reverse it.

I wonder how many times i've pointed out on facebook -- to ignorant people who believe everything Oprah says as well as to groups of amateur students of nutrition -- that special products are not necessary to cleanse one.  The liver, i've written ad nauseum, is DESIGNED to detoxify the body, and merely taking good care of it is the best thing one can do.  Buying some snake-oil at the health-food store will flush out your bank account long before it flushes the toxins out of your body.

No, madam, the patient isn't feeling blue because she used to eat badly.  She may have gallstone symptoms for that reason, but won't be feeling sad because two years ago she used to subsist on low-fat pasta.  She might easily be a little situationally-depressed because she bought the ridiculous idea that she's not allowed to drink coffee anymore, or because all those healthy young pundits think that if they can get away with not taking vitamins, NOBODY needs supplementation, or because it's BLOODY WINTER here in the US, and unless people are cognizant of what daylight-length and light-color can do to a person's mood, they're prime candidates for SAD.

Detoxification can be a real thing if you have been too close to a radiation source -- you need to protect yourself with a good iodine/iodide supplement, then, to block the absorption of radioactive iodine, and encourage your body to excrete what might be there already.  Definitely, detoxing from mercury poisoning is a valid concept ... and also from lead if you live in the vicinity of Flint, MI.

But for the majority of subjects on health-worried web gathering-places, lets just step back and recite the mantra:  scientists may be corrupt, outdated, or just plain demented here and there, but en masse, they aren't stupid.  Your liver will take care of 95% of all the detoxing you'll ever need, if YOU take care of IT.

Stay away from PUFAs and sugars most of the time;  use alcohol with care and deliberation;  be aware of pharmaceuticals which will chew up your liver and spit it out.  Saturated fats, even if they didn't have other virtues, are fabulously protective of the liver.  Buy the beef and eat the fat!