Blue Paleo- the new Black?

January 16, 2013

I’ve come up with a new shade of Paleo- Blue Paleo! This is the safer way for people who want to get the benefits of raw Paleo without the ickiness of raw. Indeed you can even get sashimi cooked blue now- see below.

Robb Wolf’s blog post of 7 Shades of Paleo is a great list of the most common forms of Paleo diets. Of course, we all know that the ultimate for purists must be the Raw Paleo diet, though few of us would care to venture there. While we all eat fruit raw, and are comfortable eating most Paleo vegetables raw, it is a different matter when it comes to meat (using meat broadly to include meat, offal, fish, chicken etc). We like the security of cooking our meat as it zaps those little nuisances called bacteria, and perhaps we feel it is a little icky from years of social conditioning. Indeed in many countries it is essential to cook your meat and there is nothing you can do about it. Some countries even have tapeworms or pork trichinosis and it is essential not only to cook the meat but to make sure it is well done. However, many of us live in countries like Australia with strong government supervision of food safety where we can be more liberal.

Many of us have eaten raw meats such as sashimi, carpaccio, steak Tartare, oysters, clams and fish eggs. Perhaps you are eating more raw meat than you realised. The French are renowned for eating their steaks barely cooked, perhaps even quivering, but few are bold enough to venture down the hairy-chested road of full raw meat. I have toyed with the idea off and on for years. Indeed I have met some esteemed colleagues who eat raw Paleo (and who follow anapsology in France). These raw Paleo devotees rave about the health benefits and how wonderful they feel, and they look very healthy and energetic.

Scientific discussion of cooking focuses on its effects on bacteria count, digestibility etc, and doesn’t really make a great case for raw. Certainly scientists reject out of hand the notion that we need active enzymes etc in our food as they feel they are generally destroyed by our digestive processes. The most startling evidence in favour of a raw diet was Dr Francis Pottenger Jnr’s Cat experiment- he studied groups of cats fed cod liver oil, meat and milk. If either the meat or the milk were cooked, there were massive health consequences to the cats and their progeny that progressed each generation. Even plants did not grow well on their droppings!

But I keep being drawn back to the concept of raw meat, and here is why: At stages of our evolution we ate completely raw meats, followed by a period where we ate a mixture of raw and cooked meats, and eventually we ate only cooked meats (in many cultures and religions, always cooked well done). Rather than look for research to show that raw has benefits, I would like to reverse the question and ask “what are the consequences of cooking our food, particularly on our metabolism, immune system and our gut?” We don’t really know the answer to that so why not give it a try in planned and safe way.

With this in mind, I had planned to start trying some meat cooked blue- which is less cooked than rare- basically the outside is cooked (sterilised) and the inside is totally uncooked and still cool. The inside of meat should be sterile (however in some countries this cannot be guaranteed particularly for chicken), provided it is not minced or skewered (both unsuitable for blue cooking).

Cooking your meat blue:

  1. Kills bacteria on the outside of the meat
  2. Gives it the same look and colour as fully cooked meat
  3. Has a great mouth feel as it is very tender
  4. Tastes as good or better than fully cooked meat
  5. Will have 100% of the vitamin content without any degradation
  6. Will digest more slowly- both the protein and the fat, as cooking “externalises” some of the digestive process. This explains the observation that many people make that raw meat makes their appetite go away and that weight control happens automatically.

Recently I got to try a blue form of sashimi, called New Style Sashimi invented by famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa at his Nobu restaurant in Waikiki. He has a number of these restaurants and his partners include Robert de Niro. You can see how it is made here. Basically the fresh salmon sashimi (raw fish) is sliced thinly, dressed with various garnishes, and then he heats a mixture of sesame and olive oil, and spoons this over the food to cook its outside on the plate. I can tell you the taste is astonishing, as were the other dishes that my wife Sandra and I ate at Nobu!

Now that I am back in Sydney, the wonderful Nobu taste sensation has spurred me on to finally start on a Blue Paleo diet- so this week it has been all blue meat, mainly lamb, and a few vegetables and a small amount of fruit. I also went low salt for the first time (I should have done so years ago, apologies to my friend the late great Dr Trevor Beard ). Where has my appetite gone? I’ve been mainly cooking in a fry pan, with olive oil, to ensure coating of the meat- such as diced lamb, lamb cutlets, or beef steak. Once the outside has been browned, that’s it. You can look at Google for more on blue steak.

I can only say that if you have been tempted to try raw, just go Blue!

Disclaimer: Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of food-borne illness, particularly in the elderly, in children and those with immunosuppression or chronic diseases such as gut diseases, diabetes or renal impairment. The risk may be worse in certain countries. If you are unsure, consult your doctor prior to changing your eating habits.

The Lord of the Diets

July 31, 2012

My poetry has been favourably compared to Vogon poetry, so I thought I would rewrite the Lord of the Rings Epigraph as an ode to Paleo.

Paleo, The Lord of the Diets:
Omega 3 for everything under the sky
Vitamins minerals fibre for body and bone
Saving mortal men doomed to die
One free of dark toxins to gut and immune
From the land of the past where our ancestors lie.
One Diet to rule them all, One Diet to find them,
One Diet to unify them all and from the darkness free them
From the land of the past where our ancestors lie.

Ben Balzer



“Epigraph”, The Lord of the Rings:
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

J. R. R. Tolkien



And The Winner Is………. Paleo!!!

July 31, 2012

With Google Insights you can compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties. I compared a range of popular diets, and the winner is??? Paleo!!!






Paleo gets the gold medal on Google Insights! Google Insights gives us some interesting information on diet trends. The end of year holiday season/ New Years Resolution peak is a perennial cracker. It appears that Paleo has eclipsed the competition!!!!

Vegetarian diet is similar but a little less than vegan. I was surprised at how sturdy Atkins support remains. Paleo seems to be going up maybe 2.5 times per annum give or take. Also it doesn’t have the January through December collapse, it is still trending up. I would model that with the logistic function (not logistic regression) which would indicate a long way to go.

Can You Handle The Truth?

April 17, 2012

Jessup (Jack Nicholson): You want answers?

Kaffee (Tom Cruise): I think I’m entitled to them.

Jessup: You want answers?

Kaffee: I want the truth!

Jessup: You can’t handle the truth!

A Few Good Men, written by Aaron Sorkin

A philosophical post, on the stages of truth, and why it can be so hard to see the truth in new information.

Schopenhauer wrote of the 3 stages of truth. I would like to introduce a fourth stage of truth, a final and critical stage which explains the first two. This explains why progress is so painful. Schopenhauer power. This is followed by 2 favourite examples to see if you can handle the truth

“All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
– Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860)

The current 3 stages are very practical to followers of the paleolithic diet and ancestral health. We maintain that we are a new and exciting science totally founded on the strongest evidence from biochemistry, physiology, dietetics, anthropology, archeology and a host of other sciences. We welcome all scientific data. We are intelligent, well informed, open minded, kind and caring. We value the truth, the service of our fellow man, and we avoid conflict of interest. So we are often surprised by the incredible illogical opposition we receive when we discuss nutritional issues with our fellow doctors, scientists, nutritionists  and are ridiculed (and I expect even some naturopaths will do this). Yet they are simply being honest. They are simply replying in the same manner that they would if we were to say that we believed in phrenology (the quack study of the bumps on the head which was popular in bygone centuries).

If the ridicule does not work and we don’t back down, then the opposition becomes more determined, eventually shunning us or attacking us with violent logic or even resorting to false logic or fallacious methods of argument or any other dirty trick. Fortunately we get some converts who then see it all as self evident. As for the others, well they can’t handle the truth and perhaps the following tells us why.

I would like to introduce a Fourth Stage of Truth. Following the 3rd stage where we see the truth as SELF EVIDENT, we can then progress further along until the 4th stage where truth becomes INTUITION. Now intuition is a very deep and emotional certainty, a form of “auto-pilot” which we would not question. Our intuition tells us not to go out in the pouring rain as we will be soaked, not to play of the freeway because we will get injured, not to pat a strange dog for we will get bitten, to dress warmly when we see it is cloudy and windy outside and many other things.

Because our truth has become intuition, it has changed. It is more than a piece of knowledge, it operates automatically, effortlessly, and has a priority in our minds. It has a life of its own. It can defend itself.

A much bigger problem lurks which explains why am making all this fuss. In order to stop believing in our INTUITION, we can only do so by using COUNTER INTUITIVE THINKING. This is a most difficult form of thinking. Therefore if our intuition is challenged, we defend it because it is very hard to do the alternative, which is counter-intuitive thinking.

When our intuition then meets a new (and better) truth we do not recognise its superiority and fall into the trap of the first stage of the new truth- we ridicule it. This is driven by the automatic knee jerk reaction of the affront to our intuition. If the challenge persists, we then violently oppose the new truth. It is as if we are brainwashed, we are totally, unshakably convinced. But intuitions are not invincible, eventually our intuition can be overwhelmed by the sustained force of a new and better truth (perhaps driven by the social pressure of the crowd supporting the new truth).

Following this we may hopefully eventually take a cool look at the evidence and support the new and better truth. Or we may go to our grave never having accepted the new and better truth, leaving it to  new generation of younger thinkers who are more willing to accept the new truth, in much the same manner as we once surpassed our elders. And yet none of them having ever understood the process in its 4 stages, and so each generation repeats the mistakes of the former. We have to pardon ourselves, we did not know what we were doing.

These stages of truth segue neatly into the stages of scientific revolutions described by Kuhn which I will discuss in another post.

Doctors like shortcuts in thinking. One of them is to deny new truth as they have safety in numbers- the majority of new theories are wrong. My colleague Dr Chee Leong Khoo once suggested that our medical mentality is that if we are told something which we did not learn in medical school, it must somehow be not true. I think he hit the nail on the head. It’s a form of laziness we prefer to call efficiency. If we can understand the process of truth a little better, perhaps we might see more clearly.

Scientists all have a duty to scrutinise their beliefs in the light of evidence, be they doctors, dietitians, physiologists or physicists. There is no place to hide. To ignore evidence and carry on is to be a Luddite.

How can we avoid falling into the traps described above? Firstly be alert, awareness is the first step. Be well informed, be open minded. Think things through. Look at the references behind the information. Don’t be lazy, don’t trust kneejerk reactions. Don’t trust throwaway lines. Have a keen sense for what IS NOT known, as much as what IS known. (In medicine we probably only know the root cause of 15% of illnesses, sorry to disillusion you)(as to the other 85%, well I reckon 85% of those are explained by Paleo diet and lifestyle theory). Keep looking for other ways to avoid the pitfalls. If you know where the crocodiles are, they can’t bite you.

So this is why the skeptics put up such a fight. Or perhaps you are a skeptic who want to understand why he can’t break through his own belief system.

Cucumber Science. Paleo science is not the first time I encountered medical opposition to well founded science. In the late 1990’s I became interested in the prevention of childhood lead poisoning. Whereas in the USA this is everyday family medicine, and indeed universal blood tests used to be recommended, and the EPA and HUD have spent billions on lead abatement programs, in Australia doctors treat it as if it were a green and alternative point of view. This is totaly ignorant. So I call it “cucumber science”- green on the outside and white on the inside. I suspect that some dietitians and doctors and scientists wrongly label Paleo as green or alternative. And of course I have long maintained that being a vegetarian is NOT green!

So can You handle the truth? Here are 2 quick questions. Both are favourite common throwaway lines of the “medical establishment” (hey I’m one, but I’m reformed) used to decry common “alternative” beliefs.

1. Do you believe that the Western food supply is so good that a peron eating a sensible diet has no need to take vitamin supplements?

A. This is a myth. It is not only incorrect, it is illegal. By law the food supply must be fortified with several vitamins in order to prevent diseases such as pellagra and beri beri. Much of the world food supply is fortified with iodine by law or by choice or by accident (iodophore cleansers), and without this probably 2  billion people would be iodine deficient instead of the 1 billion currently. So everyone is taking vitamin supplements by law, and this is because they have been proven to prevent public health scourges. Vitamin supplements have a measurable physiological effect because our enymes evolved in the paleolithic during which time paleolithic diets were the only diet, and these supply 3 to 10 times the level of most vitamins. Vitamin intake in excess of paleolithic intakes is unlikely to assist and may be harmful.

2. Do you believe that taking vitamin supplements just gives you “expensive urine”.

A. This is a myth and really shows poor reasoning. The idea is that because excess amounts of water soluble vitamins may be excreted into the urine that they must nothing for you. Let’s look at other tablets. Many drugs get excreted in the urine, for example most antibiotics. Does your doctor say “take these antibiotics so you can have expensive urine”? I think not. Cholesterol lowering drugs are excreted into the bowel motions, so perhaps they could say that Lipitor just gives you expensive stools. Really it is the same logic and incorrect on all 3 counts. Of course it is irrelevant that a vitamin or a drug appears in your urine or stools. What matters is what they do before they get to the urine or stool.

If those 2 arguments don’t convince you, then you have absorbed the myths to the degree that they have become intuitive, so you can’t see past them. You need a good hard look at yourself, you have become an old dog who can’t learn new tricks. You need a dose of Jack Nicholson. give him a click.

“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is.”

– Winston Churchill (1874 – 1965) gives some other quotes:

Every great scientific truth, goes through three stages. First people say conflicts with the Bible. Next they say it had been discovered before. Lastly, they say they always believed it. Louis Agassiz

Theories: Four stages of acceptance: i) this is worthless nonsense; ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view; iii) this is true, but quite unimportant; iv) I always said so. (J.B.S. Haldane, Journal of Genetics #58, 1963,p.464)

Depression, evolution and inflammation. Back to the diet.

March 14, 2012

There is a great blog on Evolutionary Psychiatry Dr Emily Deans click here. Emily’s post on depression and inflammation, genetics and evolution is very interesting and links to a paper on this topic full free text here. Like all GP’s I get to see a lot of depression and it is a challenging condition, even with the most dedicated specialist treatment, and total patient cooperation.

My interest in  the ideal neuro-developmental diet dates back to my days when I was involved in a community group preventing lead poisoning . Lead has profound effects on the brain, causing reduced IQ, and ADHD and sociopathy. And lead poisoning was almost universal in the USA until 1990. This made it clear to me that the brain is affected by things other than genetics. Later when I became interested in the Paleolithic diet I eventually discovered that it is the ideal neuro-developmental diet and some interesting work has already gone on, including the Ghent conference where Cunnane gave this interesting appraisal including his own original theory. Prof Michael Crawford in London does some ground breaking work in this field.

The brain is the biggest loser in the Neolithic Diet. It is no coincidence that the diet of our Paleolithic forebears was associated with an explosion in brain size. Every modification of our diet since, has had a negative impact on the brain.

To understand the issue we need to forget about the complexities of the brain and focus on 2 general issues- wiring and firing. Wiring is the structure of the brain, size and position of nuclei (clusters of neurons) and the interconnections (synapses) made by axons and dendrites. Firing describes the release of neurotransmitters- where 2 nerves connect, they communicate when an electrical impulse arrives, not by sharing the impulse, but by the first nerve releasing chemicals (neurotransmitters) into the connection (synapse).

The modern diet is low in long chain omega 3. (Ultimate Reference Book= The Omega Diet by Simopoulos and Robinson) Bad for wiring as the synapses are made of omega 3. Bad for firing as neurotransmitters are packaged into “synaptic vesicles” using omega 3. This is why fish oil helps depression.

Next problem, let us go past folic acid which is a vitamin needed for the methyl cycle, and remember that it is just one of 4 methyl amigos. The 4 methyl amigos are folic acid, Vitamin B12, Vitamin B6 and Choline (the forgotten one). We all know that folic acid or B12 deficiency affect cell migration in the embryo (this deficiency may cause spina bifida). Let us also remember that methyl vitamins are needed to produce serotonin, and I think also dopamine and norepinephrine (don’t quote me).  So stress on this system can reduce production of these neurotransmitters, which is of course central to depression.

Wind back to CHOLINE. Now this only became a vitamin in 1999, and is needed to make Acetyl Choline, one of the main neurotransmitters, and the target of many Alzheimers drugs (But no papers on Alzheimers and simple supplements of choline as they are too cheap). Now 70% of the population are deficient in choline. Whoopsy. Back to square one.

The deficiency of choline makes it likely that our brains are structurally disorganised due to poor cell migration. It would also contribute to reduced production of neurotransmitters to make matters worse. Increased homocysteine makes it worse again.

Agreed that brain inflammation is undesirable and there are many avenues cited in Loren Cordain’s epic paper Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double Edged Sword. The seminal single reference on paleolithic diet and health and disease. See also and .

And on it goes. Neolithic life is also associated with very high risk of lead poisoning (though Americans born after 1990 might be low in lead, which is why their IQ is higher). And a few other issues such as iodine deficiency (though unusual in USA and Canada but common in Australia and Europe).

If the incidence of depression has increased in recent decades, then the increased inflammation may not be entirely evolutionary (as the time frame is decades rather than millenia). Since the early 1900’s (detoxified cottonseed oil) there has been an increased intake of short chain omega 6 oil (pro inflammatory) which became a flood in the late 1960’s with the widespread recommendation of safflower and sunflower oil consumption. These oil have physiological effects on our bodies, which is to say they are drugs. It was made worse again by adding lots of trans fats to solidify them to mimic butter or give processed foods a good “mouth feel” or extend shelf life etc.

This highly inflammatory diet change has been associated with asthma, arthritis, cancer, depression, ADHD, macular degeneration to name a few diseases.

The Pathos-D paper makes the unwarranted assumption that depression is a genetic illness simply because of the association of some alleles with depression. There is a simple reason why dietary diseases look like genetic diseases which I have posted about before. If everyone smoked we would think lung cancer was genetic. Similarly everyone eats a harmful Neolithic diet, so we think that dietary diseases are genetic. Everyone eats a lot of salt so we might once have thought that hypertension was largely genetic, but everyone knows it is largely due to the massive amounts of salt added by food companies.

I used to confuse phenotype (our health or illness or other character) with genotype (the architect’s plans), but have fortunately downgraded the status of the gene in comparison to diet (with the exception of the small but important number of true genetic diseases). We can upgrade to the GDE model- genes diet and exercise cause most variations in PHENOTYPE. An analogy is that if your house falls down- who do you blame? The architect (genes), the building materials (diet) or the workmanship (exercise). Anyone who has built of renovated a home knows that the work of the architect is generally superior but there are often problems with the materials or workmanship.

Weston Price’s classical text Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, 1939, details his world journeys looking at the links of diet and dental disease and other disease. He is perhaps the second Darwin, the Darwin of food. He did not encounter any cases of depression. The one case of suicide was due to intractable dental pain, due to cavities from introduced Western foods such as flour and sugar.

The Omega Diet tells us that more recent investigators in Japanese fishing villages found not one case of depression when surveying elderly people.

Dethrone King Gene. The Phenotype is King and is mostly determined by diet and exercise (otherwise we might as well give up). If everything is genetic then what point is there in diet and exercise? None at all. However we all have seen and felt and know that diet and exercise is critical. Don’t be sold down the river by the gene.

What is the psychology of the widespread acceptance of genetic explanations?
I would venture that they are overly accepted because they are esoteric, doctors themselves are bit confused. Doctors and scientists rather like genetic explanations as they are intelligent, and if intelligence is primarily genetic (which I dispute) then it makes them fundamentally and naturally superior (and their families and offspring) so there is an appeal to the ego. And genetic studies get a good percentage of research funding grants. Genetics always promises that all the answers are just around the corner, just like the magic software program that doesn’t actually work, the share investment system that never beats the index funds, and anything else that is sold heavily but doesn’t deliver. Yes, it’s time to deliver some healthy skepticism to the geneticists and ask “where are your results?”. Obviously DNA has delivered a range of excellent PCR pathology tests, and recombination DNA protein products, but for the man is the street, genetic testing might pick a handful of useful results. And for the man with depression, how many have been helped?

Paleo water isn’t just H2O

October 10, 2011

Paleolithic water is not just H2O. Natural waters contain H2O of course, but also can contain important mineral contents. Rainwater is fairly close to 100% H2O but river waters, and spring waters contain significant amounts of minerals, and alkali load. I have attached a table below. Our ancestors may have obtained a significant amount of calcium in their “Paleo water” intake.

This can be overlooked as often the amount is quoted per 100g just as food is quoted per 100g. Yet the daily serve of water is more like 1500ml to 2000ml.

Remer and Manz wrote a famous paper on dietary acid base balance and ironically overlooked the mineral water, which in their table, by coincidence was Apollinaris, which is one of the strongest mineral waters in the world. Its PRAL of -1.8 does not look like much as it is per 100ml, but per 1500ml is a whopping -27mEq/day, (-27mmol/day) which is a large percentage of the typical daily acid load neutralised. The composition of hundreds of mineral waters is available at

My main thrust is that the paleo intake of water probably made a significant contribution to the dietary acid load, calcium intake, and perhaps Mg Na K and other electrolytes, and I think is worth consideration, and even formal research. It is also an important reminder of a couple of things:
1. The devil is in the detail
2. Always question your assumptions, relentlessly. Too many mistakes are made by oversights on assumptions. In mathematics, many mistakes are made on the first page, in the assumptions. It is too easy to overlook water, yet it is the second largest substance to enter the body (the largest being air).


All concentrations in milligrams/liter. TDS is total dissolved solids and pH is a measure of the acidity of the water. A pH less than 7 is acidic. A dash (-) indicates that the component was not detected or the water was not analyzed for this constituent. A tilde (~) means “approximately.”

Water composition

Water composition

Key to Analyses: (1) Rainwater from Menlo Park, California; (2) Average rainwater from sites in North Carolina and Virginia; (3) Composition of the Rhine River as it leaves the Alps; (4) Stream draining igneous rocks in the Washington Cascades; (5) Jump-Off Joe Creek, southwestern Oregon, wet season, November, 1990; (6) Jump-Off Joe Creek, southwestern Oregon, dry season, September, 1991; (7) Great Salt Lake, Utah; (8) Average seawater; (9) Groundwater from limestone of the Supai Formation, Grand Canyon; (10) Groundwater from volcanic rocks, New Mexico; (11) Groundwater from a spring, Sierra Nevada Mountains: short residence time; (12) Groundwater from metamorphic rocks in Canada: long residence time.

Read more: Fresh Water, Natural Composition of – seawater, river, sea, freshwater, temperature, salt, types, source, marine, oxygen, human

King Gene is dethroned!

June 27, 2011

I still remember the culture shock when I realised that the grand emperor of science, King Gene, was an impostor. The Emperor’s new clothes are non existent. Love live the new King, nutrition and exercise!
There are 3 commonly accepted groups with varying health levels:
1. Superb Health (Phenotype). Unacculturated hunter gatherers.(eg traditional Aborigines, Pacific Islanders). e.g. low level diabetes heart disease.
2. Mediocre Health (Phenotype). Europeans (for the sake of simplicity and because they are the bulk of my practice, and most research data bases)
3. Poor Health (Phenotype). Westernised hunter gatherers (eg most modern Aborigines, Pacific Islanders). e..g. high level diabetes heart disease.

CAN YOU SPOT THE PROBLEM? Groups 1 and 3 are virtually genetically identical, yet we steadfastly hold on to the false premise that these diseases are largely genetic. If groups 1 and 3 are genetically identical, then any differences in diseases CANNOT be largely due to genes, it must be due to other factors such as diet exercise and infective diseases.

There are a few ways of looking at it- all leading to the conclusion that the adoration of the gene is unjustified. The words Darwinian, NeoDarwinian and genetic defect are dropped as self evident. Unfortunately Schopenhauer truth phase 3 (self evident) comes late in every paradigm. When something is self evident, I guess its fair to say that it then becomes intuitive, maybe Schopenhauer could have intuitive as 4th stage of truth. What happens when it reaches its limits and the paradigm fails? It may be that some or all of our assumptions or intuitions are wrong.

Consider the body as a simple house. Everyone who has built or extended a house will know that if a house falls down, it will RARELY be due to bad plans, and often due to faulty building materials, poor workmanship or termites. The body is much the same.

Genes (building plans), Diet (building materials), Exercise (Workmanship), Disease (termites)
Back in the Paleolithic age, this builds beautiful healthy bodies (houses).

One day, we decide to substitute 75% of the building materials with cheap substitutes (bird food)(Neolithic food).

Houses start to fall down all around us (disease, atherosclerosis in Egyptians).

Along comes Superman (Charles Darwin), or the improved new version with added DNA- NeoDarwin.
And of course, the genes get improved, but not the diet (it gets worse), exercise (worse), disease (worse).
So the genes get better again and again, as NeoDarwin is all powerful. We know that, we learnt that in Sunday School or grade 8 science, anyhow we know it’s important. The genes keep getting better. The bodies are still fairly unhealthy, but not as bad as they were before. Each generation, NeoDarwin in his ancient wisdom improves things a little bit.

And then along comes the doctor, and the latest toy, with the best funding stream is, DNA labs. And genetics is still the final frontier of ego confrontation, and confusing and bamboozling people. The Romans called it obscurantism. And there are even a handful of true significant genetic diseases, just to whet our appetite. The doctor keeps searching deeper and deeper in the genes, the defect must be here somewhere. NeoDarwin will be angry if I cannot find them. I must sequence more genes, get more funding. The doctor says, these illnesses must be genetic, they just must be. Nobody will disagree, the doctor sounds so clever, he’s working so hard, just wait a bit longer, the breakthrough is just around the corner. (Sounds suspiciously like the prospectus of every biotech startup investment, but I digress).

But alas, the problem is not with the genes, it is with the diet and exercise. The doctor wants it both ways. NeoDarwin is powerful. Each generation there are LESS AND LESS genes promoting illness, and the role of food and exercise conversely is more dominant as the cause of the remaining individuals with disease. The doctor can’t have NeoDarwin being so powerful IMPROVING GENES, then use NeoDarwin to justify the false belief that DEFECTIVE GENES ARE THE MAIN CAUSE OF DISEASE. Sorry Doc, you can’t have it both ways. Evolution can’t improve the gene pool and simultaneously increase the contribution of genes to disease, the 2 concepts are obviously contrary to each other (dare I say it’s self evident, even intuitive that this is wrong).

So, wearily, we see that the search for genetic roots of disease is a fools errand. Turn the ship around. There are exceptions, worth looking at, but few.
We see Emperor Genes new clothes were just a veil, that we tend to blur the boundary of genotype and phenotype with sloppy thinking. Phenotype is everything, the gene far more perfect than we knew, is no longer the cause of most disease. We built the gene up as the Emperor but really as a villain, only villains cause disease, we were too afraid to realise that. NeoDarwin can keep on his merry way. Return the diet and exercise to normal, there is no incentive to evolve. Back to the building and bodies analogy. The genes building plans are superb. We all have the genes to build skyscrapers, but the building materials are fit for huts, barns, and the odd 3 storey home. The building materials limit our constructions (bodies) not the genes.

The Ancient Egyptians could have designed the Empire State Building, they had the architects and labourers, but not the necessary materials (steel, glass concrete), infrastructure (power, water). We have the genes for the Empire State Building, and all that holds us back is the materials, workmanship and the odd termite.

As Vitamin B12 pioneer Ralph Carmel once quoted the end of Portnoy’s Complaint “Now vee may perhaps to begin”.
Ben Balzer


Why Dietary Diseases Look Like Genetic Diseases #1

August 3, 2008

The high level of disease in modern man is a stark contrast to the low level of those diseases in unacculturated hunter gatherers. Paleolithic diet buffs believe this is due to differences in their diet. We believe that diet is the main cause of disease. Why then is so much research focused on finding genetic causes of disease? The reason is a simple logical fallacy- as nearly everybody eats a Neolithic diet, most lines of research won’t show up the dietary cause as the researchers are looking at groups who are all on the same harmful diet. Therefore it looks like diseases are genetic, when in fact they are dietary. While some diseases are clearly entirely caused by a gene, they represent a fairly small and well documented number. in the rest of cases, the genes have a variable influence, probably representing gene nutrient interactions.

I am grateful to salt expert Dr Trevor Beard for bringing this to my attention. He quotes one of the best-known publications of a British epidemiologist named Geoffrey Rose, now deceased (a sad loss). The exact words from page 32:

If everyone smoked 20 cigarettes a day, then clinical, case-control and cohort studies alike would lead us to conclude that lung cancer was a genetic disease; and in one sense that would be true, since if everyone is exposed to the necessary agent, then the distribution of cases is wholly determined by individual susceptibility.

On page 33 he also says:

The hardest cause to identify is the one that is universally present, for then it has no influence on the distribution of disease.

The references is:

The Environment and Meat Eaters

July 9, 2008

Carnivores are paradoxically the ancient protectors of the environment.

Consider this, when the first major African game parks in South Africa and Kenya and elsewhere were made, the animals were initially left undisturbed in the belief that interference could be harmful. Elephants and buffalo have no significant natural enemies other than man, and their herds grew rapidly in the game parks. Elephants destroy several trees every day as they eat their bark or simply sharpen their tusks. Buffalo and elephant herds trample much grass. Within a short time they turned bushland to grass land and grass land to dust. Elephants were then starving to death along with other animals. It then became apparent that these herbivore species can be extremely damaging to the environment. So culling of the game park populations began. In due course, these populations were brought into balance with the environment, the environment again flourished and it has been sustainable for decades ever since (though culling remains debated).

This simple illustration shows us that carnivores are actually very protective to the environment. Forests and grasslands are actually protected and nurtured by carnivores. Humans are the only carnivore that is capable of killing elephants and buffaloes, and prehistorically we killed off even larger herbivores (megafauna). Whilst it is a shame that these giant megafauna were eliminated, the big winners were the forests and grasslands. This frames carnivorous activity in a different philosophical light to that which is usually believed. According to this model the human race were probably the most protective of all animals towards the environment. This of course explains our ancient spiritual beliefs, from Gaia in ancient Greece to the hunter gatherers who say “the people belong to the land, the land does not belong to the people”. Our role as custodians of the land is ancient and our spirits continue to yearn for it today.

Where did it all go wrong? With the act of farming which Jared Diamond refers to as “The Worst Mistake In The History Of The Human Race”. The act of farming is one where we destroy the inedible plant species in an environment and then replace them with edible species or graze domesticated herds. We immediately went from being the protectors of the environment to its destroyers. Vegans correctly remind us that grazing cattle is more destructive than raising vegetable crops, but they conveniently overlook the fact that all farms exist in destroyed habitats. At least we can all agree that grain fed meat is particularly destructive, and leads to inferior quality meat (that is softer due to high amounts of harmful saturated fat- see ).

We should recall that salinisation from farming has destroyed much of the world’s arable land. Indeed salinisation of wheat farms is mentioned in the oldest clay tablets from the Middle East (Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia), and we are all aware that the ancient Middle Eastern Fertile Crescent now has much desert due to human activity. In the end, it may already be too late to save our farmlands. Then we shall be forced to turn to oceanic farming, which ironically enough will provide us with paleolithic style foods only.

Iodine, Traditional Cultures and Pregnancy

June 27, 2008

From Dr Weston Price. Nutrition and Physical Degeneration 1939, 1945 pp 400-402 APPLICATION OF PRIMITIVE WISDOM. Dr Price, a dentist, is one of the founding fathers of modern nutrition.

In Africa I found many tribes gathering certain plants from swamps and marshes and streams, particularly the water hyacinth. These plants dried and burned for their ashes which were put into the foods of mothers and growing children. A species of water hyacinth is shown in Fig. 130 (click). The woman shown in Fig. 130, with an enormous goiter, had come down from a nine-thousand-foot level in the mountains above Lake Edward. Here all the drinking water was snow water which did not carry iodine. She had come down from the high area to the six- thousand-foot level to gather the water hyacinth and other plants to obtain the ashes from these and other iodine carrying plants to carry back to her children to prevent, as she explained, the formation of “big neck,” such as she had. The people living at the six-thousand-foot level also use the ashes of these plants.

Weston Price Africa Goitre

Among many of the tribes in Africa there were not only special nutritional programs for the women before pregnancy, but also during the gestation period, and again during the nursing period.

For the Indians of the far North this reinforcement was accomplished supplying special feedings of organs of animals. Among the Indians in the moose country near the Arctic circle a larger percentage of the children were born in June than in any other month. This was accomplished, I was told, by both parents eating liberally of the thyroid glands of the male moose as they came down from the high mountain areas for the mating season, at which time the large protuberances carrying the thyroids under the throat were greatly enlarged.

Among the Eskimos I found fish eggs were eaten by the childbearing women, and the milt of the male salmon by the fathers for the purpose reinforcing reproductive efficiency.

The coastal Indians in Peru ate the so-called angelote egg, an organ of the male fish of an ovoviviparous species. These organs were used by the fathers-to-be and the fish eggs by the mothers-to-be.