Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Carnivore Diet

There is something actually called the Carnivore Diet. A diet in which all one eats is meat. No vegetables, no beans, or anything like it. Just meat, and only meat. There are people promoting this diet as the best, despite evidence to the contrary. The one video I watched on this from YouTube simple stated "facts" as if they were true, without pointing to any valid studies, and expected you to believe them. Or on another case, the person simply supported it through their own "experience" which wasn't that long-term. Feeling great at a certain point on the diet doesn't prove anything.

So I can debunk this as a healthy diet simply using commonly known facts. My first thought was where are they getting their energy if not from carbs? As I've documented before, carbs are the body's default choice of energy. It only runs on other energy, like fat, when it runs out of carbs. Well, most meat contains very little, if any, carbs. I believe eggs have a bit of carbs in them, but certainly not enough to supply one's energy needs.

Then it dawned on me, this diet has one running on fat, just like the Keto Diet. Unlike the Keto Diet, however, there are no vegetables at all. Zilch. It is an all meat diet, all the time. That has a couple of huge problems.

1. There will be a serious lack of vitamins, some key ones, in this diet.

Let's look at the nutritional value of various meats. First up: 3 oz of beef.

Total Fat 13 g20%
Saturated fat 5 g25%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated fat 6 g
Trans fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 77 mg25%
Sodium 61 mg2%
Potassium 270 mg7%
Total Carbohydrate 0 g0%
Dietary fiber 0 g0%
Sugar 0 g
Protein 22 g44%
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0%
Vitamin D1%Vitamin B-615%

There is a definite danger of scurvy with this meat. Where's the vitamin C? Also, no vitamin A. Vitamins E along with any others not mentioned here are totally absent. Bye bye antioxidants. The only vitamins here are B12 (Cobalamin) and B6, and out of the minerals, a little iron, with a touch of magnesium.

Notice also that beef has zero dietary fiber. What it does have is 25% of ones cholesterol intake. Remember, this is just 3 oz. of beef. Most people eat at least 4 or more oz. in a single meal. Now, let's look at 1 cup of chopped chicken breast.

Total Fat 5 g7%
Saturated fat 1.4 g7%
Polyunsaturated fat 1.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 1.7 g
Cholesterol 119 mg39%
Sodium 104 mg4%
Potassium 358 mg10%
Total Carbohydrate 0 g0%
Dietary fiber 0 g0%
Sugar 0 g
Protein 43 g86%
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0%
Vitamin D1%Vitamin B-640%

Here we have a similar vitamin profile, except with chicken you get a lot more B6 and a lot less B12. And more magnesium. Yet, still no vitamins C, A, E, and other important vitamins. Again, no dietary fiber, and a whopping 39% of one's daily intake of cholesterol.

"But Rick, you're not mentioning the big amount of protein there." That's right, because I figured that was so well known it wasn't worth mentioning. However, notice here that 43 g of protein is 86% of one's daily needs as established by the FDA. In other words, in this one cup of chicken, you have all the protein your body needs in a standard 2000 calorie diet. Keep in mind, this is just one cup. Someone eating a carnivore diet will get way, way more protein than their body could possibly use. Which means most of it will simply get expelled in your waste.

Next, let's look at a pork chop, 219 g of pork.

Total Fat 31 g47%
Saturated fat 10 g50%
Polyunsaturated fat 4.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 11 g
Trans fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 171 mg57%
Sodium 162 mg6%
Potassium 690 mg19%
Total Carbohydrate 0 g0%
Dietary fiber 0 g0%
Sugar 0 g
Protein 52 g104%
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0%
Vitamin D22%Vitamin B-655%

Here we have the same profile, again, adjusted for some more B12, more B6, same magnesium as chicken, this one though throws in some calcium as well.  Missing, again, is any of vitamins A, C, E and dietary fiber, but plenty of cholesterol--a huge 57% of one's needed daily intake--and protein. One pork chop has 104% of a 2000 calorie diet's worth of protein!

I forgot to mention above that protein can increase one's acid levels if too much gets in the blood. The body, btw, compensates for it dissolving bone into one's blood stream. It is the basis for the high osteoporosis rates of groups like the Eskimos who have a high protein diet due to eating a lot of meat.

So, as you can see, on a carnivore diet, one is missing a lot of essential nutrients that are needed to prevent diseases like scurvy and the other such diseases known to exist from vitamin deficiencies.

Also, in all meat there is a problem of missing dietary fiber. This is an important component of anyone's diet in feeding one's gut bacterial to keep that healthy. It is vital for avoiding constipation, which I can foresee most anyone on this diet having a problem with. One cannot forgo all fiber and expect to stay healthy.

"But Rick, we have supplements for that kind of thing." Yes, one could take supplements like multivitamins and fiber pills. Two issues with this approach.

One, aside from the error of taking a pill for your vitamins, you are getting a combination of extracts, artificially combined, with no fiber. In other words, most vitamins you take pass right through you with minimal absorption. Most of your vitamins will go right into the toilet. Additionally, there is a study showing that the bioavailability of multivitamins are not well established:

Although the bioavailability information on single doses of individual vitamins and minerals is fairly well established, the bioavailability of MVMs is slightly more complex because of various nutrient-nutrient interactions. The standardization of testing for MVM bioavailability may prove difficult indeed, because each micronutrient is unique in its bioavailability characteristics. 

Two, part of the carnivore diet's premise is this is how ancient man used to eat. Aside from the scientific evidence showing that early man used to be a carnivore to be a fallacy, ancient man could not survive on purely eating only animals. The natural selection would have weeded them out long ago due to the lack of certain vitamins in their diet. They couldn't have taken multivitamins back then to offset the lack of important vitamins. Yet, they survived, primarily because as archaeology shows, they were primarily plant eaters. In other words, they were more gathers than they were hunters.

So supplements are not ideal at best. It is a gamble that you are getting the vitamins you need to prevent diseases and be healthy by taking a multivitamin. The best way to get those vitamins is from whole foods. But that is impossible to do on a strictly carnivore diet.

2.  Going into ketoacidosis is a big problem with the carnivore diet.

Okay, we need to get back to our basic energy sources and how they work. First off, there are three potential sources of energy: carbs, fat, and protein. Carbs is what our body is designed to operate on in default status. In other words, that is the first energy source our body looks to use, because at the foundation of our cells, they run on glucose. The body is designed to operate on that fuel, and so it looks for nutrients that are predominately made up of glucose, like starches, because those are easiest to break down into glucose.

The next easiest fuel to break down into glucose is fat. It does this by converting fat into triglycerides, and then converting that into glucose. It is a more difficult process than breaking down starches, and has the added problem of producing ketones as a by-product, that get expelled from the body through one's urine and breath. Ketones are also used as fuel for the brain since fat can't pass the blood-brain barrier. 

The body can also convert protein into glucose but it is a much more complex process which the body reluctantly gives up. It is rarely ever used as a primary energy source because 1. You need protein to repair damaged cells, 2. your body doesn't store protein, 3. the process is more complicated to produce glucose from protein than from carbs, 4 There are numerous problems that result for the body in burning protein as fuel, including bone damage and wasting away of your muscles.

So, as the article I linked to about using ketones as fuel for the brain, even that is a limited fuel for the brain. It can only survive on ketones and glucose created from that process for a set period of time before that runs out due to the metabolic needed chemicals to burn ketones being drained. Then one risks going too far into ketoacidosis, a fatal condition where too many ketones build up in the body.

This is what a carnivore diet has to end up in, is ketoacidosis, due to the lack of carbs in the diet. It is natural for fat to become the primary source of energy when there are no carbs, which means the liver is put under stress converting the fat into energy that the brain can use. Once glycogen stores are used up, one risk burning more protein thus resulting in muscle loss and bone loss. Especially since we know a more acidic environment is created by eating fat and protein as one's main energy intake.

This is aside from the other documented problems of a big meat diet in promoting cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer growth that I've expounded on in previous articles.

Therefore, I would label the carnivore diet the death diet. Even most Paleo folk recognize the advantages of vegetables in one's diet. No, the carnivore diet is a fad diet, not based on science, but upon the fake news produced by the beef, chicken, and pork industries. Don't buy into it, or you may be buying into your death.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Avoiding Dementia

I ran across a video when I did a search on "Parkinson's Disease plant-based" that spoke to that very issue by a guy named Dr. Steve Blake. He was recently involved in a clinical study on using nutrition to avoid dementia, primarily in Alzheimer's disease, but could apply to lewd-body dementia common in Parkinson's as well. I'm posting his video where he gives a talk on the topic, mainly for interest of others who may need to hear this information. So, enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Keto Diet and Dr. McDougall

If you read my blog article about the ketogenic diet recently, where I described why I gave up the keto diet for a plant-based one, more specifically starch-based diet, you may wonder how I could trust an author like McDougall who makes some apparently false statements concerning that diet. In other words, I felt that burning carbs was more natural and how we were designed to operate, than on a low-carb, high fat diet like the keto diet.

Now, obviously I am following Dr. McDougall's advice on a lot of things, and I mostly agree with his assessment of various things. As a matter of fact, there is a video which I feel says it all as far as to what the outcome of a low-carb diet (mostly focused on meat and dairy products) compared to a plant-based diet. Here it is:

The video speaks for itself. It demonstrates what I said in my article on keto diets.

However, I do feel in his presentations, Dr. McDougall does tend to misrepresent the keto diet to a degree. He says it is a diet that makes one sick to lose weight. He points to the fact that in the first 3 to 5 days of going on a keto diet, that people tend to feel weak and sickly feeling.

Now, the keto folks are open and honest that this happens. It is not news to keto dieters. The reason for this isn't because they become sick, but because their body is switching from carb energy to ketogenic energy. During that switch one will lose energy for a couple of days or so. That's because before ketosis can kick in to start providing energy to replace the carbs, it takes a while for the carbs in the body to be used up. Some people do get sick during this brief period of time. But once ketosis kicks in, they began to feel better and regain that energy. As long as they eat enough fat, they will have plenty of energy.

I know, because I never felt like I was starving myself when I was on a keto diet for seven months last year. I didn't feel sick. I even improved my health somewhat. The reason I think he errs in suggesting this, at least for the short term, is because those who study and follow the keto diet know this information. If they are doing it right, they will know and have experienced that they feel great with plenty of energy later on after that point. Consequently, they will tend to dismiss his arguments, not because he doesn't make some good points, but because it will be obvious he doesn't know how the keto diet works. Most people on a keto diet don't feel like they are starving themselves or feel weak and sickly. So they will tend to dismiss any suggestion, whether true or not, that this is what is going on.

Additionally, Dr. McDougall also tends to make another misstatement about Keto diets that makes it appear he doesn't know what he's talking about. He states that ketones are a byproduct of burning fat as energy. This is a bit of a technicality, but ketones are produced by the liver in order to have a form of energy the body can burn, like the brain. The body may indeed burn fat straight out, but most of the body runs on ketones. It isn't a byproduct of burning fat for energy, it is the energy of fat.

*Update (12-6-18): the body can run on ketones, but I've since discovered that the body runs mostly on converting fat to glucose. Ketones are a byproduct, but are also used to provide the energy for the brain since fat cannot get past the blood-brain barrier, but ketones can. So the body burns fat for energy and "saves" the ketones to fuel the brain. So I erred in the above charge to a degree. He is right, that ketones are a byproduct, but are also fuel for the body as well. Though most of them are excreted to avoid going into ketoacidosis, a fatal condition.

There are plenty of things we can say about why the keto diet is not optimal or not the way we were designed to operate, to promote carb-based diets, But to say things like the above only gives reasons for people to dismiss what he is saying about the keto diet.

Now, one does not have to necessarily deny that the end result of a keto diet is the above examples of those who have promoted them. It isn't a healthy diet because it isn't the way we were designed to operate. It takes a careful balancing act to remain in ketosis, something you have to constantly check. You have to carefully check your macro nutrients each day, recording what you eat, to make sure you don't get too many carbs and plenty of fat. Because you have to maintain this state of ketosis which you can get kicked out of at any time. Plus, you have to worry about getting too few carbs and ending up in the fatal state of ketoacidosis.

Because of this, it is very easy for people to think they are in ketosis. it is very easy to "fall off the wagon" so to speak, and end up to start burning carbs. That means all the fat they eat gets stored as fat instead of being burned. Or they end up eating more calories of fat than they are burning.

It should be a clue that the "default" energy our body will use, if available, is glucose, starch, carbs. It isn't natural that our primary energy source should be fat. We burn fat when we don't have any food to eat, that part of what Dr. McDougall says is true. It is a starvation diet, not because you will starve yourself on it, but that is what it was designed for. That is is purpose, to use an alternate fuel source when the primary one is not available. We trick our body into thinking it is starved of carbs in order to use this alternate energy source.

The problem with that is no one can maintain that type of diet. I say "no one," what I mean is hardly anyone. I makes your body continuously think it is starving. The studies that have followed people, like the video above suggests, is they are not, by and large, healthy after several years of living on a keto diet.

I lived on one for seven months. I felt great. I had plenty of energy. My blood pressure went down during that time, but I also did a lot of exercise. But for the above reasons, I realized that it wasn't likely to be sustainable over the long term. But the main reason I stopped it was because I never experienced any of the benefits, especially for my Parkinson's disease. In my thinking, my constant struggle not to lose weight on the diet (I weighed around 147 lbs. at my lowest while on the diet at 5' 10" height) by eating around 3000 calories in primarily fat every day.

Knowing what I know now about how meat and dairy affect one's long-term health, I can only imagine what I would have come down with it I had stayed on it for years. when it was designed as a temporary state of energy production. Probably the same outcome many of its promoters in the video have accomplished. Not experiencing any benefit from getting my energy from ketones instead of carbs, when one had to trick one's body into thinking it was starving to get that energy, why go to all that trouble to get a "not default" energy source without any notable benefits?

No, I decided I should go with my default food, which is starches, carbs. That is where I am designed to get most, if not all, of my energy from carbs. That said, it doesn't help the cause to get the "opposing" side incorrect. So, while McDougall may want to receheck these "facts" based on what I've said here and correct as necessary, assuming he ever reads this, it at least will, as far as this blog is concerned, make my readers aware that I'm aware of these issues, and it has had no effect on my conclusion that a starch-based diet is the better way to go.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Why Does Eating a Plant-Based Diet Seem So Radical?

I've had people react to my plant-based diet as if I'm being radical. I understand the concept, because that's how I used to feel about eating no meat or dairy products. I used to think it was a radical, unusual, off the rails type of thing. I figured at the time that it was a major deviation from a "balanced" diet, that all the authorities I'd ever heard from, like my mom and the FDA, taught. In short, it was how I'd grown up believing reality was.

That is the first reason many people would feel it is radical. Because that isn't how they were raised. All my life, I'd eaten meat at nearly every meal, save breakfast. We usually ate cereal as a kid. Strange that the "most important meal of the day," breakfast, was so carb and plant-based. Except for the milk we'd pour all over it, of course.

It is the "normalization" effect. I mentioned in my last article how in Genesis, when man was created, that he was given all the seeds and herbs for his food. Animals were not given to eat until Noah post-flood. The problem is that we all grow up in a post-fallen world, so we tend to think of the fallen condition as how we were created. So much so, that when we read an early saint's work that talks about how procreation happened differently than it did after the fall, we automatically think they were wrong, simply because we can't believe it was any different than it is now.

That is why people have a hard time with holiness. Because all that entails appears so "radical" to go against how things normally are and appear to be. It isn't "normal" to fast, or to be kind when someone is mean to you. It isn't "natural" to love your enemy. Actually, it is quite natural for a pre-fallen man, but very unnatural for a post-fallen man. But we're so used to a post-fallen state, that anything that suggest things used to be different and we have to change toward them, appears radical to us.

So too, people who have grown up all their lives eating meat at every meal, things that used to be reserved for kings and the nobility, a small percentage of the population except for special meals (remember the "kill the fated calf" statement when they wanted to celebrate the prodigal son's return?) They feel it is "radical" to return to a diet that most throughout our history ate. Except for recently, like the last 50 to 100 years.

That is the other reason it appears so radical, is the meat and dairy lobby has put so much money into gaining control over the government and academia, that any attempt to say that meat and dairy cause so much of our current chronic diseases, gets a lot of push back. They fund their own studies with the intent to show that meat and diary are actually healthy. They do this by comparing their unhealthy diet with an unhealthy vegetarian diet, which also includes a lot of fat. So they cause confusion in the scientific research by having studies come out with contradicting conclusions.

However, all major cohort studies have shown, without exception, that a diet rich in meat and dairy has all sorts of chronic diseases associated with them. There is a direct relationship between the increase of meat eating in this country and the chronic diseases. Historically, they are discovering, that starch-based diets sustained the world, and when people back then ate a lot of meat, they had the same problems we do today.

The problem is, we are eating like kings and the nobility on a regular basis, because the meat and dairy industry has massive farms of overcrowded animals grown only to be eaten. This has resulted in massive abuse of the animals. They are routinely injected with massive amounts of antibiotics to combat the diseases that would kill off large amounts of the meat we eat. The industry has found a way to make eating meat relatively inexpensive so that the average person is able to afford it. And since the 70s, when obesity was around 13% of the population, they have become more and more efficient at producing meat so that they can make a profit, that obesity has grown to around 30+% of the population. Some estimates have it at over 60%. During that time, it appears we are losing the "war" on chronic diseases like heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, as well as several others.

This has also been fueled by the fad diets that have been promoted since the 80s: mostly involving the Keto diet. These include the Atkin's diet, the Zone diet, the Wheat Belly diet, as well as several others. All you have to do is compare the health of their founders who have been on these diets with those who have been on plant-based diets for a long time to see who comes out on top. But the infusion of these other diets, claiming that the science is behind what they are suggesting you should eat, has confused the public so that you can now show some people all the radomized, clinical, control studies you want, and they will ignore it, saying, "Yeah, and science use to tell us eating meat was okay before, too."

Actually, it didn't. Science has always shown that eating meat and meat products have promoted chronic diseases. It is only the infusion of these other "rigged" studies that have produced confusion in the general public. It actually makes me a little mad to to think that if I had eaten correctly, if my parents had actually followed the real science and fed me starches as a kid, I might not have Parkinson's disease now. Milk has been implicated in Parkinson's Disease.

Do I know for sure that if I had avoided drinking milk would have prevented me from getting Parkinson's? No. The cause is still unknown. But knowing what I know now is a lot of evidence to that it very well could have. I'll never know for sure.

Anyway, it is the various diets that have promoted eating meat that have brought a lot of people claiming that we were meant to eat that way, and other falsehoods. The popular diet today that the experts say is the best is the Dash Diet. Actually, it is better than most, focusing on eating low fat and carb-based. It actually had as the head of their diet panel a plant-based advocate. However, they recognized that if people were going to follow a diet like that, that it had to include meat and dairy in the mix. So despite all the science to the contrary, they ended up also promoting meat and dairy as part of a healthy "balanced" lifestyle.

Even the FDA has recognized that eating meat and dairy is not healthy. They have changed their dietary guidelines to only include meat and dairy in small amounts toward the top of their food pyramid.

So, the science has remained the same through the last 100 years. Every study, without exception, that compares eating a low-fat, starch-based plant diet with a diet rich in meat and dairy, shows a dramatically increased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases on a meat-based diet. The science is consistent.

So the real radical method is to ignore the overwhelming evidence that the most dangerous and unhealthy diet you can eat is meat based, and to continue eating a meat based diet. The natural and healthy route is to eat a starched-based diet.

But, that is why it "seems" so radical to go plant-based. To ditch eating meat and dairy appears a drastic measure. Maybe it will take a heart attack before people are willing to give up their meat and dairy. Maybe it will take realizing all the time you will potentially miss out on with your loved ones and grand kids, because you're dead or have to deal with a disabling disease to cause you to change your diet. Unfortunately, that is what it took for me. Now I have to pay the price into the future.

You, however, still have a chance to change. A chance to be radical, because the disease it will prevent will radically change your life for the worse if you don't.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Biblical Theology Behind a Plant-Based Diet

For those who don't know, I'm a Christian. So some may ask, "what do you think the Bible says about eating meat vs. plant-based?"

Good question. I know some people, who are Christians, believe the Bible says eating meat is alright. After all, you have several times when meat is not merely allowed, but commanded that people eat of it. So what's the scoop?

First, it must be kept in mind three (really four if you count Christ's birth, but that isn't relevant to this discussion) major divisions in human Biblical history. One is the prefallen state. This is what was said to be the ideal state, the state God created us in. Then there is the post-fallen state. This is an imperfect period of man, where certain practices were prescribed to aid man in dealing with the fallen condition. Then there is the post-flood era, which continues to this day, when fallen man is allowed greater leeway.

It is also important to know that the term "meat" was used loosely to refer to anything that was the main meal and sustenance.  You'll see this in the KJV version of the first text we will go through. So often you'll see statements that they sat down to meat and divided the bread among them, as is stated at the Last Supper.

So, God is busy creating everything, and on the sixth day he creates man. Then He makes the following statement:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. (Gen 1:28-30)
Note, no where in this does God tell man that he has given them everything that moves on the earth as food. He gives man dominion over them. Then note the last part where it abruptly says "And to every beasts . . . I have given every green herb for meat."

So to man as well as all the animals, God gave us all plants to eat for food, for meat. This is what I was talking about above about meat being a generic term for the food that we eat that gives us sustenance. Our sustenance, as we were created, was ideally to be derived from plants.

That was prefallen condition. Note, that even after the fall, all that is said of man is that he will from then on till the ground, working by the sweat of his brow. That is a key indication that they were still, in their fallen state, still expected to eat, primarily, plants for food. However, there was a key change in their post-fallen condition, in that God killed animals in order to cloth them. This is the basis of the sacrificial system that was later developed. Their sin required the death of an animal in order to cloth them.

But then, notice the big change after the flood, with Noah's sons:

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. (Gen 9:1-4)

In this section, God adds animals as meat, even as he had given them the "green herbs". Now meat, included for the first time, animal flesh as well as herbs. Why?

Of course, the Bible doesn't suggest why, but you'll notice after the fall that the length of their years start to gradually decrease. While there are many theories as to why this happened at this time, one of the most likely being that the water in the sky in the form of vapor protected man from the sunlight, then being gone due to the flood, now the sun's UV rays began to age them faster. Another may be in this fact, that they now began to eat more meat. The animal protein would accelerate the aging process due to the acid in the protein. Or it could have been a combination of both types of accelerated aging.

So, why would God want people to die sooner rather than after several hundred years? He hasn't revealed that bit of info, but if I had to guess, I would suggest that it is due to his promise never to subject the world to that kind of flood again. God felt a need to reign in mankind by giving them shorter lives. Giving them permission to eat meat accomplished two things. One, it was another piece of the puzzle to the sacrificial system He would put into place. Two, it reduced the amount of time for man to sin and cause problems for God and himself.

Also, you'll note this follows the same reasoning when at the tower of Babel, God makes it so they can't understand each other, in order to further limit man from accomplishing too much and getting a "big head."

This understanding also says that while we are allowed to eat mean, that is, it isn't a sin to eat meat, it is not the most beneficial diet for us. That would be a plant-based diet. While we are omnivores, we were designed primarily to be plantivores. Specifically, starchivores. Notice that we are to eat the seeds and the fruit, as well as herbs and such. The seeds of any plant contains starches, stored energy that the new plant will need to germinate. Grains, beans, etc. are seeds. As stated in Genesis, that is specifically what we were given to eat. That is what our optimum diet, according to the Bible, that we were designed to, created to eat. Only after the flood, were we allowed to eat animal meat. And throughout history, even Biblical history, bread became the mainstay of food. So much so, it is often called meat in the KJV.

This is illustrated in Daniel, chapter 1. There, Daniel along with the three other Hebrews, who were chosen to serve the king, we given the king's meat and wine to eat and drink. However, Daniel and those with him didn't want to "defile" themselves with the King's food. So they made a deal with the king that they would avoid all meat and eat porridge, a starch-based food, for ten days. And at the end of ten days, they would come before the king to be evaluated. If the king at that time decided they weren't doing so well, they would eat the kings meat. If they were doing great, they would be allowed to eat the porridge in peace. At the end of ten days, they appeared healthier and heartier than all the other of the servants of the king who had eaten his meat.

Now, when I first heard this story, I thought it was a miracle of God that they were so strong. No, it was the normal course of events. It's just that Daniel and the others knew what kind of diet God had ordained as the healthiest diet for humans, because he had created them. They were playing against the kings ignorance on the subject, just like many are deceived about this today.

"But what about Jesus? He ate meat." Yes He did, but not as a normal part of his meal. He ate what most of the people in his day ate, save for the rich and well to do (who, incidentally, had more disease and such, according to archaeological records): bread from wheat and rye and barley. Everyone made bread, every day. They ate it constantly. That is why you have Jesus making statements like the following:

But he answered and said, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4)

The assumption there is that many did actually live on bread alone. Especially the poor. Not possible, you suggest? What about when the Isrealites were fed on manna for over forty years? The only time they got sick was after eating bird meat. Hum. Yet, they survived on bread alone for forty years.

As a matter of fact, bread was such a sustaining staple in their diet that Jesus equates Himself as the "bread of life" as the manna was with Moses, and at the Last Supper, He says upon handing out bread, "This is my body . . ."

Then Jesus said unto them, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven." "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world." Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, "I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." (John 6:32-33)

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me." (Luke 22:19)

Yes, God and the Bible does allow you to eat animal flesh. It is not a sin (as long as you don't eat/drink its blood as well) to eat animal meat. It is, however, part of our fallen condition. That doesn't mean that eating meat is healthy. All we can say is we were designed by God to eat seeds, not animal flesh. We shorten our life when we decide to eat meat and its products. And, as it has been throughout human history, major civilizations were grown and based on starch-based, plant-based diets of food. The Bible confirms for us this fact, whether we are looking at Genesis, or Jesus's day. Bread was life to people. Most of them only rarely ate animals. Those that did, lived shorter lives.

That, my friend, is what the Bible says on the subject.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

What is a Healthy Plant-based diet?

This is probably a good point to define some terms. You'll hear vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and starch-based diets used interchangeably in conversations and even on some blogs and other sites, even among those who know there are differences. Vegan has become a catch all term for anyone who doesn't eat meat or their products, like dairy and eggs. However, in reality, it is a bit more complicated than that.

So, what is the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian? As far as food consumption goes, vegetarians will eat dairy and egg products. Vegans will not. Both avoid all meat. However, often for different reasons.

That's because vegetarians are eating their diet for primarily health reasons. True, some are doing it for ethical and other reasons, but primarily they are doing it because they believe it is a healthier diet. Vegans, on the other hand, avoid all animal products our of ethical concerns for animal rights and such. For that reason, they avoid even eating eggs and dairy.

A plant-based diet is focused on eating plants primarily for health reasons. As far as to avoiding all animal products including eggs and diary, they are nearly identical to a vegan diet. At least in what is and isn't allowed to be eaten. However, because often vegans don't avoid meat for health reasons, many of them, not all, are not that concerned about eating healthy and are more prone to many of the chronic diseases that meat eaters are.

A starch-based diet is a subset of plant-based, which focuses more on eating foods containing starch. Fruits and other non-starchy vegetables are eaten because of the added nutrients that have, but they are not the focus or the primary part of the diet.

Plant-based and starch-based are "focused" upon eating plants and starches. In theory, that allows for some meat to be eaten and some dairy, more as an exception to the situation than as a standard practice. That said, some people in transitioning to a plant-based diet will eat some meat, gradually weaning themselves off of meat as a regular part of their meal.

So, with those terms defined, what is a healthy plant-based diet? After all, a vegan is able, and they often do, eat Oreo cookies. There is no meat or meat products in an Oreo cookie. So, to satisfy that sweet tooth, they will eat them. But most health conscious people would agree, that a diet of Oreos is not healthy for someone. Maybe as an occasional treat at best, once a week or less. There are many products like this that one could technically partake of that are vegan, but not good for you health-wise.

Likewise, if someone ate salads all the time, and feasted upon broccoli and cauliflower on a regular bases as your meal focus, you would soon find yourself with less energy and starving. Why? Because those vegetables, by themselves, have very few carbs that will sustain a person. As we discussed last time, you either burn carbs or fat. In some cases, protein when your body gets desperate enough.

That is the principle of starch-based diet. That people are designed to live on starches. We can eat meat, but we are designed as starch-based eaters. Proof, you ask? The obvious answer is to look at what our tongues are designed to taste and seek out. On the tip of our tongue is sweet and salty taste buds. Toward the back is bitter and sour taste buds. But there are no taste buds that seek out protein.

A cat has them. A cat can taste protein and seek it out, but not humans. A can gets its energy primarily from protein. We would die if all we ate was meat. That's because if all we ate was meat, we would waste away. Why? Because, as I said before, we are designed to operate on starch, on carbs, and there is no carbs at all in meat. Very little even in dairy and eggs. We do need protein, which is found in abundance in starches and other plants, which is sufficient for our needs, but we do not derive our energy, normally, from protein.

Now, we need to define what a starch is. I've been told that certain vegetables were not starchy vegetables, like winter squashes. But that was under an arbitrary definition of what a starch is. What starch is, is a complex chain of  glucose molecules. They are broken down with certain chemicals that our body makes, which allows the glucose to be used for our cells' energy. Winter squashes do contain those starches, whether one says they have them or not. That is part of their chemical composition.

Not all animals have the ability to utilize starches for their energy. Apes, for instance, are able to break down simple sugars of around three to five chains of glucose molecules, but not the long chains we call starch. That is why they are confined to climates along the equator where their food, fruit, grows. They can get energy from a banana, but not a potato.

As a matter of fact, it is our ability to use starches for energy that has allowed us to expand beyond that area of the world. But you may be wondering by now, "I thought sugar was something to be avoided? I thought eating sugar was bad for you? Everyone knows starches turn into sugar."

There is truth that starches break down into sugar. And that eating a lot of table sugar isn't good for you. So what gives? Why is eating starch okay?

Well, truth is that sugar is the primary energy source for our bodies. The problem with sugar as opposed to starch is that it has been extracted from its whole-food source, absent any other nutrients or fiber, into a concentrate compound. So while it is true that eating table sugar will give you energy, that is all it will give you. Meanwhile, starch is sustained energy. It takes a while longer for your body to break down starches into sugar, and it uses calories to do so. Plus, generally, a starchy vegetable will contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that when combined with the sugars, provides a whole package. If you eat a tablespoon of table sugar, all your doing is getting the energy.

Also, table sugar has the affect of raising one's triglyceride levels. It is due to the sudden spike, all at one time, of calories. It spikes one's blood sugar, which in turn can spike one's fat cell count. This fat is then stored as energy to be used in times of starvation. Most of the triglycerides we get are directly from butter, meat, and other such sources of fat. However, the body can, if called upon due to excess calorie intake, process those sugar calories into fat to store. That is a complicated process, however, and your body would prefer to burn those sugar calories as heat or nervous energy.

Consequently, while eating sugar to excess is bad for you, it has been made out to be the big boggie man in this regard when actually your body needs sources of glucose to run on. Obviously the refined sugars that have no nutrients other than the carbs they provide isn't a good thing to eat too much of. But it generally does not increase one's weight if eaten in low amounts. Indeed, it does provide the same calories as starch does.

It isn't sugar that causes diabetes, but fat. It isn't sugar that causes cancer, but fat. It isn't sugar that causes weight gain, but fat. Once you realize that, you can put the blame for our chronic diseases where it should fall: on fat. You won't find fat in potatoes. You won't find fat in wheat, or barley. What you will find is plenty of carbs, fiber, protein, and other nutrients. However, what you will find in meat and its products, is plenty of fat, cholesterol, and protein. The engine of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart failure, cancer to name the top three. The cause of most all weight gain.

So, I'm following a starch-based diet. That is a diet centered in starchy vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, grains, rice, and legumes. Those will make up around 90% of my food. They will provide me with 99.9% of all nutrients I need to not only survive, but thrive!

In case you want to hear more about this, I would suggest you watch the following video from Dr. McDougall:

Monday, November 19, 2018

Keto Diet vs. Plant-Based Diet

As I mentioned previously, I did a Keto diet for seven months in 2017. I used to think it was a fairly healthy diet, and there may be some unique situations for which it could help. After all, it was originally developed as a treatment for epilepsy. It is used today for treatment when nothing else will work, mostly in younger kids.

It may be helpful to describe what a ketogenic diet is, so we are all on the same page. There are two predominate types of fuel your body can run on: glucose and fat. Your body's default "gas" is glucose. A simple sugar. That fuels the engine of your body as it is designed to operate by default. However, when ever the glucose runs out, your body can start to use the energy stored in your fat cells. The one catch is that your brain can only run on either glucose, or what are known as "ketones". Ketones are converted by your liver from fat, and used throughout your body as energy. They are able to pass the blood brain barrier to fuel the brain.

Therefore, to get that energy, you essentially have to starve your body of its default energy, glucose. So, the traditional breakdown you need for most people to get into what is known as ketosis--the state of producing ketones--is around 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs. To trick your body into thinking it is in starvation mode, you are required to track the food you eat to attain that breakdown of those variables, because there is the danger of going into ketoacidosis. That is when your carbs are so low that too much ketones are made, turning your blood acidic. It is a life-threatening condition.

To ensure we were in ketosis, and not going into ketoacidosis, we would generally test our ketones in our body using urine strips, which can easily be bought at the grocery store. Later, we bought a breath machine that we could blow into and it would tell us how much into ketosis we were.

Now, the "evil" of those who follow a ketogenic diet is carbs. You have to avoid most all carbs except for those essential, but no more than about 5 to 10% of your food. Obviously, if you want to run on ketones, you have to make your body think you can't get carbs. Only in that way, can you make your body think that it needs to start processing fat to make ketones.

However, for some reason, those who follow the ketogenic diet have begun to demonize carbs. Carbs are not simply something to avoid to get into ketosis, but that ketones are so far superior as a fuel that carbs are made out to be evil. It is a mindset where carbs began to not be seen as simply an alternate form of fuel, but an evil alternate form of fuel.

When one first starts a keto diet, they will tell you that initially you'll go through a stage of low energy until you start producing ketones. Then everything will be fine. The reason for this is it takes a few days until your stores of carb energy become depleted, and for the ketones to kick in. If you've ever done a period of fasting, you know this. For a few days, you really feel the hunger, Then when your body starts converting over to using ketones, your fat, you feel great for a while.

That is, until you start to run out of fat stores. Then it starts to burn protein, that is, muscle. That is why one also has to watch their protein levels to make sure they don't get too high as well. If you did, your body could start burning protein instead of fat.

So, what are the problems with a keto diet? One of the problems I wondered about right away was if ketosis was such an ideal state to be in, why did it require all these gymnastics to get there? If carbs were so bad, why did my body default to burning carbs? Why did I have to trick my body into starvation mode to burn this "ideal" energy? This made no sense biologically.

Another issue involved history. As a Christian, were God and Jesus so wrong when they said, "Man cannot live by bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." and "I am the bread of life"? Those statements reflected the reality that bread, carbs, were the staple of everyone's life back in Jesus' day. That people literally lived on bread. In other words, there were not a bunch of people going into ketosis back then, not unless they were actually starving.

Throughout history, carbs have been the enablers of civilized society, as Dr. McDougall points out. Historically, man has lived on carbohydrates, not fat or protein. Yes, there is need for some fat and protein, but not nearly the amounts that people think they need of either. When was the last time you heard of anyone having a protein or fat deficiency?

That was my main concern with the diet, that it was so unnatural of a process to burn ketones. When one looks at it objectively, why would starvation be the route to a superior way to burn fuel for your body?

After all, it can and does overtax your liver, which has to turn all that fat into ketones. So this isn't good for someone with a weak liver or with liver disease. And being that it is designed to be a temporary state, it isn't good for long-term energy supply. That's probably why we've seen unhealthy people, like Atkin's himself, die of problems associated with too much fat.

Now, most of the concern of people who are against keto diets center around all the saturated and other fats you are getting. Dr. McDougall calls them "empty calories." Well, they obviously aren't empty since people can and do live on them. And I believe that the reason my blood pressure became so good despite all the saturated fat I was eating at the time was because I was burning it all off. It didn't have time to go running around in my system, causing havoc. That is also because I was so active. I went to they gym at the time. I did Zumba 4x a week, Aqua Zumba once a week, Body Pump once a week, Body Step once a week, and I played pickle ball for around 3 hours for 3 days a week. I was burning a lot of calories, around 3000 a day. So I ate a lot of fat during that time.

There have been studies done showing that people on the keto diet were not as healthy. I wondered how they knew whether those people were all in ketosis and if they were, did they make sure their oil/calorie intake was the same as what they were burning in a day? My wife, who did the diet with me, did it to lose weight. And she did lose weight, one of her most successful methods to date. Mainly, as she says, she didn't cheat on it because staying in ketosis was so important . . . she didn't want to lose what she had fought so hard to obtain. But because she was losing weight, it was apparent that she was burning all the fat calories she was taking in.

However, it would be easy for someone who claims to be on a keto diet to not be in ketosis. Or to be taking in more calories than they could burn, which in either case they would have excess fat floating around in their blood stream, gumming up the works and causing heart disease and cancer that is evident with anyone who takes in saturated and other fats to excess.

But that all points to the dangers of the keto diet. You have to really pay attention for it to work as planned. You have to ensure you're in ketosis every day through constant testing and ensuring you are eating the right ratio of carbs/protein/fat. You have to make sure you are burning all the fat you take in because you don't want excess fat floating around in your system. In other words, you always have to make sure you stay in a delicate balance to make the Keto diet work as advertised. If you don't, it will have serious consequences in developing either chronic conditions and/or ketoacidosis.

Compare that to burning carbs as your primary fuel. Because that is what your body naturally operates on, you don't have to do all that analysis of what you eat and testing to make sure you are not being harmed by it. You know that if you eat starches, that you are safe and that you are getting all the fuel your body needs, without worrying about getting too much. Plants provide more than enough protein and fat for your needs, if you eat the right ones.

Which is what I'll come back to talk about, next time.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Vitamin B12 Myth

I thought I should expand on my statement last time that B12 isn't that big an issue for those eating plant-based.

I do recognize the problem of some plant-based eaters in not getting enough B12 is a concern. Such a deficiency is problematic when it does happen. Most plant-based advocates recommend taking a B12 supplement or eating grains fortified with B12 to compensate.

However, it is a myth that only "vegans" and vegetarians should be concerned with this problem. It is noted that that the feed that livestock and chickens are fed get "90% of the B12 supplement" in the world today, because the conditions of livestock kills off the B12 the cows get naturally from their feed, due to the amount of antibiotics they inject into each cow.

What? You mean you thought B12 originated and was only found in livestock like cows, pigs, chickens and other forms of meat? Guess what, it doesn't. Cows cannot make B12 anymore than humans can. All B12 comes from microbes in the ground. Animals eat it by ingesting dirty plants and drinking dirty water, just like our ancestors did. Yep, that's right. Our "cavemen" got their B12 from eating fruit, vegetables, and other plants that were not as washed and treated as our produce today. So much for the "how could they have been vegans" myth based on the B12 being sourced only from meat.

Another issue with meat-based B12 is the bio-availability of B12 to the body. This such a problem that there is recognition by authorities that there is more B12 deficiency among meat eaters than there are among plant-based eaters. This is due to the lower amounts of B12 in meat now days, and its absorption into the body by the small intestines.

So once someone has come to the conclusion that meat and dairy products are the primary drivers of the Western world's heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, just to list the top three, why on earth would you want to risk eating meat to avoid B12 deficiency when 1. there is no evidence that one will avoid it by eating meat, and 2. subject yourself to a heart-stopping, cancer causing, diabetes double-downing rates of risk in order to avoid the very slight risk of B12 deficiency? How many people do you know who have had Vit. B12 deficiency compared to heart disease and cancer? I know of no one who has suffered from the former, but I need at least two hands or more to count the number of people I know who have suffered a heart attack or cancer, even in my own family alone! Not to mention friends and more distant relatives. You might as well suggest that I avoid Parkinson's Disease by smoking cigarettes all my life. Yeah, it might help me avoid Parkinson's (if I didn't already have it), but at what cost to my health?

Not when there is a safer, more humane way to obtain B12 through supplements or food fortified with it. After all, all one really needs is around 5 mcg per day according to authorities. That's not much. Especially when one considers that it is estimated that it would take more than 6 years for a person to run out of it who was chronically deficient, because excess is stored in the body.

So no, there is nothing one can get from meat and dairy which cannot be derived by safer means, including B12.

"So Rick, what is your source for this information?" Good question. I'm using a complied source which has all the information I've shared here and links to studies to check it out:

Now, one can clearly see that the myth of the B12 problem for plant-based eaters does not prove that cavemen were primarily meat eaters. Sure, they ate some. But was it the bulk of their food? Couldn't be. That's because meat doesn't have the vitamins needed to sustain life. Plants, on the other hand do. Just look at the nutritional information to see what I'm talking about:

(These are taken from Google searches.)

For 3 oz of beef:
Calories 213
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13 g20%
Saturated fat 5 g25%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.4 g
Monounsaturated fat 6 g
Trans fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 77 mg25%
Sodium 61 mg2%
Potassium 270 mg7%
Total Carbohydrate 0 g0%
Dietary fiber 0 g0%
Sugar 0 g
Protein 22 g44%
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0%
Vitamin D1%Vitamin B-615%

Notice the lack of Vitamin C, calcium, and vit D (which really only comes from getting enough sunshine, not through your food. Notice too the lack of any carbs, you know, the stuff your body runs on and naturally burns? Yeah, that stuff. Meat provides one no energy to operate at all. Only if you go into starvation mode would your body start to burn fat or protein. And that fat primarily saturated fat, is the guilty party in causing heart attacks and cancer in people.

Now let's look at a potato:
Calories 163
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.2 g0%
Saturated fat 0.1 g0%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0%
Sodium 13 mg0%
Potassium 897 mg25%
Total Carbohydrate 37 g12%
Dietary fiber 4.7 g18%
Sugar 1.7 g
Protein 4.3 g8%
Vitamin A0%Vitamin C70%
Vitamin D0%Vitamin B-630%

Notice this one medium potato has zero cholesterol, another major heart attack ingredient only found in meat, has practically no fat to speak of, plenty of Vitamins C, B6, Iron, and Magnesium. And even a percentage more calcium than meat, though neither has a lot of it. If you want some Vitamin A, throw in some broccoli or kale. I'm not even sure why Vitamin D is listed since there is no food source for it, it will always be zero. Cobalamin is B12, which you see is zero here, but is at 36% in meat, generally speaking.

But the big thing to notice is all the carbs a potato has. 37% Wow! Meat had zero. That was the one issue I had with the keto diet, but I'll touch upon that more next time. Here, I only wanted to point out that one could live on potatoes. People during history have indeed done just that, for years at a time. However, no one can live on meat. Not without going into starvation mode and burning fat and then muscle to survive. And they would have no way to avoid diseases caused by vitamin deficiencies like scurvy. Meanwhile, the lowly potato is packed with vitamin C. Surprise!