Om namo Narayana
Digital transformation and the Cybersecurity envelope
STAVANGER, Norway (AP) — Nobel Prizes are the most prestigious awards on the planet but the aura of this year’s announcements has been dulled by questions over why so few women have entered the pantheon, particularly in the sciences.
The gold Nobel Prize medal awarded to the late novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in Bogota, Colombia. Nobel Prizes are the most prestigious awards on the planet but the aura of this year’s announcements has been dulled by questions over why so few women have entered the pantheon, particularly in the sciences. The march of Nobel announcements begins Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, with the physiology/medicine prize.
Some of the disparity likely can be attributed to underlying structural reasons, such as the low representation of women in high-level science. The American Institute of Physics, for example, says in 2014, only 10 percent of full physics professorships were held by women.
But critics suggest that gender bias pervades the process of nominations, which come largely from tenured professors. “The problem is the whole nomination process, you have these tenured professors who feel like they are untouchable. They can get away with everything from sexual harassment to micro-aggressions like assuming the woman in the room will take the notes, or be leaving soon to have babies,” said Anne-Marie Imafidon, the head of Stemettes, a British group that encourages girls and young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“It’s little wonder that these people aren’t putting women forward for nominations. We need to be better at telling the stories of the women in science who are doing good things and actually getting recognition,” she said.
Powerful men taking credit for the ideas and elbow grease of their female colleagues was turned on its head in 1903 when Pierre Curie made it clear he would not accept the physics prize unless his wife and fellow researcher Marie Curie was jointly honored. She was the first female winner of any Nobel prize, but only one other woman has won the physics prize since then.
More than 70 years later, Jocelyn Bell, a post-graduate student at Cambridge, was overlooked for the physics prize despite her crucial contribution to the discovery of pulsars. Her supervisor, Antony Hewish, took all of the Nobel credit.
Brian Keating, a physics professor at the University of California San Diego and author of the book “Losing the Nobel Prize: A Story of Cosmology, Ambition, and the Perils of Science’s Highest Honor,” says the Nobel Foundation should lift its restrictions on re-awarding for a breakthrough if an individual has been overlooked. He also says posthumous awards also should be considered and there should be no restriction on the number of individuals who can share a prize. Today the limit is three people for one prize.
“These measures would go a long way to addressing the injustice that so few of the brilliant women who have contributed so much to science through the years have been overlooked,” he said. Keating fears that simply accepting the disparity as structural will seriously harm the prestige of all the Nobel prizes.
“I think with the Hollywood #MeToo movement, it has already happened in the film prizes. It has happened with the literature prize. There is no fundamental law of nature that the Nobel science prizes will continue to be seen as the highest accolade,” he said.
This year’s absence of a Nobel Literature prize, which has been won by 14 women, puts an even sharper focus on the gender gap in science prizes. The Swedish Academy, which awards the literature prize, said it would not pick a winner this year after sex abuse allegations and financial crimes scandals rocked the secretive panel, sharply dividing its 18 members, who are appointed for life. Seven members quit or distanced themselves from academy. Its permanent secretary, Anders Olsson, said the academy wanted “to commit time to recovering public confidence.”
The academy plans to award both the 2018 prize and the 2019 prize next year — but even that is not guaranteed. The head of the Nobel Foundation, Lars Heikensten, was quoted Friday as warning that if the Swedish Academy does not resolve its tarnished image another group could be chosen to select the literature prize every year.
Stung by criticism about the diversity gap between former prize winners, the Nobel Foundation has asked that the science awarding panels for 2019 ask nominators to consider their own biases in the thousands of letters they send to solicit Nobel nominations.
“I am eager to see more nominations for women so they can be considered,” said Goran Hansson, secretary-general of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and vice chairman of the Nobel Foundation. “We have written to nominators asking them to make sure they do not miss women or people of other ethnicities or nationalities in their nominations. We hope this will make a difference for 2019.”
It’s not the first time that Nobel officials have sought diversity. In his 1895 will, prize founder Alfred Nobel wrote: “It is my express wish that in the awarding of the prizes no consideration shall be given to national affiliations of any kind, so that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be Scandinavian or not.”
Even so, the prizes remained overwhelmingly white and male for most of their existence. For the first 70 years, the peace prize skewed heavily toward Western white men, with just two of the 59 prizes awarded to individuals or institutions based outside Europe or North America. Only three of the winners in that period were female.
The 1973 peace prize shared by North Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho and American Henry Kissinger widened the horizons — since then more than half the Nobel Peace prizes have gone to African or Asian individuals or institutions.
Since 2000, six women have won the peace prize. After the medicine prize on Monday, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will announce the Nobel in physics on Tuesday and in chemistry on Wednesday, while the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded Friday by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. On Oct. 8, Sweden’s Central Bank announces the winner of the economics prize, given in honor of Alfred Nobel.
- In a four-year-long study, overweight and obese diabetics placed on a calorie-restrictive diet along with nearly three hours of exercise per week fared much better than controls
- After one year, 11.5 percent of the program participants no longer needed medication to keep their blood sugar levels below the diabetes threshold. Only two percent of the non-intervention group experienced any significant improvement in their condition
- Obesity has now become a greater global health crisis than hunger. It is also the leading cause of disabilities around the world
- According to a national study there’s been a modest decline in obesity rates among 2- to 4-year-olds from poor families. While the cause for the drop is unclear, some of the potential contributors include a massive increase in breastfeeding over the past three decades, and reduced advertising of junk food to young children.
By Dr. Mercola
It has taken decades, but medical professionals are finally starting to give diet and exercisefor the prevention and reversal of type 2 diabetes some well-deserved attention.
“… the new study can give people with the disease hope that through lifestyle changes, they could end up getting off medication and likely lowering their risk of diabetes-related complications,” Reuters Health reports.1
The research,2 also featured by MedPage Today,3 demonstrates that diet and physical activity are the answer diabetics have been searching for, which is exactly what I’ve been teaching since I started this web site, 16 years ago.
It’s worth noting that I do not at all agree with some of the dietary recommendations given to the participants in this study. For example, I believe including healthy saturated fats and avoiding processed liquid meal replacements would be a wise move.
I also believe following the dietary recommendations laid out in my free Nutrition Plan can provide far better results than those achieved in this study.
The researchers randomly assigned diabetic participants, who were also overweight or obese, to an intensive program of diet and exercise, in which they were urged to cut calories down to 1,200-1,800 calories per day and engage in nearly three hours of physical exercise per week.
After one year, 11.5 percent of the program participants no longer needed medication to keep their blood sugar levels below the diabetes threshold. Only two percent of the non-intervention group experienced any significant improvement in their condition.
Those who’d had been diagnosed with diabetes more recently saw greater blood sugar improvements on the program. Ditto for those who lost the most amount of weight and/or made the greatest progress in raising their fitness level. The lifestyle intervention group also managed to sustain their remission better over the following three years.
The Only Way to Avoid and/or Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Amazingly, one in four Americans has some form of diabetes or pre-diabetes. If this is not a clear sign that conventional health recommendations are flawed, I don’t know what is. I too have personal experience with this disease. I developed it myself for a short while, when I tried to implement an Eat Right for Your Type program in the late 90s.
Additionally, most of my paternal relatives (my dad included), have, or have died from, diabetes. My personal experience with diabetes and subsequent review of the literature made it very clear to me that virtually every case of type 2 diabetes is reversible…
And the cure for type 2 diabetes has nothing to do with giving insulin or taking drugs to control your blood sugar. In fact, giving insulin to someone with type 2 diabetes is one of the worst things that can be done.
The truth of the matter is that type 2 diabetes is a fully preventable condition that arises from faulty leptin signaling and insulin resistance, both of which are directly diet- and exercise-related. It is NOT a disease of blood sugar.
Once you understand that, the remedy becomes clear: To reverse the disease, you need to recover your body’s insulin and leptin sensitivities. The ONLY way to accomplish this is through proper diet and exercise, as detailed in my free Nutrition Plan. Bariatric surgery, which is being increasingly recommended as a diabetes treatment, will NOT do the trick, and there is NO drug that can correct leptin signaling and insulin resistance… Adhering to the following guidelines can help you do at least three things that are essential for successfully treating diabetes: recover your insulin/leptin sensitivity; normalize your weight; and normalize your blood pressure:
- Severely limit or eliminate sugar and grains in your diet, especially fructose which is far more detrimental than any other type of sugar. Following my Nutrition Plan will help you do this without too much fuss.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise is an absolutely essential factor, and without it, you’re unlikely to get this devastating disease under control. It is one of the fastest and most powerful ways to lower your insulin and leptin resistance. If you’re unsure of how to get started, I recommend reviewing my Peak Fitness program for tips and guidelines.
- Avoid trans fats.
- Get plenty of omega-3 fats from a high quality, animal-based source, such as krill oil.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels. Recent studies have revealed that getting enough vitamin D can have a powerful effect on normalizing your blood pressure and that low vitamin D levels may increase your risk of heart disease.
- Optimize your gut flora. Your gut is a living ecosystem, full of both good bacteria and bad. Multiple studies have shown that obese people have different intestinal bacteriathan lean people. The more good bacteria you have, the stronger your immune system will be and the better your body will function overall. Fortunately, optimizing your gut flora is relatively easy. You can reseed your body with good bacteria by eating fermented foods (such as fermented vegetables, natto, raw organic cheese, or raw milkkefir) or by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement.
- Address any underlying emotional issues and/or stress. Non-invasive tools like the Emotional Freedom Technique can be helpful and effective.
- Get enough high-quality sleep every night.
- Monitor your fasting insulin level. This is every bit as important as your fasting blood sugar. You’ll want your fasting insulin level to be between 2 and 4. The higher your level, the worse your insulin sensitivity is.
Diet and Healthy Aging
In related news, an article in the New England Journal of Medicine4 reviewed the conflicting research on calorie restriction and mortality.
“Two long-term studies of the effect of calorie restriction in rhesus monkeys conflict: one concludes that restriction does not affect mortality, and the other concludes that it does. Differences in dietary composition and extent of restriction may explain the discrepant results,” Linda Partridge, PhD, writes.
Yes, as always, the devil is in the details, and this is particularly true when it comes to diet. A calorie is not “just a calorie,” for example. There’s every reason to believe that the key to improved health and longevity lies not in calorie restriction per se, but in restricting certain kinds of calories—calories from sugars, to be specific. And possibly also those from poor quality proteins.
Dr. Ron Rosedale has been passionate about diabetes and aging for over 30 years and he is constantly reviewing the literature in this area. He is one of my primary mentors on this topic. He is convinced, as most other experts are, that calorie restriction does indeed provide life extension. But it is likely not because there are decreased total calories. He believes the key is to limit the carbs and excessive protein. The fat calories are “essentially free’ and do not impair insulin or leptin signaling, or the mTOR pathways, which can contribute to decreased longevity.
Dr. Partridge points out two primary differences between the two studies that may account for the conflicting results:
- The control groups in the two studies were not fed in the identical manner. In the first study, which did find calorie restriction reduced chronic disease and mortality, the control group had no restrictions on their food intake. Rather they were allowed to eat as much as they wanted. In the second study, which did not find a correlation between calorie restriction and reduced mortality, the control group received a fixed amount of food, which was lower than the ad libitum intake. This was done in order to prevent obesity.
“Work with laboratory animals has shown that the benefits of caloric restriction are quantitative, with stronger reductions in food intake producing a greater extension in life span, provided that malnutrition is avoided,” Partridge writes. “The controls in the most recent study received a diet that was somewhat calorie restricted, and indeed they were lighter in weight than controls in the earlier study. Thus, they may have had some benefits of caloric restriction, limiting the power to detect any additional benefits from the substantively restricted diet comprising the intervention.”
- The nutritional composition of the diets also differed between the two studies. Proportions of carbohydrate, fat, and protein were similar, but in the first study (which did find a correlation between calorie restriction and mortality), sucrose made up nearly 30 percent of the animals’ diet. In the second, which did not find such a correlation, the diet contained only four percent sucrose.
This should come as no surprise to any of you who have read any of my articles about the health hazards of sugar. The sugar molecule is one of the most ravaging, and eating a high-sugar diet is the most efficient way to accelerate the aging processes in your body. So clearly, a diet low in sugar will significantly help reduce mortality. When both the study group and the controls are fed a fixed low-sugar diet, their outcomes can be expected to be fairly comparable…
Dr. Partridge also mentions that studies have shown the composition of the protein in your diet can have a substantial effect on your health. According to Partridge:
“Studies of animal models, including rodents, have shown that reduced intake of particular nutrients, especially specific amino acids, rather than reduced calorie intake underlies the health improvements brought about by reduced food intake. This observation underscores the importance of dietary restriction over caloric restriction: the effects on health of reducing overall food intake will often depend on the composition of the diet that is fed to the controls.”
I believe this is an important point to remember, as most people simply eat far too much protein of poor quality; thinking it’s all the same. This simply isn’t true, as the nutritional content of meats and other animal products, such as eggs, are dependent upon how the animal was raised and fed. There are major nutritional differences between protein sources raised in confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) and those raised according to organic standards, such as grass-fed beef and pastured chickens and their eggs.
Obesity Bigger Health Crisis than Hunger
Understanding what makes for a healthy diet and lifestyle has never been more important. Shockingly, obesity has now become a greater global health crisis than hunger! Obesity is also the leading cause of disabilities around the world, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease study, published in The Lancet.5 As reported by CNN Health:6
“The report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82 percent globally in the past two decades. Middle Eastern countries are more obese than ever, seeing a 100% increase since 1990. ‘The so-called ‘Western lifestyle’ is being adapted all around the world, and the impacts are all the same,’ [co-author Ali]Mokdad said.
… for the first time, noncommunicable diseases like diabetes, stroke and heart disease top the list of leading causes of years spent sick or injured. ‘All these problems are tied to obesity,’ Mokdad said. ‘We’re even seeing a large percentage of people suffering back pain now. If we could lower the obesity rates, we’d see the numbers of noncommunicable diseases and pain decrease as well.’
People are living longer than projected in 1990 — on average, 10.7 more years for men, and 12.6 more years for women. But for many of them, the quality of life during those years is not good. On average, people are plagued by illness or pain during the last 14 years of life…”
Yes, modern medicine may be able to keep sick people alive longer, but it fails miserably when it comes to providing a high quality of life. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases are also threatening to bankrupt nations across the globe. Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization has referred to noncommunicable diseases “a slow-motion disaster” that may eventually become financially unsustainable. According to a 2011 report7by the World Economic Forum and Harvard School of Public Health, noncommunicable diseases is expected to cost more than $30 trillion over the next two decades alone!
Clearly, something needs to change. Part of the problem is that so many of the recommendations issued by conventional medicine are seriously flawed, having been thoroughly corrupted by conflicts of interest. The notion that you cannot trust your doctor’s advice on diet and exercise is disconcerting for most people, but the fact is that many doctors are clueless when it comes to nutrition and fitness. There’s no shortage of physicians that will OK aspartame for weight control and diabetics, or tell you to avoid saturated fats and stick to a low-fat diet, for example. The list goes on. The failure of such recommendations to produce good health can clearly be seen among the general population that believes such myths.
I’ve spent the better part of the last two decades researching and trying to pin down the necessary ingredients of a healthy diet and lifestyle. The end result can be found in my comprehensive Nutrition Plan, which is available free of charge.
There’s still cause for hope however. According to a national study8 featured in The New York Times,9 there’s been a modest decline in obesity rates among 2- to 4-year-olds from poor families, which is a good sign, however small it might be. As reported by the NYT:
“The study was based on data from 30 states and the District of Columbia and covered the years from 1998 to 2010. The share of children who were obese declined to 14.9 percent in 2010, down from 15.2 percent in 2003, after rising between 1998 and 2003. Extreme obesity also declined, dropping to 2.07 percent in 2010 from 2.22 percent in 2003… It is unclear what drove the decline, but Dr. Blanck offered hypotheses.
Breastfeeding, which often leads to healthier weight gain for young children, has increased since 2000. The percentage of 6-month-olds still being breast-fed increased to 47.7 percent among children born in 2009, up from 34.2 percent among children born in 2000. Breastfeeding of infants from low-income families has risen over the years. In 1980, only 28 percent of infants from those families had ever been breast-fed, compared with 66 percent in 2011. … the amount of money spent on food marketing to children declined by nearly 20 percent from 2006 to 2009, with the biggest drop in television advertising.”
How to Stop Wasting Food
Fresh whole food is an essential part of a healthy diet, but buying and storing fresh foods does require a bit more planning and know-how, compared to stocking up on processed foods with extended expiration dates. A recent article in CNN Health10 explored the many ways you can reduce your food waste, which can cost the average American household anywhere from $500 to $2,000 a year. Below are two of my favorite tips. For the rest, which includes what to do with bread, fresh fruits (and especially bananas), please see the original article.11
Use it now: As with fruit, the flavors of most vegetables marry well. Cut whatever you have into bite-size pieces, sauté a diced onion in a soup pot, and add the veggies (starting with the firmest, since they take longest to cook). Cover with vegetable broth and simmer until tender. Purée or eat chunky.
Save it for later: Make your own frozen veggies. Prepare them as you’d cook them, except stop when they’re halfway done. You can steam or boil green beans, corn, broccoli, and chard, then quickly rinse in cold water to stop the cooking, and drain and pack in freezer-safe bags. Or pickle your veggies.
Use it now: Fresh herbs are flavor powerhouses, so it can be tricky to improvise without a recipe. A few combos that work deliciously: Try thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf with chicken; add rosemary, parsley, and sage to pork. Toss mint, dill, and cilantro in your salads or green veggie dishes.
Save it for later: To preserve tender herbs (dill, cilantro, parsley), make a sauce or paste (think pesto) with olive or vegetable oil. Purée the cleaned leaves in a food processor with the oil and a little salt. Cilantro oil, for example, can later be mixed with coconut milk, chilies, lime, and soy sauce to make a Thai sauce for fish or chicken. Herb pastes keep up to one week in the refrigerator (drizzle oil over the top to prevent browning) and up to six months in the freezer.
Hardy herbs, like rosemary and sage, meanwhile, are easy to dry. Clean a bunch, grasp the stems, tie with string, then suspend, leaves down, in a dry room. When herbs crumble, transfer to a jar and store in a cool, dry place. Or submerge herbs in a bottle of white-wine vinegar. The flavor will spruce up your salads for months.
To this I would add the following recommendations:
FoodSaver Vacuuming System: One of my all-time favorite tricks, which works for most produce, is to create a “vacuum pack” to help protect it from oxygen and airborne microbes that will accelerate its decay. Leave the produce in the bag it came in from the grocery store, place it against your chest and use your arm to squeeze the excess air out of the bag. Once the air is removed you can seal it with a twist tie and thus minimize exposure to oxygen.
This simple technique can easily double or triple the normal shelf life of your vegetables by keeping air away from them. I typically store my food in quart or pint glass Ball jars. The FoodSaver brand also has a wide-mouth jar sealer attachment, which is ideal for sealing your leftovers, fermented veggies, sauces and other liquids stored in a wide-mouth jar, and can keep your food fresh up to five times longer. I regularly use it for extending the life of my vegetable juice and making my juicing more efficient so I don’t have to juice every day.
Ferment your own vegetables using all the left-overs, before they go bad. Fermenting your own veggies is a really inexpensive way to make sure you’re getting beneficial bacteria (probiotics) in your diet, and it’s much easier than you might think!
To learn more, please refer to this previous article, How to Easily and Inexpensively Ferment Your Own Vegetables, which includes an informative interview with Caroline Barringer, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), and an expert in the preparation of the foods prescribed in Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) Nutritional Program.
- There doesn’t appear to be a single population of any significant size in the history of the world who survived on an exclusively plant-based diet, so from a health perspective, there’s little support for the strict veganism idealized today
- Veganism involves the complete exclusion of ALL types of animal products — not just meat and animal organs, but also products obtained from live animals, such as dairy and eggs. It also excludes seafood
- A vegetarian diet that includes some animal foods in the form of eggs, dairy and fish, makes for a healthy balanced diet that supplies all the critical nutrients your body needs for optimal health
An estimated 6 million Americans are vegans, which is typically considered to be a healthy choice. However, there are drawbacks to strict veganism that need careful consideration.
Mara Kahn, author of “Vegan Betrayal: Love, Lies, and Hunger in a Plants-Only World,” delves deep into the history and science of veganism, revealing many oft-ignored facts about this strictly plant-based diet.
She’s put together a compelling story, covering her personal journey from being a vegan and vegetarian to exploring diet and health and finding out the truth behind the hype. It’s really the best book I’ve ever read on this topic, as it covers the vegan issues in their entirety.
“Even though my book is titled ‘Vegan Betrayal,’ I do respect vegans and what they’re trying to do. My own journey led me back to vegetarianism. I know that many … vegetarians that became vegans … are suffering from diminished strength and faltering health.
I think this is a topic which has been swept under the rug and it’s not being openly discussed in the vegan community. I think it’s very important that we start this discussion. I hope this book will help kick-start that really important dialogue,” Kahn says.
Veganism Has No Historical Support for Its Health Claims
While I would never argue with anyone who decides to be a vegan for philosophical, spiritual or ethical reasons, I believe it’s important to consider and address the risks if you’re jumping into veganism for its purported health benefits alone.
Surveys show ethical considerations are the primary reason people convert to vegetarianism or veganism. But as Kahn reveals in her book, veganism is not the only ethical diet. She also presents compelling arguments that it’s not a historically validated diet.
Kahn became a vegetarian at age 19, while traveling in Europe. She became an overnight convert after meeting a young vegan woman who Kahn refers to as “a beautiful specimen of humanity” and “extremely healthy” — not realizing this same woman would return to eating meat just five years later due to fading energy.
Up to that time, Kahn had eaten a very meat-based American-style diet, including bacon and hamburgers. At that time, in the 1970s, veganism was largely unheard of. It didn’t get a strong hold in the U.S. until the 1980s.
Interestingly enough, Kahn’s investigation reveals there doesn’t appear to be a single cultural group in the history of the world who actually survived long-term on an exclusively plant-based diet. So from a health perspective, there’s very little historical support for the strict veganism idealized today.
“I did a thorough research of the history of vegetarianism. In fact, I spent almost six years researching this book. I’m a journalist … I love to dig deep,” Kahn says.
“At this point, it’s really important that we distinguish between vegetarianism and veganism. Vegetarianism has a very long and honorable history. It goes back at least 2,500 years to Greece, and much further than that in the Indus Valley, India and that part of the world.
It has proven itself to be a viable diet … [Yet even] in the Northern parts of India, the Kashmir regions, they eat meat because the climate is so different in the mountainous regions of North India.
Vegetarianism has a very long and noble history with verified health results. However, veganism … is a non-historical diet … Its health benefits are not verified.
There were scattered enclaves of religious people that lived cloistered lives who probably did follow a vegan diet … but these were very, very tiny populations, and we have no idea if they were healthy and how long they lived.”
There Are Short-Term Benefits to Veganism, but Long-Term Risks
From a historical perspective, veganism is a very recent development. The roots of veganism go back to England, when in 1944, Donald Watson coined the term “vegan.” Watson’s primary argument for veganism was one of ethics. At the age of 14, he’d witnessed the slaughter of a pig, which left him horrified.
Immediately, he decided to stop eating meat and wanted the whole world to follow suit, despite having no training in nutrition. Veganism is based on ideology, not human physiology, Kahn reminds us in her book, which also delves into human evolution.
Part of the confusion is that many vegans appear quite healthy in the earlier stages. This isn’t so surprising when you consider the fact that many switch from processed foods to a mostly raw plant-based diet. The influx of live foods will undoubtedly improve your health.
However, in the long term, the absence of all animal-based foods can take a toll, as certain nutrients cannot be obtained from the plant kingdom. Carnosine, carnitine, taurine, retinol, vitamin D3, conjugated linoleic acid and long-chained omega-3 fats are examples. B12 deficiency is also very common among vegans.
After six or seven years, the B12 stored in your liver will be completely exhausted, at which point you may start to experience serious neurodegenerative diseases. There are many documented cases of blindness from B12 deficiency, as well as other neurological disorders.
Historically, Vegetarianism Always Included Some Animal Foods
Vegetarianism typically allows both dairy and eggs. Back in Pythagoras’ days, early Western vegetarians also ate fish. (Today, this “branch” of vegetarianism is sometimes separated out and referred to as pescetarianism.)
My passion has been identifying food to optimize health and I’m absolutely convinced that seafood is one of the healthiest foods on the planet, primarily because of its docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) content — a 22-carbon omega-3 fat that is absolutely essential for your health, as it’s a structural component of your cell membranes.
If you have low DHA levels, it’s almost physiologically impossible to be healthy because it’s such an important part of energy generation at the molecular level. You need DHA, which is only found in fatty fish and certain other marine animals like krill.
There’s even quantum physics going on with respect to its ability to capture light and integrate it into your system. For example, DHA in your retinal pigmented epithelium is responsible for converting sunlight into vital DC electric current your body needs. If you’re deficient, your ability to generate energy by your mitochondria will be impaired.
Granted, water pollution is a major concern today, so you have to eat really low on the food chain. Anchovies, sardines, herring, wild Alaskan salmon, fish roe and krill are all good choices as they’re high in omega-3s while being low in mercury and other pollutants.
Like It or Not, You Need Marine-Based DHA
If you exclude these foods, you’re just not going to be healthy. And contrary to popular belief, you simply cannot obtain all the DHA you need from plant sources. Plant-based omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid or ALA) has 18 carbons whereas marine-based omega-3s (DHA and eicosapentaenoic acid or EPA) have 22 and 20 respectively. The difference in the length of the carbon chain makes a significant difference in terms of functionality.
ALA functions as a source of fuel (food), whereas EPA and DHA are structural elements. More than 90 percent of the omega-3 fat found in your brain tissue is DHA, which suggests how important it is for healthy neurological function, for example.
The problem is that, although your body can convert some of the ALA found in plants to the DHA found in marine oils, it is very rare for it to be more than 5 percent — the typical conversion rate is 1 to 3 percent, or even less.1 This simply isn’t enough to have any significant benefit.
So please, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can forgo marine-sourced DHA for a plant-based ALA found in flaxseed, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts and leafy greens.
Adding Fish Can Make a Big Difference
I think one of the reasons why vegetarians — at least those who follow Pythagoras’ model, which includes fish — seem so healthy is because this diet is lower in protein than the conventional meat-based diet. When you eat excessive protein, you stimulate powerful biochemical pathways that trigger disease. This, combined with the fact that fish provides critical omega-3 and other healthy fats and cofactors, makes a strong case for the “pescetarian” form of vegetarianism.
“I agree totally,” Kahn says. “I remember trying to be an omnivore again … I started eating plenty of fish and my health skyrocketed almost immediately … My energy just skyrocketed. I started sleeping better. My nerves became calm. I was in intense gratitude to this first [wild salmon] that I ate; for the energy and the renewed love for life that it bestowed on me. It was absolutely amazing.
I did interviews and talked to or heard the stories of hundreds of vegans and ex-vegans, and almost invariably … the same thing happened to them … I think there’s a very good reason Pythagoras ate some fish from time to time. It was plentiful in the Mediterranean region where he lived. It wasn’t contaminated. There’s reason he prescribed it to his everyday followers in the towns. That reason is probably DHA …
DHA is really a problem with vegans … In fact, two of the founders of veganism, as they became older, suffered from Parkinson’s disease. They had their DHA tested and it was zero … I eat sardines every other day. The rush of powerful and sustained energy I get from them I cannot find anywhere in the plant world.”
Low Protein and Low Fat — 2 Common Health Barriers for Vegans
While keeping your protein low is a wise move, excessively low protein can become a problem for vegans — especially if your diet is also low in healthy fats. Some will get just 8 to 12 percent protein from plants in their daily diet, which can trigger muscle wasting. “In that sense, vegans are consuming flesh after all — their own — if they’re not eating enough protein,” Kahn says.
Low fat is another, and in my view, more concerning problem, among vegans. When you eat a high-net carb diet (total carbs minus fiber), you’re essentially burning carbohydrates as your primary fuel. If you shift down to relatively low levels of net carbs, which is easy to do on a vegetarian diet since vegetables are so high in fiber, then your body starts burning fat as its primary fuel. This means you need to increase the amount of healthy fats in your diet in order to satisfy your body’s fuel demands.
Sufficient dietary fat is also essential for maintaining healthy hormone levels, Kahn notes, including your sex hormones. Raw veganism in particular is associated with loss of menses (amenorrhea), due to low calorie and fat intake, increasing your risk for infertility and osteoporosis.
Low fat is likely far more troublesome than low protein, because once you start burning fat for fuel, powerful protein-sparing processes start taking place, allowing you to get by with as little as 6 to 8 percent protein without risking muscle wasting. I only have 8 percent protein in my diet and I do not believe I’m protein deficient. That’s because fat is my primary fuel. If I were burning carbs, I would not fare well at all with such a low amount of protein.
Veganism Has a High Drop Out Rate
The health problems associated with veganism create a high dropout rate. It’s difficult to find good statistics on this, as people don’t want to discuss it. Many are ashamed, feeling they’ve somehow “failed,” and many are shamed by their fellow vegans, who believe they’re making a huge mistake to go back to eating animal foods.
“I’ve even read accounts of ex-vegans who describe it as kind of cult-ish. The shaming that ensues is very powerful … One vegan told me that when she decided to go and buy some eggs for the first time in, I don’t know, 10 or 15 years … her boyfriend, who was a staunch vegan, refused to go in with her. In fact, he had told her … he would rather she was a continually suffering vegan than to be a healthy meat-eater.
This, to me, was a perfect illustration of what I personally call Reverse Speciesism, preferring the health of an animal over the health of your fellow human being, which is really kind of a new thing, I think, in human history. It’s not talked about much in the vegan community — the high dropout rate — but the numbers are large … It’s estimated about 50 percent of vegans have left because of declining strength and declining health.”
Even Vegan Diet Affects Animals
What many vegans fail to integrate into their overall evaluation is that even the consumption of an exclusively plant-based diet involves killing a wide variety of animals. Not intentionally, of course, but rather as an artifact of the process of growing the food. Essentially, there’s no animal-free lunch, which is a direct quote from Kahn’s book. There’s going to be some type of destruction of life involved. Then there’s the issue of plant consciousness as well.
As noted by Kahn, unless you’re growing all your food by yourself in a no-till organic setting using hand tools, animals are destroyed in industrial agriculture. Studies by reputable scientists show up to 70 percent of rodents and small animals present in industrial growing fields end up being killed by the machinery. Animals are also killed in traps, and during food storage and transportation. As Kahn says:
“To be a vegan, you have to somewhere draw the line on what food you will eat and what you won’t. For most of them, it’s a matter of consciousness. Is the living thing conscious of what’s going on? Is it suffering? That demarcation between an animal that’s conscious and unconscious has totally changed throughout history and throughout cultures.
For instance, now they’re looking at fish. In the past, it was just decided, because they were so cold looking and expressionless, that fish didn’t have consciousness. But new testing is showing that perhaps they do; perhaps they can feel pain … People are taking that further and looking at insects. I interviewed scientists that work with insects. Some of them really do believe that insects have consciousness and an intelligence that we can’t even understand …
The same with plants … Brilliant botanists believe that plants have elevated intelligence that we can’t even begin to understand, because we don’t speak the same ‘language.’ They know for sure that plants absolutely know when they are being eaten.
Living plants send out chemicals to warn their neighbors of danger ahead and they send out chemicals that summon insect bodyguards to ward off predators. These are intelligent beings that want to live. They have what I call ‘want to live, don’t want to die’ skills that are very developed.”
It’s also worth noting that some of the research vegans rely on to substantiate their dietary choices as healthy actually do not offer such proof. For example, when Kahn dug deep into some of the most well-known studies that vegans love to cite, she discovered they actually define vegetarianism in a very broad way. They do not support a purely plant-based (vegan) diet at all. Not only did these studies include fish-eaters, but also dairy-eaters and even those who ate red meat once a week.
Why the American Dietetic Association Now Promotes Plant-Based Diet
Kahn says to be very wary of vegan studies conducted by vegans. As with all conflicts of interest, people have a tendency to find what they want to find, even if they have to massage the data a bit to get there. Interestingly, in recent years the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), formerly the American Dietetic Association (ADA), made the transition to promoting a plant-based diet. As it turns out, this decision was primarily based on the recommendations of a devoted vegan and a vegetarian.
“The ADA position paper, which came out in 2009, recommends a vegetarian and a vegan diet to all people of all ages, from infancy to old age. If you do some more digging, as journalists love to do, [you find] it was co-authored by two people. One was a vegetarian and one was a vegan. In fact, the vegetarian belongs to a religious denomination that encourages the spreading of vegetarianism across the world.
My question is: why weren’t these two authors tagged for conflict of interest? They’re recommending this to the whole world and to all ages …
There are some serious flaws in their research. First of all, I looked at their sources. I can’t remember if it was 100 or 200 sources. I could find only 17 in all those sources that were exclusive to vegans. You cannot take vegetarian research and apply it to vegans. It just doesn’t work. There are too many missing nutrients in a vegan diet that are present in a vegetarian diet.
I wish that vegans would not just read vegan blogs and websites and recommendations from other vegans. They need to look at science, at research — non-biased sources. They need to read my book, which would tell them everything they want to know about the history, philosophy and nutritional facts of veganism.”
That’s not an inflated claim, I can assure you. I’ve read hundreds of health books, and Kahn’s book, “Vegan Betrayal,” is among the very best when it comes to teasing out the truth about veganism and health.
Balance Ethics and Health When Choosing Your Diet
I’m not opposed to vegetarianism. By Pythagoras’ definition, I am a vegetarian. I eat very small amounts of animal protein; mostly fish. Occasionally, I’ll have some organic grass-fed meat or free-range pastured chicken. But meats are not a cornerstone staple in my diet, and I believe most people could benefit from lowering their meat consumption. It shouldn’t be entirely excluded, however, because animal foods do contain very valuable nutrients your body needs for optimal health.
Organic pastured eggs are another source of incredibly healthy nutrients. Ditto for raw butter. If ethics and animal welfare are your concerns, I would encourage you to investigate and educate yourself on humanely-raised animal foods.
Yes, the animal will die in the end, but there’s a tremendous difference between the life of an animal raised in a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) and one raised on pasture that is allowed to live a full, healthy and stress-free life. There’s also a big difference in the way they’re slaughtered.
At the end of the day, you have to choose between the life of an animal somewhere — even if only a few rodents caught in a harvester — or your own health. A balance must be struck between optimizing your health and causing the least amount of unnecessary suffering.
“If you look at the most lauded diet in the world, the Mediterranean diet — which by the way, they were doing a long-term study on, and which they ended early in 2013 because the benefits were so enormous they felt it was unethical to deprive the control group — the Mediterranean diet, which is mostly plants, limited fish, limited red meat, limited dairy, [gives you] all the carni-nutrients you need … It’s a complete diet.
It’s been named one of the best diets in the world. It’s historically validated for thousands of years and many, many generations that this diet confers long lasting health and long life … The vegan diet is not validated. That’s what we need to work on — getting those research studies done, so that future vegans will know what they’re up against,” Kahn says.
Answered: Is homeopathy proven?
The words you are looking for is “Is homeopathy backed by evidence?”
You do not prove things in the real world, you back them by evidence. Proving things is something done in the world of mathematics and logic.
Now about the question. Is it backed by evidence?
It has been around for 200 years and it has not performed better than placebo under controlled double blind conditions. But it is not expected to either, since none of its underpinnings are scientific either.
Homeopathy is based on the idea of like cures like. For example: If you are sleepless, you take a substance known as a stimulant like caffeine. You then take a solvent, usually water, and dissolve the active ingredient and dilute it.
You then do some process of shaking and diluting repeating the process. In when repeated often enough the homeopathic brew is diluted beyond a point where it is even unlikely that a single molecule of active ingredient left. The proposed mechanism is that water has memory and the more you dilute the homeopathy remedy, the more potent it becomes.
Packed in there are two claims.
- Water has memory. This claim is not backed by evidence, and is selectively applied. There for example is no reason why it works on the active ingredient perfectly but not at all for any minerals present in the solvent.
- A substance gets more potent the more diluted it is. This has never been demonstrated and goes against verified chemistry, physics and biology.
So why was it proposed this way? Because 200 years ago people did not know about atomic theory, germ theory of disease, Avogadro’s number and a host of other pieces of verified science that directly contradict it.
It is not backed by evidence, it has never been backed by it, and it would violate a lot of verified science for it to work.