Saturday catching up post

As anyone who regularly reads this blog can tell, I’ve been a bit hit and miss in posting lately.  The bride and I have been swamped with work on the Sous Vide Supreme project.  MD has been working with chefs to develop recipes along with creating a bunch herself; she has been editing a book on sous vide for the home cook written by yet another sous vide expert; she’s been posting on the Sous Vide Supreme blog (eggs the sous vide way); and, as you can see at the left, she’s been talking sous vide to anyone who will listen.  All this while she prepares for performing the Messiah in about two weeks.  I’ve been heavily involved in the business end of things, which is a never-ending task.  Plus, I’m the taster-in-chief.  Neither of us dreamed that this would turn into such a time-gobbling project after the development of the machine.  But it has.  It seems that we are spending twice as much time now working in some capacity on  Sous Vide Supreme than we ever did before – even when we were at our busiest.  I’m going to have to work harder on my time management if I expect to keep up with all the other projects – including this blog – that I have going.


The sous vide time commitments have put a real hickey on my reading.  I’ve probably read less over the past four months than in any four month period of my life.  Instead of five or six books per week, I’m down to about two or three max.  I hate it.  I’m trying to keep up with my daily medical/scientific journal trawl, but that has even slacked off a bit.  When I do find something of interest, instead of blogging on it as I used to, I stick it up on my Twitter page.  I probably post 10-15 times per day on Twitter, so if you want to keep up on a moment-by-moment basis, follow me on Twitter.  If you have a problem thinking of yourself as a Twitter person, give it a try.  I dipped my toes in the Twitter waters with great hesitation, and now I love it.  I’ve found it extremely valuable because I find all kinds of new stuff daily.  You’ve got to be careful who you follow, however, or you can waste a ton of time.  If you get started, start following people who provide you with information you can use.  I avoid following people who do nothing but tell me what they ate for breakfast that day or what movie they’re going to see that night.  Sign up an give it a go. You don’t have to write anything (or tweet, as it’s called) if you don’t want to.  You can simply lurk and be the beneficiary of a ton of good info.   The Twitter people take you by the hand and get you squared away.  It takes all of about two minutes – if even that.  Literally.


I have fallen way, way behind on dealing with comments.  As I wrote a while back, I had to stop answering individual comments, and I’ve pretty much stuck to my guns on that.  Problem is, I had about three hundred comments stacked up before I started doing that.

When comments come in and I post them, they go up in by date.  So back when I was spending half my day dealing with them, I would often come across a comment that required some thought and a detailed answer.  If I didn’t have time to deal with it right then, I put it off until later.  Often when later came, I had 20 or 30 more that came in after the one requiring the time.  I didn’t want to answer those and put them up ahead of the one I hadn’t answered, so I simply didn’t deal with any of them.  Now I’ve got about 340 of them stacked up and it gives me heartburn whenever I even get on my blog administration screen.  The sad thing is that some of these comments go back months and months.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what to do with them, and I’ve finally come to a decision.  I’m simply going to post them as they are.  I’m going to post about 30 of them per day until they’re all up.  Why not all at once?  Because I know many of you are set up to get comments emailed to you when I post them.  I don’t want to clot email accounts with 340 emailed comments all at once, especially since some of these comments are lengthy.  So, I dole them out over the next 10 days or so while keeping up with the new comments as they come in. I won’t start this process for a few days to get those of you who don’t want even 30 of them a day coming in to unsubscribe.

Since many of these hoarded comments contain very good questions, they are a trove of subjects for future blog posts.  As I post them, I’m going to reread them and clip those that would make for good posts into Evernote or my new favorite plaything DEVONthink that I’m just starting to feel my way along with. (See this great Steven Johnson (whom I follow on Twitter) article about the virtues of DEVONthink.)  After I’ve got these blogworthy comments in a format in which I can find them instantly, I’ll start working through them and posting.

Bloggers and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

I don’t know how closely blog readers attended to the recent announcement by the FTC that they were going to start riding herd on bloggers, but the bloggers went ballistic.

Among its other duties, the FTC patrols the universe of advertising in this country looking for anyone or any company engaging in, as they term it, deceptive practices.  In other words, the FTC is on the prowl seeking out advertisers who make false claims in order to stop them and punish them.  Which all sounds good in the abstract, but in reality is a whole other story.

As I pointed out in an earlier blog, it’s a valuable exercise to read Kevin Trudeau’s first book to see how the FTC operates.  The nutritional and health information he presents is total garbage, but his description of the practices of the FTC is right on the money. (I’ve got to admit that some of the nutritional and health information presented in Trudeau’s first book (the only one I’ve read) is accurate, but I write that off to the law of averages.  He presents so much information that odds are some of it just happens to be true.  So, if you read the book and come across something that is nutritionally accurate, don’t write me about it.  I know a few things are there, but not enough to justify reading the book other than the first part, which is an excellent treatise on the FTC.)

The FTC has the power to absolutely ruin anyone and/or any company it chooses to go after.  If you read the first part of Trudeau’s book, you’ll see how.

So, the FTC opined that they planned on monitoring bloggers to see if they disclosed the fact that they were paid to do reviews on products.  Apparently, many bloggers make money by doing paid reviews on products without disclosing such, and the FTC doesn’t like it.

I’ve never reviewed products for pay, but I have read enough about it to know how it works.  Companies provide bloggers products, then pay these bloggers for reviews of the products.  I guess the fact that bloggers are given the products and possibly paid for the reviews as well might induce them to write positive reviews of products that they thought sucked.  And I assume that’s what the FTC is concerned about.

The FTC’s actions certainly got the blogosphere in an uproar.  So much so, in fact, that the FTC started to crawdad, which I never thought would happen.  Just goes to show that if you turn the spotlight of public awareness on even the most aggressive and powerful of all government agencies, you can get results.

Not that I fear the FTC on this (at least not at this point), I’ll go ahead and disclose where I get dinero from this blog.  Virtually all of the money that comes to me through the blog comes from readers buying products through  When they buy a book I recommend or go through one of the book thumbnails of Protein Power or the 6-Week Cure up at the top right or any of our other books I have up on the site, I get a little bit of lucre for it.  And I get a little more if they buy anything else after entering Amazon through one of the portals in this blog.  In a good month, it’s enough to cover my hosting and web guy expenses; in a bad month (as this one is turning out to be), it’s about enough to cover the hosting of the site and maybe an hour or so of the web guy time.

Google ads

I get a little income from Google ads, but I’m trying to get them off the site.  I’ve had several web guys working on the site over the years, and I guess code for these Google ads is stuck all over the place.  I get rid of them in once place, it seems they pop up somewhere else.  When I had Google ads everywhere, I made about $150 per month, which, in my opinion, isn’t enough to justify tacky-ing up the site with a zillion ads.  Plus, I don’t have time to go through and spend time trying to figure out which ads to block.  Many people, I’ve learned, don’t realize that these ads aren’t part of the site, and they wonder why, when I’ve just spent 2000 words bashing statins, an ad for a statin pops up.

A while back I was having lunch with Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple when he asked me what kind of a deal I had going with Atkins Nutritionals.  I told him I didn’t have any kind of deal going with them whatsoever.  I asked him why he asked.  He told me that he gets my blog posts by email, and that at the bottom of each one is a banner ad from Atkins.  I was embarrassed to say that I didn’t even know you could get the posts by email and that I didn’t have a clue why the Atkins ads were there.  I went home and pulled up the blog (I usually never look at the actual blog – only the admin page), and sure enough, there was a way I could get the posts by email.  I signed up to get my own posts, wrote one, and sure enough, here it came with an Atkins ad at the bottom of it.  I thought I had it all taken care of, but I just looked moments ago and there is still a banner ad at the bottom of the emailed post.  I’ve added it once more to the list of things to have my guy deal with when I get with him on Monday.

Book recommendation

While on the subject of, books and book recommendations, I might as well recommend one.
I finished a terrific book not long ago called A Colossal Failure of Common Sense: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Lehman Brothers. As the title implies, this is a treatise about the fall of the House of Lehman, one of the country’s oldest investment banks, and is written by one of the vice presidents who names names and points the finger.

Not only is this book chock full of great information about how Lehman Bros, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs and others operate, it is extremely well written.  The ‘author’ realized he didn’t have the skills to tell his own story in a readable manner, so he hired a writer.  But he didn’t just go out and hire one of the non-fiction write-for-hire folks that are swarming around out there, he hired Patrick Robinson, a best-selling thriller writer.  As a consequence, the book is absolutely gripping. Not only do you learn a ton about how the financial crisis developed, you learn it in a gripping, racing-through-the-pages fashion.  You’ve heard people say about certain books that they read like a novel.  Well, this one does.  I had real trouble putting it down.

After reading this book, you will know exactly why we’re in the boat we’re in now and will be stupified at the mismanagement at the top.  As I read through and learned about the perfidy of Moody’s, Standard & Poors, and the other financial rating outfits that gave the most worthless financial instruments triple A ratings, I was stunned that these companies hadn’t been prosecuted.  Without their complicity, the whole house of cards couldn’t have been erected because no one would have purchased the products.  I was interested to read in today’s Financial Times that at least  Ohio is going after them.  I suspect Ohio won’t be the last.  According to the author, these companies made billions while failing to do their due diligence before passing out AAA ratings like they were candy at Halloween.

Not long after I read the book, I came upon a piece by Calvin Trillin in the editorial section of the New York Times that summed up the situation nicely.  The problem was the enormity of the amounts of money waiting to be made drew smart people to Wall Street.  A funny but insightful short essay.

After you read the book and Trillin’s piece, take a look at this video I posted about a year ago.  It will make it all that much more funny.  And sad.

The 6-Week Cure blog

All I can say is that it’s about up.  And apologies for not having it up sooner.  I hope we’ll have it operational this week and populated with a few posts.

Another vegetarian myth

I wrote in a bookish post (or maybe in answer to a comment on a bookish post – I can’t remember) a while back that I had read most of the mystery novels out there and was looking for a new series to sink my teeth into.  Someone suggested the DI Charlie Priest mysteries by Stuart Pawson.  I got one and liked it, so I’ve been motoring through those as time allows.

The last one I read was Deadly Friends about a murdered doctor, a serial rapist and a host of other minor villains. At a point about midway through, DI Priest and one of his underlings are walking around scoping out a pharmacy prior to entering to get info about the dead doctor.  All these books – at least the four or five I’ve read so far – are written in the first person, so everything is from Priest’s perspective.  Here’s what he says:

We completed our circuit of the block.  Passing the back of the butcher’s I tried not to inhale and wished I had the willpower to go vegetarian.  Trouble is, I like my steaks.

AAARRRGGGHHHH!  Even in mystery novels I’m being reminded of how deep the vegetarian mantra has wormed its way into our collective brains.  How many times have we all heard variations on this theme?  One of the ideas the vegetarian movement has managed to get firmly implanted in the minds of many is that vegetarianism is a more healthful way to eat.  I’ve heard numerous people wistfully say they really would like to be able to follow a vegetarian diet because it’s so much more healthful, but they just like meat too much to do it.

The truth is, as we all know, that vegetarian diets are decidedly less healthful than diets containing animal protein. But the great unwashed masses don’t seem to have figured this out.

But I’ve got to hand it to the vegetarian brigade: they’ve managed to successfully propagandize most of the population.  And they’ve done so without any real science behind them.  The most they can point to is a sheaf of observational studies that don’t prove squat.

The low-carb/Paleo movement, on the other hand, is producing more data almost daily that a lower-carb, higher-fat, higher-protein diet is infinitely better for a majority of the population.  But, we don’t get the message out as well as the other side does, I suppose.  I went to a Borders Books the other day and found an entire collection of free booklets written for children telling of the horrors of factory farming and encouraging them to go vegetarian.

We are starting to make some inroads into this nonsense, however, with the help of some former vegetarians who have seen the error of their ways.  If you haven’t read Lierre Kieth’s book yet, add it to your Christmas list.

I’m girding my loins for all the hostile comments I’m sure to get from angry vegetarians.  These comments will be from vegans telling me how healthy they are and how many miles they can run and how they could kick my butt in any endeavor I might wish to engage them in.  And they’ll reference the idiotic China Study and a host of other meaningless observational junk.  But wait.  I don’t have to gird my loins.  I’m not dealing with these comments any more.  I’m just posting them as they come in.  Give it your best shot.

To see under what conditions our genome developed, read on.

The hunter-gatherer lifestyle

Just to wrap this long, meandering post up, I want to end with a link to a great article in the December 2009 National Geographic.  And to bring this post full circle, I’ve got to let you know that I found this article on Twitter.  I wouldn’t have discovered it otherwise. At least not as quickly as I did.

The long article is about the Hadza who follow a hunter-gatherer lifestyle in remote Tanzania.  The area the Hadza roam is being encroached upon by all kinds of agricultural and tourist businesses, and the author doubts these indigenous people can maintain their lifestyle for much longer.
The men hunt and the women gather.  The Hadza went on a nighttime baboon hunt and took the author along.  His account of the hunt makes for a riveting read.  Once killed, the Hadza haul the baboon back to what serves as a camp and prepare to serve it up.  I’ll leave you with the author’s description of the meal.

Ngaola skins the baboon and stakes out the pelt with sharpened twigs. The skin will be dry in a few days and will make a fine sleeping mat. A couple of men butcher the animal, and cuts of meat are distributed. Onwas, as camp elder, is handed the greatest delicacy: the head.

The Hadza cooking style is simple—the meat is placed directly on the fire. No grill, no pan. Hadza mealtime is not an occasion for politeness. Personal space is generally not recognized; no matter how packed it is around a fire, there’s always room for one more, even if you end up on someone’s lap. Once a cut of meat has finished cooking, anyone can grab a bite.

And I mean grab. When the meat is ready, knives are unsheathed and the frenzy begins. There is grasping and slicing and chewing and pulling. The idea is to tug at a hunk of meat with your teeth, then use your knife to slice away your share. Elbowing and shoving is standard behavior. Bones are smashed with rocks and the marrow sucked out. Grease is rubbed on the skin as a sort of moisturizer. No one speaks a word, but the smacking of lips and gnashing of teeth is almost comically loud.

I’m ravenous, so I dive into the scrum and snatch up some meat. Baboon steak, I have to say, isn’t terrible—a touch gamy, but it’s been a few days since I’ve eaten protein, and I can feel my body perking up with every bite. Pure fat, rather than meat, is what the Hadza crave, though most coveted are the baboon’s paw pads. I snag a bit of one and pop it in my mouth, but it’s like trying to swallow a pencil eraser. When I spit the gob of paw pad out, a young boy instantly picks it up and swallows it.

Onwas, with the baboon’s head, is comfortably above the fray. He sits cross-legged at his fire and eats the cheeks, the eyeballs, the neck meat, and the forehead skin, using the soles of his sandals as a cutting board. He gnaws the skull clean to the bone, then plunges it into the fire and calls me and the hunters over for a smoke.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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51 thoughts on “Saturday catching up post

  1. I read your post in a RSS reader (google reader) and there is almost always a atkins banner at the bottom. been there for a long time. Thats funny that mark asked about it. I figured it was Google ads!

  2. Thanks for the update. I’ve been missing your posts!

    Perhaps you should reread “The 4-Hour Workweek”? 😉 Y’all need ‘people’ to take care of some of this stuff.

  3. Hey Doc, I discovered Charlie Priest about a month ago, bought all Pawson’s books and am now reading Over the Edge. It’s funny because the girlfriend of the moment always harps on him about his diet and his diet is bad but the one she recommends is just as bad. Anyway, Pawson is a great writer and I’m enjoying his books immensely. I’ve a lover of detective fiction and find a lot of authors are always spouting the current nutritional nonsense. Not that it matters since the nutritonal gurus are spouting the same nonsense.

    Glad you’re back blogging.

  4. haha, I just finished reading that article on the Hadza, just before checking in on your blog. It’s a great read, tho it doesn’t say anything about their disease rates. It’s probably safe to assume that heart disease and cancer are unknown to them.

    The Supreme machine is due to arrive on Tuesday, I can’t f***ing wait!

  5. I discovered your blog a few weeks back and enjoy reading it regularly. While I am open to your ideas, I want to offer the constructive criticism that I think you undermine your own success in challenging vegetarian nutrition by disparging people for views that, right or wrong, are reasonable to hold. In a world where information is incomplete and often conflicting it is not reasonable to expect everyone to agree with you, and to dismiss all others as irrational. The best way to persuade people is to both provide logical arguments and evidence, which you do, and to present it in an open manner that invites participation, which you don’t when you disparage viewpoints that differ from yours. You call people “idiots”, say other ideas are “nonsense” etc. You have previously posted that “open-minded” readers will persist with learning more about your ideas anyway, and you only lose the “close-minded.” But open-mindedness is a function of your own tone — the more reasonable and fair you are, the more open-minded your readers will become. Almost everyone becomes more close-minded the more hostile their opponent is.

    Why do I assert that it is reasonable to believe vegetarian nutrition, and not an indication of idiocy? For one thing, the fact that we are inundated with information in the popular press which, as you’ve noted, supports the idea saturated fat is unhealthy. Even intelligent people who are trying to be discriminating in the information that they choose might be unable to discern the flaws in this tsunami of false information. Bear in mind that you’re a doctor, this subject is your specialty, and you spend an inordinate amount of time on it. Those who come here, seeking to learn from you, don’t have your expertise. Does this mean they are idiots, or simply that they are not specialists? I would argue the latter.

    Additionally, whatever flaws there may be in The China Study there are populations of healthful vegetarians, such as the Seventh Day Adventists, and high performance athletes such as Dave Scott, who won the IronMan a record six times while he was vegetarian. It would seem that such lifestyles can be quite compatible with human health, longevity, and performance. Whatever impairment to his system Dave may have “suffered” from his “unhealthy” diet must have been fairly minor since he dominated his field at a time when his competition were meat eaters, making his reputation as a renegade and contributing to the diet’s healthful reputation.

    The ethical dimension of killing animals is something many people also feel worth considering, and that choice is also not a comment on people’s intelligence or worth. It is instructive to realise that historically human beings evolved eating meat, but that is not a complete argument about how we should live in the future. Murder rates in hunter-gatherer societies are around 20% and the fossil record suggests similar rates for our paleolithic ancestors (see Steven Pinker’s TED Talk on violence). Slavery, rape, torture, and animal abuse were also common. Infanticide is common in our closest genetic relatives, the chimps, and occurs in contemporary cultures as well. When we look for guidance in our moral evolution, I think we should be looking forward, not backward. Many behaviours that were common historically are worth questioning and changing. For that analysis we need a moral framework as well as a nutritional one.

    I look forward to reading more of your thoughts on nutrition and otherwise, and would be really interested to read posts addressing the most challenging arguments supporting vegetarianism, including Dave Scott’s performance and the Seventh Day Adventists’ health and longevity.

  6. Posted in the NYTimes today (11/22):
    “A silent and powerful third player in all medical decision-making is corrupted science — the bias that pervades medical research today through its dominance by the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries. This conflict is also rampant in the creation of clinical-practice guidelines, where industry often finances the academic researchers. Until academic medicine wrests control of medical education and research from corporate influence-peddling, doctors will continue to sort through confusing and conflicting clinical research, and many will ultimately base their treatment decisions on which pharmaceutical representative visited them that week.

    Nurse Practitioner
    St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers
    New York”

  7. @ Mike Bowerman

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I agree with you that one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar, but in this blog I’m not really writing to convert vegetarians. I suspect that the ones finding their way here do so through a Google search. They either realize they are on the wrong site and go away or they leave some parting nasty comment, then go away.

    I agree that all vegetarians are not idiots. And I thought I made it clear in my post that I felt the vegetarians had done a great job of getting their dogma so burned into the public consciousness. When it comes to propaganda, they are definitely not idiots. In fact, they are very, very clever.

    All the other arguments you made in favor of vegetarianism or for reasons people might intelligently choose vegetarianism for a lifestyle were refuted by Lierre Kieth in her phenomenal book, The Vegetarian Myth. Anyone seriously considering the vegetarian lifestyle or even those deeply into it should read this book and think seriously about what it says.

    The China Study is a compendium of fallacies, designed to ensnare the unwary who don’t really understand how to evaluate the medical literature.

    As to Dave Scott…I’ve been in the medical nutrition field way, way too long to believe anything people tell me about what they eat. All we have for documentation that Dave Scott is a vegetarian is Dave Scott’s word on it. As far as I know, no one has followed Dave Scott around 24 hours a day for months on end to see if he really is a vegetarian. I’m not saying he’s not, mind you, but we wouldn’t accept the report of any scientist without actually seeing the data. If we did follow Dave Scott around and ascertain that he truly was a vegetarian, that data would be nothing but an interesting anecdotal case report. And assuming Dave Scott really, truly is a vegetarian, we still don’t know that he wouldn’t have been able to perform even better had he eaten meat.

  8. Hey Doc:

    Great roundup.

    For everyone else, of the 22 or so people I follow on Twitter, the doc’s tweets are by far the best and most informative.

    Got to check out Evernote and DevonThink. You might want to check out OmniFocus. It uses the GTD method and also there’s an app for the iPhone. I can organize my tasks over a glass of Macallan 12-yr at the pub and it syncs wirelessly with my MacBook Pro.

    Ditto on the FTC. IRS are pansies and sissies by comparison, and I’ve gone through a 3-yr colonoscopy audit both business and personal that took 9 months (and came out OK, pretty painlessly, surprisingly). The FTC can literally go into any court in the US, and get and ex-parte writ (you as defendant are not present, don’t know about it; it’s literally done in secret) to “temporarily” place a “protective order” on your place of business that includes an outside trustee coming in and taking over your business. The first you know about it is when sheriffs storm your offices one morning, guns drawn. The courts ALWAYS grant the FTC their request. To my knowledge, such requests have never been denied

    I could go on and on, but I’ve seen the companies of friends worth millions taken down in a day. Totally destroyed. Sure, they get their day in court, but by the time that happens, there’s nothing worth fighting for, and besides, all business and personal assets are frozen, so nobody has any resources to fight anyway.

    Regarding ads at the bottom of your RSS feed (both email and what comes via my google reader), yep, still there. You’re using the Feedburner service (now a part of google) to run your feed (as do I). You can log into Feedburner and modify your settings to get rid of those ads.

  9. @ Richard Nikoley

    Thanks for the kind words on the Tweets.

    You are correct about the FTC. An dangerous, dangerous agency that has virtually unlimited powers to destroy, and I’m not overstating the case or being melodramatic. I’ve had my brush with them and peered into the abyss. It is frightening beyond belief.

  10. Regarding Dave Scott: I’m not sure why he would even be considered a vegetarian. His self-proclaimed favorite food is fresh fish. (BTW, he also drinks special protein drinks, though I don’t know what’s in them.) My point is just that he is probably taking in a whole lot more protein and fat than he is given credit for.

  11. Your mention of thrillers reminds me to recommend Arnaldur Indridason, an Icelandic author who writes some great stuff, beginning with “Jar City.”
    My SVS is due tomorrow!

  12. Oh – and Xiaolong Qui, who writes about intrepid Police Inspector Chen in modern Shanghai, beginning with Death of a Red Heroine. (How does one underline on a blog??) And James Church, who has three novels with Inspector O, of Pyongyang, N Korea, beginning with A Corpse in the Koryo. Indridason, Qui, and Church: all great series. BTW I count the days until May, 2010 arrives with Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest!

  13. I’m responding to references regaridng the book “China Study” which I haven’t read by the way. All I have to do to find out what the Chinese are eating is to walk about 6 blocks to the exclusive Chinese supermarket. It’s huge and half the store is food of carnivore origin: fish, fowl and meat in frozen, fresh and still alive form. They eat every part of the animal including feet (pig’s feet and chicken feet come to mind). They sell boiled pork blood and god knows what else. Very little of any animal is wasted. Then there’s the unhatched chicken eggs that they try and hide from us “non-chinese” folks.

  14. @ Sally T

    I’ve got The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest in my hot little hands right now. I had a friend who was visiting from the UK bring it to me. It’s available over there now. Thanks for the heads up on the Asian mysteries.

  15. “I think you undermine your own success in challenging vegetarian nutrition by disparging people for views that, right or wrong, are reasonable to hold.”

    The views of vegetarians or vegans may be “reasonable” if we’re simply trying to understand why they believe the way they do, but we shouldn’t be compelled to hold our tongues or to offer waffling, middle-of-the-road responses to these ideas. They are WRONG and should be told so in no uncertain terms.

  16. I had a chuckle at Guy’s post about the 4 hour work week! I thought you, Dr Mike, were a friend of Tim Ferriss. Why hasn’t he gotten you on the 4 hour work week yet?

    I love your writings but I am really curious about what drives you to spend so much time at this. I have a high pressure very technical engineering job but I spend lots of time just walking or doing nothing at all, when I’m not working. I guess I need the downtime and you don’t. Might be a function of how our brains work and replenish. Also I need 8 hours of sleep to function and you get by on much less.

  17. @ mrfreddy

    Another low-carber lives to a ripe old age.

    @ Steve

    I don’t know what drives me to spend the time I spend at this. It’s certainly not the income. It keeps the writing circuits open, and I actually enjoy it. I don’t think I could get 8 hours of sleep if I tried.

  18. After reading Protein Power in 1999, I have been a faithful low carb rooting tooting fool for over a decade with an HDL of 88 and TRIG of 67. With those numbers, is there a reason I start supplementing my diet with Neptune Krill oil at this point?

  19. @ Ron S

    I have been a Protein Power follower a lot longer than you, and I take a krill oil softgel a day. I take it not for its lipid-lowering benefits, but for all its other properties.

  20. Another great mystery writer from ‘way up North: Henning Mankell. Apparently the long northern nights make plenty of time for devious plotting. Thankfully, they seem to confine their efforts to literature.

  21. @ Sally T

    I read Arnaldur Indridason’s Silence of the Grave last year. I enjoyed it and need to read some more.

    @ Mike Delta

    I’ve read a bunch of Henning Mankell, just not much lately.

  22. Glad you are back, thank you for your posts as always.

    Your experience of swapping reading for twittering – predicted by a 70s book, “Four Arguments for the Elimnation of Television” by Mander. Substitute “screen time” for “television” and see what you get. One of his arguments is that screen time gives you the illusion of more and more diverse activities possible through the screen – like twittering and Wii recently – but from a higher level perspective one is just consuming more screen time products. Instead of meat space life.

  23. A particularly horrible PBS Kids show called “Nanalan” gave me another reason to shudder when I noticed a sign on the ‘Clean Town’ street backdrop that said “Vegan Food” over one of the doors.

    They start early, and subtly. Fortunately, my kids can’t read. Yet.

  24. @ Mike Eades — the article on the Hadza is amazing, nice reference. If you are interested in ancient cultures in modernity, Wade Davis’ book “Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World” looks at a number of incredible examples and might be of interest.

    As re: vegetarians, I guess I’m not clear on what “vegetarian dogma” is, because the motivations and nutritional beliefs of vegetarians are incredibly varied. Vegetarians can have high saturated fat, high protein diets too. Grouping all vegetarian perspectives together and dismissing them en masse is like a vegetarian pointing to the Standard American Diet and saying that meat is unhealthy. Although irrational and dogmatic vegetarians likely do just that, it doesn’t justify an equally irrational and dogmatic response.

    I recognize the purpose of your blog is not to convert vegetarians, but whatever its purpose, is there a reason why being accurate and specific in your critiques of alternative perspectives, acknowledging subtle nuances in argumentation, and respecting the best of your opponents rather than villifying the worst of them would not serve you well? I know many readers and writers like to create an “enemy” to increase group think and enhance in-group loyalty, an effective propaganda strategy, but if I take your stated aversion to dogma and propaganda at face value, I think your mass-stereotyping of vegetarians is inconsistent with your generally high standards of critical thinking and writing. Creating a homogeneous “vegetarianism” straw-man, and proceeding to destroy it before the approving eyes of an audience that already agrees with you is easier, maybe even fun and satisfying, but an inaccurate exploration of the issue.

    Re Dave Scott: it is possible he was lying about his vegetarianism, but difficult to conceive a plausible motive. Perhaps he was trying to dupe his opposition into adopting an sub-optimal diet, or gain a psychological edge? Another possibility is that there is considerable variation in human nutritional needs, and a vegetarian diet can lead to optimal human performance in some people that repeatedly exceeds that of other competitors on diets that include meat. Seems simpler to me, and worth considering because if it is true it could lead to improvements in performance and health.

    Re Lierre Keith: the Vegetarian Myth is a brilliant book and I also recommend it to anyone interested in this subject. I think I learned of it on this blog, so thanks for that. Her perspective is generally thoughtful, though her arguments are incomplete. With respect to nutrition, she conflates vegan and vegetarian nutrition for instance, successfully arguing vegan nutrition is not healthy, and then assuming that explains why vegetarian nutrition is “unhealthy” while we have large, healthful vegetarian populations and athletes. She also resorts to many straw-man arguments, and tends to ignore contrary evidence. For instance, while the immediate decline in skeletal stature with the onset of agriculture is interesting, does the subsequent increase of human stature and record-levels of human longevity in most parts of the world not provide a counterpoint worthy of response? She begins several interesting arugments, but doesn’t finish them. Nonetheless, I think her book represents a significant advance in several nutritional, environmental, and moral debates and hope that it is widely read.

    @ Lindy, based on his statements, available on the net, Dave Scott was vegetarian when he won the IronMan six times between 1980 and 1987. He reintroduced meat in 1992, primarily fish.

    @ David, I agree that waffling, middle-of-the-road responses should be avoided, but one can be firm and accurate without resorting to insults. In fact, I think waffling and insulting share the bad property of failing to provide any information for readers, except in the case of insults they provide insight into the author’s negative emotional state. Insults only serve to rally the loyal with emotional appeals to the accepted belief’s superiority, and alienate others through the converse mechanism. Progress in human thought? Zero.

    When you say “vegetarians are WRONG” could you be more specific? Which vegetarians are wrong and about what? For instance, is the statement “large populations of people in the United States who eat a vegetarian diet live longer and healthier lives than the average American,” false or wrong, and if so, how? To say vegetarians are “wrong,” you need to be more specific to say anything meaningful. And if you could somehow “prove” that all vegetarian perspectives were the same and/or all wrong , your perspective would not be improved by denigrating others to advance it, which is the only concern I’m expressing.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  25. Regarding the FTC:

    Not to be a conspiracy theorist or anything, but it’s pretty obvious that lobbyists are running “our” government agencies; and the people who hire lobbyists are no friends of small, independent voices such as yours. (No doubt you realize that Merck et al wouldn’t lose any sleep if blogs like yours were shut down.) It’s very easy to imagine monied interests whining to their hired ears at the FTC about how all you unregulated little guys can say any old thing that might benefit you while they, the poor underdog giants, have to follow the rules. Harassment ensues.

  26. I am reading an interesting little book called America Eats by Nelson Algren of The Man with the Golden Arm fame. It is an historical account of food as it relates to the different cultures throughout the midwest beginning with the native indians, progressing to the pioneers, settlers and then each of the individual immigrant groups.

    There is a lot that is interesting about this book starting with the author, his assignment and its process. There are compelling descriptions of our country’s earliest inhabitants and the food they shared such as the hunter-gatherer lifestyle of the Indian tribes and the degradation of that lifestyle due to the introduction of alcohol, sugar and the development of grain. Also contributing is the depletion of their animal resources by the frontiersmen which left the rivers dry and plains scattered with untouched buffalo carcasses.

    The back of the book is filled with recipes — a cookbook of sorts by Nelson Algren, perhaps the most interesting thing about this interesting little book.

  27. Hi Dr. Mike,
    Can’t find any other way to get this article to you, sorry:

    The War on Soy: Why the ‘Miracle Food’ May Be a Health Risk and Environmental Nightmare
    By Tara Lohan, AlterNet
    Posted on November 21, 2009

    … Even if you’re not a vegetarian or an avid tofu fan, there is a good chance you’re still eating soy. Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved, explains that soy is now an ingredient in three-quarters of processed food on the market and just about everything you’d find in a fast food restaurant. It’s used as filler in hamburgers, as vegetable oil and an emulsifier. It’s in salad dressing, macaroni and cheese, and chicken nuggets.

    “Even if you read every label and avoid cardboard boxes, you are likely to find soy in your supplements and vitamins (look out for vitamin E derived from soy oil), in foods such as canned tuna, soups, sauces, breads, meats (injected under poultry skin), and chocolate, and in pet food and body-care products,” wrote Mary Vance for Terrain Magazine. “It hides in tofu dogs under aliases such as textured vegetable protein, hydrolyzed
    vegetable protein, and lecithin–which is troubling, since the processing required to hydrolyze soy protein into vegetable protein produces excitotoxins such as glutamate (think MSG) and aspartate (a component of aspartame), which cause brain-cell death.”

  28. Maybe I should take up golf?

    Found this in an article about Mr. Cameron:

    “One thing he attributed to his long life was the 5,000 rounds of golf he played at the San Francisco Golf Club,” said Tony Cameron (his son). He also was a proponent of a daily drink, a martini or gin gimlet or single-malt scotch. “We were putting a little scotch in his ice cubes last week,” his son said

  29. More on the Statinators – Future Plans More powerful Statins with no muscle pain/weakness side effects

    Curr Opin Investig Drugs. 2009 Mar;10(3):245-52.
    ‘Muscle-sparing’ statins: preclinical profiles and future clinical use.

    Pfefferkorn JA.

    Pfizer Global Research & Development, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Chemistry, Eastern Point Road, Groton, CT 06340, USA.

    ………. “While higher doses of current statin therapies are capable of achieving these more aggressive treatment goals, in certain cases statin-induced myalgia, the muscle pain or weakness that sometimes accompanies high-dose statin therapy, limits patient compliance with a treatment regimen. To address this limitation, efforts have been undertaken to develop highly hepatoselective statins that are capable of delivering best-in-class efficacy with minimized risk of dose-limiting myalgia. In this review, the preclinical and early clinical data for these next generation statins are discussed.”

  30. From your Tweets I found the recent article on Cholesterol in Health, LA Times. I tried to post the following comment.

    “It is clear that the discriminating power of either “low” HDL or “high” LDL to predict death from coronary complications is pretty poor.

    My old statistics professor 30 years ago would have commented that both tests had severely unacceptable “false positives” and “false negatives”.

    The population non-discriminated rate is 9.5%. This means that the average rate of “heart complications” NOT occurring is 90.5% and this changes to 86.5% and 95% when the population is stratified by lipid measurements.

    Ho hum. ”

    The moderating software refused it!! HO HO HUM HUM

  31. To hold Dave Scott out as an example of a high performance athlete is wrong. Scott was a specialist in an event that demanded high levels of endurance, and nothing but endurance. To measure his performance in any commonly recognized aspect of fitness or athleticism such as strength, power, agility, balance, coordination, accuracy etc. would show him to be sadly lacking. He was exceptional in probably the only sport he could have succeeded at as a vegetarian.

    As for calling vegans and vegetarians idiots, are we not only saying that about those who refuse to bend in the light of overwhelming evidence from research, practical experience and an evolutionary perspective and blindly push their agenda without the benefit of reason or intellect?

  32. @Mike

    Argued like a true vegetarian. Sorry, no time or inclination to explain to you specifically how all vegetarian diets are unhealthful. But I’m sure you’ve heard all of the arguments before, and have ready answers.

  33. @ Kevin — we don’t know whether Scott was “sadly lacking” in other domains of fitness, that is simple conjecture. He does not need to excel in all domains to be a High Performance Athlete however — he simply needs to perform at a high level in a given sport. Olympic athletes are high performance, for instance, though some of them may lack power and others may lack endurance. The choice to optimize any one domain requires sacrifice of the other domains. If you prefer to try to blend all elements of fitness in the style of CrossFit, that is great — and my choice as well — but it comes at a cost of diminished performance in specialized domains, and it doesn’t negate the worth of other accomplishments. I would bet any athlete winning the IronMan is well above average in multiple domains, if not all, even if they aren’t elite in every domain.

    As regards vegetarians, I don’t think the comments specified any subsection of vegetarians at all. Even if they had, I don’t think insulting them would be enhance the argument. The issue is easily complicated enough that condescension towards those who hold other opinions is unwarranted.

  34. @ David — I am not vegetarian, so if that helps you to show me the glaring flaws in the points that I’m making I encourage you to do so. What is your criteria for “unhealthful” and can you please tell me how it applies to the Seventh Day Adventist population who outlive the average American population by about 8 years? Vegetarianism might not account for all of that increase in life expectancy, but it sure isn’t poisoning anybody. And can you please tell me how it is that Carl Lewis attributes his best career performance, at the 1991 Worlds, to having adopted a vegan diet for eight months prior to, and during, the event?

    Generally, people think of “health” in two ways — performance, or longevity characterized by the absence of disease. I’m providing examples of both for vegetarians. So what exactly does “unhealthy” mean by your definition? I can provide examples of power, of endurance, of record-setting performance, all done on vegetarian or vegan diets.

    My point is not to say anyone should be a vegetarian or not, but to advocate respecting other points of view and argue that civil discourse is rational in part because the world is a complicated place. None of us has a monopoly on the truth and we should be respectful of other perspectives. People disagree with us because they have different information, not because they are idiots. Share your information with them, and learn from them as well. They aren’t evil, and likely share many of the same values — wanting to improve health or performance, perhaps promote the well-being of animals, or improve the environment. Even if they are wrong about some or all of their ideas why not respect and learn from them? Do you know more about Carl Lewis’ fitness than Carl Lewis? Maybe vegan doesn’t work for everyone, but maybe it worked for him.

  35. @Mike,

    I didn’t say you were a vegetarian.

    “Vegetarianism might not account for all of that increase in life expectancy, but it sure isn’t poisoning anybody.”

    Pretty broad generalization there. And BTW, Dr. Eades didn’t say vegetarians were idiots. He said the China Study was idiotic. Maybe you should read the post again.

  36. @ Desmondo

    You could do a similar analysis with smoking and lung cancer or smoking and MIs. This does not imply that smoking has no effect on the incidence of these diseases. Risk factors are merely prognostic, and have their limitations. You can have smokers who have no heart disease or will not get lung cancer. Likewise, you can have people with high LDL who will not have heart disease.

  37. @Mike,

    I don’t think the argument here is that ALL vegetarians are unhealthy, or that ALL vegetarian diets are unhealthful. Yes, Seventh Day Adventists are reported to be healthy (and may be so for any number of reasons; see link below). Is it the lifestyle or the absence of “flesh” that confers the health benefits? Or the absence of refined grains and sugar? If they were to keep their diets the same but add meat, all would be lost? Are there not plenty of healthy carnivores and omnivores in this world too? That message goes by the wayside. As Dr. Eades’ post stated, “One of the ideas the vegetarian movement has managed to get firmly implanted in the minds of many is that vegetarianism is a more healthful way to eat.” I’ve heard countless times that it’s THE healthiest way to eat. It’s this point that I feel has to be countered, not appeased.

  38. @David, thanks for the link — it was interesting. You’ll notice that my posts do not question whether meat eating is healthy or not, but criticise the idea that vegetarianism is unhealthy, idiotic, or nonsense, all terms I’ve read on this blog, some from this post or others, and some from the comments. The research you cite supports the conclusions I offered in my comments as well — that while we cannot conclude that the long life of vegetarian Seventh Day Adventists was caused by their diets, we can conclude that their diet is not diminishing their life expectancy — and therefore we can conclude that their diets are not unhealthy for them. It is likely that most people can healthily eat similar diets and experience long and healthy lives, because if a large proportion of SDAs’ experienced negative health effects from their diets, it would have brought their life expectancy down. The large majority must be thriving or there would be a negative statistical effect.

    It is also of note that in the studies cited in the link your provided, as well as the one that I cited, we can compare non-vegetarian SDAs to vegetarian SDAs and the vegetarian SDAs live slightly longer. Although there may be subtle distinctions in their lifestyles which account for that small difference, it may simply be dietary. The researchers also did statistical analysis to control other factors and drew the conclusion that the vegetarian diet accounts for additional longevity. It may not be true, but that’s what the anlysis suggests, so we shouldn’t discount the possibility unless we find contrary evidence.

    Again, my main concern is simply to encourage recognition that if people choose to be vegetarian it is not because they are deluded, and even if they were wrong I think speaking respectfully of other viewpoints advances the debate and enhances the credibility of the critique. I think Dr. Eades makes important points and his message will be heard more widely if he engages the best of his opponents’ arguments rather than villifying the worst of them. It would be really interesting to hear why the longest lived population ever studied is vegetarian if there is something about the diet that is “unhealthy.” Are they sickly and weak for their whole lives? Is there evidence for this? Are SDAs somehow unhealthy yet very long lived? It seems unlikely they are suffering higher disease burdens or have impaired performance yet on average outlive most others, but I would consider a reasonable argument.

    Thanks for the information and discussion David!

  39. @ NP
    That was my point. The prognostic value is is so poor as to be useless. Unless I see “risk factors” in the 1000%’s I ignore ’em. Factor of 29% ? Ho hum.

  40. @David — thanks for the link, I read the post, found the news story online (the link in the post is no longer valid), and read about 90% of the comments.

    What is it about the post that makes it one of your favourites? I’m confused when you say it is “regarding this subject” — what do you consider the subject of these comments to be?


  41. Question for Dr. Eades (or anyone else who might have the answer):

    Are there any nutritional guidelines for infants and young children? I’m expecting to be a Dad a few months, and was horrified to recently find out that baby formula is loaded with sugar. Is there any good info out there?

  42. “Question for Dr. Eades (or anyone else who might have the answer):

    Are there any nutritional guidelines for infants and young children? I’m expecting to be a Dad a few months, and was horrified to recently find out that baby formula is loaded with sugar. Is there any good info out there?”


    The best thing in the world for your children is to make sure they are breast fed for at least 2 years, not just a few months. Breastmilk is nature’s perfect food for mammal babies. The manufacturing industry will never improve upon it! Breastmilk is very cheap (though the mother needs to consume high quality nutritious food!), convenient (no boiling nipples -ouch! – or warming milk in the middle of the night), and IMO, the ultimate in “fast-food”. Modern lifestyles are not built around good breast-feeding practices, though, and while more mothers are returning to breastfeeding (yeah!), it is often cut too short or altered too much (pumping with bottle feeding).

    There’s more to breast feeding than just the breast milk itself; it’s important to *primarily feed from the breast*, as the suckling action is very different when a baby suckles on an artificial nipple. This isn’t just a nutrition/immunity/bonding issue, it is an oral-facial development issue and no industry has been able to improve upon that, either (nor do most pediatricians/dentists understand this issue). The forces and actions created by the the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments, etc.) during suckling will have a profound influence on the proper growth and occlusion of your baby’s facial development (actually, in the early fetal stage it’s also important the mother has enough fat soluble Vitamins & minerals, too – A,D, K2 & calcium, magnesium, etc. for proper bone anatomy).

    Also important to encourage proper “oral posture” – mouth closed when not eating or talking. Open “slack jaw” oral posture encourages malocclusion and poor breathing habits (breathing through the mouth instead of the nose). Pacifiers and finger sucking are something to consider avoiding, too…
    Also, Stephan at Whole Health Source has been posting a series on causes of malocclusion you’ll definitely want to read: (watch the short video to see variations in facial development) (orthodontic site that describes good facial proportion and development, and a method of treatment to guide development if oral/dental/facial problems start to show up in children)

    We are about to start orthodontic treatment for our 11 yo. Wish we’d had this info 12+ years ago. Breast feeding for 10 months wasn’t enough. Wish I’d known more about making sure my fat soluble vitamin status was excellent *before* conceiving, too. Those years of easy sleep for us because our son self-soothed and sucked his thumb have a high price, too….

    The Fall 2009 issue of Wise Traditions, the journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, features an excellent article about the writings and observations of George Catlin, a 19th century observer of Native American lifestyles, who while living with various Native American tribes, noted the excellent dentition, lack of snoring (!), and closed mouth oral posture of native American peoples vs. the snoring, often sick, and mouth-breathing of “civilized” folk. His book describing his observations is here: