Around the Web; Green Meadows Farm Edition

We had a delightful tour today at Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, Massachusetts; I’ll write more about it tomorrow. Thanks to Andrew and Diana Rodgers for showing us around.

Also on Sunday October 23, Paul will be on Cary Nosler’s Wide World of Health radio show at 4 pm Eastern / 1 pm Pacific. It’s possible to listen live on the Talk 650 KSTE web site.

[1] Perfect Ego-Gratifying Book Review: Over at Health Correlator, Ned Kock has reviewed our book. Ned is one of the smartest and most interesting bloggers in the Paleosphere, so we were delighted that he liked our book. In his first paragraph, he links “Perfect Health Diet” to “Facebook”, and later he speaks of Shou-Ching and me in the same breath with well-known scientists:

Their main PhD disciplines are somewhat similar to Einstein’s and Curie’s; which is an interesting coincidence. What the Jaminets have written about nutrition is probably analogous, in broad terms, to what Einstein and Curie would have written about nutrition if they were alive today.

If they were alive today, they’d be 132 and 144 years old respectively, and everyone would be intensely interested in their nutitional tips!  So we take that as high praise indeed.

Ned’s wasn’t the only pleasing review we got this week; Dr. Srdjan Andrei Ostric wrote a generous endorsement of our book. I was also pleased that one of Dr Ostric’s readers did NOT directly compare me to her emotionally abusive ex.

[2] Interesting posts this week:

Andrew Badenoch of Evolvify downgrades potatoes and rice to “sneaky untrustworthy bastards” and bok choy to “I’m not making out with you if you eat that.” This was in response to that interesting miRNA study I mentioned in a previous Around the Web. Richard Nikoley offered his thoughts.

One of Richard’s commenters hopes we’ll critique the study. It’s not an easy study to critique because it’s the first of its kind; everything about it is interesting, but very likely not all the results will be reproducible. Also, it’s premature to draw any conclusions about how it affects diet, since all plant and animal cells contain microRNA, and there’s nothing special about the miRNAs of rice or potato. If rice miRNAs can survive cooking and digestion and cross cellular membranes and affect gene expression, so will miRNAs from every other plant and animal food. That would imply that we evolved with a background level of dietary miRNAs in our cells. The implications for diet are hard to fathom, except that it probably strengthens the case for eating in an ancestral manner, since an ancestral diet would deliver a mix of miRNAs we evolved to handle.

Emily Deans summarized yesterday’s talks at TEDx Cambridge. A line that caught my eye:

Lustig seems to feel that fructose, MCTs, and BCAAs are damaging to the mitochondria and lead to insulin resistance (thus he is anti-corn fed beef, as corn-fed beef is higher in BCAAs than grassfed, apparently.)

I’m pro BCAAs. Is that a reason to favor corn-fed beef?

Two PaleoHackers, Kamal and Aravind, tried to reduce food reward and lost weight. Stephan Guyenet recounts their story.

J Stanton has another blockbuster exposition on food reward, which contains a challenge to Stephan’s recommendations for weight loss: eating food you like decreases quantity of food consumed more than eating bland food.

Lucas Tafur reports that some mouth bacteria can digest gluten, making wheat safer for their hosts.

Mike Gruber’s triglycerides went down after he added starches and supplements in line with Perfect Health Diet recommendations. Was it the starch, or the micronutrients?

Melissa McEwen compares overeating to porn addiction and discusses Paleomedicine.

Oetzi the Iceman had Lyme disease. Folks with Lyme infections are more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disease. Oetzi was discovered in a reclining posture. Coincidence?

Dr Steve Parker links to Vitruvius at The Sagacious Iconoclast, who explains how Paleolithic man might have made cheese: “transport milk in mammal stomach vessels containing natural rennet, in the heat, thousands of years ago, and voila: curds and whey.”

In the New York Times, a woman has survived a dangerous cancer by retreating to national parks. She’s not the only one; the combination of sunshine, exercise, and nature seems to have a strong anti-cancer effect.

Darrin Carlson wrote on The Five Failings of Paleo. You might have seen the piece reprinted at Free the Animal.

John Durant is manly, in a Jack Sparrow Dances with Wolves kind of way.

Jamie Scott says: Make your own antioxidants.

Mark Sisson says: For healthy mitochondria, eat fat.

Dr BG fostered a kitty, and reflects on human evolution.

Nourished Kitchen has tips for a healthier Halloween.

Let’s see, there was the Permian-Triassic Extinction, the Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction – the 1883 Extinction?

[3] Cute animal photo:

Via Yves Smith.

[4] A mini-debate on protein and longevity:  In the comment thread to Ned Kock’s review of our book, Ned has an excellent counterargument about protein and longevity:

Here is another counterpoint to the notion that increased protein intake leads to decreased longevity. A BMI of 25 is generally associated with the lowest mortality:

Now, we know that as people age they generally tend to lose body mass (contrary to popular opinion), primarily due to loss of lean body mass, which seems to outpace body fat gain.

Increased protein consumption seems to counter that, and this appears to be related to both bone and muscle retention, contributing to a higher BMI.

So it is not unreasonable to conclude that the relatively high BMI of 25 is associated with retention of lean body mass with age, even as body fat gradually increases as well, leading to the perception that the fat are the ones living the longest.

Of course I am not talking about 600 g/d of protein. These seniors seem to have done quite well in terms of bone retention at around 85-90 g/d:

In another comment Ned mentions receiving from O Primitivo a link to a paper that looks fascinating.

[5] The End of Human Progress: Via Joshua Newman, an aphorism from Ben Franklin:

I have always thought that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan, and, cutting off all amusements or other employments that would divert his attention, make the execution of that same plan his sole study and business.

A corollary from Paul Jaminet:

Humanity will stagnate until the Internet becomes boring.

[6] Autism Updates:

Weston A Price might have something to say about possible nutritional factors behind this finding: Autistic children have an altered facial structure, characterized by wider eyes, a broader upper face, wider mouth and philtrum, but shorter middle region of the face including cheeks and nose.

There seems to be a connection between maternal gestational diabetes and autism. A Rice University professor discusses the link:

[7] Not the Weekly Video: Why Paleolithic man didn’t bicycle:

[8] Shou-Ching’s Photo Art:

[9] Weekly video: Never trust an animal that wears a tuxedo!

Via Bix.

Leave a comment ?


  1. My husband has no interest in nutrition, but he does love a good penguin video like this one. Thanks for posting it, and everything else you post for that matter.

    I hope to meet you at Wise Traditions.

  2. As much as I love your ability to cogently and objectively pull together different paleo issues, cute animals and Shou-Ching’s photo-art is really where you seem to be adding the most marginal value.

    If I may be so bold…have you posted any baby sloth or hedgehog pictures thus far?

  3. Hi Betsy,

    I’m looking forward to it!

    Hi Kamal,

    Shou-Ching just said “See! I told you so!” I now owe her a bottle of champagne.

    Does a baby porcupine count?

  4. Wow, I don’t think I’ve seen a baby animal eating bananas OR having hiccups before. That definitely counts! Cutting edge stuff.

  5. Oh shoot, pun not intended.

  6. Hi Paul,

    This one is off topic, but have you ever heard of this weight loss protocol – HCG diet?

    I have a friend is on it. 500 calories a day. The idea is you get the rest of your energy from fat tissue. I can’t imagine it could nearly do what PHD will do for her, but I’d like to introduce PHD to her. I’m wondering what you might say to someone who tries to lose weight in this fashion (I’m really mean, what I might say!)?

  7. Folks with Lyme infections are more likely to be diagnosed with psychiatric disease. Glad you fixed that — cause and effect has always been such a pesky poser, especially with the terminally erudite.

    Oetzi was discovered in a reclining posture. Coincidence? Good one! :-}


    Sisyphus was a penguin. Who knew?


    Shou-Ching’s photo is amazing, but I take issue with the Locke quote. Unfortunately there are many forces other than parents who influence children in the modern world.

  8. Hi Nick,

    Although I haven’t specifically looked into the HCG diet, I am skeptical on general principles:

    (1) I don’t believe in malnourishing diets, and 500 calories a day is absolutely malnourishing; I think in the long run malnourishment contributes to obesity and will promote yo yo type weight regain. (Note that at the page you link, they acknowledge that you have to transition to a “healthy relationship with food” but they don’t say what that is; I think it’s best to develop the healthy relationship with food first, then lose weight.)

    (2) I don’t believe in altering normal hormonal levels without extremely good reason – hormonal treatments have a great record of being (a) ineffective once the body has time to adapt to the treatment and (b) backfiring with negative health effects.

    If I were going to design an HCG aided diet, at a minimum I would try to eat our weight loss version, which is better nourishing but needs 1200 calories/day to provide a minimal level of food nourishment, and experiment with cutting the HCG dose and adding exercise to see if a healthier combination can be found.

    Hi erp,

    I also disagree with the Locke quote. Shou-Ching thinks it works reasonably well if you substitute “authorities” for “parents”.

    Hi Meredith,

    Thank you, those are lovely! Especially the first two.

    Hopefully Oak0y won’t start a blog, and steal my cute animal audience away. I’d hate to lose Kamal!

  9. Hi Dr. J,

    Thank you for commenting on the MiRNA study.
    I just spent the last couple hours “stagnating” in front of my computer trying to understand MicroRNAs and their implications. And (to paraphrase Richard Feynman) I think I can safely say that no one understands them ;). Probably not even Albert and Marie.
    Now that MiRNAs are on my radar, I will be on the lookout for more studies. But…for now rice, potatoes, and their cruciferous cousins stay on my menu.

  10. i have to stand with Locke — nobody has such power to screw up a kid, as the parents, and poor parents are more likely to whine about how rotten their kids turn out.

    but then, as a believer in reincarnation, i think that some people come into this life rotten….

  11. Tess, how many children do you have and if you have any, how old are they?

  12. Hey Paul, I’m a little sad I won’t be attending WTs in Dallas. I would love to meet you and Shou Ching. I was wondering what your thoughts were regarding the hyperinsulinemia-autism vid? It seems a little off-course to me being that so many factors contribute to developmental shortcomings. I suppose hyperinsulinemia may result in a misappropriation of nutrients? Also, what role would gut flora play in glucose metabolism and insulin action perinatally? It would seem that in all this, surface protein signalling is a major factor, which can be affected by the NADs and compromised gut flora with subsequent poor gut health allowing for mimicry/autoimmunity and the poor functioning of hormonal pathways from constantly altered/damaged cell surface receptor proteins and altered/damaged signalling proteins (think any hormone based pathway). To say hyperinsulinemia is a shared cause is a big stretch for me.
    Lastly, I had a question as to whether your PHD supplement regimen would stay the same for pregnancy. My wife and I are expecting and we have been using a regimen of fermented cod liver oil for A&D, a Vit-K2 supplement, Vit-C, folate, methylcobalamin, trace minerals, and a mostly PHD compliant diet. Until now, I didn’t even realize the many different things we were using to supplement our diet! Now that wifey is expecting I’m hoping it’s not too much.

  13. Note that at the page you link, they acknowledge that you have to transition to a “healthy relationship with food” but they don’t say what that is; I think it’s best to develop the healthy relationship with food first, then lose weight.

    Paul, that is a fantastic expression of the priorities that any practitioner of the healing arts should be espousing! Losing weight has become such a “be-all/end-all” goal for our times that, sadly, too many people are willing to sacrifice their health to attain it. A timely reminder of the principle “First do no harm.”

  14. I think I meant to say – “too many people succumb to the enormous pressure to sacrifice their health to attain it [weight loss].”

  15. Hi! I’m the one who asked you about blood pressure yesterday. Just a quick correction, TEDxCambridge hasn’t started yet – I believe this week’s talk was affiliated with Harvard Law. I’m actually helping out a little with the Cambridge one!

  16. Hi Gabriel,

    I haven’t had a chance to look into the maternal hyperinsulinemia – autism link. This was the first I’d heard of it. On Saturday I put things up that caught my interest, whether or not I’ve had a chance to investigate them. Sometimes readers can educate me.

    But I agree, there’s a lot more to autism than insulin, so whatever the connection may be, it’s only one of multiple factors in the disease.

    I don’t think that’s too much for supplements. Unless the folate or B12 dose is high. Am I correct that you’re not taking a multivitamin or multimineral? That might be a good addition. I’d say major minerals – magnesium, selenium, low-dose iodine (avoid significant iodine changes while pregnant), zinc/copper/manganese, sulfur (epsom salt baths), should all be priorities. Among B vitamins I would favor B1/B2/B5/B6/biotin ahead of folate and B12; keep the doses of the last two moderate. Choline is also extremely important, that can be had from liver and egg yolks, but can be supplemented also.

    Hi Scotlyn,

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I agree, it’s a bad strategy to sacrifice health for weight loss. Improving health will usually enable weight loss; sacrificing health will usually lead to future weight regain.

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the correction! I saw Friday’s gathering on the TEDx Cambridge site a few weeks ago, but it seems to have disappeared. Glad to hear we’ll have more talks soon.

  17. Very interesting about gestational diabetes. Again, it looks like it would be better for pregnant women to go paleo/low carb diet. I know there are also few points for the other side – high carb during pregnency.

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