Around the Web; Snowy Halloween Edition

A storm today is supposed to turn to snow tonight – one of the earliest snowstorms in memory. Luckily trick-or-treating weather Monday should be perfect.

A few events are coming up. First, I’ll be speaking on Saturday Nov 12 at the Wise Traditions Conference in Dallas, doing the “Wellness Track” from 9:00 am until 12:15 am. The conference will be full of great speakers, including Sally Fallon, Chris Masterjohn, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Natasha Campbell-McBride, Denise Minger, Stephanie Seneff, Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, Harvey Ussery (Harvey’s wife Ellen is one of our most frequent commenters), and many others. Please consider attending:

Wise Traditions Conference ~ Dallas, TX ~ November 11-14 2010

The following Saturday, Nov 19, I’ll be speaking at CrossFit NYC. I’ll have details about that next week.

Finally, on Sunday, December 4 at 3 pm I’ll be giving a talk and book signing at Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, MA.

[1] The “Safe Starch Symposium” continues:

Jimmy Moore is graciously continuing the conversation about safe starches on his blog, with the latest installment coming from Dr. Ron Rosedale. For those keeping score, here’s how the discussion has gone:

On Tuesday I’ll explain why Dr Rosedale almost persuaded me to eat a high-carb diet.

Due to personal health considerations, Jimmy won’t be trying an n=1 experiment with safe starches. However, we’ll still develop a 7-day meal plan for those who want to give our diet a try, and Jimmy will invite his readers to try it and share their experiences. That will happen in December, and Shou-Ching and I are looking forward to it.

[2] Music to read by:

[3] Interesting posts this week:

Is radioactive cobalt improving the health of the Japanese?

Stephan Guyenet discusses the brain’s ability to regulate peripheral glucose utilization and lipolysis from fat cells. It makes sense that this would be the case: Apart from the brain’s advantage as a coordinating organ due to its access to signals from nerves, it is also the highest priority destination for glucose, and so the organ best informed about when glucose utilization should be suppressed elsewhere.

Dr Oz has a “Prehistoric Diet Plan”. I think of it as Loren Cordain merged with T. Colin Campbell, and then acquired by the US Department of Agriculture.

Dr Steve Parker reports that intentional weight loss doesn’t reduce risk of death … but it does prevent progression to type 2 diabetes.

Eating a fatty meal causes pythons to grow bigger hearts. Even more interesting, giving mice a transfusion of fed-python blood causes them to grow bigger hearts. Will Tour de France riders be adopting pet pythons?

Another mummy gets diagnosed with prostate cancer. The cancer has to have metastasized to bone to be visible in skeletal evidence. I have not heard of any Paleolithic skeletons containing metastases, but a paleopathologist states that bone cancer has been found in Paleolithic skeletons.

Can going Paleo strain a marriage? It did for Peggy the Primal Parent.

Aaron Blaisdell is teaching UCLA students to eat primally. What’s that illustration on the table?

CarbSane has been chipping in to the safe starches debate (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday).

Melissa McEwen says, “The no-starch camp is in its death throes” … I prefer to think of it as “the pro-starch camp is in its prime of life”.

Lucas Tafur gives us a reason to put vinegar in our foods: gut bacteria can convert acetate to butyrate.

Chris Kresser warns of the dangers of estrogens in plastic containers.

Emily Deans considers whether ketogenic diets may help bipolar disorder. By the way, Emily is visiting Harvard Law School on Halloween. No word yet on her costume.

Danny Roddy defends fructose against charges it is emaciating.

Do you have heightened formation of fear memories? Randall Parker says you may be hypothyroid.

Bats are being decimated by a fungal infection: millions have died, and “mortality rates are staggering.” Bat physicians, however, insist the fatalities cannot be happening, because their patients do not have compromised immune systems.

We are Heroes, They are Villains”: a must-read tribute to his students from Seth Roberts. Also, Seth tells us that bees make more honey with kombucha. I wonder how much they would make if given other fermented beverages?

NPR invites a vegetarian to critique the Paleo diet, and Paleo dieters dominate the comment thread.

Australian researchers published an interesting study on the lasting hormonal changes that occur in obesity, even if weight is lost. Weight loss in the obese triggered an immediate 2/3 drop in leptin levels, and a full year after weight loss leptin levels were still depressed by 1/3.

Richard Nikoley … rods … cat o’ nine tails … and a temptress who should have been named “Eve.”

Paul Halliday enters the Mesolithic.

[4] Cute animal photo:

From Oak0y via Meredith Harbour Yetter.

[5] Ah, romance:

[6] The Waterfall of Gulfoss:

Alone at the Raging Waterfall of Gulfoss

[7] Is this a CrossFit exercise?:

[8] Shou-Ching’s Photo-Art:

[9] Weekly video: A new font for dyslexics:

Via Tom Smith.

Leave a comment ?


  1. Chris Kresser’s article about plastic containers is disturbing. Going off plastic will be much harder than following the PHD.

    My right hand is weak since I’ve had surgery on it, we even use plastic dinnerware and glasses as they’re much lighter than china or glass.

  2. Maybe bamboo? Not as inexpensive as plastic though.

  3. Paul,
    I am very disturbed that you put this Kresser link up with your implicit endorsement. My life’s business has been in plastics. I don’t think Kresser knows what he is talking about.
    To me this is just another ignorant, alarmist, Luddite anti-plastics rant.
    Plastics is a very large family of polymers. A few starting monomers and possibly some additives might be problematic. I avoid them when in long term food contact; those containing BPA, PVC and maybe polystyrene, and heavily colored plastic. There are very few additives put in most plastics. I prefer natural plastic.
    Other polymers are extremely benign such as polyethylene (the largest use plastic in the world, like bags) and polypropylene (like containers and refrigerator liners). There are surely more chemical dangers in the food itself than would come from the plastic in these containers. Remember also that starches are polymers.
    One thing I am certain of is that plastics have contributed massively more to the overall health of humanity than the tiny, tiny possible negatives that certain plastics might have. We’re not going to be shipping liver transplants in a shoe boxes.
    Also, all the alternative container materials have their own negative problems: glass, paper, stainless, ceramic and especially aluminum.
    Please, this site has been a bastion rationality!

  4. Hi erp,

    When did you have hand surgery? Nothing recent I hope?

    We use plastic containers to store leftovers and as lunch boxes, though we do try to minimize microwaving liquids in plastic containers to high temperatures.

    Hi James,

    Saturday links are not endorsements. They’re just things I found interesting.

    In general, I discount the importance of environmental toxins (our book quotes Bruce Ames about the much greater importance of natural food toxins), but it’s not an area I’ve researched, and obviously some chemicals can be toxic, so I don’t have an opinion about specific claims. I am a student, not a teacher, in this matter.

    I thank you for bringing your expertise to the conversation. Hopefully you’ve helped set erp’s mind at ease.

    Best, Paul

  5. James, thanks for your reassurance. This morning I looked around the kitchen and saw that practically everything is encased in plastic. I don’t use plastic in the microwave, but what’s sold as microwave safe dishes are probably some sort of plastic too.

    Is styrofoam any better? A lot of people use that instead of plastic.

    We freeze cooked food in heavy plastic bags mostly rather than containers because they store more easily and even before I read your comment decided we can’t possibly remove all plastic glasses, cups, bowls, plates, not to mention the daily straw I use for my breakfast smoothie, from our lives.

    Paul, about ten years ago, I had surgery for an incredibly painful trigger middle finger on my right hand and although I have full use of the hand, it never regained full strength and like a lot of other predominantly left-brained types, my left hand is basically useless for doing any real work.

  6. @James, the plastic scare does strike me as a bit of a knee-jerk anti-technology thing, along with similar hysteria over things like irradiation, GMO foods, etc. Not that I’m head-over-heels with any of these things (plastics being the least of them, probably), but they aren’t necessarily bad just because they are new.

    @erp, styrofoam is just extruded polystyrene foam, and the term polystyrene is usually used to refer to styrofoam by Brits and other recidivist non-yankees, AFAIK.

  7. @James, “plastics being the least of them, probably”, least of the things I’m worried about, I mean.

  8. Looking forward to your talk at the Wise Traditions Conference, Paul! I’ll be there. If the opportunity rises, I’ll introduce myself. Any foresight on the topic of discussion?

  9. Hi Ryan,

    Please do introduce yourself!

    The first hour and a half is an overview of our diet and the reasoning behind it, the second hour and a half is more disease & health focused and what are some dietary/nutritional keys for staying healthy throughout life, or curing disease.

  10. Dr. Oz pre-historic diet is hilarious.
    cavemen eating tofu?

  11. Thanks for the “link love”, Paul.

  12. Great reading as usual Paul. Not sure how I missed the Paleo Hacks Rosedale discussion but suffice to say I’ve spent my morning on it today!

  13. “I think of it as Loren Cordain merged with T. Colin Campbell, and then acquired by the US Department of Agriculture.”


  14. “I think of it as Loren Cordain merged with T. Colin Campbell, and then acquired by the US Department of Agriculture.” Glad I didn’t have a mouthful of coffee when I read that!

  15. James, you might be the person to ask: What about teflon coatings on baking and cooking surfaces?

  16. anand srivastava

    Dr. Oz was a real find. Does he really think?

  17. Thank you so much for the dyslexia typeface.
    I ave dyslexia and the video reminded me so much of the struggles i had to face in elementary school before i started the therapy.
    This kind of stuff could really make a difference teaching dyslectics!

  18. btw. I live and study now in Enschede where the university of twente which did the research is located.
    what a coincident.
    Thanks to my amazing mother who got me through school, fight against resistant teachers and schools and helping me overcome all the obstacles schools have set in place for dyslectics!

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