Around the Web; Happy Holidays Edition

We’ll have a light posting schedule through the holidays. A guest food post from Shilpi Mehta, on Bengali Fish Curry, is up next, as we go to the experts to learn about Indian cuisine. In the meantime, we hope these links will help you enjoy the holiday season!

[1] Music to Read By:

Via Tom Smith. And bonus music – a favorite carol, from the movie “John Harvard”:

[2] Interesting posts this week:

In our book we argue that animal diets are highly informative about the optimal human diet. So we’re happy that Sean at Prague Stepchild is investigating the hedgehog diet.

I’m afraid I disagree with John Durant.

Dennis Mangan comments on news that Finnish officials may seize the children of a low-carb family, because they think bacon and eggs breakfasts are insufficiently nourishing.

New books: (1) Melissa Joulwan has written a Paleo cookbook. (2) Ready to move on from solutions? Loren Cordain’s new book has answers.

CarbSane points out that fasting insulin is reduced by carb consumption. Elsewhere CarbSane has an interesting idea: Are the emulsifiers and stabilizers in industrial food distorting our food reward system?

Wired magazine: Fecal transplants work, regulations don’t.

Two people in Lousiana died from infections with the ‘brain-eating amoeba’ Naegleria fowleri as a result of irrigating their sinuses with netti pots. If you do use a netti pot, make sure it thoroughly dries between every use, and use distilled and boiled water or saline solution as the irrigant.

Emily Deans: It’s time to freak out about the effects of BPA. New evidence shows that BPA causes anxiety and depression, and significant amounts do enter the body from canned goods.

Chris Highcock reports that physical activity helps clear toxins from the body.

Barry Groves notes that you’re most likely to survive a stroke if your serum cholesterol is over 192 mg/dl.

Julianne Taylor notes that insulin-sensitive people lose more weight on high-carb diets, but insulin-resistant people lose more weight on low-carb diets.

Stan the Heretic notes that “starch” – really, wheat – is bad news for cancer patients.

Infections cause unattractive body odors.

Kristen Michaelis interviews Cate Shanahan.

How frequently should you work out to maximize muscle gain? Ned Kock has thoughts.

Paul Halliday gives us a “Baltic Bi Bim Bap Breakfast.”

Finally, Beth Mazur has reached a mini milestone:

[3] Cute animals: Via Je Suis JuBa:

[4] How is Cancer Survival Like the Velveteen Rabbit?  Love brings life.

Via Craig Newmark, a story of cancer remission:

Doctors told mother-of-two Laura Binder that her cancer had spread from her breast to her liver and that there was nothing that could be done to cure it.

But one person refused to give up: Mrs Binder’s nine-year-old daughter Linzi.

One read: ‘You are like the centre of a rose and you smell just like a beautiful red one. You can fight cancer. You can fight it. I love you!’

And fight it Mrs Binder did. In what one doctor called a ‘miracle’, her body is now completely free of cancer.

It’s one of the validated but still surprising aspects of cancer that desire to live, the experience of loving and being loved, optimism, and good cheer are all associated with cancer survival. It appears that when life is intensely valued and stress levels are low, the immune system acts against low-level threats (which it perceives cancer to be), but not otherwise.

[5] Astronomical Controversy: What was the Star of Bethlehem?

Chris Masterjohn points to a theory of the star of Bethlehem, proposed by astronomer Hollis Johnson of Indiana University: it was a rare coalescing of Jupiter (birth of kings) and Venus (fertility) as they neared Regulus (kings) in the constellation of Leo (the lion, associated with the Biblical “Lion of Judah”) that occurred on June 17, 2 BC.

An alternative theory was put forth in a book some years back by Michael Molnar, then a Rutgers University astronomer. On Molnar’s view, the astrologers of the time would have predicted the birth of a king of Judah from a lunar eclipse of Jupiter on April 17, 6 BC. Molnar believes ancient coinage from Antioch commemorated the event.

[6] Interesting comments this week:

Cherry found that stopping supplementation of toxic plants such as aloe vera stopped some odd pathologies:

Paul, I took your advice “do no harm” and stopped taking my supplements….and the prickly/needle sensations stop!

It does happen again if I ingest non-paleo/sugary foods but it’s disappeared dramatically. Thanks for your help!!!

Marilyn links to some interesting findings that challenge the autoimmune hypothesis of Multiple Sclerosis: inflammation in the grey matter (cortex) begins before autoimmunity in the white matter.

Brendan has made some key progress in sorting out his health problems. I noted in the LDL series that low serum cholesterol is often caused by infections with eukaryotic pathogens – protozoa or worms. In a comment of August 14, Brendan noted that his serum cholesterol was very low – below 125.  I replied “Low cholesterol is a very strong indicator of a protozoal or worm infection.” Well, now Brendan’s been tested and found to have “human whipworm, entamoeba species, and Campylobacter.” This is good news – now he knows how to treat his condition.

[7] Not the weekly video: Happy Feet comes to Asahiyama Zoo in Japan:

<a href=';vid=079cd314-c39a-451a-88de-697f7c5c4548&#038;from=en-us_fblike&#038;src=v5:embed::' target='_new' title='Happiest Penguin Ever'>Video: Happiest Penguin Ever</a>

[8] Shou-Ching’s Photo Art:

[9] Video of the Week:  Jerusalem – a tour:

Jerusalem | Filmed in Imax 3D from JerusalemTheMovie on Vimeo.

Leave a comment ?


  1. That must be the Perfect Health Penguin. Boundless energy in that one!

    Stabby holidays to you.

  2. I’m a bit disturbed by the link to Mangan’s

    Its an important issue but could we not have a link to the story rather than a blog linking us to white supremacist sites like VDARE?

  3. Hi Stabby,

    I’m sure that penguin eats a healthy, seafood based diet, low in wheat and soy. Probably very compliant with our diet!

    Hi Rob,

    My practice is to credit the blogger through whom I came across the story. Links do not endorse every aspect of the linkee’s thought, much less sites they link to.

  4. Happy hollydays to all of us!

    Chris Highcock study only showed that athletes have higher urine toxin excretation, not that physical activity helps clear toxins! This could be, among other things, due to outdoor trainning leading to a higher exposition to ambiental toxins.

  5. Many thanks for the link Paul – I trust I understood the concept of Bi Bim Bap. It certainly acted as inspiration for me 🙂

  6. Hey, thanks for the link, and happy holidays.

    Did I read that right, you are going to use the holidays as a time to blog more? That’s great news, looking forward to it 🙂

  7. “fasting insulin is reduced by carb consumption”

    This statement is misleading as it is not universally true and it’s made to sound like a linear function.

    In anybody with impaired insulin tolerance it is most certainly false (many of us here). And it’s not so simple when it pertains to ‘normal’ people.

    …a massive reduction in fasting insulin was observed in the paleo/lower carbohydrate group.

    There was also a study done on those with Alzheimer/pre-Alzheimer that were put on a ketogenic diet and also fasting insulin dropped like a rock.

  8. Oops, I meant to post this:

    Twelve men switched from their habitual diet (17% protein, 47% carbohydrate and 32% fat) to a ketogenic diet (30% protein, 8% carbohydrate and 61% fat) and eight control subjects consumed their habitual diet for 6 wk. Fasting blood lipids, insulin, LDL particle size, oxidized LDL and postprandial triacylglycerol (TAG) and insulin responses to a fat-rich meal were determined before and after treatment. There were significant decreases in fasting serum TAG (-33%), postprandial lipemia after a fat-rich meal (-29%), and fasting serum insulin concentrations (-34%) after men consumed the ketogenic diet.

    To our knowledge this is the first study to document the effects of a ketogenic diet on fasting and postprandial CVD biomarkers independent of weight loss.

  9. “Insulin sensitivity determines the effectiveness of dietary macronutrient composition on weight loss in obese women.”

    Does this imply a Calorie is NOT a Calorie and that insulin is important afterall to weight gain?

    All we need to do now is link a high glycemic load over time to insulin resistance.

  10. Hi Mario – true.

    Hi Sean – I meant that we would blog less during the holidays … I’m using the time to catch up on other things and to be with family.

    Hi gnome – Thanks for the studies. Yes, biology is complex, it is hard to generalize. Yes, a ketogenic diet lowers fasting insulin; that is because having more alternative energy substrates available lowers insulin. The first study you mentioned might be more direct counter-evidence, but I haven’t downloaded it yet and the abstract doesn’t mention fasting insulin, only insulin AUC.

    Re your last comment, I would say that insulin resistance affects the relative mix of macronutrients utilized by the body and thus the mix that should be eaten. I wouldn’t say you can generalize so far as to say that a calorie is not a calorie. Certainly a diet with excess carbs is not good for obesity, but that doesn’t help us distinguish between diets with moderate to low carbs.

  11. Paul,

    Look at table 3 %change is -68 for fasting insulin. Fasting glucose was only slightly reduced. This was not an extremely low carb diet however, but it was reduced carb which resulted in dramatically improved insulin sensitivity. And these are healthy people, or rather as I call them “normal” people.

    I’m starting to think though that nutrition is far more complicated than simply the macro nutrient profiles.

  12. Paul, I was just joking around. If you want to put your family ahead of your loyal blog readers, fine, I guess we’ll just have to live with it. Still joking. Anyway, have a great Yuletide. That part was serious.

  13. Metabolic and physiologic improvements from consuming a paleolithic, hunter-gatherer type diet

    they gave them quite a bit of fruit and honey which i would not do(!)

  14. Hi Stuart, welcome! Excellent point about the once-a-year survey and small difference in carb consumption. Statistical significance may not be the same thing as biological significance. Still, the statistical differences may be meaningful.

  15. Dr. Jaminet,

    have a restful time w/ your loved ones.

    (i’ll miss your blog; but i may finish your book)

    pam aka Dr. Gee

  16. Catherine Shanahan’s books sounded interesting until I realized she was endorsing grains, albeit sprouted. She also seems to referencing neolithic peoples as examples of traditional human diets.
    I’m sure there’s interesting info in her books, but I don’t think I’ll be purchasing them.

  17. Steve’s comment opens the door to my question, which may not be entirely appropriate for this site, but here goes: If you have family members who are not giving up all their wheat at this time, would you make their bread with white wheat flour, whole wheat flour, or sprouted flour?

  18. Hi Steph,

    They won’t do gluten-free bread?

    If you had to make wheat bread, sprouted and fermented sourdough would be the way to go.

  19. Thank you, Paul!

    We’re gluten free on all nearly baked goods, except bread. The only one that turned out passably, to them, had millet, which I then learned was not so healthy. None of them eat much bread, though, so that’s good.

    I will try this suggestion, and if that doesn’t fly, maybe I’ll just pick up sprouted flour and make regular bread with it.

  20. Dear Paul,

    I find myself in a difficult position right now and was hoping you could very quick, just help me with some of your expetise. The issue is this: blood tests show high levels of 1,25 D and low levels of 25 D. This points to an infection. Some of my symptoms are fatigue, weakness, muscle aches, and low thyroid. My doctor has suggested I’d start the marshall protocol, but I know it’s highly controversial, and I’m very afraid of making the wrong choice. I’ve read your opinion regarding the MP, but I don’t know what else to do. Nowhere do I see anyone adressing the high 1,25 D issue. I have to somehow get down my high 1,25 D levels, while at the same time increase my available D. I know vitamin D is very important for the immune system. So what would you recommend? Antibiotics and at the same time continue with vitamin D, even though my 1,25 D levels are way out of range? Wouldn’t me continuing with vitamin D in my diet and sun exposure just make me sicker and the situation worse?

    Thank you Paul for all you do. Wishing you and your wife a merry christmas!

  21. Hi Eirik,

    You may want to look back at some of our old vitamin D posts, and, for background on vitamin D and why high levels of 1,25D are often seen with low levels of 25D in some chronic diseases.

    Don’t do the Marshall Protocol. Antibiotics may be a good idea, but Benicar is a terrible substitute for natural vitamin D. Marshall is wrong that low levels of vitamin D are better. He has no evidence for it, and people have generally done poorly on the Marshall Protocol. The successes I think are due to the antibiotics, not the D restriction or the Benicar.

    So I would ask your doctor for the antibiotics, but don’t take the Benicar, and do try to get the equivalent of 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day from sun and supplements – maybe a 2500 IU/day supplement. Also supplement K2 and eat food sources of A such as liver and egg yolks.

    Also you can consider diagnostic tests, such as pathogen profiling of your stool or antibody tests for common chronic pathogens, to see if they turn up anything.

    Best, Paul

  22. Hi Paul,

    Happy Holidays to you and Shou-Ching! Whatever you celebrate do it in style.

    Be well; your work is greatly appreciated.


  23. Merry Christmas, Paul and Shou-Ching! I hope 2012 is an even better year for you. You guys and the quality of the site are getting famous all over the Internet, you know 🙂 I was discussing diet with a casual acquaintance the other day and when I mentioned PHD he already knew about it.

  24. Hi Thomas,

    That’s great, thanks for letting me know! Merry Christmas!

  25. I know this is old Paul, but in light of recent events, I’ve had a few inquiries on my blog about you linking to questionable websites.

    I can see an oversight in linking to mangans. But defending it? I just don’t get this 🙁

  26. What’s with Mangan’s white power link? And why defend racist hate speech blogs when someone points it out (just like other prominent diet authors/bloggers Jimmy Moore, William Davis did?) Wouldn’t a religious man reject bigotry & racism? Are you ‘teaching the controversy’?

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