Friday, August 19, 2011

Marriage in Ancient Hawai'i

King Kamehameha's Favorite Wife, Queen Ka'ahumanu

Reading Mucius Scaevola's post, Marriage in Ancient Rome, over at his blog Glittering Opprobrium reminded me that I promised LadyLydia I'd get around to writing a post about ancient Hawaiian society and marriage customs.

Before talking about marriage in ancient Hawaii, it is important to understand that Ancient Hawaiian society had a very strict adherence to the ancient religion - the Kapu (taboo) system - that dictated their actions and behavior in every single aspect of their lives. While Judeo-Christian-based Western societies have generally placed the most importance on religious tenets applied to sex and sexuality - and more specifically on the female gender, the Hawaiians had a much looser conception of regulating sexual behavior and it was far more rigid and repressive when it came to food and eating.

For instance, homosexuality was completely acceptable, but in practice, most were bi-sexual. It was also common for both commoners and royalty to wife swap and play sexual games similar to spin the bottle, except random pairings resulted in far more activity than just kissing. They also had a religious ceremony called hi'uwai that was essentially an orgy at night time in the ocean during a certain time of year to maintain a form of anonymous discretion between participants. Children conceived from this ceremony were considered especially blessed. As you can see, Hawaiian society was quite libertine...which is why when haole (white folk) sailors first came here, it quickly became a favorite port of call. The first sailors got laid like tile by the native women.

But food was quite a different matter. Men and women could not eat together. Women were not allowed to handle any food that was meant to be eaten by men, and for the most part, men did all the cooking. Women could have their eye put out or even put to death for eating certain foods that were considered sacred to the male gods. Certain species of banana, certain fish and pork were all solely reserved for men.

As I commented over at Mucius's blog regarding gender relation customs and their ramifications for society:

When society makes women dependent on men, civilizations arise and liberty is the norm.

When society makes women independent of men, civilizations fall, and tyranny reigns.

Hawaiians did not enforce rigorous monogamy, but their women were still dependent on their men to farm, catch, prepare and cook food...while men were dependent on their women for making the Kapa or clothing made from pounding and drying the mulberry bark.

As I will cover later in this post, the strict adherence to religious tenets regarding food and gender were a key role in the overthrow of the old Kapu system of religion after Western contact.

Hawaiian society was a strict caste system, with four basic classifications: the Ali'i (Chiefs or Royalty) the Kahuna (Priest class), the Maka'ainana (Commoners) and the Kauwa (outcasts and slaves).

Marriage was basically broken down into two categories: lifelong monogamy for everyone except Royalty. Royalty had two-way polygamy - Men could have multiple wives, women could have multiple husbands. While this was the concept, it was not really the common practice for women to have multiple husbands at the same time, though they technically could. We would recognize the female polygamy as more similar to rotating polyandry today. If a Chiefess were unhappy with her husband, she would leave and take up with another Chief elsewhere. Sometimes she'd return to her former husband, sometimes not. Generally speaking though (there are historical exceptions of rival chiefs kidnapping women from each other), marriage and sexual relations were entirely at her discretion.

Hawaiian society was definitely a Matriarchy based kinship system...which is why up until the arrival of the haole, most people, nobility included, only had a single name.

Since Hawaiian society was based on oral tradition (no writing), Genealogy records were entirely based on oral recitations. For the commoners, each family kept their own genealogical knowledge, while the royalty had the Priests who memorized chants that recited the line of ancestry for particular Chiefs going back many, many generations.

Amongst the Chief class, there were various ranks, and this ranking was based entirely on the rank of the person's mother. The more sacred the genealogy of the mother, the higher ranking the royalty.

But that doesn't mean the highest ranking royalty was the ruler.

Hawaiian society had a regular tradition of warfare, in which rival Chiefs would conquer lands, exact tribute and establish Kingdoms. If a low ranking (by birth) Chief could muster the forces and conquer the armies of a higher ranking chief, he became ruler.

As the ruler, he could than marry a higher ranking Chiefess, and any children they had would than be higher ranking than himself.

In retrospect, as seen through the lens of the manosphere's common terminology, this is classic Matriarchy. The best women went to the strongest man, so she could have the most dominant genes to pass on to her children. But no matter how strong the man, Hawaiian society was still a Matriarchy, and women had the final say in matters of hearth, home and who they decided to have sex with.

A good example would be the story of King Kamehameha (that's his portrait I use as an avatar on this blog on the upper left hand side).

He was a Chief from the Big Island who was born of relatively low rank. At the time of his birth, he was the nephew of the Mo'i (King) of the Big Island. When his Uncle, the King died, he and his cousin, the King's son, eventually fought an island-wide war in which Kamehameha eventually succeeded in conquering the whole of the Big Island. From there, he eventually went on to conquer the entire Island chain and became the first King with all of the islands under a single Chief's rule.

And, as the King, he had many wives. Studying the history of his marriages gives good insight into the polygamous, Matriarchal system in Ancient Hawaii. While he had many wives, only two are really noted in history...his favorite wife, Ka'ahumanu, and his most sacred wife, highest ranking in her time by Genealogy, Keopuolani. Even though Ka'ahumanu was his favorite, it was the son born by Keopuolani who was the heir to the throne and eventually became King Kamehameha II.

Ka'ahumanu actually never bore any children, but if she had, her children would never have been in line for the throne, as Keopuolani had the higher Genealogical rank.

Ka'ahumanu was a fiesty, head strong and fiery woman...but she was an integral player in Kamehameha's conquest of the islands, for it was several of her Uncles who were prominent warriors who brought their armies under Kamehameha's direction when he began the conquest of the Big Island and later the entire island chain.

After he had conquered the Big Island, he asked his most prominent Priest and adviser if he had any potential concerns for rebellion in his newly established Kingdom. He was shocked that when his adviser told him that his only potential source for rebellion was from his favorite wife, Ka'ahumanu. The following recount comes from the book Kamehameha and his Warrior Kekuhaupi'o:

If your wife should be attracted to another ali'i and she should love this new man, then she would turn and give the kingdom to this new man. Her uncles would also turn and help their neice, and you, e Kalani, would be in trouble. (e Kalani is the equivalent to "Your Royal Highness" - literally translated, it means "Heavenly One.")

Heeding the advice of his adviser, Kamehameha decreed at his court that Ka'ahumanu was Kapu, or forbidden to all men, under the penalty of death.

Note that the King, the strongest man of the Kingdom, had no control over his wife herself. He couldn't tell her to do anything. He could only warn all the other men that if they dared have an affair with his wife, he'd have them killed.

It must also be noted that despite Ka'ahumanu being of lower rank than Keopuolani, she wielded far greater political power than the higher ranking wife of the King's harem. When Kamehameha died, his son by the high ranking Keopuolani was only a young teenager, not ready to take the reigns of power over the Kingdom. Ka'ahumanu became the regent and de facto ruler until Liholiho - Kamehameha II - was old enough to rule.

Even when Liholiho did become the King, many historians consider Ka'ahumanu the true power behind the throne...even though Keopuolani was in fact the highest ranking Queen upon Kamehameha's death, she ended up returning to Kaua'i where her family resided, as she was uninterested in politics, unlike Ka'ahumanu.

And, as I alluded to earlier with regards to the Ancient Hawaiian Kapu system regarding food and eating, it was Ka'ahumanu who was instrumental in overthrowing the old system when she was the Prime Minister during Kamehameha II's reign.

By the time Liholiho ascended to the throne, the Hawaiian society was in the process of a dramatic cultural upheaval. They noted that the haole broke many of the Kapu regarding men eating with women and women eating forbidden foods. They noted that the Gods did nothing when such Kapu were violated and they began to question the legitimacy of their religious doctrine and it's strict gender roles.

Ka'ahumanu served as the primary catalyst when she publicly sat down with Kamehameha II and his men and ate a meal with them. Almost immediately after she did so, the general populace rebelled and overthrew the Priestly caste and destroyed the temples and idols that had been the central power in Ancient Hawaiian society for generations.

This lead to a period of general anarchy and warfare as the Hawaiians no longer had to abide by the strict Kapu system that regulated all behavior. This chaos lead to the eventual introduction of Christianity when the Protestant missionaries arrived nearly a decade later to "save the souls of the heathen savages."

The historical example here appears to have parallels to our present day cultural troubles...similar also to those of ancient Roman society: when women become dissatisfied with their particular gender roles in society and they rebel against the old order, chaos and social upheaval are soon to follow.

Ok, before that last line gets anyone upset, I was being facetious.

Friday, August 12, 2011

When the Chickens Come Home to Roost

When I first changed my diet thanks to reading up at the Weston Price Foundation website, the first piece of advice I followed from them was to find free range eggs in my local grocery stores. Easy enough, there are several brands available, including "Omega-3 Eggs."

But one thing always bothered me about these "free range" eggs...all had the statements on their cartons "100% vegetarian feed." Since chickens are omnivorous, this always bothered me.

I soon learned that what that really meant was soy-based feed. Since I've been striving to eliminate as much soy as possible from my diet, this was a problem.

Transfer of soy isoflavone into the egg yolk of chickens

I also read this article at the WAPF website, Eat Your Eggs and Have Your Chickens Too, in which the following factors were cited to point out the superiority of having free range eggs -

Without a doubt, fresh, pastured eggs are superior in taste and nutrition to conventionally raised commercially available varieties. Eggs have been a highly valued foods since the beginning of time—eggs from chickens, ducks, geese, turtles and fish. Egg yolks are the richest source of two superstar carotenoids—lutein and zeaxanthin. 1. Not only are bright yellow yolks loaded with these fat-soluble antioxidant nutrients, they are more bioavailable than those found in vegetables, corn and most supplements.2,3 While these nutrients have a reputation of combating macular degeneration4,5 and cataracts6 and supporting overall healthy vision, they have a long list of other benefits, including protecting the skin from sun damage7 and even reducing one’s risk of colon8 and breast cancer.9

Besides providing all eight essential protein building amino acids, a large whole, fresh egg offers about six to seven grams of protein and five grams of fat (with about 1.5 grams of it saturated), which comes in handy to help in the absorption of all the egg’s fat-soluble vitamins. One egg also serves up around 200 milligrams of brain-loving cholesterol and contains the valuable vitamins A, K, E, D, B-complex and minerals iron, phosphorus, potassium and calcium.10 Choline, another egg-nutrient, is a fatty substance found in every living cell and is a major component of our brain. Additionally, choline helps break up cholesterol deposits by preventing fat and cholesterol from sticking to the arteries.10,14 So the bottom line is, don’t be chicken about eating eggs, especially the cholesterol-rich yolks!

Compared to the generic supermarket variety, eggs from pastured poultry are a vivid yellow-orange—proof of a richer store of healthenhancing carotenes (more specifically xanthophylls, a natural yellow-orange pigment in green plants and yellow corn).11,12 The more carotenes, the darker, deeper orange color the yolk—and the higher the levels of fat-soluble vitamins as well. Expect to find the richest orange colors in the spring, when grass is fresh and bugs are plentiful. Color also fades as the egg ages. Bear in mind, variations will be seen in these differences due to the breed and age of chickens, their diet (grass, insects, and feed) and the season.

When left to their own scavenger instincts, being the omnivores they are, chickens eat bugs, worms (and even snakes if given the opportunity), grasses and nutritious herbs such as plantain leaves and wilted nettle—both of which boost egg production and yolk hue. While these feathered friends will eat the grain and pellets left in the feed trough, it certainly isn’t their ideal food. Remember, chickens are omnivores, not vegetarians as many people assume, meaning they are designed to consume foods from both animal and plant sources.

I was sold on the idea of getting my own backyard chickens.

It's been an interesting experience to say the least, as I've been now raising chickens for over two and a half years. I've learned a lot about it, and decided to pass along some tips gained from my experiences.

- Chicken manure stinks after awhile. The chicken hatchery I bought my hatchlings from suggested this product, called EM-1 or Effective Micro-organisms Formula 1. I put a little into their daily drastically reduces the smell of their manure. About once a month, I'll spray a 25% EM-1 to water solution all over their coop and egg box...which literally eliminates the manure smell entirely. This product is a must-have if you raise chickens in a small backyard close to your house.

- I feed a mixture of organic grains (barley, corn, oats, milo & wheat) bought from my local feed store. Some paleo diet proponents who are right to castigate grains for human consumption often talk about trying to find grain free chickens. This is ludicrous. Chickens are omnivorous and love to eat grains. If you let them forage in pasture, you will see them literally peck the grains off of stalks of grass. While grains make humans sick, chickens seem to be designed/evolved to eat grains as a regular part of their diet.

- I mix a small bit of ground up oyster shell into their feed. This provides calcium and grit for their gizzards. This makes the egg shells strong. Before I began doing this, my chickens eggshells were pretty fragile and broke too easily. Since I've added the oyster shells, the eggs are so strong, I sometimes have to really strike it hard to crack it open when I'm cooking. If you don't have access to oyster shell, I've heard that some egg farmers will crush up the eggshells and feed it back to the chickens. You don't want to just throw the egg shells whole into the coop though...they may start to look at egg shell as food and begin eating their own eggs as soon as they're laid.

- If you do have chickens that cannibalize their own eggs, buy a wooden egg from a craft store and put it in the egg box. After a few painful pecks of the wooden egg, the chickens stop trying to eat their own eggs.

- I also mix in flax seed into their feed. If you google it up, you'll find a lot of conflicting claims regarding whether or not this benefits the Omega 3 content of the egg. Here's one source I found on the topic, from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the U.N. : The Role of Poultry in Human Nutrition (pdf)

Elongation of n-3 fats and their enrichment in eggs

Chickens have the unusual ability of rapidly converting ALA into DHA in significant quantities, and to EPA in lesser amounts. This means that eggs can be enriched with these important fats, provided that there is an adequate supply of ALA in the hens’ diet.

The diet of hens usually contains some of the n-3 fats, and 100 g of edible egg typically contains 150 mg of total n-3; of this, DHA + EPA is about 20 mg. By adding 10 percent flax seed (2 percent ALA) to the diet of layers, the total n-3 will rise to more than 600 mg/100 g. About one-third of this will be DHA + EPA.

You really shouldn't bother trying to add more flax seed than around 10% of their scratch in an attempt to get higher levels of n-3 in the eggs, as they do not eat it all up anyhow. They don't seem to particularly care much for flax seed, but they do eat some of it. The benefit of having the scratch thrown on the dirt floor of their coop is that when it rains, they'll sprout and the chickens will eat those sprouts too.

- The fact that chickens like and eat grains does not mean that is all you should be feeding them. That should only be a portion of their overall diet. Chickens are literally pigs with wings. They eat anything and everything. Broccoli stalks, carrot peels, old rice, rotten left overs, bread, cheese, fish, meat (yes, they'll even eat chicken...I don't feed my chicken's chicken...but I could if I had to), pear and apple cores, potato peels...basically anything you would normally flush down the garbage disposal, or throw in the waste basket? Just chop it up into peck sized pieces and dump it in the coop. They won't leave a single scrap left.

- In addition to kitchen scraps and a ration of grain feed, I let my chickens wonder the backyard for every afternoon from around 2-3 pm 'til sundown. This is when they eat grass, seeds, bugs, worms and anything else they can scavenge. I've seen my chickens catch and eat mice and centipedes before.

Once the sun sets, they all come back to the coop and roost for the night. I then shut the gate to their enclosure. I do this because if I were to let them roam truly free range all day long, they find nooks and crannies and begin laying their eggs all over the property. Many times you never find them, until they go rotten. Then you find them by smell.

By keeping them in an enclosure for half the day, they usually lay all their eggs in an egg box I constructed in their coop. When I let them out of their enclosure, I than grab their eggs from the egg box as they run out into the yard to begin their daily scavenging.

- Sometimes your chickens will get sick. I had a chicken get sick, diarrhea, and she stopped eating and started refusing to leave her roost in the coop. She slowly wasted away until she died. I tried everything I could think of to save her, but nothing I tried worked. Than another of my hens started coming down with the same symptoms, I began to google frantically to try and find the answer.

I found an online forum in which backyard chicken raisers shared tips and advice. One was to put some raw apple cider vinegar (not distilled) in the drinking water, and to spray a 1:10 ratio of the vinegar all over the coop and common areas the chickens frequent.

Within a single day after doing this, she began to recover, eat, and come out of the coop and run around with her fellow hens.

- Other tips were to occasionally feed the chickens fresh garlic and onions...but this purportedly will make the eggs they produce have a peculiar flavor. I've fed my chickens garlic, but never noticed any strange flavors in their eggs.

- If you raise the chickens since they were hatchlings, frequent handling while they grow will make them very used to human presence. Certain breeds however, are more flighty and nervous than others, while other breeds are downright friendly. I had one Aracuana who literally flew up and roost on my shoulder every chance she got, like a pirate captain's parrot.

- If you make a specific noise whenever you go outside to feed them kitchen scraps, you can than use that noise as a call. I can walk into my yard and make my imitation of a chicken cackle (ba-GAWWWK!) and it's almost comical to see them come running from all corners towards you in anticipation.

In closing, I can say this: it may require a lot of initial work to set up a system for raising your own chickens, but once you have it set up and you figure out what works best in your situation, it's almost effortless to daily maintain them, with only the occasional bi-annual clean out of the coop necessary to keep them clean and healthy and producing eggs. And their eggs they produce are certainly worth it.

You don't even need that many hens to make enough eggs for your family. I have 11 hens, and they produce more than enough eggs for my families daily needs. I often give away eggs to friends and family. Besides a good food source, they make great pets to boot.

One last piece of advice - if you have hunting dogs, make sure they cannot get to the chickens. I had my best hunting dog's runner leash break once, and I came home to a yard full of feathers, no chickens in sight, and one fat and happy hunting hound. If he were not my best hog dog, I would have put a bullet in his head right then and there, I was so angry.

I had to start all over from scratch, get all new hatchlings, and resume buying store bought eggs for a full 6 months until the new flock matured and began laying eggs.

Sometimes, you learn some lessons the hard way.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

$16,000,000,000,000+ in Secret "Loans" at 0% Interest

According to the openly avowed Socialist Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, the first time the Federal Reserve System has been officially audited by the Government Accounting Office and the results have been made public.

You can download the .PDF of the audit here.

Or you can look at the Scribd online document here.

"As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world," said Sanders.

Financial "assistance?"

The blog Unelected puts this into perspective:

To place $16 trillion into perspective, remember that GDP of the United States is only $14.12 trillion. The entire national debt of the United States government spanning its 200+ year history is “only” $14.5 trillion. The budget that is being debated so heavily in Congress and the Senate is “only” $3.5 trillion. Take all of the outrage and debate over the $1.5 trillion deficit into consideration, and swallow this Red pill: There was no debate about whether $16,000,000,000,000 would be given to failing banks and failing corporations around the world.

The Socialist Senator from Vermont raises the following point:

Among the investigation's key findings is that the Fed unilaterally provided trillions of dollars in financial assistance to foreign banks and corporations from South Korea to Scotland, according to the GAO report. "No agency of the United States government should be allowed to bailout a foreign bank or corporation without the direct approval of Congress and the president," Sanders said.

Sanders is right. The most relevant point here though, is that the Federal Reserve is NOT an agency of the United States Government. It's a privately owned banking Cartel, created by the International Banking elite FOR the benefit of the International Banking elite.

Sounds conspiratorial?

The list of institutions that received the most money from the Federal Reserve can be found on page 131 of the GAO Audit and are as follows..

Citigroup: $2.5 trillion ($2,500,000,000,000)
Morgan Stanley: $2.04 trillion ($2,040,000,000,000)
Merrill Lynch: $1.949 trillion ($1,949,000,000,000)
Bank of America: $1.344 trillion ($1,344,000,000,000)
Barclays PLC (United Kingdom): $868 billion ($868,000,000,000)
Bear Sterns: $853 billion ($853,000,000,000)
Goldman Sachs: $814 billion ($814,000,000,000)
Royal Bank of Scotland (UK): $541 billion ($541,000,000,000)
JP Morgan Chase: $391 billion ($391,000,000,000)
Deutsche Bank (Germany): $354 billion ($354,000,000,000)
UBS (Switzerland): $287 billion ($287,000,000,000)
Credit Suisse (Switzerland): $262 billion ($262,000,000,000)
Lehman Brothers: $183 billion ($183,000,000,000)
Bank of Scotland (United Kingdom): $181 billion ($181,000,000,000)
BNP Paribas (France): $175 billion ($175,000,000,000)
and many many more including banks in Belgium of all places

Secret loans at 0% interest that haven't been paid back, to banks all over the world? You don't say?

You mean this whole time, when people tried to point out that the Federal Reserve System was a privately owned banking cartel owned essentially by international bankers (The Rothschilds), they weren't talking about illuminati reptiles flying around in UFO's?

Sander's makes another good point while missing the forest for the trees:

In fact, according to the report, the Fed provided conflict of interest waivers to employees and private contractors so they could keep investments in the same financial institutions and corporations that were given emergency loans.

For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed's board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Moreover, JP Morgan Chase served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed's emergency lending programs.

In another disturbing finding, the GAO said that on Sept. 19, 2008, William Dudley, who is now the New York Fed president, was granted a waiver to let him keep investments in AIG and General Electric at the same time AIG and GE were given bailout funds. One reason the Fed did not make Dudley sell his holdings, according to the audit, was that it might have created the appearance of a conflict of interest.

To Sanders, the conclusion is simple. "No one who works for a firm receiving direct financial assistance from the Fed should be allowed to sit on the Fed's board of directors or be employed by the Fed," he said.

The investigation also revealed that the Fed outsourced most of its emergency lending programs to private contractors, many of which also were recipients of extremely low-interest and then-secret loans.

The Fed outsourced virtually all of the operations of their emergency lending programs to private contractors like JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo. The same firms also received trillions of dollars in Fed loans at near-zero interest rates. Altogether some two-thirds of the contracts that the Fed awarded to manage its emergency lending programs were no-bid contracts. Morgan Stanley was given the largest no-bid contract worth $108.4 million to help manage the Fed bailout of AIG.

Sander's entire argument here rests on the presumption that the Federal Reserve is an actual Federal Governmental Agency under the control of the Government.


"Private contractors" like JP Morgan Chase are the de facto owners of the Federal Reserve, Bernanke is their bitch, and the entire US Government - and by extension, we the sheeple, are under it's control.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Carbs Are Not the Devil

My personal thoughts on diet have been constantly evolving, and I've found that ideas of just what is a healthy diet is probably one of the most contentious issue there is amongst all people and all cultures.

There are so many variables to each person's individual situation and health...and so many differences in personal experiences, but they all lead to this idea that many people adopt, that there is ONE WAY to eat for optimal health.

To the vegans and vegetarians, it's avoiding animal products.

To the fruitarians, it's all about overdosing on fructose and exercising at insane levels of chronic cardio.

Than we have the Low Carb/Very Low Carb/Zero Carb (LC/VLC/ZC) community, the Weston Price Foundation traditional eaters, and finally, we have the Paleo camp.

From my own point of view, when discussing dietary issues, I use "Paleo" as a kind of short-hand reference. It has the benefit of being easily memorable and someone who's interested in the topic after my discussion with them, can easily use google and find the paleo blogosphere... which can be a life changing discovery for those who grasp the basic concepts and apply them. (I've had a colleague lose over 100 lbs. and reverse diabetes simply by referring her to Mark's Daily Apple.)

But anyone who's a regular reader of the Paleo blogosphere is going to eventually discover that while there is a basic, overarching framework that most agree on, there's plenty of disagreements in particular topics and food items and macro-nutrient ratios, especially when it comes to carbohydrates.

Which in my own ruminations, have brought me full circle back to the original Atkins diet proscription.

In other words, I've come to the personal opinion that there is a purpose for a LC/VLC/ZC diet, but it should not be a permanent state except for in the worst cases.

I think the genesis of so much debate and disagreement comes from this: when people first start to explore different dietary lifestyles, they usually do so because they are experiencing the negative effects from a lifetime of eating the standard fare of our Subsidized Corporate Agricultural and Industrial Feed society. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, IBS, Crohn's etc.

For most of these cases, the discovery of LC/VLC/ZC diets seems like a miracle, when they discover how easy it is to lose the weight and lower their blood pressure etc. while gorging themselves on bacon cheeseburgers without the bun and pizza toppings without the crust.

This leads many, many people to become carbo-phobes and protein fanatics. They embrace the legend of Two Brave Men Who Ate Nothing But Meat for an Entire Year, and look at ALL carbohydrates as the equivalent of cyanide or arsenic and people should never eat any carbs...ever.

I think the original Atkins diet plan had the basic concept right - reduce and eliminate carb consumption if your overweight or suffering from health problems caused by the Standard American Diet, and once you reached your goals and healed yourself, to slowly add starchy carbs like potatoes and rice back into your diet.

The problem here is that everyone is different.

For myself, I've never had digestion problems in terms of IBS, celiac, crohn's etc. I was simply getting overweight.

I've gone through a VLC period, and have remained LC for years.

But based on the works of people like Dr. Kurt Harris and Melissa McEwen, I've been adding more carbs back into my diet for the past 3 months or so. No weight gain, and a bit better energy levels and performance in endeavors that require endurance.

Now, I just try to minimize or avoid wheat flour and whole grains as much as possible. I'll eat a moderate portion of white rice, or use traditionally prepared (nixtamalización) corn tortillas, and I eat a lot of variety's of tubers as well - potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, etc. and once in a great while, I buy a loaf of rye sourdough bread and make sandwiches and burgers with it.

Compared to a year ago, the amount of carbs I eat is nearly tripled...but my weight and health have remained the same since I first began VLC/LC dieting and lost 35 lbs of excess fat from my frame.

This was a little surprising to me at first, especially now that I've had a complete change to my lifestyle thanks to Paleo Baby, I've never exercised LESS than in the last year of my adult life.

Yet I've had no change in my weight or health, despite eating more carbs than ever before since losing all that weight. I think this is the point both Harris and McEwen have come to - carbs by themselves are not bad. But to recover your health from a lifetime of SAD, a LC/VLC would be beneficial for a short period of time - not because carbs by itself makes one fat and sickly, but because a person who is in bad shape needs to change their metabolism and reverse insulin resistance.

As Dr. Harris wrote:

1) Reject the alternative hypothesis of saturated fat or cholesterol as a Neolithic agent – the so-called diet/heart hypothesis

2) Believe that obtaining a substantial fraction of nutrition from animal sources is necessary for health

3) Discount the absolute importance of macronutrient ratios in the nutritional transition.

4) Believe that a whole foods diet that includes adequate micronutrients is the best way to eat healthy.

5) Believe that tubers, root vegetables and other sources of starch can be healthy for normal people, but that most grains are a suboptimal source of nutrition in other than small amounts.

#3 was the one I had the hardest time accepting...but no more.

My additional thoughts to Dr. Harris though would be this:

Other than the issues with cereal grains - the glutens, WGA, phytates, lectins, and other issues found in the grain protein and bran, people who are not overweight or suffering any diet related degenerative conditions should not really focus on carbs...but most importantly to focus on the FAT in their diet.

Understanding the importance of a balanced Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acid ratio in your overall diet. One really important point people should understand is that Omega 6 fatty acids are not "bad." They are, afterall, ESSENTIAL fatty acids. The real problem is the skewed ratios in the SAD, because most Westerners get their O6 from the rancid poly-unsaturated vegetable and grain oils, and not enough O3 because most food animals are no longer raised in natural conditions eating their natural foods (grass!). You DO require some Omega 6 fatty acids in your diet...just make sure you get them from natural, non-rancid and non-oxidized sources, like roasted nuts like Walnuts and almonds.

Understanding that the fat is vital in how you handle the protein (google "Rabbit Starvation" to understand that high-protein/low-fat diets are a potential disaster).

Same goes for the carbs. What makes french fries and potato chips particularly toxic? The rancid, oxidized, poly-unsaturated canola or soybean oils that are now ubiquitous in the restaurant and snack food industry...and that's without even mentioning the hydrogenated and partially-hydrogenated oils used in most baked goods. These industrial oils contribute to inflammation on a cellular level, and combined with a blood sugar spike from eating a bag of chips, can lead to all sorts of problems. It's not the carbs per's the amount of carbs and the FAT you're consuming with those carbs.

Yukon gold potatoes deep-fried in extra virgin coconut oil tastes divine, and I get a kick out of knowing that such fare actually good for you.

Oh, and one final caveat: as much as I try to avoid wheat and other "whole grain" foods, I have never fully given up on grains...I just drink them after they've been malted, roasted, fermented and in certain cases, distilled.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I mostly hate twitter.

But I appreciate the concept of the way many folks use it. While chuckling at Roissy in D.C.'s Citizen Renegade's Heartiste's twitter feed, I coined the term "Quiplink" in my mind to describe the aspect of twitter that I do like.

So here's my version of "tweets" -

"I’d like to play some part in changing this sense of security on the part of our black-robed would-be gods. It’s time for the courts to be held accountable." - Welmer

"If you don’t know who Rebecca Watson is, I envy you." - Ferdinand

"Ha! That proves it. Men don’t really prefer younger, hotter, nicer, less demanding women. They only date them because of their fragile male egos!" - Dalrock

"While both genders have their good sides and bad sides, society has encouraged women to view their weaknesses as strengths and their strengths as weaknesses." - Solomon

"Here’s a newsflash for women from me, on behalf of men in general: we don’t give a shit about fashion." - Badger

"As much as I'd love to see an end to modern junk food, I think this is going to have to be achieved without accepting the principle that the government should determine what we can and cannot consume." - Chris Masterjohn

"If you honestly didn't like Bush, you can't possibly justify liking Obama, not unless you ignore the facts..." - Wes Messamore

"Somehow, I don't think this was quite the gloriously liberated future that the feminists had in mind." - Vox Day

"You know what I think a Guru is? It's someone who sells you tantalizing, feel good, sound good lies or incomplete information that rarely if ever works for anyone as advertised." - Richard Nikolay

"While surveys show that women know less about politics than do men, they vote in larger numbers, and thus could demand special preference. Here we are." - Fred Reed

"While life today is indeed more complex today than it may have been a generation ago, it doesn’t have to be nearly as complicated as we make it." - Terri

"I had been waiting for this idiocy to come over here. How could the strong, independent, empowered, and of utmost importance, sexually liberated women let this one go?" - Finndistan Guy

"I for one am not willing to go through hoops to make grass babies go down easier, but the process is nonetheless extremely interesting." - Mark Sisson

"Divorce, that supreme statement of individuality over duty to husband, family, and oath, means damaged kids - no two ways about it." - Alcuin

"History has a message for us: No fiat currency has lasted forever. Eventually, they all fail." - Jeff Clark

"There is an old saying "lies, damned lies and statistics". Statistics don't lie. But liars can certainly misuse statistics for their own purposes." - Professor Hale