Interview, New Stuff, and Proof of Aliveness

All has been quiet on the Raw Food SOS front lately, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t shenanigans-a-plenty brewing backstage. The recent silence here is mostly because I’m spending 22.5 hours a day finishing my upcoming book “Death by Food Pyramid,” which should be available towards the end of this year. More on that soon!

In the meantime, if only to drown out the incessant chirping of blog crickets, here are some things.

Thing one:

I recently did an interview with the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA) about food ethics, my dietary history, and what “Death by Food Pyramid” is all about. When I first got an email from a place that had Animal Interest in its title and whose address was only a few miles away from where I live, I thought PETA had finally found me, and spent the next few days on the lookout for unmarked vans and mango-baited, human-sized cages. But then I went to NAIA’s website and read their position statements and thought Oh hey, I actually agree with this stuff. We cool, NAIA. And that was the end of this anticlimactic story.

You can read the interview here.

Thing two:

Thing three:

As many of you probably already know, the Underground Wellness Paleo Summit recently rocked the internet, and I had a presentation that was up for 24 hours for free on March 1st. Someone with better planning skills might’ve posted this before the summit started instead of after it was over (can you see why I’ve never been hired for a marketing job?), but if you’re reading this before midnight Pacific Standard Time today (March 5th), you can still catch some awesome encore episodes with Chris Kresser, Jack Kruse, and Tom O’Bryan. If you’re not registered already, you can do that here. And if you like to buy things, the entire summit plus a bunch of eBooks and more videos are for sale here as a package deal (discounted today before the price goes up tomorrow).

Thing four:

A few months ago, the fabulous Richard Nikoley generously sent me a copy of his new eBook, Free the Animal: Lose Weight & Fat With the Paleo Diet. As anyone who’s ever tried contacting me should know by now, I chronically run about eight months behind on email-answering and my inbox is generally one of the most frightening places accessible to man. But for whatever reason, I ended up opening the eBook attachment (maybe to make sure Richard wasn’t up to mischief sending me a virus), and a couple hours later found myself on the last page thinking: 1) Wow!, and 2) Super wow.

Among the many things I adore about Richard are his non-sugar-coated honesty, his obvious passion for helping people, what appears to be an allergy to diet dogma, and his magical ability to summarize huge gobs of information in a totally coherent way. I rarely plug specific-diet-oriented books on my blog because so many of them contain at least some parts I consider questionable, but Richard’s book is seriously one of the best and most comprehensive “Ancestral Health 101” resources I’ve ever come across. I can recommend Free the Animal with total sincerity to anyone who wants a complete overview of everything related to paleo eating and living, or who just wants to “get” what the heck the paleo/ancestral/primal movement is all about. (And no, Richard didn’t bribe me to say any of this!)

(ADDENDUM: Richard is currently letting you get five copies of his book for free when you buy one—so definitely check it out if you want to give some fantastic paleo intro material to friends, family, coworkers, or the ex-girlfriend you’re stalking.)

Thing five:

This year is going to be packed with goodness, and I really, really hope to see some of you at one of the cool health-related events coming up. I’ll be at the TEDMED conference in April, presenting at the Low-Carb Cruise in May (while no doubt getting fellow non-low-carber Chris Masterjohn to help me smuggle fruit aboard), presenting at the Ancestral Health Symposium in August, and—if my finances aren’t totally drained by then—attending the Wise Traditions Conference in November. It seriously makes me really ridiculously happy when I get to meet you guys in non-internet land, so if any of you are going to be at one of those events, please come say hi to me and I’ll love you forever.

Thing six:

I’m about to add a concise(ish) summary of everything that’s wrong with “The China Study” on my main China Study page, as well as add a “For Vegans” page with health advice for folks who want to avoid animal products for ethical or religious reasons. (Whether any vegans will actually stay on my blog long enough to find this page is another question entirely.) I’ll update this paragraph with links once those things are up, but I wanted to get this blog entry posted as soon as possible in case anyone wants to take advantage of the last free day of the Paleo Summit.

And with that, I hereby invite the blog crickets to resume their symphony. I’ll be posting like a madwoman once the bookie is done. Later, lovelies!

183 comments

  1. According to an only slightly outdated Human Development resource I have, consumption of fish by the Japanese is linked to their high rate of stomach cancers. (it couldn’t be the repression, or the banned chemicals in their sauces?)
    We need to take all these things with the proverbial 6 grams of salt.
    Focus instead on things we know are toxic; wheat, fructose, PUFA, aforesaid synthetic chemicals, and on getting enough of the real nutrients in a digestible tasty steak, I mean, form.

    1. But George, don’t you know by now that “linked to” can and should be read as “is proven to be causal of?”

      If there’s one thing the media have taught me it’s that.

  2. I’m looking forward to seeing Denise’s article on health advice for vegans. I became a vegan about seven years ago, after I got a job at an animal sanctuary. I felt then (and still feel) that it’s hypocritical for society to place dogs and cats in a higher moral category than cows, pigs, and chickens.

    My health — which was already pretty good — didn’t seem to change much after I gave up all animal products. But I’m always interested in learning more about nutrition, and Denise’s blog posts are interesting.

    1. Lots of cultures eat dogs and cats, actually all animals are eaten. Don’t let that “Vegan” complex make you think you are more special than some other living organism. The amount of animals, bugs, insects, and microscopic living things that are eaten and die to make your soy and 12 grain breads is ridiculous. YOU will be eaten eventually.

      The best change I ever did is purchase meat, eggs, and veges from my local “old school” farmers – that is real food and environmentally sustainable.

  3. real wrote, ” The amount of animals, bugs, insects, and microscopic living things that are eaten and die to make your soy and 12 grain breads is ridiculous.” Perhaps. But since animal agriculture is very inefficient (animals have to be fed large amounts of plant matter, such as soy and corn in order to produce a small amount of meat), veganism still results in fewer sentient creatures being killed. For more information, see Gaverick Matheny’s excellent paper: Matheny, J.G., “Least harm,” Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 16 (5), 2003.

    http://www.jgmatheny.org/matheny%202003.pdf

        1. aaahhhh – the circle again closes with the religious door. fun to think of our 1 or 2 or 3 million year old ancestors scrabbling around to survive and constantly ruminating over the moral burden of “the golden rule”. (“grok – i just can’t eat another mouthful – it’s wrong to kill this mammoth!!”) ;-)

          hard to respond to such drivel – christian precepts (or old jewish ones) hardly predate our evolutionary past – becoming “human” is a genetic reality as is our adapted diet.

          becoming “humane” is another mattter – a moral choice – a good one i believe – to treat the earth and it’s creatures (plants are living beings too – arguably sentient) with respect as they all sustain OUR lives as well as we sustaining theirs (interdependent system Alex – good luck working around it–)

          1. I’m an atheist, but I think the Golden Rule transcends religions. See, for example, Jonathan Haidt’s excellent book, “The Happiness Hypothesis:Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom”:

            http://www.amazon.com/The-Happiness-Hypothesis-Finding-Ancient/dp/0465028020/

            As for your other comments, you seem to be deriving “ought” from “is”. Our ancestors may have engaged in rape, slavery, and genocide (among other atrocities) — but that fact does not justify those practices today.

            Finally, sentience requires a nervous system. Plants are not sentient, and there is no moral impediment to eating them.

            1. Alex, I am with you here. Personally, I have little patience for illiterate, pretentious and hypocritical bubbling about “moral choice” of treating earth etc. Somehow these “moral choice” people end up eating each other or frying humans in crematorium. One would think that the 20th century should be a good lesson, but apparently it isn’t. The most intelligent people surrounded by naif “scientific” optimism of the 19th century knew the human nature and foresaw the tragedy of the 21st century. How one can bubble this nonsense again now is beyond me. This bubbling about “moral choice” is dangerous and pseudo-progressive. Among other things, it distracts from improving societies buy improving societal structures with consideration of human nature. Who needs civilized societies when one can strike nice poses? The world.

              1. anna,

                although i have found many of your previous opinions well-stated and supported, your sinking into the intellectual elitist morass of being insulting about “illiterate, pretentious and hypocritical bubbling about “moral choice” of treating earth”–

                thanks for the boxing up of my views and my intellect, but your ‘tude is that of someone sitting on their ass thinking all day about what they imagine is smart to think about.

                i work in the soil, with plants, both professionally and for my pleasure. I have also worked with animals that i later have eaten. The only real morality is the recognition of the sacredness of the cycle of life and respecting it and our home for it. the earth. nothing ya-ya about that – no drivel or bubbling – just the facts, m’am – the earth is our limited resource – and it’s pretty clear we have long since past the point of no return – the only thing left to see is just how it will all go down –

                and if you have little patience for this – then why do you waste your time reading it and commenting? – different views than yours may well be more enlightened that your limited view can imagine.

                “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio”

                and speaking of wasting time….

            1. alex, anna – can either of you imagine what life was like prior to all your relatively recent historical references? unless you are a newagey goofball that thinks their genetics are mercifully evolving because you decide to to eat vegan – go for it please because we need thinking, intelligent folks to reproduce if we are to have any survival chance at all on this planet, and eating vegan or vegetarian (without serious compensations for your nutritional needs) will happily cull you from the gene pool.

              stamp your feet and hold your breath all you want, but the “golden rule” is a construct – and as i said, not a bad one – of a people choosing to be humane and create a moral base from which to operate. however, you genetics don’t give a damn about your moral choices made in a time frame too damn short for you to adapt to a diet your species never experienced for 99% of its creative evolution.

              and to your arrogant assumption that sentience is only for those living beings that meet YOUR central nervous system definition – a huge BS to that. Ever read “the secret life of plants”? or read other such research proving plants individually and collective ability to respond to even telepathic stimulus?

              next thing you will be pitching to me is that god (whoops you are atheist sorry) logic meant us to be vegetarian or some other bull.

              life is life – respect is respect. you idea/definition of suffering and morality discounts every hunter-gathering meat-eating culture/people to immoral unthinking barbarians to your oh-so-civilized logical (not god-fearing i guess…) morality, even thogh it’s pretty easy to nake a few of those that treated themselves, each other and mother earth a hell of alot better than we modern “moral” homans do. “eye for and eye” was considered pretty moral for a hell of a long time (till you pronounced it immoral i suppose)

              i just have no truck with such badly veiled attempts to elevate human species and morality above all other on this planet – we have a pretty crappy history to be claiming ANY moral ground on this planet.

              1. I’m quite familiar with “The Secret Life of Plants”. It’s pseudoscience, akin to the theory that space aliens built the Egyptian pyramids or that our personalities are determined by our astrological signs.

                The details of consciousness are still largely unknown, but there is widespread agreement that you need a nervous system to have consciousness. For more information, see:

                http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/a-frequently-asked-question-what-about-plants/

                As for health effects (I assume that’s what you are talking about when you mention genetics), I’m not sure that I agree. My health didn’t change much after I became a vegan, but many of my vegan friends tell me that they experienced dramatic improvements after they gave up animal products. (I take a daily multivitamin that contains all the B12 I need.)

                Also, let’s not forget about global warming. Animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases than does the transportation industry. See this UN report titled, “Livestock’s Long Shadow”: http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm

                1. Why are those who preach love and peace of everyone tend to be the most bigoted and often .. the most evil. You can’t beat Stalin in a number of times he said the word “peace” (the entire Soviet Union was plastered with slogans) and expressed “international” love of everyone and everything. Why try?

                2. Alex, nutrition most certainly isn’t an area of my expertise (obviously), so I am guessing. I believe that veganism isn’t sustainable. Is it possible that you and friends had unbalanced diet and some deficiencies and your change corrected them … for a while until new imbalance and deficiency will force you to reconsider?

                3. aaahhhh, and you ARE a vegan.

                  should have known not to waste my time and just refer you to richard –

                  give it a few years, and you will wonder where your health and mental capacities have gone – (well – you may not be able to wonder come to think of it…)

              2. “eye for and eye” was considered pretty moral for a hell of a long time (till you pronounced it immoral i suppose)”
                Well .. why am I not surprised? Why don’t you check what was the meaning of the “eye for eye” and yes, in what was the context instead of repeating 2000 year old anti-Judaic/antisemitic canard?

                1. I glanced again, frankly, Heather’s bubbling is below any acceptable level.
                  BTW, my personal references are not only historical, but also archeological.

                  1. please remember good nesting-blog behavior and indicate who’s comment you are commenting on – save us all alot of effort–

                    and jeeze – do all you really have time to be sitting and waiting for a comment to be made just to answer it pronto?? i just dropped back after a while out of curiosity and you and alex shot out answers within minutes as if you were perched on your keyboard like a blogger-of-prey –

                    scary–

                    1. Well, Heather, no surprise again – constant aggression – the predictable mix – slogans about love of everything and constant not so hidden aggression.

        2. My previous reply didn’t thread properly. The Golden Rule is not relevant to a discussion of humans killing non-human animals. It is not relevant for a variety of reasons.

          It can not be argued to be truth from a humanistic/evolutionary perspective. In fact, anything to do with ethics and morals can not be argued to be truth from this perspective. The only logically correct conclusion is that ethics and morals are whatever humans say they are, which means that they are meaningless.

          1. Lots of people agree with you (regarding ethics and morals being meaningless). Such people are usually in prison or reviled in history books.

  4. Mokshasha, did you ever write the third part of your series on prehistoric goat herding/milk consumption? I thought parts one and two were excellent, and I want to read the third. I think the idea that very early humans might have herded goats long before archaeologists/anthropologists think they did is a very interesting one, and your evidence seemed good to me.

  5. well – hello again Jane –

    no – life there some curve balls and the blog took left field – maybe it happens in the future, maybe not – in the meantime we enjoy our goat cheese and raw milk (it being legal and farmers dispensing it being happily un-persecuted in europe)

  6. Alex, The Secret Life of Plants isn’t pseudoscience. All living things produce electromagnetic fields which react to the fields other living things produce.

    Your own brain produces these fields, created largely by the manganese in your astrocytes in the enzyme glutamine synthetase. Manganese is extremely magnetic.

    Some people can manipulate these fields, and the CIA is reportedly very interested. It likes people to think it’s all rubbish, of course.

    1. Jane wrote: “Manganese is extremely magnetic”. Um, no it isn’t. From the Wikipedia entry for manganese: “Neither this mineral [manganese dioxide] nor manganese itself is magnetic.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manganese

      But, be that as it may, being influenced by magnetic fields is a far cry from being conscious.

  7. Alex, the metal manganese isn’t magnetic because of the way the atoms are arranged. The electron spins point in opposite directions and cancel each other out. In solution, Mn2+ is very magnetic indeed. It has no less than 5 unpaired electrons. The magnetic form of iron has only 4.

    Moreover, the Mn nucleus is also magnetic, with 5 unpaired protons/neutrons. Iron’s is not magnetic. Nuclear magnetism is very mysterious and to my knowledge nobody knows what effect if any this might have on biological systems.

    So you see, if you say being influenced by magnetic fields is a far cry from being conscious, I will say how do you know?

  8. Anyway, the whole discussion about plant consciousness is a moot point. Since producing meat is inefficient (animals have to eat a lot of plants in order to produce a small amount of meat), we’re STILL better-off eating plants directly, even if the plants are sentient.

    1. Is this relevant to some previous point in the discussion? What does “efficiency” have to do with human health?

      Humans are more efficient at getting nutrition from meat than plants.

      1. The answer to your first question is “yes”. It’s relevant to this statement, made further up: “(plants are living beings too – arguably sentient)”.

        The answer to your second question is this: Efficiency has nothing to do with human health (at least, not in this context). Efficiency, as I used the term, has to do with nutritional value as a function of number of sentient beings killed.

    2. Alex, if it is “just” about efficiency, it becomes another debate. In that case you could get rid of your car, buy an energy efficient fridge or improve the isolation of your house and eat a little animal products once in a while. That would be better for the environment and for your health.

      This is a fully different debate as the typical black-white opinions, which many vegans hold. Such vegans are ignoring the sentient being being killed for plant production. In other words, in my view it is always about efficiency (grey scales) and not about good and bad (black and white). If it is, eating a little animal products does not matter much. And just a little already makes quite a difference. Eating animals that were treated well is morally better nd probably also more healthy. (A good life is for me personally more important than whether you kill an animal.)

      By the way, that people do not notice an immediate health problem when turning vegan is because many nutrients in animal products are fat solvable, which you can store and do not need to eat every day, but you still need them. The better test would be whether you do not feel better eating some animal products after being vegan for a long time.

  9. hey jane – clearly alex can;e keep up with you – (you know – vegan dementia) so you have just been pronounced “moot”!

    alex – you are really blokheaded – humans evolved their large brains (well, most of us humans) most probably by eating animals that eat plants. (that lovely comment “salad is what food eats”)

    there is one absolute fact you vegans love to dismiss –

    humans have no physiological mechanism, chemical, enzymatic or physical organ (like a rumen) with which to pre-digest – or more accurately, pre-ferment plant material to make it useful to our evolved digestive system – a system that is hugely shorter and smaller than truly vegetarian primates like gorillas.

    this is why grains – toxic as we eat them today, were ***ALWAYS*** treated by our not-so-long-ago ancestors (your grandmother knew you ferment bread dough…) in order to eat them both safely and with some benefit (or at least no harm).

    i’ll wait to be proclaimed “moot” with baited breath – make that liverwurst breath….

  10. Alex, yes of course. I would suggest however that a vegan diet might be improved by adding dairy products, and that the land benefits from having animals on it.

    Mokshasha doesn’t realise that it has been shown beyond reasonable doubt that humans got their big brains from eating starchy plants, not meat. Nor does he remember that the spectacularly healthy Hunza did not ferment their bread.

    1. there you go again Jane – “beyond a reasonable doubt” – oh really??

      i actually think you just like to provoke and have not much to do in your life,

      and since i have no interest whatsoever of engaging your boredom with a pissing match, have fun tossing this one back and forth with the vegan contingent yourself. (ps – your beloved Hunza are an abberation and not the be-all and end-all of these discussions. I daresay that they are not even a serious consideration when you look at the highly dubious way they were “studied” and observed)

      gotta life, gotta run–

      http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/low-carb-library/are-we-meat-eaters-or-vegetarians-part-ii/

  11. You are Beautiful, Capable, and lovable Denise. Fulfill your literary passions- I am excited for the read. Best wishes. In health, Greg Atticus Mack

  12. Just was introduced to this blog via an MDA reference and I read the Ancel Keys analysis. You rock! That was great work, but no more posts until the book is done –I’m disappointed. Oh well, looking forward to the book–hopefully real soon.

    1. Yep. I read it. “Ouch! Time to whip out the granola and Yoplait?” And Facebook cancelled out cholesterol lowering effects of Justin Bieber. Great Article.

  13. Hi! I have been visiting your blog since quite some time. Though I find this inclination towards veganism and raw foods fascinating but don’t you think it deprives us from good protein, which are only available through animal products?

  14. Not that you need another googly-eyed, mouth-watering fan to kiss your feet, but seriously keep this blog updated. Just voraciously tore through 3 posts and I am only yearning for some positive claim you deem a pile of research supports rather than debunks. Ahhh the future!

  15. Loved the interview Denise, and can’t wait for the book.

    That NAIA sounds interesting. It’s what PETA should have been, had it not been taken over by nutcases.

  16. When might “Death by food pyramid” be published? Everything on the web says summer or winter of 2012. As we are now almost in April of 13, enquiring minds want to know. I’m also making this post, as I can’t figure out the timestamp by people’s names and want to see what it looks like when I post.

  17. I am wondering if at anytime in the future you may write a post comparing the environmental impacts (ie greenhouse gas emissions) of farming involving livestock, and farming that is entirely focused on producing crops. This could perhaps also branch out into a comparative discussion into the incidental/deliberate impact upon wildlife both forms of farming produce. I ask this based on your comments from the interview from ‘thing 1’ above, and the response from the forum poster ‘Johnny’ below the interview where it appears on the NAIA’s website.

    Also, the point from this interview of ‘omnivores being uniquely placed’ to impact farming practices that involve animals, how important is this to the average omnivore? I have never experienced or participated in a discussion initiated by a meat consumer about the importance of ethically produced meats or the rights of sentient creatures to a life free from unnecessary suffering or inhumane conditions, as is often featured in factory farming practices. This is not to say it is not common but am wondering if some discussion or research indicates omnivores are increasingly sourcing ethically produced meats and eschewing meat products that do not meet a certain criteria, such as free range living conditions. If not, what are the barriers to doing so?

    Thanks, and thoroughly enjoy your engaging writing style.

  18. If you agree with that NAIA-bullsh*t, I wonder how you once became a vegetarian… What they say is pure hypocrisy. Read the article they refer to (The Illogic of Animal Rights by Neil Schulman), that is human exceptionalism in its filthiest form, rather sickening.

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