Tag Archives: anti-cancer

Measles: Get A Grip

Mrs. Brady's homegrown vaccination card

Mrs. Brady’s homegrown immunization card – looks like the gang is getting measles!

Oh boy the latest Disneyland measles outbreak is generating some serious name-calling and reprimanding in the newspapers these days and it’s not even limited to the editorials section.

The story is that in January 2015, six people (five unvaccinated) in Southern California came down with measles and they had all been to Disneyland in late December. Since then, the virus has spread to over 100 people. Now there are even 10 cases in Ontario, way up here in Canada and many miles from Disneyland. I guess it really is a small world after all

The way this story is being covered in North America, it sounds like the cause of the outbreak is unvaccinated locals and in particular the parents of unvaccinated children, who are portrayed as selfish, resistant to science and downright stupid.

However the way this story is being covered in Europe is that most likely someone from abroad (Europe, or the Philippines) went to Disneyland and unwittingly spread measles to both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, which is much closer to the truth.

MEANWHILE, BACK IN THE OLD COUNTRY…

There is currently a slightly larger measles outbreak in Germany, instigated most likely by an influx of unvaccinated Bosnian, Herzegovinian and Serbian refugees – but the Germans have totally got a grip and are not overly concerned about it.

In fact, maybe they are eating ice cream and happily watching translated re-runs of the Brady Bunch episode where the whole gosh darn gang gets measles at the same time! (see link at end of post – you have got to watch this episode to see how completely irrational we have become in the last 40 years).

One thing our media refuses to cover is that some of our unvaccinated people may actually be seeking out measles in order to contract and survive the disease – to give themselves guaranteed lifelong immunity, a stronger immune system, greater resistance to various diseases potentially including some cancers, and if they are women to confer immunity to their newborns until they are at least 6 months old.

However when stories of “measles parties” surfaced in January, they were quickly denied as required in a litigious society like Marin County. Although such a media outcome may have disappointed scores of injury lawyers, it may or may not be true. My guess is that “measles parties” have gone the way of raw milk purchases – something you participate in secretly in the shadows.

MEASLES KILLS! SOME PEOPLE!

Let’s get some things straight: measles can be deadly or cause permanent damage if you are exposed to it when you are in the womb, under the age of one-ish, old-ish and weak-ish, chronically malnourished (that can include you, college kids) or suffering from some other issue like auto-immune disease or anything where your immune system is already compromised, including pregnancy.

And if you look at the people who have died, ever, from measles, you will find that these contributing factors were always involved. It is for these people’s sake that we vaccinate the rest of us, just like it is for the peanut-allergic person’s sake that we don’t eat nuts on planes or schools, and for the disabled person’s sake that our building codes enforce ramps and elevators. It may be irritating that we have to avoid peanuts, spend money on ramps and get a couple dozen immunization shots, but all of those irritations are the cost of living in close quarters and being exposed to globalization.

Most people don’t actually die of measles, they die of pneumonia or encephalitis which can also be brought on by scores of other childhood diseases including the flu, colds, herpes and chicken pox, and also from various mosquito-borne viruses. Famously, the children’s author Roald Dahl tragically lost his daughter to encephalitis after she first contracted measles. He led a compelling pro-vaccination movement in England in the 1960s, spearheaded by a very moving letter which I will link to at the end.

At the time, he was certainly acting on the best recommendations and research available. But we’ve learned a lot since then.

I’m no doctor, but 7 year-old Olivia Dahl’s problem might not have been so much that she contracted measles, but that it progressed to encephalitis which killed her. However, eradicating measles will not eradicate encephilitis, as it can be caused by so many other exposures.

A different measure might be to stop measles from progressing to more complicated and dangerous illnesses by the since-proven method of administering high doses of vitamin A and also starting out with adequate nutritional vitamin A levels (source: PubMed).

MEASLES AS A TEACHER

Measles rashBut let’s get something else straight: if you are healthy and properly nourished, it is actually more beneficial to contract measles between the age of 3 – 10-ish than to never contract it at all.

Measles is yet another essential agent in stimulating and teaching young immune systems how to react to greater threats later in life (mechanism works similarly to benefits from parasites, helminths and germ exposure).

Contracting measles has reversed some cancers and has even eliminated a tumor in only two weeks (source:Nature), and prompted pharmaceutical companies to pursue a super-measles “vaccine” as a cancer therapy, which has been used successfully in those patients who didn’t die from the lab-created super-measles. (source: CNN)

So are “anti-vaxxers” really selfish and stupid? In some ways, for sure. But it’s not black and white like that. There is a sweet spot for not vaccinating your kid, and the risk-reward is different for every disease. Since we’re talking about measles though, let’s start there.

If all the adults in the household have either had measles or are up-to-date on their vaccines, you could consider not vaccinating your children for measles. But ideally you also live in a small community of like-minded people, who are super health-conscious, devoted to biodynamic farming and bioavailable vitamin A, and do not plan on traveling the world or going to the Big City.

In addition, you and your community need to have “measles parties” where you force your 3 – 10 year olds to catch measles together and remain quarantined from the younger kids and the pregnant women and oldies. You also want to make sure that no one in your community has any allergies or other immune compromised issues, or at least keep your quarantine very, very tight.

I have to be very clear here: the point of not vaccinating your kid should only be because you intend for them to catch and survive the wild virus. You can’t not vaccinate and then avoid measles – it will catch up to your kids when they are adults and the complications can be much worse, or lethal. In addition, later in life you could catch measles and be a carrier who then goes on to infect vulnerable people.

There is NO BENEFIT to avoiding the vaccine unless you are determined to catch and survive wild measles in your youth. So if “anti-vaxxers” do not intend to give their children wild measles at the appropriate age, then yes I agree they are stupid.

BUT GETTING MEASLES IS HARD NOWADAYS

However even if you do plan to introduce wild measles to your kids,  the isolation of your idyllic community (hell let’s just call it a commune) means that you might have trouble contracting the disease in the first place.

In that event, you may have to fly a few of your commune’s 3 – 10 year olds to Switzerland for a few weeks, or maybe to EuroDisney if that’s even still around. It’s a lot easier to get measles in Europe, and nearly impossible to find it in North America. However it is also nearly impossible to bring your measles infection home on the airplane while simultaneously following adequate quarantine protocols, so this solution creates a huge risk to other people.

A better compromise might be to get your kids a season pass to Disneyland and tell them to seek out European-looking people presenting with a respiratory infection, until they catch wild measles. For all we know, this is just what the “anti-vaxxers” did.

STILL, MEASLES KILLS!

I have to be very clear on another thing: not every 3 – 10 year old survives wild measles!

Things that will help are super nutrition, especially natural fats and fat soluble vitamins like A and D. In fact at the first indication of measles (respiratory infection with white spots in the mouth), anyone should immediately start taking at least 10,000 IU of retinol (vitamin A) every hour for at least three days but probably for the duration of the disease.

There are also herbal preparations that can curtail the cytokine cascade, like Chinese skullcap, houttuynia, ginger and licorice. (Okay post-collapse in Ontario you would have to settle for local wild solutions like blue cohosh rhizome, the invasive kudzu root and elder berry tincture.)

The other question, are “anti-vaxxers” selfish, requires stepping back a little further. In the small picture, it is certainly selfish to risk exposing the young/old/immune compromised to measles knowing that these sick-prone members of the community can literally die or get compilations like brain damage.

However in the much bigger picture, it’s a different story.

WELCOME TO THE BIG PICTURE

If you subscribe to the idea that we are going to suffer through a collapse event in the next 100 years (or much sooner), then these “anti-vaxxers” who expose their children to wild viruses on purpose are in fact preserving a gene pool of potentially higher resistance to plagues and pestilence, and also passing on a learned immune response to disease. If collapse comes for us, the “anti-vaxxers'” immune systems may be better prepared to survive disease, and you might want to consider breeding with them to ensure the viability of your offspring.

Wait, collapse? All civilizations have collapsed, and those that haven’t are simply in the “yet” category. It doesn’t really matter what the cause is, we have so many potentials to choose from: antibacterial resistance, climate change, resource scarcity leading to increased warfare, ecosystem impoverishment, pandemic resulting from factory farming, robot overlord enslavement, financial and political collapse… whatever! The fact is, all civilizations try to squeeze the most out of the short term that they can, and pretend the bigger picture is never gonna happen.

It doesn’t mean civilization won’t come back again; we always do! But your position on vaccinations has to include whether you are willing to sacrifice your genetic lineage for the short-term right to be a beloved member of polite society’s herd immunity protocols. Since most of us live here, in this polite society, we have made the choice to vaccinate our children.

I’m just begging everyone to stop hating the “anti-vaxxers”; those that survive wild measles and respect quarantine protocols are doing a service for the bigger picture post-apocolyptic scenarios. Systems may be more efficient when there is homogeny, however they are safer and more durable when there is diversity.

The “anti-vaxxers” are that diversity for us, because if they are doing it right, they are catching diseases and developing immunities and then passing those learned responses along to their children. When the next pandemic hits, they will fare better than us and basically inherit the earth.

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF MEASLES?

We are the ebola bats in this case, harboring pestilence! We can successfully live with measles! Although we don’t have any predators or species left who might encroach on us, measles may have helped us deal with encroachment in the past. For example you can spread measles to your pet monkey by coughing on him. Likewise a primate invading your territory could tear your body to bits and feast on your raw, measles-infected flesh and then catch and spread measles to his invading brethren, which would be more virulent in his species than in humans.

And who knows? Maybe an alien army will land on our planet and try to invade us. All we have to do is expose them to our measles and they will drop like flies, having no ability to survive it nor create natural immunity as we do. Alien attack = thwarted!

WHAT YOU CAN DO

If you come down with measles tomorrow and you are not in a particularly high risk group (not pregnant, not auto-immune, not an oldie etc), then there is nothing that a doctor will do for you except advise rest and fluids, and there is nothing a hospital will do for you except give you an IV of sugar water so you don’t get dehydrated.

If your case progresses or you are in a high risk group, you may be treated to pharmaceutical antivirals and anti-inflammatories which should limit the disease. The doctors will probably not ask about or test your vitamin A levels. However here is my quick checklist for a nutritional approach to vitamin A:

  • do you take cod liver oil?
  • do you eat liver or pate at least once a week?
  • do you add generous amounts of grass-fed butter to your diet?
  • if you eat dairy, is it always high fat, grass-fed (organic) versions?
  • do you eat fish and eggs at least a couple times a week?
  • do you always add butter or natural fat to yellow and orange vegetables?
  • do you always add butter or natural fat to green leafy vegetables?

If you can honestly answer yes to most of those bullets, then you are going to coast through measles. If you are missing more than three of those bullets however, then you have probably also noticed that you get sick frequently and have trouble fighting off viruses. In addition, your long term health will suffer.

Low-fat vegetarians in particular are at risk of low levels of vitamin A. There is some dogma that suggests beta-carotene in yellow and orange vegetables, and also in green leafy vegetables, is a good enough pre-cursor to vitamin A. Part of that depends on how the vegetables are prepared (for example, steaming carrots increases the bio-availablility of beta-carotene whereas it is virtually locked up in a raw carrot), but also on whether or not they are consumed along with fat.

Vitamin A is a “fat soluble vitamin”, which means if you consume vegetables high in beta-carotene without fat you are essentially wasting them.

Now let’s say your diet checks out just fine, but now you have measles. The very first thing to do is start taking at least 200,000 IU of vitamin A for at least two days and probably for the duration of your illness. The cheapest and easiest way to administer this mega dose is with synthetic Vitamin A capsules (retinol). I would start with 20,000 IU (two pills) every hour for the first five hours and then reduce to 10,000 IU every hour for the remaining ten or so waking hours. Then I would repeat the next day and every day after that.

Mega-doses of vitamin A prevent the measles virus from replicating. (source: Pubmed) Taking vitamin D, say 6000 IU per day, will help protect you from the mega dose of vitamin A. And taking vitamin C, say another 1000mg every hour, will add antiviral power.

In addition, there were the herbs I mentioned earlier and there are some homeopathic protocols that people rave about.

But these nutritional and herbal additions are not the only interventions you are going to have to make…

QUARANTINE COURTESY

So now let’s take a moment and talk about quarantine. You may know logically that when someone in your household gets sick you are supposed to quarantine them, but chances are you have been playing fast and loose with this rule.

Do you sleep in a separate bed from your spouse when he’s sick? Do you use separate toilets? Good for you if you do, but not everyone lives in a palace with all these extra beds and toilets, so it may not be possible.

My point is that we have become super casual about sickness, as if 4 inches of space and super-high thread-count sheets is enough of a quarantine. Frankly I don’t care if you quarantine during the cold or flu – in fact I prefer if everyone goes for it and gets sick together, has intense symptoms and then recovers with the resulting stronger immune system. Again, this can be a risk if anyone in your household is less than one, pregnant, super old or already compromised. However we should at least understand the basics of quarantine in case a more serious disease emerges in our households.

Fly this Quarantine flag if you want people to leave you alone

Fly this Quarantine flag if you want people to leave you alone

The word quarantine is loosely derived from the Italian “forty days”, which is how long ships had to remain isolated before coming to shore during the various plague, yellow fever, smallpox and cholera years. Sanitation

The town of Leicester in England perfected land-based quarantine in the late 1800s with their “Leicester Method”, which they employed in lieu of mandatory smallpox vaccinations. A doctor would investigate any initial cases, get full reports on travel and whereabouts and then contact each and every potential person who had been exposed, and ask them to voluntarily quarantine.

Quarantine could take place in a hospital or in the person’s home, and it was shown that there were better results by keeping the infected people isolated in their own homes due to segregation and reduced travel.

Further elements of the Leicester Method included thoroughly sanitizing the home, maintaining civic sanitation standards, and burning exposed clothing and bedding when necessary. Quarantines for smallpox lasted 14 days.

QUARANTINE WORKS

Just last year a village of 30,000 people in China was quarantined after a 38 year-old man died of the bubonic plague. Yes, I said the freaking bubonic plague in 2014!  He caught it from an infected marmot that he cut up to feed his dog. No one else was infected, and after about a week the quarantine was lifted.

I think quarantine is an essential skill, and requires far more empathy and courtesy for others than just relying on a vaccine.

THE BC CASE: FIRST GENOTYPING TO DETERMINE MEASLES STRAIN

Consider that in the fall of 2013 in British Columbia, the MMR vaccine itself was at last shown to actually cause measles (source: Eurosurveillance). In most cases where vaccinated children acquire measles, it is assumed that they caught the wild virus and that for some reason their vaccine didn’t take.

However in this case in British Columbia, for the first time genotyping was performed to determine that the infecting measles strain was not wild but from the vaccine itself, and infected the toddler a full 5 weeks after she had been vaccinated.

Obviously this begs the question, should MMR-vaccinated children be self-quarantined for at least 5 or 6 weeks? Is there a way to tell who is and isn’t shedding the virus? Is there a way to tell who is and isn’t susceptible to vaccine-virus shedding?

Could there be more sense in requiring recently vaccinated children to stay home from school and self-quarantine than requiring unvaccinated children to do so? Is there any chance that would ever happen? Of course not.

OUR CRUDE INTERVENTIONS

Vaccines are an awesome idea – I mean there are so many wretched diseases out there that may have been prevented by this invention.

In addition to the many regular vaccinations I have received, I also did a slew of them before an extended trip around Nepal, Thailand and Laos. After all of these various shots, I had no adverse reactions and then proceeded not to catch the diseases I was vaccinated for. From my experience and point of view, vaccines have not been a problem and may have even been a lifesaver, or at least given me the convenience of traveling without catching typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis or yellow fever.

The alternative might have meant being bitten by a Laotian mosquito, catching Yellow Fever, and in the best case recovering after a few days despite a yellow cast of jaundice. Next I might have caught Japanese Encephalitis from a different mosquito living near domestic pigs or herons. In that best case I may have avoided the acute brain swelling which leads to retardation and death, and perhaps started to feel better after 5 days. Only next to catch typhoid from essentially eating bacteria-infected feces in food. This best case scenario would be roughing it out for a few weeks without antibiotics, or for about a week with antibiotics.  So even the best case scenario with catching all of these diseases would have made my trip much more expensive and uncomfortable.

The benefit, if you’ll let me call it that, would have been that then I would have developed real life-long immunity to those diseases and could thereafter travel with much more impunity. Of course, I also could have died of those diseases, which would have sucked harder.

And so because of our profound fear of dying and our nearly as profound fear of being inconvenienced, we have this wonderful invention of vaccines.

But that doesn’t change the fact that our vaccines are just a crude hack on our immune system, and an incomplete, transient and sometimes dangerous hack at that. Vaccines are viruses made benign (attenuated). They aren’t supposed to make you sick, but they are meant to stimulate the humoral immune system just enough that it will create antibodies.

The whole faith in vaccines is based on the idea that synthetically increasing antibodies confers immunity.

DOES IT?

From as long ago as 1974, it was well-documented that antibodies were in fact not required to survive the measles virus – survival was dependent on the “other arm” of the immune system, known as the cell-mediated response. In P.J. Lachmann’s paper “Immunopathology of Measles“, he writes:

“Thus, children with antibody deficiency syndromes (specific deficiencies of the B cell system) have quite unremarkable attacks of measles with the characteristic rash and normal recovery. Furthermore, they are not unduly prone to reinfection. It therefore seems that serum antibody, at any rate in any quantity, is not required for the production of measles rash; nor for the normal recovery from the disease; nor to prevent reinfection. Nevertheless, as has already been discussed, there is no doubt that antibody given passively can provide a perfectly adequate protection against measles infection. Anti-measles antibody thus provides a sufficient but not a necessary mechanism for anti-measles immunity.”

So the measles vaccine works, but it’s not in the usual way the body chooses to create immunity. It is a hack that has been adopted around the world without considering the consequences of ignoring the essential role of cell-mediated immunity, the other arm of the immune system.

This research is ongoing, though more subtly in mice. Recent studies confirm that no antibodies at all are required to confer immunity. While humoral B-cells (which produce antibodies) are essential at fighting off viral infection, it appears they can do it independently of actually producing antibodies.

In other words, maybe the source of “immunity” is further upstream and more complicated than just downstream antibodies. (source: PubMed study on mice bred with B-cells that don’t make antibodies). In addition, many people continue to suffer from diseases despite having been vaccinated for them and having created adequate antibodies against them. (source: PubMed paper on severe tetanus cases in people despite high antibodies against it).

HOW DOES NATURAL IMMUNITY WORK?

To create a lasting and legacy immunity, both arms of the immune system need to be stimulated – the humoral as well as the cell-mediated response – but the most essential one is the cell-mediated response. Cell-mediated immunity is the system of white blood cells that attack pathogens and also create the feelings of sickness inside you – from fevers to rashes to inflammations, and this also has to evolve with every pathogen.

At this point in time, a guaranteed immunity can only be generated by responding to an actual disease. Immunization is a word that specifically means you have cell-mediated immunity to a disease; it is not the same as mere vaccination or introduction of serum antibodies. However the words immunization and vaccination are frequently bandied about the by the government, the media and the CDC as if they are equally powerful actions. They are not even close.

Another day, I will get into what the possible consequences could be of filling people with viral antibodies without teaching their bodies the corresponding cell-mediated response. While the viral antibodies (vaccinations) can prevent specific diseases, they are simultaneously dumbing down the cell-mediated immune system. Now that’s an interesting conversation!

In the meantime, understand that cell-mediated immunity is the kind of immune system you want to pass on to your children, provided you can survive the diseases that teach it.

And that’s a tough lesson, but it should be your takeaway:

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

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FURTHER READING

Why is Germany So Calm About Its Measles Outbreak?” – The Atlantic, February 2015

Is There a Doctor In The House?” – The Brady Bunch episode from early 1970s where the whole family comically succumbs to the measles and is generally treated with ice cream sundaes

Roald Dahl’s moving letter to implore parents to vaccinate their children against measles as a way of preventing the complications of measles.

Vitamin A prevents the measles virus from replicating by up-regulating elements of the innate immune response in uninfected bystander cells.

Read about The Leicester Method of quarantine, which proved more effective against mortality than the early smallpox vaccine.

Bubonic plague kills man in China, and whole town is appropriately quarantined – 2014.

Case report of a 2013 B.C. measles infection caused 37 days after a toddler was given the MMR vaccination, and genotyped to show that her infection was the same strain as the vaccination, and therefore a direct result of the vaccination.

Mice bred with B-cells that don’t make antibodies survive deathly virus despite not having antibodies – are antibodies as essential as we thought?

So many cases like this, but here’s Severe Tetanus in people regardless that they were vaccinated and created strong antibodies.

And finally, please re-read my review of “An Epidemic of Absence: A New Way of Understanding Allergies and Auto-Immune Disease” for a recap on how childhood infections with parasites, helminths and germs informs the immune system and prevents auto-immune diseases and allergies later in life.

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One Day Of Ketosis

krebs

graphic reproduced from Joseph Arcita

I’m not even remotely an expert on this, but I thought I would share a sample day in hardcore ketosis, which is different from LCHF. The conventional ketogenic diet (designed for epileptics) requires the daily ratio of fats by weight to be four times greater than the combined weight of proteins and carbohydrates. Whereas the Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) folks tend to eat an amount of protein appropriate for their body size, and then less than 10g (but as much as 50g sometimes) of carbohydrates, and then they round out the rest of their diet with fat – but not in any specific ratio and usually not nearly so much as required on the classic ketogenic diet.

In other words, the classic ketogenic diet would have 50g of protein, 50g of carbs and (50 + 50 x 4 =) 400g of fat. This is a crazy amount of fat and calories (4000!), so I have designed a modified or modern ketogenic diet that still does the same thing without having to eat a couple tubs of mayonnaise throughout the day.

My modified, modern ketogenic diet would have 50g protein, 10g carbs and then (50 + 10 x 4) 240g of fat for an average person.

Whereas the same person doing LCHF would have 50g protein, 10g carbs and maybe just 100g – 150g of fat.

All three versions seem to keep people in ketosis, but since I have not personally tested all the methods with an at-home ketosis strip monitoring device, I can’t say for sure. Now I’ve got a goal this year. At last.

(However I would never test or play around with the “classic ketogenic diet”, as that much fat would invariable cause nausea and I just don’t need to do that to myself. I will definitely experiment with the others, though).

I put this sample menu together to improve upon one of my previous posts about cancer as a metabolic disease. I figured the information would be much more useful if readers could visualize what it really means to eat this much fat!

This menu is designed for me. Because of my body size and low level of activity, my body probably requires just about 45g of protein each day to maintain growth and optimum repair.  You may require more, or less. No matter what your protein requirement is, you will probably still want to consume around 10g of carbohydrates and not much more. For this “modified ketogenic menu”, you will add your protein to your carbs (mine is 45 + 10) and multiply by 4 to find out how much fat you will require.

MY SAMPLE MODIFIED KETOGENIC MENU

  • FOR BREAKFAST I could have a “Big Fat Coffee” (1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, espresso and hot water), 1 egg cooked in 1 Tbsp butter with a cubic inch of cheese shredded or melted into it. This comes out to 10g protein, 1g carbs and 48g of fat. Within the range!
  • FOR LUNCH I could have a salad with 1 1/2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup of chopped cucumber, a cubic inch of grated cheese, 2 pieces of bacon crumbled on top and a dressing made of 3 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp sour cream, spices and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar. I would have to eat ALL of the dressing. This comes out to 11g of protein, 5g of carbs and 60g of fat. Within the range!
  • SNACKS are tricky. Pâté and cheese, even on its own without crackers, has too much protein compared to fat – so I would have to also spread butter on it or something equally strange. I wouldn’t need much more protein on this “meal plan” suggested here, so all I could really can snack on is fat. I would suggest making an unsweetened chai tea (from a teabag) and emulsifying coconut oil into it as a creamy beverage. This gives me 14g of fat, which is great and filling.
  • FOR DINNER I could have a can of sardines packed in olive oil (I chose that because it’s easy to visualize), a 1/4 stalk of broccoli with 3 Tbsp butter melted on it, and another small salad of 1/2 cup of shredded romaine with a dressing made of 2 tbsp olive oil to 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. For dessert I could have 1/2 cup of whipped cream. This gives me 19g of protein, 5g of carbohydrate and 92g of fat. Just within the range!

DAY TOTAL = 40g of protein, 11g of carbohydrates and 215g of fat, and 2100 calories.

This was really hard! And even after all this work, I was 5g too low on protein, 1g too high on carbs and 5g too low on fat. However this would absolutely keep anyone in ketosis, without starving or feeling hungry whatsoever. This is a lot of fat to get through, and it keeps you feeling really full. But the point of this exercise was to show that you can get into ketosis with a low amount of carbohydrates without resorting to a low amount of calories.

I think what I really need to do is order some ketosis monitoring strips, so that I can verify for myself if LCHF, which is much more palatable, can still maintain adequate metabolism of ketone bodies.

WHY WOULD ANYONE WANT TO DO THIS?

Well, in addition to reversing tumors, nourishing mitochondria and providing preferential ketones for efficient metabolism, ketosis promotes cardiovascular health, increases HDL cholesterol and particle size while decreasing LDL cholesterol; ketosis increases neuronal stabilization and mental functioning, preserves lean body mass while reducing fat stores, and stops the progression and can reverse Type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s, hypertension and various cancers.

My question is, why wouldn’t you want to do this?

Showing small to moderate ketone levels on these possibly unreliable Ketostix

Showing small to moderate ketone levels on these possibly unreliable Ketostix

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FURTHER READING

I have updated my earlier post, CANCER IS A METABOLIC DISEASE, to include more specific details on the ketogenic diet and also this sample menu to help people visualize what it means to eat this way

A link to My Big Fat Coffee recipe and post

My thoughts on how much protein you should eat for your specific body size and needs

Here is a look at some ketostix test strips for monitoring ketone levels in urine, that you can use at home to see if you are still burning ketones or if you have slipped back to burning glucose

Here is the wikipedia page on THE KETOGENIC DIET

A pretty great and thorough “Guide to Ketosis” posted by Joseph Arcita, whose graphic I used up above. He is really comprehensive!

Inexpensive Ketostix in Canada if you want in on this game

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Cancer Is A Metabolic Disease

Image

That is some headline!  What does it mean? It means that cancer, the second-leading cause of death in North America (a hair behind heart disease), is a disease of impaired cellular energy metabolism which causes gene and cell mutations – not the other way around. It means that cancer is rarely genetic, so therapies at the gene level are not going to “cure” cancer. What is going to cure cancer? Understanding its cause, and then preventing those causes from happening. Both: doable now, not at some point in the distant future.

WHAT CAUSES CANCER: IMPAIRED CELLULAR RESPIRATION

Cellular respiration is the term for essentially turning carbohydrates (specifically glucose) into carbon dioxide and water, which releases energy that can be used by the body. There are two steps to cellular respiration. The first step takes place in the intracellular fluid and is called glycolysis: the breakdown of glucose into pyruvic acid. The second step takes place in the mitochondria, where pyruvic acid is stripped of its electrons (oxidized) into carbon dioxide and water, which creates energy. When it all works well, it is a beautiful thing.

BUT WHEN IT GOES WRONG

Cellular respiration goes wrong for two reasons. The first is if a mitochondrion becomes damaged, the pyruvic acid cannot be oxidized into carbon dioxide and water to produce energy. The second reason is if there is not enough available oxygen in the blood (hypoxia), the pyruvic acid cannot be oxidized. Oxidization requires oxygen. In both cases, oxidation cannot occur so cellular respiration is thwarted.

But the cell wants to stay alive and produce energy, so it adapts – and avoids the damaged mitochondrion altogether, and instead uses FERMENTATION in the cellular fluid to produce energy. Handy adaptation, right? This fermentation adaptation has become known as the Warburg effect.

A cell fermenting glucose is the main biomarker for cancer, and is picked up by an MRI measuring metabolic effects on citrate and choline (as in the photo above).

Fermentation is great for an individual cell and it thrives. However the cell can no longer perform any useful actions for the rest of the body. It’s on its own now, a rogue cell, and what it does is multiply. Cancers with the highest growth rates have the highest fermentation rates.

Most cancers are the result of a damaged mitochondrion, not of hypoxia.

WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP READING

I’m going to jump way ahead to keep you interested. Cancer cells ferment glucose, got it? Well what if there isn’t any glucose available?

Hold on, let me bold this answer because it’s going to SAVE YOUR LIFE:

AN ABSENCE OF GLUCOSE MAKES A CANCER CELL STARVE AND DIE

If a cancer cell cannot access any more glucose, then it has nothing to ferment and cannot produce any energy to reproduce or even to exist. It will literally starve and die.

Conversely, glucose accelerates tumor growth. Do you remember what glucose is? It is what all carbohydrates are turned into. Do you get what I’m saying here? Eating carbohydrates makes your tumor grow; abstaining from carbohydrates makes your tumor shrink.

Now if you have been living under the sofa, you might still think that you also need glucose and carbohydrates to exist. Well that’s not quite true! Sure your cells are great at using oxygen to break down glucose – but your cells have another option beyond fermentation. I really need you to pay attention to this:

YOUR CELLS CAN RUN ON FAT INSTEAD OF GLUCOSE

I’m not kidding. This is totally true. It’s called dietary ketosis, ketogenesis, or fat-burning, and I have talked before about how the Swedes are embracing this lifestyle under the banner of a “Low Carbohydrate High Fat” (LCHF) diet. (Not to be confused with ketoacidosis which is the life-threatening condition known to Type 1 diabetics).

When your body runs out of glucose in the blood, and cellular carbohydrate stores have been exhausted, a signal is sent to the mitochondria of liver cells to start producing ketones. This whole KREBS CYCLE thing (also known as citric acid cycle) is initiated: ketone bodies make available energy which is stored as fatty acids, which are then broken down enzymatically into Acetyl coenzyme A (Acetyl-CoA) which is beta-oxidized for energy.

The cells in the body that have healthy mitochondria are going to oxidize the products of the Krebs cycle (such as acetone)  instead of glucose for energy.

But how can a cancer cell oxidize the products of the Krebs cycle for energy if its mitochondrion is damaged? It can’t. The answer is that while the cell can adapt to ferment glucose in the intracellular fluid and bypass the damaged mitochondrion,  the cell CANNOT adapt to ferment fatty acids or the products of the Krebs cycle. Can’t do it! So that cell with its damaged mitochondrion, fresh out of adaptations, will have to perish. Good riddance, damaged cell! And sayonara cancer.

GREAT, CANCER IS CURED. BUT WHY DO MITOCHONDRIA GET DAMAGED IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Let’s do a list. Agents of damage to mitochondria:

  1. INFLAMMATION
  2. CARCINOGENS
  3. RADIATION
  4. VIRUSES
  5. OLD AGE
  6. VERY RARE GENETIC MUTATIONS
  7. RAS ONCOGENE OVERACTIVE SIGNALING – responsible for cell growth and division. This is a cause but also an effect of factors 1-6.

What do you notice about that list? Is it that we can actually control some of those impairment factors except viruses, age and very rare mutations? And even viruses we can get a handle on pretty early these days (not to mention the miracle of oregano oil and astragalus root). And very rare genetic mutations are likely a result of carcinogens, radiation or inflammation – so possibly also controllable at some point in your family tree (maybe not helpful for you, but it should be for your kids and grandchildren)?

WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD NOTICE

On that list of agents of damage to mitochondria: radiation. Yet another reason why the conventional cancer treatment of RADIATION THERAPY is a future death sentence, even if it buys some time in the present.

Also consider: using any kind of RADIATION TO DETECT CANCER is simply crazy (see: mammograms etc). Basically if you look for cancer long enough with radiation, you will find it thanks to the radiation.

Also on that list: inflammation. What this means is that using SURGERY (which is about as high on the causes of inflammation as you can get) to cut out your cancer can actually cause a lot more cancer. If inflammation causes abnormal cellular respiration, then using inflammatory surgery is not an easy solution for cancer unless you are only concerned with the short game. But more on this later.

NOW LET’S BACK IT UP

I haven’t offered up much supporting evidence so far, so let me be clear that I have sources. I have been suspecting the roles of inflammation and glucose (which can cause inflammation) in cancer for a while now, but was overwhelmed by the detailed research I came across in this really long, boring and expensive ($162!!!) book: “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management and Prevention of Cancer” by Thomas Seyfried. I will post a link at the bottom.

asametabolicdisease

If you have cancer or care about someone with cancer, you can either take my word for it (don’t do that) or you can order this book. But hurry, only 5 left in Canada! I think you should read the supporting evidence for yourself – over 1,000 scientific and clinical studies demonstrating that cancer can be more effectively prevented, managed and treated when it is recognized as a metabolic disease instead of misinterpreted as a genetic mutation. The genetic mutation is real, but the cancerous genetic mutation is largely the symptom of broken cellular respiration, not the cause.

In Seyfried’s words, from Chapter 9:

“Despite overwhelming evidence showing cancer is a metabolic disease in line with Warburg’s original theory, most investigators today view cancer as a genetic disease where mutations and chromosomal abnormalities underlie most aspects of tumor initiation and progression. The view of cancer as a genetic disease is the dogma driving the academic pursuit for resolution and is what currently underlies the pharmaceutical industry’s approach to new therapies. Each person’s tumor contains mutations unique to that tumor and to that person. Consequently, tailored or personalized molecular therapies are considered to be the future for cancer treatment. This therapeutic strategy has emerged from a widely held view that cancer is a genetic disease. How sure are we really that cancer is a genetic disease?
What if most cancers are not of genetic origin and that the multitude of gene and chromosomal defects seen in cancers are effects rather than causes of the cancer?”

In other words, what’s the point in inventing and fundraising for expensive therapies that target genes when the gene mutations are only the symptom and not the cause – and when the cancer will not be cured by these extravagant and complicated interventions?

THE CURE IS HERE NOW

The first thing I would do if I got a diagnosis of cancer would be to go on a water fast for at least 7 days. So would Thomas Seyfried. I would starve the crap out of my cancer and get my body into ketosis.

I would also change my entire life to eliminate outside stressors, make peace with the people around me, and limit my exercise to walking and gentle stretching and yoga. I would divert my energy towards healing instead of wasting it on exercise. So would Seyfried. He shows that vigorous exercise increases blood glucose due to muscle release of lactate and amino acids. Glucose feeds cancer, so vigorous exercise would be counterproductive.

After that though, Seyfried would go on a conventional ketosis diet with limited inputs (low calories). Basically he has seen the best results with a near starvation diet in the conventional ketosis ratio of fats:carbs:proteins. In case you don’t remember what a conventional ketosis diet is: traditionally the fats must be delivered in a ratio that is 4 times greater by weight than the combined proteins and carbohydrates.

I CAN DO BETTER

Seyfried’s research forté is oncology and cellular respiration. He falls short when it comes to diets. He knows that he needs his patients to reduce glucose and replace it with fat, and yet the only “safe diet” he has encountered to do this is the classic ketogenic diet created for epileptics and modified in the last twenty years to include industrial foods like canola oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil etc. No friggin’ way! Because those industrial oils are inflammatory! And inflammation damages mitochondria. Enough said.

In addition, Seyfried has a misunderstanding that to get into ketosis and stay in ketosis, it is mandatory to maintain a very specific ratio of fats:carbs:proteins. What is mandatory is the maximum amount of carbohydrates and proteins. The carbs need to be crazy low (say under 10g/day to starve a tumor) and the protein needs to be appropriate for your specific body or less. What is not mandatory is the ratio of fats to stay in ketosis, which can be increased.

Seyfried did not do any research or studies specifically into fat; instead he used his predetermined bias against the safety of fats that pervades our popular culture and medical literature. Let me say this one more time: fats and especially saturated fats are safe and healthy so long as carbohydrate consumption is limited. In this protocol, carbohydrates are especially limited, so fats and saturated fats are extremely safe and healthy. I do not blame Seyfried for missing this conclusion; it was simply outside the scope of his very detailed research.

LET’S REVIEW KETOSIS FOR A MOMENT

Conventional ketogenic diets (for epilepsy) say you must eat 4 times the amount of fat by weight as proteins and carbs. It also specifies that proteins and carbohydrates should be matched equally by weight. So that means if your body REQUIRES 50g of protein, you must also eat 50g of carbohydrates and a whopping 400g of fat in a conventional ketogenic diet. Incidentally, this is an insane amount of food and calories and everything.

This was Seyfried’s problem – that when he presented a cancerous body with 400g of fat a day, plus 50g of protein PLUS 50g of carbohydrates, it was just too much energy – about 4000 calories for a sick person who is not supposed to be exercising. In addition, 50g of carbohydrates was just too much glucose to starve any tumors at an effective rate. So Seyfried experimented with much lower values in the same ratio, and found that cancerous tumors regressed much better in a restricted caloric setting.

For example, the only way Sefried thought a patient could cut back on the carbs in a ketogenic diet was if he also cut back on the protein and fat, according to the ratio. So in order to make the diet work for 10g carbs per day, for example, he would cut back the protein to 10g and the fats to 80g. He thought it was important to reduce the amount of fat being ingested because of a cultural bias against fat and saturated fat. However he did not test for the safety of high fat/saturated fat diets on cancer or write about it; I contend this oversight was a cultural blind spot put there by conventional, outdated nutritional advice.

But I don’t think this is a successful recipe long term because the body requires what it requires for protein, roughly 1g per day per kg of body weight. This intense caloric restriction may be successful (in fact it is) in the short term at regressing tumors, but you will start to suffer without adequate levels of protein. And in addition, you will be really, really, really hungry and you will literally waste away. And furthermore, malnutrition is a huge risk for cancer in itself.

So if you consider that the body requires a certain amount of protein for daily growth and repair, that really doesn’t leave much room for carbohydrates because for every extra carb you must increase your fats fourfold. The trick to doing this successfully is to strip your carbs down to a bare minimum. The body actually doesn’t require any carbohydrates at all – not to stay in ketosis and not for optimum health. However it is almost impossible not to consume them one way or another. Even plain old meat breaks down into glucose at some level. The body makes its own glucose as needed, so you will never really be able to be completely free of it for the purpose of reversing tumors. However you can go pretty far in that direction if you put your mind to it.

SHOW ME A TYPICAL DAY

I think you’re going to want to visualize this with a typical day of eating. The challenge goes like this: if my specific body REQUIRES 45g of protein per day for optimum body growth and repair, then instead of adding another 45g of carbs and a whopping 90g x 4 = 360g of fat (as was Seyfried’s initial model), and instead of completely restricting consumption to 10g protein, 10g carbs and 80g fat, I am going to present another option.

First of all let’s get this out of the way: the barest-bones model. If my body requires 45g of protein then theoretically I could exist on that plus 45×4 = 180g of fat. But what I am suggesting is that we can have a little bit of carbohydrates if we just add some more fat. But we are by no means going to match the protein with the carbohydrates.

The daily menu I am aiming for has 45g of protein, 10g of carbohydrate and 220g of fat.

SAMPLE TUMOR BUSTING MENU

  • FOR BREAKFAST you would have to have a “Big Fat Butter Coffee” (1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, espresso and hot water), 1 egg cooked in 1 Tbsp butter with a cubic inch of cheese shredded or melted into it. This comes out to 10g protein, 1g carbs and 48g of fat. Within the range!
  • FOR LUNCH you could have a salad with 1 1/2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup of chopped cucumber, a cubic inch of grated cheese, 2 pieces of bacon crumbled on top and a dressing made of 3 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp sour cream, spices and 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar. You would have to eat ALL of the dressing. This comes out to 11g of protein, 5g of carbs and 60g of fat. Within the range!
  • SNACKS are tricky. Pâté and cheese, even on its own without crackers, has too much protein compared to fat – so you would have to also spread butter on or something equally strange. You wouldn’t need any more protein on this “meal plan” I have suggested here, so all you can really can snack on is fat. I would suggest making an unsweetened chai tea (like from a teabag) and emulsifying coconut oil into it as a creamy beverage. This gives you 14g of fat, which is great and filling.
  • FOR DINNER you could have a can of sardines packed in olive oil (I chose that because it’s easy to visualize), a 1/4 stalk of broccoli with 3 Tbsp butter melted on it, and another small salad of 1/2 cup of shredded romaine with a dressing made of 2 tbsp olive oil to 1 tsp apple cider vinegar. For dessert you could have 1/2 cup of whipped cream. This gives you 19g of protein, 5g of carbohydrate and 92g of fat. Just within the range!

DAY TOTAL = 40g of protein, 11g of carbohydrates and 215g of fat, and 2100 calories.

This was really hard! And even after all this work, I was 5g too low on protein, 1g too high on carbs and 5g too low on fat. However this would absolutely keep anyone in ketosis, without starving or feeling hungry whatsoever. This is a lot of fat to get through, and it keeps you feeling really full. But the point of this exercise was to show that you can get into ketosis with a low amount of carbohydrates without resorting to a low amount of calories.

The ratio of proteins to carbohydrates does not need to be maintained to stay in ketosis.

WHAT IF I DON’T WANT TO EAT SO MUCH FAT?

That’s a great question. Conventional ketogenic diets required that the grams of fat in the diet be a huge multiple (4x) of the protein plus carbohydrate grams. This heavy handed dose of fat literally guaranteed that children with epilepsy would stay in ketosis and not have seizures. However if you have some Ketostix to measure your ketone level, you can probably observe that in your body you don’t need to be so heavy handed. You might only need 80-90g fat per day to feel satiated, not over 200g. (I will link to Ketostix buying options at the bottom). My point in describing a day in the life of a diet of 220g fat was to show that you don’t need to go hungry to be on a ketogenic diet.

YOU DON’T NEED TO INDEFINITELY STARVE THE BODY TO STARVE CANCER

I can’t see that many cancer patients would choose to live out their days in ketosis if they had to be near starvation every day. It’s just too much to ask, and furthermore IT’S NOT NECESSARY. Just eat an appropriate amount of protein and eat more safe, stable, benign fat for goodness sakes. So long as you keep your carbohydrates under or as close to 10g/day and don’t go overboard on protein (because excess protein essentially converts to glucose), you will stay in ketosis and starve your cancer cells.

In fact, there are thousands of people who are living in ketosis RIGHT NOW, simply as a healthy choice and not because they are reversing tumors or diabetes or anything, and they are finding that they can stay in ketosis without resorting to the 4:1 ratio of fats: proteins and carbs. Their ratios are much less severe, and yet according to their at-home ketosis monitoring strips, their bodies are still metabolizing ketones instead of glucose. The most important part about reversing tumors is that your body must be burning ketones instead of glucose; it doesn’t much matter how you get there.

You can wait for some large scale human clinical trials to be completed. But in my opinion, you don’t have the time. A therapeutic ketogenic diet with less than 10g carbs/day, bulked up with extra fat for satiety, is going to prevent and at the very least arrest most cancers.

ANOTHER BENEFIT OF KETOSIS AND KETONE BODIES

Ketone bodies are anti-inflammatory on your system. They are actually a more efficient fuel, and a preferred fuel, than glucose. Possibly this was an evolutionary pre-cursor to burning glucose. When our system metabolizes ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose, our mitochondrial health is maintained and nourished, which reduces the possibility for cancer to take hold.

NOT ALL CANCERS

There are a few  cancers that do not depend completely on fermentation of glucose. Some cancers can adapt yet again, or simultaneously, from fermenting glucose –  into fermenting glutamine instead. Glutamine is an abundant amino-acid in the body. In addition, glutamine is the preferred fuel source for cells lining the small intestine, so cancers in that area might not respond as efficiently, or at all, to carbohydrate/glucose restriction.  These cancers might require specific drugs that arrest glutamine production from glutamic acid or glutamate.

However it gets a little too complicated for me here because glutamine is found throughout the body and is pretty much essential; not sure if we could survive without it. In fact, a low level of glutamine is typically expressed as a weakened immune system and a more permeable gut (“leaky gut syndrome”) – so basically as auto-immune diseases. I’d hate to remove glutamine from the system to starve off certain cancers only to develop a weak immune system and auto-immune disease. So I’m just not sure for these cancers of the small intestine (and possibly cancer of the lining of the stomach but not the stomach itself), that dealing with glutamine head-on is really the way to go.

However even these cancers will benefit from a nutritional ketosis or an LCHF diet because eliminating excess glucose is only going to be anti-inflammatory and beneficial.

WHAT ABOUT SURGERY?

Only after the patient has tried to reverse tumor growth with a ketogenic or LCHF diet should surgery be used. The initial period with the diet transformation will reduce inflammation, possibly shrink the tumor (seriously, this happens) and make the surgery more effective and less damaging if it still needs to be done at all.

WHAT ABOUT CHEMOTHERAPY AND OTHER DRUGS?

Seyfried is very, very careful to say that he thinks patients should still use traditional drug therapies as an adjunct to his diet protocol (consuming less than 10g carbs/day). He does not come out against chemotherapy or drugs (only against radiation), but he thinks they will work much, much better if the patient avoids glucose and carbohydrates. Chemotherapy is “much better” than it used to be!  However none of us can know what Seyfried would do himself if the situation arose. We all have a personal decision to make when it comes to our own treatment, and we should all be flexible as newer, safer drug protocols are developed.

The main thing I would look at when considering a drug protocol is: does this drug promote inflammation or does it reduce inflammation?

WHAT ABOUT OTHER ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS?

Obviously! Look into the gifts of the Magi: Frankincense and Myrrh. I read about a guy who injected these essential oils into his tumor and made it disappear! Why would these essential oils be given to baby Jesus if they weren’t the freaking most powerful substances ever?

Look into super doses of Vitamin C (between 20 – 100 GRAMS/day), which can act as a non-toxic chemotherapy in some cases, as the ascorbic acid targets cancer cells but not healthy cells. This can be done in addition to conventional chemotherapy with no negative reactions – but it can make the conventional treatment more effective. Vitamin C should be taken in intervals throughout the day because if you take it all at once it doesn’t get absorbed (the expensive pee syndrome). Try out 500mg every 45 minutes while awake – and know that you’ve reached your maximum if you get loose stools. This is a fairly inexpensive and harmless thing to try. This would work best with pharmacologic concentrations delivered intravenously, and I will post the clinical research at the bottom which explains these findings. (There has been a long and controversial debate about this effectiveness, but it has recently been studied correctly and resurfaced).

Don’t fly around the world paying gurus and healers big money for their “treatments of the moment”. But if you read about an inexpensive treatment that DOES NO HARM, then what is the risk? Humans have been curing cancers for millenia before the medical system stopped curing it this century. Why not find out how they used to do it?

You’ll also want to be careful that your new diet isn’t malnourishing you. So that is going to take some concentrated effort. In particular, you are going to want to eat a lot of foods that contain active groups of respiratory enzymes (iron salts, riboflavin, nicotinamide, and pantothenic acid). You can get your dietary iron from grass-fed liver, beef and lamb etc. To be extra certain you are getting these B vitamins, I would try using a topical B-complex cream (I will post a link below). In addition, Vitamin D is known to enhance mitochondrial efficiency – so get outside or take high quality cod liver oil. Finally, melatonin protects mitochondria in bone and brain cells – so either keep your room completely dark at night and get a good sleep or consider a melatonin supplement, especially in a topical cream form (again, I’ll post a link to one at the end).

JUICING, THE STEVE JOBS/DR. DEAN ORNISH CANCER TREATMENT

Juicing, for all its hype, is a diet of pure carbohydrates. This is the single fastest way to get glucose into your blood except for eating candy. Cancer cells need glucose to survive. That’s what cancer cells do, they ferment glucose and multiply. I really don’t need to keep connecting the dots for you, do I?

LET’S TALK MORE ABOUT INFLAMMATION

Inflammation is the one thing you probably have the most control over. Inflammation is so key in the chain of events that lead to cancer that I’m going to make another list of variables that provoke tissue inflammation:

  1. infections, either viral or bacterial
  2. excessive sugar, glucose and carbohydrates
  3. trans fats, oxidized oils, excessive vegetable oils and Omega-6 fatty acids
  4. physical trauma (lacerations, breaks, burns, surgery etc)
  5. smoking
  6. excessive alcohol consumption and most drug use
  7. carcinogenic chemicals (in foods, lotions, workplace etc)
  8. ionizing and even non-ionizing radiation (including x-rays and mammograms, cell phones etc)
  9. stress, worry, lack of sleep, negative attitude
  10. grains, improperly prepared or otherwise
  11. obesity

Inflammation damages cellular mitochondria, impairing oxidation and paving the way for intracellular fermentation. So your primary health goal should be to reduce inflammation at every turn.

WHEN DO I HAVE TO START EATING LESS THAN 10G OF CARBS/DAY?

You really only have to start eating less than 10g of carbohydrates a day if you find out you have a cancerous tumor, and only after you have done an initial water-only fast (or a much easier “fat fast” – fats and broths only). Most adults can function for 30-40 days on just water. If you think doing a fast is hard, you should consider how hard it will be to die and leave your family behind to pick up the pieces. Harsh, right?

Now let’s say you don’t have cancer (yet! Ha! I’m hilarious!) Probably you could get enough of a preventative effect from eating less than 50g of carbohydrates/day, provided you were mostly in ketosis. Let’s just make this a goal, okay? Now let’s say you slip out of it and go on a bender for a few weeks. Well guess what, it’s not the end of the world. Just do a therapeutic fast! Probably as little as 5 days on just water (or a fat fast) could set you straight if you were truly worried. Any cancer that was starting to take hold will be starved out. We all know we’re not really going to bother to do this, but I’m just putting it out there! 

What’s more, it’s my personal opinion that if you are generally healthy, you don’t need to go to the extreme of a water fast to get the benefits of starving cancer cells. All you need to do is a fat/broth style fast – eliminate carbohydrates for a week and you will be in the same place as if you had water fasted, but you won’t be hungry or malnourished.

DO CARBOHYDRATES AND SUGAR ACTUALLY CAUSE CANCER?

No way, not at all. Emphatically NO. Excessive consumption, over a lifetime, will certainly cause inflammation and set you up for metabolic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease etc. However we are clearly designed to flourish on a varying amount of carbohydrates. If your people (the people you are descended from over the last thousand years or so) lived in the tropics year round, chances are they adapted to eating a higher proportion of fruit, fructose and starchy, readily available carbohydrates; whereas if your people descended from the high north, you probably aren’t as well adapted to huge amounts of vegetation in your diet, and might thrive better on meats and fats. Humans are infinitely adaptable in their diets for survival; however it takes knowing where you’re from and understanding your own body to determine what kind of diet makes you personally thrive.

For me, I used to literally faint in public places if I started the day with carbohydrates and not enough protein or fat. Then when I hit my thirties, I noticed that carbohydrates caused my body to expand totally differently than in earlier days. I had to adapt and learn more about replacing most of my carbohydrates with fat. It’s not easy every day; it’s more of a journey to be honest.

AND NOW FINALLY, SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME ENRAGED

youkilledher

Mary and her grandchildren engaged in a sick, sugar-fueled suicide pact thanks to your gift

Fundraisers for cancer research that promote carbohydrate eating and especially that fetishize sugar-laden treats drive me bananas. Do you really want to cure cancer if you are right there in the front lines feeding people cookies and Fruitopia? Please tell me you see the irony if not the criminal negligence in this action.

See:

  • every fundraiser at your kid’s school that sells lollipops, cookies, juice or cake in exchange for a donation to cancer research
  • cancer research advertisements asking you to give money so that Mary can spend one last year with her grandchildren baking cookies
  • kids selling chocolate bars with the pink ribbon on them, or any candy with a pink ribbon on it
  • foundations specifically called names like “Cookies for Kids’ Cancer” (even though it is an honest name – cookies ARE for kids’ cancer since cookies literally feed the cancer)

I am not trying to offend you if you are dedicated to raising money for cancer research (or ANY medical research for that matter) through selling the poison that feeds cancer. But maybe you should examine what you are doing? Maybe sell crafts instead? Maybe don’t support those fundraisers in your kid’s school anymore. After all, your kid is at school to learn something – make this lesson your top priority.

ANOTHER NOTE ON CANCER FUNDRAISING

This is a sore point so I’m not going to get too deeply into this. But cancer fundraising is a huge, multi-billion dollar business that doesn’t necessarily have a lot to do with curing or preventing cancer, in my opinion. I might be overstating it. But again, in my opinion, cancer fundraising has a lot to do with funding itself and finding medical interventions for people who don’t want to change their diet or lifestyle, and for economies that don’t want to change their reliance on easy carbohydrates to make a profit.

You should be advised that despite over 1,000 clinical studies showing that cancer is a metabolic disease, and that it can be reversed into remission by eliminating carbohydrates from the diet – the famously esteemed Mayo Clinic is still calling this concept “a myth”. I can absolutely guarantee that if you get a diagnosis of cancer and go to your oncologist and ask what role nutrition or carbohydrates have in cancer, you will be told patronizingly not to worry about it.

However avoiding sugar and reducing carbohydrate consumption is possibly the best medicine and it is FREE. And it causes no harm. I really don’t know what else to say.

Oh yeah, happy holidays.

____________________

Further Reading and Links:

Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer by Thomas N. Seyfried

If you don’t want to read the whole book, read this short version online

Didn’t like my rudimentary glossed-over version of the Krebs cycle/citric acid sycle? Read more about how the body can “run on fat” 

At least read this Chapter 2 available online from Mitochondrial Genetics and Cancer, by Dakubo, G. D. : The Warburg Phenomenon and Other Metabolic Alterations of Cancer Cells

The Steve Jobs Diet, Dr. Dan Ornish, and Vegetarian Cancer from The Bulletproof Executive

Mega Doses of Vitamin C selectively killing cancer cells and sparing healthy cells – a research paper from the National Academy of Sciences in the United States.

How to eat LCHF again and what it is

This helpful Australian website by Sarah Wilson, I Quit Sugar – you can buy her books on Amazon

How to determine how much protein you should eat

An absolutely awesome cookbook that will show you how to eat Low Carbohydrate High Fat for life and enjoy it immensely, no starvation or deprivation whatsoever

Ketosis test strips are really expensive but there are lots of types to choose from for at-home monitoring. Actually, they are super cheap at Well.ca

My favorite topical Vitamin B complex cream, expensive but kind of awesome

A topical Melatonin cream that I haven’t used but looks okay

NEW: Article on radiation in the New York Times: We are Giving Ourselves Cancer

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Super Matcha Fragilista

Super Matcha Fragilista

Oh brother, another drink. The thing is, I just assumed that everybody was already doing this but it turns out I need to hammer this message home:

YOU NEED TO DRINK MATCHA EVERY DAY

I’m talking tea ceremony! Fancy whisk! Drinking from a bowl!

Matcha is finely stone-ground, high quality shade-grown, steamed green tea leaves. You spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into a lovely bowl, add some water just south of boiling (60-70 degrees Celsius), and whisk it until frothy and dissolved. If it doesn’t froth well, then what you’ve got is crappy powdered green tea, not matcha. The whisk is supposed to be bamboo (called a “chasen”), and your whisking style is supposed to be in a Z pattern. Think Zen. Hey, if no one’s watching: whisk how you like.

GREEN TEA VS MATCHA

Green tea has a ton of benefits; we all know that. But see if you can get through this next paragraph without having a FOMO panic attack and brewing yourself a preventative cup:

Green tea increases the metabolism while also reducing appetite. Polyphenols work to intensify fat oxidation. Green tea regulates glucose levels, preventing high insulin spikes. It relaxes blood vessels so changes in blood pressure don’t lead to heart attacks; also, reduces high blood pressure and protects against blood clotting. It rebalances cholesterol ratios – more good, less bad. It targets cancer cells without damaging the surrounding cells. It delays Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s deterioration, protects brain cells from dying and restores damaged brain cells. Catchetin in green tea is an antioxidant which destroys bacteria and viruses that cause throat infections and cavities. L-Theanine in green tea is an amino acid that imparts tranquility and eases depression. Green tea is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, so will protect against aging and disease in general. Phew, tell me you’re drinking some already!

The problem is, you need to regularly drink at least 2 cups a day for these benefits, and probably a lot more. Drinking that much tea is so exhausting.

SO LET’S CUT TO THE MATCHA

Matcha has all the benefits of green tea (catchetins, amino acids), but possibly 137 times more. That’s kind of a huge multiple, so let me back it up with this study from the University of Colorado in 2003. To break it down, the antioxidants in a bowl of matcha tea are 137 times stronger than in a cup of the green tea specifically available at Starbucks, which is to say: stronger than low quality green tea. Most of the green tea available in the West is low quality. So if you can get your hands on some really fancy imported high quality green tea, and if you infuse the leaves at least 3 times, then possibly matcha is only 3 times richer in antioxidants than your custom import. But why go to all that trouble when high quality, organic matcha powder is readily available at health food stores, tea shops and high end groceries – and is usually sold right next to the bamboo whisk.

Matcha powder was invented by a Buddhist monk, Eisai Myoan in the late 1100’s. He introduced it to his fellow monks as an early biohack – using it helped the monks calm down and prepare for meditation. The secret weapon: L-Theanine. This is an amino acid and a glutamic acid which crosses the blood-brain barrier and induces changes in brain alpha waves and reduces mental and physical stress. Combined with caffeine, L-Theanine improves cognition, promotes faster reaction times, and increases working memory.

You only need one cup a day, and should start with a small amount of matcha powder (1/4 tsp). I’ve been using it for a pretty long time, so I tend to shovel the powder in. But I pay for it. There is A LOT of caffeine in matcha powder, and even though it is slow-release and alkalizing (rather than fast release and acidifying like coffee), you are still going to feel it. Don’t drink this at night unless you are trying to catch up on a whole season of Breaking Bad.

There are also warnings about drinking matcha with milk, as a latté, as conventional dairy milk can reduce the antioxidant effects of the tea. So try almond or cashew milk, especially homemade from soaked organic raw nuts. But I’m not terribly worried about a bit of steamed milk, especially if it gets you to start enjoying matcha. Something is better than nothing.

RITUAL NOT CONVENIENCE

Drinking matcha tea should be a ritual, not a fast-food convenience. See if you can keep a little bowl, a whisk and a small tub of matcha powder at your office or place of work, and enjoy this every morning.

When I’m out and about, I am often tempted to order a Matcha Latté from Starbucks or the Whole Foods café – but be warned that these chains use a matcha powder that is really low quality and diluted with sweeteners. Always ask for unsweetened (it will still be sweetened, just less so), and know that you are having a treat, not a healthful beverage.

Finally, a shout out to my cousin Kyra who forgot her matcha tea ceremony set at my cottage six years ago, which turned into me appropriating it and discovering a new love. THANKS!

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LCHF: Forking it Swedish Style

LCHF: Forking it Swedish Style

LCHF stands for “Low Carbohydrate High Fat” diet, something that 25% of Swedes are into. There are at least four LCHF print magazines in Sweden (printed in Swedish, of course) and literally hundreds of websites and blogs in Swedish about this phenomenon. Here is one edition translated into English. These Swedish sites are a great resource for recipes if you are looking for a way to increase your fat and decrease your carbohydrates.

What makes the Swedish LCHF different from Paleo and Primal diets is that LCHF promotes even higher fat, and even lower carbohydrate – but includes full fat dairy. The Swedes love whole fat raw dairy and so do I. They have had a long time to evolve with it; you may or may not be as lucky as the Swedes.

What do I love about the Kingdom of Sweden? The Economist calls Sweden the best governed country in the world. Income equality is incredibly fair (though actual wealth distribution is much less fair – thanks Ikea!). Sweden has given us Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking author!), hotties Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman, the Nobel Prize and the superior Celcius temperature system, Acne clothing, ABBA, Ace of Base, Avicii and Stieg Larsson. I’m sure they’ve done some other things, but honestly, isn’t that enough?

Let’s just say these people are smart and tough, they endure some of the highest taxes in the world, they enjoy socialized health care and yet 1 in 4 citizens of the Kingdom of Sweden have still taken the responsibility of their own health into their own hands – by embracing LCHF.

 BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN EXACTLY?

  1. Eat the recommended amount of protein for your body size. See this post on protein ceilings for a reminder of how to calculate yours. I should be eating between 40-50g of protein a day.
  2. Limit your carbohydrates to 10g per 100g of food consumed. If it is too complicated to weigh out your food, try using a calorie counter app like MyNetDiary and keep your carbohydrates under 10% of calories. I try to eat less than 20g of carbohydrates every day. But I’m still not getting it. I usually end up at around 60g and scratch my head. (The culprit is usually dairy: yoghurt, kefir or milk in a latte. Or chocolate. Or wine. Or who’s kidding who, my dad left an open bag of chips on the counter and stuff happened).
  3.  Eat some green vegetables, or vegetables that grow above the ground. You don’t need to eat your whole crisper drawer – better to eat a smaller amount of nutritionally dense foods than huge salads. When you can opt for “wild” type plants like fiddleheads, wild leeks, scallions, arugula – go for it. Small, bitter greens and herbs have more nutrition than modern vegetables, which have largely had the nutrition bred out of them in exchange for bigger size, cosmetics and durability. Always add butter or olive oil or some kind of fat to your greens to optimize your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients (avocado would also work).
  4. The rest of your calories or grams need to come from fat. We’re talking a lot of fat. It’s not LCMediumFat, it’s LCHighFat. Using that same calorie counter app, at least 50% of your calories should come from fat at first, and as soon as you can handle it, try for 70%. For me this looks like a TBS of butter and a TBS of coconut oil in my morning coffee. Then the same amount in a mid-morning Crazy Hot Chocolate Drink. Then if I have a salad at lunch, I include half an avocado and a lot of olive oil. I might also have an oily fish at lunch, like 4oz of wild salmon or some sardines. For dinner I might have a small portion of lamb chops and will eat all the fat off of them, and some asparagus with lots of butter melted on top.

A sample day like this gives me 50g of protein, over 100g of fat and about 25g of carbohydrates. And I haven’t even made room for a cup of kefir (13g carbs), a single Lindt chocolate ball (5g carbs), let alone a butter tart (45g carbs). So you can see how difficult this is. For me in this sample, I am already at my protein ceiling, so I can’t snack on protein. (Remember once you hit your protein ceiling, the excess protein will probably convert to glucose, which if unused will get converted to fat storage – so it’s the same as eating sugar). I am already beyond the classic LCHF 10% of calories from carbohydrates or 10g carbohydrates per 100g food. So if I’m still hungry…

THE ONLY THING LEFT TO SNACK ON IS FAT

Which is a problem because it’s not really a normal thing, and certainly not an acceptable thing, to just snack on straight fat.

The most basic option is to have a tablespoon of coconut oil, fresh from the jar. This honestly isn’t so bad. I mean, I sort of like it a lot. But everybody is not like me. This repulses both of my sisters and literally makes them gag.

Some people just eat butter straight. That’s not for me; not yet anyway. However one great option is to find hot drinks to emulsify fat into, like a hot chai tea (unsweetened, from a teabag) blended with grass-fed ghee, butter or coconut oil. I also enjoy melting some coconut cream into a matcha tea as if it’s a latté.

At the very least, you’ve got to tell me that you’re intrigued. I mean, the Swedes are jumping all over this!

What is even more interesting is that there is a small group of American fertility doctors who are counseling their patients to adopt a strict LCHF or even a NoCarbHighFat diet, and finding that while 50-60% of their patients used to need to go on to IVF and further procedures – now only 5% need that next step. The LCHF protocol is literally ramping up their fertility within a matter of months.

The craziest part of all is that this can have profound health benefits – on fertility, diabetes, Alzheimer’s (type 3 diabetes), dementia, Parkinson’s, cancer, metabolic syndromes etc. – and yet it doesn’t cost a thing in medicines or treatments, lasts a lifetime and has no negative side effects.

Just a warning – obviously you need to eat the “right” fats if you are going to do LCHF. Here is a list of great fats to choose from:

  • virgin cold-pressed coconut oil
  • grass-fed butter (raw and organic if possible)
  • fats from pastured, grass-fed ruminants (including tallow)
  • fats from wild, cold-water small fish like salmon and sardines
  • egg yolks (but go ahead and eat the whole egg, one has less than 0.5g carbs)
  • olive oil (only for cold applications)
  • avocado (one whole has 15g carbohydrates)
  • walnuts (1/2 cup has 8g carbohydrates)
  • fats from organic, traditionally raised pigs and chickens in moderation (including lard)
  • duck fat in moderation
  • other nuts in moderation (always preferably soaked to remove anti-nutrients)

Go ahead and research how these appropriate fats are actually nourishing for the brain, the heart and all your organs and your system as a whole. The research is trickling in against the wave of opposite and conventional advice. In the meantime, you can enjoy insanely hydrated skin, stronger hair and nails, an increase in lean muscle mass and a decrease in stored fat (without exercise).

Your jaw is going to freaking drop when you see how easily this works.

_____________________

FURTHER READING

Read my post on How to Eat More Butter

Learn how to make a Big Fat Coffee with butter and coconut oil, and why to drink it

Read about the implications of the LCHF diet on tumor regression

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Kefir: Foundation Drink No. 3

I KEEP SEEING THIS IN THE STORE

That’s right, you can now buy “kefir” at the store! Liberté Organics has a version in a plastic jug that you can drink, and it’s also flavored with strawberry or blueberry. Try this if you are new to kefir. It’s just super sweet like YOP! Enjoy, preferably last thing at night before bed.

Once you are ready to graduate to the next level, try buying a better commercial version. Here in Ontario we have Pinehedge Farms, which makes a UNHOMOGENIZED WHOLE MILK version in a glass jar. They also have a low fat version but I do not encourage low fat products.

But I put “kefir” in quotes up above for a reason. The commercial “kefir” that you buy is made from a powdered compilation of beneficial bacteria and yeast cultures – usually containing about 9 strains combined. This is “better” than yoghurt, which usually only contains one or two varieties (Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus). Just as an aside, there is a story going around that yoghurt cultures are destroyed in the stomach and never make it to the intestines to flourish, but this study suggests otherwise. The cultures in commercial “kefir” are great, and like the yoghurt cultures, they make it through the digestive tract and live to colonize the intestines. The Pinehedge “kefir” is a fantastic product, thick, creamy and great tasting, and I would be happy if you ate a 1/2 cup every night before bed so that it can colonize you in your sleep.

WHY BOTHER MAKING MY OWN KEFIR THEN?

As much as I love the Pinehedge “kefir” (or similar glass-bottled whole milk unhomogenized products), they probably don’t have more than 10 strains of bacteria in their makeup. Whereas homemade kefir from “grains” contains 29 strains of bacteria and 27 strains of yeast. Want to see the whole list? Though please note that this isn’t a more = better contest. Actually, change that. It most certainly IS A MORE = BETTER CONTEST as far as intestinal bacteria is concerned. I mean, you want more of the “good bacteria” certainly and less of the “bad bacteria”, but what you are especially looking for is diversity. This is like the rainforest – lots of options give you adaptability but a monoculture or fewer species of bacteria limit your immune system’s ability to deal with all the environmental factors you throw at it. But even beyond this great diversity of bacteria and yeasts, homemade kefir from “grains” derived from the Caucasus Mountains have an even more profound advantage. In fact homemade kefir from these grains is such a very special creation that no commercial enterprise has been able to replicate it, though they have certainly tried and tried. Wikipedia calls kefir a unique “symbiotic consortia of bacteria and yeasts”. And what is most special about these Caucasian grains is that when allowed to ferment on the lactose of dairy milk, they create a substance called kefiran. And it’s all about the kefiran.

KEFIRAN

Kefiran is the polysaccharide that holds the “grains” of kefir together, and is created as a result of the unique relationships between kefir’s bacteria and yeasts. Kefiran tested on rats has reduced and eliminated tumors, induced systemic anti-inflammatory response, reduced serum cholesterol levels and suppressed increased blood pressure. In human studies, kefiran had a preventative effect against breast cancer cells without harming the healthy cells,  and it stimulated body cells to produce 14 times more Interferon-beta, a vital glycoprotein excreted by body cells to combat viral infection, and possibly combat cancer cells. Nobody has compiled the research on kefiran better than Kefir Mentor Dom Anfiteatro, who has the most comprehensive guide to kefir that exists, complete with references to every existing study.

But that two-page list of studies is all there is. Are there ongoing large-scale clinical trials on kefiran? Certainly not. There is no money in it as kefiran just cannot be made commercially. It has to be tended, like a pet, and it is very susceptible to changes in temperature, humidity and the ratios of milk to grains. Is this the inexpensive low-tech answer to curing cancer? I don’t know, but it doesn’t cause any harm (unlike all cancer medicines and conventional protocols),  and costs no more than good quality milk, some cool glass jars with flip-tops and a one-time purchase of grains (under $20 unless you can get them from a friend for free).

YEAST, YUK! RIGHT…?

I get it, you just spent  months on a Candida Cleanse to get rid of your yeast overgrowth, which was characterized by sharp pangs in your stomach (intestines) every time you ate too much sugar, and also by an anti-intuitive out of control craving for that same sugar. You cut out sugar, bread, beer, brewer’s yeast, fermented products of all sorts. So how on earth can it be beneficial now to ingest more yeast?

Well the 27 yeasts in kefir are generally “the good yeasts”! And they will fight off “the bad yeasts”(Candida albicons) that are controlling your sugar appetite and leading to yeast overgrowths. For this reason, sometimes when people start taking kefir, the new yeasts cause a die-off of the old yeasts, called a Herxheimer reaction. These dying Candida albicons can produce up to 79 short-term toxins and be kind of unpleasant (headache, fatigue, bloating) until they are all eliminated. One way to avoid this is by initiating your kefir protocol slowly, like a few TBS at night, and then only over a week or two work up to 1/2 cup or more. If you get constipated, you have taken too much too soon.

stovetop kefir

WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME? BIG PICTURE

People, let’s start with the problems you don’t know you have yet. Consider that all auto-immune diseases start in the gut. Check out the long, long list of auto-immune diseases. You don’t have any yet? Well your mom or your uncle probably does. And I’m sorry to say this but on a Western diet, they’re coming for you. And what about allergies? If your gut health isn’t optimal, meaning if you don’t have the best balance of beneficial bacteria colonizing your intestines, then the walls of your intestines are leaking partially digested foods directly into your blood where they act as toxins. These toxins affect both your psychology and your physiology. There is a name for this occurrence, it’s called the Gut and Psychology (or Physiology) Syndrome – shortened to GAPS, and coined by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Haven’t heard of GAPS yet? Have you heard of Leaky Gut Syndrome? It’s not exactly recognized by the conventional medical establishment, but it is understood to be the pre-cursor to every auto-immune system. Leaky Gut Syndrome is not a side effect that the medical establishment can treat with commercial drugs, so it doesn’t seem very interesting to them, and nor is healing the gut. In our system, a drug comes first and then an illness is discovered and marketed to sell the drug. The economic problem here is that it is drugs themselves, especially antibiotics, that create imbalances in the gut and harm it. But all that is an aside.  I am here to tell you that healing the gut is EVERYTHING.

WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME? SMALLER PICTURE

Kefir is high in tryptophan, so has a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system and can help you get to sleep as well as ease depression and ADHD. It is easily digested, balances and cleanses the intestines with beneficial bacteria and yeasts, and builds up the immune system. The fermentation process creates complete proteins, reduces carbohydrates by pre-digesting sugars and lactose, boosts levels of B Vitamins – especially B12 and folic acid, and in particular creates the important Vitamin K2.

When you take kefir regularly (I prefer at bedtime when it has the best chance of colonizing the intestines) it will reduce gas, promote regular bowel movements and eliminate bloating and other intestinal issues.

ALREADY CONVINCED? WELL TRY MAKING IT

There are so many great sites online that show you how to make kefir. Let me direct you to Dom’s Kefir-Making Site, where he has step by step instructions with photos. If all that info is too much to handle, look at these simpler instructions at Nourished Kitchen.

WHAT I DO

I use 2 glass flip-top jars for the first fermentation and the second fermentation. I use a steel strainer and a wooden spoon. I use raw (unhomogenized organic whole fat) milk that I get in an alley from a cow that I share (thanks for the hassle, Ontario!). I also use lemon peels and sometimes basil leaves for the second fermentation.

FIRST FERMENTATION: WITH KEFIR GRAINS

  1. Before bed, I put a small handful of kefir grains in a flip-top 1 L jar and fill about 3/4 full (3 cups of milk). This is a very high grains to milk ratio, but I have a lot of grains and not a lot of room to store milk.
  2. I put the sealed jar into a dark cupboard, because that is convenient for me. A countertop is fine. When I remember and pass the cupboard, I give the jar a gentle shake.
  3. In the morning, about 12 hours later, I check the kefir. The milk is usually still runny, and it hasn’t thickened or shown signs of “legs” on the glass when shaken.  I put it back in the cupboard.
  4. Usually between 3pm and 6pm, the kefir has started to look like it is thickening up. But I usually don’t have time to deal with it right away. So I move it to the fridge until bedtime, to slow it down.
  5. At bedtime, let’s say 9 or 10pm, I take the kefir out of the fridge and check again to make sure it is ready. Usually the fridge seems to thicken it a bit more, I think because a different form of bacteria is allowed to propagate at the cooler temperature.
  6. At this point if it is ready (has legs, is thick) I pour it through a strainer into a bowl, stirring with a spoon to separate the grains from the kefir.
  7. I put the kefir grains back into the same flip-top jar without rinsing them or the jar (I rinse the jar every 3 or 4 turns), and fill back up with milk, then put the jar back into the cupboard to repeat at step 2 above. This jar is called THE FIRST FERMENT.

THE SECOND FERMENTATION: WITHOUT KEFIR GRAINS

  1. I pour the freshly strained kefir from the bowl into a second glass 1L flip-top jar, and add about a 1/4 of a lemon peel. Sometimes I add a basil leaf as well, or bee pollen and royal jelly. This jar is called THE SECOND FERMENT.
  2. I seal up this jar and put it into the cupboard next to the first ferment. And then I go to sleep.
  3. In the morning, I check both jars and maybe shake them a bit. I am checking for thickness, legs, or separation.
  4. Usually between 3pm -6pm, both the first ferment and the second ferment are ready or almost ready, so I put them both in the fridge. Again, the fridge just makes them a little more drinkable to me, a little smoother and creamier.
  5. At bedtime, I take out the second ferment and check it for doneness. Now is a great time to drink it! It should be bubbly like champagne, slightly tart from the sourness of the milk, zesty from the lemon and/or basil, and mild (to my taste anyway). It should not taste or smell revolting or overly sour. It should definitely not taste or smell like rancid milk.
  6. At this point I usually rinse or don’t rinse the second ferment jar, and pour the strained kefir from the first ferment into it. Etc.

grainsIt’s great when it all works like this, because I like to be able to drink my kefir at night, and do all the work at the same time. However sometimes it’s just not ready in time, and I have to wait until morning. Sometimes I wait until morning and then it has gone too far – characterized by separating into curds and whey. (If this happens, you can then strain the kefir through a cheesecloth and make cream cheese from the curds and drink the whey separately). Sometimes if it has only separated a little, you can put the jar in the fridge and it will sort of “come back together”. The fridge seems to smooth out a lot of human error, I find.

A NOTE ON JARS

You can do this in mason jars, so long as you don’t make them too tight. The fermentation process produces CO2 which can cause the jar to explode. But the problem with a loose mason jar lid is that it also lets random yeasts and bacterias in, which changes the final product (can make it extra sour etc.). The best results happen in an air-lock jar where the carbon dioxide can get out but nothing can get in. You can see every method of jar tested here, on 28-day sauerkraut. Even better results happen when there is a bit of pressure on the jar, but not enough to burst it. Which means you don’t have to spend big money on a fancy Pickl-it jar, as any old Fido or European brand of glass flip-top jars will do. Ikea jars, not so sure. Let’s leave the Chinese glass in China.

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Lemons All The Way

We all know about squeezing lemons into water and then downing the resulting drink as an alkalizer. But as I mentioned in my post about Apple Cider Vinegar, organic lemons are expensive and it seems kind of wasteful to just squeeze out a few tablespoons of juice and then throw the rest away.

Lemon

BUT SOME PEOPLE EAT THE WHOLE LEMON!

What?  That’s impossible!

Or at least gross!

Well I am here to tell you that I have figured out a way (thank you internet) to eat a whole lemon and it is soft, yielding, delicious, invigorating and has a host of other benefits.

HERE’S WHAT YOU DO

1. Carefully wash your organic lemon to make sure there are no waxes or residues on the rind.
2. Cut the lemon in half, squeeze each side into a cup and reserve the juice.
3. In a separate cup, fill with appropriate water and drop in the two spent lemon halves. Keep these lemons soaking in the water for at least 8 hours, either on the counter or in the fridge. Overnight is best.
4. Check on your cup of soaking lemons. Pull out one half and take a tentative bite… Not as sour and bitter as you thought, right? Kind of awesome hmmm?

WHY OH WHY SHOULD I DO THIS?

  • Detoxifies the body
  • Decreases tissue acidity / alkalizes the system
  • Enhances immune function
  • Promotes liver health
  • Assists with hormonal balance
  • Nourishes and strengthens cells and cell membranes
  • Improves and normalizes digestive health

More specifically, the oils in the peel provide essential fatty acids that boost immune function, benefit cell integrity, and improve skin quality. Specifically in the peel: D-limonene has anti-cancer properties; pectin helps emulsify oils and chelate toxins from the large intestines; oligomeric proanthocyanidins are antioxidants with powerful antihistamines.

But… don’t do this every day. Lemon peels are really high in oxalates, which are great for detoxing but they can also steal and bond with calcium, magnesium and iron from the body,which form crystals that can turn into painful kidney stones. So if you already have kidney problems, this is probably not for you. Same for anyone with gout or rheumatoid arthritis, most likely.

WAIT A MINUTE WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH THE RESERVED LEMON JUICE?

Right. You might have noticed in the recipe above that I asked you to reserve the lemon juice. Why not put it in a small mason jar with a lid, fill to the top with appropriate water, and then add 1/8 teaspoon of dried cayenne pepper. Now replace the lid, shake it up, and sip it if you can! The Master Cleanse and just about every “juicing” program makes a version of this with added maple syrup or agave (no thanks) to “rev up” the metabolism. But I just don’t need the added sugar and carbohydrates, and nor do you. (However if you want to add warm water and substitute coconut oil for the maple syrup – I’m back on board).  For sure this is a next level drink, and if you can get used to it – what a rush! I love it, seriously.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Google will show you all sorts of links between cancer prevention, tumor reduction and eating whole lemons. But let’s go to Snopes to break down the myths from the research. And then also remember that there is never going to be any serious research or clinical trial that will prove that lemons can replace expensive medicines; that would be cray cray.

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