'Grain brain' book review

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Grain Brain is a book all about our grain diet, and how eating lots of grains is a bad idea for us, as human beings. I enjoyed reading it. Dr David Perlmutter clearly knows his stuff in the book, as he is a doctor and nutritionist. He also explains the issues well, in clear prose that includes interesting details and a good balance between the science and the practical consequences.

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In his book, Dr Perlmutter explains that we are not built to consume grains. This is hardly surprising, since the practice of growing large amounts of grain to feed a human population is only a very recent development, at least in terms of the human species. Before we started growing grains, in around 4,000 BC, we existed on a hunter-gatherer diet. This would have consisted of very fresh meat, fresh fish, nuts, leafy greens and seasonal berries. We would have eaten carbohydrates, in the form of tubers, but we would have eaten hardly any grasses, including wheat, rye, barley and rice. Our digestive systems are therefore set up to digest a non-grain diet. Since civilisation began, the sudden influx of large amounts of starch into our diet, which is quickly broken down into sugars in the gut, as well as us consuming actual sugars, especially in the form of concentrated fruit sugars, has been a shock to our digestive system.

Our body has a Hell of a time dealing with carbohydrates and sugars. Because meals heavy with these foods causes a rapid increase in the amount of sugar in our blood, our body has to work hard to remove the sugars from our blood system. It does this by pumping out insulin, which shepherds the sugar into our cells. But our cells can only take in so much sugar, and they soon begin to close the gates to more sugar coming in. As a result, even though our pancreas has pumped out lots of insulin, the sugar hasn't left our blood system, which is bad for our body as sugar is a toxin. As a result, not only can we get diabetes, we can also get blood pressure problems, heart problems, circulation problems etc etc. Read More...

Who's prepared to survive climate change?

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In the last few weeks, I've been writing about climate change and how human beings are going to survive on our planet in the future. The recent disasters in Queensland, Australia, where cattle farmers, after years of drought, have suffered livestock-destroying floods, show that farming outdoors will become increasingly difficult and eventually impossible in a climate-changed Earth. Australia has become one of the main countries that is suffering the first impacts of serious climate change. It has been suffering records temperatures, temperatures so high that its fish are dying in its rivers and its bats and marsupials are falling dead from its trees.

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If we follow the current, accelerating temperature changes, in fifty years time, no one will be able to survive outdoors in Australia for any significant length of time and the vast majority of its agriculture will be gone.

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Forks over Knives documentary

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Forks over Knives’ is an American documentary that explores the effect of reducing the animal protein in a person’s diet and the health benefits that can give. On the face of it, you might think it would be a polemic pushing an ethical eating agenda but, in fact, it has a very different message. Although the contributors to the documentary do discuss animal welfare, the message they impart is about human health. The documentary explains that there is extensive scientific research that shows that a diet that contains more than 10% animal protein carries a large increased risk in cancer. I checked for supporting scientific evidence for such a bold claim and found that there is a lot of evidence supporting that view. Here’s a useful link at the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Read More...