There is a Jeff Nelson who is very active in the vegan community. He is not a doctor, but he is closely associated with some of the leading vegan doctors. He recently did some videos to disparage nuts and nut studies and doctors who recommend nuts. I must say that he is amazingly sure of himself.
The gist of his argument is that since nut studies are generally funded by the nut industry, they aren’t reliable, and they aren’t even scientific, that it’s just marketing. And, the irony is that I get the impression that he has been involved in marketing his whole life.
Certainly, it is wise to be cautious in situations like this, whether it’s pharmaceutical companies funding research on drugs, or the nut industry funding research on nuts. However, it’s a mistake to take the skepticism too far.
If nut companies don’t fund the research on nuts, who is going to do it? Research is expensive. And even if you think the government should do it, remember that government is all about “politics.” So, that would provide no guarantee of objectivity either. And since all studies need to be scrutinized carefully regardless of who funded them, (can you think of any exceptions?) the fact that the California Walnut Commission funded a study on the health effects of walnuts, troubles me a lot less than it does Jeff Nelson.
Then, he makes another argument that has some truth in it, but also some spin. He tries to claim that the alleged health benefits reported from eating nuts are due to other things, such as: a healthier diet, in general, which nut-eaters are more likely to eat. Plus, there is the idea that if nuts are added to the diet in place of other foods- bad foods- that the health benefits may come from not eating the bad foods or eating less of them. And yes, that’s true, but it applies to everything. Take, for instance, the foods that Jeff champions, which are starches: starchy vegetables, grains, and legumes. You could make the same argument, that studies that claim to show benefits from those foods are really due to the generally healthier lifestyle or to the avoidance of bad foods that those foods replaced. It would work the same way. But, when has Jeff Nelson ever disputed the studies claiming that whole grains and legumes have health benefits?
Now, I will be forthcoming and tell you that I am VERY much in favor of nuts, and I eat them EVERY day. And I have been doing that since I was 18 years old, and I am now 68, so 50 years. Whatever days I didn’t eat nuts over that half century were probably days that I fasted because I really do mean it that I eat nuts every day.
And the result from that half century of nut eating is that I weigh the same now as I did when I was 18: 135 pounds.
I also want to say that, in general, I think the published research on nuts is impressive. And I am referring to the totality of it. I am not going to start getting into individual studies because there are so many of them. In fact, there are so many of them, it’s hard for me to believe that they are all funded by the nut industry. I just did a search for “nuts and health” on PubMed, and it brought up 2,177 studies. And I’m sure that if I used other search terms, such as “nuts and heart disease” that it would bring up additional studies, and so on. And many of these studies do say that they “adjust for covariates.”
Another thing that Jeff Nelson brought up was the demon of saturated fat, and the fact that nuts do have some. They have much less proportionately than human breast milk, which is the exclusive diet of an infant for many months, or, in some cases, a whole year or longer. So, why is there so much saturated fat in breast milk? Because babies need it- and so does every person who is alive. While it is true that the body can make its own saturated fat, that does not automatically mean that dietary saturated fat is bad.
Then, Jeff made a ridiculous comparison between nuts and vegetables, claiming that the latter are far more nutritious because equal caloric portions favor the vegetables, for instance, when you compare walnuts to broccoli. But, you have to be practical about it because broccoli is so low in calories that you’d have to eat a ton of it to match the calories in a small handful of walnuts. So, a more fair comparison would be to compare a typical serving of broccoli to a typical serving of walnuts.
And keep in mind that I am not against broccoli. I’m all for it. I know it is one of the best vegetables out there. What I am against is biased and highly prejudicial thinking from a zealot who thinks he knows more than he does.
I am very much in favor of nuts, but only if they are eaten raw and unsalted. The exception is chestnuts which have to be roasted since they are highly starchy. Also, peanuts, which are a legume, need to be roasted because they are a legume and contains lectins, hemagluttins, trypsin inhibitors, etc., as all legumes do when raw. But, tree nuts do not require cooking and are only hurt by it. And when you eat nuts raw, salting doesn’t even apply. I have never heard of anyone salting a raw nut. Have you?
Another issue that applies to nuts in a big way is the freshness of them. Because they are high in oil, they can become rancid. Almonds hold up quite well, probably because of the tough skin which “hermetically” seals them. But pecans, for instance, go rancid easily, and here in Texas where I live, it’s common for people to store their pecans in the freezer.
But, If you do those things: eat them raw, unsalted, and make sure they aren’t rancid, nuts are very good foods. And when eating a plant-based diet, including nuts in it makes it far more satisfying and sustainable. So, would I include nuts even if the person was known to have heart disease? Yes, I would.
I have been an exercise enthusiast most of my life, and at age 68, I still am. But, my ideas about it are, in some ways, unorthodox. For instance, I think that common, popular notions about stretching are wrong. People stretch to increase their range of motion, but a greater range of motion isn't necessarily good. The fact is that every time you contract one muscle, you stretch its opposing muscle. So, stretching occurs naturally and spontaneously in activity. You don't necessarily have to stretch as a separate thing. However, if you are going to do something like ballet or karate, you need a greater range of motion than everyday activities provide. So, for that, you would want to do some stretching. But, what if you're not doing ballet or karate? Then, you may not need to stretch at all. The most important thing is to move well within whatever range of motion you have. That's much more important than trying to arbitrarily increase your range of motion through forceful stretching. So, if you can't bent forward and touch your toes with your legs straight, don't worry about it. It is not necessary for you to do that.
Running is seriously overrated, and walking is a superior exercise. That's because there is a high risk of injury from running, but with walking, you'd probably have to fall off the curb and get bit by a dog to get hurt. Walking involves a much more balanced and symmetrical use of the muscles, front and back. You'll actually look better from walking than running. If you walk briskly and keep going without stopping for 30 or 45 minutes, and perhaps work a hill or two into the walk, you are going to get all of the benefits of running while bypassing the risks and harms. So, walk; don't run.
Bicycling is very good for the lower body, and there is very low risk of injury, save for falling off the bike or getting hit by a car. And the latter two things are, granted, very serious. But, I fortunately, have a route to ride with very low traffic density, and I mean hardly any cars at all. And falling off the bike isn't a likely scenario either. But, I do wear a helmet, and I consider it very safe. And I find it strangely relaxing even though I am exerting myself. Mentally, I feel more relaxed from taking a bike ride. It's like therapy for me. so, riding my bike is one of the most enjoyable things I do.
Swimming is fantastic exercise. And again, except for possibility of drowning, or swimming into the wall, there is very low risk of injury and very balanced use of the muscles. Of course, it doesn't do much for the lower part of the body. You swim mainly with your arms. But, if you're swimming, but also walking and/or bicycling. it doesn't matter. A big negative about swimming is the chlorine that is in the water of pools. So, if you have access to a natural body of water in which to swim, it is enormously better. But, in terms of the muscular usage and the mechanical motion, swimming is hard to beat.
Tennis is very hard on the body because there is no cadence to it, no flow. And if you look at professional tennis players, they are very dystonic people. They acquire severely dys-coordinated movements. In other words, they are spastic messes. It's the reaching and stretching and sudden changes in direction that make it very hard on the body. I'm not saying that you can't play tennis sometimes, but just remember: you're not being paid for it. So, don't go overboard trying to win a point. It's really not worth it.
Weight-lifting is very efficient. It is a very efficient way to acquire and maintain strength. But obviously, people can get hurt trying to lift heavy weights. And when I go into a weight-lifting gym (and today, it's mostly machines, not free weights) what I observe is that some of the motions are biomechanically sound, but others aren't. And frankly, the average fitness trainer doesn't know as much as he or she thinks she does. There are plenty of exercises they teach that people shouldn't be doing at all. For instance, it's really foolish to try to lift a heavy object over your head because in doing so, you're very likely to strain your low back. Likewise, you should never lift a heavy object from the floor with straight legs.
So, what are the practical implications of that? Well, for instance, instead of doing an overhead press with a barbell, do a seated incline press. You'll have the back of the seat to support your back, and you won't be taking the bar straight up, and that will help protect your low back. There are a lot of other examples like that, and you may or may not get good advice from a trainer.
Bowling is a bad sport because it involves the unbalanced action of moving with a heavy object in one hand while at the same time twisting your spine in order to impart spin on the ball, and it is a recipe for trouble. And there's no much good that can be said about golf, where you are swinging and lifting while also turning and twisting. Be aware that Tiger Woods personal and professional troubles arose from the numerous injuries he suffered playing golf. And the reason I include his personal problems is because he got hooked on pain-killers, anti-inflammatories, and other drugs. And again, if you play a round of gold occasionally, that's fine, but just remember: you're not being paid to do it.
Hiking is great exercise because it usually involves hill work, and hiking up a hill is all the exercise you are ever going to need for your lower body. Riding a stationary bicycle at home is great, so long as it fits you well, and I have one. I use it when it's raining or too cold or even too hot. It's not as much fun, and the way I use it is to a series of wind sprints on the bike.
I very much like the Total Gym, and I have one. With it, your body weight provides the resistance. I don't do all the exercises they have in the book because some of them are not biomechanically sound, but I do the ones that are, and it feels good.
A Nordic track is good, and a walking treadmill is fine too. I don't have either, but I do have a Health Rider, and I like it too.
Situps are highly overrated, and they work the psoas muscle more than the abdominal muscles. I don't do anything specific to exercise my abdominal muscles. I really don't believe in it. Some muscles weren't meant to be specifically exercised, such as the neck muscles, which get all the exercise they need supporting the weight of your head. Your abdominal muscles get their exercise through their involvement with respiration, which of course is constant. And they are involved with supporting and containing your abdominal organs, as in: holding them in. Those actions are going on all the time, and if you do those actions well, your abdominal muscles are going to stayed toned and conditioned. My abdomen is well toned, and I have a little bit of a six-pack. In fact, I wouldn't want more a six-pack than I have. Don't envy those guys with extreme six-packs. That is NOT how the abdominal wall is supposed to be, and I think it is very undesirable. There is a lot of ignorance out there about what to be striving for from exercise.
A woman visited me of late who told me that her doctor discovered that she had very high cholesterol- over 300. He was quite alarmed, and he immediately ordered tests, including a carotid artery ultrasound. This is actually a very good test because it’s safe, non-intrusive, not terribly expensive, and it tells you whether you have blockages in your carotid arteries. And she doesn’t have them.
So, here she has high cholesterol, and who knows how long she’s had it, and yet, her carotid arteries are clear. And she is 72 years old.
But undaunted, her doctor kept testing, and he ordered a coronary calcium CT test. This is I do NOT recommend because it involves a colossal amount of ionizing radiation. However, she did it, and the result showed that she does not have plaquing in her coronary arteries.
Let me qualify that by saying I didn’t see her test results. She just said that he said her coronary arteries are clear. Chances are great that she has some coronary plaquing because nearly everybody does. But, she doesn’t have clinical heart disease, and he told her so. And remember, he was looking for it.
So, there you have it: this woman with sky-high cholesterol does not have heart disease. And I think it tells us something, that there is no direct correlation between the level of cholesterol in the blood and the degree of heart disease.
And as one variable- the level of blood cholesterol- it doesn’t make sense that, by itself, it should lead to heart disease. Heart disease is a process that involves many things- not just cholesterol. We know it involves arterial inflammation. We know it involves specific irritants, such as tobacco smoke, which is highly atherogenic. And there is no cholesterol in tobacco. We know it involves certain biochemical abnormalities, such as high homocysteine. We know that excess iron leads to heart disease. And so on, and so on. We are talking about a very complex pathological process, and it is not a simple matter of having too much cholesterol in your blood, and therefore, it sticks to your arteries. That’s not the way it works.
The level of cholesterol in the blood is probably a very minor factor in most cases. Think about it: If your cholesterol is above 200, today, you are considered to have high cholesterol, and thousands upon thousands of doctors will put you on a statin drug automatically. But, if your cholesterol is say 150, that considered to be fine.
But, why should a 25% difference in the cholesterol level have any bearing on whether plaquing occurs? If there is a tendency for plaquing to occur, there is plenty enough cholesterol at 150 to support the process. And just because you have more than 150, why should it matter? We are not talking about a passive process in which cholesterol is just sticking. An arterial plaque is a complicated thing that contains not just cholesterol but inflammatory cells, macrophages, fibrin, calcium, and more. The idea that the level of cholesterol in the blood drives the process, the result of a gradient, is ridiculous. It can’t possibly be as simple as that.
And I believe that’s why pharmaceutical treatments that force the blood level of cholesterol down have been so disappointing. The benefit, the protective effect, the actual mathematical reduction in risk, say from taking stains, is miniscule.
And what little reduction of risk there is may be do to effects that have nothing to do with cholesterol. It’s known, for instance, that statins have anti-inflammatory effects, and that may account for the very slight benefit- if there is any.
But, even if there is a slight benefit, we know that statins increase the risk of diabetes and the risk of cancer. Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the three big killers. So, if statins increase the risk of 2 out of the 3, what good are they?
There is some irony here because even though I am opposed to the villainizing of cholesterol, I still think that the healthiest way to eat is a plant-based diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, green salads, raw nuts, and includes some beans and legumes. And I am not opposed to eating whole grains either, although I put them on a lower tier. But, the point is that none of these foods contain cholesterol. So, if you eat that way exclusively, you won’t be getting any cholesterol in your diet. Plus, all the fiber in these foods, tends to prevent the cholesterol excreted by your liver from being reabsorbed. And the result is, that you are probably going to wind up with a pretty low cholesterol.
So, the irony is that I accept that lower blood cholesterol, when it results from this kind of eating, is fine; it’s healthy. But, it is NOT necessarily healthier because the cholesterol is lower. It’s healthier because the diet is healthier. It does a lot of good things for your body, and more important things than lowering your cholesterol.
But, what if you eat that way, and your cholesterol is still high? Say, because you are one of those people whose body makes a lot of cholesterol. Should you take a statin drug then? I wouldn’t. I really truly wouldn’t.
And I’ll admit that it’s not an issue for me because my cholesterol has never been high. It typically runs around 150 or 160. And I do eat a mostly plant-based diet and only rarely make exceptions. But, I would NEVER, under any circumstances, take a statin drug- even if my cholesterol were to rise.
I have a lot of experience with therapeutic fasting, and we know that fasting reverses heart disease, that plaques will undergo some reversal as a result of the fasting process. However, while fasting, the blood cholesterol level goes up, and I’ve seen it go way up- well over 300. I’ve seen it close to 400. And, we know why it goes up during fasting. It goes up because the body is breaking down fat from fat cells, which contain a lot of cholesterol, which has to be moved out. And, as the body dissolves plaques, that cholesterol has to be moved out as well.
So, paradoxically, during fasting, even though your body is actively reversing arterial plaque, your blood cholesterol is high. If high blood cholesterol automatically pushes the heart disease gradient, then fasting should worsen heart disease, yet, we know, it doesn’t. We know, beyond a doubt, that it helps heart disease, and it’s one of the best things you can do for heart disease.
So, the idea the high cholesterol means more heart disease is just one of those truisms that isn’t true. Yet today, many doctors, solely on the basis of a high blood cholesterol alone, will put a patient on a statin drug- for the rest of his life.
I tell you, it’s crazy. It’s an example of “group think” of the worst kind.
I guarantee you that no matter what my cholesterol does in the future, and I test it every year, I will never, under any circumstances, take a statin drug or any other medical drug to lower it. I consider that a racket, the cholesterol racket, and I would never want to be involved in it on the dispensing side or the consumption side.
A new report in the Journal of Nutrition reveals how substances in unfermented cow's milk have gene-altering effects which trigger diseases in humans later in life. The specificity of mammalian milk is highly established- that it is specifically intended for and adapted to the infants of that species. Cross-species nursing is unheard of in Nature, and suckling beyond the period of infancy is also unheard of. The report seems to imply that taking cow's milk in fermented form, as yogurt, sour milk, cheese, etc., is much less problematic. There may be some truth to that, but I think it's best to just avoid milk products completely. That's what I do. And frankly, milk products can be very addicting. But, you can break the addiction, and once you do, you really don't miss them at all. Take it from me. Just remind yourself of how bizarre and disturbing it would be if someone got underneath a cow and started suckling from its teat. It's disturbing to think about. But, how much different is it just because we have modern machinery to make it accessible by cup? Get the milk monkey off your back, once and for all.
Disease investigators are calling for ultra-heat treatment of unfermented cow’s milk products, in particular infant formula, to abolish the transmission of genetic material that programs humans for disease. [Journal Translational Medicine 2019]
While most cow’s milk undergoes heat Pasteurization to kill off potentially pathogenic germs, that is not sufficient to block the transmission of genetic material (microRNAs) that program humans for disease.
The genetic transfer of disease is facilitated by— tiny nano-sized (billionth of a meter) vesicles that carry genetic cargo from one cell to another. This exosomal cell-to-cell communication system is a biological conduit for genetic instructions delivered by microRNAs. MicroRNA’s role is to act as a messenger carrying instructions for DNA to produce proteins, what is called gene expression.
MicroRNA actually blocks genetic information and therefore silences or switches off genes. All cells are packaged with the same set of genes and therefore should be the same. But microRNA switches off some of the 25,000 or so genes packaged inside a living cell, thus facilitating the differentiation of one cell function from another.
Mother’s milk utilizes exosomes to transfer epigenetic instructions for cells to produce or not produce proteins, what is called gene expression.Short of avoidance of all non-fermentable cow’s milk products (fermented milk = yogurt, kefir, cheese), ultra-heat treatment disrupts exosomes and halts the transfer of undesirable microRNAs to humans.
Delivery of microRNA instructions during intrauterine development and infant growth is facilitated by exosome delivery in mother’s milk. It is during breast milk feeding that newborns are undergoing initial genetic programming via exosomal delivery of microRNAs.
What researchers have discovered is that when cow’s milk is substituted for mother’s milk, the delivery of microRNA is altered and may pre-program an infant for disease or obesity later in life.but not fermented milk products (yogurt, cheese, etc.) .
There are numerous published studies that cite increased mortality and increase incidence of disease in milk but not in fermented milk products.
Even among medical doctors the stupidity reigns, as they keep prescribing drugs to suppress fever. This is 2018; almost 2019. So, how could doctors be so stupid about something as primal as fever?
Fever is NOT dangerous, and it is NOT part of the problem. It is part of the solution. The body creates the fever, not the disease-causing agent. It does it on purpose. It does it because it wants it. Fever helps the body fight the infection. It helps the body kill bacteria.
Medicine knows it. Researchers know it. But, doctors still prescribe fever-reducing drugs to patients. I suspect that in large part it’s because the patients ask for it. And that’s especially true of parents who are petrified every time their child has a fever. But, make no mistake: suppressing the fever is bad; it does harm and not good, and I mean from the very act of lowering the fever. But in addition to that, the drugs used are all toxic. Giving aspirin to children is a bad idea since it is so corrosive to the lining of the digestive tract, and it can cause Reye's Syndrome in some children. Acetaminophen damages the liver and quite severely. Acetaminophen poisoning is a major cause of liver failure. And liver transplants have had to be done on patients who overdosed on Acetaminophen- and not always for that long either. Combining Acetaminophen with alcohol increases the damage to the liver, and unfortunately, when people are in pain, they often take both. They may wash the acetaminophen down with a good stiff drink. Another drug often used for fever is Ibuprofen, and it is damaging to the kidneys. And you should know that kidney damage is irreversible. And the truth is that all the painkilling drugs are nephro-toxic. There have been plenty of people who have had to start kidney dialysis because of having taken painkillers for years- for things like backaches, arthritis, etc. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a harmless painkiller.
Scientists know that fever enhances infection-fighting lymphocytes, particularly a type of lymphocyte known as CD8T cells, and that these cells are more active, more robust, and more effective against bacteria in a warmer environment. You can even demonstrate it and see it in a smear of blood under a microscope.
But, can’t fever cause brain damage? I know that that is a widely held belief, both in Medicine and among the public, but what is it based on? There is absolutely no doubt that mild fevers, moderate fevers, and even moderately high fevers to NOT cause brain damage. The only question is whether extremely high temperatures (like 106 or 107) cause brain damage. But, since such fevers are always treated and brought down with drugs, how do they really know that they cause brain damage? Where is the clinical evidence for it? Where are the brain-damaged kids who got that way from experiencing high fevers? I haven’t met any. Have you?
I will tell you outright that I think it is a complete myth that fever causes brain damage. It certainly could if there was no limit on how high a fever can get. But, there is a limit; a built-in limit. And that’s why we never hear about anyone having a fever of 112 or 120. It takes a lot of metabolic activity to generate fever, and that metabolic activity would reach its limit before the fever reached the point of doing brain damage. I am telling you that brain damage from fever is just a myth. And even if you can cite a case in which someone with a high fever wound up with brain damage, how do you know the damage was due to the fever and not to the infection that induced the fever or to drugs that were given?
I am stating unequivocally that on an evidentiary basis, there is nothing there. It’s just a belief, an old wive's tale. Doctors always treat extremely high fevers, so how do they know that if they didn’t do it that brain damage would result? I say that it’s far more likely that when there is brain damage, that it's due to the infection or to the drugs.
Let me put it this way: I would NEVER take a drug to reduce my fever. I am NOT afraid of fever.
That is not to say that people with high fevers aren’t in trouble. But, they are in trouble from whatever caused the body to respond with fever and not from the fever itself.
But, let’s remember that 98% of the time, we are talking about low to moderate fevers, and it is absolutely insane to suppress those fevers with drugs. And that it is still being commonly done in 2018 is a sickening thought. How can such medical ignorance and misguided care abound in the 21st century?