Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Reflections on 2015

Where did it go?

I hope 2015 treated you all well, and that 2016 brings great health and prosperity to everyone. I've tried to keep the blog light and informative and I've really enjoyed interacting with all of the commenters. We talked about some great stuff, looking back through the posts, and I can kind of see my thinking has changed quite a bit from 2014.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas PUDDD'ing and Potato Porn

Merry Christmas, kind readers!

We take Christmas seriously up here in North Pole, Alaska. I have some intel from "the man himself" that the reindeer are looking forward to that warm weather ya'all have been having down in the lower-48.

You might think I'm kidding, but check it out. Santa has so much time on his hands what with automating the toy work shop and outsourcing to China, he ran for City Council. Right. Like we aren't going to vote for Santa in North Pole, Alaska.

Maybe we can write him in for president!

Anyway, just wanted to let you all try my favorite variation of the potato hack over the holidays. I know we should all be good little boys and girls and not eat the fudge, divinity, toffee, and candy canes, but sometimes you just gotta say, "ho! ho! ho!" and go with the flow. So here's a great way to keep the old waistline in check over the holiday season. I call it Christmas PUDDD'ing.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Potato Hack

Fellow Tater Fans - I'm playing around with the Potato Hack, updating the "rules." The Potato Hack is always popular around the holidays, so if anyone wants to give it a try, let's hear your questions and results in the comments!

Alaska Grown!
Here are the new Potato Hack guidelines: 

The rules for the Potato Hack are simple. If you are eating something that is not a potato, you are doing it wrong.

1.     Plan on eating just potatoes for 3 to 5 days
2.     Eat 2-5 pounds of potatoes each day
3.     No other foods allowed (this includes butter, sour cream, cheese, and bacon bits!)
4.     Salt, pepper, and vinegar allowed, but not encouraged
5.     Drink when thirsty; coffee, tea, and water only
6.     Heavy exercise is discouraged, light exercise and walking are encouraged
7.     Take your normal medications, but dietary supplements will not be needed

Expected results from 3-5 days of the Potato Hack:

·       Fat loss of 3-5 pounds
·       Reduction in inflammation, joint pain
·       Reduction in digestive complaints
·       Increased insulin sensitivity, lower fasting blood glucose levels
·       Restoration of healthy intestinal bacteria
·       Continued weight loss upon resumption of normal diet

Many people report that, for the first time in a long time, they are not hungry despite eating such a bland diet of restricted calories. People report better sleep and habitual snorers stop snoring. Those that have watched an un-budging scale for months or years report daily losses of ½ -1 pound, and the weight does not come back on, as in other “crash” diets.



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Black Friday Shopping Ideas

I have 6 emails in my inbox from people asking what would make good "health-based" Christmas gifts, so instead of answering them, I will just make a quick post. Here are my Top-10 ideas, all available on Amazon.

Oh, and by the way, you can get Amazon Prime free for 30 days here.  This means free shipping on just about everything!

#1 is:

Under $20!

1. Hot Air Popcorn Popper - $18.  I use it almost every night!  I bought these for my Mom&Dad, two brothers and sister for Christmas this year. Apparently I missed this craze in the '70s.  Heck, buy one for yourself!

               1a. Heirloom Popcorn - $13 for two big packages. Thank me later.

2. Tortilla Press - $20. Takes some practice, but homemade tortillas are da bomb!

              2a. Masa Harina Corn Meal - $13 for 4 packages. This is the "real deal" for making tortillas or 'corn dodgers' just like John Wayne (remember this post, lol).

3. Garlic Press - $9. Love this thing!  Has it's own storage container so you can press out a couple day's worth and stick the whole thing in the fridge. Ingenious!

4. Beekeeping Stuff:

              4a. Starter Kit - $213.  This is almost everything you need to keep bees. If you get this for someone, I am available to give free advice!

              4b. Beekeeping for Dummies Book - $18

              4c. Bee Suit - $75.  The starter kit comes with a hat and veil, but trust me, you will get stung!  Buy a whole body suit and avoid unnecessary stings!

5. Food Dehydrator - $225.  This is a professional model with timer.  Works unbelievably well.  Dehydrates green plantains perfectly.  Also great for anything from your garden.

6. Smoked Oysters, in olive oil, 18 cans - $55.  If you like smoked oysters, but can never find them in olive oil, here you go. Perfect for a low-carb lunch. Oysters are packed with nutrition, a can a week is better than any multi-vitamin you can buy.

7. Jack Lalanne PowerJuicer - $99.  Mine is about 5 years old. Makes the most amazing carrot juice you can imagine. You can also use it to make your own "Tatertot Brand potato starch!"

              7a. Jack's book - "Live Young Forever"

8. Blood Glucose Meter - $27. For the "biohacker" in the family.  Not just for diabetics!  No prescription needed. Use to make an insulin sensitivity graph personalized to your meals.  Fun for the whole family, lol.

             8b. 50 Extra Test Strips for the meter - $35.

9. Snowshoes - under $100. If you think snowshoes are old-fashioned and clunky, these are modern, expedition style. I have about 1000 miles on a pair that is 5 years old. Love them!

10. Aerogarden - $150ish. Grow herbs or whatever you like all Winter long.  I just ordered peppermint seeds for mine. Last Winter I tried chives, cilantro, mint, parsely, and thyme...all did great!

Honorable mention: 

Drone with HD Camera - $1200. OK. This is what I want for Christmas.  How else can we keep tabs on refugees?

Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Red Meat vs. Resistant Starch!

The Paleo Community is once again backed into a corner, defending "meat." The World Health Organization recently released a report that says:

Post moved to www.potatohack.com

Monday, November 2, 2015

It Takes Guts

From Jwr TV, a great video on our microbes. Courtesy of Gabriella Kadar.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Popcorn Resistant Starch Contents (RS)

Popcorn contains loads of resistant starch (RS) and is a an uber healthy snack. To learn more, please visit: https://potatohack.com/2016/12/10/popcorn/

Sunday, October 25, 2015

New Resistant Starch Research

On a lark, I searched PubMed this morning for new RS articles.  Looks like scientists keep finding no end of ways to study this crazy little granule!

Picture Credit

The newest studies out on RS (Oct/Nov 2015):

Friday, October 16, 2015

Finding Bifido

Bioinformatics; noun plural but singular in construction bio·in·for·mat·ics \ˌbī-ō-in-fər-ˈma-tiks\

...the collection, classification, storage, and analysis of biochemical and biological information using computers especially as applied to molecular genetics and genomics (Merriam Webster).

Apologies to Disney and MicrobeWiki

Saturday, October 10, 2015


It's official!  Garlic is good for you.  Not that we didn't already know. New paper just out explaining some of the unique properties of garlic when eaten "raw and crushed".

Too long?  Scientists discovered that eating raw, crushed garlic causes an upregulation in the genes responsible for anti-cancer metabolism, ie. immunity and apoptosis. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

New Study: RS2 and gut inflammation in Malawian children.

Finally, a study showing that Resistant Starch Type 2 is not the "wonder drug" that I have promoted for nearly three years now. Did RS2 cause gut inflammation in rural Malawi children?

It's been too easy, what with study after study for over 30 years showing that RS has profound effects on the gut biome and health of the habitual user. Let's take a look at this latest study and see if we should all immediately halt the use of RS2.

Too long?  Don't wanna read? : RS2, as found in raw potato starch, banana flour, and Hi-Maize corn starch is a great prebiotic and can be used as a supplement for fiber in a healthy diet!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

An Aspirin a Day...

Aspirin has been linked to reduced instances of heart attacks for many years. Lately, there has been news of an Aspirin a day preventing colon cancer. Should we all be taking Aspirin as preventative medicine?

Too long/Don't wanna read?:  Eat your fruits and veggies and skip the recommendations for "an Aspirin a day." "Plant Aspirin" is in a form that does not have the risk factors associated with Bayer Aspirin (gastric bleeding, ulcers, Reyes disease).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

uBiome Data Analysis Using MG-Rast

I've been meaning to write this for some time. This service is free to anyone who would like to peek a bit deeper into a uBiome report.  I wrote a similar post concerning American Gut reports a while back. This does not take an awful lot of skill to do, but you should try to be methodical and label your reports as you go, otherwise it will get messy a few months down the road when you add more.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Gut bacteria may impact body weight, fat and good cholesterol levels

Sorry, no new content from me, just a link to a Medical Express article that says:

"Our study provides new evidence that microbes in the gut are strongly linked to the blood level of HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides and may be added as a new risk factor for abnormal blood lipids, in addition to age, gender, BMI and genetics," said Jingyuan Fu, Ph.D., study lead author and associate professor of genetics at University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands.
Using state-of-the-art deep sequencing technology, researchers studied the association between and in 893 people in the Netherlands. They identified:
  • 34 different types of bacteria contributed to differences in body fat (BMI) and blood lipids such as triglycerides and the known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL. Most were new associations.
  • Bacteria in the gut contributed to 4.6 percent of the difference in body fat, 6 percent in triglycerides and 4 percent in HDL.
  • Surprisingly, gut bacteria had little relationship with bad cholesterol (low-density lipoproteins or LDL ) or total .

I think that's pretty cool.  Sort of exactly as we have been saying around here lately. What can we do to tip the odds in our favor that we can capitalize on these helpful little beasts?

- Eat lots of fiber
- Eat lots of fermented foods
- Eat less processed and more whole foods
- Exercise
- Reduce stress
- Sleep well
- Give up bad habits
- Wean yourself off of medications where possible
- Don't live an overly sterile life


Monday, August 31, 2015

How to Eat

I love the discussions going on in the "wheat" post, but when there gets to be over 100 comments, it gets confusing and the comment system starts to crash, so I just wanted to put this up to expand on the conversation.

Whenever we all get to talking about different dietary approaches for helping us fix certain problems, whether they be skin, emotions, or poor digestion, it always starts to occur to me that we have simply forgotten how to eat.

Picture borrowed from Cornell University

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Resistant Starch Info for Newbies

Some good info on resistant starch...
Resistant starch (RS) is starch that does not get digested in the stomach or small intestine and enters the large intestine intact.

Post moved to potatohack.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Amazon Store Page and Link

Howdy, folks! I'm back home now. Glad you all enjoyed Wilbur's gut booklet. You may notice a new page tab at the top. This is a new feature from Amazon called an "aStore". It will allow you to shop right here as if you were logged into Amazon. So many times when I am writing, I embed links to Amazon products. I really hate clicking a link to find that it is just an advertisement or affiliate link, so this will help cut down on that. I do all of my on-line shopping at Amazon. The really have their stuff together. As I find new products that fit in with the theme of Vegetable Pharm, I will add them. Rest assured, anything in my Amazon aStore will only be items that I have used and think are worthy of a good supplement protocol for prebiotic fiber and gut health. If you have any questions about these choices or want to leave a comment, you can just comment at the bottom of the page like any blog post. Thanks! Tim

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Weekend Book Club

Compliments of Wilbur, a great resource for anyone wanting to know a bit more about the human gut:

Gut Health in Early Life: Significance of the Gut Microbiota and Nutrition for Development and Future Health.

I will be out of town (and off-line!) until Tuesday.  There will be a 20 question test when I return. 

Takes about 15 minutes to read, if you are a fast reader.  Really good explanations about how the gut obtains new bacteria from birth on.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Raw Potato Starch Attacked!

I have made it my sole purpose in life to stick up for the tiny little spheres of goodness that are raw potato starch. Just yesterday, the blogger behind The Paleo Mom blog went on a rampage against my beloved RPS, saying things like:

Now, a new contender is here for the superfood crown: resistant starch, especially in the form of raw potato starch. If you haven’t encountered enthusiastic advice to add potato starch (just stirred into a glass of cool water, yum?!) to your diet in order to treat all manner of ills, you probably will soon!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Bifidogenic Properties of Raw Potato Starch

Moved to potatohack.com
Bifidobacteria; courtesy of MicrobeWiki

VegetablePharm Contest!

The other day, I got an email that said, "Give your friends 10% off of uBiome kits."  So, I plastered the link in the sidebar.  Then I read the fine print, and it said I would get 20% of my friends purchase.

Even finer print said that I would be contacted shortly to set up payments into a PayPal account, or to a charity of my choice.

Well, I don't want your money, so here's the contest:  Does anybody have a charity they think is worthy of this massive windfall? 

Impress me in the comments and all proceeds will go to your charity.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Gut Problems Got You Down? Try the Patented "Oat, Blueberry, Fiber Smoothie!"

The "invention" that Dr. Heiman patented was a blend of oats, blueberries, and inulin that he foresees
A smoothie inspired by the invention, 2-3 times per day. Each smoothie consisting of:
  • 2-4 TBS uncooked oat bran (example link)
  • 1.5 cups of  fresh blueberries
  • 1-2 TBS of inulin powder or raw potato starch
Mix with a liquid of choice.
Add some (or all) of the following, if you like:
  • Honey
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Flax/Chia/Hemp Seeds
  • Green Banana
  • Colorful Veggies


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Researcher "Pulls a Wilbur."

Research finds diversifying your diet may make your gut healthier
He created NM504, a formulation of inulin, beta glucan and antioxidants, and tested it in a pilot of 30 individuals, half of whom received the formulation twice a day. The remainder received a placebo. Those who received NM504 saw a shift in the makeup of their microbiome and, consequently, health benefits that included improved glucose control, increased satiety and relief from constipation.

Well, there you have it folks!

I have to laugh just a little. This researcher is concerned that the modern diet is lacking diversity, saying that most people are "...consuming only five animal species and 12 plant species. Of those 12, rice, maize and wheat contribute 60 percent of all the calories."

Adding two simple fibers (inulin and beta glucan) showed improvements in several health markers. One of these days, researchers will find Wilbur and his like, those consuming well over 100g of various fibers daily. Of course, we've also seen that the complete opposite approach also leads to increased diversity with my little potato diet experiment.

As the above researcher mentioned, and I truly believe:

Like any ecosystem, the one that is most diverse in species is the one that is going to be the healthiest," Heiman said. "In almost every disease state that has been studied so far, the microbiome has lost diversity. There are just a few species that seem to dominate.

I'm starting to believe that maybe this loss of diversity could be caused by the modern diet of preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, added "nutrients" like iron and vitamins, enzymes, and whatever else they invent to make foods tastier.

I have not seen the full text, if anyone can find a copy, or even the title of this study I would like to see.

To the gut bugs!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Latest RS Paper

I just stumbled across this today...seems to have been just released in full.

Role of Resistant Starch in Improving Gut Health, Adiposity, and Insulin Resistance

Have a quick look, sometimes papers like this are not available for long. I'll try to hit the highlights here.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

This is Your Gut on Potatoes...


Please read the full article at www.potatohack.com!

Several research papers have suggested that a "simplified fiber" diet will create more diversity in gut flora than a diet filled with various fiber types.

This is your gut.

This is your gut on the Potato Diet!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chena Slough Restoral - Part 5 (Conclusion)

Part 5 - We have met the enemy...and he is us!

The Chena Slough has been slowly dying since it was cut off from its headwaters during construction of the Moose Creek Dam in the 1970's. Chena Slough is now a roughly 15 mile long channel, its first 3 miles completely clogged with native plants and debris, and the lower 5 miles filled with native plants as well as a new arrival, Elodea.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Chena Slough Restoral - Part 4

Part 4 - The Weapons

Thus far in this series on the restoration of Chena Slough, we've discussed the water, the weeds, and the war. In this part we will discuss the weapons being used. The Chena Slough is a local waterway located near North Pole, Alaska. It was recently found to be infested by an invasive species of aquatic vegetation, presumably an Elodea hybrid.

All eyes are (or should be) on the Chena Slough, "ground zero" of the first documented infestation of Elodea outside Eyak Lake.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chena Slough Restoral - Part 3

Local officials held a meeting last week with one day's notice. I missed the notice, but 25 other people showed up and listened to an herbicide salesman tell how he could, for $600,000, over three years, apply the herbicide Fluridone to a 10 mile stretch of flowing water and eradicate what appears to be the most eradication-resistant aquatic plant species on Earth.

I only learned of the plan when I read the headlines June 18th, 2015: 

Chena Lake herbicide proposal draws no opposition

Oh, really?

Reading on, I learned it was not just Chena Lake, as the headline implied, but Chena Slough as well. The Chena Slough runs alongside my property. I use the water to irrigate my garden, my chickens drink the water, my bees drink the water. The moose in my freezer drank the water. My drinking water well is drilled about 100 feet from the edge of the slough.

Chena Slough Restoral - Part 2

The Chena Slough has seen some tough times over the past 50 years. From a vibrant, fast flowing channel of the second largest river in Alaska, to a small trickle of ground water. These changes were brought on by industrious engineers looking to stop annual floods that took out bridges, homes, and businesses when the Tanana River ran high.

The Chena Slough of today looks nothing like it did 50 years ago, it runs slow and clear, filled with aquatic vegetation that would not have survived in a fast-flowing, glacier-fed slough. The slough has been filling itself in, as all sloughs cut off from their headwaters will. The slower water is much more inviting to plant growth. A recent addition, "Elodea," has been cause for concern since its discovery in the Chena Slough system in 2010. In Part 2, we will take a look at Elodea and the other plants growing in the Chena Slough.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Chena Slough Restoral - Part 1

The Interior of Alaska is dominated by two large river systems: The Tanana and the Yukon. These two rivers form vast drainage systems and support an amazing array of plant and animal life. The rivers and lakes in these areas have been important for navigation and food, for both a subsistence lifestyle and commercial travel and harvest.

Yukon/Tanana Rivers Drainage System (cite: AKFWS)

Recently, one of the tributaries to the Tanana River has come into some trouble. The going theory is that someone dumped their aquarium into the Chena Slough near the town of North Pole. The aquarium's fish surely died, if there were any, but the pretty plants it contained have taken over several miles of a slow-moving stream. Eradication efforts are underway to remove this invasive weed and restore flow to the Chena Slough. (See local newspaper article)

So far, these eradication efforts have revolved simply around pulling the weeds. This makes for great "photo-ops" but does little for removing the fast-growing weed. Recently it has been proposed to step the efforts up a notch by applying an aquatic herbicide, Fluridone, to the Chena Slough. Fluridone, the company salesman from Indiana tells us, is harmless to humans and [$600,000 worth of chemical...] should be very effective at removing trouble weeds from our local waterways.

Picture from Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

In this series, we will look at the issues surrounding the invasive weed, locally referred to as "Elodea," and then take a look at a dysfunctional waterway that possibly needs some human intervention.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Got MS? Part 6: Change the textbooks!

In a stunning discovery that overturns decades of textbook teaching, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Got Milk? Part 5: Conclusions?

Where do we go from here?  We hope that a brilliant researcher reads this and looks into lactose as a cause of modern diseases and writes about it. The purpose of this series was not to scare you away from ever touching dairy again, but to show some correlations and possible causation. Obviously since not every single person that drinks milk also has an AI disease, there is more to the story. Could it also be the fact that we wean babies onto a low-fiber diet and at the same time give them immune stimulating lactose? All of the 'baby antibiotics' surely don't help, either. We singled out MS in this series, but we've also seen a nearly identical correlation to Type 1 Diabetes, and possibly with many other auto-immune diseases that are thought to be gut-related.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Got Milk? Part 4: Into the Rabbit Hole!

A genetic trait, known as lactase persistence (LP), allows carriers of the gene to drink milk after they are weaned. The 'dairy councils' of the world, with the backing of the medical profession, want everyone drinking MOAR MILK. Our very own Gabriella Kadar, DDS, made the connection that possibly this lactase persistence gene was the root cause, or co-factor of a modern disease, multiple sclerosis.

Gabriella recently discussed this phenomenon with Gemma. Gemma, per usual, dug up many good papers and connected some dots that got Gabriella really scared! Possibly there's even more to the story than MS...


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Got Milk? Part 3: The MS Connection

Part 3 is from Gabriella Kadar, DDS, a practicing dentist from Toronto. Over her many years seeing patients, she put together a working hypothesis about a connection between lactose intolerance and multiple sclerosis (MS). The connection between lactose and MS has never been explored before.  Gab promises she will continue writing about this, here, as she finds the time.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Got Milk? Part 2

As we learned in the previous post, the lifelong ability to digest lactose is actually a genetic "defect". Could there be adverse consequences to consuming milk despite the benefits? If lactose reaches the colon whole, doesn't that make it a prebiotic fiber?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Got Milk? Part 1

Not sure if you all have been keeping up with the recent comments, but Gabriella Kadar and Gemma have been digging into some pretty heady stuff.  I asked them if they minded if, instead, we wrote a couple posts about what they have been finding.  Here's part 1 of 5 (so far).

Monday, April 27, 2015

Resistant Starch Studies

It's been a while since I've written anything about RS. Today, I found the full-texts of a couple of new research articles on RS and thought I'd share. The first paper is about RS3, from tapioca starch as compared to a seaweed-derived fiber . The second is about the benefits of green banana flour. Let's dig in.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Magic Mushrooms!

Just read a nice review of a new study on Medical Express, Mushrooms boost immunity, by Brad Buck.
"Pholiota limonella" on a willow tree (not edible, possibly hallucinogenic) (Photo by me)!
 If you eat a shiitake mushroom every day, you could see changes in their that are beneficial," said Percival, an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member. "We're enhancing the immune system, but we're also reducing the inflammation that the immune system produces.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

What's all the Buzz?

Not that I don't have enough hobbies like fishing, hunting, trapping, gardening, and raising chickens, but I've been really interested in honey this past year, so I decided to get into keeping my own bees.

I just can't say enough good things about honey. We actually evolved as a species eating honey, but now we miss out on the full spectrum of a close relationship with the bees. Not only is the honey healthful, but also the wax comb, the pollen, and the propolis (a waxy substance bees make to seal holes). And getting stung by bees also has its share of health benefits as bee venom is shown to lower blood glucose and be of use in arthritis, bursitis, and tendinitis.

This post isn't meant to be a dissertation on honey, but a starter guide to beekeeping.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Corn Dodgers!

One of my all-time favorite movies is True Grit.  Not the 2010 remake, but the 1969 original with John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn.

The only thing Rooster Cogburn liked better than shootin' and drinkin' was eating the "corn dodgers" that his cook, Chen Lee, cooked for him. In fact, he rode for days eating nothing but corn dodgers, and even used them for shooting practice.

So, let's make some, shall we?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Humans are Not Broken...Plant Paleo.

I've been talking to Angelo Coppola recently about his thoughts on diet.  Angelo is an awesome dude, has one of the best "radio" voices I've ever heard.  He does a podcast, Latest in Paleo, and puts out a quality show a couple times a month, interviewing all manner of people to discuss health issues.

Angelo also blogs a bit at Humans are not Broken. I've always liked that Angelo doesn't get stuck in the "24 hour newscycle" that a lot of blogs get caught in, jumping from headline to headline trying to keep ahead of the competition, but struggling to remain relevant.

Angelo's latest brainchild is a series he's putting together to focus on a high-fiber, gut healthy diet that does not use meat and fat as the backbone. He's calling this "Plant Paleo," (click link for an intro), and also wrote a blog, part 1 of a series, to explain his thoughts: Plant Paleo Part 1: The Gatherer-Hunter Diet.

And here you can check him out 'up close and personal' in a very brave photo-shoot.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

On the Art of Asking Questions

"He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever."

(no idea who the author is)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Farts...the new sneeze!

Farts were probably not vilified nor a cause of ridicule until our diet changed drastically in the past couple hundred years. Any population eating a diet with lots of fermentable fibers, be it from meat or plant, would be a population that knows gas. A diet that produces little gas, or intermittent levels of gas with asphyxiating properties, is not a diet that favors good populations of gut microbes. No one cringes and points fingers when a person sneezes, so should it be with the common fart.

A polite person sneezes into the crook of their arm or a tissue clad hand. Random passers-by may say, “Gesundheit,” “Bless you,” or “Mercy!” Our proposal is that farts should elicit the same courtesies from both farter and fartee...

When one feels a fart coming on, it shouldn’t be sphincter-choked out of existence, but it should be let out at a natural pace without worry of odoriferous quality or decibel. A passive observer should, at that juncture, respond in kind with, “Gut bugs!” “Microbes!” or “To fermentation!”

When the stigma of farting is gone, people will be under great pressure to eat a diet that feeds gas degraders and colonocytes, a diet high in fermentables that produce healthy, hearty gas. And, if this day never comes and flatulence remains confined to locked restroom stalls and dingy alleyways, just remember the words of Edward Fitzgerald,

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on.”

So, fear not the breaking wind...don’t apologize for a fart any more than you’d apologize for a sneeze, just move on. With improved health comes great farts, no longer do we need to fear “silent but deadly” instead, we embrace the “loud and friendly!”

Fart Man of Sheshatshit

The Innu are a group of First Nations, located in northeastern Quebec and southern Labrador. They’ve traditionally lived a life in the far north often living off the land and known far and wide as a healthy, fun-loving people with great respect for Nature. The Innu hold onto some of their pre-Christian beliefs, amongst them a deity known as “Matshishkapeu.”

Matshishkapeu, or “Fart Man,” is the spirit of the bowels who speaks regularly with the Innu. Fart Man is a god of humor and seriousness, imparting much laughter but one of the most powerful gods able to control both man and animal. He is omnipotent, always with you, both inside and out. Matshishkapeu can speak, sing, mimic, and predict the future, according to legend.

The Innu of Sheshatshit, Labrador (yes, really!) refer to Fart Man as Matshishkapeu-utshimau (the boss), tshitshue utshimau (the real boss) or mishta-utshimau (the big boss). Fart Man speaks through the anus of the Innu, but often in muffled, unintelligible sentences or words. It’s usually left to a wise elder to translate. Common messages from Fart Man are:


"It's cold"

"One, two, three" (Matshishkapeu can count but no higher than five)


"Good, good, good..."

"No, no, no"

"I can go right through" [the wall like a ghost]

"The world is soon going to end my son"
To the gut bugs!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Good Day Sunshine

I can't believe the sun is back!  The height of the sun in the sky makes such a huge difference, it's hard to describe unless you live somewhere crazy like Fairbanks, Alaska, where in Winter the sun barely rises above the horizon and in Summer barely dips below.  While the sun never really gets very high in the sky, even in Summer, it does get up high enough for the UV light to penetrate the atmosphere and warm things up, but more importantly, hit my skin at just the right angle to produce Vitamin D and give me a nice tan.

If you are a science geek like me, you'll like this online sun tracker. It tells the angle of the sun on any day in any city.  Today, here, the sun hit 27.6 degrees at its highest.  In New York, the sun was at 50 degrees of angle at solar noon.  In Southern California, 60 degrees.  I believe the optimum height for Vitamin D production is between 25-45 degrees, something to do with the angle and UV-A, UV-B light. Here is a study, if you like to read!  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Let's talk honey, honey

Based on popular demand - here another song - didn't Tim say "keep them coming"?

I'm afraid that was it, dear friends, my time here is over. Where is any science here? Where?

Hopefully I will be forgiven because it is Sunday :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Northern Lights II

 Added more from 3/19!  Best show yet, and probably the last from this solar storm.

A couple more from tonight (3/18).  Really awesome show tonight, perfect conditions, even got some shooting stars (they show up as straight lines)!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Northern Lights

The Auroras were out pretty good tonight thanks to a big solar storm from a few days ago.

Got a few good pictures!

Monday, March 16, 2015

The FairyTale

I was asked to contribute some interesting content. No chance for some more fiber science, or exosomes and miRNA talk today, sorry :-)

Instead,  here a song to start your day, and accompany your exercise (yes, do only that much you can, try the jumping push-ups if you feel like, perhaps. The back flips are for the advanced gymnasts only, though).

Have fun!

P.S. Actually, I have originally intended to present Nick Lane and his soon to be published book The Vital Question: Why is life the way it is? (yes I want it), but I heard this song on the radio this morning, and recalled that Nick Lane plays fiddle too, and I decided some exercise for the mitochondria would make a nice entry to the origins of life fairy tale.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Coming Full Circle

"Coming Full Circle—From Endless Complexity to Simplicity and Back Again.", discusses how cancer research is once again back in the "incredibly complex" stage of its evolution:

"In the mid-1970s, ...the mechanisms by which cancer started and spread were a total mystery. Half a century of cancer research had generated an enormous body of observations about the behavior of the disease, but there were essentially no insights into how the disease begins and progresses to its life-threatening conclusions. As a result, the field of cancer research was held in ill-disguised contempt by the growing crowd of molecular biologists, geneticists, and biochemists. Even the cancer researchers had become rather disillusioned with the vast body of essentially incoherent phenomena that constituted ‘‘cancer research’’: as one particularly jaundiced cancer researcher told me at the time ‘‘one should never, ever confuse cancer research with science!’’

Monday, March 2, 2015

CoolFatBurner! This is Cool...

Nope, not getting paid for this, just wanted to share. Many of you know I live in Northern Alaska and use the cold Winters in part of my overall health strategy. Several years ago, the blogosphere lit up with talk of "brown fat" and "cold thermogenesis." I dug deep into the science behind both and realized that instead of hiding from the cold all Winter, it made more sense to embrace it and use it to my advantage.

Friday, February 20, 2015

OK...Let's Do It! Potato Diet 2015

I see a couple of folks clicked the "Potato Diet" tab up top and started playing around with it. I've been putting this post off for a while, wanting to get some gut testing info back from AmGut first, but what the heck?  Let's just do it!  Who needs to lose a couple pounds?  I put on 5 pounds this Winter and want it GONE!  So, next week, Monday through Friday, I'll be eating nothing but potatoes.  Anyone want to join in?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Whale Falls

Every once in a while, a whale dies way out in the ocean and falls to the bottom where nothing supposedly lives...and something miraculous happens. A pile of garden scraps and fish heads has a similar effect, and what happens inside our intestines is no less amazing.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

American Gut Project Data Mining Tutorial

Sorry, non-geeky types...most boring blog post ever!  I'm putting this up as a resource for anyone who wants to try it out.  If you do, and have any short-cuts, please post in the comments and I'll amend later.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Let's Talk about Kefir!

Hey, everybody - Giselle from Your Kefir Source wanted to drop by and talk about kefir. She has a great website with everything you could ever want to know about kefir. I played around with water kefir last summer and even made some really good cream soda with it, but alas, my kefir grains finally died. After reading Giselle's website today, it made me want to try again.

Friday, January 30, 2015

In Search of...the Perfect Gut Bug!

Thanks to the Human Genome Project, uBiome, and American Gut we now can see exactly what bacteria call our guts 'home.' A quick Google search will tell us precisely what each microbe does for us and a visit to Amazon will let us purchase the best probiotics available!  But is this the whole story?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hot Shit!

I'm just reading an article from the May 2014 journal Cell Death and Differentiation, titled "Gut microbiome and anticancer immune response: really hot Sh*t!." (hattip Gemma, who also helped me write this!)

I read lots and lots of scientific papers, too many, in fact.  But this one has really captured my attention.  It kind of cuts through a lot of the BS and narrows into what is really important when it comes to gut health.

Friday, January 16, 2015

uBiome 2-for-1 until Feb 1st!

$89 for a kit and get a second kit free.  If anyone is wanting to do any before-after's or test two people, here is a great chance!

Go here to purchase a kit.

This is not an affiliate link.  Just passing this on.  I'm always happy to help folks read their results, too. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

In Search of the Perfect Fiber (Part 5...the future!)

OK.  I think I'm about ready to wrap this up.  It's pretty obvious by now that there is no "perfect fiber."  They are all pretty good!  The problem always is going to be in determining what we each need on a day-to-day basis to keep our gut microbiome well-fed.  Will real food ever be enough?  Do we need to take a supplement?

Updated 1/9/2015:

[I think for me, the most compelling bit of evidence for 25-50g per day of fermentable, prebiotic fiber  is the fact that human breast milk contains 15-25g of HMOs (fermentable, prebiotic fiber) per 700 calories.  Recognizing that a baby's immune system is weak, they obviously maybe need more immune stimulating fibers than an adult.  But relatively speaking, it's clear to me that recommending adults get more than 25g per day is a no-brainer. 

A baby, from birth until he, or she, is weaned, ingests about 15-25g of fermentable fibers per day.  Recommending an adult get at least that much, via resistant starches, inulin, and a whole host of other fibers makes perfect sense to me.]

Monday, January 5, 2015

In Search of the Perfect Fiber (Part 4...'ancient' science)

So far we've defined fiber and prebiotics, discussed that 20-50g/day of fermentable fibers is a good target, looked into real food and supplemental fiber sources, and also created a bit of confusion.  The topic of "fiber" is anything but simple.  You'll see in this post why so much confusion exists and why we really should pay attention.  The concept of fermentable fibers is very new, though we've relied on them for millions of years..

Sunday, January 4, 2015

In Search of the Perfect Fiber (Part 3...supplements)

In Part 1 we discussed a target of 20-50 grams per day of the fiber types considered "fermentable" or "prebiotic." In Part 2, I confused things a bit by showing you that it's nearly impossible to accurately count fiber.

In Part 3, I'd like to show you what is available for fiber supplementation and give some ways to incorporate a fiber supplement into your diet.  I want this post to be a reference that people stumble across in 2,5,10 years from now when they are looking to buying fiber because their neighbor/doctor/kid told them they 'need more fiber.'

Thursday, January 1, 2015

In Search of the Perfect Fiber (Part 2...food)

In Part 1 we discussed what fiber is, does, and how much we need.  To recap, nearly all governing agencies and nutritional advisory boards recommend that we need somewhere in the range of 20-40 grams of fiber per day.  Less for women, children and the elderly (defined as 'over 50,' ha!).

I proposed that we shoot for a similar amount, 25-50 grams per day, but we should only be counting what has traditionally been called "soluble" fiber, or the type that we now consider prebiotic fiber.  We also discussed that it is probably not necessary to eat an exact amount every day, and even taking a day or two away from fibers is maybe a good plan, in line with ancestral eating patterns.

In Part 2, let's discuss food choices designed around getting as much fermentable/soluble/prebiotic fiber as we can. I've invited three very knowledgeable folks, GabKad, Gemma and Wilbur, to help me write this post.