Every person living in the United States has over a 1 in 3 lifetime chance of dying from a preventable disease. That means you and me, and the numbers are even worse for our children (almost 1 in 2). Most of the world has much lower chances, but their risks keep rising as they adopt the western diet and lifestyle.
Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other modern diseases aren't some nebulous things that happen to "other people" any more. Half of us are going to kill ourselves with our diet and lifestyle. About half a million people are going to die from cancer alone, in just this one year.
I don't know about you, but that fills me with fear and outrage. I don't want my life decided by a damn coin flip. So I've searched for the last decade for what I can do to avoid dying. When I was younger I might have quipped, "Well, of course we need a good diet to improve our health" and then blithely reached for another brownie. Now I am telling you in deadly earnest, "Living a better lifestyle is a necessary survival tactic."
Wow... just wow. Is it really that bad?
Yes. It's really that bad. I'm not even talking about quality of life issues here, especially during our later years. This is just whether we'll painfully kill ourselves when we didn't have to, and lose almost two decades of extra life.
I know you don't want to hear this; I don't want to tell it to you. It's easier to just stick our heads in the sand and hope that some smart person somewhere invents a pill that will save us all, allowing us to continue doing what we have been without consequence.
But that's not going to happen. We have to take responsibility for our own health. There's a lot of information how to do that, too much in fact, and some of it seems conflicting. I've sifted through the mountain and identified the stuff reputable authorities agree on. And there is good news: we can avoid every modern disease, if we improve our diet and lifestyle. That's why these conditions are called preventable.
Why should I trust you and your recommendations?
Put simply, you should trust me because I'm like you. I'm a concerned citizen who is trying to make sense of things. I have no affiliation with anyone nor hidden agendas. I just need to know, for my own sanity, what the safest course of action is to save my own life. And since I've spent ten years figuring it out, I thought I'd share my findings so you don't have to go through the same trouble.
As for the recommendations, none of them are mine. I'm going to be citing tons of other people who do have the relevant and impressive qualifications in science, medicine, nutrition, and health. Everything I'm going to tell you is well established, and someone else's idea. My main focus is merely distilling and highlighting the important parts you need to know, today, in order to keep you and your family alive.
Something new that I have done is economic analysis to identify the best areas to invest our time in. There's lots of good advice out there, but we have limited time and effort to spend. We're going to rate guidelines by common economic metrics to identify the best things to do: first, with greatest benefit / effort, that cost the least, etc.
Kim E Lumbard
The Radical Solution Summary
We have become disconnected with six vital biological needs for
cellular and organismic health:
We further ignore several highly corrective healing approaches, many with large impact on our mental health:
So the insanely radical solution is... to actually listen to what mothers have been telling their kids for time immemorial. "Drink more water. Go outside and play. Eat your vegetables. I want you to be happy. Work up a good sweat. Get enough sleep. Have something to eat. Share with your friends. No matter what you do, I love you and believe in you." Hopefully this wisdom is self-apparent. If not, then we will demonstrate why this simple advice is an incredibly sound prescription for health and longevity.
In general, it is more beneficial for us to seek health-improving situations
than merely avoiding risks factors. We need to reconnect with healthy,
Water, Sunlight, Oxygen, and Motion are absolutely needed for everyone; they
are fundamental biological requirements for cellular health.
Careful attention to your water to sodium balance is the first step to
improving your health; without it, all other efforts are frustrated.
Sunlight is, quite simply, the most health-promoting force found in nature;
we want frequent sun daily for the rest of our lives. After meal
walks are the most effective way to improve full body circulation, affect
hormone regulation, and oxygenate. Deep diaphragmatic breathing coupled with
frequent light body motion is essential to increase our immune response and
overall metabolism; it has the beneficial side effects of relaxing and
Not only is this foundation necessary for optimum health, these requirements also have the highest ratio of benefit / effort. You realize benefits very quickly, within days. A month of concerted effort will bring you to peak benefit. All the requirements are cash positive: they are free, some actively save you money, and all profoundly reduce total life expense. Depending on your preferences, there may be one-time purchases involved (like tan-thru clothing). All the requirements are time-positive: you live far longer than the amount of time you spend doing them. By every economic metric, these requirements are the best area to focus on. They are nearly an order of magnitude better than their nearest competitors.
Your water to salt balance is central to good health. We are
malhydrated with too little water and too much
forces our bodies to ration and retain both, leading to many problems. Three
big issues are: it
causes distress, the system-wide
decline of nutrient
promotes cancer via changing cell parameters.
impacts the immune system, blood pressure, lungs, joints,
and quality of life.
We do not manage this balance at all, and we must connect sodium and water intake. A typical fast food sandwich has upwards of 1500mg of sodium in it, which requires at least 3L+ of pure water to counterbalance. We ingest too much sodium, far too little water, and too many other drinks that further malhydrate us. We must drink excess water and sweat more to correct our malhydration.
Body's Many Cries for Water
Hooked On Juice
Suppose I told you that I know of a pill that could give you most of the
benefits of exercise without exertion. This pill naturally
boosts your immune system (the holy grail of all medicine). It's a
broad spectrum antibiotic, but bacteria can't gain a resistance to it,
and it becomes safer on repeated use. This pill
prevents almost all disease including cancer, increases your longevity,
balances your hormones, reduces stress, improves your
mood, and even helps you sleep better. To make it work, you
have to take it 3 times a day after meals, and then walk for 10-15 minutes
to activate it. (That's because it uses no chemicals of any sort, it's just
a ball of pure healing energy.) It has a side effect that can't be removed:
makes you more attractive.
How much would you pay for that pill? Well, you can't buy it, because it is already free. It's called Sunlight with UV (TM).
The UV Advantage
The Healing Sun
Health and Light
Exploring the Spectrum
Light Treatment in Surgery
Skin Cancer Foundation
American Diabetes Association
Motion and oxygen are two critical ingredients to your whole body
circulation and metabolism.
They are the rate limiters to every chemical process and are essential to
cellular health. When cells receive proper raw materials,
they basically fix themselves; otherwise, all cellular
function suffers. Moreover, our immune system needs regular motion and
oxygen in order to combat toxins, anaerobic microbes, and pH imbalance.
We desire light, frequent movement more than occasional heavy exertion. Simply standing and taking a short walk outside has tremendous benefit, as does dancing. We also want as much fresh air as we can get. This entails many things: taking deep breaths, to stop smoking, and airing our homes. When we play outdoors we get the combination of sunlight, fresh air, motion, and eustress.
American Lung Association
Both of these guidelines require an investment phase of weeks to months before they pay substantial dividends. During investment, their benefit / effort is small and in some cases effort > benefit initially; after investment, their benefit / effort continues to grow. Benefits peak around your ideal weight and temperamental happiness then remain constant. These guidelines are barely breakeven cash-wise. They require more routine expense but incur less overall medical expense. (That's from a consumer perspective; from a social burden / insurance company view, they are hugely cost effective.) If your investment period before peak is P (say two years to get to your ideal weight), then these guidelines only become time-positive after about 2P. Since the time you can gain after breakeven is bounded only by your lifespan, these guidelines are still wise investments despite limited immediate return. The earlier you do them, the better.
Food is something that comes directly from nature: a plant or an
animal, whether on land or from the sea. THAT'S IT. Everything else you see
in a modern supermarket is a harmful edible product, which is 90%+ of
Refinement of food into edible products is the primary source
of danger in our diet. Specifically, the Four
Horsemen of Death (sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined flour, and
processed oil) ruin our health: disrupting hormones, immune function,
intestinal flora, and organs. The Four Horsemen literally age us before our
The standard for what we eat should be the presence of proven health benefit, not the absence of harm. Fresh, whole food is known to be good for you; if you eat food, your health will improve. Edible products are known to be bad for you. If you eat edible products, your health will decline.
USDA's Choose My Plate
Reversing Heart Disease
Eat to Live
In Defense of Food
Sugar Busters! Diet
The hormones managed by your organs are responsible for all
chemical regulation in your body, and
internal balance is the definition of good health. When
hormones work properly we feel good, think clearly,
and enjoy life. This tight relationship with both mood and mind enables us
to positively affect our hormone balance through emotions, attitude, and
There are two kinds of stress: good eustress and bad distress. Eustress like happiness, social activity, challenges, sex, and flexible optimism improve our hormone balance; while distress like injury, strong emotions, drug use, feeling powerless, and bad attitude disrupt our hormones. Perceived time starvation and life dissatisfaction are two major causes of chronic distress and discontent. We must seek eustress and avoid distress to improve our health.
How We Choose to Be Happy
The How of Happiness
Dangers of Stress
Eat More, Weigh Less
Escape From Freedom
Flow: Psychology of Optimal Experience
Happy Ref Here
The benefit / effort ratio for the nursing recommendations depends on your health. If you are in obese or in poor health, their initial benefit is large. However, as you become healthier, they give diminishing returns, and the curative recommendations can be relaxed. Essential requirements should always be followed, as should all avoidance restrictions. Curative guidelines peak early and then decline in benefit, while lifelong guidelines build to a peak then give sustained benefit. Timely recommendations typically have a high benefit / effort ratio, but being rate limited are only worth doing occasionally.
These recommendations are mostly cash neutral; you may save some money if you currently buy supplements or purchase according to advertisements. Nursing is very time intensive. The biggest line item on your time balance sheet is watching television. If that was over 90 minutes per day and you eliminate it, you always come out time positive. Otherwise, you are only time positive if you are currently unhealthy; healthy people barely breakeven. Hence, these recommendations are mainly for nursing yourself to health. Once healthy, you can continue them or not as you prefer.
Why balance is important / supplements are bad
Balance summary here
Cortisol Connection Diet
South Beach Diet
One of Ben Franklin's 13 virtues was industry: "Lose no time; Be always
employ'd in something useful; Cut off all unnecessary actions."
Seek importance, not convenience
Activity Summary here
Search for Meaning
Activity Ref Here
There you go. If you follow this prescription, you will avoid heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, and a host of other preventable modern diseases. Print out a couple pages with these icons and cut them into the seven squares. Paste each one someplace where it will best remind you to follow that particular guideline (your fridge door, computer monitor, work desk, television, remote control, morning mirror, wallet / purse, cell phone case, what have you).
At this point, you know how to improve your health and the executive summary reasons for doing so. If just knowing how to save your life is all you were looking for and you feel pressed for time, then all you need to read are a few more how to's and you'll know what to do in detail:
If you are a curious sort and want to know why this stuff works, read on.
The Radical Solution Explained
Here's what's killing us in the American diet:
Antioxidants are substances that cooperate with body systems to inhibit free radical formation, make them tend to bond to safe stuff, or to correct things that the free radicals mucked up.
In short: free radicals are bad, and antioxidants are good.
Radicals are constantly being created in our bodies in a variety of ways. Some things increase the probability they will be created, while others decrease the chances. A very high probability chemical recipe is
|charged ion + (poly)unsaturated fat + low antioxidants||=||Free Radical|
In the American diet, this translates into:
|acid-formers + processed oils + few fresh, whole plant foods||=||Free Radicals|
We are keenly interested in free radicals because of a known reaction involving them:
|Free Radical + acid pH + low oxygenation||=||Cancerous cell||=||Proven cancer promoter|
pH and Free Radicals
Everything we put in our bodies has a pH that determines whether it
tends to donate electrons or grabs electrons from the water around it. The
pH of water is around 7 or so, which is considered baseline neutral. Lower
than 7 is called "acidic"; higher than 7 is called "basic", though the
not-entirely accurate term "alkaline" is now in vogue. A healthy body pH is
around 7.4, or slightly alkaline.
Every time we ingest something with a pH away from 7, we create ionic solutions that increase the probability of free radical generation. An ion is not a free radical, but ions participate in several of the chemical recipes that create them. The net charge imbalance also plays a role, of which pH is a proxy measurement.
Now, acidic and basic substances usually react and neutralize one other, moving the resultant pH toward 7. The stuff that wants to donate electrons (+) gives it to the stuff that wants to grab the electrons (-), resulting in a net zero effect.
There are two subtleties we need to be aware of. First, the pH of a food and the pH a food induces in our bodies can be different. For example, most milk is slightly alkaline but has an "acid forming" effect. While fruits have citric acid they largely have an "alkaline forming" effect in the body. We only care about the net digested effect, so henceforth when we say "acidic food" we really mean "acts to lowers pH in the body". Here's a helpful chart with the pH of things we commonly eat. The More Ranked Food sections in the middle bottomish are the most useful.
The second is that pH is a log scale. That means a one point difference in pH is a factor of ten, so there is a 100-fold difference between pH 5.0 and 7.0. If we eat a small amount of an extremely acidic food, then it takes a lot of alkaline foods to compensate, to return us to safe chemical neutrality again.
[Scientists will (quite rightly) say the more accurate picture involves
osmolar concentrations of competing ionic species, their relative pKa
acidity, protein cycles, and ion trapping. These are important quantitative
details but don't alter the qualitative picture, so we omit them. We are
The Deliberate Approximation and Poor
So here's the first approximation of what's happening with our diet:
We eat way too many acidic foods, and way too few alkaline ones.
Consider a select list from the Extremely Acidic Foods section: Artificial
Sweeteners, Beer, Cigarettes, Drugs, Flour, Liquor, Meat, Pasta, Table Salt,
Soda, and Sugar. With the addition of the Moderately Acidic Bread, Cereals,
Eggs, Milk, Potatoes, Wheat, and Wheat Foods, that's the Standard American
Alkaline foods are in general fruits and vegetables, and those also happen to be chock full of antioxidants. So we get hit with a double whammy. Not only are we not neutralizing ionic imbalance with alkaline foods, we aren't getting enough antioxidants to prevent and repair the damage the resultant free radicals do.
Now, for some modern diseases like osteoporosis, this is the real mechanism of action. The body keeps a constant pH in the blood, so the response to too much acidic intake is to pull calcium (via an alkaline salt) from our bones. For other preventable diseases like cancer, the mechanism of action is indirectly influenced by acidity and free radicals. And in some cases, no one knows what the heck is really going on.
We're going to focus on the pH model anyhoo for two main reasons. One, it is easy to understand, and is the actual underlying cause of many health problems. Two, it gives us the same exact diet and lifestyle recommendations we get from other, more sophisticated analyses. So we're going to encourage this way of looking at food even though the real benefit often lies elsewhere (such as the effect different foods have on our hormones, metabolism, or immune system).
When we more closely analyze what's happening with preventable diseases, we'll discover a consistent theme. A variety of digestion problems play a huge role in our ill health. This poor digestion causes a vicious cycle to form, where the body signals us to eat more, we overeat, and then do the same things to reinforce our digestion problems. This cycle increases calories while decreasing nourishment. Once we compensate for these problems, the body corrects itself at its own pace. So much of our attention will be focused on every last thing we can do to improve nourishment and digestion.
Hormones and Antagonism
Hormones are chemicals manufactured by our organs that act as messengers, signalling our body to do something; often they coordinate multiple parts of the body simultaneously. For example, when we eat, loads of nutrients are dumped into our bloodstream by our intestines. The pancreas releases the hormone insulin to signal cells to absorb these nutrients, smoothly transferring them wherever they need to go.
Hormone timing is very important, and most hormones are keyed to specific triggers. If too much insulin were released away from a meal, then the available nutrients in our blood would plummet and we would crash. If too little insulin is released after a meal, then our blood is saturated with too much stuff which damages the rest of our body. We need the right amounts of hormones at precise times for optimal health.
Hormones can be released at the wrong time because of spurious cues, and this can result in hormone antagonism. For example, the adrenal glands mobilize body reserves using cortisol, which tells cells to dump nutrients into the blood for emergency use. If cortisol and insulin are present at the same time, then cells get mixed messages. The two hormones "fight" each other, making each one less effective.
Two common kinds of antagonism are melatonin and cortisol. The former is caused by lack of visual sunlight cues interfering with our photoperiod, and the latter from chronic distress. These have wide-ranging adverse effects on our health, particularly our mental health and energy level.
So here's the first approximation of what's happening with our lifestyle: we've become disconnected from the natural triggers that manage our hormones. We want to seek hormone balance, where hormones work harmoniously each at the proper time.
Mention anabolism vs catabolism? Maybe better in metabolism section
Insert graphic here: regulator, buffer, active form Amino acid pool, muscles are the buffer Calcium, bones are the buffer Calcium is also the buffer for intracellular energies Water, intracellular fluid is the buffer
This buffer often acts as a long term reservoir. We get vitamin D only occasionally, but it gets stored and doled out in appropriate amounts in real time. Thus, for the vast majority of nutrients we eat, we only need to get enough over a period of time; the body takes care of the rest. That's a critical reason to eat a diverse diet, to ensure that we keep all our body buffers fully stocked.
However, there are some crucial things the body cannot store, and these have to be eaten regularly, optimally every day. Among these are water soluble vitamins like B and C, zinc, and several antioxidants. The retention of these unstorable nutrients ranges from one day to about a week.
Most importantly, each of these nutrients tends to have a chemically active form and a less reactive storage form. Dietary Vitamin D (calciferol) doesn't do jack, and needs to be converted to calcidiol for the body to store it. As needed, the body converts this to the active form (calcitriol), which has a lifespan less than a day. It is this latter form that confers the main health benefits of the vitamin.
Differentiate between cap and flush buffers? Maybe three categories might be more illuminating
Altogether, this means the rate at which we can utilize nutrients is limited by the buffers of other nutrients. For any given process in the body, there is a rate limiter which governs how fast it can go. Often it is a hormone, other times it is another reactant, it can also be a catalyst, and occasionally it isn't a chemical or nutrient at all. The key point is: rates increase with balance. The more balances we can maintain, the faster our bodies can fix themselves. We must gradually increase the function of all body systems together, because they are all dependent on one another.
Almost everything that our body needs it wants at a certain optimal rate (grams of protein per week, minutes of sunlight per day, liters of oxygen per minute, etc.) These intakes have both minimum and maximum rates, but we often focus on one and neglect the other. For example, 20-30% of our diet should be whole fats, but we are so concerned about reducing fat intake we forget we want at least a 20% minimum. (It actually turns out the optimal rate of fat intake is 30%.)
Minerals should be consumed in exact ratios because the body uses them in combination packets. If we get too large a dose of one mineral, we reduce the store of another. Thus, we want mineral balance, both in the food we eat and our body buffers. (It is possible we can extend this concept to all nutrient balance, though currently only the mechanisms for water and minerals are well established.)
In addition, other kinds of balance are also health-promoting. We want portion balance of the kinds of food we eat at each meal, macronutrient balance of every meal and snack, and radical balance of the timing we eat meals and snacks relative to when we sleep and the diurnal cycle.
Our imbalanced diet is a primary cause of our health problems. What we eat and how we eat it upsets our internal balances (pH, body buffers, and hormones). In addition, we create hormone antagonism by overactivating contrary hormone systems at the same time. When our internal balances are skewed, our cellular and mental health decreases. When we say someone is healthy, we really mean:
|Organismic Health||=||Cellular Health + Internal Balances (Neutral pH, Ample Body Buffers, Hormone Balance) + Mental Health|
However, there is one special case where our rate of absorption is not
limited: energy nutrients. The rate your body can store excess energy is
high... much faster than you could possibly eat! In addition, our reservoir
is very large, so our ability to store carbohydrates as body fat is immense.
Reductionism Mistakes and Cofactors
This leads us to one of the biggest mistakes we make in thinking about diet
in America. We tend to think of food as just a collection of its individual
nutrients that are all independent of each other, which is called
reductionism. If we felt the need for more vitamin D, for example, we
might think all we have to do drink more milk or eat vitamin D rich foods.
Or worse, we'd think we could get vitamin D from a supplemental pill.
The reductionist view doesn't work for three reasons. First, it is only the active form of a nutrient that matters, and the conversion rate from the storage form is usually rate limited by something else, not the nutrient itself. If you want more vitamin D, then you need more alkalinity and sunlight; that's because serum calcium, ParaThryroid Hormone (PTH) and calcitriol production are all intertwined. Eating more vitamin D merely increases body stores, it doesn't affect production of the active form in the kidney, since that is controlled by PTH (the something else). As another example, we eat calcium in order to build strong bones. But bone building is rate limited by active Vitamin D (the something else), not calcium. Altogether, that means the best thing you can do for healthy bones is to get sunlight! Increasing ingestion of a nutrient in isolation rarely confers more health benefit.
The second strike against reductionism is that having too much of something is often just as bad as having too little. Getting too much vitamin D is harmful, in some cases lethal. There are known toxicity limits on the majority of nutrients; the conspicuous lack are the nutrients the body cannot store. Balance is the desired goal, specifically of body buffers. Seeking balance removes rate limiting bottlenecks, while isolated nutrient excesses do not.
The third and most compelling reason why reductionism fails is food cofactors, i.e. the other things in the same food, or in food eaten at the same time. Food cofactors have a profound effect on how much of each nutrient gets absorbed, and in some cases can have inhibitory effects. This is related to bioavailability, how much of a nutrient gets digested, absorbed, and is useable by the body.
Zinc is an excellent example. There are many plant foods that have zinc in them, but eating those results in little bioavailable zinc. Animal meats have zinc and in addition have the cofactors that create the biologically active form of zinc. So as far as zinc is concerned, you'd be much better off eating the plants and meat together at the same meal.
Spices are another classic cofactor example. Tumeric has a number of health benefits, and is a generally good spice to use. However, when tumeric is combined with a small amount of pepper (piperine), the beneficial effects are increased dramatically.
Cofactors effects are even more pervasive than activation and catalyzation. For example, Vitamin C protects Vitamins A and E from degradation in the body. So even though Vitamin C doesn't interact chemically with either, it still indirectly increases their utilization. There are endless examples of these long-range influences. Nutrients are most effective within an internally balanced body.
Does this mean you have to learn all the cofactors and spice interactions? Not really. It's very simple: a fresh, whole food has the cofactors you want, and an old traditional folk dish usually has precisely the right spices.
[Note that there is one class of supplement that has been demonstrated to give benefit even in isolation: the nutrients the body cannot store. Their function is substantially improved when taken with their activating cofactors. If you take B-complex, C, zinc, or antioxidants, do so with meals.]
The Distillation Fallacy and Whole Foods
Another big mistake we make is to think concentrating a food increases its health effectiveness, which I dub the distillation fallacy. The more a food has been changed or processed, the worse it is for your health. Period. An apple is a healthy fruit. Apple juice is a unhealthy drink. Supplements like multi-vitamins are useless unless you eat it after a well-balanced meal. Even then, because of buffering, you likely didn't receive any health benefit.
We mistakenly view our foods as drugs. Refinement of a drug makes it more potent. In highly skilled hands, that makes them more useful. Refinement of foods does exactly the same thing, but when used indiscriminately makes them more dangerous. Anyone can eat a poppy seed safely, but everyone gets addicted to opiates. Refinement of food into edible products is the primary source of danger in our diet. This is true in general, but we now have ample evidence of how sugar, high fructose corn syrup, refined flour, and processed oils ruin our health. They are the Four Horsemen of Death.
Fresh, whole foods have maximal health and nutritional value, because they are already internally balanced. Processed foods and isolated nutrients have much less, and in some cases, none. Just because an edible product has a nutrient on the ingredient label doesn't mean you'll get any nourishment from ingesting it. This is especially true for added nutrients, since they lack cofactors or the right cofactor proportions to utilize them properly. If your body can't or doesn't use a nutrient, it doesn't matter that you ate it. You just poop it out, or have some nice shiny pee.
Edible product companies bombard us with the distillation fallacy to promote their products. All clinical evidence points to edible products being harmful. So advertisers will instead make a misleading health claim: "Our product contains nutrient X, and nutrient X is known to have (insert beneficial effect here)". They can't say that eating their product improves your health, because when studies are run where people actually eat edible products, their health declines. So companies must resort to false advertising to fool us into viewing food reductionistically, which is simply the incorrect way to view it.
"The thousands of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (beneficial plant compounds) in whole foods act synergistically together to create a more powerful effect than the sum of their parts, producing a result which cannot be recreated by supplements." - Vice President for Education at the American Institute for Cancer
There are hundreds of authorities which prove the health benefits of fresh whole foods in a variety of ways. There is not a single authority that promotes edible products to improve your health. Moreover, the evidence is that edible products are not only unsafe, they are actually dangerous.
[Athletes will sing hosanas in praise of the effectiveness of
supplementation, because it helps them achieve high performance levels.
What's important to understand is context: athletes strictly follow very
carefully researched and designed regimens that create the conditions that
makes those supplements useful. Said differently, they induce specific
body imbalances that those supplements correct. Said yet another way, their
requirements are so high they need supplements to remove rate limiting
bottlenecks. Supplements can have tactical value within a high performance
lifestyle context, but applied randomly are just as likely to be harmful as
helpful. Many things that enhance performance decrease health and
The Health Spectrum: Health and
Unhealth arise from Small Behaviors
Insert graphic here: healthy, unhealthly, sick First shows in: mood, energy, blood, illness focus on: fitness, musculymphatics, healthA healthy person is one that is highly resistant to diseases. They tend to be active and vital with ample reserves, clear-headed, and happily enjoying life. An unhealthy person is one that is highly susceptible to disease. They tend to be lethargic and easily exhausted, have difficulty concentrating, and pessimistic. Even though we use the terms absolutely ("a healthy person") we really mean a spectrum. We become healthier or unhealthier over time in response to a variety of factors, each one tending to change our health for the better or worse.
The difference between healthy and unhealthy people is even more pronounced when they actually get sick. Healthier patients have higher recovery rates, shorter recovery times, and are more functional during the actual illness. Unhealthy patients have more severe symptoms, frequent opportunistic complications, and higher chronic relapse. So health affects not only our quantity of sickness but also its quality.
Moreover, each end of the spectrum is self-reinforcing: healthy people naturally engage in acts that make them healthier, and unhealthy people tend toward unhealthy behaviors. That's how they got healthy or unhealthy to begin with. Every act we take moves us slightly toward one end or the other, and the sum of those acts every day improves or decreases our health. We want big movements toward health, but that's not how it works. It is the consistent application of many, small, healthy activities over long periods of time that improves our health.
THERE IS NO MAGIC BULLET. We waste our efforts chasing "big scores"
instead of focusing our attention on known, proven approaches. We are
unhealthy because our internal balances are messed up, not because we are
missing a magic pill from our diet. Those balances can only be recorrected
slowly, and only if we stop doing the unhealthy activities that caused the
imbalance in the first place.
Healthy and Unhealthy: Two
populations with drastically differing life experiences
The rate at which people die increases until before the average life
expectancy (age 70ish in the US) then sharply decreases as people grow
older. That means there are two distinct sub-populations: unhealthy people
that are dying in droves before age 70, and healthy people that live much
longer. A reasonable estimate is at least 17 years of extra life
being healthy vs. unhealthy.
There is an old joke that exercise will extend your life by a few years, but you would spend all that time exercising! Let's work out the numbers. Implementing the Radical Solution in full requires a time investment of around 25 hours per week, or 1/7th of your time. Over seventy years this is a decade of investment, which gains you 17 years of life. So being healthy is a net time-positive investment, conservatively a 70% return on investment (ROI). Moreover, our 25 hour per week estimate isn't exclusive. Most of the health-promoting activities (walking, food preparation, (sun)bathing, etc.) can be readily multi-tasked with other desirable life actitivies (socialization, music appreciation, relaxing, reading, etc.) The true exclusive time investment is probably on the order of 10 hours per week, which means for every hour you must spend on being healthy you gain 3 extra hours of life, or a 300% ROI. More than 40 hours per week devoted exclusively to health activities gives diminishing returns. That's the breakeven point where the old joke become true: the 41st hour is only extending your life by one hour. One to three hours a day of healthy activity has the largest benefit / effort ratio, about half that time being exclusive.
There is a widely held belief among unhealthy people that being healthy wouldn't be "worth it" if they had to give up their vices. "I'd rather die happy than live miserable." This is based on the mistaken view that healthy lives are filled with denial and austerity, i.e. a lower quality of life. Healthy people are happier with a greater range of sensual pleasure than unhealthy people. They have more frequent and better sex, better moods, more sensitivity, and subtler palates. They get more visceral enjoyment from simpler activities, in particular eating. They can achieve the same perceptual high of a lot of alcohol with a small amount of chocolate. Healthy activities provide more sensual pleasure to healthy people than they do to unhealthy people.
Healthy and unhealthy people literally experience the world differently, and it is often difficult to reconcile the views. Said differently, it is a mistake to estimate future happiness given our current self. We must factor in how our future selves will perceive their own happiness. A healthier you receives tremendous pleasure from activities your unhealthy self derives little sensation from, and vice versa. Moreover, that future you psychologically weights things differently than you do now; things which aren't important to you now become important to that future you. The biggest regret your future you has is: "I wish I had..."
Being healthy is an incredibly sound personal investment with 70%-300% ROI. Healthy people live much longer and have a higher quality of life than unhealthy people. This is around a 25% longer x (some hard to quantify quality factor). If we were to take a stab at the quality of life factor, it might be something like this:
|Total Happiness||=||Good Mood||X||Pleasure||X||Eustress||X||Feeling Worthy||X||Feeling in Control||X||Feeling Attractive||X||Spontaneous Physical Activity|
|Total Unhappiness||Bad Mood||Discomfort||Distress||Feeling Useless||Feeling Powerless||Feeling Unattractive||Rate of Illness X Severity of Illness|
Each of these terms easily differs by a factor of two. Moreover, some terms
might be more relevant than others (males might weight control over
attractiveness, while females might do the opposite). Terms may also overlap
(for example, feeling worthy may be central to your good mood). If we
adopted this as a metric of quality of life, we could conservatively say
healthy people have 8+ times the quality of life of unhealthy people. So
investment in health and happiness not only extends our life but also
profoundly increases its day to day quality.
Nourishment / Calorie (N/cal)
Nutrition, nourishment, and calories are different, they are not the same. Nutrition is a measure of the nutrients contained in a food. Nourishment relates nutrition to movements along the health spectrum. Calories are a measure of energy.
For a healthy person, nutrition and nourishment are reasonably synonymous. For an unhealthy person, nutrition and nourishment can be widely different. Depending on their condition, some foods might be highly nourishing to them and others much less so, even though they have the same nutrient density. Said differently, the same food with the same nutrients can offer different nourishment to different people, depending on their conditions. We tend to focus on nutrition, but what we really care about is nourishment: whether we get healthier or unhealthier.
Our bodies have a minimum nourishment that they require every day. When we receive more nourishment than our daily need, our health improves. When we receive less, our health decreases.
We also expend calories every day. When we eat more calories than we expend, we gain body fat. When we eat less calories than we expend, we lose body fat.
That means we have a target N/cal for our foods:
|Nourishment / Day||=||N||=||Minimum Food Ratio|
|Calories / Day||cal|
However, while calories are variable, nourishment is fixed. So a far more useful way of viewing things is:
A healthy person with a good diet is already receiving adequate nourishment; their nutritious foods already exceed their minimum N/cal. Consequently, a reasonable way for them to view losing weight is as managing their calories.
An unhealthy person with a bad diet is not receiving adequate nourishment; their less nutritious foods already fail to meet their minimum N/cal. The best way for them to view losing weight is as managing their nourishment. That means replacing foods with low N/cal with foods with high N/cal, as well as improve their digestion et al. Managing calories is an ineffective approach for unhealthy people. We are unhealthy and obese because we are undernourished. For unhealthy people, evaluating food in terms of nourishment and balance is far more productive than nutrients and calories.
Looking at food in terms of ratios can be illuminating. For example, sodium is a modern health hazard because our edible products have a "too high trifecta": Sodium / Water, Sodium / Nourishment, and Sodium / cal.
[It turns out N/cal isn't exactly the stat we want, because of extreme cases
where N or cal approach zero. However, a normalized stat like this would go
a long way to helping consumers make better food choices, mainly because they
would see how dangerously low it is for the edible products they currently
eat. The stat could be color coded, required to be listed on the front of
packaging, and with a skull and crossbones if it falls below a certain
Cravings and Hunger
A healthy person with a good diet rarely feels hungry or has cravings. For them, hunger means that they need more nutrients in general, and cravings are an accurate indicator for specific nutrients. If they follow the signals their body is giving them, it leads to improving their health.
Unhealthy people chronically feel hungers and cravings. They are caught in two bad cycles. First, they have weak digestion and aren't receiving proper nourishment. So the body correctly signals for them to eat more in order to meet their nutrient requirements. This leads to an overconsumption of calories, because N/cal is too low.
Second, their internal balances are out of whack. Consequently, the body incorrectly sends craving signals, usually for foods that make the situation worse. Most importantly, if an unhealthy person follows these body signals, it worsens their health.
Irrespective of your health level, if you are eating properly, you should not feel hunger or cravings. "Properly" here includes: what you are eating, the manner you are eating it, your portioning at meals, and when you eat it.
Thus, while the particular cravings an unhealthy person has is suspect, the frequency of the signals is useful. Frequent hunger and cravings are cries from your body to improve your diet. They are not a normal, healthy response.
Starvation diets are counterproductive. They aren't effective, you
can't stay on them, and they are dangerous to boot.
Disease and Approaches
There are two broad mechanisms of disease out there: infectious and preventable. Infectious diseases are caused by small germs that coopt our body systems. Left untreated, they usually run a course, and then have some residual consequence. An effective approach to combatting infectious diseases is to reduce exposure to infection vectors. Many infectious diseases have been eliminated from the first world because there is literally so little of the germ in the local biomass that people just don't get exposed to it.
Preventable diseases work very differently. They are caused by small, consistent biases in the local environment. These biases adversely affect our bodies, often disrupting a body buffer or the hormone(s) that regulates it. Eventually the long term misfunction of that one subsystem has widespread effects in the body, which is when we start noticing it. This has two important consequences. One, by the time we observe gross symptoms most of the damage has already been done. That's why modern diseases seem to strike out of the blue, and need to be caught early in order to treat them.
Two, unlike infectious diseases, trying to control exposure is an ineffective tactic. The most effective approach is to proactively compensate for the bias. Paradoxically, because the biases are so small, the corrections are also small, so tiny that they hardly seem like they could make any difference. Don't be fooled. The Radical Solution is simple, but when consistently applied, removes the risks for preventable diseases. But the reverse is also true. You can't skimp on the recommendations, just because they seem like such minor things and "oh it couldn't hurt just this one time". Remember, those small biases are going to kill half of us unless we counter them every single time.
A couple scary diseases in the US today are cancer and heart attacks. No
matter how hard you try, you will never be able to control exposure to
carcinogens and free radicals completely. At this very instant, each one of
us has dormant cancers waiting to be promoted into dangers, and are
generating damaging free radicals. Our most effective strategy is to
become healthier. We need to create bodies that robustly fight off
bad biases despite immersion in them. Now, if we can also control for
exposure we should, but that is a secondary goal. Our primary goal is to
increase our health by improving our diet and lifestyle through applying
several, small techniques consistently.
Prevention, Cure, Treatment, and Relief
#2 Cure /
Unhealthy states arise from an underlying cause. This cause induces an imbalance in our bodies, which eventually leads to a disease. Along the way, we present with different symptoms depending on the advancement of the condition. As our condition progresses, we do damage to the body. Sometimes this damage is reversible, but more often it is not.
There are several ways to approach fixing a disease. The least useful is relief, where we alleviate the symptoms. The next form is treatment, where we act to remove the disease and/or change the imbalance. A related and preferable form is cure, where we not only fix this instance of a disease and correct the imbalance, we repair the damage that was done. The most desirable approach is prevention, where we address the underlying cause so that an imbalance never develops and damage is never done. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, a slug of treatment, and a ton of relief.
The success of modern pharmacology lies in tactical intervention. Pharmaceuticals provide excellent relief and considerable treatment, but drugs do not cure nor prevent. An antacid will instantly relieve your stomach and correct the acidic imbalance... this time. It does not cure the damage done to your stomach nor prevent it from happening again. Using pharmaceuticals to manage or improve health is a fundamentally flawed approach. The strength of drugs lies in life-threatening intervention; they completely fail at curing and prevention. Drugs are a method of last resort.
Our goal is to prevent disease naturally without drugs or
supplementation. A major cause of modern diseases is our disconnect from
basic biological needs: water, sunlight, oxygen, motion, food, and eustress.
Satifying these essential needs provides relief, treatment, sometimes cure,
and most importantly: constant prevention. Fulfilling biological needs is
our frontline defense.
Correlation is not Causation
A correlation between two factors merely indicates how often they occur
together. That happens for lots of reasons: one causes the other, a third
unknown factor causes both, or even pure random chance. Correlation comes
with a confidence interval that determines how (un)likely it is
that the relationship is random chance. Larger data sets in general give us
stronger confidence. When we find a result we are confident in, we call it
Interpreting information given to us can often be confusing because we need the complete context to make real sense of it. We are frequently only given partial data, and come to bad conclusions because of it. For example, suppose I told you these few facts:
It becomes clear that distress is a more important factor in heart disease. In this case, we'd say distress is a causal agent and visceral body fat is a proxy marker for stress. We'd also say alcohol consumption is a confound because at moderate levels it decreases stress while increasing visceral body fat (which goes counter to the typical correlation between distress and visceral fat) but then at high intakes reinforces the correlation and raises heart risk. We'd then try to calculate the contribution each causal agent makes to visceral fat; for example, other factors like malhydration also contribute central obesity.
Just because two variables are correlated, it doesn't mean that there is any direct causation between them. It usually happens that many variables need to be considered before a picture emerges that fits all the data. Moreover, affecting a proxy marker doesn't reduce our real risk unless it was through a causal agent. Reducing stress and alcohol consumption lowers heart disease, while ab crunches or attempts to reduce visceral fat directly do not.
In some cases, a risk factor is tightly bound with a true causal agent.
Physical inactivity and smoking, for instance, directly impair our
circulation and metabolism. In most cases, though, risk factors are only
correlated to disease states and are not causal agents themselves. For
example, income and education are two commonly measured risk factors, but
are only indirectly related to causal agents.
The Harmful Myths: Fat, Cholesterol,
Sunlight, and Degradation
There are four modern myths that have stood in the way of health problems
spontaneously correcting themselves. If we want to positively change our
diet and lifestyle, we need to let go of these myths.
The first is the Fat Myth: that dietary fat creates body fat, and is harmful to us. This myth got started because somewhere along the way, processed oils got grouped with animal fats. Processed oils are harmful to us. But fat (i.e. "the body fat in animal flesh whose cofactors we consume at the same time") is exceptionally healthy for us. In short: fat is good, and processed oils are bad.
The second is the Cholesterol Myth: that dietary cholesterol determines blood cholesterol, and is harmful to us. This myth began when atheroschlerosis got implicated in heart disease. All the cholesterol-based hypotheses have already been systematically disproven. We now understand that clotting factors and hormone balance are the relevant preventative factors. The actual root cause of heart disease is still unknown, but is most likely a response-to-injury mechanism, and more saliently is definitely not your cholesterol level. Summarizing: cholesterol is good, and distress is bad.
The third is the Sun Myth: that sunlight is a dangerous carcinogen, and we need to use sunscreen and shun the outdoors. This myth got started because sunlight is, in fact, a carcinogen. So are preservatives, pesticides, smoke, and the chemicals used in your bath products. You get more carcinogen exposure from your toothpaste than you do from the sun. When you sum up the exposure levels to carcinogens in aggregate you are safer outdoors than indoors (except for high smog urban areas, or near industrial plants). We receive many health benefits from being outdoors, especially the sun; we receive few benefits from being indoors, and being cooped up often reduces our health. Remember, what matters most is health-improving, not exposure control, even though the outdoors typically wins on both counts.
The last is the Degradation Myth, which is that our bodies and minds must inexorably degrade over time, and that's just the way it is. This one is the most insidious, because we see this happening all around us, and it seems self-apparent. But what we see is largely an unhealthy population barely surviving the onslaught of bad diet and harmful lifestyle. Observing elders in other countries a different picture emerges: they are active forces in their respective cultures and nothing like the frail and doddering elderly of the United States. A healthy person remains vital until the last few months of their life. The slow grind of aches, pains, mental impairment, distress, and illness are symptoms of chronic unhealthiness, not the natural state of aging or living.
Really mull that last part over. If you are unhealthy, how you are living
right now is a pale shadow of the life the healthy you would be living.
You need to stop accepting being unhealthy as the status quo, start fighting
the toxic environment, and commit to regaining your vitality.
Because once you've re-experienced what being healthy is like
again (like being a vibrant young adult), you'll never want to go back to an
existence of malaise.
Total Mortality and Rates of
Total mortality measures how long you live and how you died. It is the
gold standard against which every medical treatment is compared.
Rates of disease measures how often people get sick, and what they got sick
with. Most diseases are damaging yet non-lethal, but we are particularly
concerned with lethal and untreatable disease states.
Once again, we are typically presented information about diseases in isolation instead of complete context, and are misled into bad decisions because of it.
Sunlight is a perfect example. Here are some facts:
As a shorthand, we could have simply stated this:
Lowest total mortality and rates of disease are achieved by seeking beneficial causal agents and removing adverse ones, not trying to manage the proxy markers that reflect those agents. Proxy markers are symptoms, not causes.
It is very important to look at the big picture when making health decisions. So, let's look at it.
The Big Picture
Big ass healthy picture, then big ass unhealthy picture Digestive System http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digestion#Human_digestion_process Lungs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lung Skin http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/picture-of-the-skin Oxygen http://altered-states.net/barry/update227/index.htmIf you want to look at the really big picture, check out Appendix A: Global Risk Factors.
What makes unhealthy people healthier is often much different than what makes healthy people healthier. For example, when we are sick we might take drugs that would be harmful to us were we not ill. So we have to be careful with our recommendations. In the same way that a healthy person shouldn't take drugs that correct sicknesses, they also shouldn't blindly follow the guidelines given to unhealthy people. The reverse is also true.
Some of our bad decisions arise from sincerely following the wrong set of guidelines. Healthy people follow the unhealthy guidelines, and unhealthy people follow recommendations meant for healthy people.
To make this explicit, all our recommendations will be phrased in two ways: what a healthy person should do, and what an unhealthy person should do. We call the former essential guidelines and the latter curative guidelines. Thus, it is important for everyone to self-assess their own personal health and then determine how much of each recommendation they should follow. The easiest metric to use is body weight. If you are obese, follow the curative recommendations; as you become your ideal weight, morph them into the essential.
In addition, your level of health also determines how strictly you should follow the Radical Solution. Healthy people have much greater latitude to eat and do what they want, because they are by definition better able to withstand mistakes they might make. Unhealthy people should initially implement all recommendations rigorously, without exception, and then gently ease back as they regain their health. That doesn't mean return to your current diet and lifestyle; it means focus more on the essential guidelines instead of the curative.
We are now in a position to describe why these recommendations are so
effective at saving our lives. We will discover that it isn't just what we
do, but the specific manner how we do it that influences our health outcomes.
DRINK WATER (2L/day per 80 lbs)
Min 2L, Max 8L, then to indicators
away from MEALS
with SEA SALT (1/2 tsp per 2L)
WARM (not CHILLED / ICED)
Here's why you want to drink water:
The best times to drink water are right after you've awoken, a half hour before meals, right before a meal, and then sometime before you go to bed. The water you drink before and after sleep should be room temperature (not iced), as well as water you drink before a meal. If you are unhealthy, all water you drink should be warm without ice; that's the simpler and safer rule to remember.
A healthy person of ideal weight eating ample fruits and vegetables is usually net zero for essential water consumption: they get enough water from their foods to balance the water lost through breathing. The water they drink is to compensate for varying daily conditions like the weather, sweaty exercise, or urination. An unhealthy person, one who is overweight, and/or eating a bad diet needs much more water.
The hydration correction is in two phases. Imagine your body buffer as a bucket with a hole in it. We need large amounts of water to fill the bucket (much more than the hole loss), but then much less water once the bucket is full (just enough to keep up with the hole). Right now we drink when we are thirsty, which is when the bucket is empty. Our goal is to drink so that the bucket is always on the edge of overflowing instead. We want to drink water proactively, and never feel thirsty.
Note that sea salted water is still useful even when you are healthy. The first 2L of pure water covers your daily loss and excess water. You should only drink pure water to balance sodium. So that majority of water you drink will be pure water. However, when you sweat, you want salted water or else you will lose sodium. The simple rule of thumb: first 2L fresh, same for sodium, sea salt rest.
Let's bring into stark contrast the pattern between healthy and unhealthy people:
|Diet||~800 mg sodium (Fresh Whole Foods)||>4,000 mg added sodium (Edible Products)|
|Added Sodium||~400 mg added sodium (salting food)||~400 mg added sodium (salting food)|
|Water Needs||~3L + Sweat||~11L + Sweat|
|Actually Drinks||2-3L water, more when thirsty||0-1L water, 2L+ other drinks|
|Results In||Not much, kidney corrects||Malhydration and hypertension|
Refer to Appendix B: Malhydration Calculations for the nitty gritty details of what's actually happening with malhydration.
How do I know if I am properly hydrated?
Here's a chart of several indicators. The more conclusive indicators are near the top, but you should use several to more accurately determine your hydration level.
|Thirst||Rarely thirsty (arid/exertion)||-||Strive to never feel thirsty. Pre-hydrate|
|Your morning stool is the best guide, and overall regularity|
|Hard, cracked, irregular stool||Smooth, regular stool||Mushy, watery, frequent stool|
|Urine naturally changes color / frequency; take a typical average.|
|Dark, infrequent urine||Light, regular urine||Clear, urgent, too frequent urine|
|Many conditions can cause swelling; this is swelling without other cause.|
Dry lips, skin, mouth, throat, eyes
sensitive, irritable, or itchy skin
Moist and supple everything
(without balm or moisturizers!)
Swelling and pressure
especially around the eyes
Sticky saliva / swallowing, thirst
or visceral blood rush while eating
Ample saliva while eating,
energetic and alert after meals
especially away from meals
|Saliva is a solid indicator, but (dry) foods may confound it|
|Common aches and pains are often signs of malhydration, but can have other causes. Uniform temperature requires both circulation and metabolism.|
Stiff movement, joint and back pain;
warm body, cool extremities at rest
Fluid, smooth movement;
uniform good temperature
|Many respiratory problems are rooted in malhydration, but they also require airborne particles or antigens to manifest|
|Allergies, asthma, frequent dry coughs||Cool lungs with moist breath||"fluidy" feeling lungs|
Hypertension > 140/90 BP,
Hypernatremia > 145 mEq/L sodium
140 mEq/L sodium
Hypotension < 90/60 BP,
Hyponatremia < 136 mEq/L sodium
|Distress, hormones, fitness, and cell size confound these readings.|
|Headaches, listlessness, irritability||Clear-headedness, patience||Also headaches.||Your mood is regulated by your hormone balance, but malhydration can adversely affect both.|
Note that sweating cannot be used as an accurate indicator of hydration, because too many factors affect it (in particular ones that have nothing to do with your health, like air temperature and humidity). However, sweating can be used as a rough metric of health: the more you sweat, the healthier you'll be.
Many things cause headaches having nothing to do with hydration. So while headaches are a sound indicator that something is wrong, they are very bad at telling you what.
Where you lie on the health spectrum determines your personal water needs and how much you should enforce them. If you are obese with any condition that water treats, then you should be on a tight regimen of mineralized water, and you will gain tremendous benefit from it. If you already have the indicators of good hydration, then water isn't a priority for you and your health-increasing efforts are better spent elsewhere.
How do I correct my malhydration?
There are four main ways to rebalance your water to salt ratio:
1) Our fresh-water kidneys are designed to retain sodium, not dump it. Sodium is regulated by aldosterone from the adrenal glands; if you are chronically distressed, you are also signalling to hold onto sodium. If you are healthy, happy, and managing your water to salt intake, then urine alone is enough to maintain your balance. If you take in too much sodium and too little water or are often distressed (small, consistent biases), then your urine cannot compensate fast enough.
2) Sweat glands are also designed to retain sodium, but their capacity to do so is more readily exceeded than the kidneys'. That means that the longer you sweat, the higher the sodium concentration in your sweat; eventually you sweat the concentration in your extracellular fluid. Note that you MUST pre-hydrate to excess before heavy sweating for this to be effective. If you are under-hydrated, your body will overheat and dehydrate instead.
There is a caveat here. Rapid depletion of your sodium reserves can have adverse consequences. So the fact that sweating is the fastest way to shed sodium is a two-edged sword. Don't do heavy sweating too much or too often, and carefully manage it when you do.
3) Hot baths do much the same as sweating. Immersion also creates direct osmotic pressure to your skin cells, but only if your protective oily sebum has been temporarily washed away. Just using bath water will leech sodium from your body. The bicarbonate in baking soda is what your body actually uses to neutralize excess acid. Bath salts like epsom contain magnesium, which is typically also depleted with malhydration. Do not take regular baths with these! When used infrequently, they help restore body balance; when used too much, they are a small, consistent bias.
Saunas and spas should have an option to measure blood pressure and sodium levels before and after. This openly advertises one of the health benefits, and gives clients a metric to determine how much they need to apply it. It would be extra cash flow, and further medically legitimize it as a course of treatment for malhydration and hypertension.
4) Drinking excess water is the easiest way. While slower than sweating, it is also safer, and hence is the preferred recommendation. How to do this was already described above.
There is a simple law that could be enacted that would remove sodium as a direct health risk. Namely, make it illegal for any edible product to have a sodium to water ratio exceeding 0.2% saline [2 ppt], and recommend a target 1 ppt. Labeling would then change: 1.5-2 ppt would be "high sodium" and 0-0.5 ppt "low sodium". While edible product manufacturers won't like this because it will impact tastiness, the evidence in favor of it is well established and incontrovertible. This one act would overnight remove one of the three main causes of malhydration. Another cause could be reduced by putting a warning label on beverages indicating its "water deficit", i.e. how much water you need to drink to safely neutralize the adverse effects of the beverage. That label would serve as a constant reminder to drink water whenever someone reaches for a different drink, and the values will hopefully shock people into realizing how bad some beverages are for them.
Should we distinguish between high and low sodium states independent of water? Doesn't seem needed, malhydration is overwhelming case Sodium / Hyponatreia vomiting, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, appetite loss, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps, seizures, and decreased consciousness or coma Get reference for sweat time. Calculate safe upper bound time = f(weight)?Isn't drinking sea water bad for me?
Yes. If someone drinks a lot of sea water, their sodium balance goes out of whack, their blood pressure spikes, and they dehydrate the more they drink. If that person was already thirsty to begin with, the effects are potentially lethal. This is because 3%+ saline [or 30+ ppt] is hypertonic to body cells; the sodium to water ratio is too high.
Our sea salt cocktail is better viewed as mineral water than sea water. First, the concentration of sodium to water is around 0.13% [1.3 ppt]; 0.9% saline [9 ppt] is isotonic to the cell (which would be about 4 teaspoons of salt per 2 L). It's at precisely the lowest healthy range for your urine or mild sweat [22 mEq / L], allowing you to drink large amounts of it safely. Second, the effect it has on the body is similar to mineral tonics like glacial milk. Drinking properly mineralized water normalizes blood pressure, causes the body to excrete a favorable sodium/water ratio, and recorrects mineral balances.
However, we still need to be careful. Don't increase the sea salt, or drink
more water than the recommendations above, thinking it will be more
effective. It won't. Doing either to excess gives rise to other harmful
effects, for different reasons. Don't drink just water in large quantities
either; a 0% sodium to water ratio is too low, and in the long run causes
other problems. Remember, water and sodium need to be in a precise ratio for
optimum health. Follow the directions in order for your malhydration
correction to be both safe and effective.
An alternate way of thinking of sea salted water is a multi-vitamin that actually works. There is clinical evidence that mineralized water improves health, along with evidence that multi-vitamins do not significantly impact health outcome. If you take multi-vitamins for "psychological protection", drink sea salted water instead.
The last way to view mineralized water is in terms of N/cal. Water is nourishing for everyone, balanced minerals are highly nourishing for unhealthy people, and there are no calories. So the conceptual N/cal is very high.
At the volumes of water you'll be consuming, chilled water could easily cause thermal shock. In addition, your enzymes are also tuned to temperature (though they are much more forgiving of temperature variation than pH).
A healthy person's metabolism is like a furnace; they can quickly heat up ice water without adverse effect. An unhealthy person is more like guttering embers; they can heat things up but much more slowly.
The safest course of action for everyone is simply to have all water at room temperature without ice. The worse your health is, the more hotter water is helpful. The universal home remedy for most illnesses is hot soup.
Why away from meals?
When we first start chewing food, the body deliberately creates a charge imbalance in order to more effectively digest food. It sharply raises the pH of your saliva (making it more basic), and lowers the pH inside your stomach (secreting gastric acids), and raises the pH in your small intestine. Each part of your alimentary tract is tuned to the expected pH that results from this effect.
When you drink any fluids during your meal (water included), you partially negate the effectiveness of this pH separation. Remember, acids and bases neutralize each other. Fluids taken between chews wash the basic saliva into the acidic stomach, reducing the digestive potency of both. Large amounts of fluid intake can also incorrectly signal the stomach to void its undigested contents into the small intestine. Have hot soups before a meal, and any drinks after, but don't mix fluid intake with the actual chewing and eating.
The pH separation response for a healthy person is so large that fluid intake even during a meal doesn't inhibit the effectiveness of digestion too much. The body merely draws from its ample stores and quickly recorrects the pH. But an unhealthy person has both a much smaller pH gap between saliva and gastric acids and a weaker correction, reflective of imbalanced body buffers or worse, depleted stores. Moreover, they also usually suffer from other digestive problems (as we will later see). Combined, these significantly impair nutrient uptake from food.
Why avoid the other drinks?
EVERYTHING ELSE, especially
SODA pop, ALCOHOL, SUGARY
drinks (like JUICE), and CAFFEINE;
away from MEALS
TABLE SALT and SODIUM
Here's the compelling reasons to drink only water:
Water hydrates you but other drinks do not. Other drinks malhydrate us, specifically acidic drinks, alcoholic beverages, caffeinated drinks, and sugary drinks (in decreasing order of severity). Do not fall prey to the distillation fallacy: just because a drink has water in it doesn't mean you gain any hydration benefit from ingesting it. Sea water also has water in it, but if you drank sea water all the time you will die from it, 100% guaranteed. Other drinks do exactly the same thing, but just more slowly and painfully. We must look at the whole food (or drink in this case) in order to assess its health value; reductionism gives us the wrong answer.
Malhydration has already been measured multiple times in a variety of venues. The effects of salinity on plant health are already well established and well understood. Quote: "The main point is that excess salinity in soil water can decrease plant available water and cause plant stress." Ditto for livestock as well. Quote: "Salts, such as sodium chloride, change the electrolyte balance and intracellular pressure in the body, producing a form of dehydration. Salts also place a strain on the kidneys." Moreover, the optimal salinity and pH for most livestock is already known. The same principles and chemistry apply for humans; even bodybuilders already know about this stuff.
Refer to Appendix B: Malhydration Calculations to see how different drinks malhydrate us. In a nutshell, they all act to reduce available water, artificially raising our total sodium weight.
What's the deal with table salt?
The two main ingredients in table salt are sodium chloride and potassium iodide. Sodium is an essential mineral that we need in small quantities to balance losses through excretion and body processes. However, too much sodium and too little water leads directly to malhydration. We also need trace amounts of iodine to prevent diseases of malnutrition; there is also evidence that larger amounts of iodine is health promoting.
Here are the drawbacks of table salt:
At the moment, the best thing we can do is to use sea salt instead of table salt. Sea salt is alkaline forming, helping to combat our acidic condition. The sea salts with the highest trace mineral content are on this list; the ones with the best corrective mineral proportions are Celtic, Himalayan, and RealSalt. These sea salts also contain iodine, but at around one third of the minimum levels we need. If you mineralize your water and drink to hydration, then you are receiving enough iodine. If you use sea salt just as a table salt replacement, you will not meet your iodine requirement. Your diet must be then be supplemented with regular seafood.
Trace minerals, particularly in the water supply, improves sodium utilization and overall health. People in agriculture, greenhouses, horticulture, and specifically hydroponics have already mapped out second order ionic interactions on sodicity (sodium concentration). The gist: when salinity increases in plants due to other minerals it is good for them, while increasing sodium concentration in their intake water (irrigation or soil) was bad for them. Similar results have been found for livestock and humans.
At some point, the necessity of using sea salts instead of table salt will be recognized by a government agency. Then sea salts will be fortified with iodine the same way that table salt is, and all problems (acidity, mineral balance, and iodine consumption) will be solved at once. Moreover, given the health benefits to excess iodine, it would be an opportunity to raise the level from its previous minimal (non-malnutrition) standard.
Makeup benefits of sea salt comparison chart?If drinking things other than water is damaging, then why should we occasionally drink tea, mild alcohol, and milk after our meals?
Every COUPLE DAYS...
Drink TEA, mild ALCOHOL,
after a MEAL
First, if you are going to drink anything other than water, it is best to do so immediately after a meal. (In fact, the safest time to ingest anything you probably shouldn't be is right after a meal. Hence, dessert and most medications.) That's the time your body is best able to handle free radicals and correct pH before it hits your bloodstream. It's also when you extract the most nutrition from a drink.
Second, there are demonstrable health benefits to the occasional intake of tea, wine or beer, and milk, so every couple days you should have some after a meal. Strong alcohol like liquor, heavy alcohol use, and binge drinking are bad for you in a variety of ways, so don't do that. Of course, don't drink milk if you have an allergy or (like me) are lactose intolerant.
Will drinking water really help me lose weight?
Yes. In fact, drinking ample water and nothing else will help you lose body fat.
The first reason is caloric. You only need 100 excess calories a day to gain 10 lbs a year. A cup of orange juice has 100. A Starbucks Frappucino has 400. One fast food shake can have 200 to 800. Caloric drinks taken away from meals become body fat. If you eliminate them, then you get rid of a major source of fat gain. In addition, drinking water before meals encourages you to eat less calories.
The second reason has to do with toxins. The body can only allow so much toxicity in the blood. The first response to a toxin is to use an appropriate body store to neutralize it, and then excrete the result. If that body store is depleted or the exposure is too much too fast, then the body shunts the toxin into a soft tissue until later, when more nutrients are available. Adipose tissue (aka body fat) is a major toxin dumping ground.
A healthy person with ample body stores barely notices a toxin they are exposed to, even when large. An unhealthy person, on the other hand, lacks sufficient body buffers and balloons in response. Worse, when exposed to the same consistent bias the same body store(s) get depleted over and over, keeping them at misfunctioning levels. The constant accumulation of acidic pH forces the body to retain body fat, despite other factors that would induce fat loss. This is one reason why people have "problem fat" that won't disappear no matter how much they exercise or count calories (the other reasons for fat retention are hormonal).
Drinking ample water slowly leeches toxins from fat tissue, allowing the body to let go of it. The rate of toxin removal can be dramatically increased by also improving diet, which restores the body buffers needed for detoxification. So while drinking water alone has some weight loss effect, this gets amplified when combined with the right diet. The reverse is also true. Drinking water has a much reduced effect when combined with a bad, toxin-forming diet.
Are there any other concerns I should be aware of?
Yes. Like any life change you should make it gradually instead of all at once. Ramp up your water intake by a 2 liter bottle every few days until you reach your target. This spreads out the side effects from toxin release, which could be substantial depending on how unhealthy / obese you are.
If you had a lot of body toxins, expect ample stinky sweat even without physical activity. A decent indicator that lymphatic toxins have been cleared is when your sweat becomes odorless.
Be prepared. If you currently drink a lot of sugary or caffeinated beverages, when you switch to water you will probably feel horrible for a few weeks. That's withdrawal from a drug addiction likely coupled with a massive toxin release, not a sign the drinks were good for you or that you "need" them.
Stick with it. How you will feel after a month is life-altering. You'll be clearer headed, feel lighter on your toes, and you'll reduce aches and pains you didn't even know had before.
Why haven't I heard any of this stuff before?
You haven't heard much of this because at one point, recommendations to drink more water were ridiculed as a conspiracy by water bottlers to increase sales. Then one of the major proponents of water therapy mixed bad science with good science, and the medical profession stopped listening.
Fortunately, the government has taken notice and started incorporating the dangers of drinks into their official messages. One of the top six bullet points from the mammoth USDA 2010 Dietary Guidelines : "Drink water instead of sugary drinks." And here are some cute promos by the New York Department of Public Health.
Drinking only water is the single most important thing you can do for your health. Ample hydration is the riverway upon which all nutrients flow; water is the foundation upon which good health is built. The blithe manner we drink calorie-rich toxic-acid free-radical immune-suppressing malhydration bombs is the most damaging sector of our diet. But we don't manage our drinks very well, or worse, view them as entitlements that we "can't live without." Wake up. Half of us can't live with unregulated drinking.
We use drinks to drug ourselves into false feelings of health. The reason you "need" that morning cup of coffee to get you going is because you are unhealthy; a healthy person is normally alert and energetic without stimulants. The reason you "need" drinks to feel better is because you are unhealthy; a healthy person has a better mood and feels good to begin with. While drinks make us feel better in the short term, they are killing us in the long term.
The Radical Solution is in order of importance. If you only remember one thing, DRINK ONLY WATER, AWAY FROM MEALS.
If you can remember two things, then...
GET SUNLIGHT every day
on after meal OUTDOOR WALKS
Here are the benefits that sunlight shares in common with exercising:
|Cancer I||Cancer II||Modern||Bone||Infections||Bacteria||Viral||Autoimmune||Other|
Type 2 Diabetes
Rickets / Osteomalacia
Chicken pox / smallpox
Type 1 Diabetes
The list goes on...
In the interests of fairness, let's collect together all of the known drawbacks to the sun for comparison:
How do I know if I'm getting enough sun?
If you are caucasian, the rule of thumb indicator is a light golden tan. No tan means how much sun you are receiving is unknown, and you are probably receiving too little. A golden tan guarantees you are getting just enough that your body needs to respond. A dark tan has too much variability; you may be getting too much intense sun. The tan itself isn't the direct goal per se; don't rapid tan or use chemical products to get the "right color". What we want is a reliable indicator you are getting enough sun regularly, for which a tan is an indirect measure.
|The Rule O' Thumb Chart|
|Goldilocks says||Too cold||Just right||Too hot|
Unfortunately, the real situation is much more complex than this simple guideline. Your precise goal for sunning is to receive 50% of 1 MED per day, where 1 MED is the amount of time that would cause you to barely sunburn given your current conditions if you did it consecutively. Your sunning strategy is heavily dependent on your Fitzpatrick skin type:
|Skin Type||Examples||Usually||Sunning Strategy||Other Factor Notes|
1 MED ~20m
You need to carefully manage your sunning.
Get 5m, frequently every day.
Aim for 100% body exposure, briefly.
Favor morning and evening.
Time of Day
- 1 MED shown at peak noon sun
Farther from noon, increase times.
3 hours off-peak sun is ~5 times weaker than noon sun.
1 MED ~30m
Blond, Some Red
You need to manage your sunning.
Get 5-10m, frequently every day.
When possible, expose most of your body briefly.
Be mindful of overexposure.
- 1 MED shown at 45 Degrees
Closer to the equator, reduce times and increase care.
Farther from the equator, increase times.
1 MED ~35m
All eye colors
Take 10-15m walks after meals, thrice daily.
Aim for > 25% body exposure (face, arms, legs).
Be mindful of exposure (over and under).
- 1 MED shown for mid-summer
Farther from mid-summer, increase times.
Spring and autumn are ~2 times weaker than summer.
Sunning is very hard to do in winter.
1 MED ~50m
Dark eyes / hair
Take 10-15m walks after meals, thrice daily.
Devote time to a short duration outdoor activity.
Be mindful of exposure (over and under).
- 1 MED shown without drugs
Most drugs increase photosensitivity.
Increase total sun (shorter but more frequent) for more medications.
Strive to eliminate supplements entirely.
1 MED ~70m
Dark eyes / hair
You need to manage your sunning.
Devote time to longer duration outdoor activities.
Be mindful of underexposure.
- 1 MED shown for a good diet
Bad diets increase photosensitivity and decrease tanning.
Increase total sun (shorter but more frequent) the worse your diet is.
Strive to eat fresh, whole foods.
1 MED is Hours
Dark eyes / hair
You need to liberally manage your sunning.
Seek sunlight at every opportunity.
Lounge outdoors. Favor midday.
If you think a factor affects sun, it probably does.
How do I get sun safely?
Sunning is eustress just like exercise, both literally and figuratively. Literally, sunlight has the same effect on our bodies that exercise does, right down to the growth of muscles. But like exercise, it is also eustress. No one would expect to start training by bench-pressing 300lbs or running a marathon; if you tried, you'd hurt yourself. Going out into peak summer sun is similar, and should be treated with the respect it is due.
We should approach sunning like an exercise program to build our "sun muscles". As with physical training, the trick is to consistently challenge yourself without over-extending. Start by sunning during off-peak hours to establish your baseline off-peak "sun weight". Then target extending your total time by 10-15 off-peak minutes per day. Within a week, you should have safely built up a light tan. A tan is nature's sunscreen, except it self-adjusts, doesn't wash off, is free, and is actually good for your health. Make sure to use the right clothing for sunning (which we'll describe in more depth below).
Once you've acquired a tan, then start getting sun during peak hours closer to noon. Recall that peak hours can be a factor of 5 more intense than morning or evening, so be sure to adjust your times accordingly. If you were getting 60 minutes of off-peak sun, try starting at 12 minutes of peak "sun weight". Follow a similar regimen of slowly increasing time by a few peak minutes per day. Within another couple weeks you should hit your 1 MED goal (unless you have Type 5 or 6 skin, which requires a different approach). Get both peak and off-peak sun; that's akin to weight training for high reps and low reps.
Listen to your body and adjust if you begin to feel over-exposed. You have three tradeoffs you can always perform:
Once you've gotten a golden tan and can withstand peak sun, you can relax your timing vigilance a bit. You can also start spending less time total sunning by going the opposite direction and trading off-peak minutes for peak ones, if you so desire. However, even when your sun muscles are "strong" all the caveats for exercise still apply to sunning. Make sure you are properly hydrating, are getting a good diet, are resting properly, and beware overheating.
There is one difference between "sun muscles" and normal muscles worth pointing out. Normal muscles are gained and lost on the order of months; "sun muscles" are built up and lost on the order of weeks. That's a two-edged sword. While we rapidly gain "sun strength" in the spring, we will probably lose it during the winter. So unlike real muscles that can be maintained year round, "sun muscles" usually need to be rebuilt each spring.
As a final note, it is possible to get your required daily sun without tanning if you are meticulous about your times. This is necessary for those with Type 1 skin who are largely unable to tan, and may be preferable for other reasons. If you expect to get peak sun and are able to tan, then that is the safest course (but not the only one). Except Type 1 and Type 6, everyone can get a tan, even these ghosts:
But doesn't the sun cause skin cancer?
Technically yes, but really no. Accumulated sun exposure definitely causes carcinomas. These kinds of skin cancer ulcerate instead of metastasize, are highly treatable, and are only lethal in extreme cases where they have been left untreated. Carcinomas are found on the areas of the body exposed most to sunlight, and are linked statistically to total amount of time spent in the sun.
However, regular sunlight is not a cause of lethal melanomas; the evidence supports excessive and/or intense UV exposure (with or without sunburn) as a risk factor. Here's what is known:
The most salient fact for us is that regular sunlight reduces cancer. This is true not only of skin cancer, but all cancers. In fact, even if one believed that sunlight caused every lethal melanoma (which it clearly does not), sunlight would still prevent 50 deaths from other forms of cancer combined to 1 death from skin cancer.
Disregard the "There's no such thing as a safe tan" campaigns. Tans are good for your health and an important part of cellular immune response.
We must completely change our mental and emotional orientation toward the sun. Regular sunlight is the most beneficial healing force found in nature.
Don't I have to worry about the ozone?
Yes, but that has little impact on what your sunning habits should be. Ozone depletion is largest near the poles, and there have been measurable increases in UV radiation in Antarctica and as far north as Australia and New Zealand. There is no significant change in UV farther away from the poles, so this is a non-issue in the United States and most of the populated world. Even the increase in Australia is at most 10%, which means sunning for shorter times more frequently is an effective workaround, as is shifting sun times 15 minutes farther off-peak.
The real reason why you should worry about ozone depletion is because the ozone layer and atmosphere screens all UVC radiation. UVC is inimical to all life on a cellular level. If enough UVC reaches the earth's surface, we'll see the planet-wide collapse of all ecosystems. But's while that's Really Scary Shit (TM), it is also not relevant to your sunning.
Why after meals?
There are four completely different reasons for after meal walks:
After meal walks are the most economical use of time because of the combination of so many health benefits in a single activity. (Outdoor walks are only exceeded by "no time" guidelines, like no smoking.) Since you need to get sun every day anyway, you might as well get other benefits at the same time.
After meal walks should not be strenuous; they merely need to be 10-15 minutes of continuous movement.
Last but not least, getting outside and sunning after you eat is an easy mnemonic (better yet, just eat outside to begin with). If you always link sunning and eating, then it becomes a part of your lifestyle and you won't have to "remember" to do it.
What's the connection between sunlight and Vitamin D?
The effect sunlight has on Vitamin D is worth (ahem) illuminating. Sunlight changes cholesterol into a thermally released buffered form of Vitamin D that slowly works its way through a bunch of precursors into the active form. At the same time sunlight also breaks down your active vitamin D and precursors into the buffered form as well. The net effect is to normalize the vitamin D level. Recall that too much Vitamin D is just as bad as too little. So sunlight does more than simply produce Vitamin D, it moves us toward the optimum amount, irrespective of what our current state is. The effect of any one exposure is small, but regular sunlight guarantees that we have precisely the right amount at all times.
The effect that sunlight has on our entire hormone system is equivalent. Sunlight does much more than simply stimulate the production of a variety of hormones. Regular sunlight balances our hormones. Many hormones act as checks and balances for one another, and sunlight is a small, consistent force that activates them all in just the right proportion. You cannot reproduce the effects of sunlight by taking supplementation or hormone therapy. That's because sunlight always improves your health, while supplementation just adds to stuff willy nilly, which is harmful just as often as it is helpful. Sunlight accounts for your current body state, while supplementation does not. The benefit sunlight provides to our hormones is much greater than just the sum of the hormones it produces. This is another clear case where the reductionist mindset fails and we are better off viewing things in terms of balance.
This normalizing benefit cannot be emphasized enough. Let's say it differently: at the moment, there are only three known forces in the whole world that rebalance your hormones: sunlight, eustress, and (partnered) sex. Many many things affect your hormones, but only a handful normalize them. Sunlight is the most comprehensive of the three, and the easiest to obtain regularly and consistently.
Can't I just get enough Vitamin D through food and supplements?
No. In addition to normalizing the level of Vitamin D in your blood, sunlight also directly produces the active form of Vitamin D directly within your cells. This has been confirmed in immune, skin, breast, prostate, colon, and brain cells; it is likely that all cells can synthesize active D this fashion. This is used right on the spot within the cell, and never makes it outside into the blood. That means that sunlight can provide you with very large quantities of useful Vitamin D without raising your body buffer and inducing toxicity.
Dietary and supplementary Vitamin D raises the body buffer and thus easily causes toxicity problems when taken in large doses. In addition, the rate at which they are converted into the active form is limited by the kidney. This rate is far below what even a modest exposure to the sun will provide. Moreover, actual testing of fortified products reveals massive inconsistency: around a third had the advertised amount of Vitamin D on the label, but around 20% had none. The rest had varying degrees. Diet and supplementation are unreliable sources of Vitamin D. Sunlight and UVB are the only reliable and desirable sources.
We want a lot of active Vitamin D, much more that we currently get. Not only is ample Vitamin D associated with the reduction of modern diseases, lack of Vitamin D is also linked to a host of problems: bone diseases, fat malabsoption syndromes, kidney problems, seizure disorders, liver problems, and autoimmune diseases. Recent measurements of Vitamin D levels among first world populations show alarming Vitamin D deficiencies (40-60% of the population) because we are not getting enough sun.
What's up with children?
It is absolutely crucial that children receive ample sunlight from the moment they are conceived. The amount of sun a child receives is a primary determinant of their health later in life. There are many results that conclusively demonstrate this: here are a few related to vitamin D, bone health, and rates of disease.
Levels of Vitamin D in breast milk contributes to infant and child health. Vitamin D is only passed through breast milk when the mother has ample quantities to spare. That means that pregnant women and nursing mothers also need ample sunlight, in addition to ensuring their infant gets enough sun. Sunlight on infants cures jaundice and other childhood diseases. Lack of adequate vitamin D is linked to the early establishment of what are typically adult onset diseases (there are now teenage children developing multiple sclerosis, Type 2 Diabetes, etc.).
Childhood is the time of our greatest bone development, and a large bone buffer is vital to good health. Bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt; as children we have net bone gain, as adults we have net bone loss. Regular sunlight is the single greatest factor in bone health. Sunlight prevents and cures rickets and osteomalacia, increases the rate of bone rebuilding and improves bone density, and enhances the action of calcium and other bone minerals.
Measurements of rates of disease are linked to lack of sunlight in childhood. A person is nearly twice as likely to develop Type 2 diabetes if they lack sun in youth. They are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases like Type 1 Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. They are more likely to get cancer. The most telling results decouple sunlight in youth and adulthood, and still demonstrate the increased rate of disease even when an adult has received sufficient sun for years but lacked it as a child.
There are several additional results that demonstrate the importance of the early sunlight. Average height has seasonal variation: children born at the start of spring are tallest, while those born at the start of autumn are shortest. This same pattern is seen in infant mortality and rates of other diseases. So getting sunlight just 6 months earlier plays a huge role in not just health but sheer survival. This is likely the origin of the historical tradition for early summer weddings; children conceived in early summer are born at the start of spring and have the greatest chance to reach childhood.
It is hard for me to get enough sun because I (am black, live in Norway, overheat easily, have a skin disorder, etc.) What do I do?
If you can change the condition(s) preventing you from getting enough sun, then that is the best solution. If you can solve your problem with more sun (e.g. you are black) then that is the next best solution. If the situation cannot be changed, then you are forced to rely on special technologies. The three that are of interest to you are:
Circadian rhythm disorders seem most affected by early morning light, far infrared seems most beneficial around peak sun (noon), and low-grade UV over the entire day has greatest benefit. Plan your use of these technologies accordingly.
Someone needs to create a complete sunlight unit that mimics sunlight as closely as possible. It should be made from LEDs that would be both energy effficient, programmatically controllable, and avoids the secondary side effects like buzzing, flickering, etc. The unit would screw into / replace common fixtures found in the home or office.
The natural variation of sunlight has health benefit. These units should have a few settings to control the diurnal curve, the seasonal curve, and occasional dimming (like clouds passing overhead). In addition, the infrared portion should be independently controllable (to turn up during winter and down during summer). The commercial office version should be passively settable from a master control unit, probably via RF pulsing a la theft prevention devices.
Why avoid sunglasses?
SUNGLASSES / tinted lenses
SUNBURN / RAPID TANNING
SKIN PRODUCTS, tanning OIL,
SUNSCREEN / SPF products
Blocking the light reaching the eye is one of three major sources of hormone antagonism in our lifestyle. Here's why you want sunlight to shine on your eyes:
Let's describe the action of hormone antagonism via melatonin. Melatonin is secreted during darkness and controls the entire nighttime cycle. It shuts down our bowels, makes us feel tired, and signals for bodily repair. When we are active during the day and sleep during the night, we are in natural synch with our diurnal hormone cycle. But if we do not receive sufficiently strong light cues during the day, our body produces small amounts of melatonin that antagonize other hormone function. Melatonin during the day inhibits digestion, contributes to fatigue, and interferes with nutrient allocation. We'll have much more to say about the effect of circadian rhythms when we discuss the nursing recommendations. At this point all we need to know is that this class of hormone antagonism is severe enough that shift work (changing your sleep cycle regularly) is a known risk factor for heart disease and other modern diseases.
Note that the beneficial effect of light shining in the eye cannot be easily duplicated with artificial lighting. First, sunlight is orders of magnitude brighter than light bulbs; special high intensity light boxes are needed to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder and related conditions. Second, UV appears to be a crucial component of hormone balancing and standard bulbs do not emit UV radiation. Our body responds to UV, even though we cannot "see" it. We want natural sunlight to cue our hormonal systems properly.
Regular sunlight is not the causal agent for cataracts nor other eye problems it was suspected to long ago. The WHO estimates that no more than 20% of cataracts worldwide are related to UV exposure, which means more than 80% are being caused by something else. Eyes that get regular sunlight have less health problems than those that don't. The situation here is similar to melanomas: excessive and / or intense UV exposure seems to increase risk of eye problems, while regular sunlight acts to reduce the risk.
There are some situations where protective eyewear is legitimately called for. Make sure all protective eyewear blocks the entire spectrum equally (and does not eliminate any part of it). If necessary reduce the intensity, but do not change the spectrum.
Wearing sunglasses cosmetically forms a vicious cycle. Eyes unused to full sun become sensitive to it, making you more dependent on sunglasses. If you have worn sunglasses for a long time, you may need a few weeks to rebuild your visual tolerance to sunlight. Healthy eyes can see comfortably without impairment even in full summer sun. If your eyes cannot do that, it is a sign your eyes are unhealthy, not that you want sunglasses.
The same caveats for sunglasses also apply to glasses used for eyesight correction; while those usually retain the visible spectrum, they often screen UV. Someone needs to develop and promote corrective lenses based on Plexiglas G-UVT or similar material. In that same area, developers of glass and sheeting are likely to see an upsurge of interest in UV-transmitting materials, so they should prepare not only a diverse selection but also to educate clients and other manufacturers about the tradeoffs involved.
Does color and spectrum really matter?
Yes. They matter in two different ways: the energy reaching your eye, and the wavelengths bathing your cells. There are at least four well-documented effects of color on the eye:
Electromagnetic radiation on cells has a clear general trend on organismic health:
Note that we are immersed in unnatural EM radiation created by artificial lights and electronic devices, and virtually all of it has been proven harmful. However, trying to eliminate all unnatural EM radiation is an ineffective tactic. Our time is better spent making ourselves cancer-proof. Remember, health improving is more important than exposure.
[Btw, the topic of light becomes even more interesting when we enlarge the scope. There are numerous predator / prey coloration responses in the animal kingdom. There is also a much wider variety of EM mechanisms among plants; some are the same as animals, while others are far different. Plants are even more sensitive than animals to the wavelengths of light they receive, and thrive best under the full natural spectrum found in their native habitats.]
Why avoid sunburn and rapid tanning?
Because evidence is suggestive that the real root cause of lethal melanomas is excessive or intense overexposure to UV radiation. Moreover, there do not appear to be any known health benefits to sunburned skin or to rapid tanning over slower tanning.
If you want a tan for cosmetic reasons, it is best for your health to acquire it through frequent natural sunlight rather than long sessions in a UV booth. Avoid chemical tanning products.
Why avoid skin products?
Despite what skin product manufacturers want to brainwash you into believing, you do not want healthy-looking, moisturized skin. You want actual healthy, moist skin. More importantly, you want the biological forces in your body that promote the real health that is reflected in that skin. Skin products do not improve your health, only the cosmetic appearance of it.
Moreover, skin is an ingestion pathway. Patches placed on the skin can distribute drugs into the bloodstream, which means stuff we put on our skin goes everywhere in our body. Don't put anything on your skin that you wouldn't put in your mouth and eat. In fact, slathering things on your skin is even worse that eating it, because at least during digestion there are chemical neutralization effects. The skin is a highly effective barrier against microbial invaders, but fails against harmful man-made chemicals like those found in skin products.
There are two large categories of skin products that we should specifically avoid. The first are processed oils like tanning or minerals oils. This is just an extension of the fact that all processed oils are bad for you, whether you are ingesting them through the mouth or skin. The second are SPF products like sunscreen. This deserves its own special mention:
There are valid uses for skin products for spot correction, say against extreme conditions like arctic weather. In that case, you are better off with the proper protective gear than skin treatment. Skin receiving regular sunlight rarely develops the common modern skin problems. Local topical application of medication may be called for in some cases (like poison ivy rash). But once again: healthy skin recovers from upsets much faster, too.
Last but not least, altering our skin using skin products robs us of one of our most useful health indicators. Glowing healthy skin is a great confirmation of total body health, while the specific way our skin seems unhealthy (moisture, suppleness, coloration, growths, etc.) is a major self-diagnostic. Healthy skin already has all the desirable properties we want and requires no skin products; according to theories of biological ornamentation, the healthiest skin is by definition the most attractive. Besides the forces that create healthy skin (water, sunlight, motion, oxygen, diet, and eustress), one needs only occasional exfoliation.
I have sensitive skin! I have to use skin products / sunscreen / avoid the sun. What do I do?
If you have a skin disorder, then you need to rely on special technologies as described above. If you have Type I skin, then you need follow the sunning strategy described in the sun chart. If your skin is sensitive otherwise, then you and your skin are unhealthy. There is no "sensitive skin"; there is only healthy skin and unhealthy skin. Increasing the health of your skin will cure your sensitivity and prevent it from recurring. Skin products and avoiding the sun merely provides relief; it doesn't even treat your condition.
There are many factors that influence skin sensitivity. If you address these causal agents then your skin with become healthier and its sensitivity will disappear:
Just like sunglass use, perceived skin sensitivity is a vicious cycle. If you believe your skin is sensitive then you do the very things that continue to keep it sensitive, in particular avoid the outdoors and the sun. Except for people with rare skin disorders and alabaster skin, everyone can have robust, healthy skin.
We frequently misattribute the sensations in our skin. Sunlight acts to break down drugs, the products of bad diet, and other foreign invaders to the body, which is a very good thing that what we want. But when we get sun and experience that unpleasant sensation, we mistakenly attribute it to the sun and not to the foreign substances. Healthy skin has a highly pleasant reaction to regular sunlight. Think cats purring in the sun.
Manufacturers of skin / hypoallergenic products will do their best to convince you that "sensitive skin" is a kind of skin. It is not. Sensitive skin is a symptom of ill health, not a natural state nor one you should accept. It can also be easily cured, which no corporation will ever advertise to you.
What is the Vit K2 connection?Why sunbathe?
SUNBATHE NUDE, COOL / WET
at MORNING, especially in SPRING
Take a RELAXING HOT BATH
At the turn of the 20th century, heliotherapy (using the sun medicinally to improve your health) was the most successful treatment for the ills of health at that time. In the words of Arnold Rikli a century earlier: "Water works wonders, air can do even more, but light works best of all." We can see remnants of heliotherapy in recovery programs like NEWSTART, but by and large the practice has fallen out of mainstream consciousness.
Cosmetic sunbatheing and heliotherapy are completely different practices. I stress this because when I say "sunbathe" in the guideline, it conjures images of the modern practice, but what I really mean is heliotherapy. I couldn't think of a better word, because we don't even have a concept for heliotherapy any more.
direct action sex hormones cancer connection clothing
Modern architecture has fallen away from sun-based design, and there is a great opportunity here for enterprising architects. We need to return to the days of porches, verandahs, outdoor lounging, and solaria; combine Vitruvius with LEED and you have the next wave of architecture that will be in high demand. Specifically, there is a need for a screened open air solaria with short privacy walls for nude sunbatheing. That would satisfy the modern needs for privacy while getting the essentials for health.
long winter (like sleep) weakened "sun muscles" buildup for summer
Why a hot bath?
A malhydration recommendation; wrong timescale
Blood Thinning Sunlight reduces cyclic AMP stress increases CAMP, promoting cancer caffeine inhibits CAMP breakdown prostaglandins increase CAMP blood glucose and atherosclerosis blood glucose rises because of impaired glucose uptake insulin -> atherosclerosis sucrose -> blood pressure Sweeteners increase hunger, resulting in higher caloric consumption OBESITY REDUCES EFFECTIVENESS OF SUN ON DEEP TISSUES comment on nude exposure Open-air treatment, heliotherapy NEWSTART Sunbathe near natural bodies of water, preferably with breezes COOL CONDITIONS are key for some reason Morning is best time to sunbathe. Van Allen radiation (negative ions) sleep Spring and early summer are most important seasons to sunbathe unpolluted area air and water Diet is big, integral part of all proven successful heliotherapy treatment dropsies?
War wounds, open better than bandaging Binding reduced lymphatic action Casts and slings block sunlight Maybe I should catalog by researcher, would be easier to find primary sources Michael Hollick - Vitamin D researcher Zane Kime - Treated cancers with sunlight Gordon Ansleigh - Epidemiological researcher Oskar Bernhard - war wounds in WWI Henry Gauvain - combined sea bathing with sun bathing Auguste Rollier - Rollier method to treat tuberculosis John Nash Ott - Discovered spectrum effects on plants and children Niels Finsen - 1903 Nobel Prize - Heliotherapy cure of tuberculosis, developer of Finsen Lamp Robert Koch - 1905 Nobel Prize Downes & Blunt references - Established UV bacteriocide http://members.shaw.ca/TPBLUNT/index.htm Leonard Erskine Hill - Heliotherapist and hospital architect
Your circulatory system has three main parts
We often focus on the blood but it is only a small part of a much larger circulatory system. To give you a sense of scale, here is how water is usually distributed in the body:
The health of all your body water matters. The heart is the most important muscle for blood circulation, but all muscles participate in circulation. Muscle contraction forces blood back up from capillaries into veins toward the heart. Far more importantly though, motion is the primary way fluid moves in the interstitial spaces and through the lymphatic system. Frequent motion refreshes ISF, improves cellular health, increases your immune system effectiveness.
Three kinds of motion are particularly helpful for us:
Once again, let's give a sense of scale to how important motion is. Water diffusion across capillaries is estimated to be around 80,000L+ / day, your heart pumps around 8,000L / day, and while at rest your lymph circulates less than 4L / day. Even small pressure differentials can increase lymphatic flow by x20, and any motion can provide that. Slight outdoor variations in temperature and wind pressure also stimulates lymphatic flow.
So should I get big muscles with vigorous exercise then?
Only if you want to. Evidence suggests that muscle mass is not related to total mortality; you won't live longer by bulking up. However, muscle strength and effectiveness do directly correlate with longevity, particularly among males. Healthy often-used muscles are the goal for everyone. Size does not matter... for health and long life, though it does for sexual opportunity.
Frequency of motion is more important than exertion. You can get great circulation with only mild movements, as long as motion is frequent. Said differently, prolonged periods of physical inactivity are worse for us the longer they are. Three hours straight of couch potato TV watching is much more harmful than if you got up and did something during commercial breaks.
Every moment you are moving you are building up your ISF nutrient buffer. Every moment you are not you are depleting it. A healthy person has a large enough buffer they can go long periods without moving, but an unhealthy person cannot. The worse your health, the more important it is to get frequent, mild movement. That 30th minute of consecutive inactivity is much worse than the first.
For healthy people, the only way to improve their health is to improve their fitness. They achieve this by undergoing intense physical eustress, i.e. vigorous exercise, and then eventually interval training and isolated weight lifting. Exercise is counterproductive for unhealthy people. It causes stress on an already distressed body, depletes stores even faster, and health-improving efforts are much better spent on motion frequency than intensity. Healthy people should focus on cardiovascular fitness; unhealthy people should focus on musculymphatic flow.
The easiest way to do this is seek minor inconvenience and inefficiency. Park far away and walk (I find this is actually quicker than hunting for a spot!). Always walk downstairs. Walk upstairs until winded, then use the elevator. Chop vegetables instead of using a food processor. Put your water in the other room, and get up to drink it. Basically, contrive ways to use your body and interrupt long stretches of not moving.
So is frequent motion all I need for good circulation?
Motion is the largest factor in good circulation, and also one of the few directly under our control. However, many other things impact your whole circulatory health, among them:
While we should focus on motion for pure circulation, we should also avail ourselves of other ways to improve circulatory health. And luckily it turns out the main ways to improve these other factors (water and sweat, sunlight outdoors, avoiding smoke, etc.) gives us additional benefits.
Microcirculation? Doesn't seem necessary Anatomy of lymphatic system Make up single circulatory chart with symbols Walking for one hour activates hormone sensitive lipase Walking increases brain tryptophan reserves Histamines increase Tryptophan breakdown Walking reduces stress Predominant pathway for proteins to re-enter circulation is via the lymph http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starling_equation Thus, lymphatic circulation recorrects transcapillary protein leaks Maintain plasma oncotic pressure http://www.anaesthesiamcq.com/FluidBook/fl2_4.php Proteins have negative charge - acids = increase in H+ = decrease in negative ions = increase in positive bases = decrease in H+ = increase in negative ions = decrease in positive
Energy rate limiter CO2 acidic, O2 is oxygenator aerobic vs anaerobic - bacteria, body states breathing channel lung utilization relaxation - Deep breathing reduces stress increases nitric oxide treats necrotizing soft tissue infections treats diabetic derived illnesses treats burns treat inflammatory bowel disease SMOKING Impairs oxygen Lung cancer, heart disease, stroke Causes wrinkles
A food is something we get directly from nature, from a recognizable plant or animal. It is something your great-great grandmother would consider food. So foods are plants (fruits, vegetables, nut, seeds, sea plants, etc.) and animals (meat, eggs, dairy, fish, sea animals, etc.). THAT'S IT. Anything else is an edible product, no matter how it is advertised or what picture it has on the box.
Food is good for you, and if you eat it, you will become healthier. Food has a high N/cal, and some foods have very large N/cal; in addition, food has high baseline minimum nourishment. Anything else is a harmful edible product. If you eat edible products, you will become unhealthier, no matter which products you eat or the health claims of those products. Edible products have dangerously low N/cal, which is where we get the term "empty calories". Edible products have low nourishment, regardless of their calories.
In short: food is good, and edible products are bad.
The easiest way to determine whether something is an edible product is packaging. Most real foods have minimal or no packaging; almost all edible products have prominent packaging. Produce has none, meats have clear wrap, and usually the only foods that are packaged are because they need a container (nuts, seeds, oats, dairy, et al). The rule of thumb is: the less packaging, the safer it is; more packaging, more danger. Another heuristic: eat from the outside rim of the supermarket, not the interior aisles, because that's where the produce, meat, and dairy are usually placed.
Using these guidelines, we can start telling foods and edible products apart. Fruit (the thing you pick off a tree or bush) is a food, fruit rollups and fruit bars are products. Meat (the flesh you cut from an animal or fish) is a food, lunchmeat and hot dogs are products. Vegetables (the root, stem, or leaf of a plant) are food, french fries and V8 are products. Seafood (plants and animals living in water) is food, fish sticks and salmon burgers are products. While not fresh, aged sharp cheddar cheese is still a food, while Velveeta and american cheese are products.
It doesn't matter if something appears to "come from" a food, or even if it contains bits of real food in it. That's the distillation fallacy. Moreover, the way edible product companies fool us into thinking that their products are safe and nutritious is to make them appear like they come from actual food. You want as close to the whole food as possible: the original, unaltered thing you would find in nature.
Let's really drive home the difference between food and edible products. Butter is a food that is made; margarine is an edible product that is fabricated. They are placed side by side in the supermarket like they are somehow comparable or similar. Let's look at how both are manufactured:
Insert butter vs. margarine production pics here Include historical counterparts http://www.enotes.com/how-products-encyclopedia/butter-margarine http://www.cip.ukcentre.com/marg1.htm
EAT FRESH, WHOLE FOODS
MAINLY VEGETABLES (plants)
half COOKED, half RAW
With range-fed MEAT / SEAFOOD
Why mainly vegetables?
When selecting vegetables, prefer leafy green and brightly colored ones, which are high in antioxidants. Buy organic if your budget allows. When preparing, rinse fruits and vegetables in water to remove any possible pesticides.
Fruits and vegetables are the safest foods to eat. There is little danger to eating them in moderation, and many proven benefits. The only problem with eating plant foods arises if you eat them exclusively (vegetarinism). Then your diet will lack some key nutrients, in particular the ones our body can't store (B vitamins and zinc). We also need and want regular animal foods.
When you make major changes to your diet, you should do so in small stages spaced out over several days. If you change from a low fiber diet to a high fiber diet too fast, you will experience many unnecessary problems. Take your current plant food intake and increase it by 1/8 of your plate every couple days, until you reach 3/4 of the plate.
The benefits of fiber are numerous:
Comment on Vit C? It's important Vit E... maybe I need plant food breakdownSo what does the icon mean?
The whole circle represents the view of your plate. Your plate diameter should be no greater than the size of your extended hand (since that's the size of your stomach). You are free to eat as much as you like, but no course should be larger than your open hand. Wait a half-hour between courses that large.
The green lines mean vegetables. At least half of what you eat should be vegetables. You are always free to have more vegetables. It's fine to have a meal that is almost entirely vegetables, so the green line extends around the entire plate.
You want to target about a quarter of your plate to be fresh fruits (the orange line), and another quarter to be an animal food (the brown line). That could be meat, seafood, an egg, or anything else that comes from a healthy animal.
It is very important that this is what your plate looks like at every meal. It's NOT okay to have a salad at lunch and a steak at dinner. Every meal needs to be balanced. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and in-between meal snacks. We receive tremendous benefits from a balanced meal:
Like fiber, each of these bullet points has its own list of why they are good. These are such important topics we'll explore them further once we've introduced notions of Radical Balance.
Why does the Radical Plate differ from the government's Choose My Plate?
Let's go through each of the three differences and we'll see that the USDA recommendation is actually very similar. First, the government's My Plate is for healthy people; that's what your plate should look like once you are healthy. The Radical Plate is aimed at unhealthy people, who need a higher vegetable intake in order to restore their health. If you want to lose weight and gain health, you need a larger vegetable portion. If you simply want to maintain, you can lower your vegetable intake and replace it with any food you like. Grains are a good choice at that point because they will safely increase your energy load, which active healthy people want but obese unhealthy people do not.
Second, Choose My Plate has an icon for dairy because there is a strong dairy lobby in the United States, so any official recommendation has to include it. If you check their recommendations, they explicitly mention that we should be drinking primarily water. I personally feel their dairy icon is misleading; it suggests that we should be drinking milk at each meal. Milk is an "every so often" kind of drink, not every day, and should only be consumed after a well-balanced meal.
The third difference, grains, deserves a page all its own. The highlights are:
Consequently, unhealthy people should be cautious of grains. While the food itself is fine, the scarcity of healthy sources coupled with the confusion around it makes them likely to be a large source of dietary error. Animal foods are a better choice to improve our health, not only for their properties but because of a better ability to distinguish between higher and lower quality foods.
[Just the other day I was in a health food store and picked up a hearty looking bread in the whole foods section that prominently displayed its seven whole grains. The first three ingredients were: refined flour, water, and sugar, i.e. two of the Four Horsemen of Death. The standards currently regulating grains allow for too loose an interpretation on labeling, and thus they should all be treated as suspect.]
There is one area of direct agreement between the Radical Plate and MyPlate worth pointing out. At least 3/4 of your plate should be plant foods. At most 1/4 should be animal foods. This is true along the entire health spectrum.
Why half cooked and half raw?
Cooking a food changes the bioavailability of its nutrients. Raw foodists will be quick to point out that this robs them of several vitamins and minerals, which is definitely true if you boil them and throw out the broth. What they often omit is that cooking also changes cofactor proportions making the absorption of other vitamins and minerals better.
To get the maximum nourishment from a food, you want to vary its preparation. Have it cooked sometime, have it raw sometimes. In addition, combine it in different ways with the other foods you eat. This has the benefit not only of giving you the largest breadth of nutrient extraction from the same foods but also a more pleasing variety of dishes.
Won't eating so many vegetables get boring?
Only if you allow it to be. Americans tend to view a vegetable as a side dish, having only one per meal. Salads are usually dominated by one leafy green with a few other foods thrown in.
Vegetarians often have more than a dozen plant foods at one sitting. They make complex dishes that taste good. In particular, plant dishes explore a much wider range of texturing than our typically bland fare. (I'm a card-carrying carnivore foodie and as a food critic went to many swank places, yet Green's Restaurant is hands down one of the best places I've ever eaten.)
If you look at an American fridge, there are perhaps 5 different fresh fruits and vegetables inside at any given time. A vegetarian fridge has a couple dozen, along with diverse fruit bowls, and dozens of spices along with fresh accent plants. The plant foods they favor often rotate according to what's in season (which is when they have their highest nutrient value). That's what we want our kitchen to look like.
We've lost the art of preparing plant foods in the US, and we desperately need to regain it. Get a vegetarian cookbook. Take an ethnic cooking class. Join an online recipe community. Get your grandmother's recipes. Travel to India. The more you discover about plant food preparation, the more savory your fruit and vegetable dishes will become. For the rest of your life, at least 3/4 of every meal should be plant foods and at most 1/4 animal foods. That is the foremost, repeated proven diet that improves your health, loses body fat, and avoids modern diseases all at the same time.
Moreover, it is also the diet that people stick with the longest. Fad diets cause you to yo-yo because they are hard to adhere to. Yo-yoing is as bad or worse for your health than simply remaining obese. You want a lifelong dietary change that slowly brings you to your ideal weight, not a rapid fad diet that induces wild weight fluctuations.
Well, first we need to distinguish what we mean when we say the word "fat". Dietary fat is good for us (except for trans fats found in fried foods, which come from oils). Body fat is related to obesity, which is bad for you. We also say the word fat but refer to processed oils, which are bad for us. So part of the reason why we have the negative association with "fat" is because two thirds of the time we use the word, we mean something bad.
When we use the word "fat" here and now, we mean the stuff contained in food. That's mostly animal flesh, eggs, dairy, some seeds, and a few select plants. Oil is not fat; oil is not a whole food. We do NOT mean processed oils, irrespective whether they come from food or industrial processes. Fat, by that definition, is your friend:
Now let's look at the numbers and reveal what's happening:
Now let's talk about two big problems that are happening in the US. First and foremost, we have mistakenly replaced whole food fats with dangerous processed oils. We are starving for nourishing fat in our diet. Stop using or eating oil; eat a whole food instead. Animal foods are the best source of nourishing fat.
The second is paradoxically occuring among the healthy population. They are repeated told to reduce fat intake, so they do, to dangerously low levels. If you are ideal weight, you likely already have the right fat intake, and your attention would be better spent elsewhere.
Do not worry about lean meats, saturated vs. unsaturated, lowfat milk, or any of the stuff we are bombarded with. It's irrelevant if you are eating food; it's only relevant to choose the lesser of evils among edible products. The important thing is eat range-fed, whole foods, and avoid processed oils.
Does range-fed really matter?
Yes. The same way that our diet affects our health, the diet of our livestock determines their health. Grain-fed farm animals have too acidic a diet, and they pass on that excess acidity to us when we eat them.
Because factory-farmed animals are more unhealthy than their range-fed counterparts, they get sick more often. They require more antibiotic and drug intervention, which also gets passed along to us. 40% of all antibiotics manufactured in the US goes to farm animals.
The normal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids found in nature is roughly 1:1, and that is around what is found in free range-fed animals. Ratios as high as 40:1 have been measured in grain-fed animals; that's comparable to what is found in processed oils. This reduces the total amount of omega-3's in the meat, lowering its health-promoting benefits. It also messes up your hormones. A range-fed animal has modestly acidic meat combined with healthy fat. A grain-fed animal is basically an unhealthy combination of acid and oil.
Farming practices profoundly affect the healthiness of the food produced, and that applies to plants, animals, and seafood. Our modern food is literally less nourishing than it used to be.
REFINED or FAST FOODS
FLOUR products, and OILS
Products that don't SPOIL
The apparent controversies between well-respected authorities is confusing and misleading. While they argue fine points of exact mechanisms and key factors, the vast area of their common agreement goes unemphasized. The Radical Solution is just that: the area different experts agree upon. Any "disagreement" is usually about rate: not whether the guidelines are effective (they all are), but which ones are the most effective (so we can direct our efforts accordingly).
It is hard for me to convey just how overwhelming and emphatic the alignment is on this particular recommendation. Every authority agrees YOU MUST ELIMINATE edible products, refined foods, fast food, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, flour products, and processed oils from your diet. It elevates this guideline to the status of an absolute decree. It doesn't matter what field or profession the authority started from, they all universally come to this same conclusion.
Furthermore, in 10 years of investigation, 100s health books, and 1000s of articles, studies, and web pages, I haven't found a single credible source that promotes the "health benefits" of edible products. There is no doctor who created the "Candy Diet" locked in heated debate with the scientist who invented the "Canola Diet" over whether sugar or oil is better for your health!
Sugar, HFCS, Flour, and processed Oil offer malnourishment. They ruin our health. They are pleasurable toxins a healthy body can tolerate in small doses but an unhealthy body succumbs to. They are the Four Horsemen of Death.
The Four Horsemen are one of the top three ingredients of virtually every edible product. It appears we eat a variety of things because we get different products, but in reality we are simply eating vast amounts of the Four Horsemen. They are in your condiments, peanut butter, tuna fish, yogurt, hummus, and many other places you wouldn't expect.
Edible product companies try to obfuscate the Four Horsemen by calling them different names on the ingredient label. If you know the equivalencies, then reading ingredient labels is a shock. The Four Horsemen are everywhere. This is another reason why our sincere efforts to improve health have been hampered; it appears we are eating a healthy food, but instead we are really eating a harmful edible product.
Here's the reasons to eliminate the Four Horsemen of Death, and thus by extension edible products:
Special section on sugar? AGEs, RAGEsWhy avoid products that don't spoil?
Products with a long shelf life are either a) filled with the Horsemen and/or b) filled with preservatives, neither of which you want.
Real food tends to spoil quickly; that's what you want to eat. Fruits overripen, vegetables wilt, meat rots, dairy spoils, etc. Some foods are naturally resistant to spoiling (e.g. nuts and seeds), but these are recognizably foods and not edible products.
Thinking in terms of food spoilage is a good safety check. Any edible product that could last more than a month in your house is unsafe to eat.
Being safe means changing your shopping habits. Buy small amounts of a wide variety of foods every few days, instead of large trips every couple weeks. Try out farmer's markets, CSAs, and other ways to get fresher food.
TREAT YOURSELF to any meal
or an after-meal DESSERT
Eat a tiny portion of ORGAN MEAT
Here's why you want to treat yourself:
Organ meats are particularly useful at raising our health.
This latter point bears expanding. Organ meats taken in small portions regularly promotes health because it skews our internal balance back toward healthy. Eating organ meats more frequently or in larger quantities doesn't help; the beneficial effect is rate-limited by other buffers. Eating large portions of organ meats too frequently is potentially dangerous, because the skewed nutrient distribution introduces a different harmful bias.
Do not worry about toxins being in organ meats. Large heavy metal exposure does cause those toxins to be shunted into our internal organs. But livestock is not exposed to anywhere near the levels that were used in those studies. Measurements show heavy metals in organ meats are generally no larger than found in meat to begin with. Since meat has such a powerful detoxifying ability, we come out net ahead. Remember, health-promotion is more important than exposure.
Convenience and price drives food decision not N/cal Time starvation is major cause overcommmitment stress workforce marginalization Slow, enjoyable activities (We have so little eustress and so much distress we only mean the latter when we say the word "stress"!)
Defense catastrophe stress depletes vit C Vit C protects A & E Stress decreases tryptophan buffers seratonin, melatonin, and tryptamine mirror neurons, pathways pheremones, chemical synch far IR verbal fluency, wit, confidence interrupts compulsive thoughts cortisol => sugar craving, fat craving, weight gain fat relocation => visceral area (abdominal obesity) http://www.unm.edu/~lkravitz/Article%20folder/stresscortisol.html Investigate Brodish and Lymangrove The hormones that switch on catabolism are the stress hormones: adrenaline, growth hormone, glucagon and cortisol. The hormone that switches on anabolism is insulin; and insulin and the stress hormones are direct antagonists in many organs. Insulin switches off sugar production in the liver, stress hormones switch it on. Insulin makes fat and muscle cells absorb sugars and fats. The stress hormones do the opposite Sex reduces stress Sex reduces blood pressure Sex improves immune response (IgA) Sex is pleasurable, calorie-burning exercise Sex improves cardiac health and reduces cardiac risk Sex raises self-esteem Sex reduces pain and increases pain threshhold Sex strengthens pelvic floor muscles (reducing incontinence, etc.) Sex improves intimacy (oxytocin) Orgasm improves restful sleep Ejaculation reduces risk of prostate cancer Libido inhibitors: Stress Alcohol Relationship problems Insufficient Sleep Parenting / Scheduling Drugs and Medications Body Image Obesity Erectile Dysfunction Hormone imbalance Depression Menopause Lack of intimacy
Yes. Take your meals at exactly the times suggested (6AM, Noon, 6PM) and go to bed at 9:30PM. This further synchronizes your body:
Overview of circadian rhythm, regimes http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/clock.htm Dark Therapy http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/darkrx.htm Chronotherapy http://www.chicagochronotherapy.com/index.html Explain hormones metabolism blood glucose melatonin => alcoholism in rats AVOIDING ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING & RADIATION Lights increase levels of ACTH, causing distress Flickering from flourescent lights causes headaches Lights unsynchronized to diurnal cycle Lack of variation - impacts circulation and robustness Read John Ott Plant growth and budding often suppressed by artificial lighting Light of any kind interferes with diurnal and seasonal cues Artificial light can kill some kinds of plants Color influences hormones, in particular sex hormones Pink aggression, blue docility Artificial light skews cellular functions Artificial light causes lesions Artificial lighting provokes aggression and irritability UHF fields influence acetylcholine => hyperactivity and listlessness Red light => cellular rupture; incandescent lights => heart disease? Pink light caused calcific myocarditis Pink light promoted tumors
An unhealthy person has weak and slow digestion. They tend toward the upper ends of the time estimates. Food passes through their system slowly and sluggishly.
If you are being properly nourished, digestion tends to raise your overall body buffers, and rebalance them; this occurs specifically in the small intestine. Every moment you are not digesting (i.e. have mush in your small intestines), you are fasting. While fasting, you are depleting your body buffers.
A healthy person has ample body buffers and can withstand long periods of fasting. They can also go longer between receiving any one nutrient. So the particular timing of their eating has a minor impact on their nourishment.
An unhealthy person has low or imbalanced body buffers, and the timing of their intake has a major impact on their nourishment. Moreover, small biases in their environment tend to deplete the same body buffer(s), making them misfunction.
Proper digestion requires the coordination of many systems in concert to gain nourishment. A misfunctioning body system not only impairs health, it also impairs the body's ability to self-correct by reducing dietary nourishment.
Why Radical Balance
EAT RADICALLY BALANCED
with a variety of SPICES
Timely BALANCED SNACKS
EAT SLOWLY, with COURSES
Radical Balance is a combination of pH balance, macronutrient balance, and timing. Everyone needs macronutrient balance, while pH balance and timing are mainly aimed at helping unhealthy people nourish themselves and restore their digestive potency.
pH balance is eating acid and alkaline foods at the same sitting, so that they neutralize one another before they hit your bloodstream. This minimizes the generation of free radicals.
Macronutrient balance is ensuring a proper distribution of the four categories every time you eat (meals and snacks):
Timing is to coordinate your food intake. Your breakfast and dinner should be at the same time, and your lunch should be in between them. So if you eat breakfast at 6AM, your dinner should be at 6PM, and lunch at noon. A healthy person is fine with only three square meals a day.
An unhealthy person needs to rebuild their body buffers and prime their next meal. This is done with in-between meal snacks, and water taken around 30 minutes before any food intake. This maximizes digestion time (your body buffers being increased) and minimizes fasting (your stores being depleted).
After every meal, take a short walk outdoors. If you are unhealthy, try to take a brief walk after every snack as well.
For an unhealthy person, a balanced breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Morning is when your buffers are at their lowest. The American tendency to skip breakfast or hastily eat edible products is harmful for unhealthy people.
So what does this icon mean?
Think of it as a dial. Take whatever time you eat breakfast and rotate the 6 o'clock to it. Large circles are meals, small circles are snacks, and droplets are water breaks. The plus and minus symbols are just a reminder to balance your meals and snacks. The walk symbols are reminders to take outdoor walks.
Does this means I have to start memorizing the pH and macronutrients of every food and snack?
Not really. As long as your plate looks like either the Radical Plate or the MyPlate, then your meal is already pH and macronutrient balanced.
It is also important that your snacks be radically balanced. But there is also a simple method there. Combine two items:
|(1-2) Plant food(s) + (0-1) Animal food||=||Balanced Snack|
Good snack choices include: nuts, seeds, cheese, and plain yogurt. These foods are already well balanced and complement almost anything else, like some tasty fruits or snackmeats. Vary your snack combinations; this gives you greater diversity and pleasure. If you are comfortable with nutrition, then follow the balance guidelines to create other balanced snack recipes.
When we say "spice" we also include accent plants, garnishes, and other plant foods used in small quantities. The health benefit of a spice is improved the more fresh and whole it is. So it is better to grow a cilantro plant than to get chopped cilantro. Not surprisingly, fresh spices also taste much better than spice products. Where practical, prefer fresh, whole spices.
Why eat slowly?
Our tendency toward large meals wolfed-down is too much too fast for a weak digestive system. Chewing slowly is a simple, proven way to improve your digestion:
If you are unhealthy, you may also want to use courses to further spread out your digestion.
This guideline is almost exclusively curative; healthy people have such strong digestion their attention is better directed elsewhere.
including drugs, pills, and powders
(UNLESS you must due to a
pressing medical condition)
Here's why you want to avoid supplementation:
Remember, nutrition and nourishment are not the same. Supplements increase our nutrition; whole foods increase our nourishment. The latter is what we really want.
Lastly, when we say the word snack, we mean a couple fresh, whole foods taken between meals. We NEVER mean edible products! This is merely another safety check to ensure that you are eating real food in between meals and not junk products.
FAST or GREEN DIET CLEANSE
PAMPER YOURSELF to the beach,
mineral / mud bath, sauna, or massage
Here's why you occasionally want to fast or cleanse:
Some people use excessive fruit juicing aimed specifically at colon cleansing, which isn't recommended. However, fruit and vegetable juicing may be advisable for very active people who have a high caloric needs.
How long you fast depends on the kind you do. Water fasting is safe to do for a day, no more than two. Either green or juice fasting can be done for a week; both together is fine for a couple weeks.
Circulation Oxygenation Oxytocin Better health Greek arenation: exercising nude on the sand to maximize sunlight exposure sunlight and exercise is more potent than either alone
try it refer to friends, family, loved ones word of mouth facebook stuff translation medical professionals public health, nutritionists policy makes decision makers libraries
The fundamental problem is that corporations make money when people are recurrently sick food politics, Marketing soil and remineralize Businesses and Monsanto instabilities in monoculture agriculture Corporate money sponsors authoritative research Government alternate sources Local Franchise farming Movement toward time and convenience Dollar moving out of the home into restaurants Products because of longer cycle time to buy foods Food preparation being done on large-scale centralized because of efficiency Need to make small-scale, local, personal food preparation "kitchens" Some centralization necessary for variety, too much is too impersonal Want to focus on freshly-prepared dishes "buying convenience and health" Fast food nation Pharmaceuticals Americans obsessed with "the pill" We can change our biochemistry through behavior as effectively as drugs SUNLIGHT, OUTDOORS: Cities and Hospitals have classically been deathtraps, and they are becoming so again City architecture and planning 10% Hospital acquired infection (HAI) 40-60% of population Vitamin D deficient, centered on cities walkability greenery sun ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN Florence Nightengale Principles - Notes on Hospitals http://www.iasdr2009.org/ap/Papers/Poster%20Highlight/The%20Nightingale%20Principles%20-%2019th%20century%20thinking%20for%2021st%20century%20sustainable%20practice.pdf Radiant heat by fire MODERN EDUCATION Must include gardens trips to farms food preparation health
Aim For Avoid Diverse Selection Dietary Sensitivities Meat and Vegetables Too much of either Organic, Free-Range Toxins, processing, preservatives Planned Snacking / Fasting Very Large Meals 2000 cal Calorie bombs and bingeing urine is most acid at 2:00 A.M. (pH 5.0 to 6.8) in the morning (the base tide) and most alkaline at 2:00 P.M. (pH 7.0 to 8.5) in the afternoon (base flood link to cortisol? Apo B100 Calcified Plaque OxLDL Fish oil and tuna fish Vitamin E oils Could saline concentrations affect bacterial growth? lack of zinc and cysteine DIAGNOSABLE INTERMEDIATE STATES Binary function of organs, when evidence is against COUNTRY-WIDE EPIDEMIOLOGY Current methodology is the incorrect one to capture what we want Difference of proof required for practicum and mechanism Single cause blind spot Epidemiology captures effects we are unaware of Already collecting data Basis for legislation
Soil image = diet of plants Animal grazing = diet of animals human eating = diet of humans Iconography every section break why sections up by icon Plant care recommendations http://www.cortisolconnectiondiet.com/ch3_1.php http://www.womenfitness.net/ugly_truths.htm http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=81 http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/omega3fa/ http://www.wereyouwondering.com/how-long-does-it-take-to-digest-food/ Personal food preparation Sleeper agents Fat: http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio104/lipids.htm Cholesterol Myth http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8SSCNaaDcE http://www.thincs.org/members.htm http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Cholesterol-are-Good-You/dp/919755538X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1297748778&sr=1-2 Insulin -> Liver -> Cholesterol levels oxygenation + cancer acidity + cancer (lactic acid) oxygen + mitochondria = energy free radicals hurt mitochondria processed oils contain trans fats burning causes skin cancer burning + prostaglandins = suppresses immune system prostaglandins produced from Linoleic acid in processed oils polyunsaturated fat suppresses the immune system wheat -> causes food sensitivity, PUSF then suppresses immune response vitamin A, C, E, carotene reduces sunburning also reduces cancer skin cancer sunlight inhibits cancer, lung, breast, etc. hypertension correlates to cancer PUFAs reduce vitamin E Animal foods are rich in vitamin K2 vitamin D regulates intracellular vitamin C excess cortisone => cushing's disease = obesity, hypertension Excess vitamin D causes magnesium depletion, yielding heart attacks Rho bad, reduces (Nitric Oxide good) esterified cholesterol (bad when too much) Consumption of refined sugar and refined grain products also cause the body to metabolize omega-6 fats into pro-inflammatory prostaglandins http://www.oleda.com/oleda_tips/tips.asp?dept=48 http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/high-fructose-corn-syrup-dangers/
Let's look at the data, and then talk about how to interpret it. All charts and quotes from this appendix come from the WHO report. Here's the number of deaths broken down by risk factor and country income:
Here's the same data but interpreted by Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs). The majority of DALYs lost worldwide are due to psychatric disorders and hormone imbalances; these rarely kill us, but often rob us of years of our lives.
As a country becomes more prosperous, they reduce deaths from traditional risks but increase those from modern risks. Traditional risks can be reduced to very low numbers, as evidenced in the first world; at the moment, how to control the key factors in modern risk is still a work in progress.
Lastly, these risk factors are not all exclusive. Some deaths are multiply-attributed:
Global data is more useful and
reliable than local data
WHO data is extremely important. Every country comes up with their own
set of risk factors that are tuned to their specific population. What often
happens is that risk factors applied from one country grossly misestimate
rates of disease when applied in another. Only globally significant risk
factors can be related to causality; local risk factors that are globally
unreliable are more likely to be proxy markers for some other causal agent.
This is a primary method used to distinguish biologically significant risk
factors versus environmentally dependent proxy markers.
Global data also helps because it can help identify common etiology, even for causes that don't exist in your country. For example, take these three killers:
The Radical Solution addresses the top five risk factors, and all relevant first world factors except #13 Occupational risk:
|Need||Related to WHO Death Rank|
|H2O / Na||#1 High blood pressure, #8 Alcohol Use, #11 Unsafe Water, sanitation, hygeine|
|Oxygen||#2 Tobacco Use, #10 Indoor smoke from solid fuels, #14 Urban outdoor air pollution|
|Motion||#4 Physical inactivity, part #3 High blood glucose, part #5 Overweight and obesity|
|Food||#12 Low fruit and vegetable intake, part #3 High blood glucose, part #5 Overweight and obesity, All Deficiencies (#16 Vitamin A, #17 Zinc, #19 Iron)|
It also addresses two other important risk factors (lack of sunlight and
distress) that have yet to be measured adequately.
Risk factors differ in quality and causality
Science proceeds by trial and error, and is undergoing constant refinement.
This is true with the measurement of risks factors as well. To illustrate,
obesity has long been measured by using the
Body Mass Index (BMI),
purely for historical reasons and convenience. However, there is
considerable evidence now that distribution of mass around your body is
much more significant than simply total mass.
obesity is a better heart disease predictor than BMI, which gives
rise to more accurate risk factors like
Waist-to-Height Ratio (WHtR). Some believe we
should stop fooling around and do a complete
Body Volume Index (BVI) which would give us much
more accurate information, as well as gather data for as yet unknown body
deposition effects in the future.
Similarly, differentiation of a risk factor often occurs after the fact in response to other data. For example, mild alcohol taken occasionally after meals in a social setting is good for your health, whereas lonely binge drinking of liquor leading to violence will kill you (in one way or another). However, in the charts above, both are grouped under "Alcohol use" even though the pattern of use has a big difference on health outcome. How we do things is just as important as what we do.
The commonality of the same risk factor among different diseases increases its quality and our confidence that they are a bad thing. So, for example, smoking and alcohol are known risk factors for a bunch of disease states that have nothing to do with one another. That suggests that they are linked to a deeper problem than their straightforward mechanism of action, which in these two cases are the impairment of our basic oxygen and water metabolisms.
Last but not least, we should once again remind ourselves that there is a big difference in the causality of these correlations. For example, if you got killed on the job, then it's pretty clear "Occupational risk" is what killed you. If you have a zinc deficiency and died from malnutrition, then we strongly believe that a lack of zinc was the causal agent. But a high cholesterol level is already known to be a proxy marker for a bunch of things, and may also represent as yet unmeasured causal agents behind it. Furthermore, many risk factors interact with one another in complex ways:
Remember, risk factors are anything that is easily measurable that has a
correlation to incidence of disease. No one believes Education and Income
are causal agents actively causing ill health. Instead, they are good proxy
markers, especially among subpopulations (say, among the very poor who can't
afford enough food or any medical care).
More quality risk factors are known
The WHO report wasn't intended to be comprehensive overview of risk factors;
it wanted to highlight two things. First, most mortality was concentrated in
just a handful of risks:
"The leading global risks for mortality in the world are high blood pressure (responsible for 13% of deaths globally), tobacco use (9%), high blood glucose (6%), physical inactivity (6%), and overweight and obesity (5%). These risks are responsible for raising the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and cancers. They affect countries across all income groups: high, middle and low."
Second, concentrating our efforts in the top risk factors has a large, already measured payoff. If we eliminated the causal agents behind just the top risk factors behind death and DALYs, we would increase worldwide life expectancy by 5-10 years. That's ginormous. So WHO was trying to draw attention to areas of high benefit / effort.
Here are some other risk factors that are known to apply globally (though for many their impact on mortality are currently uncalculated):
This list and others like it highlight how important it is to
measure hormonal function, in particular around meals. Someone needs to
develop a complete hormone measuring device that can capture rate change
information in real time, preferably a portable unit. That device will be
central to breaking open the real causal agents behind our (missing) risk
factors, as well as defining the reference range interactions between
hormones. Basic science with practical application and existing market all
Appendix B: Malhydration Calculations
Water Pathways with Sodium Estimates
|Intake Pathways||Excretion Pathways|
of food volume
|Good Diet ~ 80%
Bad Diet ~ 40%
<1.5 ml / cal
|Urine||1-2L / day||4.4 to 8|
|Occasional||Hypotonic Immersion||? / Bath||Hypertonic Immersion
|? / Bath
Let's overview the water balance. We have a net fixed loss per day from breathing, and this is determined almost entirely by environment (air temperature and humidity). Under comfortable conditions, this loss is around 0.5L / day, but under arid conditions can easily top 1L / day.
The water content of your poop is largely determined by what you eat. With any good diet where you eat primarily food, then it's a wash; you eat as much water as you poop out. However, if you eat junk products then your body can lose up to 1L / day. When your body can't readily supply that fluid, you get constipated.
The big wild card is sweat. Your body sweats in response to several factors, but most notably increased temperature, especially induced by exercise. This is pure water and sodium loss, and has a huge range of variability. Hydrate before and during exercise.
Urine is a special case because the kidney is primarily in the game of correcting imbalances in plasma, not excreting water per se. It also does the spot removal of toxins. It uses water because that's how other stuff gets moved around. We normally urinate 1-2L a day, but this can go up if we drink lots of fluids or induce diuresis.
There are other occasional water pathways; most are negligible. The skin normally has an oily seal that prevents water transfer, so most immersion doesn't do anything. This seal gets removed during cleaning or very long immersion, at which point water transfer can occur. The direction depends on the osmotic pressure of the water (or to a first approximation, its salinity). The other significant pathways involve uterine excretion: menses, female orgasm, etc. are fluid losses that need water compensation.
Note that the common pathways are all net loss for water. At a baseline minimum, we need around (0.5) + (0-1) + (1-2) = 1.5-3.5L + sweat per day.
We need to drink much more than this minimum. Every gram of sodium we ingest has to be balanced by 2L of pure water. But then we want excess water over and above that, too; let's describe why.
Diarrhea! This is huge, and a killer, too Lookup menses info for water calc blurb on fluids and illness in general Sodium mechanism http://www.teachingmedicine.com/pdf_files/U_Na_2007.pdf Add salinity Total sodium mass in and out
The same is also true of body toxins. The first toxin pathway is excretion in the urine, which can only occur so fast. At the same time, the body is constantly absorbing toxins in the lymphatic nodes where it neutralizes them. Once those mechanisms are overloaded, the only option left is to stash toxins in soft tissues until later. Those toxins can't be dislodged or excreted until the body receives excess water over and above its minimum requirements.
The body is also fearfully good at retaining water, but the water retention mechanism in the kidney uses sodium transport, i.e. by conserving water your body is also forced to retain sodium. When the body senses a lack of water, it begins rationing to different parts of the body. This effect can be seen in flow to extremities during frostbite, visceral blood rush during meals, cooler hands and feet at rest, etc. The mechanisms used to ration (vasopressin and histamines) have long term adverse effects when overactivated. Besides the direct effects of hypertension and allergic reaction, there are more insidious consequences. The first is lack of nutrient transport; bodily fluids need to flow for circulation. The second is suppression of the immune system and lack of adequate lymphatic function. The third is persistent inflammation, in particular around endothelial linings near joint cavities.
The take home point here is: we need excess water to cure malhydration. If all we do is replace our water loss and balance sodium, at best we maintain our current level of health (though in reality, if we persist in a malyhdrated state, our health steadily decreases). The only way the body can improve its health is with excess water, above both the homeostatic need and sodium balancing. With excess water, the body can shed sodium, flush toxins, transport nutrients, normalize immune response, and in general rebalance whatever it needs to.
To correct malhydration the best pathway is sweat, not urine. You can safely push much more fluid per day through sweat glands than your kidneys, and that fluid can be of higher salinity and lower pH, so your rate of correction is faster. Sweat directly helps your lymphatic system, toxin release, sodium rebalancing, acidic pH shedding, and your skin. Moreover, activities that cause you to sweat (sunlight, saunas, exercise, and sex) improve your health for other reasons.
Malhydration lowers intracellular pH
and shrinks cell size
The body is 50-80%
water, with around 60% to 70% appearing normal in men (slightly less for
females). Intracellular fluid (ICF) is the buffer to extracellular fluid
(ECF), and water is usually distributed
The body does everything it can in order to maintain homeostasis in the plasma, and by extension all ECF. As sodium concentrations rise in the ECF, osmotic turgor causes pH to increase inside cells while moving water outside them. This keeps the ECF sodium concentration within normal limits, but increases total sodium weight while decreasing cell size. However, the body cannot continue either volume or solute exchange indefinitely. Once healthy slack is exhausted, then the osmotic pressure differential between ICF and ECF can raise blood pressure unboundedly. This is further enhanced by ion pumps across the cell membrane that try to restore healthy cell parameters.
The situation gets progressively worse. Smaller, lower pH cells have less efficient internal chemical processing. In addition, they also tend to have thicker cell membranes (the chain of causality for this is still unclear). This thicker cell wall changes both transport across the membrane and external functions, like carrying oxygen by red blood cells. There is further evidence from trans fats that cellular curvature and membrane gaps are related to free radical formation. So a physically smaller cell is also more susceptible to radicals, the initiator of many cancers. Worse, small acidic cells are already known cancer promoters. Altogether, it means malhydration reduces our metabolism and makes us ripe for cancer.
A crucial point here is: malhydration does not exhibit in sodium serum levels until far too late. We do not routinely measure intracellular pH nor cell size, but those studies which have have shown a definite connection between them and disease states. We need direct measurements of total sodium weight and water volumes in ICF and ECF in order to more accurately diagnose water to salt balance problems.
By the way, over-reliance on blood measurements is a consistent blind side to the western analysis of disease. By the time your blood serum is messed up, systemic damage has already been done and you are already hosed. We need to develop earlier-stage diagnostics of chronic imbalances to capture small, consistent biases before they develop into serious problems.
There is a big opportunity here to create a new class of intracellular
measurements. Saliva and skin cells seem to be likely candidates. The
company that creates new equipment for this and proves its diagnostic
reliability has first mover advantage in a guaranteed worldwide market.
Being able to measure different ECFs directly would also be helpful. Merely determining reference ranges for lymph drawn from the thoracic duct before it drains into the brachiocephalic veins would be a big leap forward.
Another much needed device is a chemical sensor at the end of an acupuncture needle. This could give real time rate information in local volumes. The most likely uses would be to sense hormone and solute changes.
The three root causes of malhydration
are sodium, stress, and drinks
Here are the main origins for malhydration in our diet and lifestyle:
Sweat is a better pathway for correction. It is normally acidic and commonly has pH 4. That means you could remove the acidifying effect of 1L of soda with a mere 10L of sweat. (That's something that could conceivably happen.)
Now, if we are also receiving alkaline effects in our diet and lifestyle, these fluid numbers drop considerably. That's because acids and bases neutralize one another. But most adverse health effects are acid-forming. The only major alkalizing forces we have are mineralized water, oxygen (and by extension, sunlight), fruits, and vegetables. In the absence of those influences, we would need to drink 9L+ of water for every 1L of soda just to sweat away the acidic pH. We aren't even talking about the chemical action(s) that soda has, this is merely what we'd need for zero hydronium flux.
The body can't afford to shed that much water under any circumstances. So once the kidneys are overloaded, it signals via PTH (parathyroid hormone) to leech alkaline salts from your bones. This neutralizes acids without the need for more water, but also removes calcium from your bone matrix. As another unfortunate side effect, this adversely influences your Vitamin D balance, which is an important protective and regulatory hormone. Misregulation of calcium alone leads to osteoporosis, related bone and immune problems, and nervous system issues. Many suspect that skewing the Vitamin D mechanism is a major player in several preventable diseases.
More saliently, drinking soda immediately depletes your reserves of water. This is also true of alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and sugary drinks. Do not be misled by studies that measure total water in and total water out for regular drinkers, coffee consumers, etc. Those merely indicate that once the body is malhydrated it is very good at holding onto water. The more relevant studies demonstrate dose response in the absence of regular intake. Soda, alcohol, coffee, and fruit juice are all diuretic if you have them infrequently, and their regular intake keeps your water buffer chronically depleted. They are the small, consistent bias that prevent our water buffer from refilling and metabolism from functioning properly.
The body then becomes trapped in a vicious cycle. Our bodies signal thirst and need for water, but we meet it with the very drinks that further malhydrate us. Even worse, once we've done body damage we then treat those problems with drugs, which even further acidify us, malhydrate us, mess with our hormones, and in some cases our basic body chemistry. The only way to break the cycle is to drink a steady excess of only water, avoid all supplementation; then reduce medications as it becomes safe to do so, with the goal of total elimination.
Water / Sodium intake alone is an
already proven cause of malhydration
Malhydration has already been measured multiple times in a variety of venues.
The effects of salinity on plant health
are already well established and well
understood. Quote: "The main point is that excess salinity in soil water
can decrease plant available water and cause plant stress."
have already mapped out second order ionic interactions on sodicity (sodium
concentration). The gist: when salinity increases in plants due to other
minerals it is good for them, while increasing sodium concentration in
their intake water (irrigation or soil) was bad for them. Ditto for livestock as
well. Quote: "Salts, such as sodium chloride, change the electrolyte
balance and intracellular pressure in the body, producing a form of
dehydration. Salts also place a strain on the kidneys."
Moreover, the optimal
salinity and pH
for most livestock is already known. The same principles and chemistry apply
for humans; even bodybuilders
already know about this stuff.
A basic armchair analysis shows the severity of malhydration in the human diet. Let's get a national average of per capita daily intake of sodium and water. At last estimate, the daily sodium intake per person is around 3400mg / day per person. This estimate can be further refined: 3,100-4,700mg / day for men, and 2,300-3,100mg / day for women. From our previous calculations, that means that on average we need (7L)+(1.5L-3.5L) ~ 8.5-10.5L of water per day to balance our sodium.
The best estimate is that daily drinking water is ~ 2L / day per capita. Around 2008, the average bottled water intake was 28.5 gallons / year per capita, or 108L / 365 days = 0.3L / day per capita. This is comparable to other beverage consumption. So a generous estimate is 2.5L / day per person water consumption.
Thus, a conservative estimate is that the average American is at a 6-8L water deficit / day. Optimistically, this is equivalent to sustained 0.35% saline intake, though in reality sodium and water aren't taken at the same time.
We've already established that other drinks malhydrate us despite their water content. But assume in a magical universe that they did hydrate us. In 2003, the per capita total beverage consumption in gallons per year was about (21.6 milk) + (7.5 tea) + (24.3 coffee) + (46.4 soda) + (8.4 juice) + (25.2 alcohol) = 133.4 gallons / year = 505L / 365 days = 1.4 L / day. These figures well correlate with those found in trending reports so we can have confidence in them. Thus, water from all sources is alarmingly short of total water need, independent of the adverse effects beverages other than water have.
The situation is even worse than it looks. These are from the hip global averages that don't account for dietary patterns among healthy vs. unhealthy subpopulations. Healthy people eat less sodium, drink more water and less other beverages. The figures for these are all known (regular soda drinkers vs. non-drinkers, etc.) but I won't bore you with them. It means that unhealthy people have an enormous daily water deficit, well over 10L per day. This isn't even accounting for the malhydration effects of what they do drink; this is merely the deficit associated with sodium imbalance. This optimistically translates to sustained 0.5%+ saline among unhealthy populations, though real intakes are probably much more spikey.
We must change our laws from focusing on sodium content to directly
regulating salinity. Edible products are the main culprit for the harmful
sodium levels that endanger public health. Once this is removed, then our
water needs drop to much more manageable levels. With luck, it will incent
manufacturers to add moisture to their edible products, which will also help.
Even a brief gander at this chart shows how bad things are. Assuming all products were made of pure water, it isn't until page 14 of 26 that you start getting to food with a safe salinity; and most edible products have very little water in them. The items with the best ratios are fresh, whole foods.
Sodium / Hyponatreia vomiting, headache, confusion, lethargy, fatigue, appetite loss, restlessness and irritability, muscle weakness, spasms, or cramps, seizures, and decreased consciousness or coma Malhydration effects Calcium balance calculation SODIUM BALANCE CALC overview http://www.labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/sodium/test.html 15-250 mEq/L per day in urine http://www.livestrong.com/article/239465-normal-sodium-levels-in-urine/ x29 = 435-57250 mg/L = .4-5.7g/L per day http://swatlab.nmsu.edu/conv.html 136 - 145 mEq/L = 0.9% ~ 140? http://www.globalrph.com/hyponatremia.htm Aldosterone regulates retention but nothing signals release Does sodium get consumed in the body? Fruit juice effects http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8989331 lymphatic system http://www.lymphnotes.com/article.php/id/151/ http://www.cloudninemarketing.com/healthhealersnews/?p=2665 Immune system http://uhaweb.hartford.edu/BUGL/immune.htm Electrolytes http://www.innvista.com/health/nutrition/minerals/electrol.htm
Time analysis to get summary stats Monetary analysis Links to total mortality Links to rates of disease
Hypertension integrative phenomena, not organ-based sodium, potassium atrial hormone, endothelin, EDRF renal: hemodynamic, endocrine
OxLDL. Lipoproteins, not cholesterol calcified plaque vs. cholesterol buildup Arteries compensate Macrophages -> Foam cells Layering of fibrinogen => discrete event, response to injury Mid-size plaques most dangerous Bypass ineffective, location makes difference
Cellular conditions: Acid Cell size Cell membrane Sunlight Diet RNA transcriptase growth factor immune and lymph nodes
|Keith-Thomas Ayoob||Nutritionist||Professor, AECM||I stopped because there are simply too many to list.|
|John McDougall||Internist||McDougall's Right Foods|
|Eric Schlosser||Journalist||Fast Food Nation|
|Colin Campbell||Scientist||The China Study|
|Robert Atkins||Cardiologist||Atkins Diet|
|Weston Price||Dentist||Weston A Price Foundation|
|Caldwell Esselstyn, Jr||Researcher||Clinical Studies reversing heart disease|
RANDOM STUFF WHICH DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT TO MENTION Floating Hospital Reptiles and UV, needed for bone health Ozone is a non-issue - Sunlight seems uncorrelated PUFAs -> prostaglandins regulate nerve signaling and muscle movement This is the key with sunlight and MS Trace chemicals and trace radiation official exercise book china 4 min http://www.amazon.com/Knocking-Gate-Life-Exercises-Official/dp/1571456627
TODO: Change arrow color to be more subtle Create big picture summary Create motion pic summary Change icons into animated gifs! Acidic chart / Standard American Diet & Lifestyle Expand on hormone antagonism stress while eating melatonin during the day - avoid sunglasses Sunrise and sunset - dawn simulator Distinguish requirement, guideline, recommendation (stop interchange) Workout complete sodium calculation Develop stagnant water analogy Thumbs up and Thumbs down icons, use for all good and bad references Red X slash Include dangers of statins in supplementation section Generative vs Degenerative cycles Create iconography for each essential concept, like MoBettaFasta Then Mini-icons on reference. Yes! Better paragraph flow, too Connect available data sources for superproject Mention superfoods Mention architecture and planning opportunities Mention diffuser and solaria specifics Add time estimates to recommendations Rip Exploring the Spectrum DVD and post vids online Try to find videos of cellular activity Fix stupid vertical align for IE BMR expo - http://www.shapefit.com/basal-metabolic-rate.html http://editor.nourishedmagazine.com.au/articles/how-to-overcome-candida-part-1 - SUGAR REF http://www.amazon.com/Light-Medicine-Future-Heal-Ourselves/dp/1879181010/ref=pd_ys_qtk_general_recs_29 - LIGHT Ref Life as a Daymaker - David Wagner Brandwashed - Martin Lindstrom INVESTIGATE Proteins in complement system Nitric Oxide and Endothelial Dysfunction; G-protein link? Growth factors. Liver is for 1) injury and 2) membrane growth / split social support http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/31/6/1227.full - REFERENCES http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-to-get-your-vitamin-d/uvb-exposure-sunlight-and-indoor-tanning/ - REFERENCES zonulin homocysteine Sodium in cell link Thick / thin blood and clotting factors! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipid_bilayer What's the deal with chloride? What happens to hormones? They must consume, degrade, or be broken down Does sweat contain nutrients? Is immune system suppressed in intestines? Interstitial fluid -> Heart Rate? Peanut allergies = oil reaction? Hypertension, John Laragh CDC economics, 80s oxygen toxicity -> circadian rhythm -> darkness and caffeine protect? cholesterol conversion to bile acids, then excretion by absorption through fiber conversion to vitamin D, then conversion to active calcitriol conversion to steroidal hormones, then ? What happens to steroidal hormones? ONCE DONE Meta tags Makeup Facebook page Make Youtube vidoes Self-publish, get on Amazon Promote