So I stumbled upon this recent post on Mother Nature Network on the use of a paleo diet for cancer. Confused by the death of a healthy eating friend, she questions whether her paleo diet is really helping her stay healthy and cancer free. To pour gasoline on the fire, there’s even evidence of a neanderthal skeleton with a tumor. What are we to do?
While I don’t think the existence of a non-human skeleton with cancer debunks the paleo diet (although any death before the modern period is apparently proof against it), it bears going into why and how a paleo diet could possibly stop the mother of all diseases.
The Warburg Effect
According to research conducted at UCLA by Dr. Thomas Graeber, cancer cells undergo a profound shift in the way they get their nutrients. It is based on an observation by Nobel Laureate Otto Warburg, who noticed that cancer cells went through the process of glycolysis up to 200 times faster than healthy cells.
How is it possible for them to do this? By ingesting glucose of course. The mitochondria of cancer cells are fundamentally unequipped to dealing with ketones and other metabolites of fat consumption, but can stay happy when there is glucose in the bloodstream. As a matter of fact, some estimate that cancer cells have as many as 18 times the amount of insulin receptors than normal cells.
Maybe the author’s ‘health freak’ friend was eating a vegetarian diet high in grains, was eating starches to support extended cardio training, or something similar. There could be more to this after all.
Prevention and starvation
So if we’re in a situation where there are 16 times the insulin receptors on a cancer cell, we are effectively in a situation where cancer cells will grow 16 times faster, gram for gram, with any insulin spiking carbohydrate you consume. Have you passed the rolls yet?
The implications are obvious for someone who has already been diagnosed with cancer. There are stories abound of people who have used a low carb paleo diet to overcome the mother of all diseases. Like chemotherapy, in which you take enough poison to kill the cancer but not you, you can starve yourself enough to kill the cancer but survive.
Wait, I misspoke. You don’t actually have to starve yourself, you just have to cut out the insulin spiking grains, starches and sugars in your diet. Load up on salad dressing, intelligently cooked meats, avocados and whatever fatty foods you like – the cancer can’t use it! Even modern medicine is finally coming around to this idea. Insulin potentiation therapy has been shown to reduce the doses needed for chemotherapy by 85-90%.
Due to lifestyle factors, contaminants in the environment and even stress, there are cells that can and do go rogue at any time. Our bodies have the mechanisms to make these cells go through controlled death but when they don’t well hey, we have a big problem.
As someone who has lost loved ones to cancer unexpectedly it’s not something I take lightly.
Can a paleo diet be your second line of defense? Maybe. There has never been a controlled study on the incidence rates of cancer for people on paleo vs. standard diets. But knowing the basic facts about cancer cell metabolism would lead one to believe that staying in ketosis as much as possible would be protective. If the first line of defense gives out, maybe a bloodstream barren of grain and starch based insulin would starve it out before cancer can do damage.
There has been a big hullabaloo lately over a TED talk by anthropologist Christina Warriner. Paleo haters have been sending these links out to their whole-food eating friends in droves, presumably while eating a bagel with a smug grin on their face. Does the science even hold up? Let’s see what Warriner is ACTUALLY saying.
What’s really being debunked?
- A person compared to a straw image; a sham.
- A sham argument set up to be defeated.
I was very intrigued with what this video could have contained due to the amount of press surrounding it. Christina is a very intelligent young woman and actually brings a number of very good studies from the forefront of the field of anthropology to the table! Unfortunately the main hypothesis isn’t that eating a paleo diet may not be all it has cracked up to be uses a ‘straw man’ conception. Eat what the cavemen eat, they say! Live forever!
So the talk continues to go on to how actual cavemen ate differently than what we consider a natural paleo diet today.
Professor Warriner brings some great insights into what was actually consumed by our ancestors. According to recent research, legumes and grains may have been consumed earlier than we anticipated, according to dental plaque analysis on ancient bodies. In addition, the stable isotropic readings used by many to justify meat consumption of our ancestors may be somewhat flawed. Finally, for all the demonization of agriculture, it has produced the edible forms of the fruits and vegetables paleo folks around the world eat every day. You couldn’t eat a full calories load off of foraging, which many agree with.
Shades of a vegetarian agenda in attacking the consumption of red meat in the paleo community. While getting a fair amount of fat may be easier in red meat, paleo folks eat meat of all kinds, from fish to fowl. In addition, describing paleo as being targeted towards men is way off the mark and there are thousands of women on the internet to prove otherwise. Finally, the conception of paleo as a fad diet is a bit distasteful. The earliest conception of the paleo diet can be traced back to William Banting’s Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public written in 1863. As long as
diets have been discussed, the damage of grains has been part of the conversation.
An attack is launched on there being no single paleo diet. In general this is a ridiculous argument – it would be like saying there’s no cure for cancer because there are so many ways to get there. Regardless, this leads to a great section on the end which argues about eating seasonally and locally. I don’t really understand why this is presented as evidence against because it’s been part of the paleo conversation forever. This brings the bulk of the nutritional advice to the presentation (predictably).
In reality we are looking to reduce consumption of toxin laden survival foods produced by modern agriculture, grains and legumes containing antinutrients of all sorts, avoiding inflammation by consuming healthy fats, and eating more vitamin rich, organic sources of vegetables and meat. Being healthy is more important than following some hokey, quasi-religious set of rules based off of some pop-culture conception of our past.
We follow the research. I would bet dollars to donuts that any paleo guru follows the nutritional science community closer than the anthropological community because it’s about health!
That being said, it’s important for those of us who follow paleo diets to be informed about research like this. The cliff notes version of paleo diet (“We’re not evolved, man!”) might not be enough today. If we buy into dogma we’re no better than the ‘fad dieters’ this talk is trying to go after.
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Diane Rogers has visions of the apocalypse, and that’s ok. Whatever gets you up and prepping in the morning. Because of the indistinct nature of her worries, Diane and her husband Greg are preparing for a wide variety of disasters in order to be ready for just about anything that doomsday preppers could be ready for.
1. Training skills
Greg Rogers wisely states that skills are good to have because they are easy to carry. In a post apocalyptic world, this is an essential consideration for anyone who is interested in bugging out. When it comes to aligning with a group of survivors or trying to integrate into a new community, skills are more valuable for barter than anything you could possibly carry.
Long term survival while bugging out requires a set of skills that are uncommon to say the least. For example, Greg is focusing on skills such as lockpicking and hotwiring cars. With the exception of mechanics, car thieves and some police officers, a skillset like this would be very rare. If society collapsed, any group of survivors would need to have someone with those skills on their team.
2. Bug in strategy
That being said, Diane and Greg do not seem to have a concrete bug in plan and are focusing on bugging in while living in a relatively populated suburban area. As we all know by this point, this could become a dangerous proposition once neighbors start to get hungry.
National Geographic was critical of this part of the strategy in their assessment of the family’s plan. They presented the option of aligning the neighborhood to the goal of survival. This presents the dilemma of prepping under wraps - do the risks outweigh the benefits? With a static food supply being kept in the basement, anyone added on the team is taking away from the days you will have food on the table.
3. Self Defense
Diane and Greg are shown going to the shooting range to try out some handguns. They are intent on getting a Glock 17 due to its prevalence in US police forces and the abundance of 9mm ammo that would be available for scavenging in a post apocalyptic world. There are a few issues with this line of thinking.
The Glock 17 is tricky to recommend to a suburban housewife for a few reasons. First, Glocks do not come with a safety. When learning how to use firearms there is nothing that will set you back quite like shooting yourself in the leg. Second, a number of instructors recommend pistols for a first time shooter. They are much less complex mechanically, do not jam and are easier to maintain.
Also, while 9mm is the most common handgun caliber, this does not mean it is the most common overall. .22LR is incredibly popular at shooting ranges, low cost, and easy to buy in bulk. For stockpiling it would be a cost effective way to stockpile ammunition, and in the event of having to scavenge would be available in huge quantities in almost any sporting goods store.
Doug Huffman knows a lot about defense from an economic perspective. According to him, he is a raider’s ‘worst nightmare’ and after seeing his compound on the show, I am inclined to agree. His plan is one of the most thorough seen on doomsday preppers
1. Root cellar
The concept of a root cellar should be important to any prepper looking to store food without electricity. Keeping your stores in the basement will not have the same effect as a true root cellar, which has the advantages of keeping a low temperature and steady level of humidity. For your bug out location or homestead, the maximum level of temperature and humidity stability can be reached at a depth of about 10 feet. It may be difficult to do this by hand so consider building while the infrastructure is still around.
2. Renewable food sources
In addition to storing food long term, Doug has wisely thought about renewable food sources. Doug is planning on garrisoning his homestead with a number of young trainees. Having stored food would put him in the dilemma of choosing how long he wanted to eat versus how protected he wanted to be. Renewable food sources will allow him to feed his squad and take on newcomers if he has to.
The concept of rabbits as a source of food is very intriguing. One of the facts mentioned on the show is that a single breeding female can produce 320 lbs of meat in a year through offspring! Looking into this a bit more deeply I found that rabbits will produce 6 lbs of meat on the same amount of feed and water required for a cow to produce 1 lb of meat. For these reasons rabbit meat is a very ecologically sound source of protein and definitely one to consider for the aspiring homesteader.
Another interesting use of rabbits is as a generator of heat
3. Defense plan
Doug has a very thorough defense plan that makes a lot of sense when it comes to his particular mix of food sources. Instead of directly taking on all comers, he is planning to allow any trespassers on to his land, while using his special forces training to pick them off one by one. Doug mentioned that he is an invader’s worst nightmare, and by picking off intruders one by one anyone on his land would feel like they were in a horror movie.
With a number of recruits by his side, Doug is well armed against the less savory human element which might arise after the collapse of the food system. With the level of training he is taking them through there is no doubt each of them would be able to assume a similar strategy, hiding out in plain sight or in a spider hole and coming back at night to pick off the intruders. While the show criticized the potential loss of supplies on hand, this is ignoring the fact that most of the food available is indeed renewable.
3. Rabbits as renewable resources
4. Root Cellar
5. Survival: let them take it and hide, take it back
6. Returning at night: (night vision) – taking people out w/in 24 hours
7. Scum vs. communities (good vs. bad)
8. Team preparation
9. “I am your worst nightmare”
I’m drooling. After seeing this segment on Doomsday Preppers I’m never going to be able to look at a shipping container fortress the same again.
1. Missle condos
Larry has just about done the impossible and created an end of the world location that is impervious to seemingly any form of calamity. With 9 foot thick concrete walls there is almost no force that nature or man could throw at him. Built to literally withstand the force of a nuclear strike, missile silos are the definition of a hardened location. This is particularly relevant when it comes to any threat from an EMP strike.
After doing some research, I discovered that Larry eventually came into the silo business during a stint in the telecommunications industry. In order to protect data centers in the days after 9/11 he purchased the silo unit with the intent of storing critical business information. This strategy exists to an extent today with a plan for servers inside the compound which will take regular ‘snapshots’ of the internet in order to preserve the data in the event of a collapse. A very important consideration for future generations, who will hopefully be using the sage wisdom on this site to prevent damage from mycotoxins.
When finished, Larry will have over 5 years of food at 2500 calories per day for 70 people. Wow. That is just about the biggest store I’ve ever heard of. Unfortunately, it’s also the biggest store that anyone watching national geographic over the past year has heard of either.
Thankfully, Larry has some 10,000 rounds of ammunition, an incredibly hardened entrance as well as extensive perimeter defenses. It doesn’t matter if the fountain of youth was hidden in that silo, even if overwhelmed, no amount of small arms fire would be able to knock down that entrance. While it is likely people would be aware of the food stores, the very likely outcome of injury or death would make it a bad choice.
3. Bugging out
This is one of the few situations in which I would say that bugging out isn’t a necessary strategy. If there was something on the other side of the blast door, they could literally wait years until they went away. Starving them out is a very realistic option.
If I were a raider in control of an angry mob of killers, how would I get a hold of the precious food within this silo? It wouldn’t be impossible. First, the outer perimeter security would have to be eliminated, which would be possible if my band were large enough. The weak point would not come in assaulting the main blast door but by cutting off the air supply.
According to the site, the air is fed through NBC filters (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) that are protected by blast valves that protect from shockwaves (such as from a nuclear detonation. They may have food to last for 5 years but who knows how much air? By blocking the air valves it would be possible to ‘smoke out’ the occupants.
The only way this could be overcome would be through including liquid oxygen like on the space shuttle or by making a closed loop system with oxygen and CO2. This would greatly reduce the livable space of the silo but would theoretically create a mini-ecosystem that recycled oxygen.