Why Eat Animals If We Could Survive On Only Plants?

SACRED COW CROWDFUNDING DEC 2019 on Vimeo

This short chapter is a bit misleading. It is really just a review of the arguments made in preceding chapters rather than giving the chapter title much of treatment. Monocrop agriculture is not the way forward. Meat and animal products should be at centre stage when it comes to healthy diets and sustainable agriculture. Meatless Mondays is pure propaganda and demonisation of meat. You get the idea.

There are a couple of interesting snippets though. For instance, our authors go a little deeper into a previous argument: if the vegans had their way, they would condemn poorer countries to even more poverty. They need animals to survive. If you cut off billions of people from access to meat, you would end up making them poorer. As Rodgers and Wolf tell us “Is it ethical, then, to tell a hungry or poor person who raises meat that they should avoid meat because a well-fed Westerner [vegan] doesn’t feel it’s OK?” No it isn’t. Moreover, I think the authors are being charitable here. If the vegans got their way, it would mean starvation for tens of millions of people.

Rodgers and Wolf end the chapter with discussion of the Inuit in Northern Quebec. They show us what happens to people when they abandon traditional, whole-food, diets and replace them with modern food-based, high-carb products. The Inuit’s traditional diet is high-fat, high-protein (whales, seal, polar bears, muskoxen, birds, and fish). It’s been replaced with a standard American diet high in sugar, grains, fruits and lean protein. The result? Sixty percent of the population is overweight or obese. You might argue that perhaps they were always this fat. No chance. The decline in their tradition diet tracks neatly with the steep increase in obesity.

Conclusion

This is an unnecessary chapter. It fits the structure of the book though. This is the end of Part III, so the authors have given us a summary of their arguments.

Why Did Meat Become Taboo?

SACRED COW CROWDFUNDING DEC 2019 on Vimeo

Our authors make the case that for many vegans and vegetarians meat is vilified in order to demonstrate their own moral superiority over barbaric, knuckle-dragging meat eaters. If it was only about personal health choices, then the vegan mobs wouldn’t exist. It would be a case of live and let live.

A fascinating aspect of this chapter is the little know role of Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA) in the vegan movement. This Christian sect, which sprang from a movement who claimed Christ would return on 22 October 1844, relies on the visions of Ellen G. White. She argued, through Divine revelation, that meat was toxic. This religious group couldn’t possibly have influence today, could it? “Many of the leading authors of the 1988 official position paper on vegetarian diets published by the Association of Nutrition and Dietetics are SDA members, yet this conflict of interest was not acknowledged by the group.” SDA member Dr John Kelly founded the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) in 2004, and the organisation’s president was Dr George Guthrie from 2016-18. Guthrie too is an SDA member. Unsurprisingly, this college calls for a vegetable only diet. The ACLM has its tentacles in several universities, but they don’t seem to publicise the smuggling in of their Adventist beliefs.

Rodgers and Wolf discuss several other conflicts of interests between ideology and health policy. For instance, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), which has very few physician members, is led by psychiatrist and vegan activist Dr Neal Barnard. This group propagandises through a misleadingly titled magazine Good Medicine. The PCRM has also misleadingly linked themselves to the American Medical Association when in fact the AMA has stated the PCRM’s diet advice “could be dangerous to health and the well-being of Americans.” Former AMA president, Dr Roy Schwarz, even described PCRM members as “neither physicians nor responsible.” Our authors have done us a service here. These are just a couple of examples of dishonesty and half-truths that are in this chapter. It calls into question the vegetarian argument. After all, if their health arguments were so water-tight why the dishonesty?

All of which would be irrelevant, of course, if the vegans would just get on with their lives and leave everyone else alone. Unfortunately, being the control-freak, extreme-leftists that they are, they cannot leave everyone else alone. No, Dear Reader, you and I must conform to what they want. That’s their goal anyway. Remember that vegan propaganda “depicts those who eat meat as barbaric, and uncaring about animals, other humans or the environment.” Our authors take us through just some of the tactics these dietary totalitarians have used beyond calling for meat to be outlawed: death threats, destruction of property, etc.

Rodgers and Wolf argue vegans, because of their radicalism, are incapable of making alliances to combat the West’s industrialised food system. After all, this is a religion. For many “the antimeat ideology is strong and can often become someone’s entire worldview rather than simply a dietary preference.”

Conclusion

This was a good chapter. I was hoping for a little more history, but then again, I’m an historian. It’s my whole thing. For those who already know a bit about vegans and extreme leftists more generally, this chapter will not be a surprise. As another keto advocate has said, “We think they’re wrong; they think we’re evil.” God help us if these people every capture a Western government.

Is Eating Animals Immoral?

I think readers can guess Rodgers and Wolf argue the answer is a emphatic no. How do they make their case? Oh, so many ways. Their approach is “death by a thousand cuts.” Death to anti-meat arguments that is. Let’s dig in.

A lot of this chapter revolves round the idea of “least harm.” Human action impacts plants, animals and the environment. Properly managed, regenerative food systems including animals and plants is the best way to cause “least harm.”

One old, vegan chestnut is that animals should be allowed to live in the wild to old age, enjoying a long retirement and pension. I’m being facetious but only just. Our authors make the obvious point that Western populations are so divorced from nature (and increasingly reality) that vegans think cows, sheep, etc. would live some kind of idyllic existence if man would just leave them alone and eat bread. But, you dear reader know otherwise, “In nature, most animals are killed by another animal to be eaten.” Or if they were somehow protected from predators but not eaten by humans they would die of sickness, disease or old age. Yet, old age is not what it’s cracked up to be if you’re an animal, “By the end of its life, its organs start to fail and the animal can no longer eat or drink. Maybe it goes blind or breaks a leg. Is this process painless and fast? Is it “humane”?” No it is not.

In contrast, farmers, most of whom actually do care about their animals “ensure that their animals are well fed and have access to clear water, are treated for infections, and enjoy a relatively stress-free life. This is much more comfortable than life in the wild, where food can be scarce, cuts can become deadly infections, and there’s no fencing to protect them from predators.” Predators who eat them alive I should add.

But, but but, the vegan might cry, “on the whole we limit suffering more than those who raise ruminants.” Not so our authors continue. First, vegans depend on an agricultural system that is destroying the Earth’s soil and causing other environmental problems. Have you ever driven past a farmer tilling the soil with massive flocks of birds behind him? That’s because the birds are eating all the things the farmer has just killed from tilling: worms, mice, insects, etc. In addition, during the growing season, the farmer doused his crops in pesticides that kill insects and poison the animals that eat them. Then the exposed soil and chemical run-off find their way into rivers that kill fish and aquatic life. Yes, the vegans are holding a very weak hand indeed when it come to causing least harm. During the harvest, farmers run over rabbits, mice and other critters. Our authors ask how many animal deaths is the vegan causing through eating plants. The answer is a lot. Ultimately, “animal death is a by-product of plant production. It’s inescapable.”

What about human lives? Do they count when it comes to plant production? Almonds, of which 80% of the world’s production comes from California, take up so much water that fish, animals and plants die because the water is siphoned off for the almond trees. Yet, many humans don’t always have access to California water because it goes to the almond farmers. Do you like chocolate dear vegan? Well, unless it’s fair trade, you are indirectly contributing to child labour, human-trafficking and kidnapping. Moreover, some African countries have switched over to intense monocrop cacao agriculture which has destroyed habitat and wildlife populations. Is that causing “least harm?” Finally, our authors note that most banana production uses aerial spraying of cancerous chemicals causing illness and death. “Are we only concerned with animal lives, or do human lives count,” our authors rhetorically ask.

Maybe the most interesting section of the chapter deals with sentience. The vegan argument goes something like this “humanity is a blight unto the earth, yet…the more like “us” an organism is (sentience), the more unethical it is to eat it. Plants, [antimeat types] argue, do not respond like humans or animals do to “pain,” so it is ethically acceptable to eat them.” I’ve always found this a rubbish argument personally. I know, and have known, for decades that some plants respond to external stimuli. Only the ignorant, unthinking and arrogant assume that plants don’t “feel.” Well, I had no idea they felt so much. This section was so fascinating that I will quote it at length:

But there’s a fallacy lurking in this position, since plants do in fact respond to attempts to eat them, via chemical warfare and warning neighbors. Trees can “talk” below ground through fungal networks. They can direct nutrients to other trees, know which trees are kin and which are not, and can even “feed” dying trees in an effort to keep them alive. When a tree is being eaten by a certain pest, that tree can turn on chemicals that will make its leaves taste bitter. It can also alert other trees that this pest is nearby, making those trees taste bitter, too. It can even send out a call message to beneficial insects that will eat the pest. Other plants have been documented “reaching” for sounds, and it’s common knowledge they move toward light.”

Since plants are clearly “feelers” and “communicators” vegans have no moral leg to stand on when it comes to the sentience argument. Ultimately, our authors make the obvious point. Since plants do feel and communicate how are they less important than rabbits or worms for that matter?

In their final analysis, Rodgers and Wolf conclude that “blood is spilled, and lots of harm is caused in the production of produce.” Instead,

If you value the lives of rabbits or chipmunks as much as that of a cow, and are truly looking to kill the least amount of lives to feed your own, then we propose that killing one well-raised cow that lived on pasture is actually causing less death than the number of animal lives that are lost by modern row-cropping techniques. in the last analysis, the principle of least harm may actually require the consumption of large herbivores (red meat).

This is a great way to conclude the chapter. My only change would be that least harm DOES require the consumption of red meat.

Sacred Cow – Does Meat Cause Chronic Disease?

Robb Wolf - Sacred Cow Podcasts

Now we’re getting somewhere. The first three chapters of this book have been good, but they were building a foundation. Rodgers and Wolf are starting to make their case.

Nutritional Research

The authors draw our attention to the problems with nutritional research at the start of this chapter. This was a gratifying read because they make the same case I did months ago when discussing various anti-meat studies. That’s to say, observational research is the worst kind of research and is, at best, a jumping off point to further study. Ultimately, observational studies that rely on data like the Nurses’ Health Study can only show correlation. They cannot prove causation.

For the layman, this may be a difficult concept to wrap one’s head round. The authors know this and give the example of people who eat hotdogs are more likely to have heart attacks. But does this mean hotdogs cause heart attacks? The answer is maybe, but a true scientist would have to do further studies in order consider other factors. Rodgers and Wolf stick with the hotdog eaters and consider some other data. For example, suppose hotdog eaters tend to eat their dogs with a big bun, chips and a soda. Suppose also that hot dog eaters tend to smoke more or avoid vegetables or avoid exercise? Maybe these factors contribute to or are the cause of heart attacks. As to cancer, hotdogs are full of nitrates. Is it the nitrates or the meat that is the cause?

You get the point right? The authors tell us these are confounding factors that must be considered. Unfortunately, our authors argue that those who are fighting a war against meat and meat eaters very often do not consider confounding factors. Instead, they make the logical fallacy of correlation proves causation or post hoc ergo propter hoc. To hammer the message home, our authors point out to the strong correlation between the number of films Nic Cage appears in per year with the number of deaths by drowning in swimming pools. The data is striking. Those who argue that meat causes X, Y and Z using only observational data would have to also argue that Nic Cage causes pool drownings if they want to be logically consistent. We can see the absurdity of this argument. Is the case against meat equally absurd?

Another key problem with observational studies is that the people who respond to questionnaires often lie or forget or hold false memories. Do you know how many onions you ate in the last three months? Glasses of wine? Amount of broccoli? Meatballs?

This type of data has a host of problems that need to be honestly faced when being used. Indeed, they should be a jumping off point to further study. But what should the layman do when reading these studies that use solely such problematic information? The authors tell us: the layman needs to ask more questions. Here are a few that are mentioned:

  • Were there conflicts of interest among the authors?
  • Who paid for the study?
  • Did a company with vested interests fund the study?
  • Were the researchers vegan or vegetarian?
  • What foods were tested? How was the information about the foods eaten collected?
  • How many participants? Who were the participants? Were the participants human?

The authors conclude that this is not what tends to happen with those who attack meat. These people take correlation as rock solid proof of causation: a “tenuous connection is used as the basis for sweeping health recommendations.”

Ancel Keys and the McGovern Commission

The authors then go on an interesting tour of history explaining how we got here. Where did the war on meat start? We learn about Ancel Keys and his “arguments” against fat and the politically motivated McGovern Commission. If you don’t know the Keys story, I’d suggest you go and find it. Low Carb Down Under is a good place to start on Youtube. He is the prime mover on the war against saturated fat and by extension meat. Moreover, the McGovern Commission launched the high carbs, low fat craze starting in the 1970s that we still live with today. When scientists asked for more time to collect data supporting McGovern’s sweeping dietary guideline changes, the American Senator stated “We Senators don’t have the luxury that a research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in.” Thus started a five decade war on fat and meat and promotion of carbs, vegetable oils and the like. Thank you Mr McGovern. Thank you Mr Keys.

Does Meat Cause Cancer, Heart Disease or Obesity?

The authors spend the rest of the chapter looking at some of the data used to attack meat. For cancer a lot of data comes from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The authors do fine work explaining how the data used by this agency is hugely misleading even when it comes to processed meat. The IARC categories fresh meat as “probably” cancer causing. Rodgers and Wolf note, however, that there is no strong evidence to support this claim. Indeed, the flawed correlation proves causation data comes mainly from Western countries. Similar studies from Asia show little or no correlation between fresh meat and cancer. What to make of this? Confounding factors: “The incidence of colorectal cancer may be related to causative factors other than meat consumption, such as ethnicity , dietary habits, alcohol consumption, smoking, stress, exercise, medical check-up frequency, or environmental pollution.”

Meat and heart disease is also debunked. It’s the same old correlation proves causation fallacy, Even mainstream dieticians now conclude that dietary cholesterol is no longer a “nutrient of concern.” Why the change? Because it’s been proved wrong in study after study. The authors also point to the interesting case of Bolivian hunter-gatherers, the Tsimané, who have the lowest rate of heart disease in the world. Do they eat meat? You bet. Fifteen percent of their diet is meat in fact. Surely to have such low rates of heart disease should mean they eat no meat according to our vegan and vegetarian friends?

The obesity and meat connection is probably the weakest of all arguments. Here, our authors, point to a study form the American College of Nutrition that proved the benefits of high-protein diets when trying to lose weight. Most readers will know this from personal experience. I certainly do. I topped out at 225lbs on a conventional diet. I weigh 163 now.

Conclusions

The authors finish with a discussion of the mid-Victorians. I’m not going to go into this here, as I think it deserves its own post. Ultimately, our authors make a strong case that the war on meat is based on flimsy evidence. Though they don’t say it here, I think we can guess correctly that a lot of “scientists” who attack meat are not motivated by a search for truth. Otherwise, why do they ignore a body of evidence that puts their whole dietary world view in doubt? Why do they still cling to Ancel Keys and the McGovern Commission? This chapter is a good place to start if you need a defence against attacks on your lifestyle.

Attacks on Keto – Women’s Health

Oh boy, you know you’re in for a hit piece when this is the tagline, “It should not be looked at as a long term or lifetime type of diet.” When you marry it to the headline, Is The Keto Diet Actually Bad For You? Experts And Real Women Weigh In” you’ve got the recipe for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

So who’s the author of this learned piece of journalism which will undoubtedly offer a balanced and objective appraisal of the ketogenic diet? One Alexis Jones who is an “assistant editor at Women’s Health where she writes across several verticals on WomensHealthmag.com, including life, health, sex and love, relationships and fitness, while also contributing to the print magazine. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University, lives in Brooklyn, and proudly detests avocados.” I don’t see anything here suggesting expert knowledge about diet or health or fitness. I also hate the wannabe hipster jargon. “Writes across several verticals?” God what a mediocre time to be alive.

Jones gets the ball rolling with some background on keto’s recent popularity and celebrity endorsements. She then moves on to some “real women” whatever that means in today’s argot. Isn’t every woman real? In Jones’s mind, are only anti-keto women “real?” You’ll be shocked to learn these real women have abandoned keto and “express dissent for the highly restrictive eating plan.” Well. that’s a complete nonsense. Highly restrictive? Ms Jones has obviously never looked at the blogs and cookbooks out there which provide thousands and thousands of keto recipes.

Along for this rodeo is registered dietician Scott Kealey who Jones brings in to explain the ketogenic diet. An expert on keto or paleo? Of course not! His website states that the “mission of Keatley MNT is to help clients be aware of beneficial nutrition interventions.” What those interventions, or his overall health philosophy, are is impossible to glean from his site. To be fair, Kealey does a decent job providing the breakdown of fat, protein and carbs one consumes on keto. At no point, however, is food quality discussed in this article.

Although Jones admits that many people lose a lot of weight on keto, other “dieters and experts warn that the keto diet is simply not sustainable long term and is often accompanied by some not-so-fun side effects (think: sluggishness, brain fog, low energy, and more).” Get ready for a laundry list of half-truths or downright falsehoods Dear Reader.

You could end up yo-yo dieting.

Health expert and “model” Jenna Jameson is brought in for her expert advice on keto. She gave it up after a year and a half even thought she had lost 80 pounds. She found the diet hard to maintain. Jones, in an effort to bring in something like balance also interviewed “real women” who have happily maintained keto. Oh, wait, no she didn’t. Surely some mistake?

Having super low energy is a common side effect.

Really? I’ve never heard of this. Maybe during the near inevitable “carb flu” but after it? Perhaps some people do experience it. Jones follows this up with the experiences of “real women” who’ve experienced high energy and improved well being. Oops, I got that wrong again. I’m guessing you’re starting to see Ms Jones’s MO: spread some one-sided muck, interview one person who didn’t have a good experience, offer no contrary evidence and move on. Nothing to see here folks.

The rest of the article follows the same script: “Keto can also trigger disordered eating in some,” “You may feel like you have the flu,” and “You could end up with some serious gastrointestinal issues,” are more areas of “study” that Ms Jones delves into with depth, detail and thoughtfulness. When she isn’t bringing in a “victim” of keto, she is quoting from various “experts” who are hostile to the ketogenic diet. Success stories on keto? Experts on keto for a different perspective? Are you on crack cocaine Dear Reader? This isn’t how journalism works in the twenty-first century. At least Jones has the integrity to provide links for her “experts.” One happens to be a gastric bypass surgeon. Yes, these are the people who are telling us keto is bad. Instead of changing your diet, come over to my office for major gastro-intestinal surgery. Jesus H. Christmas.

The article concludes with one woman, who experimented with keto, returning to moderation, “‘Instead of eating the whole bag of chips, I’ll count out the serving size,’ she says. Her family dishes no longer feel off limits and she tries to plan out her meals ahead of time, focusing on eating about 1,600 to 1,650 calories a day.” So a return to calorie restrictive eating. A return to the status quo which works for almost no one. Thank you Ms Jones. Thank you Women’s Health.

Conclusions

This is what we’re up against folks. Hit pieces masquerading as journalism. Women’s Health is owned by Hearst Communications which is one of the biggest MSM conglomerates out there. Total revenue in 2019 was $11.4 billion. Can mainstream media outlets produce truthful stories? Of course, but it’s usually accidental. You have to remember how these companies make a living: advertising. Sugar, snacks, carbs, etc. need to be sold. So too do all those conventional diet plans, medications, etc. Every person who successfully adopts the ketogenic lifestyle is one less potential customer for companies offering food based products, carbs and traditional health and weight loss solutions. That’s one reason why we see pieces like this. That’s one reason why we see such seemingly unaccountable hostility to keto. Fortunately, the quality of these articles is poor. Ms Jones will not win many hearts and minds. Counting calories does not work. Keto does.

Mastering Diabetes – Veganism in Disguise?

I have nothing against vegans, so long as they leave me alone to eat animals. Unfortunately, a lot of people gravitate towards a herbivore lifestyle for moral reasons: killing animals is bad. As a result, many don’t want to leave me alone. They’re zealots who would force their eating habits on meat eaters given the chance. Again, I must stress that I’m not writing about all vegans. Surely some of you are of the to each his own mentality.

So what of the Mastering Diabetes Team? My previous article pointed out that a newbie got chastised for eating cheese by some Mastering Diabetes coaches. It seemed that there was more going on here than simply pointing out an error:

“This language and expectation of 100 percent compliance within the first week of the program left me feeling incredibly alienated and criticized. I knew that even while continuing with the program, I wouldn’t be posting any more pictures or trying to engage in discussion about my personal experience.”

That said, Khambatta himself doesn’t seem like a zealot for veganism. In one interview, he discusses keto. He doesn’t criticise it a great deal. His beef is that there is not enough research out there on the lifestyle:

“The truth is that when it comes to ketogenic diets and low carbohydrate diets, very low carbohydrate diets, there’s a strong paucity of research of what happens to people over the course of two, three, four, five years and beyond. Until that body of research starts to surface, we’re not going to be able to answer the question about what happens to somebody who’s just strictly avoiding carbohydrate energy and maintaining a good A1c and fasting blood glucose.”

Nevertheless, Khambatta and Barbaro seem quite friendly with one Dr Michael Gregor. See their chummy video here. Gregor is the Director, Public Health and Animal Agriculture for Humane Society International (HSI) This organisation looks like it lobbies against things that many people would find laudable like dog-fighting, factory farming, animal abuse, etc. So far, so what. Yet, a rummage around the HSI site and you come across how farm animals contribute 15% of global warming gasses. Say what you will about the so-called science of anthropomorphic global warming, there is no doubt that this “crisis” has been used for decades by politicians, do-gooders and lobbyists to increase their control over us through taxes, regulations and laws. Just look here and get reading if you don’t believe me.

More worrying is the HSI page devoted to, you guessed it, “plant-based eating.”

First, you’re met with these scary stats:

Scary

What’s wrong with 80 billion raised and killed animals? Why not 160 billion or two billion? The number itself is meaningless. However, the underlying message is “this is a lot and it’s bad.” Ditto for the amount of water to produce one kilo of chicken: “that’s a lot and it’s bad. Plants use less water”. Sidebar: I’ve got chickens and this number seems ludicrous. I’m guessing there is some creative statistics being used here.

Following the scary stats, we’re met with the money quote:

An animal-based diet is implicated in multiple human health conditions, causes immense animal suffering due to factory farming, intensive confinement and inhumane animal handling and slaughter, and has significant negative environmental impacts. Adopting a more plant-based diet will help combat climate change through reducing the carbon footprint of our food choices and will conserve precious planetary resources. It also benefits our health, as diets rich in fruit and vegetables reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity, and of course it spares animals from suffering on factory farms, creating a more healthy and humane world for all.

Readers who go to this site might respond, “but Paleo, they only complain about factory farming.” Well not so if you read closely. The quote above covers animal based diets generally. Moreover, this is a common tactic of those who want to use the barrel of the gun to foist their views on others. You take something that most people disagree with, e.g., factory farms/animal cruelty, and you use it as a wedge for larger issues such as banning meat entirely. Those on the political left are in it for the long-game and have been doing this for decades. Moreover, you’ll see again the linking of meat with so-called global warming.

Conclusions

I’m not going to resort to guilt by association. Just because Khambatta and Barbaro roll with someone who is an animal rights zealot does not mean they are too. Still, it gives one pause. Are they promoting a plant based diet for health reasons only, or are they smuggling in their ethics too? My post yesterday suggests that some of their coaches are certainly up for “struggle sessions” if you eat cheese. Forfend! I suppose if they are coming from that position, then keto will always be wrong even if it leads to good health for those who follow it.

This is my last post for these chaps. I say good luck to them. There is clearly a market out there for vegans who have developed diabetes for whatever reason. If they want to eat plants and nothing else, good luck to them. I hope the programme works. So long as they leave me to eat what I want, then I don’t really care. Unfortunately, many of these people won’t leave us alone. Indeed, readers will remember that I linked to a video from Low Carb Down Under in the summer where one of the lecturers said this about plant based types, “We think they’re mistaken; they think we’re evil.” And so it goes.

Mastering Diabetes – A First Hand Account

Given that I backed out on “guinea pigging” myself with the Mastering Diabetes programme, the least I could do is find some information on those who gave it a go. Of course, the Mastering Diabetes website has some testimonials which is the hallmark of all good businesses. This is the bread and butter of direct response marketing. This one is typical:

“I lost 26 pounds in 5 months. I lowered my A1c to a 6 in just 3 months. Diabetes is a food related disease and can be reversed!”

Most of them look healthy, though a couple are on the portly side to be honest. You can see for yourself here. Now, I should say that although I’m sceptical about this programme, I’m not saying they’re selling snake oil. Maybe the programme did work for those who gave their testimonials. Why would they lie? What would Khambatta and co. risk fraud? Doubtful.

Still, is there anyone out there who went through the programme and had a different experience? Well come on down Ginger Vieira at the Diabetes Strong website. I highly recommend that you give her article a good gander. She spent a lot of time writing a fair account of her nine days on the Mastering Diabetes programme as a Type-1 diabetic. She typically follows a paleo regimen. Here are the highlights:

The Good

  • After three days of high carbs, Ginger dropped her Tresiba insulin dose from 10 to 9 units.
  • She had a strong feeling of burning through the high-carb food she was eating. I think this is characterised as a positive.
  • When she had to correct for high blood glucose, her sugar came down faster than when she was on paleo.
  • By day six, she had lost a pound.
  • By day seven, she was seeing improved insulin sensitivity.
  • Ginger’s insulin to carb ratio was much higher.
  • Ginger got words of support from some members when she inadvertently broke with the programme’s 100% vegan protocol (more on that below).

The Bad

  • Serious hunger “to be honest, food was all I could think about during my non-fasting window of about 1 p.m. until bedtime.”
  • Lethargy “Eating oat bran (rather than oatmeal) was starting to give me that same lethargic feeling that oatmeal and rice have given me in the past. I just don’t feel good when I eat those foods.”
  • Flatulence “I should add that I’ve never been a “gassy” person and holy moly, the daily bean intake was making me extremely gassy. I eat a lot of fiber in my usual diet, so my digestive tract is plenty accustomed to high-fiber intake, but the beans are another story.”
  • A general unwell feeling after a week “Despite my declining insulin needs, I was noticing that I felt like my blood sugar was high even when it wasn’t. I felt that sort of lethargic, thirsty feeling that comes with blood sugars around 250 mg/dL or higher.”
  • Headaches “I also had developed a headache that wouldn’t budge with more water or Asprin. Can I say that this headache was absolutely the result of this high-carb diet? No, but headaches are a truly rare thing for me, and this was the only change in my life at this time.”
  • Getting it in the neck for eating cheese with veggie tacos. Ginger posted her tacos with cheese on the members only Facebook group and was met with cries of criticism from Mastering Diabetes “coaches” for breaking with veganism, “This language and expectation of 100 percent compliance within the first week of the program left me feeling incredibly alienated and criticized. I knew that even while continuing with the program, I wouldn’t be posting any more pictures or trying to engage in discussion about my personal experience.”
  • A real feeling of being unwell by Day 9 ” I felt like one big starchy bean. My blood sugar felt high all day even though it wasn’t. I felt foggy and thirsty. And I was confident in what was causing this: this high-carb diet. I felt like my veins were full of starch. And that headache that started on Day 7 was still rocking hard.”

This was when Ginger decided to call it quits and go pack to paleo. She carries on in the article that she quickly went back to feeling better.

Ginger did state that Khambatta and Barbaro argued that she needed to stick with the programme to see long term benefits. Moreover, she admits to having one cheat day when she went out for her anniversary supper. Fair enough, she didn’t follow it 100%. Nevertheless, it doesn’t look like Mastering Diabetes’ claims against paleo/keto hold up with Ginger’s experiences.

Conclusions

It doesn’t look like this is a lifestyle for everyone. One of the big reasons I went with paleo and then keto was that it was so easy. I’m always satiated and don’t feel hungry. The idea of going back to hunger pains and all that sounds depressing. If it works for some people, well done. Who knows, if this keto sometimes carnivore thing fizzles for me maybe I will give it a go someday. I doubt it, given I’m fitter than I’ve ever been.

Vieira finished her post with an impassioned plea for all of us just to get along. I don’t think channelling Rodney King will work sadly. What’s interesting though is the criticism she got for eating that cheese. Shame on you Ginger! Indeed, Khambatta told her that they are vegan at Mastering Diabetes but they don’t use the term “because of the negative connotations that can go along with it.”

Now this is interesting because I came across something yesterday that suggests that the Mastering Diabetes people may be motivated by more than optimising health. They may be sneaking in some animal rights moralising via the backdoor. Till Thursday.

Not Going Plant Based – Sorry

About four months ago, I wrote about Cyrus Khambatta who advocates a plant based diet through his Mastering Diabetes programme. I even vowed to guinea pig myself in the New Year. Dear Reader, I swear I was going to do it this week. I figured I would eat sweet potatoes and salad for a week, or more likely until my blood glucose became dangerously high, and then report back to you. The problem is that the more research I did last week, the clearer it became that Khambatta and his partner Robby Barbaro promised no quick fixes. This was a programme that needed to be followed for weeks and months before one started to see true results. Moreover, this is a pay to play operation where one has to fork over $149 for the basic “do it yourself” plan. I can only guess what their one-to-one coaching costs. You can’t find that easily on their site. They’ve got a waiting list though. Good for them. I like to see capitalism at work. Find what people want, in this case vegans, and sell it to them.

Dr. Cyrus Khambatta - T1D - What He Ate #1 - YouTube

Insulin Resistance

The Mastering Diabetes unique selling proposition (USP) is that the conventional Western diet is wrong and that we should be eating a very high-carb, very low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet. Moreover, keto and paleo lifestyles that advocate high fat, moderate protein and low carbs are not so good either. Why? Because both promote insulin resistance. So their argument goes: if you follow their super high carb diet, around 800 grams of carbs per day, then your body will become insulin sensitive and your Hba1c will improve significantly. They claim if you are a Type-2 diabetic and follow this approach, you may be able to reverse your diabetes.

Now this view on paleo ran counter to my personal experience. Once I started the paleo diet, I quickly got off of insulin and for over a year I was not taking anything. I now take metformin. I also feel a lot better than I did when I was on a conventional diet before my diabetes.

My third alarm bell about the Mastering Diabetes programme was this linked interview with Khambatta and Barbaro where they discussed being Type-1 diabetics and injecting large amounts of insulin daily. They both claimed that they were more insulin sensitive because of their new plant-based lifestyle, but it was not as if they were reversing their diabetes or injecting hugely lower amounts of insulin.

As for other alarms bells, my first was the original video I stumbled across since it went against my own personal experiences. The second alarm was when I went to their site. Now maybe these are decent chaps, but I always get a bit put off when you see people smiling like maniacs in practically every photograph. I don’t know if this is what an advertising agency is telling them to do, but it puts me off since it seems unnatural. I mean look at these guys. Barbaro’s even worse in the video. It’s too much.

You're a Great Candidate - Medium Insulin Resistance
Cyrus Khambatta & Robby Barbaro: Mastering Diabetes With a ...

With a little more digging I came across several seemingly open-minded people who tried their programme or looked into it closer than I have. Marty Kendall wrote a very in depth article about the programme and pointed out that Khambatta and Barbaro seem to have invented their own definition of insulin sensitivity by combining bolus and basal insulin. Kendall explains why he thinks this is a misleading approach. When he pointed this out on the Mastering Diabetes Facebook Group, Barbaro kicked him off and deleted his comments. If that’s true, it doesn’t fill me with confidence about the Mastering Diabetes team. We should all be prepared to defend our positions in an open forum. To do otherwise is cowardly.

Conclusion

I’m not done looking into this programme. The Mastering Diabetes video is a marketing device designed to get you to their web page. A little bit of research suggests that their big claims don’t live up to the hype. What about those who have tried it? Do they have anything significant to say? Tomorrow.

Going Full Carnivore…Again

Never go Full Carnivore

No meat January? Is this a thing around the world or just in the United Kingdom? This has popped up in supermarket adverts like a bad rash.

I’m currently on a five-day fast which ends on Friday.

However, in honour of no meat January, I’ll be going full carnivore from Friday evening for a week or so.

This is not based on any experimentation of my blood glucose levels or health. It’s simply to stick a thumb in the eye of certain herbivores who live for virtue signalling.

Meat on!