Sunday, August 24, 2014

Did You Know That There's Sugar in Your Shrimp and Lobster?

It was shocking enough for many in the Paleo/ancestral and LC communities to learn that there's a super-"safe" starch called resistant starch. When they get around to investigating trehalose, their minds may really be blown! Trehalose (aka "mushroom sugar") is a super-healthy sugar that's found in fungi (such as shiitake, maitake, nameko, and Judas's ear mushrooms), sea algae, honey, and even crustaceans (such as shrimp and lobster) and insects.

As with resistant starch, Paul Jaminet, the "safe-starches" guy, was ahead of the crowd, touching on trehalose back in 2010:

Trehalose may provide some amazing benefits. Physician and anti-aging researcher James Watson reported that trehalose "activates autophagy via an mTOR-independent mechanism." (Autophagy – the housekeeper in every cell that fights aging, Posted on 19 April 2013)

Paleo dieters and Peatarians alike might be interested to learn that trehalose has been found to suppress lipid oxidation, a partiular concern with polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that are sensitive to oxidation. Trehalose may also "have a kind of suppressive effect on the development of osteoporosis." (Novel functions and applications of trehalose, Takanobu Higashiyama, Pure Appl. Chem., Vol. 74, No. 7, pp. 1263–1269, 2002.

Diabetics have been reporting that trehalose improves their blood sugar numbers. (JC Spencer, "The Sugar Trehalose is helping Diabetics,"

Trehalose even reduced the symptoms of parkinsonism in mice. (Trehalose ameliorates dopaminergic and tau pathology in parkin deleted/tau overexpressing mice through autophagy activation, Neurobiol Dis., 2010,

Out of curiosity, I've been experimenting with a trehalose powder (I know, I know, an "evil processed powder"! ;-) ). Instead of causing my teeth and gums to become coated in gunk, I find it slightly cleans them. It seems to reduce my remaining minor dandruff a bit too, though that's more difficult to tell. I haven't noticed any negative effects. It's a bit pricey, though, so I doubt I'll buy much more of it. Trehalose may at least be another reason to eat mushrooms, crustaceans and honey, and some day maybe even insects.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

WARNING: Serious problems have been reported with very low carb diets

See Spanish Caravan's online comments about this, such as at

Resistant starch seems to be especially important. I recommend reading up on it and the Old Friends Hypothesis.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Resistant-Starch-Rich Rhymes

As we saw with Ahem! Avoid Margarine, folk/nursery rhymes can contain good health information. Here are some more examples:

Boxty (quick-fried or oven-baked raw grated potato pancakes that were traditionally popular in the Irish counties of Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Ulster, Fermanagh, Longford, Leitrim and Cavan) contains some healthy resistant starch, especially if allowed to cool:

Boxty on the griddle,
And Boxty on the pan;
The wee one in the middle
Is for Mary Ann.

Boxty on the griddle,
boxty on the pan,
If you can't bake boxty
sure you'll never get a man.

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty on the pan,
If you don't eat boxty,
You'll never get a man.

Cold nine-day old pease porridge was a traditional English dish also rich in resistant starch (which, unfortunately, few are willing to eat today):

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Full spectrum hormetic therapy

Why wouldn't it make sense to use the full spectrum of hormetic therapies, rather than just one side or the other? For example:

 •  Eating pro-oxidants as well as antioxidants
 •  Gorging as well as fasting
 •  Heat therapy in addition to cold therapy
 •  Minus lens and plus lens therapy for overcoming nearsightedness
 •  Relaxation and high intensity exercise

Presumably both extremes of the spectrum would be practiced intermittently.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

What is Ancestral Nutrition Really About?

The key concept of ancestral ("Paleo"/primal/evolutionary) nutrition is not to avoid foods that you thrive on just because they're on someone's list of "forbidden" foods, it's to eat what you thrive on--the foods your body is best adapted to within the context of your lifestyle, to maximize your overall health and fitness goals. Evidence from the archaeological record and observed hunter-gatherer and horticultural peoples are just clues in helping to form a basic template to start from, not final detailed answers for everyone.

It's not about blind nostalgic emulation for emulation's sake, nor is it about excessive reductionism or refusing to employ lessons from biomimicry because of rigid neomaniac ideology. Here are some terms used by proponents of various flavors of ancestral nutrition that give a sense of the basic overall concept:

> Weston Price: "living in accordance with inherited traditions" and "accumulated wisdom"
> Walter Voegtlin, MD: human ecology
> Boyd Eaton, MD: our ancient genome, biological discordance vs. adaptation, Paleolithic nutrition, evolutionary nutrition
> Loren Cordain, PhD: evolutionary template, Paleolithic nutrition, evolutionary nutrition
> Art DeVany: evolutionary fitness, new evolution diet
> Robb Wolf and Chris Kresser: Paleo template
> Mark Sisson: Primal Blueprint
> Kurt Harris, MD: evolutionary metabolic milieu (EM2)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Raw and Raw-Fermented Paleo Tubers

Before cooking there was fermenting. Human beings and pre-human ancestors have been eating raw Paleo starchy foods for many millions of years. This is something that most so-called "Paleo" dieters are not aware of. Most are also not aware of the fact that some traditional people bury their roots and tubers to ferment them, so as to make them more tasty and digestible. If someone tells you that a food must be cooked to be made edible, check into whether it can be made edible via fermenting (or bletting in the case of some fruits) before assuming they are correct. Here is some info on the topic:


> Raw Yam?,

African Species of Yam (Dioscorea) that are Edible Raw (these are not available in American supermarkets):
> Dioscorea bulbifera - the "air potato"/"potato yam" (native to Africa and Asia; apparently only certain varieties are edible raw per;
> Dioscorea transversa - Long Yam or Parsnip Yam (native to Australia):
Women Hunters - Ray Mears Extreme Survival - BBC

> Dioscorea batata (opposita; nagaimo; Chinese yam; yamaimo) - Mountain Yam (native to China;

> Gbodo: Nigerian fermented and dried or parboiled yam
-> Effect of local preservatives on quality of traditional dry-yam slices 'gbodo' and its products,


> Biochemical changes in micro-fungi fermented cassava flour produced from low- and medium-cyanide variety of cassava tubers.

Studies on bio-deterioration, aflatoxin contamination and food values of fermented, dried and stored ipomoea batatas [sweet potato] chips

Tubers as Fallback Foods and Their Impact on Hadza
Frank W. Marlowe* and Julia C. Berbesque

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Annual January Spike in Paleo Diet Interest

In 2010, 2011 and 2012, there was a spike in interest in the Paleo diet online in January (when people make New Year's resolutions to lose weight), and 2013 was no exception. Each year the spike gets larger. You can see it at Google Trends:

You can also see that the "Paleo diet" search term eclipsed "vegan diet"

and "vegetarian diet":

and even "Atkins diet". There's still quite a ways to go before "Paleo diet" reaches the level that "Atkins diet" was at in January 2004, though:

Interestingly, the interest in "Paleo diet" doesn't drop off substantially after January like it does with most other diets and dieting in general:

Could this suggest that people find that the diet works, stick with it, and continue to be interested in learning more about it for a long time afterwards? Is this one of the few diets that really does become a long-term way of eating instead of just a quick-fix fad?

CrossFit has contributed greatly to the growth in the Paleo diet trend and it too has experienced extraordinary growth in interest:

1.24.13 update: "Paleo diet" was the top diet search term for the week ending January 5th, 2013: "Gluten free diet" was also popular. The broad concept of the Paleo template is rapidly eclipsing all other diets.