# Undoing Yourself (Christopher S. Hyatt)

2024-04-02 tag_books ^

> The only way out is in.


Lendo este livro sobre meditação recomendado no livro Prometheus Rising (ainda preciso escrever sobre esse). Todos os autores se conversam e usam essa editora como linha de frente de publicação de suas ideias. O livro é experimental, para não dizer inacabado, e na mesma vibe dos pensamentos de Robert Anton Wilson e Timothy Leary (entre outros), ele brinca com sua mente.

E como é sobre meditação, brinca com nosso conceito de eu, além de dizer várias vezes que não se pode mudar uma pessoa apenas por ler um livro. É preciso praticar a coisa.

Dever de casa

It would be a damned good idea, right now, to make a list of ten important changes that have occurred in "You" since 1966 (editor: or 20 years ago) and ten changes since 1976 (editor: or 10 years ago).

Make a list of ten more programs that keep you alive and functioning, over which you have never had any conscious control.

This theory will help you define your own particular way of coping with life. Make a list of your activities and then analyze each of them in terms of where you stop on the cycle of tension— charge—discharge and relaxation. Look at the way you eat, talk, love, walk, think, feel, and etc.

Freedom comes from the knowledge of the Orphic Mysteries. Life oscillates between chaos and form. Try on a form, use it —know it—discard it. Then from chaos make a new form. Repeat the Cycles as often as possible and you will feel alive and free.

(Can you tell when the author is really trying to help? Can you tell when he is just filling up space? Or is he full of shit, just trying to sell books? Why does he use so many styles? Name them.)

Be conscious at all times of your uniqueness, that your LAB has something to contribute if you do your experiments.

This exercise can be done at any time (13):

  • Step 1: Find any part of your body where you can sense some tension.
  • Step 2: Identify that tension with an emotive word or phrase.
  • Step 3: Now take that emotion/tension and spread it over your whole body.
  • Step 4: Holding that spread tension (emotion) state, now again scan your body for a new area of tension.

And now a final exercise, lucky 14. This is an exercise for the rest of your life.

  • Make a list of every trait of yours you can think of.
  • Keep the list handy and keep adding to it over time.
  • Now, with your list, for each of the traits or ways of being, try to do the opposite for a few days.
  • Notice the anxiety (either in planning or in executing). Apply exercise 13 to find out where the pattern came from.
  • Like healthy eating or exercise, exercise 14 is something you should plan for as part of your life from here on.


METHOD I Step 1. Sit or lie down. Make Faces ~ Stretch all the muscles in the face. Open your mouth as wide as you can, move the jaw from side to side. At the same time open your eyes as wide as you can. Move your eyes up and down and from side to side. This will begin to destroy tension, thereby destroying uncontrolled and extraneous thoughts generated by this area. Make many different faces. Do this for about 2-3 minutes. (A word of caution: While in the end these exercizes are meant to reduce and eliminate certain thought patterns, some might find an increase of new thoughts from previously "Hidden" places of the mind. If this is the case don't be concerned, since this will be a fine way to perform "mental house cleaning.") Step II. Hum and Chatter — Hum from the depths of your voice box. Use OM or just MMMM. Do this for 1-2 minutes. Now using your tongue, chatter — DA DA — BA BA BA. Stick out your jaw as far as you can and continue humming and chattering. Do this for 2-3 minutes. Step III. Shoulders to Ears — Pull your shoulders up as if you were trying to reach your ears. When they start feeling tired, drop them as low as you can. Repeat this 3 times in 2-3 minute intervals. Step IV. Nose Breathing — With your mouth closed take in a deep breath inflating your chest and pulling your stomach up. Be sure to pull the belly in. Hold for a 7 count and then just let the chest fall and the belly relax. Repeat this 10-20 times. Be sure to allow an additional 7 count to elapse before your next inhalation. Step V. Turn Head — Now bring your attention to your head and turn it from side to side as far as you can. Repeat for 2-3 minutes. Step VI. Leg Stretch — Lying down on your back, hold your legs about 4 inches off the ground and stretch outward. Hold this as long as you can then let them drop. Repeat this 2-3 times. Step VII. Quick Breath — With your mouth slightly open breathe rapidly, sighing as you exhale. Do this for 2-3 minutes. Now lie down and sense and feel your body, for about 10 minutes. Note every sensation you feel. Now assume a meditative position of your choice making sure that: (1) Your eye lids are not tightly closed, but simply relaxed. (2) That your jaw is relaxed and not tense. Make sure of this by trying to stick out your tongue; if you have to lower your jaw, it was too tightly held. Check your forehead making sure it is not wrinkled. Once you are relaxed, either concentrate on your mantra or point of focus. For those students who do not have a mantra or point, we suggest Dr. Regardie's Mantram tape or simply OOOOO-OOOMMMMMMM. For students who wish or require specific images or points of focus, please feel free to contact us. (3) Finally make sure your throat is not blocked by holding your head in the wrong position. Make sure it is straight. In order to reduce thoughts, keep the eyes relaxed and still, with your tongue touching the roof of your mouth. Do not move the larynx and again be sure that your jaw is relaxed. Meditate before eating, or wait for 2-3 hours after eating a heavy meal. It is also best if the bladder and bowels have been emptied before you start your work.

METHOD II You should have practiced the first stage until you became aware of your deeper tensions. Before starting the second stage be sure your bladder, bowels, and stomach are empty. LIE DOWN ON YOUR BACK Take 10-15 deep breaths starting deep in your guts and work it upward. Try to become aware of all the muscles you use in breathing. When this has been done slowly get up. Stand straight up and count to three. When you reach three let the top part of your body collapse downward at your waist. Do not fall, just let it collapse, do not force it, let gravity pull it down. Repeat this 10-20 times. When you are finished take a few deep breaths and feel the effect this experiment had on you. See if you can sense your pelvic region. Now repeat the same experiment this time exhaling rapidly as you fall and breathing in slowly as you rise. Repeat this 10-20 times and then become aware of the sensations in your body. LIE DOWN ON YOUR BACK Inhale as you do this slowly bring your legs with the knees flexed up to your chest, as you exhale kick your legs out as far and fast as you can. You might want to do this in bed or place some pillows under where your legs will fall. Repeat this until you start feeling tired, then allow your breathing to return to normal. When this happens start again but this time try to hold your legs extended for a second or two before you let them fall. Continue this for a minute or two and then relax again. 79 80 Undoing Yourself Now inhale—on the exhale scream — scream — scream, or if you are a male - yell -yell - yell. Repeat this at least five times. (In order to prevent your friends and neigh- bors from thinking you're nuts and phoning the police I suggest you yell or scream (depending on your sex, of course) into a pillow. Now lie down on your back and sense and feel the energy moving around and through- out your body. Do this for about 5 minutes, and feel the life force move. When you are finished begin your mantram, or if you wish you may use the one recorded by Israel Regardie. If it is used following these experiments it will blow your mind. If you prefer to use your own, record it continually on a tape for at least 20 minutes and then play it back to yourself while you're meditating — Method II is not meant to take the place of Method I, it is just an extension of the experiment. If you are inclined, make a note book or diary of your experiences. There are no-short cuts, so proceed seriously — you can laugh at yourself later — that is unless your laughter begins on its own. When you have completed this experiment try to spend at least ten to fifteen minutes alone. Don't eat or drink, just sense and feel.

METHOD III Again Method III is not meant to take the place of Method I or II, but is a further extension of the technique. This will take a little more time and you shouldn't try this until you have mastered and documented the effects of the other two methods. STAND UP Bend your knees slightly, not too much and let the top part of your body flop forward. Do not force it — just let it drop. While you're in this position, use a five count breath. Five in, hold five, five out, hold five. Repeat this three times and slowly straighten yourself out. Repeat this sequence 08 times or more. When you're done, stand erect for a few moments with your eyes tightly shut. Become aware of any tension in your face, neck or shoulders. Mobilize these tensions by opening your mouth as wide as you can and distorting your face. Now close your mouth and continue on with these distortions. When you've done this for at least 5 minutes, bend your head back on your shoulders as far as you can, and start turning it from side to side. Some people might get nauseous at this point, so be prepared. If by some chance you desire to vomit go right ahead, since the gag reflex is marvelous for reducing deep body tension. GETTING OUT OF YOUR HEAD Sit down again and think about something which you are worried about. Get up again and pace around the room repeating the phrase, "Wh — ats go — ing to hap — pen to me," or some equivalent phrase 107 108 Undoing Yourself which expresses worry. Try not to numb yourself while you are doing this. If you feel silly that's fine, because your worry — ing is silly anyway. Now after five minutes sit down in your chair and think of something joyful. When you have it in mind get up and pace around the room repeating the phrase, "I love it," or some equivalent phrase expressing happiness or joy. When your five minutes are up, imitate laughter as well as you can, then tears, alternating these emotions for at least five minutes. When you are done lie down. Clasp your hands over your chest, pull your knees up and roll yourself up as tight as you can in a ball, tensing every muscle. Hold this position for at least three minutes. Feel your restrictions, now expand, let go of your restriction, let go of everything. As you start to expand let out a shout such as AH! Become aware of your freedom. Repeat this a few times. MEDITATE Choose your mantram, or point of focus, and begin your meditation. SUGGESTIONS There are many ways to use these and the more advanced techniques. Do not become rigid in your experiments — yet remain diligent in your efforts. Some people do better by alternating levels, i.e. use Method I on Monday, II on Wednesday, and III on Saturday, then switch Methods and Days the following week. Others stay with one Method for one month and then switch to others. Be open with your experiments but always remain dedicated to the work. During these periods of experimentation, call yourself by different names, this will help separate the machine you from the emerging Self — the true Scientist of the LAB. If you have any difficulties or questions or wish to find out more information, please feel free to drop me a short note.

GRAVEYARD Perform your energized meditation exercises. Get into your favorite meditative posture and begin to concentrate on your heart Chakra or on Ajna. Watch all the images pass through your mind. When you have achieved true tranquillity, now imagine that you are in a graveyard. Pick up a shovel and dig up a coffin. Open it up and observe yourself inside. See the worms eating your flesh, watch as your flesh falls off. Create images of all the mistakes and errors you made in you life time. Berate yourself over and over again. Do all of this without losing your tranquillity or your concentration. After you have succeeded at this task repeat the first steps. Once you are completely tranquil begin to create images of your enemies humiliating and degrading you. Imagine them torturing you. Image every hideous thing possible. Be sure to remain tranquil and concentrated. The next task is to image yourself doing awful things to others. For some this is more difficult than the first two meditations. Next image yourself having the greatest pleasures and joys this world can offer you. Be sure to remain tranquil and concentrated. Finally image yourself explaining all of this to someone you don't know. Try to convince them of the sanity of this operation.

OBSERVATION Look out the window and ask yourself as your eyes rest on each object, what is the truth about this tree, lawn, people walking on the street, or whatever your glance rests on? Mentally strip the objects to the facts that you perceive. Even your perception of what you believe to be facts concerning it or them is likely to be distorted -nevertheless your efforts to confine your conclusions to the apparent facts concerning it will help you to increase your awareness of how distorted are all our perceptions concerning everything in our lives. We rarely view anything without our fleshy robot machine being right in the middle. Almost all of our conclusions are based on "trained" input — which categorically means dogma.


The main reason you shouldn't be afraid of this attack on your precious little ego is that the ego is infinitely resourceful and finds ways to sneak back into its habitual mechanical trance no matter how many times you think you have Awakened once and for all.

We are the products of mechanical genetic programs, mechanical imprints and mechanical conditioning, just like the other animals.

There seem to be genuine biological reasons why we need to spend about one third of our lives asleep and a large part of the other two-thirds half-entranced by mechanical conditioned processes. The purpose of all schools of liberation is to wake up fully often enough to have some perspective outside the sleeping and conditioned ego states.

From the point of view of current science, c. 1980-87, there appear to be two things wrong with this Aristotelian mind-set. In the first place, scientific models are not expressed in this metaphor of identity (A is a B) but in the functional language of relationships (When A moves an increment of x in any dimension, B will move an increment of y in some other dimension.) The latter type of functional statement allows for scientific predictions, which can be partially verified or totally refuted by experience and experiment; the former, Aristotelian type of is-ness statement leads only to verbal argument.

The second objection to Aristotelian A is a B statements is that they appear totally contradicted by neurology and experiments with instruments. Neurologically, we never know what A "is," but what it appears to our senses and brain.

The skin is the psycho-physical barrier between our personal and public selves. The skin, if you would, is the sensate membrane of how we know who, what and where we are, and what we are doing.

The body, the skin, represents both our individuality which we cherish, and at the same time our vulnerability which we abhor.

Thus public exposure regardless of form is always a threat, be it spatial or psychological. In other words, we are always scared of each other.

As long as our biology demands our survival, our primary mode of operation is fear. However, we are deliberately made unaware of this, or told that our anxieties are abnormal. In fact our anxieties are the most normal things about us and are the fuel and engine from which society and culture are built.

WHAT we do is determined, HOW we do it is relative.

Gurdjieff, one of the most powerful "real" teachers of "real" self-change, said LIFE IS REAL ONLY THEN, WHEN "1 AM."

Our sleeping Brain is capable of anything and everything we wish. The solution to man's "problems" lies in first getting "himself out of his own way, and then re-programming his brain according to his "true will". Man's freedom is not in his conditioned ego-personality or his castrated visions of gods and demons but in his desire and ability to change himself.

To achieve Enlightenment (The Real Knowledge That You Are A Robot And Have Been Programmed, And That You Can Re-Program Your Brain According To Your True Will.) you must first put yourself aside.

The body must be free from the Robotic Mind and allowed to express itself freed from all snares. And finally the Mind must become a SLAVE of the True Will.

As you become more astute in achieving deep relaxation, you will realize that you can have complete control of your life through the ability to reprogram your mind. However, to accomplish this you must first learn to reduce all un—necessary tension and stress.

The technical aspects of this idea are overwhelming. While meditation reduces tension, tension also reduces the result of meditation. For this reason concentration on a mantra can never be achieved to complete satisfaction. This is one of the major problems to which Energized Meditation addresses itself.

We will find out that Undoing Yourself is another phrase for "God Is Dead," the final obituary of stupidity, the end of the single brain—the single self—the freedom from restrictions, the new Nirvana(s). Undoing Yourself is the Religions of Sisters/ Brothers.

I use the term 'geography' (lines dividing time and space on a piece of paper) to refer to culture and psychology. Psychoculture is the result of genes interacting with geography.

In a primitive sense, culture and psychology are territory.

All wars are wars between slaves. Each competing hoard of geoslaves believes that its form of slavery is better. A country by any other name is a choice between serfdoms. Each bible is simply a slave's survival manual—a HOW TO book!

One purpose of chaos, paradox, nonsense, and absurdity is to set itself against the linear world. These are not meant to take the place of linear knowledge or functions, but to act as a point of focus calling our attention and awareness to the something(s) which the linear model has missed, thus breathing new life into the predictable.

In other words there is a sense of independence that we can create from our tacit assumptions which have created a false isomorphism between the inside and outside. I use a method called flip/flop which entails moving from emotion to thought to action and back again in an almost random fashion.

To Believe that the origin of the Plant is the Flower is to believe that the rational mind is the origin of life

At first our entire survival depends on the unknown, the ground of life. It is completely magickal.

The inheritors of the future are not those who are impulsive nor those who have identified the rational process as their God. I am equally frightened of both groups.

Do not identify the flower of mankind with its roots, nor cut off the flower denying its root. Both games are deadly.


Ritual is the tying together of things, emotions, events and environments through the process of spontaneous imagination with the WILL TO MANIFEST.

TRUE RITUAL Is LIVING at its highest Intensity To LIVE at the highest means to LIVE in the Power of moments.

The frustration of Desire at its most primal level stimulates the development of the faculties of persistence and reason. At this level we are touching upon the ideas of a future. It is the planning aspect, the deliberate activity of a sequence of acts leading to goals and ideals. It is the Mother of formal philosophy and science.

In spite of the disappointment of those who wish to CURE LIFE, CHAOTIC DESIRE will LIVE on to generate new and different life FORMS.

In the end, this civilization will be destroyed not because of the Magickal process, (Original Sin, Primary Process, Disobedience) but because of civilization's attempts to Destroy — MAGICK. This is the inherent inter-play of the Goddess, Create/Destroy.


I have heard every explanation devised to deal with the void, but I find the one which works best is an hour or so of forced depression. This makes the rest of the day free for other things.

If they understand, you can rest assured that they are not normal and are worthy of your friendship and consideration. If they think you are mad, invoke the notion of tradition. Argue that the Tantrics and Buddhists used graveyards for meditations and that many of the early Christians tortured themselves to purify themselves.

If everything in the Universe could be known or controlled man would no longer exist as we know him. Thus, to know the nature of a man we simply must ask how he defines both the Numinous and himself and how he lives in relationship to these definitions. Thus, the God(s) of every culture—like the God(s) of every man—is a sign of its strength or weakness.

When you have completed your ratings write a short paragraph describing the relationship between man and his God(s). Finally, and most importantly, create your own God (vision of the Numinous) and rate Him or Her. Also rate how this God "sees" you. This method will provide you with a map of how a culture or a man perceives himself in relation to the Numinous. It will also allow you to make predictions about how a man or a culture will change over time.

This Law—Stay simple, Stay lean—is the basic law of science and "should" be the basic law of life. Stay simple, Stay lean has nothing whatsoever to do with dogmatism. It means—don't complicate something until facts force you to do so. Facts in this case includes your own needs.

The words you think with affect the world you live in. As we realize that we are our own greatest "works" of art as well as the co-artists of the world in which we reside, and exercise our talents, we give ourselves residence in the world of magic, happily juggling our self concepts along with our realities. So the preliminary task for any brain change artist is to get rid of his or her armour /shell/linguistic filter and get acquainted with the life underneath. William Blake knew what he was talking about when he wrote, "I must create my own system, or be enslaved by another's."

The goddess Eris (or Discordia) is the midwife of Chaos, the bringer of creative destruction. For those aspiring to the magickal life, she will be a most helpful handmaiden, a necessary preliminary, an archetype whose invokation is necessary if a New Order be wrought.

Real-life experiments conducted by Dr. Lilly suggested that it was possible to "visit" our selves in various states of evolution, but of course physical transformation did not occur. It was the mind which took a ride on a genetic elevator of sorts, allowing re-cognition and realization of the primeval consciousness and/or cosmic consciousness. The point is that we can access the Self beneath the programming and choose to change our minds/ realities, become the meta-programmers of our brains rather than the puppets of the culture we were bread in by applying the magickal formula: Will + Imagination + Altered States.

Brain-change technicians are meta-programmers who dance through dozens of virtual realities. We re-program ourselves, clothing ourselves with new belief systems or realities as creatively and as often AS WE WILL. (As I see it, the more often we change, the faster we evolve.)

There are thousands of ways to invoke Eris. You might devote yourself to meditation on the TOWER card, or better yet, draw or paint your own. It helps to get out of your head where all your programs, as well as the potential re-actions to your current programs and future programs exist. Forget the mind; get into your body. Prior to practicing brain-change rituals, prepare yourself and your space by breaking apart "normal" reality. Perform a frenzied Erisian dance, whirling like a crazy dervish until you don't know which way is which, stand on your head for an hour, indulge in extended sexual practice or tantra (prolonged sexual activity is perhaps the simplest and most pleasurable way to alter consciousness), or have sex with an unusual person under unusual circumstances. Throw yourself into an extreme emotional state (terror, devotion, or anger), drum until you become the beat, give your ear to dissonant music, or stare at a cubist painting until you understand it. Hold your breath or try Kriya Yoga techniques. Laugh for the sake of laughter and nothing else (listen to the song "I Love to Laugh" on the Mary Poppins soundtrack for a couple of hours). Talk gibberish or practice Socratic dialectic with yourself. Invoking Eris in your daily life will take some of the tedium out of mundane tasks and greatly speed up your passage into a magickal multiple FUN reality. A good way to start is to break habits and replace them with new ones, then break the new habits and replace them, and so on. Or, walk in a different way, talk to strangers, act "out of character" (tell your friends you're performing an experiment), wear clothing which is not your style, explore new routes to work, eat exotic foods, eat on the floor, eat without utensils, write with the hand you don't write with, try to believe in ideas you abhor (except during elections), make love to someone who is not your "type". Really. Sex with "unattractive" partners is said to have been a favored method of self-concept disintegration for at least one notorious brain-change expert. When pleasure is combined with repulsion, two contrary values are married, your judgment is dissolved, and you are lifted beyond duality into oneness. As you give your former "static" reality various Erisian jolts, continuously question your beliefs about the world, your ideas of yourself, your goals and desires. Be brutally "honest" and beg your friends to do the same. Find out where you are and why; you can search your "soul" more effectively than any therapist. What is important is that you recognize the foundations, scaffolds, and walls of your "normal" reality; and demolish them and build anew. To maintain residence in magickal reality keep turning the channel again and again and again. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backwards! Evolve! As we become expert brain-change technicians and enter the realm of magick, synchronicities become common occurrences and wishes come true so frequently that one refrains from wishing carelessly. Things just fall into place. We no longer have to put aside time specifically for such practices; instead, we live magickally. Eris provides the necessary dis-orientation and dis-illusionment, both in our rituals and our everyday lives, so we may cast off the shells which separate our essential spark, in all its marvelous and ancient luminosity, from that of everything else in the universe. And so we realize that "All the World's a Stage" and "Every Man and Woman is a Star," thus becoming the directors, producers, and actors of our lives.

The problem of opposites lies in the inadequate information gained from the Tree of Knowledge. (See the story of the man in the room above.) When man learned about good and evil he did not learn how empty words are like a container that can be filled with various liquids.

The Opposites have served as a primitive model of classifying, ordering and "understanding" the universe. The problem lies in the fact that Opposites do not exist apart from the mind (or, each other). Anything "understood" by Opposites can equally and probably better be understood in terms of scales such as, so much of X or Y. The process of thinking in Opposites create an illusion of Opposition, a world of Conflict, which in fact may not exist independent of our beliefs.

For the man in the street, the philosophies of opposites, particularly Good and Evil, have served as a torture chamber, a crucifix made from metaphor. Thrust into a world which views him as the property of Gods and States and overwhelmed by an un-repayable debt, the metaphysics of slavery and the facts of pain, pleasure and death; bolstered by science, whose theories have become the whores of the state, man is now informed that he is ill. The proof of this is his refusal to submit completely.

Could we say then, that his evil was simply losing, or was it the "more important" fact that he employed violence? If so, what of the American Indian and other races and cultures destroyed by the Christian notion of a pure white race. And what of the Blacks in America? No, most humans would argue that Hitler's evil was something more. What was it? It may have been because it happened in our own time, it was blatant, he lost the war, he crossed his genetic borders, or attacked the "chosen people" or ??

As Nietzsche has shown, evil is an intention serving a purpose. It allows one group to justify its will to power over another, just as it has been used to intimidate most men.

"The wife has no rights over her own body, the husband has them." —I Corinthians, 7:4

If we accept the Model of the Cyber-Shaman (that man OWNS HIRSELF), 95 percent of the so-called problems—which we read about in newspapers, hear about on the radio, watch on television and discuss with friend—DO NOT EXIST. Thus, all proposed SOLUTIONS for these PSEUDO-PROBLEMS are MEANINGLESS. The concept of OWNERSHIP starts in the cradle and does not end, even in the grave. Thus, our solution is not eradication of OWNERSHIP but rather REPOSSESSING the SELF

You have noted, of course, that 911—the date when the World Trade Center was destroyed—is the same as the emergency phone number in the U.S.

You can't return to something that never was. This simple but horrid fact puts an end to all experts who are calculating formulas to create a perfect world.. .instead of sleeping.

If I were a Freudian therapist, I would say he has painted a powerful picture of the damage done to all of us by our own self-punitive superego. The superego is that part of ourselves which demands that we live by rules, not by choice. It is the part of ourselves that loads us down with guilt, with shame, with the rigidity of personality and body which prevents us from living in the moment with joy. Dr. Hyatt has painted the picture of that inner cop and provided exercises you can use by yourself to liberate some of the rigidity of the body. My task is to add some exercises you can use to liberate the rigidity in your personality.

But undoing yourself means to have the courage to do that which gives you pleasure and not do those things which are only duty or habit.

When you can do it at will with no self-recrimination and no guilt, then you can see if, in fact, you are not rather enjoying it.

When doing any of these exercises (and in doing them with any particular thing or way), there are two good indicators that you are on the right path. One indicator is guilt, shame, or disapproval. The other is anxiety.

As you work through these exercises and the energized meditation that Dr. Hyatt has provided, you are changing your superego and thus your feelings. As a matter of fact, one of the hallmarks of the person acting at a higher level of psychological development4 is that his thinking or evaluation of a situation and his emotions (body state) come to be in greater harmony. That is actually a measure you can use to watch your progression through energized meditation to what Scientologists call "clear."

But aren't you still angry? Aren't you boiling inside even if you don't show it? In a way, yes; but the anger is converted into a physical symptom like heartburn, or ulcers, or a headache.

As you develop, you will find less and less conflict between your thinking and your emotions. The current situation is only the stimulus to the recall of past emotion. Almost always, on this second emotion, you will spontaneously recover a memory of when these two emotions occurred together. There is no reason to stop at two areas of tension. If two does not get you to a memory, try for a third pass (identify, grow, scan, identify). The more you do this, the better at it you will get and the more you will be able to unscrew the inscrutable.

"...integrity is honesty turned inward: the refusal to lie to yourself about yourself."


Together, the oral teachings and the individual personal effort produce an effect that would eventually bring about a change or transformation in the spiritual nature of the student. This change, in turn, would allow the student to successfully work in the practical laboratory phase of alchemy. "Know thyself!" were among his special watchwords that he tried to instill in all of us.

# Sacred Cow (Diana Rodgers and Robb Wolf) [link]

2024-05-16 tag_books tag_body ^

Lendo este livro indicado em algum podcast da Tribo Forte. Também coletando outras opiniões, como o famoso artigo do The Guardian desbancando 18 argumentos a favor de comer carne; este assunto parece espinhoso na comunidade científica ou é apenas fumaça da mídia?

Como medir a força de uma pesquisa:

  • What type of study was it? Observational? Experimental?
  • Were there any conflicts of interest? Who paid for the study? Did a company with a vested interest in the results fund it? 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? Humans? Animals?
  • Are the results of the study significant to overall mortality? Were they just looking at one specific compound in a food?
  • If the study reports an increase in disease risk, what is the overall significance of this risk?


> Meat is strong. It’s red, bloody, has a rich flavor, and throughout our history has been associated with hunting, ritual, power, vitality, sexuality, and wealth.

> Current research suggests that at least 2.6 million years ago animal products became an important part of the hominin diet.

> It may seem a stretch to link the Cold War to our current obesity epidemic and billion-dollar junk food industry, but in a fascinating article in the Guardian, investigative reporter Jacques Peretti traced the origin of our problem to Richard Nixon’s Cold War maneuvering.

> Humans don’t really need “protein”; we need amino acids, and meat has the perfect balance of amino acids plus micronutrients that plants don’t have.

> Scientific studies show that both low fat and low carb diets can work for people,18 but if you’re looking to lose body fat and maintain muscle mass, increasing your protein and lifting some weights while being careful not to overconsume total calories (which is a lot easier to do when you’re getting decent amounts of protein because you feel much more full thanks to the satiating effects of meat) is the golden ticket.

> Cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are not diseases that develop quickly; they take years to develop. This is why most nutrition research looks at large populations over long periods, which is called observational epidemiology.

> The current RDA for protein intake is explained in the Dietary Reference Intakes by the Institute of Medicine,5 which based their original protein recommendations on nitrogen balance studies. This gets a bit technical, so bear with us. Nitrogen balance is the difference between nitrogen intake and excreted nitrogen. It’s difficult to measure, and varies greatly between individuals

> For nearly fifty years the US government told the world that a diet high in saturated fat and dietary cholesterol would increase our likelihood of everything from cancer to diabetes to heart disease. Not long ago a retraction was published saying, in effect, that there is no connection between dietary cholesterol and fat intake and the aforementioned diseases.

> We see a suspiciously high rate of cardiovascular disease and other systemic inflammatory problems with elite athletes who consume prodigious amounts of refined carbohydrates

> Some experts have been making gains in reversing the widespread bias against fat. However, decades of fear of fat and cholesterol aren’t so easily erased. It all started with a researcher named Ancel Keys.

> The recent DIETFITS randomized clinical trial placed participants on either a whole food–based low-fat or low-carb diet and tracked their progress for thirteen months. This is a well-designed study that not only provided ongoing education, support, and monitoring to help ensure adherence but also looked for genetic markers that might suggest one diet or the other would be a better fit for any given individual. Protein intake was equal and adequate in both groups!

> The claims that meat causes heart disease come largely from the fear that saturated fat increases cholesterol, and that high cholesterol causes heart disease. Earlier in this chapter, we discussed how Ancel Keys incorrectly implicated dietary saturated fat as the cause of heart disease. A very large meta-analysis and systematic review of both observational and randomized controlled trials involving over six hundred thousand participants concluded that “current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.”

> By simply cutting out nutrient-poor, ultraprocessed foods that stimulate us to overeat, people will naturally lose weight. Second, when people reduce their overall caloric intake, they will lose weight. But weight loss is not the same as fat loss. Both low-carb and low-fat diets lead to weight loss because they usually also involve restricting calories, but what is important to note is that high-protein diets that are either lower in carbs or low in fat lead to more fat loss. A review published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that the benefits of a high-protein diet were found even when people continued to eat the same amount of calories.

> Based on their findings, the authors recommended a daily intake of 1.5 to 2 grams per kilogram of body weight of high-quality protein (from animal sources).

> Protein has a high thermic effect on food because it takes more energy to break it down. Interestingly, high-protein diets tend to negate having to count calories. People who followed a high-protein diet and either cut their calorie intake or kept it the same have shown to improve body composition—but people who ate more calories still did not seem to see increased fat mass when those extra calories came from protein. Simply put: increase protein, keeping calories the same, work out, and you will likely lose weight.

> Among all the components in meat that have been vilified, perhaps the only one that deserves closer attention is advanced glycation end products (AGEs). There is concern that certain types of cooking result in high levels of them, and that dietary advanced glycation end products (dAGEs) are known to contribute to increased oxidant stress and inflammation.32 The effect of cooking that’s implicated here is also referred to as the browning or Maillard reaction; it is a normal part of cooking but is thought to be problematic in large amounts. Lower-temperature cooking, moist heat, and the use of acids like lemon and vinegar all seem to reduce the formation of AGEs.

> The case of the mid-Victorians is what in science is called a natural experiment. When we consider the differences between experimental and observational studies depicted below, although natural experiments are technically observational, they often contain elements that are remarkably similar to the gold standard of biomedical research, the randomized controlled trial (RCT).

> The main difference in the mid-Victorian diet initially was an increase in meat, seafood, fruits, and vegetables. Before 1850 the population had eaten a diet higher in grains. Health and longevity improved markedly alongside this improvement in dietary quality. Then, after 1880 dietary trends shifted again, becoming higher in refined foods, including significant increases in sugar, flour, and canned meats. This happened in conjunction with a reduction in vegetables, fruits, fresh meat, and seafood—and health deteriorated

> What’s more, there was a strong temperance movement that resulted in approximately a third of homes abstaining totally from alcohol. Beer was frequently consumed, but it’s estimated that the alcohol content was probably only 1 or 2 percent in the home and about 2 to 3 percent at pubs, which is much lower than today’s average of 5 percent.

> We’ve known since at least the ’70s that stress within forty-eight hours of slaughter causes glucocorticoids to infiltrate the meat, lowering its pH (makes it more acidic) and making it less tender.29 However, whether slaughter stress or chronic stress from the factory farm environment has an impact on the nutritional content of beef hasn’t been investigated.

> Although animal products contain the richest sources of most micronutrients required by humans, there are some vitamins and minerals that are best found in plants—for example, vitamins folate, C, E, and betaine. In the mineral category, plants provide greater quantities of magnesium, potassium, selenium, and manganese than most animal sources.

> Nuts and seeds are an excellent source of minerals, including magnesium, manganese, copper, selenium, and zinc. But relying only on nuts as your primary source of these minerals can have a few downsides. Most nuts are high in omega-6 fats, which are already found in excess in many of our diets and compete for absorption of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. We do need some omega-6 fats for health, but most of us are already eating too much, so adding an additional source of omega-6 may not be ideal.5 They also contain antinutrients (see the next section).

> Although plants contain calcium, bioavailability of calcium from food can vary greatly. Even soybeans, which are considered “high” in calcium, are only 30–40 percent bioavailable. Soy milk, which is frequently used as an alternative to cow’s milk, is fortified with calcium, increasing the bioavailability to 75 percent. Although many of these plant foods do contain calcium, the amount absorbed is quite low.6 Nonheme iron comes from plant sources and is not as well absorbed as iron from animal protein, as it is not bound to any protein. Iron absorption from plants is low, at about 5–12 percent.

> Plant foods like seaweed contain B12 analogs and not the true form of B12. These analogs actually increase your need for the true form of B12.

> Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide, affecting approximately 25 percent of the global population and almost half of all preschool children.

> Vegans have been found to have higher bone turnover owing to low calcium and vitamin D, which are both critical for bone health.

> Other nutrients of concern for those on meat-free diets include glycine, selenium, methionine, taurine, creatine, choline, and iodine.

> There are several studies that have found a disturbing link between depression and meat-free diets. Many of the nutrients commonly missing in meat-free diets are directly shown to have impacts on depression and anxiety.

> Creatine, a substance found naturally in our muscles, is lower in vegetarian diets and may also influence healthy brain development

> In her book The Vegetarian Myth, Lierre Keith explains how much her body suffered because of eliminating meat. Lierre became vegan at the age of sixteen after learning about the horrors of industrial-scale animal production. She did her research and made sure her diet contained all the right combinations of proteins. She took B12 supplements, and ate lots of fruits and vegetables. Most of the protein in her diet came from soy products. She followed the diet for twenty years. Although she lost her period, suffered from depression, and developed degenerative disc disease that caused morphine-level pain, she explains that she never really drew the connection between her medical problems and her diet. Her pain became absolutely crippling, and her exhaustion unbearable. She went to see a qigong master, whom she heard had “cured the incurable.” He quickly summed up her state and sympathetically told her she must eat some meat. She went to the store, picked up a can of tuna and a plastic fork (because she didn’t want to contaminate her dishes), and ate it. “Oh my god, I thought: this is what it feels like to be alive. I put my head down and sobbed,” she writes.

> In a 2014 study researchers evaluated the impact of the addition of meat, milk, or just additional calories to the diet of largely vegetarian children in Kenya and compared them to a control group, who received no additional food. The results were fascinating. When measured for growth, intellectual ability, behavior, and academic performance, after two years the meat group had the best outcomes by far. The milk group showed the least improvement on Raven’s Progressive Matrices—a measure of fluid intelligence—even when compared to the children that didn’t receive any additional calories. The meat group showed remarkably more physical ability, leadership, and physical growth during the study period. Those who only received the milk substitute lagged behind the meat group in every aspect.

> In his book Collapse, the anthropologist and historian Jared Diamond writes: Consider a narrow river valley below a high dam, such that if the dam burst, the resulting flood of water would drown people for a considerable distance downstream. When attitude pollsters ask people downstream of the dam how concerned they are about the dam bursting, it’s not surprising that fear of a dam burst is lowest far downstream and increases among residents increasingly close to the dam. Surprisingly, though, after you get just a few miles below the dam, where fear of the dam bursting is found to be highest, concern then falls off to zero as you approach closer to the dam! That is, the people living immediately under the dam, the ones most certain to be drowned in a dam burst, profess unconcern. That’s because of psychological denial: the only way of preserving one’s sanity while looking up every day at the dam is to deny the possibility that it could burst.

> It may be a bit counterintuitive, but certain systems, particularly those that involve shifting both energy and resources (such as economies, ecosystems, and growing children), not only benefit from but thrive upon complexity. In physics, the term for this is resiliency, while the noted author Nassim Taleb coined the term “antifragile.”

> The carbon sequestration process starts when the grasses, legumes, and forbs go through photosynthesis. The leaves of these plants take carbon dioxide out of the air and convert that CO2 to oxygen. The plants also exude carbon down through their roots to feed the microbes. This carbon, which is essentially sugar, is known as exudate. Various soil microbes exchange sugar for nutrients like minerals, which the plants need to grow via the root system (known as the rhizosphere). Fungal networks connected to this root system form pathways for the microbes to move through the soil. These fungal networks also produce acids that break down minerals that make the minerals bioavailable to the plants. Minerals have to be made bioavailable for the plants to be able to use them. The increased carbon in the ground changes the structure of the soil, providing more open spaces—kind of like a sponge. Thus, healthy soil is less compact, and can absorb significantly more rainwater than brittle, compacted, plowed, or overgrazed land.

> Growing food is a biological process, but we’ve taken this biological process and turned it into a chemical one.

> In our modern industrial food system, cows eat mainly grass. There is a widely held belief that cattle consume large amounts of grain and that this is effectively “taking food away” from what could otherwise feed humans, but this is incorrect. We’ll look at this topic in depth later in the book, but for now, we want

> The saying “A chicken in every pot” has been erroneously attributed to 1928 presidential candidate Herbert Hoover. In fact, a group of supporters of Hoover’s political campaign coined this phrase, but the promise was alluring: before the intensification of our food system, there was not extra grain available to raise chickens en masse as is common practice today. The bulk of animal products consumed came from grazing animals, for reasons that are hopefully becoming clearer. Eating chicken today is inextricably linked with modern industrial farming practices that are unsustainable in the long term.

> 1. If climate change is of concern (and it should be), interventions should reduce net greenhouse gas levels. If possible, the intervention should even present an option for reversing this process. 2. As much as possible, the energy needed to raise our food should come from the sun, not fossil fuel inputs, and our methods should support complex, resilient ecosystems. The exact methods used will have to change around the world—it should come as no surprise that a solution suited to the Mongolian steppe is likely to look different from one suited to the interior of the Amazon—but interventions should be critically assessed with the criterion of energy inputs versus outputs in mind. 3. Recommended dietary practices and food production methods must consider the limited window humanity has with regards to topsoil. There is little debate that should topsoil largely disappear, so shall we. 4. While we are considering biodiversity, it behooves us to also value cultural diversity. The current monocrop industrial food process has effectively crushed traditional food systems, replacing them both at the production and consumption levels with what is arguably a less diverse, less nutritious diet. Is it reasonable for a few wealthy, largely white vegan-centric activists to push a global food agenda that would make verboten every other food system on the planet?

> Fossil fuels come from “ancient” carbon that has been locked underground for millions of years, and when it is extracted, it’s adding new carbon to the atmosphere, which lasts thousands of years. In the case of cattle, they are transforming existing carbon, in the form of grass and other fibrous materials, into methane as part of their digestive process. Methane is then belched out, and after about ten years is broken back down into water and carbon dioxide molecules. The CO2 and H2O are cycled back to grow more grass, and the cycle continues.

> According to a paper published in the Journal of Animal Science, in presettlement America, methane emissions were about 82 percent of current emissions from farmed and wild ruminants.

> Prior to 1999 there was a strong relationship between change in atmospheric methane concentrations and the world ruminant populations. However, since 1999 this strong relation has disappeared. This change in relationship between the atmosphere and ruminant numbers suggests that the role of ruminants in greenhouse gases may be less significant than originally thought, with other sources and sinks playing a larger role in global methane accounting.

> “The team showed that about 17 teragrams per year of the increase is due to fossil fuels, another 12 is from wetlands or rice farming, while fires are decreasing by about 4 teragrams per year. The three numbers combine to 25 teragrams a year—the same as the observed increase.”

> The real benefit in lab meat is the fact that it’s a highly technologically driven food. As Sarah Martin, assistant professor with the Department of Political Science at Memorial University of Newfoundland, pointed out at the Future of Protein conference at the University of Ottawa, to grow lab meat you need cell lines, cell culture media, scaffolding and structuring, and bioreactors—all these things that can be patented. If the lab-meat folks can get the public to accept it as an alternative to meat, then they will own the lucrative intellectual property license on this technique.

> So while they did a full life cycle analysis on livestock, they did not do the same for transportation, unfairly leading the public to think that animal agriculture is worse than the transportation industry.

> As ruminant animals, cattle can’t handle a diet of 100 percent grain (sometimes referred to as “concentrates”). In fact, an overexposure to grain in too short a time can be fatal for a cow. Ruminants need a lower concentration of grain to keep them healthy, so most cattle, sheep, and goats’ diets come from pasture, hay, cornstalks, and other “crop residues.”

> Contrary to what many people imagine, cattle do not spend their entire lives on a feedlot eating grain. Even typical (feedlot) cattle live the first half to two-thirds of their lives on pasture, eating grass and other forage. Some cattle can graze leftover cropland like cornfields that have been harvested, converting cornstalks and other crop “residues” into beef, with the added benefit of fertilizing that field with their manure as they clean up the field.

> Unless they are “grass finished,” beef cattle will spend the last four to six months at a feedlot where they’re harvested at around eighteen months of age.

> The amount of feed needed for an animal is called the feed conversion ratio. A recent life cycle analysis calculated that the amount of grain required to produce one pound of boneless beef is 2.6 pounds. The ratio of pork is about 3.5:1, chicken 2:1, and many farmed fish like salmon are 1.3:1.

> Over their life span, typical cattle only get 10 percent of their diet from grain.3 This means that about 90 percent of the feed for beef is inedible by humans.

> As prolific reproducers and fast weight gainers that provide tasty meat and fat, pigs have been an important source of nourishment for many cultures. Ironically, one of the only foods common to all “Blue Zones,” areas noted for significant health and longevity, is pork. In more densely populated areas, pigs lived closer to humans as “garbage disposals” that literally ate our waste. Yes, sorry to gross you out, pigs can eat human poop. In fact, in China and Korea a family of four humans could feed four young pigs on around four and a half pounds of human waste and eight ounces of garbage each day.7 Pigs played an important role in medieval Paris for, of all things, sanitation

> There is no evidence that feeding pigs, and even chickens, our leftover properly treated food waste, is unsafe.

> You would need to eat about six hundred calories worth of beans and rice (two cups of black beans and a half cup of brown rice) to get the same amount of protein you can get from only 160 calories of beef (3.5oz of sirloin),

> Moreover, using ruminants to graze down cover crops and then later crop residues can eliminate the need to use herbicides. Their manure is fertilizer, which helps activate the soil biology and reduces the need for external sources of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the three main components in chemical fertilizers.

> What about the Amazon rainforest that’s being burned down for cattle? We have an extensive blog post by Lauren Manning that addresses this specific topic. In short, we obviously don’t condone the burning of rainforest specifically for grazing. But that’s not really what’s happening. The US currently does not accept beef imports from Brazil, so protesting the burning of the Amazon by not eating beef would do nothing. This is a policy issue, not a cattle issue. See www.sacredcow.info/blog/the-amazon-fires-are-a-policy-issue-not-a-livestock-issue-heres-why.

> Additionally, properly managed cattle (and other ruminants) increase benefits of green water by enhancing the ability of the soil to retain water. Interestingly, this is accomplished primarily because there’s more soil carbon in well-managed pastures. The rainwater associates with the carbon and minerals in the soil, making more of it available longer and thus facilitating more grass growth.

> In a brittle landscape, rainfall is able to penetrate the top layer of soil only when there is sufficient microbial activity underground. Luckily, cattle and other ruminants can help keep grasslands healthy by biologically breaking down plants, enhancing water retention and carbon sequestration. Their manure is only “waste” when it’s highly concentrated, not when the animals are managed well.

> Amid these calculations, we think it should be noted that the nutrition in grass-finished beef is far superior to rice, avocados, walnuts, and sugar. A pound of rice requires about 410 gallons of water to produce. Avocados, walnuts, and sugar have similar water requirements. Globally, 30 percent of groundwater intended for crops is used by rice, followed by wheat (12 percent), cotton (11 percent), and soybeans (3 percent).

> Of all antibiotics produced in the US, 80 percent are given to livestock and poultry,13 the majority of which (90 percent) are not sick animals—rather, the antibiotics are intended to marginally improve growth rates and prevent sickness.14 Up to 75 percent of these antibiotics pass through the animal and into the environment unchanged.15 Antibiotic resistance in humans is a massive public health concern, and this is exacerbated, in part, by their broad use in livestock. By contrast, when livestock are given a healthy environment and low stress, they don’t need to be given preemptive antibiotics, which can dramatically cut down the incidence of antibiotic resistance.

> Perhaps the most pressing problem for sustainability, regardless of whether we are discussing the potential role of animals in a food system or appropriate measures to address climate change, is that the vast majority of Westernized populations have become divorced from nature. We see nature as a place to visit, not a system we are a part of. Because of this, many people simply can’t come to grips with the idea that death is inevitable, unavoidable, and important for new life. Many think any death is wrong.

> British philosopher David Pearce sees the natural world as a terrible place begging for the hand of man to set it right. He sees predatory animals as victimizing their prey, and the scales of justice may only be set right once all predators have either been eliminated or genetically and neurologically reprogrammed to no longer eat other animals. Although his position has not garnered wide support, it illustrates that even the most highly educated among us have become so divorced from the natural world and so afraid of “suffering” that we can be tempted to seriously propose the end of life on earth just to avoid it.

> If you want kale, you should be open to the notion that animals should play a role in the food system, and that we may need to eat more animals, not fewer. This scenario means we will maximally capture solar energy in the form of plants, and the animals convert that energy into good soil, fertilizer for other plants, and healthy nutrients for people—in a word, life.

> We recognize that this is already a long and technical book, but physicist Jeremy England makes an important point in a recent paper. He argues that the purpose of life is to enhance entropy, or the relative disorder in the world or universe.4 This may be an unsatisfying case for the more spiritually minded, but it has profound implications regardless of one’s religious stance. In the short term, life works against entropy by harnessing the energy around us (mainly from the sun, although a few systems on the ocean floor exist largely independent from this system) and creating more life. This is called a nonequilibrium process (or nonequilibrium thermodynamics, for the technically inclined), and this concept makes the case that we’d do well to foster as much of this nonequilibrium process as we can. What does this mean in practical terms? Encourage as many plants as possible to harness as much sunlight as possible. Have as many animals as possible consuming both plants and animals. Encourage this system to be as diversified and resilient as possible. In short, this looks like a lot of grass and grazing animals; it does not look like row crops as far as the eye can see, all dependent on unsustainable synthetic chemical inputs. If we pause for a moment and imagine an earth without humans, or the earth before humans, both these scenarios involve a remarkable amount of life. And death.

> This is an interesting conundrum. On the one hand, some in the antimeat scene suggest that humanity is a blight unto the earth, yet these same people make the case that the more like “us” an organism is (sentience), the more unethical it is to eat it.

> Plants, they argue, do not respond like humans or animals do to “pain,” so it is ethically acceptable to eat them. 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

> Milk, raw meat, blood, and honey are the traditional food of the Maasai of Kenya and northern Tanzania. They eat few to no vegetables. In fact, two-thirds of their diet comes from animal fats (yet they have low rates of heart disease).

> The Bible tells us that humans have been given dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26) and after the flood, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you” (Genesis 9:3). “For one believes that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eats herbs” (Romans 14:2).

> Contrary to what many assume, about 75 percent of Indians eat meat, and in some states it’s close to 95 percent. Although the state religion is not officially Hinduism, many would like to see it become that. A ban on beef is really a ban on Muslims; scapegoating the cow is just sleight of hand for attacking Muslims.

> A diet high in refined grains (e.g., processed foods) is the biggest nutritional contributor to diabetes in China.

> According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, rice, corn, and wheat make up more than 50 percent of our food, and 75 percent of our diet comes from only twelve crops.

> An interesting case study of what happens when meat and fat are replaced with processed foods is that of the native Arctic population called the Yamalo-Nenets. Owing to several changes in their environment and lifestyle, their diets have shifted drastically to include cheap, highly processed carbohydrates like packaged noodles, whereas before they ate few carbohydrates and relied on fat and meat as their primary calorie source. With this change, there have been staggering increases in obesity and chronic diseases never before seen in this population that traditionally ate mostly venison and fish.

> In northern Quebec, government officials said they worked closely with the Nunavik to develop a culturally appropriate food guide. One look at the “food igloo” inside the Nunavik Food Guide (written by Canadian dietitians) says so much about how wrong we are. It would be hard to illustrate a more perfect metaphor for the entire nutrition debacle. They’re advised to eat seven to ten servings from the “vegetables, berries, and fruit” group, and this includes orange juice, bananas, watermelon, and grapes. In the guide, Raisin Bran is on the list of recommended grain products to be consumed six to eight times a day. Way up at the top of the food igloo, in the smallest category, are the foods most traditional to their culture—and the guide recommends these be eaten just two to three times a day.5 The Nunavik Inuit Health Survey 2004 shows that approximately 60 percent of the adult population is overweight or obese, which was a sharp increase over the previous survey conducted in 1992. Their intake of traditional foods, obtained by fishing and hunting, declined to only 16 percent of energy intake in 2004, compared to 21 percent in 1992. Iron deficiency anemia affects over half the nonpregnant women in Nunavik. The iron status of women of childbearing age and pregnant women is also considered at a critical level, and this can lead to significant developmental issues with babies. Interestingly, in the guidelines they’re told in one sentence to purchase lean meats like chicken and turkey but then are also told that seal meat (which is definitely not low in fat) is one of the best sources of iron.

> One study of 245 children in ten communities of Nunavik showed that although traditional foods contributed a very low percentage of their total intake (only 2.6 percent), those who consumed these foods, which were mainly caribou and Arctic char, were significantly more nourished, and at the same time, they consumed fewer total calories and carbohydrates.

> Malnutrition in “less-developed” areas of the world is a reflection of ecologically degraded agricultural systems as well as dysfunctional governments. Hunger is largely a political issue, not a food production issue. When people have better access to land, loans, and markets, we all win. The organization Heifer International is a great example of what could be done to address global hunger.

> Check out Diana’s book The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook for a full guide to growing (and cooking) your own healthy food.

> In addition to diet, there are quite a few things you can do in order to improve your health. Getting adequate sleep is probably the most important factor. Even on a perfect diet, if your sleep isn’t dialed in, your brainpower will suffer and excess weight can be an issue. Movement, as I’m sure you know, is also really important to overall health, as is time in nature, having meaningful relationships with others, and having a “why.” A reason to get up in the morning, for something larger than you, is an important factor in longevity. This might mean your children, a hobby, your work, or some other passion.

> Make sure you’re getting enough high-quality protein from animals. As we laid out in the nutrition section, most people benefit from about twice the RDA of protein, which is about 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

> As we’ve said, that’s the bare minimum to avoid disease, so go ahead and multiply it by 2 again to aim for your protein goal.

> Eggs from pastured chickens are actually worth the extra money because their fats are significantly better than industrially raised chicken eggs; however, eggs are not as high in protein as you might think, at only six grams per egg.

> Another common ingredient in sausages and other processed food is “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” which means gluten.

> To cook, use clarified butter,* ghee, tallow from grass-fed cows, bacon fat, and lard from pastured pork. Olive oil is great for salads and low-heat cooking, but saturated fat is ideal for high-heat cooking.

> In general, the darker the color, the more nutrient dense the vegetable is, but that’s not to say that cauliflower and mushrooms aren’t also great choices. Some of the most nutrient-dense vegetables include asparagus, broccoli, spinach, kale, watercress, sauerkraut, chard, and red bell peppers.

> You can buy sheets of organic nori to use as wrappers for “sandwiches” and dulse or kelp flakes to sprinkle in soups and stews.

> Carbohydrates do have benefits such as lowering cortisol (stress), fueling highly glycemic workouts (like CrossFit), and acting like a prebiotic in your intestines (by feeding your good bacteria). Those with diabetes or other blood sugar regulation issues generally do better initially with lower carbohydrates, but some folks thrive on a higher intake of tuber-based starches and seasonal fruit.

> Although they are a really great source of nutrients, nuts and seeds are very calorically dense and easy to eat in excess, especially when salted. Also, the proper way to prepare raw nuts is to soak and then dehydrate them before eating, which few people have the time to do.

> Avoid these for the next thirty days. Enjoy natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup sparingly after your thirty-day challenge.

> When shopping for condiments, avoid added sugars and impossible-to-pronounce chemical additives

> Watch out for hidden ingredients, like wheat in soy sauce (you can find coconut aminos at many natural grocery stores or online, which tastes like soy sauce).

> For the thirty days of your challenge, avoid all grains and legumes (like quinoa, wheat, barley, lentils, and black beans). One big reason to avoid grains in general are because they’re nutrient poor compared to organically grown roots and tubers.

> Sweet potatoes, and vegetables in general, are also a fantastic source of fiber.

> This is because, generally speaking, grains are grown using large-scale monocrop methods. Looking at sustainability, as well as the nutrition factors, it just doesn’t add up for humans to be eating a grain-heavy diet. Legumes at least fix nitrogen and improve soil quality, and on our farm we do plant them as a cover crop to reduce soil erosion and increase soil nitrogen when a field is fallow.

> Grains and legumes affect people differently. Some have clear gastrointestinal autoimmune reactions to gluten. Others get rashes, headaches, indigestion, or “brain fog.” The truth is, they are not as nutrient dense as other sources of starches, such as roots and tubers, and actually contain antinutrients that can block absorption of vitamins and minerals. We’ve found most folks feel much better when they eliminate gluten and other grains from their diet. After your thirty-day Nutrivore Challenge, if you feel that you’d like to occasionally consume them, make them part of your 80-20 lifestyle, keeping them in the 20 percent. Record how you feel after reintroducing them and note any digestive or functional changes happening in your body after consumption.

> However, traditional testing for celiac only screens for antibodies to alpha-gliadin and transglutaminase-2, but there are multiple components that are not tested for, and which can cause reactions. This is why some people who have tested negative for celiac disease feel better when they are gluten-free. So, while you may be one of the people who feel little difference in your digestive system when you eat bread, gluten could still be wreaking havoc on your system and decreasing the absorption of nutrients.

> Ideally, you should pull out all dairy for your thirty-day Nutrivore Challenge. If you would like to reintroduce it after that period, record how you feel. In some people, dairy can cause acne or stuffiness, whereas in others digestive issues are the problem. Plain whole milk yogurt, crème fraîche, and raw-milk cheeses from grass-fed cows are a great source of fat-soluble vitamins and naturally occurring trans-fatty acids such as CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which can help regulate glucose levels.

> Though some have had great luck with fasting, one meal a day, and other types of eating windows, if this is all new to you, a great starting point is the following: 3 meals a day Protein: the size of your palm, about 4–8 ounces, depending on your size and need Nonstarchy vegetables: piled high on your plate Starchy vegetables: athletes, the equivalent of about two small/medium sweet potatoes a day; nonathletes should start with about one. 1 tablespoon or so of healthy fat (salad dressing, butter, avocado) Snacks: if necessary, have a handful (not a 5lb bag), of nuts and a piece of fruit

> Make a list of ten meats, ten veggies, ten fats, ten herbs and spices, and ten other components like fruits and nuts. If you take one item from each of these columns, combine them and consider that a meal, you have ten thousand meal options. If that was one meal a day, you would potentially not see the same meal for twenty-seven years.

> By focusing on what you can eat and not what you’re removing, the opportunities for meals are virtually endless. Here’s a sample:

> Cian Foley, who is a champion of the Don’t Eat for Winter diet. The idea is that carbs alone or fat alone are not necessarily going to spark overeating. However, the magical combination of carbs plus fat seems to be an unnaturally winning combination to our brain’s circuits. Most hyperpalatable junk food is this combo—think about potato chips. It’s hard to overeat plain boiled potatoes, but fry them in a vat of oil and many people can crush a whole bag in one sitting.

> Your best bet to improve your ratio of omega-3 to -6 is to remove foods with lots of omega-6 from your diet (generally this means highly processed foods) and eat a diet that is filled with lots of seafood and vegetables.

> Try to shut down the kitchen by about 7:00 pm or even earlier. Studies show that late-night eating is more likely to lead to weight gain, and that front-loading your calories is a good idea. The idea is “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper,” which seems to be the opposite of how many Americans eat.

> Some complain that there’s not enough peer-reviewed research backing up the type of system we’re advocating for, but we know of many farmers changing over to regenerative agriculture and saving their farms and their health. Many of these regenerative pioneers are featured in the film Sacred Cow.

> The row-crop-centric food system proposed and embraced by academia, media, and government is now, and will be, owned by a few gargantuan multinational corporations. These all-powerful entities will control every feature of our lives by controlling the molecular basis of our lives: food. People who live in Ecuador will feel the pressure of rich bureaucrats in Europe and the US who have decided “what is best for everyone.”

> The problem is not technological, moral, or even genetic (although some hardwired human tendencies do pose challenges in all this). Our problem is one of perspective. If there is a human failing, perhaps more dangerous than any other, it is the predilection toward superficial, black-and-white, good-versus-bad simplifications of processes that are infinitely complex. We convince ourselves we can control the world when in fact our best effort, and only real hope, is to act as stewards. We need to shift from seeing ourselves as separate from and above nature to seeing ourselves as beings participating with and loving our planet—not just because of what it can provide to us, but because the world in itself is magnificent and complex. Humanity cannot defy the laws of nature, but we are also different from any other organism because we CAN change our perspective.


  • We have a long, detailed blog post taking a critical look at amino acids in plant foods versus animal foods at https://www.sacredcow.info/blog/are-all-proteins-created-equal.
  • We have outlined in chapter seventeen what our recommendations are for an optimal diet template, but for a deeper dive on nutrient density, comparing meat-rich, omnivore, and vegan diets, please visit https://www.sacredcow.info/blog/what-if-we-all-went-plant-based.

[artigo do The Guardian] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/19/why-you-should-go-animal-free-arguments-in-favour-of-meat-eating-debunked-plant-based

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