Health and Diet
Updated - 01 Jan 21
I’m not a doctor or health professional, I'm a scientist.
In this context this is a positive thing. Modern western medicine has become a practice of repeating dogma, selling pharmaceuticals and 'appeal to authority' ('Trust me, I'm a doctor/expert!'). If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that expert opinion is a poor substitute for robust science and adherence to the scientific method. Not all doctors are 'quacks' who haven't bothered to follow any science after they graduated from medical school, there are some brilliant and scientifically minded doctors out there. However, those are fewer than we'd like and the dogmatic 'I'm a doctor!' types, and those in the pockets of Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Food are, unfortunately, more common that we'd like and far more likely to be in positions of power or offering policy advice.
So, if you're content with chronic discomfort, pain, illness, endless medication and have no desire to be healthy and active into very old age like the Japanese, then don't bother reading further. If you aren't that interested in the ecological impact of your diet and lifestyle choices, the don't bother reading further. Just take your pills and carry on doing what you're doing.
However, if you're tired of all that, then read 'Lies my Doctor told me.' by Dr Ken Berry MD. Read 'Neanderthin' by Ray Audette. Read 'Fatburn Fix' by Dr Cate Shanahan MD. Read 'The Carnivore Diet' by Dr Shawn Baker MD. Read 'Carnivore Code' by Dr Paul Saladino MD. Read 'Eat Rich, Live Long' by Ivor Cummins and Dr Jeffry Gerber MD.
Then, in the words of Ronald Regan, 'Trust, but verify!' Don't accept anything you read or hear blindly.
Continue reading here . . . Think for yourself . . . Stop outsourcing your health to people who don't care about your health as much as they care about their bank balance . . .
So why read here?
I’m a regenerative bison rancher with a diverse career history.
So what qualifies me to talk about human health and diet? Simply put, science. I don’t claim special medical knowledge or talent, I’ve just studied a lot of science and, as with most engineers, have little patience for sloppy 'observational science’ that is not supported by experimentation and empirical evidence.
Does that make me ‘qualified’? Well, not exactly, but what I have discovered is that those who are ‘qualified’, for the most part, have no idea what they’re talking about either. In fact, modern mainstream dietary teaching and guidelines owe more to mediaeval superstition than they do to empirical science.
Therefore, the best advice I can offer is this; don’t outsource your health to anyone, including me, but especially to modern medical professionals. Nobody values your health more than you should. Trust those who have done the legwork and research, but verify everything, check my data and research and challenge your doctor(s) if they offer advice that contradicts the science (most will).
Finally, and again, don’t outsource your health to anyone, they don’t care as much about your health as you should, regardless of how caring and compassionate they are, they’re not you and don’t have to live with the consequences of being wrong, you do!
So what is science, and why am I qualified to comment?
To clear up that question, I'll start with a few quotes from renowned Nobel Laureate physicist Dr. Richard Feynman PhD:
'Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.'
'It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong.'
'Don't pay attention to "authorities", think for yourself.'
'Have no respect whatsoever for authority; forget who said it and instead look what he starts with, where he ends up, and ask yourself, "Is it reasonable?"'
'If you thought that science was certain - well, that is just an error on your part.'
'Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.'
Long story short, science is the practice of testing hypotheses to see if they are true or not (or close). A hypothesis is simply an idea that explains an observation or phenomenon in nature.
'Observational studies', 'Associational studies' or 'Epidemiological studies' do not describe modern science but Aristotelian science, the scientific system that brought us the 'geocentric cosmological model', 'flat earth theory' and which was replaced by modern empirical science starting in the 15th century or so. They are the process by which hypotheses are created, but are not reliable sources of scientific evidence.
To turn such studies into 'scientific evidence' a process of experimental testing is required. If the experimental testing is well designed, the result is 'scientific evidence'.
Once exception is 'historical science', where no possibility of repeating phenomenon exists, science uses ‘inference to the best explanation’ based on our knowledge of similar or related phenomenon that can be tested. Unfortunately, medical epidemiology studies are used to form conclusions that are, in fact, testable using interventional studies, but usually aren’t. If, when they are, the results conflict with the current dogma they are often suppressed, and medical practice continues to reflect superstition rather than science.
So what is my background? Well, for those who question my scientific credibility, it’s worth a quick canter through my career, which for many years meant that an inability to rationally analyze the available data could be terminal. Getting shot or shot down tends to weed out the dogmatic or closed minded.
I’ve got an Honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering, an applied science degree specialising in atmospheric physics, chemistry and materials science. I have also had a lifelong interest in anthropology and paleo-anthropology. In the late 1990s, during my studies of Paleolithic societies and the evidences for disease in Paleolithic and early Neolithic remains, I began to realise that the modern ‘healthy diet’ pushed by the medical system and government did not match the diet of healthy ancient peoples at all. In fact, modern medical advice appeared to be given in direct opposition to the evidence. I subsequently discovered that most modern ‘medical science’ was based on epidemiology or observational science indistinguishable to the Aristotelian science that pre-dates modern science. The result is often indistinguishable from rumour and/or superstition.
I graduated from Loughborough University in 1996. I was commissioned into the Royal Air Force that year, completing officer training in 1995 before starting pilot training. Awarded my wings in 1999, I was posted to the Puma HC.1 where I became what is now known as a battlefield helicopter pilot, or in RCAF parlance, a tactical aviation pilot.
Always interested in science, I first became a Combat Survival and Rescue Officer, teaching survival skills in a hostile environment. I then qualified as an Electronic Warfare Officer and later Electronic Warfare Instructor, specialising in missiles, radar, infra-red, ultra-violet and electro-optical technologies for battlefield helicopters. In 2006 I became a Qualified Helicopter Instructor and was awarded my Full Mission Qualification for Direct Support Air Assault for UK Special Forces. I led my first wartime 4-ship air assault in December 2006 and became lead Air Assault instructor for my squadron after that deployment.
Promoted to Squadron Leader (Major) in 2009, I did a short staff tour before taking command of C Flight, 33 Sqn. This was the Operational Conversion and Training Flight for the RAF’s Puma force. I handed over command of the flight in January 2013, just before taking terminal leave and retiring from the RAF in May.
In 2014, I joined the RCAF Air Reserve as a pilot and flew CH.146 Griffons (Bell 413EP) for three years with the RCAF.
In the middle of all that, in 2005, I married the love of my life, a beautiful lady from Marrakech, Morocco. As time passed, it became more and more obvious that she was suffering from unknown illness that had dogged her from childhood. Doctors did many tests but could provide no real answers. She suffered from chronic fatigue, depression, gastrointestinal discomfort, skin conditions and other symptoms that we now know point at autoimmune disease.
In 2013/2014, after the birth of our second child, her condition worsened to the point where she was in constant pain. We both feared something horrible and pushed the doctors to give us some answers. Her new GP threw a ‘test for everything’ approach at her and the first clue arrived. Something in her blood work prompted him to send her for an MRI where inflammation in her small intestine was flagged. A biopsy confirmed his suspicions and she was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue in 2015 at age 32. Our oldest daughter had just begun to show symptoms of autoimmunity, so it was a relief to know we now had a suspect for the problem. A subsequent DNA test showed my wife and two elder daughters sharing the same polymorphism that made them vulnerable to Celiac disease. Our littlest one, born in 2019, has yet to be tested.
Meanwhile, in 2013, my youngest sister was diagnosed and went through chemotherapy for large B-cell lymphoma.
At this point the applied scientist in me came back to life and I began to review my studies from 15 years before. This wasn’t atmospheric physics or a missile guidance system, but microbiology and biochemistry are just complex engineering in a very small space. Paleoanthropology is just, paleoanthropology. An update in that field rapidly led me back to the same conclusion I’d reached 15 years earlier, we’re not supposed to eat cereal grains, legumes, nightshades, or perhaps any plants at all.
While we all went gluten free in our house, I disappeared down a dietary rabbit hole. I dug out and read a book I’d had for 15 years, ‘Neanderthin’ by Ray Audette. Ray was one of the pioneers of the modern paleo movement having cured himself of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, by cutting out the bulk of foods created by modern agriculture.
I then discovered the work of Dr Dom D’Agostino PhD, a leading researcher in ketogenic diets and medical ketosis. I started experimenting with intermittent fasting and a ketogenic diet and lost a few pounds and had some improvement in physical function. However, at 45, I was not able to perform like I could at 35 and it frustrated me.
Already immersed in the science of regenerative agriculture and soil ecosystems, I started downloading and reading peer reviewed research on diet and found that almost none of the standard dietary advice has any basis in interventional research. The Canada Health Guide is based on little more than rumour and activist lobbying and the ‘Food Triangle’ is pure artistic fantasy based on the lobbying points of the processed food industry. Canadians are being advised to eat what makes Kelloggs, Frito-Lay, Dow Chemicals and Monsanto profitable, not what is healthy for them. Zero science. Yes, you read that correctly, ZERO science backs up the food triangle taught to kids in every school in the western world. The modern western dietary recommendations are based on superstition and corporate advertising.
Then, being a Joe Rogan podcast watcher, I watched an interview with Dr Shawn Baker MD. Dr Baker’s carnivore diet intrigued me and didn’t differ greatly from the diets I’d experimented with, so I adopted a carnivore diet for three months at the beginning of 2019. The effect was immediate, my recovery from physical exercise changed in a week. At 46 I was able to recover from physical activity at a rate I hadn’t seen since I was in my mid-20s.
Having a foot still in the paleo camp (I’m a hunter and outdoorsman by instinct and upbringing), I decided to try a ‘seasonal paleo’ diet, carnivore by winter and just fresh veggies/fruits in the summer and early fall. By the end of the year I was not convinced and remembered what I’d taught years earlier as a combat survival instructor, ‘stay away from plants unless you’re 100% sure they’re safe’. Perhaps the truth was that very few or none were truly safe?
Having learned of the work of Miki Ben-Dor and other paleoanthropologists, as well as several other doctors and dietary pioneers I’ll mention below, I threw out the ‘modern paleo’ model and went ‘ancestral paleo’. Essentially a carnivore diet with only low toxin plant foods thrown in occasionally. No modern veggies allowed, and by modern, I mean bred or developed in the last 15,000 years.
I lost 14kg and was now leaner than I was when I went through officer training at age 23.
Anyway, that’s a long introduction but it leads me to the reason for this page. I’ve now read dozens of research papers on paleoanthropology and human health. I am part owner of a butcher shop and we have customers in every day who are dealing with one or other ‘diseases of civilization’, or autoimmune diseases. We talk, they learn of my family’s experiences and they start asking questions.
Dozens of conversations later and I’ve had multiple requests for a written summary of what I’ve learned from my reading and experimenting.
This is the first edition of that written summary. I’ve tried to make it less ‘rocket science’ (missiles are rockets) and more ‘normal human’ so please let me know if I’ve managed that.
Please note, this is not medical advice, it’s just my understanding of the current science. I’m not a doctor, I’m an applied scientist who now manages grassland ecosystems for a living. I’m happy to be challenged on these issues but on one condition, that the challenge is backed up by scientific evidence from repeatable interventional trials. Epidemiology can provide nothing more than a possible observed phenomenon. Absent scientific testing, that’s all it is, just an interesting idea, nothing more, nothing less.
I’ve changed my views on human diet a dozen times in the last 5 years, but always to follow the evidence. I’d advise anyone else to do the same, follow the evidence.
FOLLOW THE EVIDENCE!