Archive for December, 2011

I wrote this a couple of years ago, but I’m reposting it for the newer readers.
Happy Holidays — Tom

‘Twas the night before statins, and all through the land
Our lipids were lethal, as we’d soon understand.
Our eggs were all stacked in the fridge with great care
In hopes they’d be scrambled, or fried if we dare.

The children were calm and well-fed in their beds,
While visions of sausages danced in their heads.
The dads, mostly lean, and wives often thinner
Had just settled down for a porterhouse dinner.

When out in the world there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their plates to see what was the matter,
And what on the cover of TIME should appear,
But an arrogant scientist, peddling fear.

Cheers and belief from an ignorant press
Gave a luster of truth to the new, biased mess.
So away to the doctor we flew in a pack,
In hopes of a plan to end heart attacks.

He was dressed in all white from his neck to his butt
(which conveniently hid the size of his gut).
He sat us all down for a well-meaning chat:
“More carbohydrates — avoid all that fat!”

So sugars and starches we passed through our lips,
Only to wear them on bellies and hips.
Our hearts with their plaques continued to swell,
We grew diabetic and weren’t feeling well.

The doctor announced it was likely our fault —
We were, after all, still eating salt.
“But there’s no other option,” he said with shrug,
And pulled out his pad to prescribe some new drugs.

“Now Crestor! Now Zocor! Then Lipitor next!
Now Lipex! Now Lescol, and best take Plavix!
To the depths of the liver! To the artery wall!
Force it down, force it down, foul cholesterol!”

Our appetites crazed, we soon looked like blimps.
Our children lost focus, our manhood went limp.
The doctor examined joints now wracked with pain
And concluded the patients were old or insane.

He chose Celebrex for muscles that ache,
And added Cialis to the drugs we should take.
“Now stick to your diet, and be of good cheer,
If this doesn’t work, I’ll do lap-band next year!”


Comments 26 Comments »

Busy weekend.  With the last of the electrical work done (I hope) on the house, we were finally able to put the rugs on the floors, move our furniture back against the walls, and unpack (mostly, anyway) the rest of the boxes.

It’s a treat to have some real space again.  In the apartment, my office was a table in our bedroom.  No filing cabinet, no shelves … I didn’t even have room to hook up speakers to my computers.  My other two computers were in storage.

To fill orders, we took supplies out of a closet, printed labels, then put together the packages on our bed or on the floor.  Sometimes the packing tape picked up a strand of hair from the floor, and I wondered how the Fat Head fans would feel about receiving a DNA sample with their orders.  I had to constantly remind myself not to commit any crimes.

As of yesterday -– after a trip to Costco for some industrial-strength shelves –- my office in the new house was at full working capacity.  I’d write in a closet if need be, but I feel more creative when I have some space around me … and when Chareva isn’t sleeping five feet away.

Other than unpacking and arranging, I didn’t do much over the weekend.  I finally caught up on emails tonight, which gives me an opportunity to share more letters from readers.

A Reader Update

Back in March I heard from a woman named Gretchen:

I am a 42 yr old mother of 2, and when I was 35 I was diagnosed with stage 2b breast cancer, I beat it! Then 24 months later I was diagnosed with Uterine cancer. I beat that too, but in the meantime I kept gaining weight. My oncologist had told me to eat fruits ! Tons of fruits, a lot of blended fruit drinks. I was also then put on a low fat diet, which I followed faithfully for 2 years.  I gained almost 200 lbs!  In a 4 year period, I was always tired, I was always starving! I didn’t know if it was really worth living anymore. Even though I beat 2 cancers, all the excess weight and starvation was killing me slowly, I could barely walk, my hips just killed me. My gums receded, my hair was a mess. I kept getting odd sores all over.

Then one day I woke up and said enough is enough, and I went online and guess what I found? I found you! I ordered your movie, and from that day forward, I finally feel like I am getting  ME BACK! I now know why I am FAT, why I will always be FAT if i keep eating carbs. I gave up carbs that day, I am following Atkins, and on there Forums I am always telling people to watch your movie. I tell everyone about your movie.

I can happily say that not even a full 3 months later, I am down 51.8 lbs, I have dropped 4 sizes. I can walk again with no pain, I can work out and I have gone back to work. I still have a long way to go. But now that I know what I learned from your movie, I know there is no stopping me now.

Thank You , Thank You, Thank You! You always have a place in my heart. Which will be beating for  a long, long time now because of you.


Yesterday, I received a progress report from Gretchen:

I thought I would give you a follow up! I have now lost a total of 164 lbs in less than a year. Omg can you believe it?  I can’t, and I see myself every day… lol.

Once I got it into my head that this is a lifestyle,  it all fell into place so wonderfully. I have not cheated once, not at all, and have no desire to.  In fact, on the few days I felt weak I actually re-watched your DVD and the weakness went right away.

I wanted to share with you my Journey on Atkins. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

I happily accept your thanks, Gretchen, but you’re the one who lost 164 pounds in less than a year.  Outstanding!

Lose the Wheat, Lose the Rash

Mr. Naughton,

I wanted to write and thank you for all of your many efforts to spread the word about eating a low carb, high fat diet.  Growing up I didn’t struggle with weight, but once I hit 25 I started packing on the pounds.  I also had this pesky eczema on my scalp.  It got so bad several times that I needed a prescription for antibiotics because it got infected.  I spent a lot of time feeling self conscious because I had such horrible dandruff, and the puss from the infection on my scalp made my hair look like I’d never washed it in my life.  (Sorry, that’s really gross I know)

When we watched Fat Head about a year ago it was like a gong going off in my head.  I knew that sugars were bad, I’d cut them out several times, but keeping them out of my diet constantly was always problematic.  When I realized that the grains I was eating were just as bad if not worse I made a huge shift in my eating habits.  Going low carb was easy, doing the high fat was a little bit more of a struggle until I realized that my skin was feeling better than it ever had in my life.  Over the past ten years alone I’ve tried countless remedies, medical and holistic to attempt a cure for the rashes on my scalp (and occasionally my face and neck) nothing worked.  Suddenly the itchiness, flakes, oozing and pain were gone, almost overnight.

I initially attributed this mostly to the added fat content in my diet.  As I started reading some of the books on your recommended reading list I realized it was just as much that I had taken out the harmful grains, especially the wheat.  Some of the other health benefits that I wasn’t expecting when I started this diet: insomnia gone, tooth pain gone, energy out the wazoo, depression a distant memory.

I don’t think I would have ever stumbled onto this diet on my own.  Thank you for presenting the information in such a straightforward, entertaining format.  Having this diet has changed so many things about my health and outlook on life.  I initially started because I was over 200 lbs and couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror anymore.  I haven’t actually lost that much weight, about 15lbs.  But my jeans are huge on me now, my body has changed soooo much.

Thanks again,

Moselle’s story is a reminder of why I don’t even own a scale anymore:  this diet isn’t about losing weight.  It’s about health.  Losing weight is a nice side benefit.  But if Moselle’s jeans are huge on him after losing 15 pounds, I’m guessing he’s seeing a shift in body composition, with less fat and more lean body mass.

Fifty-something and feeling good

Dear Tom:

Being 50+ (1961 model) I’ve started to come to terms with the annoying little concept that I might not be immortal after all. I think that you might guess what brought this to my mind: being tired all the time, feeling woozy after a meal, excessive sweating, thirst, weight gain and loss of anything slightly resembling physical endurance.

And then came your movie, which I watched in Israel on the YES SatTV network. To be honest, I thought I was going to watch a parody on “Supersize Me” – because that’s how it was advertised in the TV guide. I was completely floored and then I smacked myself on the head because I’ve been working for close to 30 years in the field of medical diagnosis and while knowledgeable enough to recognize the symptoms of the Type II Diabetes creeping on me I never gave any thought to what might be causing it.

Your movie led me to reading Gary Taubes “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and Kendrick’s “The Great Cholesterol Con”. Getting these books through Amazon was the best on-line purchase I ever made since the invention of the Internet.

Fast forward the last two months and I’m now 7Kg lighter and boy…you wouldn’t believe what other changes cutting the carbs and going high fat did for me. The wooziness after meals? Gone. The tiredness that led me to become a couch potato? Gone. The general doom and gloom attitude? Also gone. The only thing that is thing that is marring the general happiness is the anger I’m feeling toward myself for buying the official party line lock stock and barrel and accepting all the BS I’ve been force fed by the medical establishment during the last 15 years.

So thank you again for the work and effort you put into getting Fat Head done and published worldwide. You got yourself another admirer.


Don’t be angry with yourself for buying into the official party line, Claude.  Most of us bought into it.  Heck, when I worked for a little health magazine, I not only bought the party line, I repeated it in print.  The good news is that it’s now easier than ever to find those all-important opposing views.  Thank heaven for the Internet.

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt

We had a little PayPal mixup on an order for a Wheat Is Murder t-shirt, so I wrote to the buyer to straighten it out.  Garth, who ordered the shirt, confirmed the order and mentioned that he and his wife had watched Fat Head and it changed their lives.  His wife Rhonda emailed shortly after to expand on that statement:

This is the wife back at home base.  I can’t contain myself any longer, I have to elaborate on “Changed our lives.”

We don’t feel hungry anymore.

We don’t have to weigh portions or feel guilty about eating.

We don’t feel this sense of panic that we might miss a meal if we’re not close to food ALL the time.

We actually understand now what it means to feel full and put down the fork when we’re satisfied.

We’ve lost weight, but know that even when we plateau that we’re healthier on the inside and that is what is important.

We have a physical and mental sense of better health.

We’ve never felt so right, so righteous about an eating style before.

Our oldest daughter has always been ‘busy’ and as soon as she was in preschool it became apparent that something wasn’t quite right. By the end of the year she was referred to a developmental clinic and we were just waiting for the appointment, waiting for the diagnosis of ADHD or something like that. Nothing severe, but symptoms were there.  But then we saw your film. And then we read Taubes and Wheat Belly and took our family off of wheat/grains. Within a couple days she became ‘present,’ started conversations with us, and became more focused on tasks. One month later she had her appointment and the doctor does NOT have concerns of her having ADHD.

Thank you, Tom. Loved the movie. Changed our lives.

Rhonda, you just gave me a fabulous Christmas present.  I’m going to pass the present on to Dr. William Davis as well.

Why I can never run for president …

I checked my Facebook messages over the weekend and saw one with this heading:

Ummm Tom – thanks for getting me pregnant!

After a moment of panic, I remembered that I haven’t been a blackout drinker in a long, long time …  and one of the benefits of being fifty-something is that if you are stupid enough to out-drink your memory, you can’t possibly get anyone pregnant in that condition without medical implements being involved.  So I read on:

Thanks to seeing your Fat Head documentary and starting to eat low carb, we have managed to get pregnant, and I am 41! We only found out a few days ago and the baby is due in about 7 weeks! I didn’t even realise I was pregnant, it has been such an amazingly easy pregnancy! So thank you from my husband and me – we owe you deep gratitude – you and your documentary are not only changing lives, but helping create them!

If the baby is a boy, I hope they’ll consider naming it after me.

We’ll be leaving town this week to visit the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, the Younger Sister and the Older Brother for Christmas.  I’ll check comments when I can, but I doubt I’ll have time to write a post.

Happy Holidays to all of you.


Comments 27 Comments »

A reader sent me a link to an interesting article about “citizen scientists” – people who don’t bear the official “scientist” stamp from a university, but are nonetheless running their own small experiments and sharing their data online.  Some quotes from the article with my comments:

More than a decade ago, in hopes of advancing research on the rare genetic disease that afflicts her children, Sharon Terry let two different researchers draw their blood for study. But when she asked for the results of the investigations, the scientists gave her a startling response. Information generated from her own children’s DNA, they said, didn’t belong to her.

Well, if the state of Ohio decides her children are too fat, they won’t belong to her either.

Today, Ms. Terry is part of a growing movement to unlock medical secrets by empowering patients to gather, control and even analyze their own health data.

Members of this loose collective of amateurs, who call themselves “health hackers” and “citizen scientists,” also perform their own analyses and use the Internet to create and run experiments and clinical trials. They all believe that too much science happens behind closed doors.

I agree, but that’s because most health science these days is being conducted in hopes of developing a new pois—er, drug that can be patented.

The controversial notion that people with no formal scientific training can make meaningful research contributions arose a few years ago, prompted in part by new, inexpensive DNA tests intended for consumers.

I can see why the notion is controversial.  Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Ben Franklin — they never would have contributed anything worthwhile without first getting their PhDs … no wait, sorry, I had them confused with people who attended college.  Well, perhaps Thomas Edison had some brilliant professors during his four months of formal education.

Critics of this new wave of citizen scientists point to several potential problems. Amateurs may not collect data rigorously, they say, and may draw conclusions from sample sizes that are too small to yield statistically reliable results.

We’d better train them not to do that.  Otherwise they’ll end up declaring that red meat causes cancer and restricting salt is the cure for hypertension.

When an individual patient determines that something is making him feel better, “that’s great,” says Harlan Krumholz, a professor at Yale School of Medicine, “but to find something that I can put in a textbook and encourage everyone to offer to patients requires a stronger evidence base.”

Don’t be silly, professor.  Lack of strong evidence didn’t stop the makers of Lipitor or Prozac from getting really, really rich.

In traditional studies, scientists guard their data from outsiders for several reasons. They fear that someone else might take that data and publish a finding ahead of them, taking credit for their discoveries. Even after a study is done, they often prefer to keep the data private, for any potential future discoveries.

Or so people don’t look at the data and say, “Hey, look!  There was a small reduction in cardiovascular events in the statin group, but more people died.”

Citizen-science projects don’t fall under the purview of the Food and Drug Administration, since they generally don’t involve testing or developing anything new—such as a new drug, medical device or diagnostic test. The experiments usually test things like vitamins that are already FDA-approved or sold over-the-counter.

Earlier this year, prompted by the growing availability of consumer DNA tests, the American Medical Association sent a letter to the FDA saying that genetic testing should only be done with the guidance of a doctor or trained genetic counselor.

In other words, “People should have to pay us for an office visit before they learn anything about themselves on their own.”

Doctors worried that people might not understand the genetic information being explained to them.

When I lived in California, I had to explain to my doctor that my LDL score was calculated and probably wrong since my triglycerides were very low, and that there’s a difference between small, dense LDL and large, fluffy LDL.  (Not the doctor in Fat Head, by the way.)  Since I wasn’t wearing a white coat at the time, he seemed to assume I making it all up.

As for interpreting results of a DNA test, there’s this new method of acquiring information called the Internet.  Anyone motivated enough to take a DNA test at home will probably make the effort to look up the explanations.

Melanie Swan, an investment adviser in Silicon Valley, is one of the citizen scientists questioning the traditional approach. She has written a smart-phone app that lets users study their genetic data to find any correlations between known efficacy rates for drugs associated with certain genes. Ultimately, she says, the goal is to help patients tailor their own treatment plans.

So she’s an investment adviser, not a programmer by profession, but she wrote her own smart-phone application … I dunno, she may not have the intelligence to interpret a DNA test without a doctor helping her past the big words.

Richard Nikoley of Free the Animal gave an excellent speech at the Ancestral Health Symposium about n = 1 experiments, the point being that if you try different diets, supplements, exercise programs, etc., and carefully track the results, those results are relevant –- for you, if not for everyone else.  If you adopt a low-carb diet and your roller-coaster glucose level stabilizes, it’s relevant.  If you give up wheat and your psoriasis or arthritis vanishes, it’s relevant.

Now we’ve got people sharing their individual and small-group experiments online, which means they can go a step beyond n = 1 and learn from each other’s results as well.  The Wisdom of Crowds in action.

I think this is a terrific trend.  Somewhere, Ben Franklin is smiling.


Comments 35 Comments »

Yesterday afternoon I caught up on emails from readers, which included some disturbing news articles -– like this one, about a boy being taken from his mother and put in foster care because he’s too fat:

An 8-year-old Cleveland boy has just become the poster-child for a sad new nadir in the childhood obesity epidemic. The third grader, who weighs more than 200 pounds, was removed from his mother’s custody because of what officials have deemed medical neglect.

The County said that the child’s weight gain was caused by his environment and that the mother wasn’t following doctor’s orders — which she disputes.
“This child’s problem was so severe that we had to take custody,” Mary Louise Madigan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Family Services said. The agency worked with the mother for more than a year before asking Juvenile Court for custody of the child, she said.

Lawyers for the mother, a substitute elementary school teacher who is also taking vocational school classes, think the county has overreached in this case by arguing that medical conditions the boy is at risk for — but doesn’t yet have — pose an imminent danger to his health.”

So the state is taking the kid away for the sake of his health.  I wonder how separating him from his mother and forcing him to live with strangers will affect his mental health?  And if he’s still fat after spending a year or so with a foster family, will the state officials return him to his mother — and then resign?

Speaking of taking kids away, I also read this article:

Finnish officials have told a family of low-carbohydrate enthusiasts that their children would be taken into care if they failed to heed nutrition advice, provincial paper Iisalmen Sanomat reported Sunday.

Ursula Schwab, a clinical nutrition specialist at the University of East Finland, said at least one family had received such an ultimatum after parents ignored healthcare staff’s warnings about the dangers of an imbalanced diet for children.

Schwab added that she knew of parents who had put toddlers on so-called low-carb diets. “A strict low-carb diet is very fatty, and it suppresses hunger. If you down eggs and bacon for breakfast it will take hours before you can even imagine eating again.”

Well, for Pete’s sake, we can’t have kids downing bacon and eggs for breakfast and then not being hungry again for several hours! How are they supposed to become obese enough to be taken away from their parents for their own good?!

Finally, I read a New York Times puff piece praising the accomplishments of George McGovern -– including, of course, his inspiring leadership while establishing the Dietary Goals for Americans.

Head. Bang. On. Desk.

With those cheery bits of news in mind, I went to bed and had the strangest dream. It began with an aging politician snoring in his bed on Christmas Eve …


Woooooooh! Woooooooooh!

ZZZZZ – !!

“What? What’s that noise? Is somebody there?”

“Yes, Senator McGovern, somebody is there. And I’ve come for you. Woooooooh!

“Hey! Enough with the Wooooooh stuff, okay? I was a bomber pilot in the war. I’m not afraid of ghosts.”

“You will be. Woooooooh!

“Oh yeah? Well, if you’re a ghost, whose ghost are you?”

“Richard Milhous Nix—“


“Geez, calm down, George. I’m not here to hurt you.“

“Well then, what the heck do you want?”

“To deliver a message. Let me make this perfectly clear:  Three more ghosts will enter your room tonight.”

“Ahh, your White House plumbers are back in action again, huh?”

“Not spooks, George.  Ghosts. And you’d better pay attention to what they show you.”

“Fine, I’ll pay attention. Now go away. I have nightmares about you as it is. Didn’t even win my own state, for the love of–”

“Okay, I’m going. You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore. Woooooooh!

“Three more ghosts … bah, humbug! Just a bad dream, that’s all it was.”


Geooooooorge! Geoooooorge!


“Now what? Who is that?”

“It’s me, George. Teddy Kennedy.”

“Teddy! Great to see you! What are you doing here?”

“I’m the Ghost of Government Past.”

“A ghost? But you’re all wet.”

“I drove here.”

“I see.”

“Come with me, George. We need to visit your past. There, look down. See?”

“Hey! That’s me, conducting my hearings on the Dietary Goals For America! Aw, boy, Teddy, weren’t we a bunch of optimists back then? So sure of ourselves, telling everyone else how to live right.”

“Indeed, Senator. You really put the ‘govern’ in McGovern, George.”

“Yup. We were so full of promise, always trying to do some good.”

“Yes, George, your intentions were good. No matter what else you see tonight, remember that:  your intentions were good.”

“Yeah, yeah, of course.  Huh … ”

“Something wrong, George?”

“I kind of forgot about this part. ‘A senator, unlike a research scientist, doesn’t have the luxury of waiting for every last shred of evidence to come in.’ Did I really say that?”

“Yes, George. But like I said, your intentions were good.”

“Of course.”

“I have to go now. Some of us are getting a game of touch football going. Have you ever tried that with ghosts you can’t actually touch? It’s weird. Goodbye, George.”

“Ted? Ted? Ahhh, I knew it. Back in bed. Just another weird dream. I really should get some sleep…”


“Hiya, George!”

“WHAT THE—Jerry? Jerry Ford?”

“The Ghost of Government Present, at your service!”

“Jerry, why are you here?”

“Well, the previous Ghost of Government Present had to resign, so—”

“No, no. Why are you here, in my bedroom?”

“Oh, right. I need to show you something. Come on, follow me. Down there. Take a look. ”

“Who are these people, Jerry? Why are you showing them to me?”

“That’s the Cratchit family, George. They’re having dinner.”

“Yes, I can see that. But why is the mother crying?”

“Because some government officials are threatening to take away Tiny Tim and send him to a foster home.”

“Which one is Tiny Tim?”

“That one.”

“Wow. Look, Jerry, I feel sorry for parents and all, but maybe they shouldn’t have nicknamed that kid ‘Tiny.’ He’s a blimp.”

“That’s why the government is threatening to take him away, George.”

“They’re taking him away for being fat? What is this, the old Soviet Union?”

“There’s no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe, and there never be will be under a Ford Administration!”

“Uh, Jerry–”

“Sorry. But I still don’t see why that line got everyone so upset.”

“Jerry, why don’t the parents just encourage Tiny Tim to lose some weight?”

“They’ve tried, George. They’ve tried over and over. As soon as they realized he had a weight problem, they put him on a strict low-fat diet with plenty of grains. Cereals with skim milk. Sandwiches with lean meats. Pasta, potatoes, rice. Crackers and fruit juice for snacks. No eggs, no cream, no butter. Just like you recommended, remember?”

“Well, if that didn’t work, they should have tried just feeding him less. I mean, come on, Jerry—”

“They tried that too, George. They’ve gone from doctor to doctor, and they always get the same advice: put him on a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet. Poor Tiny Tim has spent half his life feeling hungry, but getting fatter anyway.”

“Bah, humbug.  If they were truly following my advice—”

“They did follow your advice, George. But since Tiny Tim is still fat, the government health experts assume the parents are lying. That’s why they want to take Tiny Tim away.”

“But this can’t be! My intentions were good! Please, Jerry, tell me there’s still some way we can … Jerry? Jerry, where did you go?!”

“I’ve got to go, George. The previous Ghost of Government Present called and told me he needs a big favor of some kind.”

“Jerry, wait, I can’t see the family anymore! What happened to Tiny Tim? Jerry, come back! I promise I’ll do better if you just give me another chance!”

“There you go again.”

“Wha … Ronald Reagan?”

“Yes. Although I’m currently starring as the Ghost of Government Yet To Come.”

“This is a complete nightmare!”

“Well, now, that’s what they said about Bedtime for Bonzo, but I think over the years the critics have come to appreciate—“

“Ronnie, please, I need to know what happened to Tiny Tim. Take me back to the family.”

“Too late, George. You’re in the future now.”

“Then take me to the family now … I mean, here in the future.”

“You sure you want to see that, George?”

“Yes, Ronnie. I must.”

“Okay, come along with me. See? There’s the family, sitting down for dinner.”

“But Tiny Tim’s chair is empty! Did he … did he …”

“Die? No, George. He lost weight, his blood pressure went down, his glucose stabilized, his kidney function returned to normal, and he started concentrating better in school.”

“Then where is he?”

“The government took him away, George.”

“But why?”

“Well, take a good look at the family dinner table, George.”

“Steak, broccoli, butter, some kind of cream-based dessert … wait, where’s the bread, Ronnie? The pasta? The potatoes? They’re eating way too much fat.”

“That’s why the government took Tiny Tim away, George. The Cratchits stopped following your advice and Tiny Tim got better. But the government doesn’t like it when people stop following your advice, so they took Tiny Tim away.”

“But I never wanted any of this to happen, Ronnie! My intentions were—“

“—were good. Yes, I know, George. There you go again, assuming good intentions mean good results. Like I always said, sometimes government is the problem.”

“I refuse to believe this is my fault, Ronnie. It can’t be.”

“Then you need to ask yourself a question: People have been following your advice for 40 years. Are they happier now than they were 40 years ago? Are they leaner than they were 40 years ago? Are they healthier than they were 40 years ago? Are kids concentrating better than they were 40 years ago?”

“Well, no, but—”

“Then George, maybe it’s time you just admit your advice was wrong. I’ve got to go now. I’m expecting Nancy to join me any minute.”

“Ronnie, wait! Don’t go! Ronnie, please, I want to go back! I want to go back!”


“Wha? My own bed … 7:00 a.m. alarm … so it was all just a dream! There’s still time.“


“Excuse me, young man! Up here!”

“Yes, sir?”

“Do you know a family with a boy named Tiny Tim?”

“Yes, sir. They live just down the road.”

“Here, I’m tossing you down a hundred-dollar bill. I want you to go out and buy the biggest, fattest turkey you can find and take it to Tiny Tim’s house.”

“Will do, sir.”

“And some ham. And some bacon. And some eggs and butter. And a nice selection of green vegetables. Can you do that?”

“Of course, sir. Right away, sir. Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas to you, young man. And may God bless us, every one!”


Comments 58 Comments »

Last night I was at the BMI holiday party (which spilled over into a local pub after business hours), so I didn’t have time to write a post.  But a reader sent me a link to this video, and it’s worth sharing:

Here’s what’s great about this:  Fat Joe appeals to an audience of younger people who may never read Wheat Belly or see Fat Head on Netflix.

Keep it up, Joe.  You may save some lives.


Comments 34 Comments »

Over the weekend, I happened to catch this news segment while nursing my morning coffee. Take a look:

It’s nice that the Senate is encouraging more people to be “aware” of Crohn’s and colitis, but I was already aware of them. I used to suffer bouts of colitis as a teenager and young adult.

I wasn’t aware, however, that rates of Crohn’s and colitis are on the rise.  After viewing this segment, I did a little online searching and found some articles on the topic.  Here’s one:

Inflammatory bowel disease on the rise in kids

The reason more children being diagnosed with ‘adult’ disease is a mystery

For 10-year-old Jacob Krause, getting ready for the new school year wasn’t a simple matter of back-to-school shopping. It also involved working out logistics for getting to the bathroom as many as 20 times during a single school day.

The Clarksville Elementary School fifth-grader has severe ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease that increasingly, and somewhat mysteriously, strikes children.

The number of children afflicted by colitis and another inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, has increased 50 percent in the past decade, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. About 1.5 million Americans suffer from colitis and Crohn’s, about 10 percent of them under the age of 18.

“We’re seeing younger and younger children getting it over time,” said Dr. Maria Oliva-Hemker, chief of the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine’s division of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition.

The reasons for the increase are not clear. But many researchers believe something in the environment must be behind the surge in pediatric colitis, Crohn’s and other autoimmune diseases, which have been on the rise generally.

Hmmm … environmental causes … has anything in our environment changed significantly over the past 20 to 30 years?

One theory is that as the developed world has become more hygienic, the body has become less practiced at fighting off bugs — and more vulnerable to autoimmune diseases, in which the body attacks its own cells or tissues.

“Since we know [inflammatory bowel disease] is found in more developed countries, it must be something about the exposures that we are seeing in our day-to-day lives,” Oliva-Hemker said. “Probably the fact that we are a more hygienic society, the fact that children, even at an early age, are kept in very clean environments — not necessarily outside, playing in the dirt, being exposed to very low levels of routine viruses.”

Ahhh, yes, that must be it! Children are getting digestive disorders because we’re too darned clean. Thank goodness we just moved to a farm where my girls like to run around outside and return home dirty. Now if I can just talk Chareva out of insisting that the girls take a bath afterwards, they can avoid ruining their digestive systems through excess hygiene.

Here’s another article on the recent rise of intestinal disorders:

Baffling Rise of Intestinal Disorder in the Young

Crohn’s disease, a serious disorder of the intestines, appears to be increasing sharply among children, a trend that may reflect some unknown influence of Western industrial civilization, a British scientist said yesterday at a scientific symposium in Houston.

”It’s almost as if the infection-free environment of modern Western society could be a factor,” said Dr. John Walker-Smith of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, an expert on intestinal diseases of children.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Ferguson said that the excellent health records compiled through the National Health Service in Britain had allowed her to chart a dramatic and unexplained increase in Crohn’s disease among children in Scotland over 15 years.

Dr. Walker-Smith said it was possible that the decline of many childhood infections might allow children in the West to grow up without the vigorous development of their immune defense systems that such infections would ordinarily promote.

Dr. Walker-Smith admitted that this is speculation, but he noted that the increase in the disease among children was real and there was evidence indicating that something in the modern Western environment or experience might be involved.

Once again, the possible explanation offered is that our kids are so clean and so free of infections, they’re no longer developing immunities early in life to whatever mysterious bugs cause Crohn’s and colitis.

Interesting hypothesis. Although I have to wonder: since Crohn’s and colitis are still rising in developed countries — where hygiene has been good and rates of childhood infections have low for many decades now –- doesn’t it seem likely that these digestive-tract diseases are caused by something kids in developed countries regularly digest … such as mutant wheat?

In Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis cites a study which showed that rates of celiac are four times higher now than 50 years ago. (That’s actual prevalence of the disease –- not diagnosis.) We also know that people who suffer from celiac are also more likely to suffer from other digestive ailments such as Crohn’s and colitis.  So we can reasonably speculate (but not conclude) that whatever causes celiac also causes or aggravates these other digestive issues.

Considering that kids are eating wheat products that contain both more gluten overall and mutant gluten with a protein sequence that never existed until around 40 years ago, I think it’s entirely possible that Crohn’s and colitis are on the rise because kids (and adults) are consuming glutens their bodies can’t handle.  These are, after all, auto-immune diseases.  It’s not unreasonable to suspect that when these strange glutens seep in our systems, our bodies attack them and end up attacking our own tissues at the same time.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard from quite a few people whose digestive ailments went away when they stopped eating grains – including the sound engineer for Fat Head, who told me watching the film changed his life.  He no longer needs a daily dose of Prilosec to get through the day.

As I’ve mentioned before, I used to always keep a bottle of Pepto-Bismal in my medicine cabinet and carried the tablet version whenever I traveled. Now I haven’t had a dose of the stuff in years — not since cutting way back on grains.

In the newsclip, Dr. Marion mentioned that new molecules and new medications are being developed to treat Crohn’s and colitis. Fine, but treating a disease isn’t the same as avoiding it in the first place.  It would be nice if some of the research dollars chasing new medications were directed towards determining if the mutant grain we now call “wheat” is behind the rise in digestive diseases.

But I don’t expect that happen, not in a country where grains are big business and the federal government subsidizes wheat farmers. Look at what happened when school-lunch guidelines called for fewer fried potatoes.  Politicians from potato-growing states rushed in and demanded changes in the guidelines.

The Senate may want us to all be aware of Crohn’s and colitis, but I seriously doubt farm-state senators will want us to also be aware that modern wheat may be causing them. We’ll have to spread that message ourselves.


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