Eating Like a Caveman

10 03 2010

You may have heard of something called the paleo diet, the idea being that to live healthy, humans should probably eat what their bodies evolved to eat. Cavemen did not eat Lucky Charms, Pop Tarts, Hot Pockets, or even bread. Recently, I’ve been reading stuff over at Free The Animal, a blog by Richard Nikoley, who went paleo three years ago and lost 60 pounds since. He avoids eating grains, vegetable oils, and the products derived from them. He also avoids grain-fed meat. He does not avoid all carbs and does not intentionally avoid any kind of animal fat. He maintains that a good paleo diet can be zero-carb or can include lots of starchy vegetables.

What I like about him is that he is not at all dogmatic about it. He does not care much to argue what exactly humans were eating in the Paleolithic era, as some paleo folks do, rather he uses the likely Paleolithic diet as a foundation and goes from there looking into scientific research. For example, humans have probably been eating wheat for a while, maybe we’ve adapted to it.

I’ve understood for some time that eating carbohydrates causes your pancreas to produce insulin which causes your body to store fat, while eating excess fat causes your body to simply burn it off. In other words, low-carb is good for weight lots and low-fat isn’t. However, we are told that avoiding cholesterol and fat, saturated fat in particular, is necessary for good heart health. Richard links to a lot of science showing this to be nonsense. First off, the cholesterol problem is more complicated than good (HDL) and bad (LDL). Second, your body produces almost all of the cholesterol in your blood. Eating more or less has basically no effect.

I want to eat like he does. The two difficulties I see would be finding and affording meat that is not grain-fed and avoiding wheat. Still, even if I just move partly toward this diet, my health should improve.

Genetic Sexual Attraction

4 08 2009

When young children grow up together they become desensitized to later sexual attraction. This is called the Westermark effect after Finnish anthropologist Edvard Westermarck. This occurs whether or not the children are related. It’s why people can be as repulsed by the thought of being with their step-siblings as they are with blood relatives. When children grow up away from family members this effect never occurs and for some reason there is often an extremely powerful sexual attraction if they meet later in life as adults. It is powerful enough that many act on it knowing exactly what they are doing. This happens between siblings, half-siblings, mother and son, father and daughter, and reportedly even between members of the same sex. People destroy their own relationships, families, and careers to be with someone society doesn’t allow them to be with. In most of the stories I’ve read or heard, the sexual relationship doesn’t last, but there are some couples who insist on being together no matter the cost.

It sounds crazy, but when you hear people who’ve been through this describe what happend, you know there’s something to it. If you have about 37 minutes to spare, check out this link to a CBC radio program. Listen to part 2 and the first part of part 3.  The woman being interviewed, Aziza Sindhu, replays interviews from 2 cases.

To the best of my knowlegde, I don’t have any close relatives that I didn’t know as a child, so I don’t think I have to worry about this, but I know someone who does.

More stories:

Brother and Sister, and Lovers – ABC News

The Brother and Sister Who Fell in Love – – a sibling couple with 4 children together, determined to stay together

Forbidden Love Between Siblings – ABC News again – another couple determined to stay together

Parted-at-Birth twins ‘married’ – BBC News – These two didn’t know they were siblings when they got married. The story brings up the idea that it’s important for adopted to children to know about their birth parents so that this doesn’t happen. However, most of these relationships occur when relatives seek each other out and wouldn’t happen if this information was never available.

Cool, huh?