July 24, 2008

Best site arguing for a natural diet

The best site I've found that argues for a natural diet is ecologos.org. It's not advertising anything. It's just one person on a mission to tell the world the truth about what diet is natural for humans. It's entertaining if you care about what is true, regardless of having to bend your mental habits and tastes a little to appreciate correctness and correction rather than only sloppy thinking.

Many products and diet-related sites such as mercola.com and various blogs and forums use the word "natural" a lot, but mean food that has a little more to do with what occurs in nature than with what occurs by high technology, not whether it's natural for humans to get that food. Ecologos draws a clear distinction between "natural" and "cultural," putting more on the cultural side than less observant and less logical thinkers do, and has an argument for a natural diet consistent with that.

Some advocates of a meat-eating "Paleodiet" argue that in the Paleolithic, humans ate meat to survive, so that's what humans adapted to eating, by evolution, and what we should eat now. All meat eating by humans is culture, not nature. It involves using tools and cooking, which is how we get the archaeological evidence that it was done. Tools and cooking are culture and artifice, and without them killing and eating wild game is one of the hardest things a human could do, totally against instinct, and quite dangerous. Any meat eater who doesn't recognize that meat eating is artificial and cultural, requiring tools and training, is living in a fantasy world. Meat eaters who are realistic and concerned with preparedness for wilderness survival would agree that tools and training for hunting, cleaning, and cooking meat must be emphasized, or else faced with a live wild beast or a stinking carcass, eating meat in any quantity is not going to happen. Especially not if there's fruit on a tree nearby, and the human hasn't been properly acculturated to think "Fruit is bad for you, it has too much sugar," but instead follows his or her instincts to eat what looks, smells, and tastes good, and is easy to get by hand.

It is a great fallacy to believe that whatever humans have done culturally for a while, we're adapted to doing at a basic biological level. The equivalent fallacy is to believe that whatever we are starting to do, we will soon adapt to doing, by miraculous seeming powers of evolution to cause extremely unlikely, for all we know impossible abilities, for no particular reason. After all: "Evolution is cleverer than you are." (Orgel's Second Rule) So, humans will soon be adapted to breathing in the vacuum of space, because humans are spacewalking on a regular basis. At least humans will soon lose some of our toes, becoming more like horses, because we've been wearing shoes for a few hundred or thousand years. That one was what one of my sisters heard from a biology teacher, who believed it.

Species live well on foods and in conditions that satisfy their biological nutritional needs. If they can live on artificial food or in artificial conditions for a while, food and conditions adjusted to let them survive, that doesn't cause their biological needs to change. No selection pressure means no evolution by selection.

Rational culture should aim to fit human biological needs, not to excuse irrational, unexamined culture with rationalizations of evolutionary adaptation. Dietary culture is rapidly changing, not a stable tradition, because people know we are unhealthy compared with what's possible and we were worse in health before modern conveniences such as refrigeration. Therefore, it's absurd to rationalize cultural diets as something we're adapted to eating, when they certainly evolve many times faster than humans hypothetically could.

April 30, 2008

State of Fear, by Michael Crichton

I already totally didn't believe in global warming, because I was following the scientific debate, and the case for it was so lost by 2007 that the IPCC didn't even bother to try to hide that their report summaries are written by UN bureaucrats and approved by UN diplomats without any scientific input or review, like they tried to hide it back in '95. In other words, as of 2008, only the sort of morons who don't know that politicians lie, and don't know or don't care that all their speeches and books have been ghostwritten since at least JFK, still believe in global warming. So it was kind of late to read this book, and the opinions in the book were not really daring or fresh. Maybe they would have been if it had been written in '99, just after the record hot weather year of '98 that made alarmist predictions of global warming catastrophe a popular topic.

It was fun to laugh at the characters who didn't know that global warming was all a crock yet, as they took time to be clued in. The graphs make that a richer experience, as you can think back to looking over some of the same graphs yourself for the first time, and be reminded of your own learning experience. That isn't as boring as it sounds, because it's given a pique by being put in the setting of a violent action novel.

The part with cannibals was over the top and at a similar point in the story structure as the use of cannibals in Forrest Gump. It was also a ham-handed way to express a comeuppance wish on people who have naive views, in the author's opinion, about primitives or savages and nature.

The portrayal of terrorism and terrorist groups and their motives is cartoonish, standard action novel/movie fare, which is surprising given that the book was presumably written after 2001, which should have caused some thought. It's an area where you have to do your own thinking, taking the novel as an example of what people imagine, without any helpful commentary from within the novel. People imagine terrorists and secret agents killing each other with abandon, each believing they're doing what is necessary for ultimate good purposes, saving lives really. That imagination seems so far from reality. I wonder if there are people who believe that as their reality and go around killing on sight whoever is their enemy or target, according to the plot as they see it, and aren't just suffering from paranoid delusions.

January 27, 2008

New look and fruitarianism

I just selected custom colors for Return of the Sasquatch, replacing the popular green theme it used to have. I feel like making a lot of changes. New subjects, new directions in my life.

For instance, this year I've already tried two extreme diets, though only for a few days each strictly: First, I tried a very low carb diet, meat and eggs only, except one serving of greens I had in three days. So my diet was the no carb, meat-only diet the other two days. Then with a headache from that, I wanted to try a fruit and nuts only diet, which is pretty close to what I was tending to eat for snacks last year anyway, so the argument that it's the instinctive natural diet for hominids agrees with my taste.

Some people say a fruitarian diet causes too much weight loss and some fruitarians seem to believe that and try to justify becoming unusually thin as healthier. I don't need to lose weight, I just want more energy. Nuts are 2/3 fat by weight, and dried fruit is over 3/4 carbohydrates by weight, so calorie density can be higher than any other diet, for convenient cheap fruitarian snacks.

Nuts are botanically fruit and generally understood as part of a what's meant by a fruitarian diet. A lot of fruitarians define their diet as about eating raw, living food and so might not consider unsprouted, processed nuts and dried fruit and fruit juice and canned fruit really fruitarian. I don't want to be like the ovo-lacto-pesco-pollo-vegetarians who have ruined the word vegetarian, so I don't want to corrupt the word fruitarianism with whatever is convenient to eat. I think it's reasonable to limit what sort of food is considered fruitarian to fruit that can be eaten raw, not to include wheat as some who call themselves fruitarians do just because it's botanically a fruit-like seed of grass, although no one eats it raw like a fruit. However, there are important distinctions between fruitarian and raw fruitarian and raw vegan which get confusing when those terms are treated as equivalent. Many who call themselves fruitarians actually advocate a sort of raw veganism, including almost every vegetable that can be eaten raw.

Is a fruitarian diet survivable long-term? Apparently, according to modern science, fruit and nuts are enough only if they have a lot of insects and bacteria on them to provide the required vitamin B12, which some monkeys probably get that way. The needed amount of vitamin D would be provided by sunlight. I still take vitamins, the fruit of civilization, so to speak, and I've only tried fruitarianism for a day or two at a time between eating other food, so long-term survivability isn't an issue with it for me yet.