The Cholesterol Hypothesis

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the recent news of the latest celebrity heart attack victims. Even my own mother had to go to the hospital to get a stent for a “serious blockage.” Unfortunately for her, the pain that she went in for still remained when she returned home. She feels better now but it makes me wonder if the procedure was really necessary. A co-worker at my job was concerned about heart disease because other members in her family died as a result. She went in for a check and the doctor found a major blockage and she required a stent. Through all of this, I couldn’t help but remember the quote from Gary Taubes’s book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, that the Masai of Kenya have copious atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) but no heart attacks. Of course that would suggest that it’s quite natural for atherosclerosis to form but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the person will have a heart attack. In fact, the only way we “know” that atherosclerosis is to blame is usually due to an autopsy after the fact. The person has the attack and then the autopsy reveals blockages and thus the consensus is that the person died of a heart attack “caused” by atherosclerosis. Sounds reasonable, right? Just like eating fat makes you fat, and eating cholesterol clogs your arteries, which leads to a heart attack. These stents and angioplasties are fairly routine these days and perhaps that explains why we live a little longer, but the incidence of heart disease and attacks goes on unabated. So where did this notion (that a blockage causes a heart attack) originate?

From Taubes’s book, I learned that cholesterol is a primary component of atherosclerotic plaques. Proponents of the cholesterol hypothesis envisioned the human circulatory system as a kind of plumbing system. Dr. Jeremiah Stamler referred to the accumulation of cholesterol in lesions on the artery walls as “biological rust” that can “spread to choke off the flow of blood, or slow it just like rust inside a water pipe so that only a dribble comes from your faucet.” This imagery was so compelling that we still talk and read about artery-clogging fats and cholesterol, as though the fat of a greasy hamburger were transported directly from stomach to artery lining.

Researchers went on to conduct myriad studies on every type of animal they could find — even those that were vegetarian who would never eat a high-fat diet, but none of these studies did much to implicate either animal fat or cholesterol. Researchers were unable to establish that patients with atherosclerosis had significantly more cholesterol in their bloodstream than those who didn’t. Since 1950, it’s been really tough to show any real benefit from lowering cholesterol either through drugs or diet. Autopsy examinations had also failed to demonstrate that people with high cholesterol had arteries that were any more clogged than those with low cholesterol.

Taubes relates that in 1936, Warren Sperry, co-inventor of the measurement technique for cholesterol, and Kurt Landé, a pathologist with the New York City Medical Examiner, noted that the severity of atherosclerosis could be accurately evaluated only after death. They autopsied more than a hundred very recently deceased New Yorkers (who died violent deaths) and measured the cholesterol in their blood. There was no reason to believe, Sperry and Landé noted, that the cholesterol levels in these individuals would have been affected by their cause of death (as might have been the case had they died of a chronic illness). And their conclusion was unambiguous: “The incidence and severity of atherosclerosis are not directly affected by the level of cholesterol in the blood serum per se.” GCBC, at 21.

This was a common finding by heart surgeons, too, and explains in part why heart surgeons and cardiologists were comparatively skeptical of the cholesterol hypothesis. In 1964, for instance, the famous Houston heart surgeon Michael DeBakey reported similarly negative findings from the records on seventeen hundred of his own patients. Even if high cholesterol was associated with an increased incidence of heart disease, this begged the question why so many people, as Gofman had noted in Science, suffer coronary heart disease despite having low cholesterol, and why a tremendous number of people with high cholesterol never get heart disease or die of it.

I’m still begging the question today. This CNN article claims that heart attacks can happen at any age and makes the situation sound rather hopeless. “Heart attack risk goes up in men older than 45 and women older than 55, but it can happen even earlier. While lifestyle modifications help reduce risk — eating a healthy diet, maintaining good blood pressure and normal weight, not smoking — sometimes it’s not enough.” It’s especially not enough when we truly don’t understand the mechanism for the heart attack to begin with. I find it very interesting that when they tell these stories, they often miss little details, like this one from the article: “One evening in 2000, he and his buddies decided to snowshoe up Vail Mountain and ride the gondola down. Bender complained of indigestion on the way up, which was odd because his last meal had been lunch. He told his friends he needed to sit down before getting on the gondola. After the group got in the cable car, he lost consciousness.” It is only odd if you don’t consider the role of diet in heart disease. Many newbies to low carb diets tell me how much the diet improved their Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). One woman told me how her acid reflux was so bad that she had to prop herself up with pillows at night in order to get some sleep. After low carb, she was able to sleep through the night for the first time in over 10 years. Now imagine coupling that with atherosclerosis and perhaps we’re onto something. It’s the sudden rise and fall of blood sugar that embarasses the heart muscle in most cases, though not all. Owing to the fact that Masai have no heart attacks despite atherosclerosis, it’s safe to presume that if one achieves stable and steady blood sugar, they can eliminate or severely reduce their risk of heart disease. It has nothing to do with the fact that they walk so much. As you’ll see below, if you make the changes that are suggested below, you too will have the energy to walk.

The carbohydrate hypothesis is the only one that makes any sense. It is the simple hypothesis that needs to be refuted if possible. Right now, we blame cholesterol for mere presence. An autopsy is performed and we say that there were blockages caused by cholesterol and that must be why the patient died. But that doesn’t explain why so many people exist for many years with such blockages and don’t have a heart attack. That also assumes that cholesterol was responsible for the blockage in the first place. Perhaps it showed up to “fight the fire” so to speak.

On Page 76 of Good Calories, Bad Calories, we find that in 1955, Pete Ahrens at Rockefeller University found out why those who eat carbohydrates tend to have so much more fat in their blood. Ahrens was specifically studying triglycerides, rather than the VLDL particles that carry the triglycerides. Ahrens was considered by many investigators to be the single best scientist in the field of lipid metabolism. He had observed how the triglycerides of some patients shoot up on low-fat diets and fall on high-fat diets. This led Ahrens to describe a phenomenon that he called carbohydrate-induced lipemia (an excessive concentration of fat in the blood). When he gave lectures, Ahrens would show photos of two test tubes of blood serum obtained from the same patient—one when the patient was eating a high-carbohydrate diet and one on a high-fat diet. One test tube would be milky white, indicating the lipemia. The other would be absolutely clear. The surprising thing, Ahrens would explain, was “that the lipemic plasma was obtained during the high-carbohydrate period, and the clear plasma during the high-fat regimen.” ([Elliot] Joslin had reported the same phenomenon in diabetics thirty years earlier. “The percent of fat” in the blood, he wrote, “rises with the severity of the disease…and is especially related to the quantity of carbohydrate, which is being oxidized, rather than with the fat administered.”)”

According to Ahrens’s research, a high carbohydrate diet would actually elevate the levels of fat in the blood and that would perhaps explain why carbohydrate-eaters have so much cholesterol blocking their arteries. Now, when Ahrens says “fat”, what is he talking about? He’s talking about triglycerides, which are three fatty acid molecules joined to one glucose molecule. Our bodies must make triglycerides when glucose is present in order for it to travel through the blood stream in and out of fat tissue. When you get you bloodwork done, pay special attention to the number of triglycerides you have in your bloodstream.

If the number is above 150, you’re in danger. I can assure you that if you eat like I do, your triglyceride number will plummet.

By the early 1970s, several researchers independently confirmed what Ahrens was looking for. First by Peter Kuo of the University of Pennsylvania, then by Lars Carlson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and by the future Nobel laureate Joseph Goldstein and his colleagues from the University of Washington. All three reported that high triglycerides were considerably more common in heart-disease victims than was high cholesterol. In 1967, Kuo reported in The Journal of the American Medical Association that he had studied 286 atherosclerosis patients, of whom 246 had been referred to him by physicians who thought their patients had the genetic form of high cholesterol. This turned out to be the case for fewer than 10 percent. The other 90 percent had carbohydrate-induced lipemia, and, for most of these patients, their sensitivity to carbohydrates had elevated both their triglyceride levels and their cholesterol. When Kuo put his patients on a sugar-free diet, he reported, with only five to six hundred calories of starches a day, both their triglyceride levels and their cholesterol lowered. Two months later,JAMA published an editorial in response to Kuo’s article, suggesting that the “almost embarrassingly high number of researchers [who had] boarded the ‘cholesterol bandwagon’” had done a disservice to the field. “This fervent embrace of cholesterol to the exclusion of other biochemical alterations resulted in a narrow scope of study,” the editorial said. “Fortunately, other fruitful approaches have been made possible in the past few years by identification of the fundamental role of such factors as triglycerides and carbohydrate metabolism in atherogenesis.” GCBC at 77.

We know that when insulin is high in the bloodstream, fatty acids are low; meaning, that they are shuttled into fat tissue. If there is a low blood sugar drop, it may be that the heart cannot get enough of what it needs in order to keep pumping. I realize that the heart can also use fatty acids and perhaps ketones but during high insulin, they would not be available per the Krebs cycle. A high-carbohydrate diet is common to all these cases of heart attack. Yes, I’m aware of a couple of other ways that a heart attack might occur but the jury is still out.

From Taubes, we learned that in 1957, the American Heart Association (AHA) opposed Ancel Keys on the diet-heart issue (his hypothesis that dietary fat led to blocked arteries). The AHA’s fifteen-page report castigated researchers, including Keys, presumably—for taking “uncompromising stands based on evidence that does not stand up under critical examination.” Its conclusion was unambiguous: “There is not enough evidence available to permit a rigid stand on what the relationship is between nutrition, particularly the fat content of the diet, and atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.”

But just three years later, this committee reversed itself in a tersely-written recommendation citing no references, that suggested that Americans reduce the fat in their diets. There was no evidence to support this position but it didn’t stop them from putting it out there. It seems pretty clear that they were under pressure from some source to concede to the conventional consensus despite any evidence to rely on. And this is the part that should anger you.

And finally, from Taubes’s book, we find that the Masai nomads of Kenya in 1962 had blood-cholesterol levels among the lowest ever measured, despite living exclusively on milk, blood, and occasionally meat from the cattle they herded. Their high-cholesterol diets supplied nearly three thousand calories a day of mostly saturated fat. George Mann, an early director of the Framingham Heart Study, examined the Masai and concluded that these observations refuted Keys’s hypothesis. In response, Keys cited similar research on the Samburu and Rendille nomads of Kenya that he interpreted as supporting his hypothesis. Whereas the Samburu had low cholesterol—despite a typical diet of five to seven quarts of high-fat milk a day, and twenty-five to thirty-five hundred calories of fat—the Rendille had cholesterol values averaging 230 mg/dl, “fully as high as United States averages.” “It has been estimated,” Keys wrote, “that at the time of blood sampling the percentage of calories from fats may have been 20–25 percent of calories from fat for the Samburu and 35–40 percent for the Rendille. Such diets, consumed at a bare subsistence level, would be consistent with the serum cholesterol values achieved.” Keys, however, had no reason to assume that either the Samburu or the Rendille were living at a bare subsistence level. To explain away Mann’s research on the Masai, Keys then evoked more recent research suggesting that the Masai, living in nomadic isolation for thousands of years, must have somehow evolved a unique “feedback mechanism to suppress endogenous cholesterol synthesis.” This mechanism, Keys suggested, would bestow immunity on the Masai to the cholesterol-raising effects of fat. GCBC at 26.

This is similar to what people say about my diet. How can I eat all of this meat and fat and not be worried about a heart attack? It must be that I have developed some “feedback mechanism” in my 44 years that suppresses endogenous cholesterol synthesis. This bestows upon me, the ZC guru, immunity to the cholesterol-raising effects of fat. Sigh!

It’s pretty simple, folks. If you want to avoid a heart attack, avoid carbohydrates of any source. Don’t gamble with your health and say that perhaps only a little bit won’t help. A little bit often leads to a lot so don’t go there. Make this change once and for all and own it. You’ll be very glad you did eventually.

Posted on September 21, 2012 at 8:18 am by Charles · Permalink · One Comment
In: Cholesterol, Diet, Heart Disease, Hypertension

Excessive Faith in Theories

After my last blog post, I was taken to task somewhat by a well-meaning individual who sent me an article letting me know that Dr. Sandler’s 50-year old “How to Prevent Heart Attacks” has grown weak with the passage of time, since we’re so much smarter now. Has it?

Since we obviously cannot cure or prevent death by heart attack, I would say that the jury is still out on that one. Oh we’re good at providing bandaid solutions such as stents and angioplasty but we can’t really prevent the big one yet. I’m reminded of the quote by Claude Bernard, who said:

“Men who have excessive faith in their theories or ideas are not only ill prepared for making discoveries; they also make very poor observations. Of
necessity, they observe with a preconceived idea, and when they devise an experiment, they can see, in its results, only a confirmation of their theory.
In this way they distort observation and often neglect very important facts because they do not further their aim…. But it happens further quite naturally
that men who believe too firmly in their theories, do not believe enough in the theories of others. So the dominant idea of these despisers of their
fellows is to find others’ theories faulty and to try to contradict them. The difficulty, for science, is still the same.”

Dr. Sandler argued that the heart has an absolute requirement for a steady supply of glucose. The author, LynnMarie, argues that perhaps this is incorrect since it is known that the requirement can be met by fatty acid oxidation and ketones, which is what ZC would certainly argue. In her own words, “First and foremost, Dr. Sandler’s theory relies heavily on his belief that the heart, like the brain*, utilizes only glucose for energy production. It is now well-established that the heart also utilizes fatty acids, oftentimes as its main fuel source. In fact, glucose is considered a secondary fuel source for the heart after the fetal and neonatal periods. So the idea that the heart has an absolute requirement for an unwavering supply of glucose is likely incorrect. A drop in glucose availability can be met by an increase in fatty acid oxidation if need be.”

I agree! However, the person suffering the heart attack likely has the wild swings of glucose brought about by the standard American diet. Fatty acid metabolism would be compromised during periods of hypoglycemia as there might be too much lag time between ketone production and utilization and the absence of glucose. Anyone who has attempted ZC or VLC is very much aware of the adaptation period necessary for the body to begin using ketones in place of glucose. I don’t know how long it takes for the heart but surely there is a small window where a heart attack could occur.

The article goes on to argue that while it’s possible that hypo and hyperglycemia can cause a heart attack in an individual with a fragile metabolic state, this is merely an association and not cause. That being said, in her opinion, a carbohydrate-restricted diet would not be used primarily to cure the condition.

Again, in her own words, “The fact of the matter is, all atherosclerosis is not the same. Some is relatively stable, meaning it builds up slowly over many years and is not prone to the rupturing which leads to thrombus formation. This general category of atherosclerosis can lead to heart problems like stable angina or even MI but oftentimes it’s essentially benign. The atherosclerotic coronary arteries seen in the Masai of Africa are a good example of this. However, a second general type of atherosclerosis, called vulnerable plaque because of its tendency to rupture, can cause the waxing and waning chest pain Dr. Sandler attributed to unstable blood glucose. When thrombosis is triggered by vulnerable plaque rupture, the blood clot that forms can be broken down by “endogenous lysis” and then form again. This transient lysis and formation of a coronary thrombus is responsible for the waxing and waning pain of unstable angina. If the balance between the two states favors clot formation, then the resulting total occlusion will lead to MI if the lack of blood flow persists for a sufficient amount of time. When Dr. Sandler suggested that unstable blood sugar provides a better explanation for the intermittent, “labile” pain of angina pectoris than the condition of the coronary arteries themselves, this information about the waxing and waning nature of coronary thrombi was not known.”

So basically her concern is that a person will read my site and conclude that they do not need to see a doctor and just eat like Charles and everything will be fine. My answer to that would be to see a doctor AND eat like Charles. The fact of the matter remains that the Masai of Kenya, despite their copious atherosclerosis, do not have heart attacks due to vulnerable plaque, unstable angina, or myocardial infaction. They remain protected from all of this by eating a proper diet. There is reason to believe that you, dear reader, will also increase your chances against one of these maladies if you eat like Charles. The sooner the better!!!

Should you go to the doctor if you have chest pain? Absolutely you should. Should you change your diet and perhaps you can prevent the chest pain? Absolutely.

Let me be clear: I don’t know the exact mechanism for many of these diseases of civilization. All I know is that those who severely restrict carbohydrates do not suffer from chronic disease. I don’t really care too much about how or why it happens. I just know that it happens and the change is very simple to make.

Here is a portion from Taubes’s book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, talking about President Eisenhower:

“Eisenhower was assuredly among the best-chronicled heart-attack survivors in history. We know that he had no family history of heart disease, and no obvious risk factors after he quit smoking in 1949. He exercised regularly; his weight remainedclose to the 172 pounds considered optimal for his height. His blood pressure was only occasionally elevated. His cholesterol was below normal: his last measurement before the attack, according to George Mann, who worked with White at Harvard, was 165 mg/dl (milligrams/deciliter), a level that heart-disease specialists today consider safe.

After his heart attack, Eisenhower dieted religiously and had his cholesterol measured ten times a year. He ate little fat and less cholesterol; his meals were cooked in either soybean oil or a newly developed polyunsaturated margarine, which appeared on the market in 1958 as a nutritional palliative for high cholesterol.

The more Eisenhower dieted, however, the greater his frustration (meticulously documented by Dr. Snyder). In November 1958, when the president’s weight had floated upward to 176, he renounced his breakfast of oatmeal and skimmed milk and switched to melba toast and fruit. When his weight remained high, he renounced breakfast altogether. Snyder was mystified how a man could eat so little, exercise regularly, and not lose weight. In March 1959, Eisenhower read about a group of middle-aged New Yorkers attempting to lower their cholesterol by renouncing butter, margarine, lard, and cream and replacing them with corn oil. Eisenhower did the same. His cholesterol continued to rise. Eisenhower managed to stabilize his weight, but not happily.

“He eats nothing for breakfast, nothing for lunch, and therefore is irritable during the noon hour,” Snyder wrote in February 1960.”

Does this sound familiar? The prescription given to Eisenhower is the same one provided to Michael Clark Duncan, Presdient Bill Clinton and my own mother (among untold many others). It did not work back then and it doesn’t work today. That is the message I am trying to get out. As the old saying goes, “Those who don’t know their history are destined to repeat it.”

Posted on September 6, 2012 at 9:33 am by Charles · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Cholesterol, Diet, Exercise, Heart Disease, Hypoglycemia, Sugar

“I’m a Vegetarian!”

Made you look!

No, these were some famous words spoken by recently deceased Michael Clark Duncan, of the “Green Mile” fame. PETA was excited about this and featured the story on their website just three years ago. The site depicts a very fit and strong-looking Duncan proclaiming that he had never felt better. From the site:

Michael keeps his trimmer, fitter body strong by getting much of his vitamins and nutrients from plants. Instead of packing on protein from an artery-clogging steak, he eats fruits, vegetables, and legumes such as beans, peanuts, and tofu, just like vegetarian athletes Ricky Williams, Mac Danzig, and Daniel Bryan, just to name a few. Going vegetarian keeps Michael at a lesser risk of our nation’s biggest killers, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and strokes.”

The very popular claim made by the conventional wisdom is that eating plants and avoiding red meat will decrease your risk of heart attack because it supposedly does not clog your arteries. Why do they say this? Because clogged arteries have cholesterol in them and they mistakenly conclude that cholesterol is the reason the heart attack occurred. This is very similar to blaming the firemen for starting the fire merely because they were present at the scene of the crime.

Back in the 1950′s, Dr. Benjamin P. Stadler wrote:

“Numerous observations made by me have indicated
that abnormally low blood sugar concentrations by themselves
do not cause heart pain if there are no violent fluctuations
in the blood sugar. The rapid rate of change in
the downward direction results in a severe environmental
change for the heart muscle to which it fails to accommodate
readily and so the muscle is embarrassed and the
symptoms of pain are felt by the patient.”

This is old stuff but no one seems to be paying attention. The diet that we eat must be one that keeps blood sugar levels steady. A diet that is rich in carbohydrate foods will keep the blood sugar wiidly fluctuating and in an individual that is susceptible to heart attacks, the fluctuations trigger the event. No amount of prayer or faith will allow you to escape this fate unless you make real changes to your diet. No amount of physical conditioning will spare you from heart disease. This is the simple hypothesis that needs to be refuted. Unfortunately, it won’t be as it has been proven over and over again. Heart attacks increase or decrease with the consumption of sugar and its products. That includes the grains and the other so-called health foods found in the food pyramid. Fats and proteins do not significantly impact blood sugar and that is why they are so wonderful to eat. That is why carbohydrate-restricted diets consistently outperform other diets in controlled studies. Not just in terms of weight loss but in terms of markers for heart health as well. Despite these straightforward observations, people still continue to spout the conventional wisdom hoping for different results.

Don’t be one of these victims. Take charge of your heart health today. Eat red meat and avoid carbohydrates of all kinds. If you must eat vegetables than do it with plenty of meat and saturated fat to protect your heart and yes, your arteries too. The Masai of Kenya have no heart attacks among their population and it’s not because of all the walking they do. Their diet of meat and milk keeps them protected. They actually have very high atheroclerosis but no heart attacks. Why? Because their blood sugars remain steady. Understand once and for all that the fat on your steak does not somehow pass from your stomach directly to your arteries to clog them. In fact, the dietary fat you eat has little to do with the fat that is around your waistline. The same is true regarding choleserol and salt. The eggs you should be eating for breakfast have very little (if anything) to do with your body cholesterol. Your body makes its own cholesterol. You can decrease your salt intake all you want but if you eat sugar, your body will retain more water thus prompting your body to retain more salt. Stop eating carbohydrate-rich foods and you will lose weight and your blood pressure will come down all by itself regardless of how much salt you shake on your food.

I’ve written much about cholesterol on this site. Use my search bar to read more on the subject. Two people can have the same LDL value but one can be healthy and the other will be looking at heart disease. The number is irrelevant. It’s the makeup of the LDL themselves. The low-density lipoprotein originates in the liver and is a vehicle that transports cholesterol and fat. The size of these particles determines the health of the LDL. They will either be small and dense or large and fluffy. Large and fluffy is what we want. How do they get fluffy? (By the way, that’s the same as asking, how do we increase our “good” cholesterol?) By eating saturated fat. Yes, you read that correctly!

The miracle begins during your next meal. Stop praying and hoping for good health. Train your fork in the right direction and chronic disease will be a thing of the past. It may be too late for some of you to escape everything but I believe you’ll have a much better shot at whatever comes your way if you get your diet in order.

Posted on September 4, 2012 at 9:50 am by Charles · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: ,

God and Ryan Hall

And why have there been no articles on Ryan Hall? Here’s our best marathon hope (so we thought based on his time) who fired his coach, moved from Mammoth Lakes where he was training, and decided to listen to God for his training and preparation. When asked to list his coach for drug testing purposes, he wrote, “God.”

Well, he didn’t finish the Olympic marathon so he and God couldn’t get his training right. If I were a Christian, I would be insulted by this and as an objectivist, I find it ludicrous. I did find one article in a Christian publication where Hall addressed the issue. Evidently, his training was suspect because he pulled up with a hamstring injury just a few miles into the race. Most good runners would say that was due to a lack of speedwork and training at race pace. You can’t train slow and then expect to go so much faster on race day without stretching those hamstrings. Fast racing requires fast training in there somewhere. One would think God would have told him that! His own experience racing East Africans should have informed him that they love to race in surges. During the race, they inject a blistering pace until they run their competitors legs off. Ask Galen Rupp about these tactics. Rather than (or perhaps along with) turning to God, he changed his training such that he could compete against these tactics and was rewarded with the silver medal in the Olympic 10,000 meter race.

Hall should be angered that God chose to help Rupp, the individual from Uganda and the two Kenyans who earned medals, not to mention, American Meb Keflezighi (who held on for fourth place and has consistently out-performed Hall when the stakes were the highest in the biggest races) instead of himself. Rupp presumably relied on his coach, Alberto Salazar, who was one of America’s greatest distance runners although he never really realized his potential. Ironically, Salazar abandoned training tactics that worked well for him on the track when he changed to marathon running. He never was the same after the changes. His track experiences however made him the perfect coach for young Galen Rupp.

Enough of this foolishness already. This “name it and claim it religion” garbage has to cease. We cannot evade reality by avoiding difficult situations. It’s so easy and convenient to bury our heads in sand, religion, etc, rather than face the harsh reality before us which is: There is nothing else! It’s nice when someone comes to our aid in time of crisis but we really have no right to expect anyone to do so. It’s an uncomfortable truth yet it’s the truth all the same. Running well requires training and a respect for the distance. Without that, all the prayer in the world will not get you on the medal stand.

My own mother just had a procedure on her heart which was rather serious. She has to decide to eat properly in order to prolong her life and keep this from happening again. The choice is clear and laid out before her. She ate close to ZC before and lost an astonishing amount of weight with no exercise and she reversed many troubling trends. For whatever reason, she returned to poor eating and now she has blocked arteries. She can either choose to eat properly or she can eat badly and pray. Now, the doctors and nurses will tell her to avoid red meat and eggs and eat a bunch of vegetables. But she can look to her own history to see what happened to her health when she ate red meat and eggs while limiting vegetables. There is no need for perfection here. I would much rather rely on my own experience rather than some unnamed phantom that no one has ever seen.

Health is very similar. You must avoid carbohydrates to the extent you’re able. If you don’t, then you can expect disastrous results at some point and all the prayer in the world will not aid you. We have this scary ability to either prolong our lives or to end them based upon our own ignorance. It’s okay to be ignorant but it’s another thing to be irresponsible. Many of us would rather rely on the unknown phantoms rather than what is plainly in front of us. When you know what to do and you fail to perform it, there is no one to blame but yourself. The marathon called “Life” goes on and getting on the medal stand equals living a good life with no chronic disease. Have no regrets. Live life to the fullest and leave in peace.

It kind of reminds me of a story I heard from a Jewish Rabbi. He said, there was a man on a deserted island who prayed to God for personal deliverance. He prayed fervently three times a day. One day, a large ocean liner came by. The man refused to signal the ship because he was expecting God. Another day, a yacht came by. Again the man refused to signal the ship. Another day, a man in a row boat came by and actually saw the man. He offered to row him to the mainland but the man refused choosing to wait for God himself.

Eventually, the man died and found himself in God’s presence. The man protested and said I prayed to you three times a day for years for you to deliver me yet you never did. God, looking astonished said, “I sent three of my best ships!”

To Ryan Hall, I would admonish you to call your coach and mend whatever fence that was broken. You have to return to the training that led you to that magical 2:05 marathon that you ran. I know it was tough and you thought it was too much yet it was effective. If you ever hope to see the medal stand in this event, you make that call. If not to that coach, try Mr. Salazar. He’s had some good success lately.

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes from Ayn Rand:

“When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. ”

Reality has to be the final arbiter for all us. It’s time to start living in it, as difficult as it may be.

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 9:51 am by Charles · Permalink · One Comment
In: Uncategorized · Tagged with: 

Deserving ZC

I was looking for a little inspiration and how can anyone not be inspired by the Olympic Games? My hat is off to all the dedicated athletes for their accomplishments and all of the hard work they put in to accomplish their goals. Of course I had to make a ZC connection to the Olympics and it was given to me while reading and hearing about the comments made by those in the media. They used phrases like “she deserved to win the gold.” What, exactly, does that mean? The obvious answer should be that the person who put in the work necessary to succeed, and was able to focus on the execution of the task at hand, is the one who was “deserving.” In other words, whoever won deserved the gold medal unless there was some sort of malfeasance involved. For the overwhelming part, these are world class athletes only separated by seconds and milimeters. Oftentimes the separation comes down to focus, effort, and most importantly tactics and execution. There is usually no moral basis to consider despite people’s willingness to assign one. If the “better” person (from a moral standpoint) wins, it’s mere conincidence and it satisfies that purritanical urge groomed by religion.

All of the Olympians have a story to tell, I’m sure. There was Lashinda Demus who had a couple of children but unfortunately had an evil case of postpartem depression which totally affected her ability to train at a high level and keep herself together. For her to work through all of that and return to world class status was certainly amazing. Unfortunately, she came up short and it was not because she was not deserving. If she would have won the gold, we would have all cheered. However, she was beaten by another young lady who, although her story might not have been as dramatic, won the gold fair and square. She was “deserving.” She put in the work necessary to succeed.

The list goes on and on from Gabby Douglas to even Lolo Jones, who would tell you that she was heartbroken and unsuccessful despite returning from lower back surgery and running her fastest race of the year. It simply was not good enough to eclipse the medal stand. She was no more deserving than any other woman in that race despite the many hardships she endured in getting back to that spot. We need to lose the word “deserving” from sport unless we’re talking about the quality of an individual’s preparation.

That said, I do tip my cap to people like Brittany Reese who overcame Hurrican Katrina, or Oscar Pistorious, who competed with the “blades”. I love Gabby Douglas but she was no more deserving than those women she bettered in the all-around competition. In fact, they showed her as much on the balance beam and the uneven bars. It’s all about focus and preparation. If you do those things properly, you have a shot at winning and if you succeed then it can be said you were “deserving.” Pistorious overcame the fact that he did not have lower legs and feet as the other athletes yet he was not good enough to medal in the Olympics. He was no more deserving than those with feet. He wasn’t looking for our sympathy. He wanted the chance to compete as an equal and he received his chance. Ms. Reese’s struggles made her no more deserving of victory than Jones yet she was able to succeed due to her talent and skill. She was “deserving” because she jumped farther than anyone else yesterday.

Now, how does that equate to ZC? Well, a human being is not “deserving” of good or bad health. There are many factors that control this such as opportunity and the ability to take advantage when opportunity presents itself. Health is something that we can directly control either to the good or to the bad just like life. We humans have a unique opportunity to both prolong or destroy ourselves due to our own ignorance. When we are presented with the prescription for better health, we have to seize the moment and do the things necessary to secure better health. I have excellent health due to my dietary choices. I am no more deserving of great health than you are, dear reader, but I adequately prepare myself by making consistent choices that directly affect my quality of life. If there was any fortune involved, it was that I discovered some things that better people already knew and I followed their prescription. Now, I have no idea if the all-meat diet will make me live to 150; but that is not necessary. Even if I only live to 60, I want to have lived life without dealing with chronic disease. I want to go out vibrant and active just as when I came in regardless of how many years that takes. I can be “deserving” of that outcome as long as I adequately prepare and focus based on the information I have available. You can do the same. I may be totally wrong about the entire thing but that’s okay because it was the best I could do with the information presented. I cannot trust in phantoms or ghosts for good health. I can only rely on my own understanding and my reaction to the shared experiences of countless others who acted similarly when presented with the information.

Posted on August 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm by Charles · Permalink · Leave a comment
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