Tuesday, December 18, 2012

sugar is an esoteric issue

gurdjieffbooks | Now for common-tempo. In a talk he gave in Paris, in August 1922, Gurdjieff said that a person’s reception of impressions depends on “the rhythm of the external stimulators of impressions and on the rhythm of the senses”. Right reception, he said, would be possible “only if these rhythms correspond to one another”. In fact, he went so far as to say: “a man can never be a man if he has no right rhythms in himself.” G.I. Gurdjieff, Views from the Real World, pp.82-83.

Briefly, as I understand it, in Beelzebub, especially in the chapter on “Hypnotism”, Gurdjieff teaches that each centre of the organism, and also essence (as a whole) and personality (as a whole) function at different tempos, and that parts of the human organism can mutually communicate only when their tempos stand in a particular relation. At p.1163, Beelzebub says to Hassein that each of the functions which compose our individuality acquires a “harmonious tempo in the common functioning”. In other words, our individuality (the distinctive nature of our being), is made up of various functionings, each of which is formed as a whole (“crystallized” is Gurdjieff’s word) and works at its own tempo in an integrated organism, in harmony with other functions operating at their proper tempos.

One can think of it as being like a car: all the moving parts have their own tempos. The wheels, fan-belt, ignition, battery, all work at different speeds, or more precisely, within different ranges of speed. In fact, they can only perform their proper function without damaging the machine if they remain within their specific speed ranges. If one could arrange all these parts so that they operated at one identical speed, the car would be useless . I am aware I am now speaking of “speed”. Shortly, a speed is absolute: it is measured from zero, but tempo is a relative speed. Tempo is meaningful only as comparing the speeds, rhythms or rates of a particular activity.

Gurdjieff says that we have two established tempos of blood circulation (provisionally taking the tempos as absolute). Each of these tempos is related to a form of consciousness: essence (sub-consciousness), or personality (consciousness). A change in consciousness can cause a change in the tempo of blood circulation, and a change in that tempo can cause a change in consciousness.

Sugar disrupts that tempo to an extent which was not, I believe, contemplated by nature, and which is not under conscious control. Interestingly, anecdotal evidence suggests that if taken naturally (i.e. directly from sugar cane), it is not nearly so noxious, if at all. This makes sense: one researcher says that refined sugar is a “genetically unknown food”. That is, it is not a use but an abuse of nature. Further, you get a load of sugar a lot faster drinking soft drinks than you ever can by chewing on sugar cane. In the right dose, and for some people the right dose is an extremely small one, sugar causes a nervous energy within the body and disrupt emotional equilibrium.

Because sugar is (apparently) the only food which provides energy and no nutrients, there is nothing good to say about it which cannot be said for anything else which makes food more palatable (e.g. cinnamon and vanilla). On the other hand, those foods have positives which sugar does not. The glucose in sugar is oxidised in the cells, and the bloodstream cops the released energy. This is the basis of the “sugar-fix”. And this disrupts the tempo of the body, and the all-important tempo of the blood circulation. In other words, sugar is a food (although I would say it is better understood as a food derivative that is, in itself, a good-substitute), and a poison, which makes it harder for essence to manifest, and easier for personality to manifest.

If you don’t believe me, try and observe carefully what happens inside you when next you ingest confectionary, cake, sweetened biscuits, soft drink or anything else to which you’ve added sugar. You may be surprised to find that what you thought were part and parcel of your natural fluctuations of mood (and, in Gurdjieff’s terms, your “state”), are in fact abnormal but familiar results of sugar ingestion.

Part of the “esoteric danger” is this: because we do not think of sugar as a slow-working poison (albeit of low toxicity in small and irregular doses), but as a food and only as a food, it hardly enters our heads to think of its effects as being unnatural. We are far more likely to attribute its psychic effects to other causes.
Also, we are so used to sugar that we tend to accept our unnaturally sweetened state (to coin a phrase which is meant only half-humorously) as neutral, or even as positive. We take so much sugar, and we see so many people who take it, that we don’t know how jumped up we are.

There is more. I could do a social analysis and say that we live in a “sugar-coated” society. And I believe we do: but that is another area. I sometimes wonder if sugar is not one of those things like tea, coffee, hops and opium, which, as Gurdjieff said, have a complete enneagram within themselves. For what it’s worth, I think that mint and garlic may be other such plants, but of course benign ones. But for now, I just want to raise this issue.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

alzheimers could be the most catastrophic impact of junk food...,

Guardian | When you raise the subject of over-eating and obesity, you often see people at their worst. The comment threads discussing these issues reveal a legion of bullies who appear to delight in other people's problems.

When alcoholism and drug addiction are discussed, the tone tends to be sympathetic. When obesity is discussed, the conversation is dominated by mockery and blame, though the evidence suggests that it may be driven by similar forms of addiction.

I suspect that much of this mockery is a coded form of snobbery: the strong association between poor diets and poverty allows people to use this issue as a cipher for something else they want to say, which is less socially acceptable.

But this problem belongs to all of us. Even if you can detach yourself from the suffering caused by diseases arising from bad diets, you will carry the cost, as a growing proportion of the health budget will be used to address them. The cost – measured in both human suffering and money – could be far greater than we imagined. A large body of evidence now suggests that Alzheimer's is primarily a metabolic disease. Some scientists have gone so far as to rename it: they call it type 3 diabetes.

New Scientist carried this story on its cover on 1 September; since then I've been sitting in the library, trying to discover whether it stands up. I've now read dozens of papers on the subject, testing my cognitive powers to the limit as I've tried to get to grips with brain chemistry. Though the story is by no means complete, the evidence so far is compelling.

About 35 million people suffer from Alzheimer's disease worldwide; current projections, based on the rate at which the population ages, suggest that this will rise to 100 million by 2050. But if, as many scientists now believe, it is caused largely by the brain's impaired response to insulin, the numbers could rise much further. In the United States, the percentage of the population with type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to obesity, has almost trebled in 30 years. If Alzheimer's, or "type 3 diabetes", goes the same way, the potential for human suffering is incalculable.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No yolk: eating the whole egg as dangerous as smoking?

LATimes | Just as you were ready to tuck into a nice three-egg omelet again, comforted by the reassuring news that eggs are not so bad for you, here comes a study warning that for those over 40, the number of egg yolks consumed per week accelerates the thickening of arteries almost as severely as does cigarette smoking.

Server, can you make that an egg-white omelet instead, please?

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Atherosclerosis, measured the carotid wall thickness -- a key indicator of heart disease risk -- of 1,231 patients referred to a vascular prevention clinic, and asked each to detail a wide range of their health habits, from smoking and exercise to their consumption of egg yolks. Just as smoking is often tallied as "pack-years" (the number of cigarette packs smoked per day for how many years), egg-yolk consumption was tallied as "egg yolk years" (the number of egg yolks consumed per week times the number of years they were eaten).

The study subjects were typically referred to the clinic after having suffered a clot-induced stroke or a transient ischemic attack -- a "mini-stroke" in which symptoms may disappear quickly but which often presage a more serious stroke to come.

Smoking tobacco and eating egg yolks increased carotid wall thickness in similar fashion -- which is to say, the rate of increase accelerated with each stair-step up in cigarette smoking or yolk consumption. By contrast, for those who did not smoke, or who rarely consumed egg yolks, carotid wall thickness increased after 40, but at a slow-steady rate.

For those whose consumption of whole eggs was in the highest 20%, the narrowing of the carotid artery was on average about two-thirds that of the study's heaviest smokers.

"We believe our study makes it imperative to reassess the role of egg yolks, and dietary cholesterol in general, as a risk factor for coronary heart disease," the study authors write.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

blaxican sweet potato salad

12 small sweet potatoes (about 5 pounds), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks($1.49/3 lb bag at Aldi)

2 large onion, preferably red, chopped ($.49/lb at Mi Familia)

1/2 cup good zesty italian salad dressing (use Kens or Wishbone when it's on sale for $.99-1.50/bottle)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons minced hot jalapeƱo (from jar) ($.99/can at Mi Familia)

1 tablespoon of oleak sambol chili paste ($2.49 for 16 ounce jar at China Market)

1 clove garlic, peeled

Juice of 2 limes(10/$1.00 at Mi Familia)

2 cans cooked seasoned black beans ($.50/can at Mi Familia)

2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and diced (3/$1.00 at River Market)

1 cup chopped fresh parsley ($.69/bunch at River Market)

1. In large tureen, cover sweet potatoes with hot tap water, put on high heat to boil on stove top. Let boil for about two minutes and then turn off heat. Leave sweet potatos on hot stove top covered for 30 minutes to continue blanching on retained heat. Small young sweet potatos will be heated throughout, skins loosened for easy peeling, and will be firm, bright orange/yellow, with full flavor but not at all mushy. Peel and dice these potatos when they've cooled and salt and pepper lightly.

2. Put jalapenos and a splash of pickling juice and chili paste in a blender along with garlic, lime juice, italian dressing and black bean juice. Process until blended.

3. Put warm vegetables in a large bowl with beans and bell pepper; toss with dressing and parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate for up to a week. Serves a small army.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

stinging nettle infusion for tennis in the morning...,

An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions.

Updated: Two teaspoons of chia seeds soaking up 10 ounces of nettle infusion - BooYa!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

u.s. obesity epidemic caused by overproduction of food?

NYTimes | Carson C. Chow deploys mathematics to solve the everyday problems of real life. As an investigator at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, he tries to figure out why 1 in 3 Americans are obese.

We spoke at the recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, where Dr. Chow, 49, gave a presentation on “Illuminating the Obesity Epidemic With Mathematics,” and then later by telephone; a condensed and edited version of the interviews follows.

You are an M.I.T.-trained mathematician and physicist. How did you come to work on obesity?

In 2004, while on the faculty of the math department at the University of Pittsburgh, I married. My wife is a Johns Hopkins ophthalmologist, and she would not move. So I began looking for work in the Beltway area. Through the grapevine, I heard that the N.I.D.D.K., a branch of the National Institutes of Health, was building up its mathematics laboratory to study obesity. At the time, I knew almost nothing of obesity.

I didn’t even know what a calorie was. I quickly read every scientific paper I could get my hands on.

I could see the facts on the epidemic were quite astounding. Between 1975 and 2005, the average weight of Americans had increased by about 20 pounds. Since the 1970s, the national obesity rate had jumped from around 20 percent to over 30 percent.

The interesting question posed to me when I was hired was, “Why is this happening?”

Why would mathematics have the answer?

Because to do this experimentally would take years. You could find out much more quickly if you did the math.

Now, prior to my coming on staff, the institute had hired a mathematical physiologist, Kevin Hall. Kevin developed a model that could predict how your body composition changed in response to what you ate. He created a math model of a human being and then plugged in all the variables — height, weight, food intake, exercise. The model could predict what a person will weigh, given their body size and what they take in.

However, the model was complicated: hundreds of equations. Kevin and I began working together to boil it down to one simple equation. That’s what applied mathematicians do. We make things simple. Once we had it, the slimmed-down equation proved to be a useful platform for answering a host of questions.

What new information did your equation render?

That the conventional wisdom of 3,500 calories less is what it takes to lose a pound of weight is wrong. The body changes as you lose. Interestingly, we also found that the fatter you get, the easier it is to gain weight. An extra 10 calories a day puts more weight onto an obese person than on a thinner one.

Also, there’s a time constant that’s an important factor in weight loss. That’s because if you reduce your caloric intake, after a while, your body reaches equilibrium. It actually takes about three years for a dieter to reach their new “steady state.” Our model predicts that if you eat 100 calories fewer a day, in three years you will, on average, lose 10 pounds — if you don’t cheat.

Another finding: Huge variations in your daily food intake will not cause variations in weight, as long as your average food intake over a year is about the same. This is because a person’s body will respond slowly to the food intake.

Did you ever solve the question posed to you when you were first hired — what caused the obesity epidemic?

We think so. And it’s something very simple, very obvious, something that few want to hear: The epidemic was caused by the overproduction of food in the United States.

stress: portrait of a killer

sugar can make you dumb

yahoo | Eating too much sugar can eat away at your brainpower, according to US scientists who published a study Tuesday showing how a steady diet of high-fructose corn syrup sapped lab rats' memories.

Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) fed two groups of rats a solution containing high-fructose corn syrup -- a common ingredient in processed foods -- as drinking water for six weeks.

One group of rats was supplemented with brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while the other group was not.

Before the sugar drinks began, the rats were enrolled in a five-day training session in a complicated maze. After six weeks on the sweet solution, the rats were then placed back in the maze to see how they fared.

"The DHA-deprived animals were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

"Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats' ability to think clearly and recall the route they'd learned six weeks earlier."

A closer look at the rat brains revealed that those who were not fed DHA supplements had also developed signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates brain function.

"Because insulin can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, the hormone may signal neurons to trigger reactions that disrupt learning and cause memory loss," Gomez-Pinilla said.

Monday, May 14, 2012

the magic of ch, ch, ch, chia!!!!


Two teaspoons of chia seeds $.25/day (Spectrum(12oz) or Nutiva(14oz) $7.49 or $7.99)

8oz of hot water $.01/day


Add hot water to chia seeds and allow to soak for 10 minutes, stir to prevent clumping. A smooth drinkable gel will form which can be drunk straight as a filling and nutritious energy drink, or, you can add the gel to any flavored drink you like. The energizing effects last approximately 5 hours.

mychiaseeds | Water retaining benefits of the Chia Seed for you:

1. Keep the entire digestive process hydrated:

Because the water absorbed by the seed is somewhat difficult to remove, it takes the digestive process a while to break down the soluble fiber and absorb the water. This means that as the seeds pass through the colon, they are slowly irrigating it on the way through. Keeping food moist is an important way to prevent maladies such as constipation and diverticulitus. The soluble and insoluble fibers act as a 'sweeper' to keep food moving easily.

2. Calorie Replacement:
Because Chia seeds have no flavor of their own, they distribute and take on the taste of whatever food or drink you add them to. If you want them to taste like orange juice, just mix them in. They'll hydrate with the OJ and taste just like it. It's the same with any beverage of your choice.
Because of the dramatic increase in size, when you eat the hydrated seeds you feel full. However, you are replacing calories from food you'd normally eat with 0-calorie water, or lower calorie drinks! For example, if you mix 1 tbsp of chia seeds with 9 tbsp of water, you end up with 9 tbsp of filling, nutritious chia gel. This can then be used to displace the volume of foods, without altering their taste. You can find out more about adding chia to food on the Baking With Half the Fat: Just Add Chia Seeds! page.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

the blackest breakfast pudding on the planet


6 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds $1. 50 (14 ounces of Nutiva Chia Seeds can be had at GNC for $7.99)

One cup of cooked Quinoa $1.00 (16 ounces of organic Quinoa can be had at Trader Joe's for $3.99 and sometimes $2.99)

3 Mangos $.90 (they were on sale everywhere last week 3/$1.00)

One pint fresh blackberries $2.00 (on sale at Henhouse $.99/ half pint)

2.5 cups coconut milk $.90 (on sale $2.99 half gallon at Hy-Vee)

2 tablespoons raw sugar $.15 ($1.99 lb available everywhere)

2 cups of water - KC Tap $.01


The night before, soak chia seeds in coconut milk. Overnight they will soak up the liquid and produce a flavorless tapioca like gel, or in this case, a coconut milk flavored gel.

In the morning, boil water, add quinoa, reduce to simmer for 20 minutes until soft. Before all water is absorbed, add brown sugar, stir, cover, and allow to cool on stovetop. Quinoa will absorb remaining water and sugar leaving a moist, sweet, cream of wheat type gruel that is mixed in with the chia coconut milk tapioca.

Peel and cut mangos into chunks. Rinse blackberries - add both to the "pudding" and serve.

This is enough for 8 servings at a total cost of $5.55 - or - $.70/serving. Eaten at 9:00am, it will carry you through famously until 2-3 pm with total calories of about 130/per serving - mostly from the coconut milk and quinoa. The chia seeds are energizing, like an energy drink and permit a high level of athletic performance. Fist tap DeeVee.