Three Months' Worth of Fascinating Articles

November 20, 2011…

EcoVillage in the News!


How Does Pork Prepared in Various Ways Affect the Blood?
by Beverly Rubik, PhD
October 3 2011

An Investigation via Live Blood Analysis

Traditional preparation of pork involved salt-curing followed by smoking to preserve it, or marinating fresh pork in an acidic medium, usually vinegar, prior to cooking. Yet today some people simply cook fresh pork without giving any particular attention to traditional methods of preparation. How does consumption of these various preparations of pork affect the blood?

In this report, we examine three adults who normally eat a traditional Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) diet who participated in a pilot study to ascertain the effects of eating pork on the blood. These volunteers came to the laboratory once a week to consume pork prepared in various ways and to have their blood examined before and after eating it. Microphotographs of their blood show unexpected results...


See, even Cornell says so! Microbes are going mainstream: “Microbes and Toxins Might Be Making You Fat or Diabetic.”


A slightly strange article in NY Times concerning one unschooling family's life, pre- and post-school, in the 1970s.


A very inspiring article, concerning “Living with Chronic Illness”.


...Unfortunately there’s no authoritative roster of poisonous plants to consult for definitive advice about edibility. The Food and Drug Administration maintains an online poisonous plant database, but with the disclaimer that it has “no official status” because the information it includes is unconfirmed and constantly changing. So out-of-date and erroneous materials persist. Toxicity is an inexact quality in any case, because it depends on dosage and other variables.

….Plant foods contain many thousands of different chemicals, and each one can have a number of different effects on the body, some benign, others not.

We’ve come to eat what we eat based on long but limited experience, and scant understanding...


Fantastic comic about the annoyance of keeping track of your computer passwords.


Why Vegans and Primal-Paleo Dietary Types Should All Just Get Along
by Luke

I hate my chin.
Seriously. I have a weak chin. And I really don’t like it.

That’s why I’m not a big fan of rooms with mirrors on three walls. I’m thinking of the dressing room at Macy’s, and the place where I get my hair cut, and the bathroom at the YMCA where Cate and I go every week to swim laps.

Standing there in the Y bathroom in my goofy swim trunks, seeing myself from this So this is how others see me perspective, I’m usually able to convince myself that my shoulders are sort of wide, and that maybe all the running and swimming and better eating are paying off.

But then I find myself looking at my chin, and I realize how I’ll never swim my weak chin away. There it is. It will always be there. And there’s just no avoiding all those mirrored rooms waiting to remind me.

I bring this up so that you’ll understand that I really do get it when people get all fired up over the opening chapters in our book Deep Nutrition, which deal in part with the way our looks (Cate would say “our anatomies”) are affected by dietary choices. Politics, race, religion, physical appearance—such third-rail topics cut close to the bone, and we take these things so personally because they can so powerfully govern our life experience, everything from what we choose to do for a living to the people we count as friends. In various degrees, they help define who we are.

But what I’m a really confused about is why, just recently, we’re all starting to take our dietary choices so personally. If you read the nutrition blogs, you’ve seen how vicious people can get: “The author claims to be Paleo, but he’s obviously Primal! What a FAKE!” “Good for him, being a ‘conscientious’ vegetarian. I see he still recommends eggs! MURDERER!” “She acts like she came up with the whole idea of linking anatomy with health herself! Weston Price came up with that WAY before she did!!! And she doesn’t give him ANY credit in her book!!!”

I recently watched a Youtube video of a well-known vegan commentator (an Australian fellow who, I swear, sounds just like the Geico Gecko) doing a slide-by-slide hit-list presentation of his nutritional enemies and indicting each one for not looking “buff” enough.

The reason I’ve brought all this up is that, just this week, I almost fell into the same trap. I almost took this nutrition stuff personally.

Here’s what happened: I was reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell’s best-selling book, The China Study. The thing is, I’ve got this vegan buddy and he’s a super guy and very, very smart. While we were chatting he brought up something from The China Study—a book I’ve read—and I couldn’t remember the data he was referencing, so I felt I should probably read it again....


Try out the McGurk Effect for yourself.


“Seven Reasons to Stay Married” - a humorous and rueful retrospective.


Am still planning to read this History of Mealtimes, someday soon!


“As most of you probably know, a documentary called “Forks Over Knives” recently hit the theaters after months of private screenings. Vegans everywhere are swooning, giddy that their message is now animated, narrated, and on sale for $14.99. Proud meat-eaters are less enthused, sometimes hilariously so. The film’s producers call it a movie that “examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods.” Roger Ebert calls it “a movie that could save your life.” I call it a movie that deftly blends fact and fiction, and has lots of pictures of vegetables...”

(I'm also planning to read this in its entirety someday, because Denise Minger is so incredibly thorough and scientific and a good writer to boot. It's just's loooong!)


How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less than 10 Seconds. Really!! Except that you kind of need to shake the garlic for more like 20 seconds, and the technique doesn't work too well if you accidentally have wet hands that dampen the cloves. Otherwise, it's great!


It’s an accepted concept by now that taking antibiotics in order to quell an infection disrupts the personal microbiome, the population of microorganisms that we all carry around in our guts, and which vastly outnumbers the cells that make up our bodies. That recognition supports our understanding of Clostridium difficile disease — killing the beneficial bacteria allows C. diff room to surge and produce an overload of toxins — as well as the intense interest in establishing a research program that could demonstrate experimentally whether the vast industry producing probiotic products is doing what it purports to do.

But implicit in that concept is the expectation that, after a while — after a course of antibiotics ends — the gut flora repopulate and their natural balance returns.

What if that expectation were wrong?...


“Why wearing high heels does NOT lead to stronger pelvic muscles or better sex...[and]...Why growing pains are not about growing at all!”


The Heinz Award and What I Plan to Do With It

–Sandra Steingraber

...Emancipation from our terrible enslavement to fossil fuels is possible. The best science shows us that the United States could, within two decades, entirely run on green, renewable energy if we chose to dedicate ourselves to that course [1]. But, right now, that is not the trail we are blazing.

Instead, evermore extreme and toxic methods are being deployed to blast fossilized carbon from the earth. We are blowing up mountains to get at coal, felling boreal forests to get at tar, and siphoning oil from the ocean deep. Most ominously, through the process called fracking, we are shattering the very bedrock of our nation to get at the petrified bubbles of methane trapped inside.

Fracking turns fresh water into poison. It fills our air with smog, our roadways with 18-wheelers hauling hazardous materials, and our fields and pastures with pipelines and toxic pits.

I am therefore announcing my intent to devote my Heinz Award to the fight against hydrofracking in upstate New York, where I live with my husband and our two children.

Some might look at my small house (with its mismatched furniture) or my small bank accounts (with their absence of a college fund or a retirement plan) and question my priorities. But the bodies of my children are the rearranged molecules of the air, water, and food streaming through them. As their mother, there is no more important investment that I could make right now than to support the fight for the integrity of the ecological system that makes their lives possible. As legal scholar Joseph Guth reminds us, a functioning biosphere is worth everything we have [2].

This summer I traveled through the western United States and saw firsthand the devastation that fracking creates. In drought-crippled Texas where crops withered in the fields, I read a hand-lettered sign in a front yard that said, “I NEED WATER. U HAUL. I PAY. “ And still the fracking trucks rolled on, carrying water to the gas wells.

This is the logic of drug addicts, not science.

I also stood on the courthouse steps in Salt Lake City while climate activist Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in federal prison for an act of civil disobedience that halted the leasing of public land for gas and oil drilling near Arches National Park. Before he was hauled away by federal marshals, Tim said, “This is what love looks like.”

After two months of travel, my children and I arrived home to the still unfractured state of New York. After stopping at a local farm stand to buy bread, tomatoes, cheese, and peaches for dinner, we celebrated our return along the vineyard-and-waterfall-lined shore of Cayuga Lake. I watched my son skip stones across its surface. Under his feet lay the aquifer that provides drinking water to our village.

This is what security looks like. Please join me in the struggle to defend the economy and ecology of upstate New York. Bring what you can.



Growing Without Schooling Magazine: You Don’t Have to Go to Grow

Medford, MA, Sept. 14, 2011: Holt Associates Inc. announced today that all issues of its historic magazine, Growing Without Schooling (GWS), are now available for free public access at its website, Growing Without Schooling is the nation’s first magazine about homeschooling, unschooling, and learning outside of school, founded by the late author/teacher John Holt in 1977.

“Now, when teachers and tests are getting all the attention in education reform, the complete issue archive of GWS is more evidence for the public to consider that learning is a result of the activity of learners; it is not necessarily a result of teaching,” says Patrick Farenga, president of Holt Associates Inc. also contains significant amounts of new information about John Holt and his work, including never-before-released video footage of Holt, photographs, and newly digitized audio files of interviews and lectures by Holt where he discusses how schools could be improved.

At a time of conformity and standardization in school, unschooling proves that there are many different schedules and ways to individualize education for children. GWS also shows how it is things like good health, good food, solid relationships, caring adults, and freedom to explore the world that make a positive difference to the lives and learning of children, not expensive school technologies.

“GWS documents 24 years of personal stories, news articles, research, books and the strong flowering of the homeschooling movement from 1977 to 2001. In 1977 there were perhaps 10 to 20 thousand homeschoolers and in 2001 it was estimated there were about 1.2 million homeschooled children. In 2011, estimates put that number over two million,” says Farenga. presents many resources for helping school-age children, from teens to kindergartners, learn in their own ways, including getting into college or finding work worth doing without a conventional school background. Holt Associates is an education consulting company committed to freedom for learning.

For more information contact:
Patrick Farenga
Holt Associates/Growing Without Schooling
13 Hume Avenue
Medford, MA 02155


A new plan unveiled this week by the Department of Health and Human Services will make it more difficult for a patient to have an open and frank discussion with his doctor about the potential side effects of statin medications.

It’s no secret that statins, taken to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke, can have serious side effects; simply read the package insert. It’s not unusual that, when reviewing a new patient’s previous charts, I see they have experienced symptoms potentially attributable to their statin prescription(s). Sometimes the nurses’ notes even document that the patient expressed concern that their symptoms might be the side effects of their statin medication(s). Often, however, the record shows that their doctor’s response was to simply scribble out another prescription to treat the new symptoms.

When you talk “privately” with your doctor, is someone else in the room with you?

Few people know that when a patient has a private talk in the exam room with his personal health care provider, he is often not—as much as he might like to believe—having a one-on-one conversation. Any time you are on a medication you suspect may be hurting you, and you go through the “ask your doctor if you are experiencing” routine, the answers you get may depend on what your insurance company wants your doctor to say.

It works like this. Right now, a small portion of the money you pay for health insurance is allocated to your doctor through a system of evaluations called “pay-for-performance.” When the health insurance company agrees with what your doctor is doing, the doctor is paid better. When the health insurance company disagrees, your doctor is financially penalized.


Just read these fascinating blog posts about rib cage physiology and breathing. You probably know all this stuff, but it was very useful for me, even the 6-minute video, which I actually watched. She talks about Why belly breathing is not necessarily optimal, but sometimes it is..Why it's not so great to hunch and lift your shoulders (I mean, you can tell by how it feels that it's not so great, but she has some useful points to add for people who say, "But why not, if it's comfortable?") Also, this comes right around to GAPS and gut dysbiosis, because right at the end she explains why reducing (too much) farting is an important factor in maintaining proper alignment.

"Under Pressure (Parts 1 and 2)

"...I think it would be easier for me to explain how a diastasis recti happens in the first place. If you are reading this and don’t have this condition — DON’T HANG UP! The info in this article is about how your body should be all of the time so that you don’t develop this, or other pressure-based conditions like pelvic organ prolapse, varicose veins, constipation, hemorrhoids, hernias, and high blood pressure to name a few..."


Maybe, finally, some good news for cyclists concerning rumble strips.