It's sad to see populations poisoned by bad food. The resulting obesity, mental effects, and health effects are holding back entire populations, particularly in the USA. These should be grand times with the healthiest people in history. We have massive food surpluses, a massive reduction in back-breaking labor, lots more time, health care systems etc. And yet, many populations around the world are less healthy across the board than they were a century ago. It's a root cause of many of the western world's problems including depression, failing government, stalling innovation, cultural degeneration, etc. For example, the covid pandemic was not so much a problem of the virus, as a problem of an unhealthy population that could not cope with the virus. The US's growing debt issues and government failures are fundamentally problems of an unhealthy population that requires outsize health care expense for reduced capability.
Listing some health principles online is just about the only thing I can do to help. There probably aren't many good studies to support some of these recommendations, and in any case, I find online posts that cite papers a bit conceited with their "science says so" attitude that has fallen so low with the replication crisis. Besides, it's silly to expect reliable studies for effects that are so difficult to measure over long periods and that run against commercial and government interests. Keep in mind, there haven’t always existed studies saying lobotomies or tobacco were bad. I will make these recommendations even though they are somewhat unsupported and speculative because I trust myself to interpret and extrapolate what I see in everyday life to reach good enough conclusions.
I don't really know anything scientifically about fasting. I just know that I greatly enjoy doing 2 to 5-day fasts (no food, lots of water and tea) and have always found it extremely beneficial. I can sum it up as a lightness of body and mind, with a heightened ability to focus and observe. I tend to do it monthly and if I start to feel sick as it seems to help the recovery. I've heard that children and women of childbearing age should avoid fasting.
Why might fasting be effective? Most people eat so much poison food that merely pausing its ingestion has miraculous effects. At the least, fasting can help reveal that some foods are negatively affecting you. Or perhaps, the digestive system, like all the other systems in the body, needs a break every now and then. I also like the idea that fasting consumes excess or hostile body mass.
Avoid Seed Oils, Vegetable Oils, and Corn Syrup
The general idea behind avoiding seed oils is that the food industry has often introduced new garbage foods and ingredients that humans have not evolved to digest or use and that their effects can be bad but not easily measured. Clearly, there are large-scale bad effects in the US, particularly regarding obesity. Evaluating the toxicity and long-term effects of seed oils may prove to be a trans-science question, one whose effects can only be measured over long times, and with subtle changes which cannot be realistically undertaken.
Why are seed oils pushed onto the consumer? The reason of course is that the seeds and vegetables used to make these oils can be industrially farmed in combines and their end price is at least 10 times lower than animal fats and olive oils. For example, Mcdonald's French fries used to be made with beef tallow. Then they switched to canola. Butter is replaced with margarine. Canola oil and soy oil appear in infant formula.
For Western, Middle Eastern, and African people, seed oils are a completely new component of the diet. These old worlds have long been acclimated to animal fats and olive oils. The introduction and total domination of industrial seed oils has introduced a new set of oils that are fundamentally different in their chemical composition, bodily effects, and toxicity profile inherent to their industrial production.
I feel better when I completely avoid seed and vegetable oils. I find I am less puffy and lighter, and my somewhat sensitive skin is in its best condition. Could be a placebo, but it’s effective for me.
Industrial produce and food are made from species selected and modified to match industrial production systems, rather than optimized for human nutrition. While there's nothing wrong with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) by themselves, the issue is they are often modified with entirely the wrong objective: crop yield in an industrial farming paradigm. For example, farming uses plant varieties that are easier to pick and sort using mechanized systems and more easily moved, stored, and ripened on their way from the mega-corp farmland to the multi-national grocery chain shelves. How can a fruit or vegetable that is optimized for industrial processes also manage to retain its original purpose as a source of nutrition and taste? No species can do it all.
I also have serious concerns about the things used in industrial farming and meat to protect the food or enhance its growth. It's reasonable to think that the same stuff that is so effective at fattening chickens and cows will also fatten humans when they eat those chickens and cows (more on antibiotics). Whether it's pesticides, growth promoters, or antibiotics, it seems there's a significant risk in eating these foods as no long term study is possible. It could well be true that the majority of these ingredients in our ingredients are perfectly harmless. But because we cannot identify the minority of significantly harmful ingredients, not through any kind of long-term and statistically rigorous experiment, we are forced to renounce all these "innovative" ingredients just to stay healthy.
So it's a good idea to buy food directly from farmers who use traditional methods, grow it yourself, or find grocery store foods that you believe are naturally grown and harvested. It is not entirely true that natural and good food has to be more expensive than GMO food or processed garbage. For starters, the long-term health expense of eating garbage will far surpass the grocery store price of natural and healthy foods. But more importantly, one should not be buying good food in a grocery store where spoilage and big business means massive markups on the highest quality foods. You are unlikely to find the best fruits, vegetables, and meats at a chained grocery store. Growing yourself or buying direct is the only way to get good prices and ensure the food is not contaminated with toxic crap that no one has had the time to properly study.
Making Food Yourself
Forgo processed foods. Ideally, you have seen everything you put in your body in its original form, and you have personally witnessed its transformation from virgin food stuff to ingestible food. The fact is industrial food production requires special chemicals and steps to ease the processes and steps to and achieve long shelf-life products. The extra ingredients include various cleaners, lubricants, colorants, emulsifiers, etc. The various steps include non-traditional cleaning, thermal, and chemical processes. These are not conventional foodstuffs or processes, and it is not likely that these ingredients and steps can ever be properly studied. Consuming is a big bet.
If you are not consuming seed oils or industrial foods, you are also not eating out as most restaurants use seed and vegetable oils by default. So if you're not eating processed food and not eating out, you will be cooking yourself or with others. As you cook more with good ingredients, eating out will eventually seem pretty unhealthy and expensive.
Other small tidbits that might be useful:
- Warm foods are less likely to carry disease
- Cooked foods reduce the digestive burden and bodily demands
- Mixing ingredients is like mixing chemicals and should be done in moderation
- Don't use plastic kitchenware or cutting surfaces unless you want to eat plastic
Other food pointers
- 2-4 liters/day of pure water
- Soda is liquid sugar if you're lucky, and corn syrup if you're not. Drink seltzer instead
- Ignore dietary guidelines from the government
- If you eat lots of butter and fats, get plenty of sunlight
- Set a table to eat, don't be lazy
- Try to eat with others, but not necessary
- Minimize dishwasher and dish detergent use. Rinse very well. (study)
Sun is good, sunscreen is bad
Get sun on your skin. Naked is best. One study.
Walk often, 2-3x a day. Should probably do some strenuous physical activity just about every other day. Gyms, organized sports, and equipment are totally unnecessary. All you need is the floor and a half hour to do some calisthenics routines. It's a minimal way that guarantees you can exercise wherever you are, whatever you are doing, without setup or sunk costs. It's also basically impossible to hurt yourself while doing calisthenics.
Live Far Away from Highways and Airports
I lived near the Del Mar horse racing track in CA for a year and Interstate 5 could be felt and heard day and night. The noise, vibrations, light, and pollutants have a slow and deep depressive effect on the mind and body. Engines and industrial noise
Almost everything we consume online or on TV and in newspapers is non-actionable, impersonal, and essentially useless information. The information is worthless because it is in infinite supply and has almost nothing to do with us. We are mere spectators of this information and the world it describes, unable to take any sort of meaningful action in response. And therefore this should be highly limited and to the maximum extent ignored. TV or streaming services should be banned from your house. It would be wise to avoid an internet connection in the house and instead use public internet as needed (e.g. libraries and cafes).
Similarly, smartphones are basically unnecessary in everyday life and can completely shrivel up our creative powers and will to do. They are the most effective tether into the machine, turning its users into zombies. The simplest way to avoid smartphone issues is to get rid of them. You can't death scroll before going to bed if you don't have a smartphone.
We should open the channels for actionable and pertinent information: the day-to-day happenings of our town and family, children, friends, our crafts, and creations. Just sitting on the porch having a cup of coffee. Or lying in the grass looking at the stars.
Live with or near family, or at least near long-time friends. Be friendly, make friends, meet people, improve and contribute to the place around you.
If you have trouble sleeping,
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid light in the hours before sleep
- Avoid light during sleep
- Eat 2-3 hours before wanting to go to sleep
- Use earplugs for noise reduction
- Find ways not to think much