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Messages - abbot

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Miscellaneous / Celebrity Deaths
« on: July 10, 2014, 10:22:50 AM »
This past weekend I took a very extended vacation. road tripping out west, arrived back exhausted but glad I did it. On the way I was listening to a bunch of CDs including a couple Beastie Boys albums (R.I.P. MCA). Curious about their catalog I did a Wikipedia search and while reading Adam Yauch's entry I came across these sentences under the "illness and death" section:

Yauch became a vegan under the recommendation of his Tibetan doctors. At the time, Yauch described the cancer as "very treatable".

Needless to say, he did not survive his cancer, and died soon after.

It reminded me a lot of the circumstances revolving the death of actor Michael Clarke Duncan, who famously became a vegetarian and spokesperson for PETA, and then died shortly after from a heart attack.

I don't want to suggest that veganism or vegetarianism is what killed these stars (that could get hostile rather swiftly). But I am curious about the extent to which our society views plant-based, carb-heavy diets as being a healthier alternative to diets that include animal protein. The idea that veganism is healthy is so accepted by our culture that it strikes us as a sensible notion that a man literally dying from a serious illness, should eliminate an important macronutrient such as animal protein from his diet, in an effort to improve his health.

It's sad that the ideas of human health and veganism are so associated that we don't bother to question the wisdom of abandoning omnivorism in favor of a purely vegetable diet in order to conform to religious dogmas or shady moralistic philosophies.



Miscellaneous / Overweight vegetarian
« on: June 18, 2014, 09:20:14 AM »
So random thought: there's the guy who frequents the same coffee shop/juice bar that I do in the mornings. He's a professor at the local university. He's hard to miss. I see him biking all over town. He's an outspoken vegetarian... and he has to be almost 300 lbs. Certainly over 275. He's a large guy. One of my friends who knows him, told me that he's one guy you never want to engage in a conversation about diet with because he is militant in his vegetarianism.

Anyhow he came in to the coffee shop/juice bar this morning just ahead of me and ordered a 20 oz "paradise" (pear, orange, and ginger juice blend) and a blueberry scone. I got my usual black coffee.

It just makes me ill because clearly he's someone who buys into the 6 servings of grain a day bullshit that the FDA puts out there that is literally killing America. And apparently he's so sold on that crap, that he literally can't see what it's doing to him. So sad. 

Recipes and meal photos / Vegan Cheeses
« on: March 10, 2014, 03:19:19 PM »
Saw this article on buzzfeed called "14 Vegan Cheeses That Will Make You Forget About the Real Thing". Not into veganism, but I looked and it turns out that many of the recipes have a tree nut base so are worth considering, at least in small amounts.

Here's the link

Diet and nutrition / Re: Another terrible article
« on: January 08, 2014, 12:24:43 PM »
The author shows his bias against the diet by calling it "bullshit" in the title, the "latest faux-hippie, fitness-addict trend" in the article, and calling those who adhere to the diet "fanboys" in the comments. Makes me so angry...

Diet and nutrition / Another terrible article
« on: January 08, 2014, 12:21:52 PM »
Terrible article postulates that since a recent study discovered a population of late paleoliths that ate a "carb rich" diet of acorns that the paleo diet is bullshit. Here's the link

Diet and nutrition / Ritz crackers
« on: November 19, 2013, 02:44:24 PM »
Manitoba law fines parent who sends kid to school with a lunch that is lacking in grain. Here's the article:

Diet and nutrition / Re: Need to know....
« on: August 29, 2013, 12:08:08 PM »
Beans are not Paleo... however green beans and string beans are way better than most beans like butter beans, kidney beans, or black beans. My rule is that I eat green beans or string beans a couple of times a month at most, and avoid the rest entirely.

Food Journals / Re: Abbot's Food Journal with Photos
« on: August 19, 2013, 11:27:27 AM »
Sunday! August 18th
Breakfast: Bacon and eggs.

Lunch: Salmon, Brussels Sprouts, and bacon-wrapped stuffed jalepenos with shrimp and cream cheese.

Dinner: Pork Tenderloin, stewed carrots, and steamed broccoli.

Food Journals / Re: Abbot's Food Journal with Photos
« on: August 04, 2013, 01:25:23 PM »
Sunday! Breatfast: bacon, strawberries, and scrambled eggs with turmeric.

Food Journals / Re: Abbot's Food Journal with Photos
« on: August 04, 2013, 01:22:45 PM »
Saturday! Breakfast: Fried eggs and bacon.

Lunch: Ate out at a local Chinese place. Go the egg drop soup (without tofu) and egg & tomato stir-fry. It came with rice, but I didn't eat it.

Dinner: Chili rellenos, stuffed with beef and onions, topped with queso (not Paleo) and jalepenos.

Miscellaneous / Re: The Bible and hunter-gatherering lifestyle
« on: August 03, 2013, 10:54:11 AM »
That is interesting about the Aché, sadly I am not terribly familiar with New World anthropology, though as a side note, the Spanish teacher at the school I work at is from Paraguay. I should ask her next week when we return from summer break!

I will add one thing, that studies have show the cultural memory can last centuries and there is evidence that pre-literary societies have longer cultural memories, since oral traditions function in some way to preserve certain tenant of a culture in ways that literary societies allow to get "lost" in paperwork.

A good example from ancient Greece would be domination of mainland Greece by Crete under the Minoan civilization. The myth of Prince Theseus sailing to Crete to slay the Minotaur to break the tribute Athens was commanded to pay Crete tells the story of a weak Athens attempting to escape oppression by a powerful Crete. The interesting part is that they were telling these myths in 6th and 5th century BC Athens, even though Athenians of those centuries seems to find the idea of a backwards island like Crete dominating Athens ridiculous.

What archeology has now confirmed is that until the 15th century BC, The Minoan civilization centered on Crete was the dominate power in the Mediterranean and did in fact dominate the mainland. Clearly the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur preserves a cultural memory from many centuries earlier, despite the fact that 5th century Athenians could scarcely fathom Crete being powerful enough to conquer Athens. Homer (writing in the 8th century) preserves the same narrative in the Iliad in which the Creteans (led by King Idomeneus, grandson of Minos) are one of the most powerful groups among the Greeks gathered at Troy, despite the fact that in 8th century BC Crete was hardly a military power.

Anyhow, thanks for all the comments, I'm still not sure how plausible this idea it. Clearly I have a lot of research to read up on!

Miscellaneous / Re: The Bible and hunter-gatherering lifestyle
« on: August 02, 2013, 02:57:18 PM »
True, and that is my concern why it is crazy. I thought I'd share it anyway though because it seemed interesting, but the time disparity is concerning.

Still, the growth of farming in the fertile crescent area led to a gradual and persistent growth of population, and we can be sure that these early farmers were attractive targets for raids from non-farming mountain tribes that lived at the edges of "civilization". These conflicts would have started in pre-literary times and might have completely dwindled by the time writing was invented, but clearly the ability of agriculture to sustain a larger population would have helped the farmers ultimately prevail in such a conflict.

The question of whether or not there was a "cultural memory" that persisted in some oral tradition about a conflict between meat eaters and vegetable eaters that provided the basis of the Cain & Abel story seems plausible enough. Fighting over land for farming, vs land for grazing animals, and what have you. Above I misspoke and said Abel was a hunter (actually the Bible calls him a shepherd) but either way we can be sure conflict over agricultural land-use provided the narrative for which the Cain & Abel story is an allegory.

The mark of Cain is one of those mysteries of the Bible which has never been satisfactorily explained. This is just one of those "what if" things that popped into my head. It is interesting to think about, and I would like to see if research into early agricultural sites might reveal more about the health of neolithic people. Realistically though, if there was some sort of physical ailment that manifested on the skin of early farmers that might have provided such a cultural memory for the mark of Cain, odds that it would have been preserved in the form of archeological evidence are slim to nil. But I had to say it anyway, because when you get a crazy thought like this in your head, sometimes you just have to let it out!  :-)

Food Journals / Re: Abbot's Food Journal with Photos
« on: August 02, 2013, 11:29:38 AM »
Friday! Breakfast: bacon and omelet with chorizo, onions, and tomatoes

Lunch: Pork chops with steamed broccoli (leftovers from last night's dinner)

Dinner: Crab cakes (made with almond flour) and a Greek Salad.

Food Journals / Re: Abbot's Food Journal with Photos
« on: August 01, 2013, 09:21:51 AM »
Thursday! Late breakfast: fried eggs with acocado slices and bacon. Not pictured: black coffee.

Lunch: salmon fillet (pan-fried in bacon grease), romaine salad with tomatoes and blue cheese dressing.

Dinner: 2 pork chops and steamed broccoli.

Miscellaneous / The Bible and hunter-gatherering lifestyle
« on: August 01, 2013, 09:09:03 AM »
Okay, random thought here, this might come off as being a bit "crazy person" so if you have strongly set religious convictions... might be best to skip this. Here goes:

I teach Latin and mythology, and I love the comparative myth stuff. One of the biggest regrets in my academic career was never studying ancient Hebrew when I had the chance. I was a Classics major, so I took plenty of Latin and Greek.  Also I was a biology minor, so I'm interested in evolutional medicine from the viewpoint of an informed enthusiast.

Anyhow from a mythological perspective the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis is fascinating for a number of reasons. Cain (a farmer) murders his brother Abel (a hunter) because God finds Abel's sacrificial offering acceptable, but not Cain's. If you look at it allegorically (as many Biblical scholars do) this is clearly a representation of conflict between hunter-gathering tribes and early farmers. This is all well understood.

It's fascinating because (a) the "good" brother Abel is killed even though God approved of his sacrifice, perhaps because hunter-gatherer society was considered the older and more noble profession, (b) Cain the "evil" brother is allowed to live and bear progeny, maybe alluding to the proliferation of agrarian societies, which would eventually support far larger civilizations than possible under a hunter-gatherer society, and (c) Cain is given a mark of some kind to identify him so that others will know to leave him be.

Now here's my thought and where the crazy part shows up. What is this mark of Cain? Different theories have been floated over the years including the overtly racist theory that the "mark" is dark skin. But could the mark possible be the manifestation of some early disease or illness? If high carb diets cause such health issues now, surely they did the same to the earliest farmers, possibly even more-so. Could the mark of Cain possible be some sort of sore, rash, infection, dermal discoloration, or any other sort of physical indicator of a infirmity suffered by early farmers, that would have caused neighboring hunter-gatherers to avoid them?

Possibly I'm crazy, but this kept me up last night, so I wanted to write it down and share it. What do you guys think. Does this make any sense, or am I just too far out there?

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