Dynorphin & a high-fat diet: implications pt.1

When I started eating paleoesque years ago (well before uppity bloggers came on the scene with their foolish dietary declarations and denunciations), I followed the low-fat, no-starch Cordain theory (he has since come to his senses and changed his stance). I bought The Paleo Diet and followed it pretty much to the letter for two months or so, all the while feeling wrong about the whole thing. It just didn’t make sense; why was I not deriving the promised satisfaction from this “perfect” diet that supposedly reflects our genetic heritage?

I started thinking about it with a little internet education behind me, and came to the conclusion that if man was on the hunt for the most calories with the least effort (in accord with our naturally lazy nature), it would make sense that he would know precisely which animals would be the fattest and at what times (in accord with our incredible intelligence). Also, many areas, dense and easy with underground tubers and storage organs, rich with calories, greatly satisfied and comforted those who threw them on the fire, perhaps wrapped in leaves.

~So I started experimenting; I first added starch from tubers back into my diet with a little trepidation. Back in my vegetarian days I based my eating on grains and beans; like every other veg-head, this was my foundation; protein must come from somewhere if not animals. To think that grains and beans could be anything but god’s food was unheard of, like oxygen cut off from the air supply. The problem was however, grass seeds swung my moods like bad ecstasy on a demented dance floor, and beans (speaking of air supply), particularly soy products like tofu and tvp offended not only those around me, but myself as well (let’s be honest, in a normal situation one must be a bit faggy if one’s own farts offend one’s self; but mine was definitely not a normal situation!). They also messed up my peristalsis unpredictably (with weekly bouts of diarrhea)… but tubers behaved themselves wonderfully. They not only gave back the energy I was lacking, they gave me comfort and soul peace too…

…but of course, me being me, I could not simply just leave it alone and keep doing that which worked, and worked well; nope. I had to keep screwing around and make it “better”. I read with interest the blogs that advocated a high fat, low carb way of eating, and stumbled upon Jan Kwasniewski’s Optimal Diet, with its protein/fat/carb ratio of 1:2.5-3.5:0.5. I thought, “heeeyyyy… I’vvve got ann’ ideeaaa… forrrmmin’ in me’ ‘ead. I can do these macronutrient ratios in a paleo context,” and then proceeded to royally fuck myself up for the next thirteen months of my life. Adopting this approach, I immediately felt like an inferno of power. It was great; seemingly endless energy. I thought I’d stumbled onto the holy grail of macro-ratios, an esoteric source of forbidden knowledge, sullied from view by an evil dietary cabal of political/religious/nutritional dictocrats. The better I felt, the more smug and pleased with myself I became, until I was a bronzed, cut, fat-fueled John Galt Übermensch, chuckling down, lovingly, condescendingly, at the little silly people scurrying about with their sandwiches, all the while pondering what I’d do with my new-found powers… should I use my awesomeness for good? for evil?… help the hungry?… world domination?…

…no matter; all that really counted was the fact that I was in the world, and all those within my light might bask in my cleansing glow and be better for just experiencing that which was me.

Normally, I log two or three thousand kms per year backpacking (this actually isn’t bullshit   ;D), hiking, biking, mountain climbing (it’s interesting that people with endorphin deficiencies gravitate to these activities to increase production). One particular weekend I became vaguely aware of the old people and toddlers passing me up on my way to Galatea lake in Kananaskis. I swore I could hear Justin Bieber in the ear buds of 13-year-old schoolgirls as they passed me on the trails looking sideways, then back at me, half-pityingly, like I was an old lady on my way to the church bake-off (ok, this was way before Justin Bieber). I wonder if they thought I was carrying knitting supplies and candy sprinkles for my secret cake recipes in my backpack. My best friend usually walks behind me when we hike together, but this time I was digging for excuses why I was dragging behind in a heart-pounding malaise. It all started going downhill, so to speak, from there. I increasingly began experiencing evening anxiety and a pounding hypertension that, while not too bad in the morning, averaged a systolic of well over 140, an alarming change from my usual circa 118. My days were suddenly adrenaline/cortisol fueled and my nights were spent in bed as a literally vibrating mass of teeth-clenched flesh, pondering his fate; at any given time the mirror showed a pale, cadaverous, gaunt spectre asking his reflection-source what he was going to do about this mess…

…I soon after smacked myself upside the head with a 2×4, went back to my fatty meat and greens/tuber/fruit based diet with some nuts and seeds thrown in, and am back to normal… not before scaring the shit out of myself though.

~It’s funny how people can find themselves trapped within any kind of paradigm, out of which they can easily step, but refuse because this or that belief, whatever it may be, is “The Way”, even if it might be killing them. Something like this is happening in the diet blogosphere these days, and people are turning into idiots following advice that may very well work for some, but because we’re all different, may quite literally destroy the health of others.

For those readers who haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m on about, there is an infantile mutual tantrum going on in the paleo/traditional dietsphere between various camps that has basically completely turned me off reading them… I refer you to the links to the right on my site. If you’re new to this nonsense and can stomach it, read them. But fair warning: besides one or two, they’re all full of shit these days and are no longer interested much in learning and giving humble opinions, just throwing mud and rhetoric at each other and defending pet theories. So you’ll have to go back into the archives of these blogs to a more wide-eyed and less jaded time.

…I haven’t linked to the biggest shit birds, but you’ll find them soon enough… they’ll make sure of that.

…so, allow me my own little declaration: let any self-proclaimed textpert of a diet blog, who preaches that a diet high in starch from whole foods is unnatural and will be your downfall, rot in the same fatty quagmire into which he sent many others…

…likewise, let one who has never known obesity and never experienced a broken metabolism, and turns up his nose at the obvious benefits for some of a low-carb/high-fat diet, shut his mouth and acquire a little humility and knowledge before he buries himself alive in his own stupid.

~Everyone is different, idiots… grow up.

~My involvement is emotional because I’ve been self-experimenting longer than most of these needledicks have pondered what they’d been shovelling down their pie holes, and I’ve consistently disproved the opinions of almost everyone with an opinion.

…Let it be known that this blog will never devolve into a mess of cracking, rigid dogma, with ideas locked in stone, made Official and thereby set upon a museum shelf to slowly rot, shrink and petrify with a semblance of truth in it, but covered with old webs of tenets…

…I will remain young-hearted and open with this, and want those who read this to understand that I will never let a broken desperate obese person leave here hurt and as confused as other sites may have left them. I will tell you to figure things out for yourself, in a paleoesque context (because that’s my open and particular bias). In my opinion, grass seeds, beans and dairy are unnecessary and insulinogenic, but one broken person may achieve great success with a whole-food, high tuber, very bland carby diet with zero food reward, while easily keeping calorie consumption down; while another may attain magical success with a healthy high-fat ruminant/seafood and greens approach, with no starch or sweet.

~next: pt 2


Why not grow a poppy patch? Here’s how… pt.3: harvesting & processing

Our flowers are almost grown and ready for processing. We planted at the appropriate time and cultivated for the biggest juiciest pods possible, and things are looking very well.

When looking for the harvesting signs, there are things to consider. First, timing is important: too soon, and you will have wasted some time and effort by picking your flowers before their inner beauty will have reached full potential; too late, and some of the alkaloids (perhaps 10%) will have been lost to time and the weather (too much rain can wash even more of them away… remember this!).

From planting to bloom is about ten to twelve weeks (add a couple of weeks for hens & chicks); and when the petals fall off (two or three days after bloom) to peak harvest is about two weeks, maybe a little longer. After the petals fall from the flower, the pod should swell dramatically to its finished size within this time. Your poppies won’t all flower or swell at the same time, so the easiest way to tell when the waxy-looking bluish-green pods are ready is by looking at the crowns on top of each, which will be curled straight up from flat… easily witnessed.

The following section is theoretical, educational and meant for curious inquiry; it in no way endorses the use of papaver somniferum for any use other than ornamental growing. Technically, growing somniferum is illegal in Canada, but tolerated if grown in small quantities for ornamental purposes. The use of this plant for any intention other than growing has resulted in a prosecution thus far.

Though criminalising individuals for growing flowers may seem draconian, keep in mind that the State knows you better than you know yourself and understands what’s best for you. It matters not that you haven’t hurt anyone nor taken from anyone that which doesn’t belong to you; the fact that you grow flowers and drink the tea made from them is offensive to society and can… somehow… hurt society (don’t ask how, just accept this).

…ohh,ho,ho yes… the moment we’ve been waiting for; all our work, our labour of love, our hopes and dreams, nurturing and waiting… have focused and come to this moment…

TEA TIME!!!   WHOO, HOOO!!    :D

Okay, now that the pods are ready, we have a couple of choices for drying, and two choices for processing; we can pull up whole plants, tie them in bundles and hang them upside down to dry in a ventilated area if we have the space and inclination, or we can simply take a knife or shears to the garden and cut the pods off with four inches of stem attached and lay them on cardboard in a well ventilated room until they are completely dry. They say (the wise poppymen again) the advantage of hanging whole plants is that alkaloids in the stem and roots can drain into the pod for added potency. I don’t know if this has been tested or is complete bullshit. If drying on cardboard however, it’s important to space the pods and turn them occasionally; this prevents mold, which is a real concern…

…I should add that the stems, leaves and roots have a measure of alkaloids that may be exploited by loosely chopping and very gently simmering in water for a few hours to obtain the alkaloids, which may then be very gently and patiently oven-evaporated over some days to condense and freeze-store the resulting liquor; it may be worth doing this if you don’t have an ideal amount of product… maybe add some acidic lemon juice to help with extraction.

*Note that I won’t be giving instruction on scoring pods for black tar opium; this is an invitation for a door-kicking from our finest. I really don’t recommend this and hope you don’t do this; it’s too conspicuous and a good way to ensure that, eventually, no one will be growing poppies.

When our pods are dry, they must be processed. Process them all at once, because each pod can have a different potency, and it is just too precarious to grind up a few pods as needed for tea; please be aware that an overdose can kill you, and simply grinding pods as needed can do it… …not fun.

…So, remove the seeds and grind all the pods at once to a fine powder called dode or doda with a tough coffee grinder. When ground, mix the dode with a large spoon or spatula for 5-10 minutes to ensure an even mix. Save the seeds from the best pods for next year’s planting and the rest for cooking etc; they make a great curry paste. 

Put the dode in large freezer bags and store in the freezer.

Dosage is different for everyone. I strongly suggest you start at a low dose of 4 gms, then slowly each session, gm by gm, work your way up using a high quality scale until you have achieved your “lifting” dose. I think it’s very important to remind you to not start dragon-chasing; you will be disappointed at the way your tolerance builds, the greater amount of product you have to take, the fact that you simply are not getting high anymore, the enormous simian that has jumped on to your back and the surprising and horrifying way you’re getting dope-sick every morning…

…trust me; you can’t imagine.

There are two ways to consume dode: the dignified way or the economical way. If you have a lot of product, tea is the way to go. Boil water in a small pot on the stove. When the water is violently boiling, turn it off, add your dode, stir it in and take the pot off the burner. Let it sit with a lid on for fifteen minutes. During this time, eat a grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice for potentiation/enzyme inhibition. Strain tea thoroughly and drink… it doesn’t taste great, so do what you must to make it palatable if you care about this; maple syrup actually makes it quite pleasant.

…Be aware that the alkaloids are easily destroyed by boiling. Avoid this.

Powder in cool water is the other way to consume. This is the economical way (and my way, due to laziness). Less is wasted, but the resulting brew is truly vile. I eat my grapefruit each morning, steel myself for the deed, pray a little prayer to the regurgitation gods and quaff it back, powder and all… apparently it saves me money or something.

…I suppose I should add, for curiosity’s sake, that there is a third way of administration (no, not the needle; but I know you’re not stupid)… it’s very effective too; though I have to say, in my estimation, one must be a bit of a bedlamite to even consider it. If you choose to go this… ehrm, “route”, heaven help your decadent soul.

~Okay; so, we’ve learned how to process dode using the dried-pods method. Another way to process is the freshie-freeze method. If you have enough freezer space, this processing method is more efficient and much more potent, though heavier with more water mass because the pods are never dried, only frozen. Simply pick each pod at peak potency (with 4″ of stem attached), remove the seeds, slice it into small pieces and immediately store the pieces in the freezer in a large container or bag with other pods that have been picked and pieced earlier. Eventually, when all your pods have been picked, pieced and frozen, bring this mass out of the freezer and, while frozen, pound it into even smaller pieces (do this quickly, before it thaws), then store it back into the freezer in freezer bags. Note that the alkaloids in freshies are very bitter compared to dried pods (some folks can’t deal with this), and the potency is much higher (so be very careful and use a weight-scale, not a measuring spoon or cup!). Because of the heightened potency of freshies, it is important to mix, mix, mix all your pods into a single consistent-dose mass (just like dried pod powder) before storing in smaller freezer bags.

Some people like to add freshie-dode into smoothie-type shakes while others with stronger constitutions simply blend with water or juice, and down the hatch!

So there you go; from seed to deed in three parts… happy growing!

Be back quick…

Haven’t posted because I just got a ten month old, and growing, maine coon. This one is huge, very smart, beautiful, affectionate and won’t shut up…

…he’s also intact, so I have to get him set up for the place; he has to get neutered, shots and used to everybody. he’s adjusting very well, demanding of time and attention, and doesn’t have much of a concept of others’ lives without him in them.

I’ll post pretty quick… maybe about the therapeutic benefits of human-animal relations affecting oxytocin/endorphin/dopamine, and forcing noradrenaline to lower levels.

…’til then…

Separation distress and the importance of valued people

I stumbled onto two interesting authors, Jaak Panksepp and Douglas Watt…

“‘Big Pharma,’ as big business, seeks antidepressants that may become billion-dollar blockbuster drugs. Accordingly, it may neglect drugs that are off-patent (e.g., buprenorphine) as well as those that only serve a small subset of the population. Many authors (ever since Valenstein, 1998) have argued that the pharmaceutical industry may be exercising an increasingly distorting influence on prescription and treatment landscapes for the whole of medicine in the United States. This may be particularly true in relationship to depression, where many depressed patients are never referred to psychotherapy and instead are only put on first-line antidepressant drug regimens under the simplistic aegis that depression is “just a chemical imbalance.” These trends take place despite evidence that pharmacology is often only partially effective in depression (see recent STAR*D reports: Rush, 2007; Rush, Trivedi, & Fava, 2003) and despite evidence that patients suffering from trauma-related depressions do quite poorly treated alone with psychopharmacology without psychotherapy”

 Far be it from me, an academically untrained but round-eyed acolyte of the big world, to feel at all qualified to take on the authors’ implication that depression may be the result of anything but “a chemical imbalance” though an initial “trauma” may have initiated the process, and the chemical imbalance following the trauma can’t be fixed wholly pharmacologically. But I’ll state modestly that some day soon, almost every state of depression, whatever the cause, will be cured chemically sans psychotherapy…

…psychotherapy definitely has a purpose… probably always will; intelligent people understand that they have subjective limitations regarding self-awareness, and some have an interest in resolving recurring, stunting issues, or simply gaining insight for the sake of growth with the help of trained facilitators. But some day drugs will blow away our depression, regardless, with remaining only a curious interest in why we do the things we do and think what we think, for the sake of treating ourselves and others better.

~But my little declaration is not the reason for this post. Jaak Panksepp and Douglas Watt really have their stuff goin’ on, and are speaking my language. My personal theory of depression (…depression not caused by an innate anomaly) involves three roots: an unsuitable industrial diet, inappropriate exercise (not enough and chronic cardio), and stressors, including modern stressors (pollution, lifestyle etc). In this piece, the authors deal with separation stressors leading to a “protective” state of depression (do I smell the pernicious stench of dynorphin again?).

Whether or not this thesis is correct, the thing that jumps out and reminds me is the importance of keeping one’s self as engaged and socially involved as possible. Clearly (if only for the production and cultivation of calming oxytocin, which is known to sustain opioid reward in the brain), the importance of maintaining and nurturing relationships with people we value and who give us value in return can’t be overstated in a world that increasingly creates and promotes options for insularity and “aloneness”.

Equally, one must have a healthy hierarchy of values…

…if not, being depressed and alone might actually be a better situation than being depressed with people who don’t elevate us… don’t challenge us to go higher, but erode our quality of life, sense of self-esteem and our quest for happiness. In this case, until one has redeveloped a healthy sense of worth through proper diet, appropriate exercise, a low-stress lifestyle, and insight perhaps helped by psychotherapy, I think sometimes we can wait until we are in a better state to nurture rewarding relationships with quality people…

…just relax, and be good to yourself first.

A new blog record?

This is a fairly new blog, so I’m a bit surprised that my stats are going up, up, up so quickly…

…funny thing though; not one comment. This must be some kind of record or something. (heh)

It is curious though, and I’m not quite sure why this is; is it the combination of a radical and somewhat, mm… taboo concept of treatment, and the embarrassment and stigma of depression? Is it that we just haven’t yet considered the ramifications of a complex bio-system regarding endorphin deficiency and opiate therapy, and need some time to mull it all over?

…do we just not know enough about this stuff and don’t feel qualified to comment? Shit, how do you think I feel?    ;D

At any rate, I’ll just keep on keeping on and try to be as objective and honest as possible.

Hopefully, reading through, some might achieve the relief I’ve achieved, or at least have gotten a “eureka” moment.