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We recently invited nutritional therapist, speaker and educator Nora Gedgaudas to speak with us on SOTT Talk Radio. Widely recognized as an expert on the 'Paleo Diet', Nora maintains a private practice in Portland, Oregon as both a Board-Certified nutritional consultant and a Board-Certified clinical Neurofeedback Specialist.

Nora is also the author of the best-seller Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, a book that is changing the way people view their diet and health.

Examining the healthy lives of our pre-agricultural Paleolithic ancestors and contrasting it with the marked decline humanity has undergone in the Agricultural Age, up to and including today's epidemic 'diseases of civilization', Nora's book shows how our modern grain- and carbohydrate-heavy low-fat diets are a far cry from the high-fat, moderate-protein hunter-gatherer diets we are genetically programmed for.

Applying the latest scientific discoveries to the basic hunter-gatherer diet forged in the last Ice Age, Nora's message is that a real alternative is available: a holistic, 'paleo' lifestyle that is helping thousands of people to break the negative feedback loop of poor diet and poor health.

Running Time: 02:07:00

Download: MP3


Niall: Hello to all our listeners, you are listening to SOTT Talk Radio. I'm Niall Bradley, together in the studio with me today is my co-host Joe Quinn.

Joe: Hi there.

Niall: Also joining us are Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk.

Pierre: Hello.

Laura: Hi everybody.

Niall: This week we are talking with a very special guest, Nora Gedgaudus. Nora is a nutritionist therapist, speaker and educator. She is widely recognized as an expert on the Paleo diet, she has a private practice in Portland, Oregon and she is both a Board Certified Nutritional Consultant and a Board Certified Clinical NeuroFeedback Specialist. She is the author of best-selling book "Primal Body Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life". A book that's changing the way people view their diet and health. Welcome to the show Nora.

Nora: Thank you so much for having me, it's really great to be here. I love what you guys are doing and I'd say the intro of your show pretty well sums it up.

Pierre: Thank you.

Niall: Thank you, Nora. I should probably begin by saying that many of our online forum members have been experimenting with going paleo and they have been reporting excellent results so they will be familiar with your book. Your book has been a super help so on behalf of us and everyone else, thank you.

Nora: You're very welcome. It has been a passion of mine, almost my whole life, to learn about diet and health and also be able to help as many others as I possibly can with what I've learned, and of course, as I'm sure you guys recognize, I had to step well out of the box to find the information that I found. It's not the kind of thing taught to conventional Nutritionists and Medical Practitioners. Mainstream education is largely driven by the interests of Industry, so it's a lot of work to get at what's really going on.

Joe: Absolutely. I couldn't agree with that more. As you often say, not in your book but in other forums or venues, follow the money..

Nora: Yeah, it's true..

Joe: terms of trying to find out why things are as they are, in terms of the health of people on the planet today.

Nora: Right, and in the face of all the contrary evidence that comes to the surface, the more viciously entrenched the status quo becomes, and so we are reaching a head on a lot of fronts, not just in the field of nutrition, diet and health, but economically and politically, environmentally and so many places. Industry is not going to go down without a fight but I see this sort of heartening level of awareness and consciousness happening in the general populace. They are starting to wake up and figure out that things aren't quite as they have always been told, so that really helps people like me get a message out there that may not be what they have been told all their lives.

Laura: Nora, let me ask you a question. Did you become interested in pursuing the study of health and wellness because you had any kind of problems yourself or was this just something that interested you because you were attracted to the subject?

Nora: The subject matter?

Laura: Yeah, the subject matter.

Nora: It was a little of both. It was probably in my last year of high school, I started stumbling across information along these lines; not along the lines of the Paleo diet, mind you; but nutritional science and things that I found really interesting, and as I got into college I became exposed to a lot more information and there was something about it that resonated so strongly with me that it really became my obsession.

And what it was, I became preoccupied with all the while I was about doing other things that I thought I should be doing instead. So, nutritional science was something that I started out really engaging in with all my free time. Evenings and weekends and whenever it was I had time. The subject of most of the books that I read and most of the things I spent time on the off-hours studying, but it never occurred to me that it would be something I would pursue as a long term career.

I just thought "okay, well this is just super interesting to me" but as time went on I became increasingly aware of a problem that I had, which was a life-long struggle with depression which later devolved into full-blown anxiety and panic attacks that really weren't responsive to anything. And so I was digging in a lot of different places for answers to the way I felt. I initially made the assumption when I was about 13 years old and became aware that there was something wrong with me, that it was me somehow, that it was some deep dark thing wrong with me that I needed to find and dig up and have somebody help me fix so that I could feel better about my own life and do more with it.
And of course, in those days, depression was something seen as a psychological disorder. So if you're depressed you go sit down and talk to somebody about your problems and hopefully they help you sort things out and you feel better. For me, what I think was underlying was that there certainly were things going on in my life at the time and in my family of origin and other things that made it very logical for me to be depressed. But I think there was also in addition to that a physiological component that people didn't really think much about at the time.
And during that time in my life, I started seeking out counselling, seeking out people who could help me sort through these things, and went through quite a different number of counsellors, therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists, back before they became pill people, and tried to sort out the angst of my life. I actually got quite a number of good things from that, particularly once I found a particular therapist who had actually done their own work, which was almost unusual.

Laura: Surprise, surprise.

Nora: Well, certainly at the time was unusual. She was actually able to help me become aware of things that no one else had ever had and it allowed me to radically improve the quality of my relationship with myself and also other people and life in general, in a way that had not been possible prior to that. But it was interesting because we ended up hitting a wall in our progress that neither of us could identify, which a few years later, it was brought to my attention that this might not have anything to do with your family of origin history; this might be due to a bio-chemical imbalance.

At the time there was a big push because Prozac had been released and Tryptophan at the same time had been taken off the market, interestingly. And there seemed to be a lot of promise in addressing the way I felt using more bio-chemical things. Now, mind you, up to that point I had also become aware of the fact that there were a lot of things I could do nutritionally to change the way I felt. So I knew the bio-chemical piece was there somehow.

And I discovered Eric Bravermans' book "The Healing Nutrients from Within" which doesn't sound like a particularly technical book but it is really a textbook on the subject of amino-acid therapy that has been out for 20-30 years now. And it really is the go-to place and then people since then, like Julia Ross, have taken up that charge and have published things on that. And I certainly have written about it as well.

But I was studying what kinds of chemicals are the precursors to the neuro-transmitters that help me feel better, etc. and I found I was actually able make some headway with those things. It was useful information. But of course, if I forgot to take those things I also found that I could back fly pretty quickly. So there was something foundational missing, but there were also, I think timing issues in my brain that were going on at the same time that I was later able to address using a therapeutic or training modality called NeuroFeedback.

And NeuroFeedback is what ultimately liberated me. It was like the one missing piece that I think was able to flip a switch and take everything I was doing nutritionally and make it enormously viable for me in a way that has allowed me to maintain the benefits of what I got from NeuroFeedback ever since. It's very, very powerful stuff.

So that's how I got going in the field but for many, many years I pursued nutrition as a topic-by-topic, supplement-by-supplement. I became extremely knowledgeable about a lot of things, a lot of minutiae which was sort of my thing. But I started to come to the realization that I didn't have some sort of underlying cohesive principle or foundation that my nutritional philosophy was able to emanate from. That it was just grabbing pieces of things together and trying to fit them into some kind of picture but it didn't all make sense until the day I stumbled across the work of Weston A. Price and that opened my eyes a bit and caused me to think more.

Weston Price looked a lot of traditional cultures as well as so-called primitive cultures, but I thought the answers need to be further back then some of this. That really, the foundational aspect of all of this would have to be in how we evolved and so I began pushing back further and further and looking at our very genetic origins from the oldest primordial seas to see what it is that drives our physiology; what drives the composition and how our physiological make-up functions, and also what kinds of things established our nutritional requirements.
I see that as an essential starting place and it is an incredibly powerful to do that. I don't think it's the whole picture because we're being challenged with things today that are way beyond anything that our primitive ancestors ever had to deal with. We have a very different environment, a very different food supply and I think what I tried to do in my book is apply what I learned through all of that into this study of this evolutionary history, apply it to the world that we are living in today, and also look at what is happening in modern human longevity research and see if there is a way of applying some of these underlying principles to what science has found. And it turns out there is a wonderful way of combining these things that is just immensely powerful.

Laura: I agree. I started my own search because of personal health issues after having an illness when I was 9 years old, following which there was an auto-immune response triggered that I struggled with, up until 2008, at which point I had about my 6th surgery and they kind of reamed out and rebuilt my shoulder because I had so much calcification of my tendons and I was terribly arthritic. And I knew it was now or never. I'm 62 years old and I feel like I'm 20 because I've been detoxing and eating meat and fats starting August 2, 2008.

Nora: Oh, great.

Laura: That's how we found your work, because I went step by step by step starting with Sherry Rogers "Detoxify or Die" and of course since we run a non-profit we decided to engage in large-scale dietary experiments. We had a pool of people with various auto-immune conditions and thought we would try all this out step-by-step. We'll get FIR Infrared Saunas, we'll do these detox cocktails and lay in the sauna for 1 ½ hours a day and step-by-step we found one book and then another book and then the next, and we kept refining what we were doing up to the point where last year we did the experiment with intermittent fasting, protein restriction and weight lifting for 8 weeks; every one of us.

It was an incredible experience because we could actually feel our DNA changing, and it caused flu-like symptoms for a period of time but there was something really powerful going on and none of us have been the same since.

Nora: Absolutely.

Laura: It's really marvelous. But I wanted to ask, you were talking about the different therapies and NeuroFeedback or biofeedback.

Nora: Yes, NeuroFeedback.

Laura: Do you see that as being somewhat similar to today's cognitive therapy?

Nora: No. NeuroFeedback is basically a process by which you are giving your brain information about its own functioning in real time so that it can better regulate itself and the different areas of the cortex are localized for different functions so you place electrodes in ways that are very specific to whatever kinds of issues, symptoms, goals or whatever that person is presenting with. And you train there and the effects can be very specific and extremely profound but the conscious mind is really only a trivial player in the equation.

Laura: Can you describe the process for me by giving us an example?

Nora: Yeah, so you have a set of electrode sensors placed upon your scalp in whatever configuration might be appropriate to whatever kinds of things you happen to be presenting with and those wires come down from your scalp into an amplifier that then amplifies that signal in a way that can be viewed on a computer screen that I would be sitting in front of that shows the raw EEG, (Electroencephalogram), your brainwave activity, in addition to this lovely 3D compressed spectral array which is really cool, where you can see if there are various sorts of different events occurring in the EEG; you can see what frequency and amplitude they occurred at.
More so based upon what a person tells me about their experiencing, because I see this as largely a subjectively driven process. I will set goals for their brain that are specific to their concerns, and also design it to be very stabilizing.

Laura: Like what?

Nora: Well, frequency related goals and placement related goals and things like that.

Laura: So they are supposed to produce a frequency on command?

Nora: No they are not producing, their brain is focused on a certain band of frequency that it is operating in and the brain focuses its attention there. Say you have a heart condition and you go to a doctor and they say "well, you have to get on an exercise program, you have to do a cardiovascular thing" so then you go to a gym and you find a personal trainer. And that personal trainer will take all your intake information and based on your age, weight and fitness level, etc. they may decide to set you up on a treadmill to kind of do a workout.
And they will have a way of calculating based upon the information they have about you and their own experience, what ballpark of pace they want you to work out at. And it's going to be different for everybody but they have ways of calculating things in general. Well, if that pace is too fast for you it may be counterproductive, if the pace is too slow that may be counterproductive.

But the goal is to find a pace that puts you in your zone. The zone may shift a little bit in the beginning but eventually you find a zone in which you are exercising your heart at a certain frequency, rate or pace. You are getting your heart rate up, in other words, but not so that your heart can race all day long. Your exercising your heart at a certain pace so that later, after you leave the gym, your heart is a little stronger, a little more resilient and flexible and able to withstand a greater variety of challenges imposed upon it. And over time, if you get a cumulative effect with this training, yes your heart function are likely to improve but so do a lot of other things. I think that's a reasonable analogy for NeuroFeedback.

Where it differs is that NeuroFeedback, unlike physical exercise where you have to maintain at least a couple times a week for the rest of your life; with NeuroFeedback there tends to be a finite number of sessions people need in order for the brain to get it. In other words there is a conditioning process but there is also a skill-building process occurring where the brain is learning how to manage its own states.

I have a colleague in California who is a Neuro-Psychologist who coined the description that it's a little like learning how to ride your bike on bumpy terrain. Now, I would add to that excellent description; with lights on. Because we are all kind of riding around on a bumpy terrain that is our brainwave activity, the problem is that we don't necessarily see where we are going and we hit a bump or a pothole and we get thrown into dysregulation, whatever that dysregulation might be for you.

With NeuroFeedback, suddenly you see the terrain ahead of you and you learn, over time, to navigate it better, which either means learning how to avoid those potholes or being better able compensate for them when you do hit them so that you are less likely to fly off into dysregulation. Sometimes I think of it as putting a guardrail up on that sort of winding, treacherous highway of life and it doesn't mean you don't go flying off the edge sometimes, but you are much less likely to do so. There is a strengthening and a stabilizing effect that this process has upon the brain, but also some very specific effects that you get by moving placements around.

Ultimately though, it's about navigating the terrain better and not about changing the terrain. It's not about fixing broken brainwaves, it's about the brain getting to look at itself in a mirror and say "oh crap, I do that?", "Oh no!"; Say you're walking down the sidewalk and you have lower back pains or your back is feeling funny and you can't figure out why, and suddenly you walk in front of a department store window and you look up and you see yourself walking kind of hunched over and stooped you go "oh crap, no wonder I feel like that" and you stand up straight. Nobody really had to tell you to do it but it took getting that information in order to be able to make the change you needed to make and that's, I think, a pretty good analogy too.

My job as a NeuroFeedback practitioner is to make sure that the brain, whoever's brain is getting the appropriate information at any given time and that the mirror that the brain is looking into is at the appropriate angle and that the lighting is appropriate; just tossing a bunch of analogies around. And so it's totally non-invasive, that's the beauty of it, and it's totally self-empowering.

Laura: So if I came to you as a patient and I would have, let's say depression, since we started talking about that is a widespread and I have had depression, but I don't have depression on this diet; but anyhow, say I had depression and you have a specific pattern of placing electrodes for the problem of depression, is that it?

Nora: No, it's a little different for everybody. It depends, because nobody ever just walks in with just one thing. We all have a constellation of symptoms and issues. If you go to a medical doctor or even most naturopaths and say "I'm feeling depressed, but I'm also kind of anxious a lot of times and gee I have trouble paying attention to things and by the way I get migraines every month and I don't sleep very well at night", there going to tend to take on that Newtonian Model of looking at you as a collection of parts; very compartmentalized. And you'll probably walk out of that office with either a half-dozen prescriptions or a whole shopping bag of supplements because these things are seen to be compartmentalized and not related to one another.

With NeuroFeedback, everybody that comes in has a whole bunch of things; nobody has just one thing. So what I do is I get a very thorough history of about who that person is, where their brain and nervous system have been all these years prior to walking into my office; what their symptoms are, what their issues are, what their goals are, what their struggles are, what types of stressors they faced in those lives and how their brains responded to those stressors in the past. And based upon that information and what I see with all of that, is that all those symptoms and issues and goals are just points on a constellation, and the more of that going on, the clearer the overall picture.
I see them all as very interrelated, and that is how I approach it with NeuroFeedback. And as you can imagine there is a steep learning curve with this process. It's not a cookie-cutter approach of "oh, you have depression so we are going to give you this placement and frequency for you." It doesn't work that way.

Laura: No.

Nora: Depression takes on many different characteristics and has many different kinds of comorbidity's that go with it, so how I approach it will depend a lot on who that person is, so it's a very customized approach.

Laura: Right, so obviously you have to really know a lot of stuff to be able to do it.

Nora: It takes a couple of years to become really good at it.

Laura: And then you kind of know, based on this extensive history where to place these electrodes on that persons head, right?

Nora: Yeah, where the starting place needs to be, at the very least.

Laura: Do you then say something to them or ask the person to think about something while the process is going on?

Nora: Nope. Again, the conscious mind, which is easily the most narcissistic entity in the universe, likes to think it's running the show but it really doesn't. It is actually only a trivial player in this equation which drives Type A personalities crazy, especially those Fortune 500 executives that are used to bending the world to their will. It drives them nuts because their brain just sort of takes off and starts doing things with the information it's getting and that seems to be outside the awareness or permission of the conscious mind, which is disconcerting to that type of persona. But the beauty of it at the same time is that I have been able to work with say 2 ½ year old brain injured infants or 89 year old Alzheimer's patients or teenage sociopathic juveniles, all of whom have either no clue what's going on or who could give a rat's behind and would rather not even be there thank you very much and screw you; and it doesn't matter, because the brain is always going to be inherently interested in information about itself. So the brain will just simply do what it does, and all you have to do is simply sit back and passively attend.

Laura: So I'm there and I have these electrodes on my head and you are going to show me a screen that is going to show me what my brain is doing?

Nora: Yeah, there is a display in front of you where you may see spaceships flying along or you may see cars or you might have a jet-ski or Pac man like game, you might even have some kind of video and it's just sort of what people end up preferring. We have a lot of different things that we can offer, but all the action happening on that screen is tied into some aspect of your brainwave activity. Everything happening on that screen is designed to give your brain information about different specific aspects of its functioning so that it can better regulate itself.

When a brain decides to do something that we know might be problematic; we're not so arrogant as to tell the brain what it has to be doing, but what we do is make the brain aware of things that it does that may be destabilizing. If a brain does a paroxysmal excursion of amplitude for instance, that may be inappropriate which we know tends to be a destabilizing event, we don't slap the brain on the wrist and say "bad brain", it's not operating conditioning for doing that. But we say to the brain "did you notice that? Oh, oh, you did it again! Did you see that?" And that is expressed through changes in the visual display.

Laura: So it's like a videogame that your brain is controlling?

Nora: It's a videogame that is like a mirror for your brain so everything happening on that screen is a mirror for your brain. Your brain isn't controlling it, per say, your brain is seeing itself in it. And while your brain sees, hears and feels itself, because there are visual, auditory and kinesthetic components to this feedback that your nervous system can sort of triangulate the information. It says "oh god" it's like walking in front the department store window and saying "shit, I had no idea I was doing that." No one had to tell you to stand up straight in that moment, you just knew to do that. And that's kind of analogous to how this is working.

Our understanding of how this process works has changed quite a lot over the last 15-20 years or so. We started out believing we were in the business of fixing broken brainwaves but there were too many things that contradicted that model and rather than sweep those things under the rug, the pioneers that created this particular approach to NeuroFeedback; Dr. Siegfried and Susan Othmer who I think are really at the most cutting-edge and humanistic approach to this field; they were willing to be honest with themselves and say "this contradicts our model so we need to rethink this model and look at it a little differently."

And over time they have done that, which is of course have been upsetting to some people in other areas of the field who are kind of wed to that earlier model, either through their established supposed expertise in that or their own financial investment and equipment that was based on those assumptions or based on feeling entrenched or whatever else. So it has set up some controversy. Just like with any field, there tends to be polarization and fragmentation of people off doing their own thing and looking at it different ways, but at every step when we've been willing to confront the inconsistencies with the established or earlier model, and adjust our thinking and apply new technology to that thinking, we have been able to make greater and greater gains that are really exciting.

Laura: Okay, I'm trying to get a really good visual description for our listeners because it's kind of exciting for me to even think about it as I'm basically understanding it now. But I would like to understand it better. So the person has a videogame on a computer and what their brain is doing causes the images on this game to do certain things.

Nora: Right.

Laura: And that reflects basically what's going on in the brain and these electrodes are connected to the videogame so that the signals from the brain are causing the things on the screen to happen and then the person is basically seeing what the brain is doing through the activity of the cars or jet-skis that are there.

Nora: Right.

Laura: And then what do you do? Do you do any sort of therapeutic activity like suggesting things or is just a question of the person seeing what the brain is doing, that it's racing too fast controlling a car and it's going to hit a wall and they need to slow it down. Is it something like that?

Nora: 99% of pretty much everything your brain is doing from one moment to the next is operating outside of the awareness and permission of the conscious mind. The conscious mind likes to think that it's running the show. It likes to think that it's important. It's obviously important to some things but it is ridiculously limited in what it can actually do. In any given moment there's a greater part of your brain that is taking in 10's of thousands of bits of information every moment that are from your external and internal environment; sight, sound, smells, air temperature and internal shifts in blood pressure and whatever else; and your brain is taking that information in and making adjustments to your physiology, occasionally deciding whether or not to throw the conscious mind a bone and making it aware of something.

That's kind of the level on which this operates. So a lot is incumbent on the person who is sitting in the chair which honestly, from my stand point is awesome. If I'm dealing with an oppositional kid who doesn't want to be there, it doesn't matter. Their brain is going to be inherently interested in the information that it sees and all I need from them is the willingness to sit in the chair and passively attend to basically pleasant images and sounds and not be concerned about how that's happening or having to do anything in particular.

And that's wonderful because if you are dealing with someone who is oppositional or maybe you are working with a 2 ½ year old brain injured infant, they have no clue what's going on. There's no asking them to do anything. All they have to do is sit in front of that computer screen and their brain was able to get the information that it needed to improve their condition. And this is also true of Alzheimer's patients who come in confused and don't even know where they are. The process seems to be able to give their brain enough information that their brain is better able to regulate itself, at least temporarily.

If you are talking about a chronic degenerative condition you are not going to fix that with this, but what you can do is radically improve functioning. There was one elderly gentleman who came in and he was confused and didn't even recognize his own wife; he would be mumbling and shuffling and couldn't even string a full sentence together and I would take him back and have him do 30-45 minutes of NeuroFeedback with him and at the end of the session he would get out of the chair, thank me, and walk back out to the waiting room. He was able to find his way back out there, recognize his wife and they were planning whole family dinners around his appointments so that he could have some quality with them before he started to backslide again.

There's a power in this. We have learned more about the brain in the last 10 years then in the last 10,000 combined but it is still rather astonishing how little information this is, that there is a tremendous amount that we are learning every day. And what this particular approach or model of NeuroFeedback allows us to do is get out of our own egos and get out of pretending we know what the brain ought to be doing from one moment to the next, which I think is a bit of an arrogant assumption given how little we do know, and give the brain the credit it deserves for knowing best what it needs to be doing, assuming that it has the appropriate information.

And I think getting that information is a little startling for the brain. That might be why it pays such close attention because it's not used to getting such exacting information. But it takes that information and definitely does things that are powerful and ultimately lasting in most cases, and so because it's so self-empowering and so non-invasive, it's the kind of thing that gets me up in the morning. At some point along the line I am able to take 95% of everybody that comes through my door and hand them the keys to their brain and say have a great life and don't forget to write.

And a lot of them don't forget to write. I stay in touch with people. I get to know them over the months they are coming in and doing the training. It takes quite a number of cumulative sessions to achieve escape velocity from when they came in, but once your there, the effects tend to continue and even build upon themselves and I have people writing me 10-11 years after the fact and saying "wow, it's still working." And it's really rewarding.

In all honesty, it has been 15-20 years for me since I completed the course of training, the 40 sessions or so that I did for what I was struggling with, with respect to depression, anxiety and panic attacks, and those things since then have essentially been a non-issue. It's not like I haven't had a bad day since then, but a bad day is just a bad day, or a moment in a bad day and tomorrow is another day. In other words, what I think ultimately NeuroFeedback does is it gives you the flexibility to move from state to state based on what is appropriate at any given time, as opposed to just being stuck in the pattern of functioning or dysfunctioning that one point in time may have served some purpose for you but suddenly becomes dysfunctional when you are dealing with every day life. And that I think has been the real gift for me in what I think is the real gift for the majority of people that have come in.

Laura: I think that probably our listeners might be getting a little bit excited about this so I want to ask you are there a lot of people doing this kind of therapy and how would they go about finding a therapist?

Nora: I would be very happy to direct people that way. If they want to find a NeuroFeedback provider near you, I would recommend going to this website and that should give you a list of qualified practitioners near you. You just plug in your zip code and it should give you a list of who is doing this in the vicinity of where you are and how far away from you they are.

What I tend to recommend is to find someone who has been at it a few years and I am also partial to people who are using the newest generation of cygnet software and also the brand new Neuroamp II which is just a quantum leap in technology of EEG amplifiers. It is actually co-designed by a brain scientist and also by someone, who in his spare time is doing laser and satellite communication systems for the European Space Agency. So there is high technology involved in this.

Laura: Is there anybody in Europe?

Nora: All kinds of people in Europe. And you can go to the same website to find them.

Laura: Find European practitioners.

Nora: All those who want more information about specific areas of this, you can go to and you can find research at part of the info website and you can also see a number of videos available. My website has a few videos as well.

Laura: We have a caller.

Joe: Nora, we have a chat room going here with the listeners who are furiously discussing this topic among themselves and one of them is a guy who has actually had this NeuroFeedback therapy and he asked us to ask you a question which is "are you familiar with Open Focus?"

Nora: Yes I'm familiar with Open Focus. Les Fehmi is a neuroscientist who is also a Zen master and professor at Princeton University. I have had dinner with him and his wife, he's charming, and his Open Focus work are audio tapes where he does a certain form of Open Focus. He also has a 5 channel EEG Trainer that is actually based on inducing an Alpha State.

And of course his orientation is meditative and Zen oriented and it is about creating a whole range state that has a variety of benefits. It's a different sort of philosophical approach and one that a lot of people benefit from. I think there are benefits to most of the forms of NeuroFeedback training. The only ones I would shy away from are the ones that are being marketed for mainstream people through "oh here, by this home trainer." I'm telling you that this is a process, that if you aren't doing the right thing it can make you feel a lot worse. Anything that can make you feel a lot better can also make you feel a lot worse.

Anyways, Les Fehmi and his Open Focus work are great, it's just a different approach that caters to a slightly different range of clientele. Most of the people that I get calls from are people struggling with issues surrounding anxiety related symptoms like depression, ADD, migraines, insomnia, weird neurological symptoms that nobody seems to be able to identify. I have some interesting stories around that. Even seizure related problems and sociopathic disorders, those are always fun. Anything under the governance of the central nervous system can stand to be impacted in some beneficial way by the NeuroFeedback process.

Laura: You mentioned sociopaths.

Nora: We have a boatload of those running things, don't we?

Joe: Absolutely. We have a call Nora, so I am going to go ahead and take it and see if they have some questions for you. Hi caller, what's your name and where are you calling from?

Caller: Hello, I'm Ken MacDonald from Toronto.

Nora: Hey, a fellow Canadian.

Ken: In the book which I read, Primal Body Primal Mind, you talk about NeuroFeedback right at the beginning and you also mention, near the end, Mind Alive, an Edmonton company.

Nora: Yeah.

Ken: And I've just been listening to your cautionary discussion about using products for the consumer which may cause a problem. I'm just wondering, would this Mind Alive CES or AVE the next to fall into that category?

Nora: They are an entirely different type of technology. What I am talking about when I caution people are home NeuroFeedback trainers. Mind Alive David tools are not NeuroFeedback, they are entrainment tools. You can still make yourself feel crummy if you do the wrong thing but hopefully if you follow the directions there are some beneficial aspects to AVE training.

I actually had some very interesting effects with respect to my mood early on playing with AVE (Audio Visual Entrainment) technology, it was actually my introduction to NeuroTechnology, and also CES (Cranial Electro Stimulation) which sounds terribly draconian but is almost 100 year old research now having been done 75 years or something.

CES is largely a benign intervention, AVE is not a dangerous tool but one in which you need to use carefully but they do offer instruction in how to use it and I think they are viable, very positive effect's you can get from it. I still have a couple different kinds of tools made by Mind Alive and they are great.

Ken: Oh good, it sounds like its EEG light, so to speak ,like it doesn't provide the in-depth.

Nora: Well, it's different, with NeuroFeedback, your brain is learning how to manage its own states better. With AVE your brain isn't really being given a choice and it is not being taught anything, whether your brain is ready or not it's being dragged there, which might sound a little scary. Mostly it's really beneficial. There are programs for making you feel more alert, there are programs for making you sleep better, there are programs for putting you in more of a meditative state.

Let's say for instance you want to do 20 minutes in 10 hertz alpha, you press a couple of buttons, put on the glasses and the headphones, and bing bang boom, in 10 minutes you're doing what took a Zen master 20 years to learn. Now it doesn't mean that you understand how to achieve that state on your own but there is something in the journey of learning meditative techniques but you can have very interesting experiences that help you feel a lot more centered in your life and help you function a bit better.

So I'm a big fan of what Dave Siever at Mind Alive is doing and if you call them, tell them I sent you. He is almost like a brother to me. He has done incredible things with AVE research and has taken a lot of the money that his company has made and sunk it back into really good quality research to make this a truly viable therapeutic tool. I applaud him for doing that because he didn't have to. But what he's truly done is taken this thing and given it a lot of legitimacy.

Ken: I do have another question which just occurred to me and that is I am trained in hypnosis and I'm wondering if you have ever heard of these devices, either the entrainment or NeuroFeedback being used as an adjunct to hypnosis.

Nora: That's a fascinating question. There is a form of NeuroFeedback training called Alpha-Theta training which effectively takes and guides your brain gently into deeper states and is typically used for people who have unresolved trauma, post-traumatic stress issues as well as addiction related issues and it basically is a process that gets the chattering monkey out of the way that mostly interferes and get to the part of the brain that doesn't speak verbal language but rather speaks the language of imagery, sensation, emotion and symbolism, and get that part of the brain to more effectively air and integrate itself.

It's very powerful and effective and amounts to almost a hypnagogic state. It largely guides your brain down to that alpha-theta border. I don't know if you know who Anna Wise was, but she used to talk about the brainwaves as corresponding to different levels of consciousness. So the delta brainwaves are the unconscious mind, the theta waves are the subconscious mind, beta waves are the conscious mind and alpha waves are like the bridge between the conscious and the subconscious.

If you take the alpha and bring it to a deep level that trickles around the alpha-theta border; we all plunge through that state when we are falling asleep at night and as your falling asleep you may get some interesting hypnagogic imagery. You might even get some really interesting inspirations and creative ideas and then all of a sudden you plunge through it and drop off into sleep.

When you take the alpha-theta training it sort of takes you to that point and holds you there for a while and very interesting things can occur. Now it seems the David device that can take you into similar places in your brain, but some people tolerate that better than others.

Ken: They talk about alpha-theta mix sessions. Okay thanks very much. I'll hang up now and listen to the rest of the show.

Nora: Sounds good.

Joe: Thanks Ken.

Ken: Alright, bye.

Pierre: Nora, I have a question about this NeuroFeedback technique. If I understand correctly, electrodes measure local brain activity. This electrical activity is carried towards computer software that transduces, transforms or helps modulate picture displays on a screen. In a sense the patient sees a reflection of his brain activity on the screen.

Nora: Yes.

Pierre: Alright that is totally new for me but fascinating at the same time so I'm trying to understand it better. How do you correlate brain activity i.e. specific emotions and conscious thinking and memory with a specific area? And a similar question, how do you correlate specific electric brain activity with specific motivation of pictures on the screen. A simple example to describe what I'm thinking about; if you display a car on the screen and notice higher sympathetic activity or nervousness in the brain, does the car accelerate? Is there an obvious correlation between electrical brain activity and images displayed on the screen or is it showing the patients EEG activity in real time.

Nora: You are seeing aspects of your EEG activity in real time and reflected back. It's not different blips on the brainwave activity correlate to certain emotions per say, although you can see, for instance that we are dealing with a broader sense of arousal. There's hyper arousal and hypo (under) arousal and hyper arousal may be characterized by more high frequency activity. The EEG starts to look like a fuzzy caterpillar on the screen because of muscle tension and that sort of a thing.

If a person starts to become relaxed or drowsy you see more high amplitude alpha waves or theta waves and things like that. We are not necessarily training these specific brain wave states but we are training the full spectrum of brainwave activity occurring within certain frequency bands. And this is a little change in how we used to think about it. The brain is producing all the brainwaves all the time, it's just the amounts and proportions that may be appropriate to whatever it is you are engaged in one moment to the next.

We are still trying to figure out how the brain sorts this out. We know that the brain does sort it out and it's very apparent that it does, but the way in which it does this is something we are still trying to understand. But beneath the beta-alpha-theta-delta waves there is a deeper level of activity. The analogy that I like using is say you are on the ocean with a kayak and you are paddling along and there are little wind-driven waves lapping on the side of the boat of all different sizes and types; those would be the equivalent of beta-alpha-theta-delta, but beneath all of that are these enormous, powerful ocean swells that come underneath that are the real power in the ocean that drive the currents and things like that.

We are doing a lot of training right now at that level of frequency. We are calling it high-definition frequency because there is something very specific and powerful about it, and there seems to be some central organizing principle there. We may even be, at some level, training at the glial or astrocyte level of the brain as opposed to the neuronal. There is something more central organizing in that range of activity that has very powerful effects.

Niall: It sounds like you could be touching on the conscious observer; that central organizing principle.

Nora: It's possible. We are still trying to figure it out. To me, it's extremely fascinating because the effects can happen almost immediately in the chair. With other people, the effects can be more gradual and incremental, but the human brain seems to be sensitive to perturbations or frequency changes that are even less than 1/10,000 of 1 hertz. The brain is so exquisitely sensitive to all of that, that 10 years ago, nobody would have thought we would be doing what it is we are doing now; that the brain would even be capable of recognizing the kinds of signals that we are training with now.

To me it's a very exciting time to be part of this field. For some people it is a very upsetting and confusing time because the old ways of thinking about this are being shaken up. And you can imagine as with any field, these things can be a little bit discombobulating. I'm not overly wed to any particular point of view but I'm wed to doing what is most effective. And what I'm doing now and using the technology that I'm using is by far the most effective approach I have ever had the opportunity to use. So it's very neat.

Of course, all of this is a far cry from Ice-Age diets but that's okay!

Laura: We are going to come back to the Ice-Age diet.

Nora: I do write about NeuroFeedback in my book so there are pieces of it there for sure.

Joe: Before we go to the Ice-Age diet there are a few questions of a similar nature on the chat room of how sociopaths are affected by this.

Laura: Yeah we want to come back to sociopaths. You've worked with sociopaths and looked at their brainwaves. We want to hear the scoop on that.

Nora: Okay, all the dirt on all that!

Laura: Yes!

Nora: There's something known among the field of psychology called Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and how it is thought to originate is somewhere between the ages of 0-3 year old, the infant was not allowed to appropriately bond with the mother. Now whether mom was working 10 jobs and had good intentions but wasn't able to be there or mom was just drunk and strung out all of the time seems to be irrelevant; but there is something fundamental that makes us most human that is fundamental to our brain development, particularly when it comes to affect regulation and our own sense of self that is extremely tied to that very early bonding period with mom when the infant is picked up in the mothers arm and looks up into her eyes. The infant's sense of self is basically derived from those experiences and their ability to self-regulate and self-soothe.

You've got to realize when you're born into the world, you're this helpless creature and your survival is completely dependent upon your caregivers, particularly that maternal caregiver. So when you're lying there in your crib screaming uncontrollably and terrified and mom is not forthcoming, the brain; in particular the right hemisphere which manages affect regulation, our capacity to bond to other people, our conscience and so many other things about us; starts spinning out of control like a horse with no reigns and the brain gets hardwired for being in a state of abject terror.

And as the infant grows older and if this sort of thing has been allowed to persist in a chronic way, the only emotion that they had available to them, terror, eventually ends up transferring to rage, and rage ends up being the only authentic emotion that these people have and again, it has to do with issues of attachment early on in life. There are different levels of attachment going on but reactive attachment is seen as the most severe aspect of this.

You may have a perfectly intellectual, brilliant person that has nothing wrong with their left brain at all; they are able to think in linear terms, are able to conceptualize things, are able to achieve great things intellectually; but their capacity to bond to other human beings, to manage their own emotional states and have a rich and varied emotional life is simply not there. And there capacity for consciousness...

[Technical problems - Nora called back]

Joe: Hey Nora, sorry about. Skype or blogtalkradio just dropped our call and we were having trouble getting you back. That's the problem with internet radio, I suppose.

Laura: Apparently the subject was getting too warm...

Joe: It's a touchy subject!

Laura: So we left off with you talking about Reactive Attachment Disorder when we got dropped, and you were talking about the very serious repercussions of the mother not being able to bond with the infant or vice versa. Mother is going off to work or doing whatever and the child is not getting bonded, right?

Nora: Right, so it turns out that it is critical for the proper development of the human brain, particularly the parts of our brain that make us most human to have that bonding take place. It's part of how we develop our own sense of self at that age and we learn by looking in our mothers eyes how to regulate our own emotional states better. Also there is that whole aspect of vulnerability. When we are an infant we are incredibly vulnerable and we cry for help.

We need to know that someone is there and if mom isn't there for whatever reason, we are basically taught on some very primal level of our being that we are on our own and there is nobody there to help us which can be an incredibly terrifying state to be in.

When this kind of thing occurs chronically, this state gets hardwired in and that hardwiring leads to the right hemisphere going into a state of extreme over-arousal and not ever really fully developing the connections and things that it needs in order to live a rich and varied emotional life. We're not able to move from state-to-state relative to what's appropriate or able to feel much of anything. The only authentic emotions become terror in the state of helpless infancy and as we get older that emotional state seems to translate into a state of rage, and the rage is the only truly authentic emotion really had by somebody suffering from this issue.

And when they go out into the world they may be able to function intellectually just fine. They are often times brilliant and may even be charming on the surface of things but there is a coldness and inability to experience any form of empathy at all. Naturally, our prisons our overflowing with people like this. The serial killers and the sociopathic persona's out there and also a lot of residential treatment facilities are overflowing with these kinds of kids, but the scarier part is the fact that we also have corporate boardrooms overflowing with these kinds of personas.

When you have that foundational insecurity your only source of safety comes with power and you only feel safe when you are experiencing power over others and there is no capacity for compassion or empathy whatsoever. And in fact, that power is critical at any cost; literally at any cost.

Laura: Can they be fixed?

Nora: Yes, as a matter of fact. The only thing that I know of that is able to have a real measurable impact on Reactive Attachment Issues is NeuroFeedback.

Laura: What about psychopaths that are born that way?

Nora: Well, human beings are not born that way?

Laura: Are you sure?

Nora: Yes. Now I think that we know that certain types of exposures and sensitivities can generate psychotic behaviour. I'm going to be one of the feature presenters at the upcoming Gluten Summit. It's worldwide but also going to be online and if people go to my website they can register for this thing. The airing of this Gluten Summit is free and it will feature some of the most pioneering experts; in the subject of gluten sensitivity, celiac disease and all aspects of that immunology; in the world.

I am honored to be one of the very few that have been selected for this, but one of the things for instance, with respect to gluten sensitivity is that there are proteins of gluten like protomorphin, and gluteomorphin that are opioid-like compounds. There are some people who profound sensitivity to these compounds in such a way that it can literally generate almost psychotic kinds of effects. And you see a significant percentage of people suffering from what seem to be psychotic disorders actually have sensitivities to some of these proteins.

In fact I work with kids all the time that are prone to seemingly nonsensical psychotic behaviours that radically improve with dietary changes and also who radically improve with NeuroFeedback. And so often, what I see are people who are literally imprisoned in their bodies and nervous systems where the brain is running off like a horse with no reigns and it's not who the person is, it's just the condition that their nervous system is in; that they are completely incapable of self-regulating.

Laura: Are there any that you've never been able to fix?

Nora: Fixing is a relative term. I have never not been able to impact a person with Reactive Attachment Disorder and that's just wild to me that I'm able to say that, but I've worked with so many kids an adult or two where I was able to observe, over the course of training, make absolutely astonishing changes and it doesn't solve all of the problems that an individual like this might have. You can imagine that somebody with a nervous system that's this foundationally dysregulated being given a real reason to be pissed off. Maybe they were sexually molested or maybe in addition to everything else, they were beaten mercilessly.

I think people like Adolf Hitler and Himmler, I don't think that they are born, I think they are made. And I think there are a combination of factors that lead to the kind of molding and the mutilation of people's psyches. There are a combination of factors involved, some of which are going to be biochemical dysregulation due to either certain exogenous exposures.

Joe: Nora, would it be fair to say that all the people you have treated that have shown a sociopathic personality disorder or showed some symptoms of that came to you, or that you know of that engaged in this type of therapy did so willingly?

Nora: Well it's almost always kids that are being brought in.

Joe: Okay.

Nora: And a lot of times it's kids who have been adopted. I get a call from a parent who adopted this Romanian or Chinese orphan; or from wherever; and they thought they were getting this cute kid and now they are terrified of this child that doesn't seem able to bond to them, that is very manipulative and controlling in their behaviour, that fly's off into rages at the drop of a hat and some of these parents are literally terrified these kids are going to knife them to death in their sleep and that they seem to have no conscience.
And it's terrifying. They have problems at school and part of what characterizes this is the ability to be sadistic to other children or small animals. You see that type of behaviour. But there is also Pediatric Bipolar Disorder and other types of oppositional disorders.

Laura: Would you say that a parent who is dealing with a child who has some kind of reactive disorder of this type, rage problems or are out of control can come in and get some kind of help or relief?

Nora: NeuroFeedback can definitely be helpful in all of these cases, there's no question. And what's cool about NeuroFeedback is that you don't need a diagnosis to do this process, all you need is the ability to describe what it is that's going on with you. How you feel and how you function, and how you're feeling and functioning during and following particular sessions. And over time, the cumulative effects tends to allow these people, especially the Reactive Attachment types that we're talking about, to warm up and puts them in a place where they are able to wind down that excitatory activity in the right hemisphere that calms them down, in particular the amygdala, the part of the brain that regulates fear response.

And in these people, that's just a runaway horse with no reigns and to be able to calm that part of the brain down and reassure that it's not being chased, that there aren't sabre-toothed tigers and boogeymen hiding behind ever bush. It doesn't solve all the psychological issues that they have, but what it does is that it warms them up in a way that can then more effectively allow other interventions to take place.
Psychotherapy doesn't work with these populations because in order for psychotherapy to work you have to have the capacity to bond with another human being (the therapist). They don't and so it's a big manipulative game for them. But following the course of NeuroFeedback it opens that door for them and allows them to let people in more. I see kids coming to a place of having the capacity to attach. I see them coming to a place of suddenly exhibiting empathy and concern for others and developing a conscience in a way nobody around would have thought possible.

I've had DHS contract and knock on my door a number of times saying "wow, it turns out what you do is the best thing for the population's we've got, I want to contract with you", but I don't take Medicare doing what I do so sometimes that's problematic. But on occasion we have been able to work out arrangements for making it work and helping these kids out.

There was one very interesting occasion where I had an older lady call me and say "hey, do you work with adults?" I was taken aback a little because it's usually hard to drag an adult in, and I asked her if she knew an adult with Reactive Attachment Disorder and she said "That's me. I've had this thing from early on." But her parents were at least people who had a good ethical and moral foundation for her and were generally kind, there were just attachment issues with her early on in life that got in the way.

She had grown up and had a couple kids of her own and saw these children running off to school, having friends and experiencing things that she herself had never been able to experience and she recognized there was something wrong in the way she experienced things and didn't feel the love that she knew she was supposed to have for her children and husband. And this was a psychologist and a kind of minister by the way.

Laura: Oh dear.

Nora: They were in a very interesting position in life. They weren't sociopathic but they knew that they were disturbed by their lack of compassion for suffering around them. Her children would cry and she would feel nothing. She felt like her husbands and kids could drop dead and feel nothing. And she saw her children having experiences with other kids that were really rich for them and she envied that and knew that there was something she was missing. She was smart enough to figure out what had happened to her and cared enough to want to do something about that.

Laura: Did she?

Nora: Yeah, it was really interesting. At one point we were in the training process and she was telling me this story of how she was looking for a school for her kids. They toddlers and really attached to all the friends at the school they were at but her and her husband wanted them to go to this other school that they thought would be a better opportunity for them.

She thought "let's explore this possibility" and so she took her son to the new school just so he could get a feel for it and he immediately caught wind that something was off and he looked at the new school and he looked at his mother and his eyes welled with tears and said "I'm not ever going to get to see my friends again, am I?" He felt he was being taken away and put someplace else. And she started to cry. She was weeping right in front of me and talking about this, she could barely even speak she was so emotional about her son's suffering in that moment and I just sat, blinked my eyes and said "do you kind of see what's going on here? You're experiencing empathy right now."

Laura: How many sessions does it normally take?

Nora: Usually I tell people somewhere between the 1st and 10th session is when we expect to see a shift or something noticeable. That doesn't mean you're going to get everything that you want to get out of it in those number of sessions but you idealy start to see a positive moment. That's usually a pretty good trial to see if this is likely to move you and whether it's worth your while.
The things that you experience early on may be subtle or they may be quite pronounced, but often with these kids it will be little things like this thing happened that normally would have sent him off into a rage and he just sort of shrugged it off in a way that shocked the whole family. We will hear things like that.

And these positive effects can back flight out quickly if you discontinue the training. But over time, the ultimate effect of NeuroFeedback training is cumulative they start to build on themselves. So the positive experiences that people generate from their different ways of responding to the world around them has a tendency to also create a more cumulative effect, so in other words when the kids aren't abreacting or misbehaving, people start responding to them in a more positive way and that reinforces the better behaviour in its own right. So over time there tends to be advancing improvement.

Laura: 20, 30 or 40 sessions?

Nora: For most garden variety things that's what I expect to see, with something like Reactive Attachment Disorder it can easily be double the number of sessions. It's a long road to hope.

Laura: 80 to 100?

Nora: Yeah, something like that. It used to be a couple hundred.

Laura: Oh my lord!

Nora: We made the shift to these different ways of looking at things and the newer technologies that seemed to be more powerful. We seem to be doing more in less time.

Pierre: Nora, to understand NeuroFeedback better. Step 2, if I understood correctly, is to reinforce brain electrical activity within specific frequency ranges, right?

Nora: Well, again it's not operating conditioning, what we are asking the brain, just like setting a pace on a treadmill for somebody who wants to run on it, we're setting a pace and asking the brain to be here for a little while and see how that feels for you and we make adjustments based on what people report in terms of their experience and functioning at that pace.

Laura: How do you make the adjustments?

Nora: I will adjust the frequency the person is training at or I might move the placements around.

Laura: So there is a signal going through the electrodes to the brain?

Nora: No. That is an important distinction; that the feedback goes in one direction, out of the brain through the therapist's computer, through the display computer and back through the eyes, ears and tactile portion of the feedback. So it all goes in one direction, there's nothing that goes into the person's brain. There's no way you can electrocute somebody. There's no way electricity is being put into their head. It's only information coming in.

Joe: The changes in the effects that the person is experiencing are via the screen and program that is giving feedback?

Laura: You change the images?

Nora: I don't change the images, the brain changes the images by virtue of whatever it happens to be doing. The brain sees itself reflected and the brain makes its own adjustments based upon what it sees about itself. I don't tell the brain what to do and I don't punish the brain for not doing what I think it ought to be doing, I'm just giving the brain appropriate information and the brain takes it from there and makes the changes it needs to make.

Pierre: So basically, the discovery of the core of this therapy is that the brain is some kind of self-regulating device that only needs data and information about itself in order to properly self-regulate.

Nora: The brain is a coincidence detector and it notices things that happen to correspond to whatever it happens to be doing. So the brain will take that information and it does things which cause measurable changes in people.

Laura: Obviously, we're going to have to try it!

Nora: What we're doing is using the brains own electrical signals and selecting certain aspects of those electrical signals and reflect those aspects back on itself and the brain takes that information and does what it does with it. And we are in the process, always, of better understanding what the brain is actually doing with that information. But clearly, it's doing something that makes a big difference.

Laura: Since we are about at the end of this particular topic, I think we ought to talk about the Ice Age Diet.

Nora: Yeah. (Laughter)

Laura: We kind of advertised we were going to do that.

Nora: We digressed a little bit.

Laura: But I got so fascinated by this topic that I just really had to know. But obviously I'm going to have to try it myself and see how it works. Can you pack your equipment up and fly to France tomorrow?


Nora: Oh sure, no problem.

Laura: We're in the South of France at a nice chateau and great vacation time.

Nora: Lovely, I'll take that up. I have to be there next year.

Joe: Do you?

Nora: But that's a whole other subject.

Laura: Yeah, so if it will fit in your suitcase, that's cool.

Pierre: Maybe the most importance sentence in your book is this quote from the anthropologist Boyd Eaton: "99.9% of our genes were formed before the development of agriculture." This developmental perspective is one of the tenets of your analysis of human diet.

Nora: Yes, clearly we have to look at how we evolved in order to understand what kinds of things that are likeliest to support our best interests, health, wellbeing and nutritional requirements. I see that as an essential starting place and it's clear that agriculture was not our friend when it came to the effects it had upon our health and even upon our brain size.

We have lost more than 10% of our brain volume since adopting an agricultural diet. There are so many things that have served to diminish the robustness of the human genome since the agricultural revolution that it's not even funny. But of course, once we hit the industrial revolution a few hundred years ago, things really started to accelerate in a way that compromised everything about us.

I think we are not capable of adapting to each change to our environment and food supply. It takes way too long to genetically adapt to major changes. And these changes now, especially with respect to our food supply are like a moving target. Everyday they're creating a new fangled food-like substance. Everyday they're hybridizing wheat, for instance, and creating 5% new proteins from ever hybridization that we have no way of being adapted to, or they are genetically modifying something to create this Island of Dr. Moreau effect in our food supply that we have no possible way of adapting to.

And as time goes on we are increasingly compromised by this. I think we are actually more vulnerable today and in a much harsher environment then our hominid ancestors were that emerged into human form as we know it 200,000 years ago. I would take the throws of the nastiest, cold and bitter harsh Ice Age to the sociopathic ideations of companies like Monsanto any day of the week. It's a world in which we are left with precious little or any room for error anymore in terms of what we have to do in order to maintain some modicum of actual health and I'm not sure that optimal health is possible anymore.

Laura: I don't think we evolved in an environment that is quite as toxic as this one.

Nora: Exactly.

Laura: And we have these wonderful detox systems in our body that evolved to deal with toxicity as it was then, not as it is now. So now, if your liver is functioning well and you are eating plenty of fat and keep that liver working on the fat because that's one of the things that helps to detox. I think that we have to help the liver out a lot otherwise we can't survive in this environment.

Nora: I got news for you, everything needs help. Every single organ or system is in need of some support.

Laura: Oh yeah.

Nora: And yes detoxification is an important piece, but also providing the nutrients that we need in order to operate all the various systems. And unfortunately, our soils now are so severely depleted. Even our organic soils are severely depleted that we have a fraction of the nutrients, even in organic produce or meat that our ancestors might have had 100 years ago.

Laura: I would like to pose a little question. You may not know, but my particular subject is history and one of the things that I noticed just off to the side; because I read a lot of archaeological studies to try and make a critical analysis of historical narrative; quite often the archaeological studies identified a group of people as hunter/gatherers or agriculturalists by virtue of whether or not they have rotten teeth.

Nora: Right.

Laura: And if I've read it once, I've read it 10,000 times that these were hunter/gatherers because they had perfect teeth and no bone diseases and they were robust in size. But one thing I noticed, because right now I'm working on a history that goes through our recorded period where we have some actual narratives and records of things that happened, and what I noticed was; because I'm focusing on plagues and catastrophic decimations of the population; was that those individuals that survived plagues including the Black Death, the plague of Justinian, or the Athenian plague which were 348 BC, 540 BC and 1247 AD for the Black Death.

That the people who survived best seemed to be meat eaters and the ones who died first and in the greatest numbers were people who primarily ate vegetables and bread. There is even a story in the Quran about the grandfather of Mohammed who saved his tribe by feeding them meat broth during the times following the plague of Justinian. Julius Caesar wrote about the Germanic tribes and how they were so much stronger and healthier then we Romans, he would say, because they are bigger then we are and they would eat nothing but meat and we eat bread.

Apparently it was the Germanic tribes who survived the plague of Justinian which wiped out the Western European population and essentially caused the collapse of the Roman Empire. And at present, what we're looking historically speaking is we are coming around in a cycle and to my way of thinking and based on the history, the most likely thing to occur to our population in the probable, not too-distant future is another plague of the type of the Black Death. Which had 50%, 75% to 80% mortality rate based on which area and what the diet was.

I would like to ask how you feel about the prospect of maybe encouraging people to change their diets for that purpose alone because it makes you much more impervious to such diseases.

Nora: Well it does. Nutritionists are taught that ought of necessity, we depend on glucose as a primary source of fuel and that's just simply not true, or more accurately it's only conditionally true. This is only true if you have metabolically adapted yourself to a dependence on sugar as your primary source of fuel, which is a terribly vulnerable fuel to be dependent on.

It's extremely volatile and unreliable, it burns hot, quickly and it crashes. And you have to constantly take in new sources of glucose or substrate in order to keep that blood sugar level going. And of course problems with maintaining the lowest level of blood sugar necessary at any given time and your body will tend to burn it off quickly and the result is a constant need to replenish.

In my book, one of the things I do is draw this analogy of carbohydrates, for our metabolic fires, representing kindling. If you're talking about whole grains, beans, brown rice, sweet potatoes and things like that, you're basically talking about the equivalent of throwing twigs on that metabolic fire.

Laura: Right.

Nora: White potatoes, white bread, pastas, white rice, cereals and things of this nature are largely the equivalent of throwing crumpled up paper on that metabolic fire. Alcohol and sweetened things tends to be more like throwing alcohol or gasoline on that metabolic fire. If you have a wood stove that you need to heat your house with and all you have is kindling to run, you can certainly do that but what you are going to be doing, is you're going to be enslaved to being parked in front of that stove and preoccupied from one moment to the next where the next handful of fuel is coming from to keep that fire going.

This is a highly inefficient way to live and I personally have better things to do then live my life this way. Thankfully we are designed to make use of two types of fuel as a primary source of fuel. And more naturally, we are actually better adapted to use fat as a primary source of fuel which is literally the equivalent of throwing a long on that metabolic fire. When you're able to do that, you can go about with your life and you're not preoccupied with where the next handful of fuel is coming from.

There is a period of adaptation when you are switching from one primary form of fuel to another and there can be things that ease that transition; and I talk about that in my book; but ultimately, what you're doing when you metabolically adapt yourself to a more fat based and more healthful ketogenic diet where your brain is burning ketones for fuel, which it does much more efficiently, effectively, safely and more stable fashion than it would ever for glucose.

You are literally free. It's liberating. Now if we want to go conspiracy theorist for a moment, I can think of no multi-national corporation in the world that wouldn't be heavily invested in every man, woman and child on this planet being dependent on carbohydrates as a primary source of fuel.

Laura: Of course.

Nora: It is highly profitable, you get about a 5000% profit from a box of cereal and it's a type of diet that keeps people perpetually hungry. It also makes us much more vulnerable to any number of disease processes. Virtually everything associated with the diseases of Western civilization can be traced to when we switched from a 90% animal food-based diet to a 90% plant-based diet. And I'm not saying plant-based foods, especially fibrous vegetables and greens aren't important to us, I actually think they are more important to us than they ever used to be by virtue of all the phytonutrients and antioxidants they provide us with to deal with the toxic load this world seems to dump on us every day.

But in terms of sugar and starch, we've come to a place where we used to depend on 100-200 species of animal types of foods for our subsistence and meat and fat were making up roughly 90% of the human diet for most of our evolutionary history and I can back up what I'm saying by the research of people like Dr. Michael Rohwerder from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig Germany who is doing what is called stable isotopic analysis of bone collagen and studying ancient human remains from all time periods of our evolutionary history to find out exactly what we were eating.

And what he found was that not only were we high level carnivores through every period of history they have been able to examine remains from, but we were higher level carnivores then even bears, wolves, foxes or other carnivores of the time. And I think the reason for that is that for a good part of our evolutionary history we were hunting mega fauna, these enormous animals that bears, wolves and foxes didn't have the technology to bring down but we have the cleverness to be able to do that. And of course, if you bring down a woolly mammoth then you have a family barbeque that's going to last a good week. We were very high level carnivores and were eating a lot of fat along with that.

Joe: On the topic of vegetables, to what extent do the pros outweigh the cons in vegetables because they are associated with insoluble fibres which are associated with gut irritation and inflammation, so is there really anything that valuable in vegetables that can't from meat and fat?

Nora: (Its value) is because of many of the phytonutrients and antioxidants. Now it's true that if you overdo fibrous foods, fiber and phytic acids can bind with minerals and make them unavailable for absorption. Now the inflammation, bloating and gastrointestinal upset in respect to plant fiber is mainly associated with people who are suffering from Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth which actually seems to be a relatively new affliction in the human species. In fact it gets kind of creepy because what they are finding in the small intestines of some individuals is that it's not supposed to be a sterile environment, it's supposed to contain some organisms but not supposed to host enormous colonies of bacteria, and what they are finding, increasingly, are these rod-shaped gram negative bacteria that are clustering around the villi and microvilli of our small intestine, absorbing our nutrients so we cant.

Laura: Like parasites.

Nora: And also generating lipopolysaccharides that have similar effects to gluten on our gut that can increase intestinal permeability and inflammation. Some of these bacteria have never been identified in humans before and we think that it could possibly have something to do with the genetic modification of the food supply. Whatever it is, it's very creepy yeah.

Joe: Yeah.

Nora: Not everybody has SIBO (Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth). You find larger percentages of people suffering SIBO in people with pronounced gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. And people who prescribe to the Gluten Summit can find out a lot more about that. It's showing up ever-increasingly and often times the things that people think of as being supportive of their colon health, prebiotics, (emulin?), FOS (fructooligosaccharides), or supply extra fiber or whatever else; those very things will make a SIBO overgrowth situation worse. So it's important to identify that condition and then there are ways of treating it. And there are a precious few people in the world that are expert in that particular type of condition. In fact the research only goes back 5 years now, it's that new.

I have a colleague by the name of Dr. Alison Siebecker who is a Naturopath and one of the most comprehensive experts on this particular topic. She's one of the rare naturopaths that have chosen to become highly specialized in a particular niche, which is this particular issue. Her website is and she has articles and information, but also ways of people self-screening for whether or not they have that condition and is something to look at.

But otherwise, I think plant-based foods may have more importance. If you have somebody with that particular condition, they may not be able to tolerate raw vegetables. They may have to really cook those vegetables thoroughly in order to be able to digest them or make use of them without causing discomfort. Juicing vegetables, as long as you're not adding sweet stuff to it may also be a way of getting concentrated phytonutrients and antioxidants without the damaging or irritating fibers associated with them. So that is another possible way of doing things.

I think to our ancient ancestors, those foods were far less likely to have been that important but as time goes on I think that the greater variety of antioxidants or phytonutrients we can put into ourselves is probably better given the toxic environment that we now live in. I don't think we should start being vegetarians but I'm saying I probably eat more vegetables than most vegetarians do but I also get my primary caloric from meat and especially fat.

Laura: What about lectins?

Nora: Lectins are a real concern and those are primarily associated with grains and legumes. You find in those kinds of foods. I worry less about some of the goitrogens you would find in cruciferous vegetables because those things don't really have much an impact. Honestly, I think that it's an overblown concern, but it is a legitimate concern coming from something like soy where those affects can be extremely pronounced.

Laura: What about carbohydrates in vegetables?

Nora: If you're talking about broccoli, asparagus or whatever, it's virtually negligible in terms of sugar and starch content. All vegetables have carbohydrates. Green leafy vegetables are carbohydrates, however when you're talking about the sugar and starch content, particular content that is utilizable by us or might generate an insulin response, it's almost negligible.

Laura: So we could add a lot more vegetable to our diet, especially if we juiced them or cooked them thoroughly?

Nora: Right. I'd say there are pluses and minuses to eating them raw as opposed to eating them cooked. Obviously there are anti-nutrients in some raw vegetables that can be neutralized by cooking but there also beneficial enzymes and nutrients that might also be damaged by cooking. I'd say eat some raw, eat some cooked and ferment your vegetables. Culture them. Make your own sauerkraut and things like that and you'll end up with more nutrients then you had from the original fresh-picked vegetables if you do it right. And you end up with quite a few beneficial bacteria as well which you can always use when it comes to repopulating our internal natural wildlife.

Pierre: In your book you describe the diet of our ancient ancestors eating mammoths and occasionally fruits, but today it is difficult to mimic this diet because the breeds have been so hybridized that the meat is very lean. It's mostly protein and the fruits have been so hybridized that they are full of sugar.

Nora: Right.

Pierre: So there are some adjustments. We cannot eat only meat and fruits.

Nora: I actually don't advocate eating much fruit at all. I will eat berries here and there but most modern day hybridized fruit growing in the orchards is nothing like the wild fruit you would find in the forests, fields and things like that. Most fruit today is bred for its size and sweetness, and that's about it. Some things like berries and pomegranates are in a good category. There are a few things that seem to have a measurably beneficial polyphenols and things of that nature but otherwise, fruit is such a minute part of my diet. There are many days I go by without eating any. I don't think it's essential for anybody but there are some potentially beneficial compounds in some of them and if you eat a handful of those a day, I don't have a problem with that. But I don't necessarily advocate fruits belonging to the same category of vegetables in terms of having a lot of benefits.

Laura: Nora, are you working on another book?

Nora: There are a couple of different things that I am working on. In the next month or so I will have a couple of different e-books coming out. One is trying to bring the whole issue of adrenal health into the 21st century because most of what people have learned about adrenal fatigue is based on 1950's science that is really no longer true.

Laura: Okay, we are getting to the end here so could you give the important websites to the listeners one more time?

Nora: Yes. and please sign up for the free newsletter and you'll also see I have a two CD set there that talks about optimizing human and planetary health. This is a talk I've given in Australia and New Zealand recently and I think is an excellent introduction and pretty comprehensive way how this way of eating can not only optimize our health but help restore the health of our environment, the planet and possibly even do things to have a measurable impact on climate change.
And so I heartily recommend that CD set. I also recommend people sign up for the Gluten Summit coming up. When the summit airs it will be free. It'll feature 29 of the world's best recognized experts in the areas of health and pioneering gluten research. Some of the best scientists in the world will be there. It's an astonishing event and I'm honored to be one of the experts selected to be presenting.

Laura: Are you kidding, you are the expert!

Nora: I know! (Laughter)

Laura: We are so happy to have you here.

Nora: Thank you so much.

Laura: I have learned so much. This whole thing about the NeuroFeedback has gotten me really excited. I'm glad you talked about the vegetables because that was a really touchy issue for me because I have a son who has both celiac and IBS.

Nora: Ah! So he's a SIBO guy. I'm telling you the odds are he has that condition. I would go to that website I mentioned, look it up and see if you can find a way to get further screening.

Laura: Say it again.

Nora: and see if you can find some additional screening. Another e-book I have coming out in the near future and an online presentation I will be making as an information product is part of what I'm calling my Primal Restoration series. The first one is going to be about adrenal health and it's really going to change how people think about this. The next one is going to be on the silent auto-immunity explosion and information that I doubt many of your listeners have ever encountered. It's going to cause a lot of buzz and it's going to be a lot of very cutting edge (...?)

Laura: I'm going to love it. I know it!

Nora: I actually did an abbreviated version of that talk for a Weston Price Foundation conference recently and managed a standing ovation at 8:00am in the morning.

Laura: I'm not surprised.

Nora: It was for 400 people so it's powerful and very timely information.

Laura: You are so loaded with information and knowledge and so articulate. Everything is right at the tip of your brain tips.

Nora: There never seems to be enough time.

Laura: It must be those ketones.

Nora: Yeah, exactly.

Niall: Nora, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Nora: You are so welcome.

Niall: And thank you for your efforts in educating people on the Paleo diet, NeuroFeedback and everything else.

Laura: We are your fans!

Nora: Oh thank you. I would love to come back. I really like what you guys are doing.

Laura: Thank you.

Nora: I've taken a look at your website and I've actually been to it before in the past and clearly the lights are switched on and somebody is at home and we need people who are aware.

Laura: I tell you, we are going to talk some more.

Joe: We will get you back on the show. Nora, thanks a million for being on the show and hopefully we will get to talk to you again soon.

Nora: I hope so.

Pierre: And when you come to France, bring your electrodes and visit us.


Nora: Okay, you've got it. Sounds like a deal.

Niall: Bye, bye.

Joe: Bye.

Laura: Goodnight.

Nora: Thank you, goodnight.

Joe: Okay folks we must have a little summation here of what we talked about. We didn't talk about a lot of things that we wanted to talk about.

Laura: We didn't? But we talked about such cool things!

Joe: I know, but we weren't necessarily on topic in the sense that we started off and used more than half the show on NeuroFeedback.

Laura: But I think that our listeners are going to be very happy because this is fascinating stuff and I know right off hand, 10 people just personally that would go out and try this, including me.

Pierre: I find the guidelines of her book [Primal Body, Primal Mind] quite simple: You eat as much animal fat as you want, limit protein intake to 50 grams a day and reduce carbs to 0 or a maximum of 5 grams a day and then you will live a wonderful life.

Joe: It is simple.

Laura: It's the fountain of youth.

Joe: And forget about global warming.

Laura: Yeah, because we are going into an Ice-Age.

Joe: Forget about trying to do something to help the planet in terms of climate change. That's all a bunch of nonsense.

Pierre: I think Nora writes in her book that an Ice-Age occurs every 11,500 years and the last one ended 11,500 years ago, so you do the math. And the perspective she sees is similar to ours.

Laura: She knows what's coming.

Joe: Sorry, I'm just responding to a question from Jordi on the chat room here. 50 grams of protein depends on the person and what works right for you.

Niall: When it comes to vegetables, I suspect she has eaten a lot more vegetables than some people might because she is extremely active.

Joe: Maybe.

Niall: I didn't get to ask her about that because she says in her book that it depends on one's exercise regime.

Joe: Sorry, we have a call here so I'm going to go ahead and take it because I don't want to leave anybody hanging. Hi caller, what's your name and where are you calling from?

Caller: Hi Joe, this is Clay and I'm from Indiana.

Joe: Hey, Clay. Welcome. Nora's gone, so I hope you have a question for us instead.

Clay: Yeah, that's cool. I just wanted to say I work in healthcare as a nurse and it's such a disparity to see the way the food pyramid is pushed onto everybody, specifically the diabetic folks. Somebody who is diabetic is given a carb-controlled diet but we are still given them a starch, bread and vegetable at every meal and then we wonder why we have to load them up with copious amounts of insulin.

Laura: Crazy!

Joe: It's outrageous when you think about it that that is what it's come to when you go to your health professionals and they are actually giving you the worst thing for your condition.

Laura: They're poisoning you.

Clay: And we're taught that in school and supposed to relay that to our patients. And of course, the majority of us are very unaware that we are teaching our parents is ultimately what is going to kill them instead of actually promoting a more rounded animal-fat diet that would keep their sugar at a more level base.

More than likely, if you give a type 2 diabetic a high fat diet, they won't need any orals or an insulin injection as well. It's just crazy, but of course I can't really suggest that. I can, but I'm not really a practitioner, therefore I would be practicing medicine if I told my patients "oh, this is what you should do". I can subtly suggest things but, I don't know. Something was on my mind and I just wanted to speak with Nora about it but I called in too late. I apologize. Anyways I love the show guys and I'll let you go.

Laura: Thank you.

Clay: Have a good evening.

Joe: Thanks, bye.

Niall: Well, what Nora said in her book was to take the USDA food pyramid and turn it upside down.

Pierre: Yeah, that's pretty much it.

Joe: Yeah, and I empathise with Clay and other people who are listening that are in the same profession and it's very difficult to be aware of the information and to go out there and see what's going on. It can be very disheartening to go and do a day's work and realize that you're actually feeding the system that is actually killing people.

Laura: Interestingly, nurses seem to be more on top of what is good for people than the doctors because they work hands-on with the patients and the doctors just see them for a few minutes, consult their physician's desk manual, give them a prescription and go away. And doctors are taught nothing about nutrition.

Joe: I would say for people like Clay, do what you can where you can and you may have a little effect.

Niall: You can refer people to Nora's book, for example. I mean, Nora herself has a cautionary note at the beginning of the book that's she not a licensed doctor or physician to give specific dietary advice. But that's not going to stop her bringing all the research together and saying: "here are the facts."

Joe: One of the other horrible things in line with what Clay was saying about when you're diabetic and your doctor or system tells you to eat carbs and stuff, it is the worst thing for a diabetic. It's scientifically established that sugar tends to feed bacteria and viruses.

Laura: And cancer.

Joe: And if you feel a cold or the flu coming on and go to your doctor or pharmacy, one of the things they have done for years is to say to eat some oranges because of the vitamin C. But it's essentially loaded with fructose and that will actually exacerbate your situation. It's horrible and exactly the opposite! What's being practiced today is so anti-health.

Laura: Oranges today are not fit to drink. It's probably just as bad for you as a coca cola.

Joe: Even when you're sick and the illness or virus feeds on sugar and you go to the pharmacy and they say "have some sugar, feed that virus and make it spread throughout your body more." That's how bad it is.

Pierre: What Nora says about juicing is fine. You juice the fruit, throw away the juice which is water and sugar and you eat the rest because that's where the minerals and nutrients are.

Joe: You get rid of the juice and eat the pulp.

Pierre: About diabetes, an important point that Nora stresses in her book is that you need a drastic zero carb restriction but also limit proteins to 0.8 grams per kilogram of ideal bodyweight.

Laura: A lot of people think in pounds but a kilo is 2.2 pounds.

Pierre: Otherwise, excess protein beyond 0.8 grams per kilograms of bodyweight is transformed into sugar so carb restriction is not enough.

Niall: Now, our caller Clay brought up the extreme form of what happens when your insulin goes haywire; diabetes. Nora explains in her book that there is a much wider problem affecting all of us, in the same way that celiac disease is actually just the tip of the 'wheat sensitivity iceberg', i.e. everyone is sensitive to gluten. The same goes for insulin resistance. They have a name for this: Syndrome X, also called Metabolic Syndrome. It means that basically everyone has problems with insulin resistance, i.e. eating too much sugar.

Laura: So are you saying that diabetics and people with Syndrome X are like the tip of the iceberg or the canary in the mine for everyone else? The same way that celiacs are the canary in the mine for everyone else? So people should be cutting out grains, cutting out sugar and cutting their carbs back to almost zero, limit protein, maybe have some juiced and cooked vegetables.

Pierre: And when we talk about fat we are talking about animal fats. Avoid vegetable fats, hydrogenated fats and trans fats.

Laura: Never eat margarine.

Joe: Just think about the term vegetable and fat. If you look at a vegetable, does it look like it's got some fat in it?

Pierre: It's water.

Laura: You are what you eat. Do you want to be a broccoli?

Joe: Just to end on a conspiratorial note. I find it strange and almost beyond coincidence that we can allow for the multinational corporations to chase profit and push all of these foods on us like cereals and grains to give us diabetes, make us hungry and make us ill because it's cheap for them. But when you look at the whole system, surely the odds are they would have hit on one thing that was also cheap and good for us. How can it be that literally everything that is in that food pyramid or what is on the shelves in the supermarket is bad? It's not only bad for people it's killing the entire human race. How can that be? What are the odds that it would be everything?

Laura: Not only that, but when you eat that food you end up giving all your money to the pharmaceutical companies for the pills that they prescribe for all the conditions you develop from eating this horrible, poisonous diet. Not only are they making money off of giving you cheap crap as food but then they are making money off of medicating you because you've become ill from eating their cheap crap.

Joe: So are you saying there is a conspiracy to make people sick?

Laura: I'm saying there is a conspiracy.

Joe: To make people ill? And they know it?

Laura: Yeah. I think it's like genocide.

Pierre: And the dumbing down of the population. Nora writes in her book, and she misquoted herself during the show, she writes as much as 10% of human brain size has been lost in just the last century alone. And during the show she said since the beginning of agriculture. So there is a dumbing down of the population to make people slaves.

Laura: Well, let me correct this a bit. She made the remark that we lost a lot of our brain size at the beginning of agriculture and this is true, archaeologically. There is a very definite difference between human brain size, body size, bone health and tooth health between hunter-gatherer societies and societies that undertook agriculture. And this happened within a dramatically short period of time of taking up agriculture, so there was reduction of brain size very early on, say 9000-10,000 years ago and since then people have been getting smaller and smaller brains, especially those that are living in industrialized countries that survive primarily on agriculture. It's a conspiracy!

Joe: There you have it folks: it's a conspiracy. You heard it here first! Well, maybe not...

We're going to end it there. We hope you enjoyed the show. Thanks to our callers and our chatterers who have been chatting furiously and having all sorts of fun. Anyone who is not inn the chat room should get on there every show because it's just so much fun! We'll be back next week with another show of some description. We haven't figured it out yet but we will be here so until then, goodnight and good luck.

Pierre: Have a good one.

Niall: Thanks for listening, see you next week.

Laura: Eat more bacon.

Joe: And eat more bacon.