food myths
Are Nitrates bad for bacon lovers? Do calories really need to be counted so religiously? Is fiber actually any good for your gut? What about that "high cholesterol?" We'll be tackling these and other popular food myths today on the Health and Wellness Show. As always, Zoya will be joining us for the Pet Health Segment where she will be talking about fleas and how to get rid of them.

Running Time: 01:53:00

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Here's the transcript of the show:

Jonathan: Welcome everybody. My name is Jonathan. I'll be your host for today. Joining me in our virtual studio from all across the planet are Doug, Erica, Tiffany and Gaby. We've got a full show today.

Today is September 25, 2015 and our topic for today is food myths. We're going to be busting some food myths, talking a little bit about nitrates and nitrites in bacon and cured meats, calories, cholesterol, fibre, the low fat diet, the myth that that's good for you and a number of other things, so it should be a pretty interesting show. We've got some good topics here to cover. So let's get started with some connecting the dots, if you guys are ready to dive into this a little bit. We have some items from the news from the last couple of weeks. Tiffany, do you want to get us started? We have; There's another human living inside you.

Tiffany: Yeah. It sounds so nasty and gross and creepy. It gives me the chills hearing you say that. The article is written by David Robson. It was on BBC Future. Besides having viruses and other bacteria and other critters inside of you, there's also the potential that you're carrying bits of another human being inside of you, especially if you're a twin you're more likely to be carrying parts of your sibling in your body and your brain and these bits might be influencing how you act. But through history it's been shown that through research that microbes produce neurotransmitters that alter your mood and they make you prey to certain foods that the critters might like.

I'm sure a lot of our listeners have heard of Toxoplasmosis Gondi. That's the parasite that's found in cat poo that causes rats to be attracted to cats. And toxoplasmosis has also been linked to schizophrenia and depression in human beings. But when you consider that you can have bits of another human being inside of you it gets more interesting. There are some examples of conjoined twins who share a brain and even non-conjoined twins have shared organs without knowing it. I'm not quite sure how that can happen. They said that eight percent of non-identical twins and 21% of triplets have two blood groups. One blood group is produced by their own cells and one is produced by alien cells absorbed from the twin and it kind of makes them into chimera in a sense (a fusion of two bodies). They said that chimeraism is one explanation for why twins are more likely to not be right-handed.

So even if you're not a twin, it's still pretty gross because it's possible that you could have started off as two foetuses in the womb and one foetus aborted and the living foetus absorbed the cells of the other one and carry the genetic blueprint. So say your mother had children before you, there's a chance that cells from your older sibling stuck around in the mother's body and they made their way into your body after you were conceived.

Doug: Jeez!

Erica: Oh great!

Tiffany: And adults can even acquire human invaders. There's another study that found that 63% of women were harbouring male cells and the researcher speculated that the male DNA lodged in the women's brains could have been from giving birth to sons and the sons' stem cells made their way into the mother's brain.

There was another article on SOTT a while ago called, Be Careful Who You Sleep With and this kind of made me think of it. In that article there was a study that showed that women carry the DNA of their sexual partners. So it doesn't matter if the women had female children, male children or no children, miscarriages or abortions; 21% of the women in that study had male DNA inside them. So they concluded it was probably from sexual intercourse. You can suck up male DNA and make it a part of your body.

Jonathan: I wonder if that has anything to do with gender identity confusion because that's certainly a very real phenomenon.

Tiffany: Maybe. That could explain it.

Gaby: Yeah it could. And I did notice that twins are more likely to be left-handed, the ones I know.

Tiffany: It's actually sad though, if you have a sibling that's a real jerk, you might have some of their DNA inside you.

Doug: That's a real issue having a jerk living inside you, rather than having a nice person living inside you.

Gaby: Well it's a whole new perspective on your thoughts that are not your own.

Doug: It's tricky too because what exactly could you do about that? If you did have some way of actually determining that yes, there are in fact these alien cells living in you and that parts of you are not actually you - in a situation where its viruses or bacteria at least there's something that you can try and do about that. But if you actually have incorporated cells of another being inside you, what exactly could you do about that?

Tiffany: Self emulate.

Gaby: You do meditation to strengthen your self will. There are DNA changes when you meditate, so we could speculate that some of the DNA changes are related to strengthening your own self versus the other several miscellaneous parts in you.

Doug: Yeah, I think that's probably a good method. From all of Gurdjieffs' work he talks about how we have many different personalities living inside us and doing the "Work" as it's called, is a way of strengthening your true self. So maybe this is just one manifestation of this; there are these other cells in you that are influencing you in some way and that by doing meditation and changing your diet and all these kinds of things, are ways to strengthen your true self and get rid of some of these other things. I don't think we'll see a lot of science on that in the near future, but I think it's a good theory and something we could go with.

Tiffany: Or maybe you can use specially designed magnets to kind of draw out the foreign DNA and leave us intact.

Gaby: I bet those would be popular.

Erica: Or shock therapy.

Doug: Or a modified Rife machine or something like that, to get in there and zap all those foreign cells.

Jonathan: It sounds like we've discovered an untapped market here for DNA magnets. That bit about the twins makes me think if that has anything to do with the psychic connection between twins that's often been discussed.

Doug: Yeah.

Erica: Or even between a parent and child.

Tiffany: Yeah, because if you consider what we briefly mentioned in last week's show, quantum entanglement, if you're sharing cells and one of your cells donates an electron to the other cell and those two electrons still move in unison, that's freaky.

Doug: So we have to find a way to influence our electron spin.

Tiffany: Get the magnets.

Doug: Get two magnets, yeah.

Jonathan: Alright. I'm going to start working on the logo for DNA magnets. Cool. Let's move on to our next one here. We have another semi-freaky topic. Erica, do you want to tell us about test-tube chicken? Like the chicken and the egg or the test-tube?

Erica: So more little mad, creepy science. There was an article in Civil Eats on September 14 by Leilani Clark called, Move Over Test-tube Burgers-There's a Lab-Grown Chicken Breast in the Works. Talk about the strange factor! The research is still in its infancy but an Israeli scientist hopes to bring this animal-free meat to the masses. So the scientist researcher, Amit Gefen is midway through an experiment that could end up in the recipe for the world's first lab grown chicken breast. He's a bioengineer and professor at Tel Aviv University and he believes that lab grown chicken could help satiate a growing global demand for meat at a time when livestock production is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, land degradation, water pollution and biodiversity loss, which I'll address in a minute.

Projected into the future when land, water and animal feed become less abundant Gefen says, "Resources for the animals would become so expensive that the end product native meat will be too expensive for most of the population to consume regularly and it is our duty as researchers to prepare for such a future."

So he's getting money from what's called the Modern Agriculture Foundation. It's a non-profit Israeli organization with a lab cultured meat agenda. The project was launched earlier this year and his colleagues choose chicken in particular because it's a popular main course in Israel and of course across the world. So he writes;
"It's challenging to come up with the texture and consistency of a product that will resemble the muscle fibre structure of a native chicken breast. The process begins with a single chicken cell harvested from a living animal. This isn't a vegan answer to chicken, [Laughter] yet, since cells and collagen for the serum are harvested from animals. With stimulation, the muscle cell divides into millions. Those cells are incubated in a serum made from collagen,"
They're searching out non-animal alternatives as well. What that might entail I have no idea. But we have a complex process that involves replicating the conditions in a chicken's body; the fibres end up in the form of what the Modern Agriculture Foundation says, "is identical in every way to the type of meat consumed today."

Gaby: That doesn't sound right for some reason. [Laughter]

Doug: Yeah, no kidding!

Erica: So this isn't the first experiment with Petri dish meat. If you guys remember back in 2013 they created an in vitro hamburger patty and it cost $325,000 to produce and they called it schmeat [Laughter] which is kind of like schemata. And the cultured beef patty was bankrolled by Google co-founder Sergey Brin. It debuted with mixed reviews and obviously the biggest challenges came with the cost of it being produced. They said the cultured hamburger if it were produced commercially would sell for about $80 a pound.

Tiffany: So when it comes on the market we could say that it's a schemata year.

Erica: So in this Civil Eats article they go into this whole idea of why not just encourage people to eat less meat and this whole environmental degradation of meat and blah, blah, blah. It's just so shocking in so many ways. One of the concerns came out about the fact that this is genetically created in a lab and people are going to be suspicious about it and that it's pretty much the most processed food that you can get, right? So it's created in a lab. Engineered meat is totally processed and in the final paragraph in the article it says:,
"If the initial reactions to the bland, dry, and pricey test-tube hamburger are any indication, scientists still have a long way to go before they'll be able to produce commercially viable meat in a lab. Until then, those who prefer their protein to be less energy and resource-intensive might want to look towards plant-based 'meat' made from soy and pea protein. Or just extend that Meatless Monday into Tuesday and Wednesday."
So there's some commentary on the article about how, going back to a show we had previously, the whole idea of the vegetarian myth and how soy and pea protein are hardly less resource-intensive than meat, raising animals and agriculture is just a relentless assault against the planet. For those who are interested there's a link to; The Vegetarian Myth-Food, Justice and Sustainability, a great video of Lierre Keith going more into that.

Another comment on the article is a couple of weeks ago; Scientists are creating Genetically-Modified 'Glow' chicken, chickens that glow in the dark if they have bird flu, right? So this whole idea of the fact that there's so much money being spent on things like genetically modified glow chickens and schmeat and test-tube chicken, is just insanity. The world has gone completely mad. So, mad science. Check it out! I have no desire. I'll eat rattlesnake before I go for that. It tastes like chicken, right?

Jonathan: It just brings to mind the whole Soylent Green thing. I don't know if you guys ever saw that movie back in the '70s.

Gaby: "Soylent Green is people!!"

Doug: Yeah. But they act like the current system of factory farming is the only option and that we have to find an alternative to this. It's such a narrow view on things. When you've got people like Lierre Keith and Joel Salatin and all these people saying, "No, there is an alternative. If we go back to our traditional farming methods where we don't have massive operations with all the cattle and chickens in these battery cages, making the whole farming system into an unsustainable factory environment, if you go back to putting animals on pasture; this is a more viable solution than going into the lab and creating some kind of Frankenstein meat for everybody to eat. It's so ridiculous!!

Erica: It's just complete insanity.

Jonathan: Yeah. It also makes me think of...

Tiffany: It's the driest, most unpalatable part of the chicken. At least use a thigh!

Doug: Yes, seriously!

Erica: You know that might cost $10 million. Because then they'd actually have to do the bone too. [Laughter]

Gaby: I'm surprised they get the money for this.

Doug: Oh I'm not surprised at all. It's like by maintaining this kind of illusion that the factory farms are the only option to feed everybody that justifies them pumping all this money into research. It doesn't surprise me in the least.

Gaby: It's supposed to be a non-profit organization, right?

Doug: Yeah right!

Erica: Well it was interesting in the article because they talk about how the percentage of people willing to switch to a plant-based diet remains low. So the CEO at New Harvest, a non-profit organization, has raised over $2 million to support scientists creating meat and dairy alternatives.

Tiffany: Well I'm just going to throw my money in the opposite direction.

Doug: Seriously. I don't think I'll be eating any Schmeat any time soon.

Gaby: This is worse than idiocracy, really.

Erica: I was just going to say that Gaby.

Doug: Yeah, totally. [Laughter]

Jonathan: That makes me wonder too, something I've thought about for a while. If I go to our local food coop, it's largely vegetarian - vegan - oriented. They do have some meat there, but there's not necessarily a meat section, but there's the fake burgers, the fake sliced turkey, fake sausage, fake cheese and it just makes me wonder - I don't know how to phrase this...

Erica: What the hell?!?

Jonathan: Yeah. Vegans and vegetarians are looking for something that resembles that. If you were really getting yourself away from eating meat, why would you try to eat a meat alternative? Wouldn't you just be satisfied with the vegetables and the other things? Why do you have to make a bean burger? Is it because of the convenience of the format of the food or is it because people are actually craving for meat that we're supposed to be eating and it's like this disconnect; "Yes, we still have a desire for turkey and sausage but we're not going to admit that. We're just going to make fake turkey and sausage."

Gaby: It's all processed.

Doug: I think the vegan diet is inherently unsatisfying. The body is still craving these animal proteins and fats so they're trying desperately to substitute that, probably quite unsuccessfully.

Jonathan: Oh yeah, it's awful. I can testify. I think Erica you had done the vegetarian thing for a while. I did it for close to a year and I just felt like crap the whole time. It was awful.

Erica: Yeah, the tofu turkey. That's kind of what this article reminded me of. You open your can of genetically created chicken and it's like in this weird blob. [Laughter]

Doug: Like cat food.

Erica: Yeah, exactly.

Jonathan: Yeah. Oh boy. Let's move on to our next thing here. Gaby, do you want to tell us a little bit about Lyme disease? Were you going to cover that?

Gaby: Oh yeah. It was an article published a week or two ago about chronic Lyme disease, called, A Silent Epidemic the Government Chooses to Ignore. He goes through Lyme disease in general and explains how it can be taken for chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, but also multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, Crohn's disease, attention deficit disorder (ADD), Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), colitis, thyroid disease, chronic inflammation, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, food sensitivities, insomnia, depression and a host of other psychological disorders. I mention each specific disease because in the article, it is one of the top experts of Lyme disease in the United States who says, "That he has never had a single patient with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, who tested negative for Borrelia burgdorferi which is the agent that causes Lyme disease."

I found it very interesting that he's relating it to climate change, that we're seeing more and more of these diseases, not only in the United States but throughout the whole world. The other interesting thing is that traditionally Lyme disease is thought to be caused by a tick bite but apparently new research is implicating other biting insects such as spiders, fleas, mites and mosquitoes. It is also known that Lyme disease can be spread through body fluids, through pregnancy. A child can be born with Lyme disease or with problems from a mother with Lyme disease.

It's not a pretty picture. The problem is that there is a debate nowadays. The CDC of the United States is basing their guidelines from an organization of experts who published their guidelines in 2006 and they claim that, there is no such thing as an epidemic of Lyme disease and that treatment for one month is more than enough. And on the other hand there are other expects that are seeing that this is not the case that we need months of treatment, that if you have a negative blood test with this bug, it doesn't mean that you are not afflicted because the blood tests are not very sensitive.

The article explains how the guys against the Lyme disease debate, the experts that published the guidelines all had conflicts of interest, as always. They are sponsored by either technologies for Lyme tests or big Pharma and so forth. Erica told me that there was somebody who commented on the article, pretty much arguing in favour of the current guidelines in place, that deny Lyme disease is an epidemic. Having researched Richard Horowitz's book, Why Can't I Get Better - Richard Horowitz is a Lyme disease expert. He's a specialist in internal medicine and throughout his whole life he has always seen mostly Lyme disease patients and he uses specific blot cultures like PCR polymerase chain reaction to detect the DNA of certain bugs. He has detected this bug even though patients had the traditional treatment. His patients were very sick. They went to up to 30 doctors before consulting him and he treated them for months, sometimes even years with anti-microbial supplements, the herbal protocol and they healed and the PCR test came back negative.

He has seen thousands of patients, his research is evident that the current guidelines being misplaced. So I think overall yes, we have a huge problem and it could be worse than we can imagine if it is true that these bugs can be transmitted through mites, spider bites and so forth. And yeah, it is something to have in mind. There is a documentary also mentioned in the article which is called; Under Our Skin. I haven't seen it but I saw the trailer. I thought it was pretty good. People came in very, very sick and if they heal when they are treated, even though treatment could be long, then this is something we really want to know about because this disease is considered terminal and irreversible like multiple sclerosis, they can have treatment, if people can recover, so we really want to know about it.

Doug: I read the comment that the guy left on the article. He was just arguing for what official science has recognized and he was complaining that some of the claims made in the article were not in line with what official science has recognized. But the fact of the matter is I think you've got this panel that's come up with what they have recognized and they will completely ignore the researchers in the field, the people who are actually treating people. That's where the cutting edge evidence is actually coming from and all that kind of stuff has to be taken into account, but it's not.

As he was saying, "Science has never shown that Lyme's can be passed in any way other than from a tick bite." Okay, fine but when you have all this anecdotal evidence of people who have never been bitten by ticks and are coming down with it or entire families who have Lyme issues when obviously not all of them were bitten by ticks, you have to take these kinds of things into account. You can't just ignore that because science hasn't bothered to recognize it yet or science might be behind on these things.

Gaby: There is also a huge bias by health insurance companies and it is completely idiotic because they want to cover specific treatments for eight months, antibiotics or whatever is needed. And they prefer only to cover one month. But they don't have in mind that people that are so sick; it's going to be in the end more expensive for them. They're so psychopathic in thinking, only about profits and people are guinea pigs or something. But even then, it's completely idiotic because if you give treatment for eight months or one year, in the long-term that will be much better than the cost of people irreversibly ill. So that's one thing. The current guidelines are very biased in favor of what health insurance companies prefer.

Richard Horowitz who is part of the expert panel who published the other guidelines saying, "that no, actually longer treatment is needed; the current tests are not specific and sensitive and so they... (Bad audio) ...the whole science. They're having more of a positive effect because people are interested and also they're having results. The results speak for themselves, like one of my favourite people, Arkie says, "Results. Results are what counts!" And people have good results in treating these diseases properly; with long term treatments they have good results. They recover their life. So yes, this is something that we should definitely keep an eye on and not be biased against these people.

Doug: Yeah. I think that the health insurance companies will basically cover what they have to. If it isn't something that's been fully recognized in mainstream medicine, then they won't cover it. It's almost like they'll cover what they have to cover because, "Well okay, this has been recognized so fine, we will cover this" as opposed to something that's a little bit less mainstream, they just say, "No! We're not going to cover that. Forget it. That's internet voodoo stuff. That's not something that we're responsible for." It is completely psychopathic.

Jonathan: Well fascinating. It's definitely something that deserves to be looked into a lot more. Let's dive into our topic for today. We're going to be talking about some food myths. We've touched on this general topic in the past with some of the things we've been talking about; definitely the high fat versus the low fat diet and cholesterol and things like that. But we're going to go over it again. It makes me think of something that we talked about a couple of weeks ago when we were talking about alternative medicine; the idea that we're not trying to promote a black and white agenda here on this show.

We're not saying, "You should stay at home and try to treat yourself for every single thing that happens." There are some cases where you need a doctor, you need an expert. So essentially we're trying to route out the black and white thinking and help people to take each situation in its own context and that's the angle that we're coming from with the idea of the food myths as well because I think as everyone has seen, something blows up online, especially because the majority of people now in developed countries are spending their time on the internet and so all your information comes from the internet.

I'm sure a lot of listeners have had this experience, if you read health blogs and stuff you'll see a topic, maybe read one article and then be like, "Okay, X is bad" or "Y is good" and then run with that. But a lot of it takes a little bit of further research. So with that in mind, I'm going to start with a little bit of information about nitrates and nitrites. This is something that plagued me for a while in my own diet history. At first I went gluten free and then actually after going gluten free I did the vegetarian thing for a little while. I felt awful. Then I came across this information about the paleo diet and then the Ketogenic diet and have been learning more about that.

But when I first got back into eating meat on a regular basis, animal fats and proteins, I was really afraid of nitrites because I had just seen a lot of information that said that they were bad. So I would be really careful to pick out uncured bacon or uncured hot dogs and not eat anything that had nitrates in it. And having discovered some further information on this I thought it was really interesting that they are not as bad as we thought they were. There was a study that came out in the '70s that linked nitrites to cancer and that has since been disproved for a couple of reasons, partially because at that time that the study was done the knowledge didn't exist that the majority of nitrites in your system are actually in your saliva. So you actually have more nitrites in your saliva than you could ever get from eating hotdogs or bacon or cured meat or anything like that.

The other thing was that they fed high levels of nitrites to mice and to rats - and nitrites in certain amounts can be toxic. If you eat a teaspoon of pure nitrite you would die from that. But that's such an overblown example because the same thing is true for acetaminophen or a lot of other compounds even "natural" stuff like oregano oil or iodine. If you take too much of it, it'll be really harmful. So that needs to be taken with a grain of salt, no pun intended.

Just quickly here, the difference is basically one oxygen atom. Nitrate is, NO3. It's one nitrogen molecule, three oxygen molecules and nitrite is one nitrogen molecule and two oxygen molecules, so NO2. So that's the only difference between nitrate and nitrite. What happens is when you take in nitrates they are converted to nitrites in your saliva and in your gut as well. That's where the conversion process comes in. In cured meats what happens is nitrates are used in the curing salt they use to cure meats with and they are converted in that process to nitric oxide which binds to iron and lends that pink colour to cured meats that everybody is familiar with. That's the process that happens.

So vegetables are actually the primary source of nitrites, 93% of nitrites come from vegetables. This is kind of interesting - one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce and four servings of celery or beets has more nitrates in them than 467 hotdogs. [Laughter] So that's pretty intense. And your own saliva actually has more nitrites than all of them. So if people are freaking out about nitrates they're going to want to stop swallowing I guess.

There actually is some interesting information that suggests that nitrates are actually beneficial for immune and cardiovascular function. They're being studied as a potential treatment for hypertension, heart attacks, sickle cell and circulatory disorders. There was an article in USA Today called; "Hot Dog Preservatives Could Be a Disease Cure" that was pretty interesting. Some other ones here are preventing brain damage following a stroke, preventing preeclampsia in pregnant women, promoting healing of wounds, promoting successful organ transplantation. These are some of the beneficial effects that have been found by nitrates.

It's also important to realize that when you ingest nitrites or nitrates, when they're accumulated in the body, ingested nitrites in food is converted into nitrate when it contacts the saliva and 25% is converted into salivary nitrite, 20% of nitrates is converted into nitrite itself and the rest is excreted in the urine within five hours of ingestion. Any nitrate that you absorb into your body has a very short half life. It disappears in about five minutes from your blood.

When it reacts with your stomach acid it forms nitric oxide and that is what may have some of the beneficial effects in the body system. So all in all I thought that was pretty interesting.

And the other aspect of this is kind of rabidly hunting down nitrate-free meats, like uncured hotdogs and uncured bacon, when you look, it's kind of like when they say, "no MSG added" and there's already MSG in something but they just didn't add any. A lot of these packages when you look at them say, "no nitrates added" and what that means is that most commonly they use celery salt to cure the bacon or sausage or hotdog or whatever and that actually contains 10 times more nitrates than the regular cured meat does. So I think that's the great irony of the whole situation. When you're trying to hunt down nitrate-free food, you get uncured hotdogs and then you get 10 times more nitrates in the product itself.

Gaby: That is so typical!

Erica: Busted!

Jonathan: Yeah, busted. [Laughter] So the interesting part about that, and part of the reason for it, as some of our listeners know from having gotten into curing their own meat or whatever, there's salt peter, a commonly used curing salt, and then there's something called Prague Powder #1 and #2 and essentially the difference between one and two is that one is a short-acting curing solution and two is a longer acting solution. So say if you're doing pancetta and you want to do a dry cure and you don't want to cook it, when you eat the end product you want it to essentially be raw and simply cured, for that you would use the #2 powder because its longer lasting and it has more of an effect. It has slightly more nitrate in the solution, but Prague Powder #1 is used for shorter curing times where you are going to then cook the meat at the end, something like corned beef or if you're making a pancetta but then you're going to boil it or bake it.

So there's a lot of interesting information on that and I won't go into all of it right now because there's a whole world about charcuterie and curing meats and there's a whole science around it. But essentially the curing salts that you use for that were also something I stayed away from because I have wanted to play with curing my own meat. I was like, "Oh nitrites, they're bad. I don't want to do that." Well the nitrite in curing salt is an extremely low percentage. In fact the USDA only allows 120 parts per million in those solutions. So it's essentially like a very, very tiny amount of nitrate. The rest is salt. And then they colour it pink so that you can tell the difference between that and regular salt. The pink salt doesn't actually turn the meat pink. It's the conversion to nitric oxide that does that process.

The main point of this is to kill botulism when you're curing meats. So when you get a pork belly there is already the bacteria that causes botulism on the surface of the meat and all they need to grow is an anaerobic environment and some warm temperatures. So when you do a pancetta and roll up the pork belly and then tie it up, if you would do that without curing salts you'd need to be very careful because you're allowing an environment in the folds of where you rolled it up, for botulism to grow.

So the reason for using those curing salts is to kill those harmful bacteria and make it safe to eat. That's the whole reason that salt was originally used to preserve meats, was to kill the bacteria and keep it safe without refrigeration. That's my soapbox on nitrites. You can spend some time looking it up yourself for sure. If you Google that you'll find a lot of contradictory information. There's a lot of "health blogs" that are still saying nitrites are bad, you need to stay away from them. But I think the research proves out that they're not and that you can essentially go hog wild - again, no pun intended.

Gaby: You know that in emergency rooms, if you're having a person with a heart attack, the first thing you do is to put nitrates underneath their tongue and their symptoms get relieved. Yes, for a heart attack. It's one of those reasons that I never understood. So why do they treat heart attack with nitroglycerin?

Doug: Well just as an indication of how much of a disconnect there actually is, I noticed a couple of years ago a lot of supplements started coming on the market that were nitrates or were precursors to nitric oxide or something like that. It kind of was like, "Well wait a minute. This doesn't really make any sense." On the one hand you've got people out there, like Jonathan said, diligently hunting down nitrates in their food and trying to find all these nitrate-free products but then on the other hand you've got people who are supplementing with the stuff, particularly to treat high blood pressure and all these other kinds of things. What is going on here? There's obviously some kind of major disconnect.

Gaby and Jonathan: Yeah.

Doug: And that's when I started looking more into the nitrate thing and found a lot of the stuff that Jonathan's reported on here. So it just goes to show that there is this huge disconnect and these myths end up getting circulated and they're not necessarily based on any kind of hard science. This was a study that was done in the '70s and has been debunked since then. It's just another indication of our crazy environment.

Jonathan: I guess I should point out that if you are trying to find healthy bacon, a lot of bacon does have sugar in it too and so you want to keep an eye out for that. So this is not to say that you should just go pick up whatever from the store and just start munching it down. Still read your ingredients list, look at what you're buying. If the ingredients list is really long, put it back and try to find something else.

Gaby: A shorter list.

Jonathan: Yeah, and specifically in regards to nitrates and nitrites, first of all you don't need to worry about it. You have so much more of that in your own body than you could ever get from the food that you're eating unless you want to get down almost 500 hot dogs. Second of all, if you are worried about that, the stuff that says, 'no nitrates added' actually has more in it, so that's just something to be aware of. If you're still trying to avoid it, you're actually better off just eating regular bacon. I thought that was pretty interesting.

Let's talk about calories next. People are freaking out about calories and counting calories and there's these entire little calorie metres. In fact at Starbucks a couple of weeks ago on the menu they had little calorie counts next to everything that was on the menu. It's become a really pervasive thing. Doug, do you want to talk a little bit about that?

Doug: Sure. I guess this happened in the '70s or'80s, the concept being that calories are energy and if you take in more calories than you burn, then your body will store those calories as fat, therefore in our reductionist, simplistic thinking about things it was decided that if you want to lose weight, have a calorie deficit, so actually be burning off more calories than you're actually taking in. People like this kind of thing because its reductionist, it's simple, you can work something into a very simple mathematical formula, count the calories that you're eating and make sure that they're lower than the amount that you're burning on a daily basis.

But unfortunately as with most things in life, it is a lot more complicated than that. It's even hard to know where to begin with all this stuff because the idea that you can be in complete control of your calorie consumption and burning is completely ridiculous. There really are so many different things that go into what you are actually consuming as far as calories are concerned and what you're actually burning. This is when aerobic exercise started to become really popular because people were like, "Oh, I've got to burn more calories. I've got to burn more calories."

But it isn't that simple because your body, if you're not taking in enough calories and you're in a calorie deficit, your body actually slows down how many calories it's burning. Most of the calories that you burn are actually taken up when you're just sitting around doing nothing, your 'resting metabolic rate' as it's called, so the amounts of calories that you burn just by your regular body processes, creating heat in your body, all the fidgeting that you do, every involuntary movement. All those things account for more calories burned than when you actually hit the treadmill.

Tiffany: Even the amount of calories that you burn when you're digesting your food that counts to your calorie expenditure.

Doug: Yes, exactly. Everything that your body does every second is accounted for in your calorie expenditure. So basically you end up in this situation where people are reducing their calories and going on things like Jennie Craig or Weight Watchers and diligently counting all their calories and lowering how much they're eating and favouring foods that are lower calorie which automatically brings in the whole low fat paradigm because fat is more calorie dense than sugar or protein. So you get all these fat-free convenience foods and things like that, that people are eating.

But what happens is your body just says, "Oh, I'm not getting enough calories. I better lower the amount of calories I'm burning" on a day-to-day basis. So it's completely fallacious to think that you can be in control at this level. It just doesn't work this way.

But unfortunately what that does is it creates a paradigm where people start seeing calories as bad, which is ridiculous because calories are energy. That is what you need. Your body needs energy. So the idea that calories are somehow bad and you're looking at the calorie counts on all the packaged food that you're eating to try and keep it as minimal as possible is insane. You need energy to be able to function on any level. It creates this paradigm where you're just looking at the numbers. So companies like Coca Cola can say, "Oh no, it's okay to drink Coke. It's only this many calories" and you're not looking at any of the other ingredients and the effect that they have on the body. You're only looking at those numbers and saying, "Well if I have only a half portion at lunch then I can have a Coke later in the day and everything is fine." Well unfortunately things do not work that way.

All the negative effects that that Coke is going to have on you, outside of the calories that you're consuming, which isn't a negative thing at all.

Gaby: That's another interesting thing, which shows how disconnected people are because western doctors are really bad with dietary advice. And I sometimes give talks about fructose, for example, and how bad it is even though it has zero calories it literally makes you fat by eating it. So I see them switching to Diet Coke. [Laughter] If Diet Coke works so well, the obesity problem would have been solved decades ago. There is no evidence which shows that you can really lose weight with drinking that.

Doug: Oh man! Don't even get me started on Diet Coke.

Tiffany: I can't even wrap my head around what actually a calorie is. The definition is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at a pressure of one atmosphere. What does that even mean, in terms of what happens inside of your body? Is your body a combustion chamber? It has all these components to it, so what exactly are they talking about when they talk about how a calorie is used inside of your body, not in a machine?

Doug: Good question.

Tiffany: And I demand an answer!! [Laughter]

Doug: I don't think any of us I think actually have an answer for that.

Gaby: Yeah. So how come all these people on the keto diet - paleo diet, down 3,000 or more calories per day and still lost weight? The standard dietary advice, "You are obese. Here is a 900 calorie diet for you." Literally, it doesn't work.

Doug: It's really funny actually, the common villain whom we've talked about on this show a couple of times named Ancel Keyes, is one of the guys that promoted the low fat - low cholesterol diet that has plagued our society for decades now. He actually did a study before he ever did that kind of thing where he was actually doing a starvation study where he actually took some people who were conscientious objectors to the war and he put them on a starvation diet. It wasn't even that low in calories. I think it was 1,500 or 1,000 calories if you compare that to your average Weight Watchers person who's trying to get by on a 900 calorie diet.

But the effects that he noticed were ridiculous. They were so lethargic and they were tired all the time and they were constantly complaining that they were hungry. They would sit there and flip through recipe books as entertainment, just fantasizing about this food. They would eat their meal very slowly so they could savour every mouthful that they were getting. Their hairs started falling out. Their nails became brittle; all these terrible effects that basically show that this is not a good approach to attempting weight loss or anything like that. And he was actually doing this study so that they could have an idea of what they were going to encounter in the war when they started liberating different areas that has been cut off from food supplies for a long time; "What kind of state are these people actually going to be in?"

The idea that the study could have been done and then you turn around and start promoting things like Weight Watchers, it's just mind-boggling and again, a sign of the dis-connect that's out there.

Jonathan: I wanted to point out that this is not necessarily advocating gluttony by saying that calories are not necessarily bad. We're not saying you should go out and just stuff yourself because there's still something to be said for moderation and part of the Ketogenic diet is caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, where you actually eat less over time. You're not eating a tonne every day. But I think the difference there is that...

Tiffany: (Bad audio)

Jonathan: Tiffany, you're cutting out pretty bad there. I wonder if you want to try calling back in. Let's give that a shot. I was just saying if you're eating on a keto diet you can eat 3,000 a day and you can still lose weight. The key is what you're eating. You're not eating 3,000 of carbohydrates and sugars and stuff like that. The key is to restrict those and increase your animal fats overall. I just wanted to clarify that because I could see certain people saying, "Oh, calories are fine. Okay, so I'm just going to stuff my face with whatever I can find" which is not necessarily the approach that should be taken.

Doug: No, not at all. And the good thing about being on a Ketogenic diet, when you're taking in fat and a moderate amount of protein, it is inherently satiating. It's not the same thing as being in the sugar burning mode where your body's burning carbohydrates all the time and restricting in that state is extremely difficult. You're constantly hungry all the time, looking for your next meal. You're preoccupied with food, as opposed to being on the Ketogenic diet, when you're taking in your fat regularly. A lot of times it's really easy to fast because you just don't feel like eating. So it has an advantage in that way, just in the fact that doing any kind of caloric restriction is a lot easier.

Jonathan: Yeah, exactly. It kind of happens organically. I've noticed the same thing. At times in the past where I have fallen off the wagon or cheated on this diet, the hunger is incredible! It's incredible when you go from having more of a Ketogenic lifestyle to then eating carbs for a short period of time, you really notice it. It's like, "I feel like I'm starving". It's crazy. But then when you get back to doing high fat and very, very low carb and no processed sugar at all, as little sugar as you can - there is some leeway I think for berries and things like that - but you'll notice that you can go an entire day. There are a lot of times where I end up just eating one meal a day and I feel great.

Gaby: Yeah me too, one meal a day.

Tiffany: Are we on?

Jonathan: Yeah, you're on now.

Gaby: Oh yeah, we can hear you.

Tiffany: I was going to say what Jonathan just said. [Laughter]

Jonathan: What's your own experience with that Tiff? Have you had the same experience?

Tiffany: Oh yeah. If you fall out of ketosis you notice that you get hungry more and then when you're getting back into it, it takes a while for your body to catch up but the more fat that you eat, it's virtually impossible to stuff yourself all day if you're eating four tablespoons of lard with you food.

Doug: It's funny too because the whole calorie myth, just the paradigm that it brings, the whole idea is that people who are overweight, it's their fault; "It's because you've eaten too many calories" or "You haven't exercised enough". But this is such a myth because you see all the time these people who are skinny and eat massive quantities of stuff, much more than a person who might be overweight, and they're fine. Yet they can turn with this accusatory tone with "Well you eat too much and you don't exercise enough".

It's obviously more complicated than that. There's obviously something more going on here. It has to do with body metabolism, with hormones and yeah, it does have to do with diet, but you can't turn around and blame people for that because a lot of times they just don't have the right information out there. They want to lose weight so they do what the mainstream tells them they have to do, and that's basically starving them. Meanwhile there's a pizza shop every two stores and Kentucky Fried Chicken on the corner of every block. But they have to try and force themselves to ignore all of that and try and stay on this starvation diet. It's really a terrible situation.

Tiffany: And there's even examples of people who eat really low calorie and exercise like crazy and they still gain weight. So it's definitely not about exercise or calories. It's like you said, it's a metabolism issue.

Gaby: And also examples of the country. People that are skinny and they eat thousands of calories and don't put on any weight. In theory, mathematically, it should not make sense, but it happens quite often.

Doug: And the other thing is too, that when you're restricting your calories, even when you do see weight loss, a lot of the time that's not fat being burned. That's actually your body catabolising it's own muscle to release proteins and burn that as fuel because when you restrict your calories, your body goes into this mode where it tries to save as much body fat as it can because it thinks that it's in a starvation situation. It thinks that there's not enough food around. That's the only logical reason that a person wouldn't be eating. It doesn't make any sense to your body that you would purposely be restricting your calories. So it's like, "Jeez, I'd better hold on to as much fat as I can because we might be in a situation where there's food scarcity." So you don't actually burn fat. People are standing on the scales and going, "Oh look, I've lost five pounds since I started this diet!" And it's like, "Yeah, well how much of that is actual fat loss? And are you still as strong as you were? Are you exhausted all the time?"

Gaby: Yeah. And then you can do a 600 calorie diet and if all the foods that you choose to eat are inflammatory you can actually put on weight because inflammation is related to obesity, fat retention, water retention. So there you go. It's more inflammatory versus anti-inflammatory foods.

Doug: Yeah, absolutely.

Jonathan: And the stress too. I noticed in my own experience that being on a low calorie or primarily vegetable or carbohydrate diet, I was always constantly stressed about tempting foods. Like you said Doug, there's a pizza shop at every corner and you smell it and its like, "Oh my god!!" But I notice that being on a high fat diet; it's much, much different. I don't stress about tempting foods. It's not like they're never tempting. Certainly, pizza smells really good. But at the same time, I don't have that level of craving that you have when you're on a fasting regimen. So the animal high fat diet I think is really the way to go.

On that note, let's delve into cholesterol a little bit. I know we've touched on this in past shows quite a few times, but since we're on the topic of food myth; let's talk about cholesterol a little bit. Doug I know you're really familiar with Sally Fallon and the work that she's done. Do you want to touch on that briefly and the main evidence about cholesterol and why you don't really need to avoid it?

Doug: I'll try and give the shortest Reader's Digest version of this. There were studies done where they found that the plaques that were accumulating in the arteries of people who had atherosclerosis contained cholesterol. So that led to the theory that cholesterol was actually causing these problems. Unfortunately there was never any real evidence for this, but it gained traction due more to bureaucracy than anything else and politicking and that led to people deciding that they should be trying to eat as little cholesterol as possible and that that would lower the cholesterol in the body and therefore they wouldn't be accumulating these plaques.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work; maybe fortunately actually because it means you don't have to be restricting how much cholesterol that you eat. But what they've actually found since then is that your body will maintain a consistent amount of cholesterol that it needs. If you eat more cholesterol it will produce less. If you eat less cholesterol, it will produce more. It's as simple as that.

So this has led to a collective mania in our society with people trying to limit the amount of cholesterol they're eating and taking all these supplements to try and lower their cholesterol. All of the focus comes on to the cholesterol and anything that you can do to lower your numbers. So when they do blood tests for cholesterol they say, "Oh, your cholesterol's too high. We better do some things to lower your cholesterol" by taking different medications like statin medications, that will force your body to produce less cholesterol therefore lowering your numbers. But because the focus is completely on the cholesterol, they're ignoring whether or not this has a beneficial effect overall. You have not seen a decrease in cardiac events or any of the other things that cholesterol is supposed to be causing, but nonetheless the focus is entire on the numbers. So as long as you keep your cholesterol number low, your doctor is happy. Never mind that you still might have a million different risk factors for cardiac events.

So it has again, led to this ridiculous paradigm where people are trying to lower their cholesterol numbers, altering their diet so it has less cholesterol in it, but not inherently making themselves any safer or any less likely to have these cardiac events.

Gaby: And something really, really tragic happens because when people decided to eat a low fat diet, they chose to eat carbohydrates and when your body makes cholesterol from carbohydrates, that's the most inflammatory cholesterol you can ever make. So heart attacks never went down. We had a huge spike and all the fats that were made in labs to substitute for animal fats, turned out to be terribly toxic. So there you go. People who have even by-pass surgery, who end up with heart attacks are thinking, "Oh I have normal cholesterol levels, low cholesterol" they still end up with cardiac events. So that turned really bad.

Doug: Yeah. And it turns out these things get demonized, like egg yolks. Come on! Eggs are amazing! They're so nutritionally dense but everybody's ordering their egg white omelette because they don't want to take in any cholesterol. Or red meat gets demonized. Red meat is this terrible thing because it contains more cholesterol than your chicken breasts, or something like that. And pork too gets demonized. And it's all these incredibly nutrient dense foods that are a proper part of any human diet that people are avoiding.

Gaby: It's really sad because if you were born sometime after 1950 or 1960, especially the '70s - '80s, you were born in the low fat era so you were having cereals for breakfast and cookies and who knows what. So when people learn about how bad sugar is and how bad a high carb diet is, they say, "What are we going to have for breakfast then?!?" and they try to come up with solutions. And they only come up with carbs and I just laugh; "Okay, so what did your grandparents eat?"

Doug: Yeah, exactly.

Gaby: Imagine you were born in 1910, what they were eating. Eggs and bacon! "Eggs?" "Yes!!"

Doug: Yeah, please eat eggs. I think that's single-handed responsible for the rise of smoothies and smoothy culture. Who could think of something less appetizing than blending a bunch of vegetables and stuff and nut milks and all these other kinds of things? Our ancestors never ate anything even closely resembling this and yet this was the answer; have a smoothy for breakfast. Put some isolated protein powder in with a few veggies and maybe a fruit and this is supposed to be a breakfast?! Come on!

Tiffany: I used to eat smoothies for breakfast and all it did was just make me go to the toilet like a maniac an hour later.

Erica: I was going to say all the green drinks now, the kale, the juiced, raw, green drinks that everyone is drinking that seem to be so popular; now smoothies have kind of fallen out of favour and the raw vegetable juice in the morning.

Doug: Which is sugar.

Gaby: You read my mind. That's exactly what I was going to say. All these detox cocktails that are so fashionable.

Doug: It's essentially just sugar, right? You're taking all those vegetables and stuff like that and you're juicing them, so you're taking out all the fibre. Well what are you left with? Yeah, there's probably good concentrated nutrition there, the nutrition from the plants, but also all those sugars are still there. That's the reason it still tastes somewhat palatable, although that could probably be argued.

Gaby: And the anti-nutrients are then too in the juices.

Doug: Yeah.

Jonathan: I think genetics has a big role to play in this as well. It's making me think of a story from Dr. Tent who we've talked about off and on in the past, where he had a patient come in who was just diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and he was saying, "But I'm in perfect health! I run all the time and I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables." He said he was kind of exasperated and said, "Dude, you have northern European ancestry. You're not supposed to eat that much fruit. Yeah, you can have an apple once in a while, but your genetics prohibit this amount of sugar that you're taking in which is what promoted the growth of the cancer." The guy also said that he had never smoked a day in his life and he was like, "this is diet and genetics - related".

So I think that there is some evidence that people from Pacific island cultures and things like that can handle more sugars from fruit, but you really need to be careful about looking into where you come from, what your body is made for and what is healthy and what is not. And even in those cultures where they do eat fruit on a regular basis, they also eat a lot of animal fats, a lot of pork and things like that.

Gaby: People forget or don't know that fruits nowadays aren't like anything that existed in the past. I remember when I went to England as a tourist; I went to a garden with a past collection of ancient foods from the 15th and 16th century. An apple back then doesn't look like anything we have today. It was acidic. It was small. It was not sugary at all. And those were apples.

Doug: You have to think about season too. How many days of the year were those apples around or any of the different fruits and stuff? We live in a world now where 365 days a year you can get bananas. Well when would those bananas actually be available? These aren't things that people would be binging on throughout the entire year. They would come into season at a certain time, you'd eat them and then you wouldn't have access to them every single day. So, all of these things need to be taken into consideration.

Tiffany: That's why generally you might be able to get away with eating a little bit more carbs in summer time when the light cycles are long versus in the winter because there's not going to be peaches growing in the winter time.

Gaby: Yeah under the snow.

Doug: We've got a comment in the chat room now. Mick Angeline has said, "What if your smoothie is water, raw eggs, lard, Great Lakes gelatine and maybe Dandy Blend, not that our ancestors were vying for which personal blender is best; Ninja or Bullet." I wasn't saying that you can't make a healthy smoothie, I guess especially if you are using more paleo ingredients. We live in a modern world so sometimes you have to do things for convenience. But it's more the rise of the smoothie culture that I was talking about. Bullet-proof coffee isn't exactly something our ancestors would have done either but you come up with modern solutions.

Erica: And most smoothies have a basis, like we were saying Doug, of banana, so we tend to think of a smoothie as a sweet, sugar rush as opposed to what the chatter was saying.

Jonathan: So I think a lot of our listeners are familiar with this anyway, but if you're not, we encourage you to just do some searching on it. Look into the high fat diet. Look up the Weston A. Price Foundation and Sally Fallon material. Nourishing Traditions is a really good book. It's full of really useful information.

So let's touch on fibre for a little bit. This makes me think of when I was a kid watching TV and for whatever reason it stands out in my memory that there were always commercials on for fibre, for Metamucil or whatever like, "You need to get your fibre". I always heard that phrase from people; "Well you need your fibre to make you regular". But Tiff and Erica, do you guys want to talk about that a little bit and why fibre is not necessarily good for your gut and it's not something that people should be binging on.

Tiffany: Yeah. I actually tried fibre once and it was decidedly not good for my gut!! No! But I needed to take Metamucil to know that it did not work. [Laughter] But people or doctors usually recommend Metamucil because allegedly bulky stools will move faster through your colon. But the thing that they don't take into account is that bulky stools can cause straining, lead to haemorrhoids and if you already have haemorrhoids that makes your anal canal even narrower and you don't really empty out your bowels. So that just makes your constipation worse.

If you're constipated and you're retaining stools, the stools can become impacted. These impacted stools and the straining can cause diverticular disease. If you have diverticulitis you have these pouches in your large intestine that bulge out and they collect debris and then you get infections in there. It's really painful and a bad, bad disease to have, even though most of the time it's acute but it can become a chronic thing. I've had to dis-impact people before as a nurse. [Laughter]

Gaby: The most common problem, literally.

Tiffany: Yeah, it's awful. I've dis-impacted some lady once and it was like bricks coming out of her and I can't imagine the relief that she had. She couldn't talk, but you could just see the relief on her face! Also the large intestine can hold 5-10 pounds of impacted stools and that can lead to something like a mega-colon where your colon becomes so stretched out you lose all tone. So that's why a lot of people, when they switch from a high fibre - high carb diet and switch to a paleo or Ketogenic diet, they might have a hard time with constipation and sluggish stools at first because their colon is so used to that stretchiness and they don't have that anymore and they've lost some of their tone. It might take them a while to actually get that tone back, but sometimes they might not get it back, depending on how old they are, and they might have to take some fibre every now and then just to do what they were used to doing before because it does work for some people for a short amount of time, but over the long term it's really, really bad for you.

Gaby: I remember my fibre experience like Tiffany, I made a colon cleanse that was very rich in fibre. I swear, I had colitis three months after that. It was the worst colon cleanse ever!

Doug: Jeez!

Gaby: It was crazy. When you prepare for a colonoscopy, when they're going to see through a camera in your colon, you typically have to make a fibre-free diet because fibre leaves residue and irritates the colon. So right there you have an explanation of why a diet low in fibre is actually better for your bowels.

Tiffany: I took one of my patients to get a colonoscopy once and we were going through that class where they tell you "Don't eat fibre". They had a big picture of vegetables in a circle with a line through it like, "Don't eat these things." These doctors know that fibrous foods and a lot of carbohydrates are not good for you. They tell you not to do that to prepare your bowels for the colonoscopy but they kind of don't tell you to eat that way all the time. I just don't get it!

Gaby: It's an disconnect. We have a show today of disconnection.

Doug: Yeah, it does seem that way.

Erica: Well for our listeners who may be interested, there's actually a great article on the SOTT page called, Dietary Fiber: The Bulls' S..t In The China Shop. In reading through it, it was really interesting that there are actually two types of fibre, insoluable fibre and then soluable fibre. I didn't know this, but insoluable fibre is fibre you get from cellulose and then soluable fibre the author says is a killer food, literally, far more harmful than insoluble fibre because it's so insidiously stealthy.

He goes into this whole thing about artificial stabilizers and volumizers and fillers in food processing in particular. We did a whole show on that. But they're basically expertly concealed and so people don't even know they're eating soluble fibre. Some obscure names are agar agar or alginate, carrageenan, guar gum. This soluble fibre is accomplished by slowing down intestinal absorption of water and gases produced during digestion and also slowing down essential nutrients from foods including proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. The mal-absorption property behind soluble fibre causes - like Tiffany was talking about - inflammatory issues, also diarrhea, bloating, cramping, flatulence and malnutrition as side effects.

It's especially incendiary for young children because their intestines are so tiny the need only minute amounts of fibre to induce inflammatory reactions and diarrhoea. Natural soluble fibre comes from juices and purees in fruits and vegetables and it's just as harmful for toddlers. What I found really interesting was that diarrhoea remains one of the most common paediatric illnesses. So it's certain that fibre is behind this issue. And like you were saying Jonathan, when you were a kid and you'd see all these message about feeding fibre to your kids, they have to have fruits and vegetables, it seems like the study in this article is showing exactly the opposite.

Doug: I remember too there were commercial when I was a kid for cheerio's and they were promoting the fact that there was oat bran in there, which is a fibre and talking about how it actually lowers your cholesterol. So it ties in with the whole cholesterol myth too. It does do that because by taking in this fibre, it actually binds to the cholesterol so your body can't reabsorb it. Usually your body will reabsorb at least some of the excreted cholesterol as a way of recycling it. It's an efficiency thing. Its like, "Well, if I take in this cholesterol from the colon then I don't have to produce more." So by taking in fibre you by-pass that and it clings onto the cholesterol and you don't absorb that anymore, but then you're forcing your body to work harder to produce more cholesterol that it needs. So again, a completely crazy paradigm.

Jonathan: I think it's just like the other topics that we've been talking about today. There's a lot of misinformation on that and there's a lot of paradigms that the mainstream diet world and medical world pick up on and run with. And now fortunately a lot more people are learning about these things, like cholesterol and the high fat diet, carbohydrates, fibre and fruits and vegetables. We still see a lot of people turning to the vegan - vegetarian lifestyle, and I certainly don't want to malign anybody for the choices that they make, but just to point out that you need to be really careful with these things; look at the evidence, look at what it has done to other people and look at the beneficial effects of the high fat - low carb diet and all of the data that goes into that. There is a lot and there's a lot that can be found if you just take some time to do some research and keep an open mind and try not to run with the single blog post that you found about one topic, even if it agrees with what you said.

I talked about nitrates earlier. If I find one blog post about nitrates and I'm like, "Oh, nitrates are good!" Even that is not the way you should do it. You should take the time to go through the evidence, look at the studies and really spend some time reading on the topic because if you don't expend your own energy learning about something then you haven't really absorbed the information and just doing what you're told and being an authoritarian follower in any of these realms has negative outcomes because then you don't understand what you're doing with your body.

We have an interesting pet health segment today from Zoya. I think we're going to go to that for a little while if you guys are good, unless you have anything else to add before that.

Doug: No, we're good.

Jonathan: Cool. So Zoya's going to talk to us today a little bit about fleas and flea repellents for your pets and after we come back from this, the recipe for today is how to make pancetta. Since we were talking about cured meats and nitrates I wanted to go over that. It is a little bit complicated so I'll just do the overview when I do that and then I'll post a link to the recipe in the chat so people can investigate that further. So we will be right back after this.

Zoya: Hello and welcome to the pet health segment of the Health and Wellness Show. Today I'm going to talk about home remedies to get rid of fleas. These wingless, creepy insect called fleas can give you sleepless nights indeed. Fleas love to survive on warm vertebrates and with your dogs, rabbits, cats and in fact even you can be the host.

One reason for their overwhelming presence in your house is the fact that the eggs of fleas can get dropped anywhere inside your house. These eggs can turn into larvae and finally into fleas. What's irritating is that flea eggs can remain dormant for over a year and that's why sometimes when you have treated your home and felt as if it is now flea-free, they appear from nowhere. That's why you need to be on a regular watch and clean your home frequently once you have eliminated fleas.

Here are some effective home remedies for fleas with which you can not only kill the fleas, but can also control their recurrence. The first remedy is a spray, to get of fleas from your house. If you have been thinking of a flea bomb loaded with chemicals to eliminate fleas from your house, you must reconsider once and give a try to this herbal spray instead. This homemade flea spray uses such ingredients as lemon juice and witch hazel. They are entirely safe for your pets and kids. Here is the recipe for this herbal flea spray.

You need to get:
► Vinegar - 1 gallon - a little less than four litres
► Water - 1/2 gallon - a little less than two litres
► Lemon juice - a little less than 500 ml
► Witch hazel - a little less than 250 ml
► One fresh vacuum bag
► A home and garden sprayer, that is able to hold at least six or seven litres at a time.

So what you need to do is first vacuum and then spray with the flea spray. Collect everything that cannot be vacuumed and wash it at the hottest setting of your washer. This kills even the larvae and eggs of fleas. Now you need to vacuum properly each corner, each piece of the carpet, everything.

After that you need to use the fresh vacuum bag. This ensures unrestricted air flow. Debris that collected from earlier vacuuming may hamper a smooth air flow.

Now you need to mix vinegar, water, lemon juice and witch hazel. Fill this liquid mix into the garden sprayer. Spray using a heavy spray. Spray your carpets, furniture, pet bedding, window sills, floors, every nook and corner of your house. Do this daily for at least seven days, depending on how bad is the flea infestation in your home. When fleas become less noticeable you may then repeat every three or four days and thereafter once a week throughout the flea season. If you start using the amount of this spray just when the flea season is approaching, you will need to spray only once a week throughout the flea season.

The second remedy is a salve remedy to get rid of fleas. Maybe it sounds too simple, but salt can get you rid of tough fleas, especially from your carpets. How does it happen? Salt becomes the dehydration agent for fleas and dries out their bodies. So, how to use this inexpensive way to control fleas, here is what you need to do.

You need to get:
► Table salt or any of the sea salts - you will need a lot of it depending on the size of the area where you need to sprinkle salt to kill fleas.
► You also need a large spice bottle with a shaker top.
► You need to see if your salt is finely ground or not. If not, grind it to get fine salt powder.

Fill up your spice bottle with the salt, leaving a little room on the top so that you can shake and sprinkle the salt from it. Sprinkle the salt over your carpets in each room. The salt should cover the area evenly. Leave it for 12-48 hours and after one or two days vacuum thoroughly.

The third remedy is how to use diatomaceous earth to control fleas. Now what is diatomaceous earth? It is the microscopic remains of fossilized algae diatoms. It is a very fine powder, just like flour and diatoms are the type of algae that can be found in fresh water as well as in salt water. But how does the diatomaceous earth kill fleas? The cell walls of diatoms are made of silica which in turn is a component of glass. The exoskeletons on a hard shell of fleas or other such insects are vulnerable to the sharp edges of microscopic diatoms. The silica shards cut through the hard shell of fleas and dry them out. This leads to death of fleas as well as their larvae. What is more important is that DE, or diatomaceous earth, is non-toxic to humans and animals but only the one which belongs to the food grade category and not the one used for pool filtration systems. So pay attention to this.

How to use diatomaceous earth to get rid of fleas. Here are the steps that you should follow to use it. Brush off all your carpets and vacuum thorough. Wash off everything that you can't vacuum with hot water in your washer. Now, wherever you think the fleas or their larvae might hide; sprinkle the DE in thin layers. You can safely sprinkle DE on your carpets, pet beddings, etc. Leave the DE in all these places for about 12 up to 48 hours. While fleas start dying 4-6 hours after you treat your home with DE, it's still better to leave it to sink for longer. Vacuum away all the powder and remember to discard the vacuum bag. You may even use the diatomaceous earth in your yard, but this will need a larger quantity of the powder.

One word of precaution always by the food grade diatomaceous earth. While this diatomaceous earth is non-toxic, it is still a fine powder that may get messy and irritate your eyes or throat. So it is desirable to wear a face mask while working with any such fine talc-like powder. Don't even buy diatomaceous earth used for pool filtration systems as they are hazardous when breathed in. Diatomaceous earth however is not so effective in human environments and also when it is wet. Use it only in dry form. Try to avoid DE from coming in contact with the skin of your pets as this may dry out the skin.

Another remedy is using pennyroyal herb, to repel fleas. There are many varieties of the pennyroyal herb. There is a European pennyroyal and American pennyroyal that have been traditionally used to deter fleas. However, pennyroyal which belongs to the mint family is dangerous for human and animal health. Native Americans have been using this herb for abortion and dogs and cats too can have fertility problems if this herb is used for them. They may even die if the pennyroyal essential oil is licked by them or if leaves are chewed by them. However, when you don't want to kill fleas and just want to repel them you may like to use pennyroyal but use it with all precautions.

Ways to use pennyroyal for fleas. You can grow pennyroyal plants around your yard, especially where your dogs love to be. However safeguard them in a way that the pennyroyal stays out of their reach. You can crush a handful of fresh pennyroyal leaves in a mortar and pestle until the leaves release oil and aroma. Tie this paste of pennyroyal leaves in a cheese cloth. Be careful about not dropping any juice of the leaves. Hang this cheesecloth in your room or any other place which is badly infested by fleas. Insure to keep it out of reach of children and pets. Also let your family members know about this herb and how you are using it so they don't try to experiment with it in any way.

Pour one three drops of pennyroyal essential oil onto your dog's collar. Tie this collar around your dog's neck in such a way that oil doesn't come in contact with your pet's skin. If you see the dog itching or any other sign of allergy remove the collar. Another method will be to place a small amount of dried pennyroyal herb into some teabags and leave these teabags on the floor. If you have kids and pets around, keep them at a height where they cannot reach these teabags. You may sew cloth tubes filled with dried pennyroyal and use them as collars for your cat.

The last remedy is using rosemary, for flea control. If your house is not badly infected by fleas but if it's irritating to even a mild flea infestation, you can use the herb rosemary for controlling such flea problems in your house. You can use rosemary for flea control in several ways; as a powder, a rinse or oil. While dogs can be washed with rosemary water made by boiling rosemary leaves in water, cats should not be given this treatment due to certain reactions in them. Rosemary oil can be poured - only a couple of drops - on your pet's collar. However, because we are discussing flea control for the overall house, here's a recipe for rosemary powder that you can use anywhere in your home.

How to make rosemary powder. You need to get equal parts of rosemary, rue, wormwood, fennel, peppermint and a coffee grinder, mortar and pestle. Take all the herbs and grind them together using the mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder. You need to grind them until they become fine powder and then you sprinkle this herbal powder on your carpet, furniture, pet's bedding, below furniture, windowsills or anywhere else where you think there may be fleas. This is a natural flea repellent and not a way to kill fleas, this you must remember.

This is it for today. I hope the information was useful and have a nice day and good-bye!

Jonathan: Thanks Zoya. That was very helpful and I'm sure that anyone who has been through a flea infestation can attest to the difficulty of getting rid of it. So as Zoya said, do the preventative measures first, to try to stop it from happening. But if it does happen, stay on top of it and do all those things religiously or you will regret it. I promise. [Laughs] I think I've mentioned this on the show before but I had fleas once and it took me many months to get rid of them. It was about five months before they were fully gone from the house. Once they get into your carpet, they are there for the long haul.

Just to wrap up our show today I have a recipe for pancetta. This is not a very simple recipe. It's actually pretty complex so I'm going to just give the short version and right now I'm going to paste the link to this into the chat. This is from a website called; Our Daily Brine which is actually a really cool site. I'd encourage people to check it out. It's got a lot of interesting recipes on there for different things.

The only ingredient here that I would actually leave out is the brown sugar. He does include brown sugar in his recipe and I believe that that's just for flavour and so that's something that you can leave out if you're avoiding sugar, which I would encourage you to leave out. Another main point that this guy makes in his recipe is to use measurements by weight and not by teaspoons or a quarter or eighty of a teaspoon, but instead to get a good kitchen scale and weigh out your ingredients so that you have very precise measurements. That's what this recipe is based on. On this site there is a printable worksheet that's pretty cool that you can download and print out where you can write down your quantities, what you used and then the timing that you're doing.

There's another handy chart here that shows percent of meat weight, what that should be for each thing. The recipe is with a pork belly and the pork belly in this recipe is 2,885 grams which is 6.36 pounds. So some may be a little bigger, some may be smaller. The pork bellies that I've seen usually come around 8-10 pounds so you'll want to do your measurements according to the percentages, but this handy little chart on the site gives the percentage of the meat weight for each thing.

So if you're going with 6.36 pounds or 2,885 grams of pork belly, you want 80.5 grams of salt, 7.25 grams of the cure, which is Prague Powder #1 or #2, depending on how you're going to do the pancetta. Just to reiterate, there's a very long article on this page that goes through the entire process in detail and explains why you would either want to do a dry cure or wet cure and how long you want to do it. So, 7.25 grams of Prague Powder 1 or 2. Leave out the brown sugar, black pepper-52 grams, red pepper flakes-14.5 grams, juniper berries (dried or fresh)-14.5 grams, garlic powder-7.25 grams, dried thyme-7.25 grams, and 4.3 grams of dried bay leaf.

Blend everything together and mix it up. The bay leaves you want to crush and mix in as well. The process itself is actually pretty simple and straightforward, but you do want to be very careful about how you prepare it and about your timing. You grind and apply the cure to the pork belly on both sides, wrap tightly with a cling wrap or a vacuum seal and put it in the refrigerator. In the refrigerator during this time you cure it for two weeks or more - some people go as long as a whole month on this part of the process - but you want it in an anaerobic environment in the refrigerator so that it stays cold. But what this does is the salt is essentially moving the spices through the muscle tissue of the pork belly and through the fat during this time. So every couple of days go into the fridge, take the pork belly and flip it over so that gravity will then pull those flavours down through the pork and then flip it again and continue to do that every couple of days.

After two weeks or your determined time, remove from the cure, rinse it off and pat dry the pork belly so you get it dry. Then coat the meat side of the belly - not the fat side but the meat side - thoroughly in cracked black pepper. So really rub it in and get it totally coated and then roll it up just like a towel as tightly as you can and tie the ends with a butcher's knot and truss it tightly. Trussing is where you do a series of knots and wraps down the length of the pork belly so that it's all held together very tightly. Again, on this page that I've liked to there's a link to a demo video on how to do a butcher's knot and how to truss which is really handy.

Then you want to tag with the date that you hung the meat and also put the weight of meat on your tag because you're going to be watching for how much weight is lost from the original meat because it will lose some water weight over time.

So for semi-dry pancetta which must be cooked, that's where you can use cure #1 because it has a little bit shorter of time, you can hang to dry for three weeks to one month and for fully dried pancetta which means you can eat it without cooking it, you want to use cure #2 for that because it's designed to last a little bit longer because it's designed to last a little bit longer, and then hang until enough water weight has been lost, about 15-20% of the weight loss for a fattier pork belly or 20-25% weight loss for a leaner, meatier pork belly. That's why you want to write down your original weight and then check after you've hung it for a period of time, a month or a little bit longer and then you can check your weight and see how much weight is lost and you can tell what stage the curing is at.

When it's done curing, it should feel firm when you squeeze it. Then you can slice it up at that point, take off the twine and slice it very thin and you have pancetta. That is something that I have not personally tried yet but I'm going to be trying it pretty soon here and giving it a shot. For people who are worried about botulism, that's the reason that we talked about nitrates today and that's the reason why this curing powder is used in the solution to prevent the spread of botulism. So this is a safe process. It's proven. But if you decide to do it without the curing salts, I can't guarantee that it'll be safe and that's something that he says in this article here too.

So you need to be really careful about that. And as always with any kind of aged meat, if it smells funny throw it out. Trust your nose. You hate to waste a whole pork belly, but you also don't want to get sick. So just be careful about that. That's the general recipe for pancetta. I can put the link to this in our show description on Blog Talk Radio as well so that people can see it there and I'd encourage you to poke around the site, Our Daily Brine and check out some of the other recipes that are there too.

Doug: Great, sounds good.

Jonathan: Yeah, I'm really excited. I'm going to be trying some pancetta.

Gaby: It's the Italian way to give it a nice touch.

Doug: What's the Italian way?

Gaby: Pancetta (Italian pronunciation).

Jonathan: Oh, pancetta. There you go, thank you.[Laughter] One thing that I've been interested in getting into is that apparently back in the day when a whole pig was butchered, these different types of sausages, pancetta, prochetta, capicole and different things like that were all designed to be ready at a different part of the year. So you would butcher the pig and then you would hang up all the sausages and then they would all be ready at different times throughout the year so the pig would actually last the entire year. Then you have different cured meats that are associated with different holidays or with different times of the year because that's when they're ready.

So there is some really interesting information on that. If you look up charcuterie on YouTube, there are hundreds of videos. I'll see if maybe for next week I can find this one that I'm thinking of, which is these Italian chefs that go through that entire process and explain how the pig is preserved for the year, right down to the tripe and the snout and the brain and everything.

Well I guess we'd like to thank everybody for tuning in today. We appreciate our chat participants and be sure to tune in to the other two shows on the SOTT Radio Network, the Truth Perspective tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. eastern, on Saturday and on Sunday Behind the Headlines also at 2:00 p.m. eastern. They're great shows. We're going to have some really interesting information coming up so be sure to check those out and we will be back next week on Friday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. Right now our plan is to have an interview with Yarrow Willard. Did I pronounce that right Doug?

Doug: Yeah,Yarrow Willard.

Jonathan: Cool. He's an herbalist and runs an herbal company called Harmonic Arts and we're going to be interviewing Yarrow and that should be a great show. Thanks again and we'll see everybody next week.

All: Good-byes.