The Health and Wellness show on the SOTT Radio Network covers topics of health, diet, science, homeopathy, wellness culture, and more. Tune in weekly!Running Time:
Here's the summary 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 over the planet are Doug, Erica, Tiffany and Gaby. Zoya is going to be joining us later for the Pet Health segment.
Today, we're covering a few topics that people might want to learn more about. Namely lab testing and how effective is lab testing. When you need to get it, when don't you; the dangers of getting false results and some other things that you can do regarding checking your own levels of various things. Like cholesterol and also the myths around cholesterol, what is high and what is low. There's a big scare right now going on about cholesterol levels so we're going to covet that a little bit. And we're also going to go over blood pressure and some interesting things regarding that, too.
But I think first today, we'll go to some of the health items that are in the news this past week. Erica, you wanted to cover a few things regarding the recent vaccine hysteria that's been sweeping the media.Erica:
Yes. Since out discussion last week, information has gotten lively to say the least! And I wanted to share some stuff that was carried on SOTT's Health and Wellness section this week.
One of them was an article on February 4th by Jon Rappoport, who writes pretty extensively about the 'Medical Cartel'. He reports that Patrick Howley at The Daily Caller; reports that William Thompson, the CDC whistleblower, has been given immunity from prosecution by the federal government to testify before congress about vaccine fraud at the CDC. And he adds a cautionary note that The Daily Caller; is the only source for this story so far. But it is interesting considering our discussion last week, and it's obvious that a political battle is taking place regarding mandatory vaccinations vs. parental rights to choose.
What was interesting in the article is that Presidential candidates; Chris Christie and Ron Paul made statements supporting - to one degree or another - a parent's rights to choose and the "medical experts" have invaded T.V. news to slam these statements as grossly irresponsible. Rappoport goes on to say that, "these are the same experts who always answer the call when some element of the medical cartel is under threat of exposure. Their job is to provide cover, sound authoritative and make medical critics into dangerous people." So, you can see it's almost like damage control is happening.
Another article that was carried last week called; Vaccine McCarthyism and the Flaws in the Vaccine Paradigm; has a blurb from The Vaccine Council on Foreign Relations, stating that, "The largest outbreak of infectious diseases are within the most highly vaccinated populations; especially in cases of measles, mumps, rubella, polio and pertussis." The USA, Canada, The E.U., Australia, Japan and New Zealand; have the highest vaccination rates and they lead the list. The Office of Medical Science and Justice analysed the report and concluded clearly that, "Herd Immunity is failing and flawed; given repeated incidences of infections, outbreaks in populations with 94% or more vaccine compliance. Emergence of new viral strains, the concept of herd immunity should be forgotten."
So as I said, it's like damage control. The information is coming out. In the article I just shared the conclusion is that the, "vaccine establishment is desperate as the ghost of their fraud-science, manipulative research, misleading propaganda across mainstream media and in the blogosphere are returning to haunt them. Pro-vaccine pundits are rapidly losing credibility as increasing numbers of parents and young adults educate themselves about vaccine efficacy and their health risks. If it were left for a pro-scientific debate between pro-vaccinators and those opposing vaccines, the former would not have sound science on their side."
I know Tiffany has something to share along that line as well. So, it seems the information is coming out fast and furious.Tiffany:
Yeah, there was a cardiologist in Arizona. He calls himself the Paleo-Cardiologist; his name is Dr. Jack Wolfson. And in the last week of January, there was a local Arizona news channel that had him on their show and one of his quotes was that, "We should never inject chemicals into ourselves and into our children in order to boost our immune systems." He thought that, Children catching a wild virus like measles or chickenpox were actually good for their immune system. I guess he had the gall to say this on the news, but to give credit to the local news reporter, they gave him a fair amount of time - they didn't immediately come in and debunk him, although they did have a more mainstream scientific view on vaccination after him. But, they didn't go after him with pitch-forks.
But now it turns out that he is currently under investigation by the Arizona Medical Board just for this news story that came out in the last week of January. So yes, and this vaccine hysteria seems like its reaching epic proportions. I'm sure it's always been a danger for any medical practitioner to go against the party line on vaccines but they're going after this Paleo-Cardiologist right now. And we have the whole measles outbreak hysteria that's going on, so this seems like it's going to be a hot topic - maybe even in the next Presidential election because they're asking Hilary Clinton and Barak Obama about their views on vaccination.Erica:
And what's really interesting is, like you said, the CDC states that the overall vaccination rate is 92%!Jonathan:
Yeah. Well, it's already creeping its way into politics.Tiffany:
Yeah and there was also a pretty hysterical event going on surrounding vaccines which involved Dr. Sherry Tenpenny. She was going to go on an Australian tour and she is anti-vaccine but she had to cancel her tour because she was getting threats of violence, like bomb threats. So, she had to cancel.Jonathan:
Yeah, I have her press-release here from January 27th, 2015. Brisbane, Australia; "Miss Stephanie Messenger and Dr. Sherry Tenpenny have jointly decided to cancel their speaking appearances scheduled for Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and the Gold Coast. The determination was made to protect the speakers, the public and the venue owners as pro-vaccine extremists have made continual anonymous threats of vandalism and violence." "We have reached a point where we can no longer guarantee the safety of those attending the seminar, said Miss Messenger. Some people were planning to bring babies. The threats have been persistent and we're not sure that the attendees would be safe from harm." They also received bomb threats - apparently multiple bomb threats - against the venue owners and their families in some of the cities originally scheduled for the Healthy Living seminars.
It says here, "Pro-vaccine people have been sabotaging venues and have threatened to disrupt the normal business operations of the locations during the meetings. Derogatory and false messages have been written about venue locations online such as on; hotels.com and they've been bullying the location owners into cancelling these venues." This was successful. I mean, if there's a threat of violence like that, then there's really not much you can do.Doug:
Yeah, it's kinda like Erica said last week; it's the pro-vaccers are like the new pro-lifers. You know, camped out in front of abortion clinics threatening the health and safety of the people working there.Erica:
Yeah, and Dr. Sherry Tenpenny is quoted as saying that the largest, most powerful industry in the world is Big Pharma. So, the fact that she was going to come out and try and give health advice to concerned parents is like taking a stab at the beast. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.Jonathan:
Yeah, talk about reasoned debates. They can go out on the news outlets and promote vaccines all they like but as soon as you go against that position you receive threats of violence. And even just in day-to-day conversations with people, the language turns somewhat abusive and it's really getting interesting.Tiffany:
Yeah, I'll just read one last thing before we carry on. In The New York Times, on February 1st, Frank Bruni; did an editorial and he states that, "The measles outbreak is the result of wealthy, educated people who deliberately didn't vaccinate their children." He refers to measles as, "the scourge once essentially eliminated in the country is back" when in fact it never left. And he refers to all links between autism and MMR vaccines as, "having been discredited." Yet he obviously doesn't read the research from the U.S. and around the world. So, it's just more little sound bites where there's no supporting evidence to back up those claims and that's what people hear again and again is a lie.Jonathan:
Yeah, and I'm sure there's no way that they would allow some kind of a major debate to happen on network television or something because if the science was laid out in a reasonable way then people might think twice about it. But the tactics of Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and those kinds of talking heads just cut you off, call you an idiot and move on.Doug:
Especially considering there was research done recently that found that measles IS spread by those who are vaccinated even those who are twice vaccinated. So, the idea that if you've been vaccinated you're not spreading it and everybody who is not vaccinated IS spreading it is just completely fallacious.Jonathan:
There's some new research that came out about the whooping cough too, or pertussis and vaccinated children spreading it to non-vaccinated children. The mainstream view of vaccines is just backwards basically. Just take whatever they say and turn it around.Doug:
Well, if you see the science and you see the cases where people get any number of vaccines in hospital or anywhere else and are immediately plagued by debilitating conditions but of course, according to the establishment that's just a coincidence. Certainly, according to them there would be no reason to draw a correlation between injecting something and then five minutes later falling into a coma or some kind of seizure episode they must not be related at all certainly.Doug:
Yeah! It's just a coincidence, for sure.Jonathan:
So, we have a lot going on there. We have another interesting thing in the news, too, about supplements being carried by large chain-stores. Doug, do you want to cover that one?Doug:
Yeah, sure... Sorry, having a bit of a technical difficulty there. On February 3rd, the New York Attorney General's Office, delivered a Cease and Desist order to four major retailers; Target, GNC, Walgreens and Wal-Mart, to stop selling certain dietary supplements. The action was taken in response to investigations conducted by the Attorney General in which 78 bottles of popular botanical supplements were obtained off the shelves and were subjected to DNA bar coding analysis. The results of those analyses found that many samples of products contained ingredients other than those listed on the label and they found that 4 out of 5 contained none of the major ingredient listed on the labels.
Now, this is incredibly controversial. There's been a lot of response from the supplement industry questioning the validity of DNA bar coding testing as a valid analysis. The main problem is that DNA testing is seldom able to properly identify chemical herbal extracts. If it's an extract of a botanical, a lot of the time there's actually no DNA left because all they've done is extracted the active constituent and they're not actually going to have any of that plant DNA left in there. There are apparently a lot of other tests that can identify whether or not the actual ingredient is there and a lot of critics have said that the DNA testing should have been backed up by another one of these tests in order to validate whether or not that test was done.
When DNA bar coding is done in a lot of food situations then it's pretty valid and they've uncovered fraud where some expensive sheep's milk cheese has actually been found to be made from cow's milk or people substituting cat fish for expensive grouper fish. But in cases where it's an herbal extract, it requires a bit more than DNA bar coding for the reason that I just stated.
So, of course this is being used as a platform to decry the entire supplements industry as a big sham and that people don't need them. You just need to make sure that you're eating healthy and all these kinds of things, when of course their definition of eating healthy is going to be questionable at best. But this does also give some light to another issue because I'm sure that the supplement industry is not perfect. There probably are some people out there who are not doing things by the book, as they should be. And I think it highlights that you really get what you pay for when it comes to these things. Nobody's going to be surprised if they buy a cheap ten dollar cell phone from Chinatown and it doesn't work as well as their friend's iPhone 5, right? Obviously, it's not going to have the same functionality so nobody's surprised at that.
So, you shouldn't really be surprised when you get these really cheap supplements from generic drug store brands like, Costco brand or these places that were targeted here like Wal-Mart, Target, GNC and those places because you're dealing with cheap supplements. You need to really do your research when you're getting a supplement and yes, you probably are going to pay more. People are like, "well, why should I pay forty dollars for my St. John's Wart when I can get it for five bucks?" Well, you're obviously making a sacrifice there; these aren't just arbitrary reasons for these pricings. Is you're......
(Silence technical issues)Jonathan:
Oh, Doug, did we lose you? I think we did.Tiffany:
Yeah, I think we lost them.Jonathan:
Alright, well let's pick up and we'll see if we can get Doug back, here. I think he was having some technical difficulties with his connection. So, it seems like this story is less of a case of actually regulating the industry, and more of a case of giving an excuse to discredit supplements on large. I don't know. What do you guys think about that? Do you think this is actually some kind of a conscionable, regulatory motion?Gaby:
Yeah, I think they're taking advantage of this particular finding. Most supplements out there are really good quality and certified but you've got to pay not necessarily good money but in health shops and certain brands have very good reliability over and over again. And there are no adverse effects reported from taking high doses of these supplements, these vitamins and minerals. But the industry is taking advantage of these particular findings where these people took advantage and sold cheap supplements that were found to be a scam but it doesn't apply to all supplements, that's the main thing.Jonathan:
Yeah, and I think like Doug was saying, you get what you pay for. I think this article can be seen as more of a cautionary tale to not shop the big box stores for your supplements. If you really value what you're getting in your supplements and you value your health, you're going to really want to research the best supplement companies and the best supplements that have the fewest fillers in them. You want to make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck. You don't want junk.Jonathan:
Yeah, that's true. Sorry, I got cut off there.Jonathan:
Oh, no problem. Glad you're back!Doug:
So, I was just going to say that there are a couple of things that you should look for in a supplement company. One thing is that they are testing the raw materials that come into their facility. If they're not doing this then they're just relying on the quality and the ethics of whoever their raw materials suppliers are. You want to make sure that they're doing testing for microbiological contaminants, heavy metals, and other environmental contaminants like; pesticides, herbicides, that sort of thing. Look for any third party testing involved, that's especially important in things like fish oil supplementation. Are they taking steps to avoid GMO's?
And like others were saying there, all these steps cost money. Don't be surprised if the companies that are taking these steps are going to be priced a little bit higher than the other ones. And also, is it really any wonder when some people will say, "Oh yeah, well I tried that supplement and it didn't work." Well, where were you getting the supplement from? You know?Jonathan:
Sure! Yeah. Doug, I was just reading recently about oil-derived supplements. Those things like ascorbic acid can actually be distilled down from oil in its raw form, refined and then removed, as opposed to like a food source vitamin. I realise that thinking about your vitamins coming from oil sounds kind of gross but is there really that much of a difference? Do people want to look for stuff that comes from food sources? What's the major difference there?Doug:
It's a tricky issue, because people are very concerned about what is the raw material for it. But really once something's been refined down, if it's chemically identical then it makes you wonder why does it matter? Why does it matter if the original vitamin C came from an orange or an ear of corn, or maybe from some sort of petrochemical, or something like that? I'm of two different minds on it. I think that generally even if it is chemically identical, you do want to support people who are doing things like avoiding GMO's; not because there's a danger of contamination with GMO's, necessarily - more because you just don't want to be supporting that industry.
So, I would personally much rather be taking a vitamin C supplement that comes from a non-GMO food source where I know a company has taken steps to be sure that they are getting something that doesn't support that industry. I mean, the same could be said for the petrochemical industry as well.Jonathan:
So like I say, I'm kind of in two minds about it you know? I've heard people say, like, vitamin C is vitamin C. If it's chemically identical to vitamin C, then its vitamin C and it doesn't really matter where it's coming from. So, it's a good question and I'm kind of undecided on it.Jonathan:
Sure. Well, I suppose if people really wanted to find out, they could just track down the company that they're looking at, look them up online, find their contact information and give somebody a call - now it may be kind of hard to get through to them but you can at least give it a shot - and say, "Hey, I'm a concerned consumer and I want to check out your product but I need to know some more information about where your sources are from." And if it's not like a trade secret or anything, it seems like they would want to...Doug:
In my experience most companies are pretty open to having a dialogue with their customers.Jonathan:
Sorry, say that again, Doug?Doug:
Oh, I was just saying that in my experience, the vast majority of companies are open to having a dialogue with their consumers.Jonathan:
Yeah, I think if they're not then they're probably hiding something.Jonathan:
Yeah! Well, let's move along a little bit. One of our topics today was going to be lab testing. We were talking about this before the show and talking about how necessary is it to get tests done. Now if you have insurance, depending on if you have chronic conditions or something like that your primary care physician may have you get regular lab work done or if you have a genetic condition and you're worried about your children, you may get lab work done for your children once a year things like that.
Of course, there are cases where it's appropriate and there are cases where it's not appropriate. There are some cases where the results of the test can actually be wrong. Gaby was going to talk about the school of thought around lab work a little bit. I just want to say real quick - we have to get this in here for the lawyers - the views and opinions expressed in this show are not intended to constitute medical advice. I want to be very clear about that. So, if you have further questions, we really encourage you to do your own research and consult your own healthcare practitioner before you make any medical decisions for yourself or for your family.
We just need to be straight-up about that. So with that in mind Gaby, do you want to talk a little bit about lab work and lab testing, what's good and what's bad? What are the details about that?Gaby:
These are really good topics. Let's so if we can clarify at least a few things!Jonathan:
I work in the public health care system but I have had correspondence from all over the world and I have read many, many books and articles of the North American school. I've realised and noticed that in North America there is a lot more labwork done than in the rest of the world, so to speak. It is like the same thing with the industry, you can find that it brings good revenue but it also has its good applications depending on the detective work that your patient doing with their physician and so forth.
But in general terms, when a physician or healthcare provider asks for annual blood work or just basic blood work what they ask for are a few basic things like; kidney function test, liver function test, electrolytes, red blood cell count, white blood cell count, and maybe other parameters like uric acid and fasting blood sugar.
As we have seen in previous shows. A diet rich in sugar and carbohydrates is what prematurely ages you, it cuts your longevity short and it produces inflammation, it's really bad for your health. So when people are changing their diets and cutting out sugars and carbohydrates, they can measure their progress more or less by checking certain parameters just to give them a general idea for example; fasting blood sugar. And then, depending on the lab work you know, as an international thing fasting blood sugars up to 126 milligrams per decilitre are considered normal. And I want to clarify here that this is already too much as a fasting blood sugar. After that number a person is considered diabetic when that measurement is recorded on two separate occasions. But there are studies actually showing that over 85mg/dl is already a bit too much; it's linked to heart attacks and stroke. And men with fasting glucose levels over these levels may have up to 40% increase in risk of death from cardiovascular disease. So, that's the first you know, so to speak. That is regarding fasting blood sugar levels.
Most people, at least in the forum discussion at sott.net, when they do the diet, they have very low fasting blood sugar levels and they don't have symptoms of low blood sugar levels that you get like getting very angry, cranky, you know anxious; no they are pretty much very stable, they feel great, and nonetheless they have low sugar level. And, that's actually a very good guide that you're doing very well on the diet.
Other people who tend to have higher fasting blood sugar levels, maybe it is because of too much stress or maybe there is something going on there. So, that gives you an idea. I don't know if you guys know your fasting blood sugar levels?Jonathan:
No, I've never tested.Tiffany:
I've tested mine before, and fasting was probably around 80?Gaby:
Well, that's very good.Tiffany:
Yeah, a couple of hours after I've eaten like a bacon, egg sausage breakfast they're maybe a little higher than 80 but it was still in the 80's. So yeah, if you're going on the keto-diet and you're low carb or no carb, having a fasting blood sugar of 80 is probably good!Gaby:
Yeah, that's very remarkable! Because you'd eaten something and were not fasting, so that's even better! I had the same thing. I did my lab test after eating bacon and eggs, because I didn't have time to do the lab work on another day and yes, it was like 78 it was even less than 80 and that was not on a fast.Doug:
So Gaby, would you say that someone who is not aware of any conditions and maybe just a person who's of moderate to good health going through their day they have no debilitating chronic things or anything like that but they may go into the doctor and the doctor wants to run a bunch of tests because that's just kind of what they do... You were saying in Europe that you guys generally run less testing overall than we do in America and I know here, if you go to the doctor they've got to test you for everything just to drive that bill up to the insurance company in my opinion.Gaby:
That's true, and also because of the option. Like, I have had people from North America who ask specifically for functional medicine tests like; they test for vitamins, anti-oxidants, other than hormones and even genetic testing for mutations that make them predisposed to Alzheimer's disease.Jonathan:
And yes, that's very nice to have that but it doesn't substitute the need for doing lifestyle changes, diet changes, you know stress reduction measurements and you know and stuff like that. But it's still a pretty good guide.Jonathan:
Cool. If there was a case where you had hypothetically like three uncles. You know, you have your parents and your father has three brothers, and two of those three brothers died from heart attacks in their late 40's, that would give you some indication that you might want to get tested out for clotting factors? Is that something that's valid to think? Like, you want to look at your family history to see what you might want to get some lab work done for?Gaby:
Oh yes, that's definitely the case. You want to see the family history but also the person's personal medical history to decide which tests they have because there are really so many options. And this is where each person can become part of a team with the doctor, so to speak, like do some research and even ask for specific tests and the doctor should be able to see their patient as part of a team you know as an equal not as an authority figure that is not open to any other idea or test.
Also going into the lab ranges that most mainstream physicians consider normal, like we spoke about fasting blood sugar but there are also other parameters; specifically glycated haemoglobin which is called HBA1C. It is usually only done in diabetics because it actually is a measure of how much blood sugar fluctuations you had during the last 3 months and basically measuring how much your red blood cells are caramelised or glycated, how much sugar you took in. And the lab work usually says that around 6% is normal and again we're seeing more and more research pointing out that 6% is already too much glycation for your red blood cells.
It puts you at risk for atherosclerosis, cataracts, osteoarthritis and so forth. Ideally less than 5% and most people doing a low carb diet, a keto diet or a paleo diet tend to have the lowest glycated haemoglobin levels we have seen ever recorded since we started measuring this; between 4% and 5%. So that's a really good indication that these types of diets are really pro-longevity you know?Tiffany:
If I can just jump in here, about the haemoglobin A1C test. There was a guy who was doing his own who started on the keto-diet who was very low carb. But he noticed that his haemoglobin A1C test came up a little higher than he expected. So when you look at those tests you have to keep in the back of your mind that the lifespan of a red blood cell usually, in most people is around 100-120 days. But there are individual variations in the red blood cell's lifespan. And if you are eating a diet that is lower in carbohydrates and hence, glucose your red blood cells might live a little bit longer, so they might have a little bit more time to become glycated. So if you are on a low carb diet and your haemoglobin A1C is a little higher than you would expect it to be, that could be a reason, your red blood cells are probably a little bit older than in most populations.Gaby:
Yeah, that's a good point because sometimes that we forget that it measures the last three months. And also, another thing is that there is anaemia, where you have very low count of red blood cells, or if a person has not taken enough liquids and is dehydrated then it can create an artefact and produce a higher measure than you'd usually have.
So yes, with those two parameters you can really measure how much sugar you're taking in and how much it's really affecting you. It gives you a guide, fasting blood sugar and glycated haemoglobin.
Then, the other good parameter to include in your annual blood work is the C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation. And we know that inflammation is really behind all diseases, modern diseases specifically. So, if you have inflammation then you are ill. So, that's a good one to include to see if you have C-reactive protein as a marker of inflammation.Jonathan:
Just to be clear, what's the letter that's coming before reactive? Is that 'C' or 'G'?Gaby:
'C', C-reactive protein.Gaby:
Yeah, there's ultra-sensitive C-reactive protein general. And that's actually a marker that is more strongly linked with cardiovascular disease more than cholesterol, you know?Jonathan:
Real quick, I wanted to get one more question to you before we move on to cholesterol. Hair test or hair analysis. Let's say that I have some amalgam fillings which I do, which I've been thinking about getting removed and I want to get a hair analysis done to check my mercury levels; if you think that's worth it at all or is a blood test always better than a hair test? Is a hair test okay for basic information?Gaby:
Well, hair analysis is a really good guidance but actually the best test for heavy metals is a urine heavy metal toxin test, using a challenging agent with DMSA or DMPS. DMSA or DMPS are chelating agents; they actually bind to heavy metals in your body and make it so that it gets excreted through urine. So, the urine gets collected and then measure that. That's the best test for heavy metals. And for heavy metals even these tests are not 100% reliable there's not really a 100% reliable test actually because personal sensibilities will make it so that even a teensy amount of mercury for example, can be very toxic to me but it can produce no symptoms in you. So, we come here to personal sensibilities but yeah, a challenging urinary test is the best test we have for heavy metals.Jonathan:
Interesting. You had a few things to say on cholesterol. Do you want to help transition us into that? And then, we're going to have to go to Zoya for the Pet Health segment shortly here because she has a limited amount of time with us today. So, why don't you introduce us to cholesterol with the points that you have cued up there.Gaby:
Okay, so maybe we could do to give an introduction and then you know, I'll read a few things that are missed on this topic.Doug:
Yeah, sure. One thing I did want to say was about testing in general. Just to say this quickly, I think in a lot of cases people are using testing as an incentive to do other things like change their diet, change their lifestyle and that sort of thing and I think that people kind of have it backwards that way.
In a lot of cases, when you think about 'worst case scenario' and this test showed that everything was going wrong what would I do? Well, I would change my diet, I would change my lifestyle and I would start getting more serious about these sorts of things. I think that really the best way to use testing is to do all that stuff first; change your diet, change your lifestyle, make all those important changes and then do tests to see if you're on track. It seems like that's kind of a better way to about things because realistically, if you're using testing in opposite direction you're seeing what you can get away with. You know, "can I get away with not being on the ketogenic diet?" "Can I get away with not exercising?" those sorts of things. I think it's a better approach to make these changes and then, yeah do the tests to see if you're on track or if there's any kind of problem that you're having. If you're not getting the results that you expected to be getting, is there something going wrong?Jonathan:
So, essentially just using it as a guide to bolster the decision you've already made to get healthy, as opposed to using it as a reason or an excuse to get healthy. Like, you should just go ahead and work on the healthy part, and then use the tests as a guide for that.Doug:
Exactly; yeah, exactly. So anyway, talking a little bit about cholesterol tests. So, the typical tests you get from your doctor for cholesterol you know for one thing, its testing plasma cholesterol levels; so, that's the amount of cholesterol that's in your blood. It actually has little to nothing to do with the actual cellular cholesterol like, what you actually have in your cells including in your arteries. So, it's of questionable use right there. So what they're typically testing is serum cholesterol levels, which are sometimes referred to as your total cholesterol; serum triglycerides, which are like fats in the blood; HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol.
Now, just to tell you a little bit about those because I find that there are a lot of misconceptions about what that is. HDL and LDL are actually carrier protein molecules - well, lipoprotein molecules. So, they are actually what carry cholesterol through the blood, because cholesterol can't just be in free form in the blood. So, when they're testing your HDL and LDL levels, what they're actually testing is the amount of cholesterol that's in your HDL and LDL carriers. So, you see these numbers on a test and you think, okay, that's how much of the HDL particles that I have in my blood.
Well, that's actually not the case. What they're measuring is how much of the cholesterol in your blood is carried by HDL and LDL. And I know that Gaby is actually going to get into a little bit of how the LDL cholesterol measure is actually usually not very accurate and the reason for that. But, I'll just go on here. I think it's important to note that these measures are not actually very accurate as regards to how much of these particles you actually have in your blood. You know, there's a huge variation in how many particles you might actually have and how much cholesterol is actually in there. If you have great big, huge HDL particles, they're going to hold a lot more cholesterol than a lot of smaller HDL particles and as it turns out you want to have actually more small HDL particles because they are better at doing all the beneficial things that HDL is credited with; like being an anti-oxidant for one thing.
And at the opposite end, with LDL cholesterol, you actually want to have less total number of LDL particles. So the big, fluffy cholesterol loaded LDL cholesterol is a lot better than having a lot of smaller, less cholesterol-carrying LDL particles because those are the ones that can actually deposit themselves in your arteries and cause all kinds of havoc and inflammation and atherosclerosis.
So anyway, the total cholesterol that you see on these tests, that number doesn't really have much validity to anything. It's never been found to be correlated with atherosclerosis or cardiac symptoms or anything like that. Basically it's just a number. And despite what's been promoted that number is largely irrelevant. Nonetheless, it's used to kind of encourage people to go onto cholesterol lowering drugs. Also interesting to note that the acceptable total cholesterol number has gone down and down over the years. A couple of decades ago, if a doctor measured your cholesterol and you were 240 or under that was considered good. Well that number has come all the way down to 200 now, and that's not because they've seen any kind of correlation with high cholesterol and cardiac symptoms. I would speculate that it really has to do with wanting to sell more statin medications and getting more people on these best-selling pharmaceutical drugs.
So, Jonathan, do you want to pause here so we can go to Zoya?Jonathan:
Yes, let's do that.Gaby:
You were mentioning, Doug, that it was 240. Even when I was in med-school the upper limit for normal cholesterol was 240. And before that it used to be 280, that was normal. So when people have cholesterol like 300, it was like; "Oh, it is okay it still could be higher but not too much". Now it's like; "OH MY GOD! You're on the verge of a heart attack!"Doug:
So, yeah, just to give that idea. 280 was normal. It's probably normal still.Doug:
Yeah, definitely. Also interesting that there's been a number of studies that have found that, as long as you're under 300; the higher your total cholesterol, the less likely you are to die of all causes.Gaby:
That's true, yeah. Actually the lower your cholesterol, the more predisposed you are for autoimmune diseases, and even for women especially with premature ageing and death.Jonathan:
Well, that's fascinating. Let's come back to that shortly. We're going to jump to Zoya here for a second. She has some things to talk about regarding pet symptoms and how to read symptoms for different things from your pets.Zoya
: Yes, can you hear me?Jonathan:
Oh, yes, we can hear you.Zoya
: Well, hello. So, today we are indeed going to talk about emergency situations and signs your pets may have that may indicate to you that you have to take your pet to the vet ASAP!
Now, the problem is that pets don't always show exactly what's wrong with them. It's especially tricky with cats because they are predators and try to hide their weaknesses until the last moment. But the same can apply to other animals as well. So, it's important to pay attention to your pets and notice any changes in their behaviour.
Well it's basically, pretty natural; you see your pet every day it's like a family member. So, animals have their daily routines they have their habits. They LOVE their habits; especially cats. So, basically if you have an animal like a family member it's not hard to notice how they eat, what's their mood and stuff like this. So, if you make sure to take note of these kinds of things, then when you have to go to the vet you'll be able to give all the information the veterinarian because the more information you give, the veterinarian has a better picture and they basically have the opportunity to make a better diagnosis. In medical jargon its called anamnesis and it's basically like a life story a life history and history of the disease.
So, in order to understand what caused the disease, they need to understand how you treat your pet - what your pet eats and how they behave.
Okay, so basically we will mention first, ten main signs that you absolutely have to know and pay attention to know you have to take your pet to the vet.
(Bad audio) ...of major trauma; like if there was a fall or your pet was hit by a car - large wounds, broken bones, because it's like, we don't have to guess them. But for example, if your pet has pale gums or gums that have a bluish or yellowish colour, rapid breathing, weak or rapid pulse, change in body temperature, difficulty standing, apparent paralysis, loss of consciousness, seizures, bloating and excessive bleeding.
Now we will talk a bit about those signs so we will understand them better. For example, if your pet has difficulty breathing, laboured breathing, pale or blue gums or tongue, maybe there is something stuck in their mouth or throat and maybe there is something wrong with their heart. So, if you see something like this it's a real emergency situation. Basically there is the need for medical intervention, and also professional intervention.
Now, it's possible that there will be bleeding that does not stop from any part of the body. If there is some local bleeding, just apply direct pressure to the wound and seek help immediately. But if you see that there is bleeding from all kinds of parts, then it is possible that there was poisoning. There are specific rat poisons that cause anti-coagulant effect. Basically, you blood stops from clotting. And it's the most insidious because there is a delayed effect. For example, if your dog ate something that was poisoned; usually cats don't get poisoned, you know they don't get poisoning of this kind because, they can sense it, they are more careful but dogs, like Labradors... (Bad audio) ...and it will take a couple of days before the symptoms... (Bad audio) ...so it will die very quickly unless you take it to vet.Jonathan:
Zoya, if you can hear me, you're cutting out just a little bit but we can hear most of what you're saying. Can, you just repeat that last part about how symptoms may take two or three days to manifest.Zoya
: Yeah, okay. So, for example ... (Bad audio)... so it's very important that you take your pet immediately to the vet because it's a sign that ... (Bad audio) ...stopped things, that specific enzymes in the liver are not produced, so it's a ... (Bad audio) ... situation, there is a need basically. Or maybe you can help your pet as well if you have vitamin K, but specifically K1, not K3. Specifically, K1 - maybe you can buy it in ... (Bad audio)... well maybe we will have another show where I will say what would be great for pet owners to have at home in emergency cases, something they can give themselves. But, yeah, they can buy vitamin K1 that is basically the treatment in such cases.
Now another dangerous situation is when big breed dogs like German Shepherds have their stomach bloated or swollen, because it's very common in those breeds for their stomachs to become twisted. So, if you see something unusual like this, if they become a little bit apathetic and their stomach becomes like a big ball, it's a real emergency situation so take them immediately to the vet.
Now, it's possible also to see a loss of consciousness, a sort of collapse where a pet is too weak to stand. Now there can be several reasons for this. It can be a neurological problem, it can be a toxin, and it can be some sort of injury. Another possibility, especially in smaller breeds like Yorkshire Terriers and Toy Terriers, is that they may become hypoglycaemic. In such situations you can help those by basically - it may be counter intuitive, but it really helps - you can give them a bit of sugar. So, you can maybe prevent loss of consciousness developing into coma. And then take them immediately to the vet.Jonathan:
Sure. So if they do pass out, you would just put a little bit of sugar on their tongue?Zoya
: Yeah, if it's a small breed, and for example if it's the hot weather, it's hot outside, it can be also overheating. But it happens mostly to breeds like hemicephalic breeds. Breeds like pug and bulldog and breeds that are already predisposed to all kinds of respiratory problems. ... (Bad audio)... a bit of water. But if it's a small breed like toy terrier, then a bit of sugar may help.
.... (Bad audio).....
...so it can be seizure. Like, for example, Chelsea breed, is predisposed to seizure.
... (Bad audio)....
Vomiting and diarrhoea ... (Bad audio)... or violent episodes. You know, sometimes owners think that, "oh ... (Bad audio)... there is diarrhoea, there some indigestion or .... (Bad audio)... cats like hairballs and to dogs it's vomiting.Jonathan:
: It's most important to pay attention to your pet and their usual behaviour. If they tend to vomit hairballs and stuff like this, then you can see the frequency of such events.Jonathan:
: And if you see that there is some blood ... (Bad audio)... then immediately take them to the vet. Because maybe something...Jonathan:
Sure, ah, we're having a really hard time haring you right now; it's very choppy. So I just wanted to make sure that last part you had said of course violent vomiting is bad and in that case you would want to take them directly to the vet...Zoya
: Yeah, because it can lead to severe dehydration and shock.Jonathan:
: Yeah. So, other things that I wanted to mention, like inability to deliver puppies or kittens. If your pregnant cat or dog has gone more than three to four hours between delivering, then you really need to take them to the vet to help finish the job.Jonathan:
: And loss of balance or consciousness, maybe other symptoms like, for example high temperature. It's important to remember that pets have both dogs and cats, have normal higher temperature than humans. There are some pet owners who come the vet and say, "Oh my god, my pet has a fever", you know like with a 38.5°; it's normal for both cats and dogs; it's okay. But, basically, any temperature above 40° - unless you have a kitten or a puppy - you really need to take them to the vet.
Another case is rapid heartbeat. In general, 160 for dogs and 200 for cats. If you have rapid heartbeat above those levels...(Silence)Jonathan:
Oh... shoot. I think that we lost Zoya, Zoya? Can you still hear us? You're dropping out quite badly. Maybe we can revisit this at a later date. Would that be okay?Zoya
: Yeah, yeah sure. I covered most of it. I just wanted to mention purring. That it's very cute and it's basically activating the vagus nerve - that's what cats do. But, they can also purr when they are... (Bad audio)... so that's what people should pay attention to too.Jonathan:
Okay, well thank you very much. We'll see what we can do about making this a better connection in the future so that we can hear more of this important information. But, thank you.Zoya
: Okay, thank you.Jonathan:
And if anybody has any questions, we'll post some resources in our show description here from what Zoya had covered today, that people can check out for further information about how to read symptoms from their pets.
So, let's revisit here the topic that we were covering, which was cholesterol. Gaby, are you still on the line there?Gaby:
Yes, to wrap it up basically your cholesterol panel, some things that explain a good cholesterol panel is one that is low in triglycerides, it's high in HDL cholesterol - also known as good cholesterol - and it's normal or even a little bit higher than LDL cholesterol. But as long as you have low triglycerides and high HDL, you do have a pretty good idea that your LDL cholesterol is pretty much composed of anti-inflammatory particles.
The other thing to keep in mind is that when you have very low triglyceride - which is very good because that means that you're not eating inflammatory carbohydrates - it produces an artefact in the lab work, and it increases a 25% your LDL cholesterol. But this is an artefact. It's not really a real increase in LDL cholesterol. So, that's the other thing that you have to keep in mind: your LDL cholesterol, might be actually lower if you have low triglycerides.
And, the most important factor you know, is not then as we have seen really, "Oh, I have high cholesterol" or that it's better when it's low but when the cholesterol stays for a long time in your blood, it increases its chance of getting inflamed - oxidized, especially if you have a lot of heavy metals going around, if you're exposed to a lot of radiation, if you're exposed to a lot of inflammatory factors from your environment or food.
So, the thing to keep in mind as well is one thing that can actually inflame your cholesterol is iron overload. And this is the one thing that is never asked for in an annual blood-work, and you know you guys and listeners, everybody should ask that right away, or the next time to see if you have a lot of iron. Because if you have a lot of iron in your blood, that is a powerful oxidising agent or inflammatory. You basically ask for ferritin, transferrin, and total iron binding capacity and with that you will get an idea if you have iron overload or not. If your transferrin saturation is over 40% and your ferritin is above 150, you have iron overload to the point that you really need to do some blood-letting. Ideally, it should be less than 35%, your transferrin saturation, and the ferritin should be in the low 100's. So, yes, iron overload. No one should forget this topic. So yes, this is to wrap it up.Doug:
I just wanted to say one point here. There was a study done in 2013; I think it was 2013or 2012; where they looked at nearly 137,000 patients who were hospitalised for coronary artery disease between 2000 and 2006. Of those patients, only 29.2% had elevated LDL cholesterol levels. So, basically, the idea that LDL cholesterol is a measure of your risk is put into serious doubt there, when less than 30% of the patients actually had an elevated LDL cholesterol level.
So, I just wanted to reiterate what I was saying before. It really is about the total particle number, not about the total LDL cholesterol. So, if you really want to get a good picture of what your cholesterol levels are, the typical panel that's given by your doctor doesn't really give a good indication of this. So, finding out your total LDL particle number; that's really the gold standard for finding out what your risk actually is for cardiac events.Jonathan:
Great. Well - and I think that we emphasised this earlier too - ideally you want to look into the cause. Like, say you test high for cholesterol, according to the charts - although we understand that there are some discrepancies there - that you should be looking into why it might be reading that way. So, if you're eating a lot of fat, PLUS sugar, or a lot of fat PLUS grains, which is not the combinations that you want to be ingesting; you know, the Ketogenic high fat diet does NOT include sugar and grains for very specific reasons.
So, you would want to pre-emptively change your habits, change your diet, and look into the cause of why your cholesterol might be reading high so that you can lower it through natural means. It's my personal opinion that Lipitor and things like that and cholesterol lowing drugs should be avoided and natural means and a diet methodology should be employed.Doug:
Yeah, I think that's definitely true and it's an important point to be reiterated. The medical model is to look at the numbers of cholesterol and then try to lower those numbers. Well, even if you do manage to lower the numbers there you're not getting to the root cause of the problem; you're not getting to WHY your cholesterol is high, you're just kind of artificially lowering this arbitrary number. So, yeah, I think that's a very important point. Yeah, it's important to get to the root cause of the issue, if there is an issue.Gaby:
Yeah, lowering your cholesterol artificially is the most ignorant way to approach it, really.Doug:
Well, let's see; do we want to move on to blood pressure for a little bit? Tiffany, you had some material that you were going to cover and it sounded like you had it right in front of you there. So, would you like to talk about blood pressure for a little while?Tiffany:
Well, sure, since we're talking about cholesterol and coronary artery disease. So, a lot of people who have cholesterol also have high blood pressure, so I'll talk a bit about blood pressure.
Blood pressure, as measured, is the pressure in your arteries as your heart pumps. So, say you have a blood pressure of 122/70; the 122 number, the number on top is your systolic number and that measures the pressure in you arteries when your heart beats systoly, which means that your heart muscle is contracting at that time. The bottom number is the diastolic number and that measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats or when your heart is resting.
So, blood pressure readings vary depending on the time of the day. So, it's important not to just take one reading and say, "Oh, I have high blood pressure". You want to test your blood pressure at several different times of the day. Your blood pressure is lowest at night while you're sleeping, and it starts to rise right before you wake up, and then it usually reaches its peak in the afternoon, and then in the late afternoon to evening it starts dropping again. So, high blood pressure is considered to be a number of 140/90 or higher, and this is, again over several different readings over different times of the day.
Things that can contribute to high blood pressure are stress, pain and something called; "White Coat Hypertension" where you go to the doctor's office and you're a little bit nervous and stressed just from being at the doctor's office and your blood pressure comes up a little higher than it usually would be when you're relaxed and at home.
So, again make sure you measure your blood pressure over time; don't just go by one reading. Also, high blood pressure is often referred to as, "The Silent Killer" because it is not usually associated with symptoms. A lot of people think that if your blood pressure is high you'll have a headache all the time which is not necessarily true. That can happen sometimes if you're in a hypertensive crisis where your blood pressure is really super-high, like 180/110 or higher. So, yeah, high blood pressure is 140/90.
Low blood pressure would be anything like 90/60 or less, but there are a lot of people whose blood pressure usually runs a little low and it's probably nothing to worry about unless you have symptoms of dizziness, light-headedness, fainting, nausea and vomiting or chest pain. So, if your blood pressure is low and you don't have symptoms, it's usually not something to worry about. If your blood pressure is low, one of the first things you'll want to ask yourself - if you do have the symptoms - is if you're dehydrated. So, you probably want to increase your water intake and that will usually get rid of the dizziness and light-headedness. And another reason for super-low blood pressure is because you've suffered some kind of trauma and you're bleeding out or something and in that case you have some really big problems and you need to be seen by a doctor.
But, if you're currently on blood pressure medicines, you want to work closely with your doctor and try to work your way off of them. I would not advise you to just stop your blood pressure medicines 'cold turkey'. But there are some natural remedies for high blood pressure. These include garlic, fish oil, and hibiscus tea - there's been some research on that - magnesium, vitamin D and turmeric.
So, for the actual blood pressure test, the best way to measure it is you're at your doctor's office and the nurse comes in, she has the inflatable cuff with the stethoscope. That's probably the gold standard - it gives you the most accurate reading. But there are a lot of home blood pressure cuffs or the ones you can measure with your wrist and remember, if you're going to use a wrist monitor, put your arm up in at the level of your heart so that you can get a more accurate reading.
Now, the home blood pressure monitors are less precise than the cuff. The numbers can off by as much as 15, so if you want to see how accurate your home blood pressure cuff is, if you know somebody who knows how to use the cuff with the stethoscope, just have them come over and check your blood pressure against your home machine. But, even if you can't do that, the blood pressure machine that you use at home - even though the number might not be exactly precise - it can give you the range of your blood pressure and it can tell you if your blood pressure is going up or down. So I wouldn't totally discount home blood pressure machines.
However, I can't talk about blood pressure without mentioning salt, because there's this big myth that salt is bad for you and it causes high blood pressure. So, this can be both true and not true at the same time - it just depends on what type of salt you use. But first, I wanted to go over the function of sodium - or salt - in the body.
Sodium is an essential mineral that's found in the human body and it's necessary for the brain to able to send signals to your nerves and your muscles. So, if you didn't have enough sodium your muscles basically wouldn't function you wouldn't be able to move and eventually you would die. Sodium is also necessary for the absorption of other nutrients and sodium is needed to regulate fluid balance and blood pressure, so you need to have a delicate balance of sodium and potassium and other minerals in your body as well.
So, there is table salt which is traditionally used, or 'real' salt which can include Celtic Salt or Himalayan Salt. Table salt is highly processed. It can be heated up to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, and that makes the salt lose all of its naturally occurring minerals. It still has sodium in it but it doesn't have the potassium, the calcium, the magnesium or any of the other trace minerals. Also in table salt, there are a lot of fillers; synthetic iodide is added, there are anti-caking agents, there are high amounts of potassium iodide and aluminium. And, of course, they bleach it to make it white. So real salt, you won't find that it's pure white. It can be like a greyish colour, a tan colour or a pink colour. So that's the kind of salt you want to be using, because like I said before, it has 80 other minerals and trace elements in it as well.
So, if you do have high blood pressure, you really want to look at your diet, because high-carb diets make the kidneys retain salt and low-carb diets increases the amount of sodium and water that's excreted by the kidneys. I don't know if any of you have noticed that when you first went low-carb or keto that you lost a lot of water weight?Doug:
Um hmm, definitely.Gaby:
Yeah, I did.Tiffany:
So, that's the reason why.Gaby:
I even woke up in the night, you know for a pee. But I realised that the research shows that it stabilizes. But yeah, you lose a lot of water.Tiffany:
Yeah. So, not only do carbs make your kidneys retain salt, they do convert to glucose in the blood stream and they can stick to the proteins or the albumen in your blood and cause glycation and that build up in your arteries and that can cause your arteries to narrow and to harden. So, the biggest way to naturally decrease your blood pressure is to decrease your carb intake. So, that's what I have about blood pressure.Gaby:
A lot of people normalise their blood pressure by taking magnesium and potassium; there is very good research on potassium. These are electrolytes that mainstream medicine really forgets and instead concentrate on calcium, which actually promotes calcification of the arteries, and they forget about magnesium and potassium which are so important, you know, they're relaxing minerals, they stabilize, you know.Jonathan:
Also, there's lots of interesting history surrounding salt and how necessary it is - that the word 'sal' - S.A.L - was Latin for salt, which is where we get the word 'salary' from, so it's your life sustaining thing.Tiffany:
So, when you said 'real' salt, I was curious - like, I use that brand; there's a brand called Real Salt. Is that the one you were talking about?Tiffany:
Not necessarily. But, yeah, there is a brand called Real Salt and it actually is - and I'm using quotes here - "real salt" So yeah.Jonathan:
But there's the Celtic Salt and the Himalayan Sea Salt and other types of salt.Jonathan:
You would want something that contains that variety of minerals.Tiffany:
Right. Yeah because with table salt, it's just sodium chloride and a bunch of fillers added into it and so there's no natural balance. You want all the other minerals in your salt to kind of balance the sodium.Doug:
I think one of the big problems with table salt, too, is those anti-caking agents you were talking about. Because what they're essentially doing is making it so it no longer attracts water, right? Because if you notice, if you get real salt - like, unrefined salt - it attracts water, and the function of salt in the body, requires that water follows salt. Like the salt is used to create these different balances of water in certain places.
So, if you've got a salt that has all these anti-caking agents added to it, it's no longer able to serve that function. So, I think that's a lot of the problems that you see with the table salt.Tiffany:
We actually published a sott.net article recently showing how people that consume table salt have more auto-immune diseases, you know, and that's why they were suggesting, and again the salt that Tiffany was talking about - Himalayan salt and pink salt, it could be related to that.Doug:
Um hmm, yeah.Jonathan:
Well, is there anything else we want to cover about blood pressure? We've got how to test. Tiffany, when you mention those home units, do you have to get that from a pharmacy or is that something you can get from a chain store; you know if you live near the city or something like that?Tiffany:
Oh yeah, they sell them at Wal-Mart's and you can buy one online, or Walgreen's or any drug store, yeah. They're not hard to find. They're not too expensive either.Jonathan:
But again, you know, don't get obsessed with it. Like Doug said earlier, you want to do all the things that you should be doing, like change your diet, before you go chasing around a bunch of tests.Doug:
Just do those and then have the test confirmed that you're doing the right thing.Jonathan:
Right. I think that speaks to our mentality in the West, especially in America that, you know I need excuses or I need a reason to do something that I already know is good for me. You know, I know it's good for me to change my diet and not to eat Doritos and Twinkies all day, but for some reason, people are like, "I need a doctor to tell me not to do that"......or "I need a lab work to tell me that I have six months left because I've eaten too many Twinkies in my life."Tiffany:
Yeah, good luck having your doctor tell you to do anything about diet! I mean, I think sometimes, the best thing you might hear from a doctor is, "everything in moderation".Jonathan:
Yeah. Yeah, actually, just an interesting point on that. I knew a guy who had gone to the doctor, had the cholesterol test, was told that his cholesterol was too high, and the doctor basically said to him, "well, you know, you could change your diet and start to exercise more and all that kind of stuff, but all those thing will get achieved by just taking this pill instead. So, we may as well just put you on the medication."Gaby:
Oh my God! That's so bad!Doug:
Yeah! Yeah, I couldn't believe it when he said that.Erica:
That's a shame; it really is. And now it's been reduced almost to a level of - I hate to say it, but yeah - 'Quack Science'. That people are actually using that term. I won't say where, just to allow these people their privacy but I was recently in a discussion online - well, I can say it was on Facebook - but it was in a group. And I referred to someone who was a chiropractor and a natural practitioner - a naturopath. And I got like three or four responses that said you know, "This is pseudo-science" and "Wow, you can't be peddling this kind of 'quack science'" and I was like, really when did people start thinking that chiropractic was quack science or that nutrition was quack science? A lot of people are thinking that now, that if you mention healthy eating, they're like, "Well, you're nuts!" you know, "Keep your witchcraft to yourself".Doug:
Our doctors actually have a nickname - they call them "Quackopractors" instead of chiropractors.Jonathan:
It's like the vaccine hysteria, it's just completely absurd.Doug:
So, it's unfortunate but I think the best we can do right now is, you know, there are people who do understand that there are really effective ways to manage your health naturally; granted like we said earlier in our disclaimer, we're not offering you medical advice, so if you have severe conditions; if you have emergencies - things like that - you need to take care of that with the best way that you think. You know talk to your practitioner or your doctor, whoever they are. Of course, if you have insurance you have to have a main - what do they call it? - Primary practitioner. So, of course, you have to make that choice for yourself. But there are these avenues you can research, as far as how to take care of yourself naturally; how to manage your blood pressure, how to manage your cholesterol, and look at your diet, you know. And look up what you're eating.
It's a really important thing and I think people have turned it into an 'incidental' point of interest in their life where - like you guys said - you just use medications to manage it. And they're not even saying, "in moderation" anymore; they're like basically, "just keep doing what you're doing and here's a pill to shut off all the symptoms". But the body gives us these signals you know. The inflammation is a signal. Itching; runny nose; coughing; pain; headaches; these are all signals from the body that something is wrong and they all have a different cause and that really needs to be looked into. So, instead of just shutting it off with a pill that turns that off, it's much better to try and find out WHERE it's coming from and correct that habit or environmental factor or whatever you've got going on, so that it doesn't continue just in the background.
It's like muting the speaker, essentially, but it's a little bit more serious than just muting a speaker because in your body, those effects are still happening in the background.Doug:
Yeah; very good point.Jonathan:
Well, I think if you guys are good with it, I'm going to move on to our recipe for today.
We're going to do corned beef. And when we were talking before the show, we were saying we should probably point out that corned beef has nothing to do with corn!
So I don't know how many people are aware of that. That was a new point for me actually, when I learned how to make it. I knew that I loved corned beef and I was like, "I really want to make this but I'm really hoping that there's not corn in it".
So, when I looked it up and learned about it, of course I discovered that there's not. And just a general reference here, reading from Wikipedia: The term 'corned beef' comes from the treatment of the meat with large-grained rock salt, also known as 'corns of salt'. So, it was an old English word for the large grains or large rocks of the salt. And of course, you've heard the word 'pepper corns'. So, a corn is used to refer to as a grain or a chunk of something, of some spice and that's where that comes from. So, corned beef is basically a spiced beef. It's a salt-cured product that you then spice.
So, this process is really flexible. There are some really hard-core chefs or - what do they call it? - Charcuterie - the process of curing meat - salting and curing meat - saying that corned beef has to be a brisket. I personally don't agree with that. If you have a brisket or you have access to one, by all means use it as it tastes really awesome with a brisket, compared to other cuts. It can be done with other cuts but the brisket really is the best tasting one. But I mean, when I want some corned beef and when I want to make it, I just go to the store and I grab like a bottom round roast or a top round roast or even like an English or a chuck roast; something that's 2 to 3 pounds, real easy to get. So, start with that.
For the sake of our recipe, let's say a 3lb roast; or any roast that you can get. And it should be beef. So what you want to do is then salt it - and just like Tiffany was saying about the real salt - make sure that you use good salt for this. Now there is curing salt; personally I prefer not to use that. I like to just use the Real Salt that I have because it's full of these minerals and that gets into the meat.
So, what I'll do is, I'll put it on the counter or on a cutting board and rub it down really well with salt, get it into all the cracks and kind of massage it a little bit to loosen the meat up and get all the salt in there really well, and then put it on a rack in the fridge over the top of a pan. And then what I'll do then is leave that for anywhere from 24 to 48hrs - that's really up to your discretion how long you want to leave it - up to 48hrs. And what will happen is, the salt will draw all the moisture out of the meat and move those fluids through the connective tissues and the meat, and it will loosen up the connective tissues so it will soften it. And then the moisture of course, will drip down into the pan. So you can pull that out after that time, rinse the pan out and wash it down and then rinse the salt off of the meat. So, you want to get all the salt off there because, trust me, I've done this wrong a couple of times and it's really, really salty; it's nigh on inedible if you don't wash the salt off.
So, rinse the salt off at this point and then pat it down pretty well with a paper towel, or a towel or whatever you use. Just make sure you get it pretty dry. Then, here's the recipe for the spice.
So, I'm going to take 4 cloves of garlic and I'm going to chop them up really fine. Now, some people do this in a brine, but I like to do a dry pack - so, that again is really up to your discretion and by all means, after the show, go online and look up different corned beef recipes. You'll see that a lot of them call for sugar. I leave that out entirely and there are different variations and like I said, some people like liquid brine. But, what I'll do is take 4 cloves of garlic, chop them up really fine and then just mix this all up in a bowl.
So, it's 2 teaspoons of coriander. 1 teaspoon of clove - so clove powder, or crushed clove, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of ginger, 1 teaspoon of cardamom and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Then I take 2 bay leaves and crush them up or cut them up on a cutting board - however you want to get that kind of crushed and powdered. And at the very end then take 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns - so, whole peppercorns you want to use for this.
Then mix that all up in a bowl, and then once you've patted down the roast, rub it in really well. Rub the whole thing down with the spice mix to get it totally covered. And the modern way to do this is if you have a vacuum sealer or some of those really sturdy zip-lock freezer bags that you can seal pretty tightly. The vacuum sealer is ideal; really that just works the best and we do live in the 21st century, so you might as well use one.
But if you don't have one, use the zip-lock bag. And I was looking this up and researching this the other day: if you don't have either of those things, you can actually take lard and pack the entire roast with lard and make sure it's packed really well, and seal off the entire outside, which, Doug, you had said they do that with duck confit as well?Doug:
Yeah, they do. They submerge it in duck fat as a way of preserving it.Jonathan:
There you go. So, basically, what you want to do is get the meat rubbed down with the spice, seal it off from the outside air, and then put it in the fridge for 7 to 10 days. 7 days will turn out good, and very nice. 10 days is even better. In my own experience, that's a pretty good time-range. I usually just go for a week because it's easy to remember. So, I'll make it on Saturday and then I can have corned beef the next Saturday.
So, personally, I use a vacuum sealer but actually I really want to try this lard method. Now, if you have lard sitting around, get it out and rub it around in a bowl and kind of get it softened a little bit, pack the entire roast in the lard so that it's sealed off, and then just throw it in the fridge. And then at the 7 day mark when you take it out and you don't even have to rinse the spices off. Basically what you would do then is, I suppose if you have lard on it, you would kind of cut that off, or get it off of the outside. If it's in a vacuum bag, take it out of the bag and then put it in the oven at 200 degrees for 2.5 hrs. And at the end of that time, take it out and let it rest for about 20mins, and then slice it up. And you have your corned beef.
And it will taste really good. I think you'll be surprised at how close it tastes to the corned beef that you might get on like, a Reuben sandwich or something in a restaurant. I've been really pleased with it so far. And you don't have to cook it in the over either - you can throw it in a crock pot, do pretty much any kind of preparation method that you want with this.
Sometimes, what I like to do is the slow-cook too, at a low temperature but not cooking it for too long so that when it sets and it cools off, I can actually slice it with my meat slicer and then make lunch meat out of it and then I have sliced corned beef in the fridge.
So, that's our recipe from today. So, I hope to read some stories about people making corned beef this week.Doug:
Yeah, that sounds really good!Erica:
I'm going to go check my freezer for a brisket.Jonathan:
There you go! This is like, ridiculously delicious with a brisket. I recommend that cut, for sure.Alright, well that's our show for today. Thanks everybody for tuning in. We will be back next week; the same time and same day - Monday, at 2pm Eastern. So, please be sure to tune in and thank you for listening to the Health and Wellness show on the SottRadio Network.