Living Bone & The Modern Diet

Feeding Our Living Bone

The premise of Bones the TV show was simple, that you could gather enough evidence from the skeleton to solve the crime; that the way we live our lives as individuals is constantly redesigning our inner scaffolding and consequently our life history is being continuously written into our bones. 

The fact is that we humans are not just ‘neuro-plastic’, but also more generally ‘bio-plastic’ means that it isn’t just our brains that continually remake themselves over time as our experience and environments change, but almost all of our other tissue structures remake themselves as well, including our bones. Our living bones ‘remodel’ themselves throughout our lives, and thus we have some agency when it comes to improving not only the way we organise our skeleton in stillness and in motion, but also, over time, that better self-use can actually improve the structural design of our bones themselves.

I have already written an article about the basics of bone function and self-use, and am now ready to take on the more challenging part of the argument. It shouldn’t be challenging, it shouldn’t be controversial, and yet, for a complex ‘tangled web’ of [spurious] reasons, we are being pressured into adopting a very unhealthy diet. We are being told that plants are better than meat for our health, and that plants are better than meat for the planet’s ecosystem. Neither of these things is true, however getting to the actual truth of the matter is a complex issue. Full disclosure, I am speaking as someone who rejected a plant-based way of eating almost forty years ago, because I was experiencing a severe deterioration in my – already problematic – health from eating that way after only a couple of years, and this was way before there were so many plant-based highly processed foods to choose from. I managed to damage my digestive health severely on (mostly organic) food that I was making almost entirely from scratch. 

As I know from personal experience the dangers of a plant-based diet I have been waiting – in vain – for our Public Health systems to speak up against the tide of misinformation on this subject coming at us from all forms of media. Instead what gives me hope is that I am seeing more and more general medical professionals from all over the world stepping up to the plate as they are keen to reverse the damage our modern diet is doing to their patients. Often these highly trained and experienced health advocates have made their discoveries while healing that damage in themselves. In fact, pretty much all of the medically-trained professionals who are speaking out against dietary misinformation have healed their own chronic health issues as well as those of their patients by eating more meat, and sometimes even only meat – indeed sometimes only red meat. Many of them have a dietary history similar to mine; as medical professionals they were bombarded by propaganda about increasing their plant intake, and like me over time they found that their health actually worsened.

As the old saying goes, the plant-based lie has spread itself around the globe while the truth is still busy getting its [leather] boots on, and as of today the truth still has many different misinformation sources to overcome. First there are the many vested interests out there, including…

…anyone producing or marketing processed foods

…anyone producing all the carbohydrate and the seed oils that go into processed foods

…anyone providing the petro-chemicals for fertilisers and pesticides, plus of course actually fuelling all the agricultural equipment that the industrial farming of vast areas of monocrops requires, and all the industrial equipment that all that food processing requires as well

…and (if you want to go full conspiracy mode) it is all too clear that Big Pharma would lose a great deal of their profits if everyone got healthier in a natural and effective drug-free way. 

Added to that are the ideologically committed ‘true believers’, whether politically or religiously motivated. For example, few people realise that the birth of this very new style of eating (new that is if you take into account the many hundred thousands of years that humans have been hunting and thriving on this planet) was thanks to the Seventh Day Adventists’ belief in what they call the “Garden Of Eden” diet. All these manipulators with their various – sometimes overlapping* – agendas have to be overcome in order for this vital information to be heard and understood. Consequently the subject is enormous, and I have already covered much of what I felt needed to be said in two (rather long) previous articles, Eating Your Way To Wellness #1, and Eating For Wellness #2-A Free Course On YouTube. I am currently writing Eating For Wellness #3, and then hopefully I will be done!

I this article I am therefore going to focus on the importance of animal foods for the health of both our bone, and our brain-and-nervous-system – because the overlap is huge, and anyway, it really shouldn’t be so difficult to challenge the plant-based narrative…

It doesn’t take much education to recognise how vital eating meat has been throughout the evolution of our species

It doesn’t take much relevant reading to recognise how nutrient-dense meat is, particularly red meat

It doesn’t take much research to discover how deeply deficient a vegan diet is – even with supplements there are just too many nutritional elements that can only be properly digested and absorbed into our system from animal sources. Most commentators are however very careful to avoid any suggestion that plants are not still a great source of nutrients – for a more damning analysis of plant toxins and anti-nutrients I have to recommend Dr Anthony Chaffee with his magnificent presentation “Plants Are Trying To Kill You!”

It doesn’t require a lot of travel to recognise just how much of the planet’s surface is better suited to meat and/or dairy production – wet, hilly, rocky, cold – even before you factor in how important the planet’s trees are to our world-wide ecosystem. And, in case it isn’t obvious, most ruminants can share space with trees in a natural, uncomplicated way that just won’t work if you are trying to grow grains or beans – indeed elephants may be the only ruminants that ruminate on trees, and even there the story is more complex than you might expect

It doesn’t take a lot of research to figure out just how vital ruminants are for the health of the soil – and indeed big animals that roam around excreting vast amounts of bacteria-rich product are just as important for our seas as they are for our grasslands, hence the dangerous depletion of fecundity in our oceans from the loss of our whales

…And just how oblivious do you have to be to not make the connection between vast sterile fields of grains and legumes that require chemical fertilising and constant chemical protection from insect predators with the loss of our birds, bees, butterflies, and the rest of our undervalued insect populations – all in order to produce low grade protein that can be processed into food that is only cheap because so little actual food has gone into making it, and because in some countries these crops are being heavily subsidised by their governments, notably the US.

The destruction of forest that is sometimes involved in clearing land for mono-cropping plant protein is often blamed on cattle farming – read a little deeper and you discover several confounding factors – actually they are usually being fattened up with a mish-mash of industrial leftovers inedible for humans – the only farmers gathering fresh produce and taking it directly to those cows, are those running the smaller regenerative organic farms. It is also important to recognise two things, first that cows are ruminants whose digestive systems have not evolved to eat legumes such as soy mash, so fattening them up this way damages their health severely, and second, it only takes a few short weeks, sometimes only 7 days for the nutritional quality of the poor creature’s meat to degrade irreversibly, particularly depleting the omega 3 fats that are so important for our health. 

…and finally, you might also like to take a look at when hay fever first began to be a common health issue, as I did…

Because of the ideologues and the vested interests, much of this perfectly sensible stuff is being challenged aggressively and continuously, but it is still pretty sensible and pretty obvious when you actually think about it for yourself, instead of just believing everything Bill Gates says, or everything written in The Guardian.

So I am going to begin with Dr Ken Berry, who has an excellent film on the subject, and when I have more time I will put a précis of his talk below, but for now I want to get this article up online as I am preparing to teach my first Living Bones Daily Course right now:

Here is a longer film, with a lot more detail, for anyone reading this article who actually has a diagnosis of osteoporosis. One comment I would make is I don’t think it is accurate to say that we can increase our calcium intake much by eating dark green vegetables, as many of them are very high in oxalates, which are anti-nutrients that actually prevent the absorption of calcium (kale excepted – but then the Vitamin K in kale is not very bio-available for humans either).

Plants do not want to be eaten, and while some may produce sugary fruits to tempt creatures into transporting and fertilising their seeds, they still don’t want those seeds to be destroyed by chewing, which is why seeds are so hard, and so full of oxalates! Many of the plants we see as healthy actually contain “anti-nutrients” that actively disrupt our digestion of vital minerals, and I think Dr Berry would say something different now, two years on, however overall there is a great deal of good advice here for anyone coping with severe bone deterioration:

Next I am going to encourage you to listen to Dr Paul Mason, who is also a great source of science-based information on the healthiest human diet, and who also specialises in working with athletes. In this interview he discussed the best and most efficient way for older women to improve the strength of their bones through exercise. The whole talk is worth listening to, however if you are short of time right now the specific section on older women’s  bone health begins near the end at around 1:23:30 minutes in.

He talks about seeing post-menopausal women with bone health issues in his private practice. He mentions that there is good data showing that osteoporosis can be reversed with diet; that the two most vulnerable areas for older women are the top of the femur (AKA the hip joint) and the wrists as both of these structures are particularly vulnerable to injury from a fall; that experiencing force through these bones is thus recommend – climbing steps, hopping, push-ups (graded for what the individual can manage, with the intention of building up capacity over time).

What I found particularly inspiring is that just 10 hops 2 or 3 times a week is enough to bring your hip bones back to optimal strength, as long as the hops are high enough and you practice regularly enough!

It was Dr Mason who inspired me to step into the already busy field of Feldenkrais and bones: Ruthy Alon was so good at highlighting what is most important in the field of modern self-improvement that she and I have been focussed on the same ideas for a while now (forgive me if I sound like I am flattering myself). My course isn’t intended to replace Ruthy’s Bones For Life series, but at the same time I can see no good reason to ignore all the other possibilities that Awareness Through Movement can offer for the busy older women, particularly those of us who don’t really fancy joining a gym and spending hours a week lifting weights!

My Mission Statement

I am all too aware of how tempting it is for an ideologically-focussed person to want to argue with me here – I know this because I follow many commentators on this subject and see all the negative responses in their comments sections. These sorts of debates – often more like attacks – are a natural result of those people being courageous and committed enough to stand up to the ‘true believers’ (and the more underhand vested interests) and build a platform for these ideas on social media sites, however, spending every day arguing with strangers online is not my idea of fun

There are two main communities that want to silence alternative voices in this particular area; the “eating-animals-is-just-wrong” people, and the “cows-are-destroying-the-planet” people. I have been observing the field long enough to know that no amount of logical argument will convert the former, and that even steadily deteriorating health does not lead them to question their choices as often as you would expect or hope.

People in the latter group are also surprisingly committed to much that is illogical in their stance, happily ignoring evolutionary history and nutritional science, and consequently I suspect many of them are the sort of people who feel guilty about eating animals as well. I did not have to overcome that belief myself – I grew up at a time and in a place where our diets were much less processed, and our education had not been so effectively infiltrated by these belief systems. I was always interested in different cultures with different lifestyles and had a bit of a ‘noble hunter’ fixation, perhaps because I grew up in the sort of family that, when watching Westerns, always rooted for the native Americans. For me the modern ‘noble’ meat eater buys the best quality meat, from compassionate organic farmers, preferably local farmers if they are lucky enough to have them, otherwise there’s a lot of good meat to be purchased online.

I have a deep respect for the idea that we should only take from the land what we need, that we should not be greedy, or rapacious, or hoard more than is necessary for our thriving. I value animals not just for their meat, but for their skins, bones, and teeth. I am appalled at the shift from traditional farming into factory farming, and I would rather pay high prices for pasture-raised organic meat than indulge myself in other luxuries.

It has been clear to me from the start of this recent ideological push that at some point the damage to our health and our soil from switching to a predominantly plant-based diet would have to be publicly recognised and acknowledged – but I have no idea how much damage our people and our planet will have to experience before this particular tide turns. We are looking at a very enfeebled old age if we go along with this false narrative, and we will be living on a planet with very little fertile land left to work with to reverse the damage done so far, and the damage being done right now. 

So, feel free to contact me directly if you are actually interested in a two-sided discussion, but negative comments here will not be approved, or published.

Daily Immersive Course

Bones – The Fundamentals

Building Strength & Skeletal Integration

…this is one of my regular 5-Day Daily courses, contact me if you want to know when the next one is running…

In this daily immersive we will explore every aspect of bone health, bone function and the capacity of our skeleton to give us instant access to a sense of ourself as a whole integrated system, rather than a thing of isolated parts as anatomy imagery so often implies.
We will be increasing our sensory and motor awareness of this wonderful inner structure, exploring the way force can travel most efficiently through us, in order to abandon habitual excess effort in our muscles and reveal the natural and youthful spring in our step that may be forgotten but is certainly not lost!

*The Seventh Day Adventist Church owns a LOT of farmland – and a lot of educational institutions as well – get ’em while they’re young! As it is easy to be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist right now I will not mention any other big landowners here…

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