Links & Quick Hits

~ Reader Rafi Bar-Lev has a project brewing: Passionate Fitness. From our email discussions and from what I can see from the website, Rafi aims to create a social network for health & fitness folks. There’s a forum, you can write and submit posts for the front page, and more. I plan to participate. So how about you?

~ Tom Naughton, the big Fat Head (aren’t we all?), deconstructs margarine.

Farmers grow seeds. The seeds are harvested. The seeds are crushed to extract some of the oil. The rest of the oil is extracted by mixing the seeds with hexane, a chemical solvent. The hexane is (supposedly) all removed. The oil is pumped full of hydrogen gas and nickel powder. […] The remaining oil is subjected to heat and high-pressure CO2 gas. The oil is mixed with sodium hydroxide and passed through a centrifuge. The oil is mixed with water and passed through another centrifuge. At this point, the margarine is a gray, speckled, oily mass that doesn’t smell so good. So … The oil is mixed with hydrated aluminum silicate that binds to and filters out the unwanted pigments. The mix is heated again and the oil is extracted. The oil is passed through a steam distillation chamber to remove unwanted odors. Yellow food coloring and artificial flavors are added.

Makes my mouth water.

~ Jimmy Moore highlights 27 books on health & fitness. Right now, having finished Lierre Keith’s The Vegetarian Myth, I’m onto Nora Gedgaudas’ Primal Body — Primal Mind.

~ Don Matesz tells you what you need to know about vitamin K, particularly K2, and even more in particular, the MK-4 subform, menatetrenone. I’ve blogged about K2 a number of times.

~ Dr. Mark Hyman at The Huffington Post takes on The Cholesterol Myth. What a muckraker:

• If you lower bad cholesterol (LDL) but have a low HDL (good cholesterol) there is no benefit to statins.
• If you lower bad cholesterol (LDL) but don’t reduce inflammation (marked by a test called C-reactive protein), there is no benefit to statins.
• If you are a healthy woman with high cholesterol, there is no proof that taking statins reduces your risk of heart attack or death.
• If you are a man or a woman over 69 years old with high cholesterol, there is no proof that taking statins reduces your risk of heart attack or death.
• Aggressive cholesterol treatment with two medications (Zocor and Zetia) lowered cholesterol much more than one drug alone, but led to more plaque build up in the arteries and no fewer heart attacks.
• 75% of people who have heart attacks have normal cholesterol.
• Older patients with lower cholesterol have higher risks of death than those with higher cholesterol.
• Countries with higher average cholesterol than Americans such as the Swiss or Spanish have less heart disease.
• Recent evidence shows that it is likely statins’ ability to lower inflammation it what accounts for the benefits of statins, not their ability to lower cholesterol.

Read the whole thing. As to the last point, my money is on eliminating wheat, other grains, and vegetable oils for more effective reducing of widespread and systemic inflammation, the root of heart disease. Later: oops, forgot to give my friend and reader Kathleen credit for emailing me that.

~ Dr. Eades, with perhaps his best two posts ever, particularly the second.

Are we meat eaters or vegetarians? Part I

I gleefully skewered that dumbass Kathy Freston right here (and Richard Leaky should be ashamed of himself).

Are we meat eaters or vegetarians? Part II

Meat eating made us human. The anthropological evidence strongly supports the idea that the addition of increasingly larger amounts of meat in the diet of our predecessors was essential in the evolution of the large human brain. Our large brains came at the metabolic expense of our guts, which shrank as our brains grew.

You simply must read those two posts.

~ Reader and commenter Michael Pizolato has a good idea for exercise: Primal Tag.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Posts about Huffington Post as of September 23, 2009 » The Daily Parr on September 23, 2009 at 15:07

    […] and criticized by some for its depressing take on the state of our planet’s climate. […] Links & Quick Hits – 09/23/2009 ~ Reader Rafi Bar-Lev has a project brewing: Passionate […]

  2. monicahughes on September 23, 2009 at 22:10

    Loved Primal Body, Primal Mind. Would like to read through it again at a later date.

    It's going to be very interesting to see how the discussion evolves on non-grain carbohydrate. As you'll see when you finish, she's basically in favor of very minimal carb (and protein) intake.

  3. Grok on September 23, 2009 at 22:59

    Thank for extending my homework assignment.

  4. Rafi Bar-Lev on September 24, 2009 at 04:21


    Thanks for linking to Passionate Fitness. We're hoping to become the #1 meeting place of the fitness community and appreciate your support! You have a really amazing blog going on here (I don't think I know anyone else who can use graphics in articles the way you do) and I'm positive that having you and your readers participate will really add to the site.


    Rafi Bar-Lev
    Founder and Creator of

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