Out & About On The Interwebs: Science Based? Weston Price; Smart Patients; Fasting vs. Cancer; Alcoholics for Agriculture; and ex-Vegan Lierre Keith

~ Well this is pretty much a disaster over at Science Based Medicine, courtesy of a seemingly confused Amy Tuteur, MD. "Longing for a past that never existed"

There once was a time when all food was organic and no pesticides were used. Health problems were treated with folk wisdom and natural remedies. There was no obesity, and people got lots of exercise. And in that time gone by, the average life expectancy was … 35!

It goes downhill from there. The one bright spot is lots of good supporting comments for a paleo approach, including yeoman’s work by reader Alex Knapp. I added my own testimonial as well.

~ I don’t know where Michael Miles came up with the video of the great Weston Price, but he did. Go have a look.

~ As Dr. Eades said in his tweet: "Some patients are smarter than their doctors!" Here’s why.

More than a quarter of new prescriptions are unfilled, especially when the drugs are for symptomless conditions, researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital have found.

~ I continue to be very intrigued by the connection of sugar to cancer, ketogenic diets as effective treatment, and fasting as a means of protecting healthy cells against the ravages of chemotherapy.

Starvation-dependent differential stress resistance protects normal but not cancer cells against high-dose chemotherapy

Strategies to treat cancer have focused primarily on the killing of tumor cells. Here, we describe a differential stress resistance (DSR) method that focuses instead on protecting the organism but not cancer cells against chemotherapy. Short-term starved S. cerevisiae or cells lacking proto-oncogene homologs were up to 1,000 times better protected against oxidative stress or chemotherapy drugs than cells expressing the oncogene homolog.

If fasting can do that, then just imagine the general therapeutic benefit from regular intermittent fasting.

~ Is a penchant for inebriation behind agriculture and civilization?

~ Jimmy Moore’s long awaited podcast interview with 20-year vegan Lierre Keith is now up. Keith authored the amazing book The vegetarian Myth, which I highly recommend.

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. John FitzGibbon on February 19, 2010 at 15:38

    Thanks for posting the PNAS article I had missed it. One word of warning, not sure if you know about PNAS, but members of the academy have the right to directly submit two papers a year while acting as their own editor. It’s a really shifty means of getting crap papers into a respected journal without having to really go through the peer review system (as broken as we all know the peer review system is it can be better than nothing).

  2. Woody on February 19, 2010 at 16:35

    I just got The Vegetarian Myth in the mail after you recommended it to me over Twitter. I have started reading it. Hopefully I will get through the Nutritional Vegetarians (<– me) part by the end of the weekend. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I will also be sure to check out the interview with Jimmy.

  3. Aaron M Fraser on February 19, 2010 at 16:47

    Those comments are monolithic – dunno if I can get through them all.

    I’m wondering if anyone addressed the “average age” issue – most all average ages of populations include infant mortality. This had more to do with modern medical advances, far less to do with diet. Wasn’t the average lifespan in the 1800s 30-40? So yes, a lot of people didn’t make it even into adolescence. Those that did, those that went on to breed, barring life-threatening injuries (which were far more numerous now, thanks to lifestyles of old and advanced medicinal techniques of today).

    I remember reading somewhere that 90-95% of seriously injured Civil War combatants died to their wounds, or complications arising from. Please correct me if I’m wrong (can’t find that source again).

    • Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2010 at 16:54

      I just dropped in a couple of links on the issue.

    • Alex K on February 19, 2010 at 17:12


      I’m wondering if anyone addressed the “average age” issue – most all average ages of populations include infant mortality. This had more to do with modern medical advances, far less to do with diet.

      I repeatedly make that point, particularly using the Kitavan studies since they have very low rates of infectious disease. The U.S. didn’t catch up to the Kitavans on overall life expectancy until 1900, and didn’t catch up to life expectancy at age 50 until 1980.

      • Alex K on February 19, 2010 at 17:12

        (Not that the author of the post paid these studies much mind, though…)

      • Aaron M Fraser on February 19, 2010 at 17:42

        Thanks Alex –

        After I wrote the above post, my mind started working again and I remembered what Ctrl+F did.

        Search of the word “infant” came up with 34 or so queries. And, of course, no one paid these mentions much mind save the authors that wrote them.

        Alas, alas, alas.

  4. Dan Linehan on February 19, 2010 at 19:06

    I have to say something about Lierre Keith and her book..

    I’m a vegan who stumbled onto Free The Animal from the Boing Boing post that blew up (and then again a day later when Fark linked it.) Since then, I’ve been reading the blog consistently and I get quite a lot out of it.

    That being said, Lierre Keith is a nutjob. She can continue to blame her health issues on veganism all she wants while she endlessly promotes her book, but in doing so she constantly skirts the fact that her vegan diet was extremely lowfat and low protein, and extremely high in carbs. She essentially starved herself of nutrients for twenty years then blamed veganism.

    There are healthy vegan diets (though I know everyone here may not agree,) there are unhealthy vegan diets, and then there is everything in between. I could technically remain vegan and eat nothing but Mountain Dew, Oreos, and Cool Ranch Doritos, but it obviously wouldn’t be healthy. And when I got sick from it, it wouldn’t be due to a lack of animal products, but due to a lack of common sense, which is exactly what Lierre suffers from.

    It’s unfortunate that she messed herself up by eating 80% carbs for twenty years, but that’s what millions of people have done who were following lowfat diets. Her case is no different except she blamed it on veganism. While I feel bad for her, I think she has to place the blame where it belongs: not eating enough fat, fiber, and nutrient dense foods for two full decades.

    Not to mention, her incoherent ecological statements, but that’s an entirely separate rant. Suffice it to say, her strawman arguments do not represent the entire vegan community by any stretch of the imagination, any more than ignorant followers of the SAD diet don’t represent the entire meat eating community.

    • whee on February 19, 2010 at 20:42

      There’s not really any healthy vegan diets so much as there are one or two ways to eat vegan that offset the worst problems of a typical vegan diet (which is going to be pretty high-carb and/or high-PUFA as a rule). raw vegans can actually cobble together a diet that is more nutrient-laden than ‘cooked’ vegans, for example. but they will still be missing crucial animal-source-only nutrients over the long term and take a hit in life expectancy and long-term health and physical development as well.

      you can’t really get enough vitamin d as a vegan except *maybe* living where there is enough sun year round, certainly not from the flax that many vegans doublefist, and that nutrient deficiency alone is enough to call into question the healthfulness of the vegan diet.

      all that said, it is better to eat vegan than to eat the SAD, but then darn near anything is an improvement over that.

      • Dan Linehan on February 19, 2010 at 22:07

        I do a more paleo styled vegan diet (no grain, no dairy and low in sugar.) It basically just replaces the meat with legumes (high protein, high fiber), root veggies and nuts.

        I also supplement with brown rice protein, ) Vitamin D (10k IU / day) and Vitamin K.

        Here’s a typical daily diet. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s where I’m at currently.

        Breakfast – Decaf coffee, veggie juice (carrot, beet, cucumber, lime) tofu scramble.
        Lunch – Spicy chili (beans, tempeh, tomatoes, peppers,) garlic caeser salad
        Dinner – Wild rice pilaf, baked root veggies, coconut red curry.
        Snacks – Chocolate protein milkshakes, ‘Ultimate Meal Replacer’ smoothie, fruits, mixed nuts.

        Basically just a low-carb vegetarian diet. It’s a little high in sodium, and it’s pretty time consuming making everything from scratch, but I think making real food always tends to be that way.

        That being said, Richard makes a great point: there is no way the average teenager could follow this. Cutting out eggs and meat is an additional challenge for sure.

      • Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2010 at 22:53

        Thanks a lot Dan.

        Your the perfect, perfect example of someone with whom I hold almost nothing in common (except care) in terms of diet, yet I respect the hell out of you.

        You came to the lions den, relatively, did it exactly right, and I wish you nothing but well and I hopt you stick around. Feel absolutely free to get involved.

      • Michael on February 20, 2010 at 15:58


        Out of curiosity, how much coconut (meat, milk, or oil) do you use in your diet on a weekly basis?

      • Dan Linehan on February 21, 2010 at 03:39

        Hey Michael,

        I go through about 2-4 cans of coconut milk a week, and I also add some coconut oil to smoothies. The coconut oil is new for me though, I only heard about it recently.

      • Michael on February 21, 2010 at 14:37

        Yup, that sets you even further apart from most vegans. Thanks.

      • mm on October 14, 2010 at 21:53

        It’s too bad that compared to non-grain-fed animals (especially pastured plains grass beef who eat what we cannot and create topsoil), vegan/mostly annual crop plant-based diets are worse for the environment due to the topsoil nutrient/bacteria erosion (and salt-water irrigation that kills river and earth alike).
        Technically there’s also that ethical dilemna Keith pointed out about plants needing animals to live in any kind of abundance (i.e. calcium from bone meal, and potassium, phosphorous and nitrates where even nitrogen fixing bacteria/plants isn’t good enough to grow annuals quickly). However, this is only problematic if you believe in individual animal rights (which also opens up more dilemnas i.e. if we kill all wolves and deer overpopulate a forest to the point of killing all young seedlings and eventually the forest itself, is it ethical to cull their numbers? Or even to introduce predators that will kill them?), but if you simple believe in harm-reduction, then it’s okay. (But you can’t have it both ways; harm reduction means accepting that some animals will have to die to feed and harvest the plant crops that have evolved alongside their fertilizing carcasses)

      • Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2010 at 20:51

        I think that when you factor in knowledge requirement to do vegan right (assuming it can be done), SAD is better, at least SAD with some level of conscious eating.

    • Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2010 at 20:46


      “I’m a vegan who stumbled onto Free The Animal from the Boing Boing post that blew up (and then again a day later when Fark linked it.) Since then, I’ve been reading the blog consistently and I get quite a lot out of it.”

      My judgement? You have an unusual tolerance for honesty; admittedly, my wrenching of it. Most people can’t take anathema, antithesis. So, you have serious respect right off the bat.

      “That being said, Lierre Keith is a nutjob. She can continue to blame her health issues on veganism all she wants while she endlessly promotes her book…”

      Let’s separate a couple of things. Presuming you’ve read it (I do), it’s mostly a work of passion, wouldn’t you say? For someone to almost destroy their health while having the literary talent of Lierre…well 1+1 on that. She should promote her book. And you’re the proof. It didn’t persuade you. You read my blog which is pretty carnivorous. Unless you’re overwrought about vegans with less thinking skills than you have, what’s the problem?

      Second, you’re probably right about the nutrition, but there’s a message there.

      I have in the past lauded vegans for some of the things they can do:

      Here’s what I think, Dan: there’s a hierarchy of safety & ease in nutrition, from top to bottom, meaning, all can be healthful but require increasing levels of attention.

      1) Paleo
      2) Low carb
      3) Peschetarian
      4) Vegetarian
      5) SAD
      5) Vegan

      Honestly? I absolutely think that a vegan diet can be adequate, even beneficial. Not optimal, not generally, in my opinion. The only reason I place SAD above vegan is for ease. It’s probably better to eat SAD than vegan if you’re not going to put the effort into the nutritional education you obviously have. And how many teen girly have that. That’s important. Lierre’s work is as much a cautionary tale for impressionable, sensitive, naive teenage girls as anything. (Boys have serious naivette too, just different).

      Here’s where I think Lierre might be coming from. She was a teenage vegan. Teenagers probably have no business being vegan unless they are being guided by parents, relatives or very close friends who have serious knowledge about the nutritional issues, as I have no doubt you do.

      In the end, I advocate paleo primarily because:

      1) It has has evolutionary basis.
      2) It’s brainless in terms of kids & teenagers.

      Sure, I could come up with more, but those are the most essential.

      Thanks for the comment, Dan. Favorite of the day, for me.

      • Jeanie Campbell on February 20, 2010 at 15:53

        Welcome, Dan. You have gained my respect, too. Look forward to seeing more comments.

  5. Adam on February 19, 2010 at 19:51

    *Not sure I see the link between science based food production and science based medicine…does not appear that the companies working on improving yields were focusing on increasing the healthful attributes of the food being produced. Disappointing piece.

    *Enjoyed the article about the rise of civilization and alcohol production. I remember reading in An Empire of Plants about the introduction of sugar into Europe and the subsequent rise in consumption followed by a dramatic rise in alcoholism.

  6. Paul C on February 19, 2010 at 19:53

    I searched for Anticancer and didn’t find any references to it. Has that book been discussed at all? It has many references to studies about the sugar / cancer connection.

  7. Patrik on February 20, 2010 at 10:56

    Amy Tuteur, MD of Science Based Medicine is funny and unintentionally ironic as she ends her broadside against “alternative health” with:

    Alternative health is a belief system, a form of fundamentalism, and like most fundamentalisms, it longs for a past never existed. It is not science; it has nothing to do with science; and it merely reflects wishful thinking about the past while ignoring reality.

    Unfortunately, and I wish it weren’t true, but much the same can be said of Western Medicine, ostensibly “science-based”.

    Western medicine is a belief system, a form of fundamentalism, and like most fundamentalisms, it longs for a past never existed. It is not science; it has nothing to do with science; and it merely reflects wishful thinking about the past while ignoring reality.

    My data points being Taubes’ GCBC and this book, Bad Medicine: Doctors Doing Hippocrates

    Don’t get me wrong, if I get in a car accident and I have a clear, mechanical problem (blood vessel is cut or bone is broken — get me in a western medicine emergency room STAT! and sew me up! you will hear no complaints from me.

    BUT as far as the long-term, complex interactions of nutrition, disease and health — Western Medicine has little to offer me than the false Gods of Pharmaceuticals — and has very little “science”.

  8. Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2010 at 20:11


    No sweat about the double entry. I deleted it and I’ll delete this as soon as posted (assuming you’re getting email notices). Now I’m going to respond to your comment.

  9. Stroke of genius: eat real food « Paleofriend on February 19, 2010 at 22:09

    […] to the Free The Animal blog I came across this video showing a few clips of Dr. Westing Price from 1936. He was a dentist […]

  10. Michael on February 20, 2010 at 01:13


    Thanks for the hat tip! I appreciate it.

    Yes I was shocked when that youtube of Dr. Price was posted on a yahoo group to which I belong. This is a gem of a find that folks need to see. I wonder how many movie houses that played in 1936. Thanks for spreading the word.

  11. Jimmy Moore on February 20, 2010 at 17:05

    THANKS for the link love on my podcast interview with Lierre, Richard! I bumped your interview up to early April to appease your fan base. It’s coming April 6, 2010…ironically, one day after your good buddy Matt Stone! LOL! 🙂

    • Richard Nikoley on February 21, 2010 at 12:59

      Hey Jimmy. Yea, I saw the schedule.

      Yesterday on the drive up from San Diego to San Jose we listened to the Keith interview, then the 2ndhelping guy (really likes that), then got through all but the last half of Nora’s interview in the marathon week. All excellent interviews. Thanks for such great work.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Follow by Email8k