If you’ve been following my vlog lately, you have probably noticed that there is a lot of discussion taking place regarding my commentary on veganism, as described in What The Health… but I was just getting warmed up with part 1.
There are still deeper, more important issues hiding behind this documentary that the filmmakers completely avoided, even though they are much more essential than eating more raw food and avoiding diabetes.
My previous article on the CHEK Blog was a response to a young vegan man whose public name on his YouTube page is The Altruism Activist. I put a lot of effort into responding to his queries and comments in that article because I felt that the answers were important ones for everyone to consider.
This week, I’m responding to his replies/challenges in hopes that each of you can gain a deeper awareness, and have compassion for how people can get dangerously caught up in “isms” and other dogmas that lead to myopic views, lifestyles and, sadly, a lot of aggression, not only toward those with dissenting opinions but, often, much more life wisdom and experience.
Who are the real leaders?
After so many years of dialogue, discussion and debate with vegetarians, vegans, fruitarians and even those so carnivorous that it is unhealthy for them and the planet, it seems to me that one sure indicator of imbalances in their diets and lifestyles is their willingness to practically wage war on those with other opinions, or even wise offerings.
At the root of many philosophies, paradoxically, is the intention to be more loving toward animals and nature, while at the same time, treating others with differing opinions in ways that would be called abusive if their human counterparts were cows.
I’ve noticed most defenders of vegetarian, vegan or similar “isms” are between ages 17-30. This is the age when the intellectual mind is flowering, and the inner warrior is emerging as a means of individuation: Defining oneself in the world.
In native cultures, males and females alike went through rights of passage ceremonies. These ceremonies are often very scary and painful, and designed to bring a child on the threshold of adulthood face-to-face with pain, death and the realities of human life.
They are designed to teach them to stand up for their tribes, protect their ways of living and hunting and/or gathering grounds, and be clear about who they are and their essential role in the tribe as an adult.
These ceremonies are often developed and managed by the tribal elders, who include the chief, head women, medicine man and shaman.
But where are these essential members of our tribes or society today? Are they politicians, church leaders, grandparents, medical doctors or gurus?
Could they be professional sports stars, TV actors or the characters in the myriad of video games that seem to have possessed a massive percentage of our youth and adults alike?
When you have “leaders” who have not yet made it through a right of passage on their own, they unconsciously create one. You know when someone has done this because they protect life first and foremost. Warriors learn quickly not to engage in battles that may cost them their lives unless the reason for the battle is worth dying for!
The child naturally grows into the warrior as a means of protecting her/his own life, and the lives of the family/tribe who gives him/her life and support. But if there is no well thought out process for supporting the pubescent urge to be someone, to have a position and a place in life, the child is left to find a cause for which to fight on his/her own.
This is when the unguided individual latches onto whatever figure ignites their urge to strive.
They may emulate Dennis Rodman, who physically attacked other players in basketball games, or Mike Tyson, who bit Evander Holyfield’s ears because he was down and didn’t have the maturity to deal with defeat as a true warrior, yet acted out the role of an angry child.
When it comes to diet and lifestyle as a path to becoming a warrior, many choose a path where there is both company – often an extended family or tribe who is different enough from their own family to support the drive for individuation — yet enough chaos and dysfunction to find a war to engage themselves, and look into the eyes of death.
(Often, people do this unconsciously because they don’t have enough life wisdom or authentic knowledge to discern the depth of what is right in front of them.)
Mimicking your parents’ mistakes
By no means is this a process limited to veganism, vegetarianism or diet and lifestyle issues. It can also be a path that includes often dangerous ventures into drugs, sports (often of an extreme nature), sex, occultism, religion, dangerous driving, the use of firearms and more.
What’s even truer in this passage is that the immature warrior’s approach to adulthood is commonly a mirror of their parental programming. Whatever Mom and Dad make “taboo” becomes a “must do.”
Soon, such youthful warriors are “diagnosed,” and parents look at their children feeling sad and sorry that they have this or that affliction, often not realizing that it is both a mirror and amplification of their own afflictions.
If parents hide a sexual relationship, for example, the kids usually know and, eventually, emulate it. If parents medicate with drugs and alcohol, instead of celebrating their accomplishments for a day’s work well done, then the youthful warrior must prove his individuality by having more sex with women who are more attractive than Mom, and doing a better job of hiding it too.
If Dad rules the house with an iron fist, then that fear of him may morph into a need to conquer him and protect Mom and her/his siblings. So, that child is off to gyms and martial arts studios where he/she learns to be meaner and more threatening than Dad so he knows for sure who’s really in charge.
In the previous examples, did you notice none of the youthful warriors learned that to protect life, you must first understand what life is, what it is for and what it is about?
To know what life is, we must appreciate that, short of a mythology, we know that it is the alchemical expression of earth, water, fire (warmth), air and space.
Should any one element be tainted, degraded or degenerated from its authentic state, such as is the case with the destruction of top soils, the poisoning of the water by commercial farming or the pollution of soil, water and air by big industry, life’s alchemy is disabled.
There is such a vast depth to life that even the wisest throughout antiquity had to resort to myth to create a symbolic structure that left one open to the mysteries of life.
When we take up arms to fight for a way of eating, or a way of fighting without understanding what the essentials of life are, we are very likely to defend signs. When you wear the cross around your neck as you enter into battle and are sure of what you are defending by wearing the cross, the mystery of the cross is dead – the symbol becomes a sign – and activism without awareness is born.
When your parents have European genes and you wear the cross of vegetarianism, and you engage an ideology – an idea. As Richard Dawkins has shared, memes (ideas) have no respect for genes.
We are now at a point in the evolution of man (evolution being a paradoxical term here) where we must do away with signs, for they imply clear definition. No one thinks twice about the mystery behind a stop sign, the Target logo or the CBS broadcasting stations “eye in the sky.”
It is time for all of us to realize that to experience, learn, grow and enjoy the mystery of life together, and have a safe place for our children to do the same, we must all join hands and restore the alchemical essentials that make the experience of life possible.
- We must understand the soil, the microorganisms and the relationship between the earth, water, fire and air elements, and restore the soil back to its healthy balance.
- We must understand the nature and importance of water to life, and realize the real value of clean, unadulterated water for our life, and those of all beings of nature that underpin our own.
- We must understand the air, its function in the alchemy of life, and that everything alive breathes in some fashion. When breathing becomes poisonous or disabled, the alchemy of life begins to break down, and soon we are back to worshiping signs. But this time, the signs we see most often are a skull and crossbones.
- We must understand the nature of fire, the actions of the sun on soil, water and air and the life emerging within the marriage of these elements. We must understand the nature of fire as our metabolism, and know what it means to keep our metabolism optimal. We must appreciate what it means to have a body full of inflammation, and a planet that is inflamed with chemicals, warring, oil drilling and the over-use of fossil fuels.
The real beginnings of a healthy life
It is with this introduction that I move forward to answer the questions posed by The Altruism Activist. As you’ll see, this requires looking carefully at what our ancestors had to do to survive long enough to pass their genes onto us, and nurture our skills as warriors in defense of what life really is.
If they had not done this, we would not be here. Think about that whenever intellectuals or scientists try to suggest that the people of antiquity were childlike, antiquated, un-evolved or even stupid!
The hard facts of this issue are this: If our ancestors were not in touch with what life is, and didn’t create mythologies to organize their ways of living and worshiping, they wouldn’t have had the health and vitality to endure the harsh environments few of us have ever known to carry us to where we all are now.
Therefore, if you want to know what “health” is, we need only study the peoples of the world who survived, thrived and brought us all forward in time to be here now. This is exactly what Weston A. Price and many other pioneers have done.
Our ancestors had to be healthy enough to give birth to children, then feed, protect and educate them. And they did it with “primitive tools,” not advanced science or even electricity.
That accomplishment alone should be a demonstration of body-mind health and authentic wisdom. Today, at the hands of science and complexity, our children are being born with heart disease, gland, organ and body dysfunction, autism and a long list of indicators of an alchemy gone wrong, yet all the while backed by science.
To address these elements and restore them to support life and our collective futures, we must find the wisest, most mature and open-minded scientists and encourage them to work in harmony with the wisest of our religious, spiritual and sociocultural leaders with full awareness of what we are striving for: What health really is and what is truly sustainable and far more important than what is profitable.
Let’s see how we can apply these principles of health and wisdom to the questions and counterpoints of The Altruism Activist (TAA) in this second round of conversation.
TAA: Thank you for your detailed response! I seek to converse rather than argue.
Paul Chek (PC): I have no need to argue with you, or anyone else. I’m here to share the wisdom accumulated through a life of holistic living and helping others restore health and vitality where it was diminishing, often dangerously.
TAA: The agenda of Weston A. Price and his foundation is to promote animal products, which goes directly against what the scientific literature says is healthy.
PC: Your comment is completely incorrect and shows me that you have not studied, or do not understand the research, writing or teachings of Weston A. Price or the foundation.
His whole intention and interest was to find out what health is, who has it, who doesn’t and why. He had no biases or preconceived intentions to prove other than to use scientific observation to gather the facts and let them speak for themselves, and he did that.
Just as Jesus had a message that is now very confused (there are now more than 30,000 different versions of Christianity) and disciples who often didn’t understand him, members of the foundation attempt to apply what he left us with the best of intentions.
Without the master here to help them discern the depth of his findings and his understanding of the data, and how to apply that in a modern world, that can be a problem.
Most people in the Weston A. Price Foundation are not clinicians, and do not have any training in the relevant sciences to understand the depth of what he brought them, which mirrors most organizations around the world.
My life’s work has provided me the breadth and depth of knowledge and experience to find meaning in his findings, which is exactly what I offer you and the world
TAA: Omnivorous natives are much healthier than modern omnivores because they eat far more whole plant matter (which the scientific literature supports as being healthy), and their animal products are much leaner with less saturated fat and PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) ratios. This does not mean that one can jump to the conclusion that these better animal products are healthy.
PC: As I shared in my introduction, if they were not healthier, you and I wouldn’t be here to have this dialogue! Additionally, even if the nutrient values were the same (and they are not!), the levels of toxicity of such foods were radically lower. That alone is evidence that, indeed, they were healthier.
Simple examples of health
I will offer two simple examples of “healthier” for you.
- If you study the Pueblo Sun Dance (look for DVDs, books and YouTube clips on Joseph Rael), you will find that the Sun Dancers were so vital they could dance for four days without food or water! See how many vegans, vegetarians, paleo people, breatharians or what-have-you in the world today can do that, regardless of diet, supplements or drugs to assist them.
- The birth process: Animals in the wild (before man’s destructive influences, and even with them now) have a much higher survival rate, and a much lower death rate among females than we do today, with the support of so-called “science and technology.”
A good example of this is found in the works of Sir Robert McCarrison and his study of the Hunza of Northern India and application of their diet versus the traditional English diet of his day to rats.
The studies he did are more than revealing! You can look into his works in general, but you can also read his research and conclusions in The Living Soil and The Haughley Experiment by Lady Eve Balfour (Faber & Faber 1943, 1975).
In addition, the book, Pottenger’s Cats by Dr. Francis M. Pottenger, highlights my points shockingly well! I could give you many more such sources, but there is no point in doing that until you demonstrate a willingness to study and carefully digest what I’m sharing here. Additionally, the references in these sources will keep you reading for quite some time.
TAA: However, I would like to see controlled research done on the health effects of conventional meat vs. wild meat vs. no meat. If you know of any specifically, please let me know!
PC: Cited above.
TAA: You mention the Inuits being healthy while eating many animal products. The life expectancy of an Inuit is shorter than the average American’s eating the standard Western diet. Inuits have been proven to have high rates of atherosclerosis/heart disease as well.
PC: You are mistaking research on modern Inuit people with the Inuit people living and eating in their natural environment and natural ways without the influence of modern foods and industries. This is easy to see by simply reading Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price.
If you look at any modern expression of a race of people who were once healthy in their natural environment, you will make the same assumptions you are making here by not differentiating between people who lived their natural ways versus those who are living now just like most people eating processed foods worldwide.
TAA: Concerning fatty/protein-rich diets heavy on animal products curing obesity, any calorically restricted diet can cause weight loss (and weight loss often has independent health benefits in itself) even if it’s a pizza and doughnut diet.
PC: You are confusing native eating with dieting. There is no “dieting” in native eating unless forced by environmental circumstances. As Price clearly showed, natives in their natural environments often didn’t even have a word for cancer in their languages, and there was no incidence of the myriad of diseases afflicting human beings today.
Heart attacks didn’t even start appearing in the medical literature until around 1910-20 or so.
TAA: “Not all fats, nor saturated fats are created equal!” That is correct, and the scientific literature demonstrates that trans fats are worse than animal saturated fats, animal saturated fats are worse than plant saturated fats, plant saturated fats are worse than unsaturated fats, etc.
PC: You are making some very dangerous assumptions here, and clearly have not studied quality literature on the issue. I recommend that you study:
- Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon
- Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils and Cholesterol by Mary Enig
The references in these books will also keep you busy reading quality science and literature for a very long time!
TAA: Basically, fats from whole plant foods are proven to be healthy while animal fats and refined plant fats/oils are proven to be unhealthy.
PC: That is only true if you are studying commercially raised animals or farmed fish. See the resources I’ve mentioned already.
TAA: Yes, wild/organic/free-range/grass-fed meat is surely healthier than conventional meat, but does that mean that it is a healthy food (that should replace a portion of a person’s whole plant food intake)? Please reference any interventional, controlled research demonstrating that high quality meats promote health (while we both agree low-quality meats harm health). I am interested in seeing this evidence!
PC: I’ve already given you lots of books that are loaded with evidence between the first response and this one, but you actually do have to study them, and you have to have enough knowledge to understand what you are reading.
Or, you are bound to keep making such grave assumptions and, worse yet, you are likely to become someone’s patient sooner than you would be if you simply listened to your body instead of deferring to external authorities whose writings are often beyond your level of comprehension, leading to beliefs in place of knowledge.
If you want a great example of what happens when beliefs replace knowledge, look no further than the radical misunderstandings of the Bible and most religious documents.
TAA: Yes, in an ideal world, science should be done on healthy individuals, but then the conclusions would only be for the healthy. That is why research is done on average people. It applies to the most people!
I agree that normal isn’t always healthy. Being unhealthy IS the norm in our society! Normal blood pressures, cholesterol levels and etc. are killing people. Blood pressure should be below 120/80 mmHg (ideally 110/70 like healthy rural African populations on plant-based diets). LDL should be under 70 mg/dL, total cholesterol should be under 150 mg/dL, etc.
PC: When you are doing scientific research, there has to be some form of baseline from which one determines what is, or isn’t, normal.
I hope we can agree that health is normal for human beings based on a simple fact: Those “normal human beings” are our ancestors and they survived and thrived in much tougher conditions than we have. (How many of your friends can hunt, kill, carry home and prepare an animal to eat in the dead of winter when there are no plants to eat in sight?)
In fact, high blood pressure and issues of fats and cholesterol were not even a consideration of our developmental societies eating their natural diets, as Price shows.
Also, if you read Biochemical Individuality by Roger Williams, you will learn that reference ranges like those you are citing are “manufactured by the medical industry specifically to create narrow enough ranges that most anyone tested will be prescribed a drug or surgical procedure… .”
Additionally, if you study The Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wolcott and Trish Fahey, you will see that many critical factors are overlooked when doing research on people and measuring their responses to most any food or drink inputs because of the very wide range of responses among different metabolic types to the same stimulus.
All of this discussion of your viewpoints is reinforcing my comments about the need for people to have enough knowledge to discern real science from bogus science.
In all fairness to you, though, it is very hard to find quality science. This is why I have made extensive use of the Weston A. Price and Price-Pottenger Association libraries, which are full of books with research done by scientists looking for the truth as opposed to trying to create the impression of scientific support to sell products or procedures that fit the dogmas of those paying them.
It is always very wise to see who funded any study you read before you put much stock in the findings. Then, you need to know enough about anatomy, physiology and related sciences to discern if the study design is even legitimate.
TAA: Although there is individual variability, there are some plain facts that apply to 99+% of people, such as whole vegetables and fruits being healthy and saturated animal fat, most vegetable oils and high fructose corn syrup being unhealthy.
PC: Saturated animal fats from healthy animals are healthy for the people whose genetics emerged from the environments that made animals an essential or important food source. Again, it’s time to really study the works I’ve shared in these two responses.
TAA: I believe that you are making it seem like most studies can’t tell you anything because some people respond well, some don’t respond, and some respond poorly.
The solution is that you MUST look at the proportions of the responses. If 98 respond well, 1 doesn’t respond and 1 responds poorly, you shouldn’t discard the data because it wasn’t 100 percent universal. Proportions matter, especially because even the most controlled studies can’t always be “perfect” due to a variety of factors.
PC: You are manipulating my stated position. Look at 100 studies on any topic and you are likely to find splits more akin to 30 percent favorable response, 20 percent no response and 50 percent negative responders.
Unless of course, it’s not really “science” but marketing disguised as science.
TAA: People can heal on many diets because these diets tend to be better than what the patient has been doing (which was typically a standard Western diet). This does not mean that all of these “healing” diets are equal (which the metabolic typing approach may voice). One is often better than another.
An example would be that one’s heart health can be improved by following numerous diets (like the Paleo diet, DASH diet, vegan diet, etc.) if the subject is coming from a standard American diet.
BUT, there has only been one diet proven to actually reverse coronary artery disease, and that is a whole foods, plant-based diet heavily or completely restricting animal products and oils in particular.
A dangerous assumption
PC: If you pay closer attention to what I offer in my teachings, you will see that I don’t promote ANY diet, but encourage people to pay attention to their body, emotions and mental functions/symptoms, and learn to follow some basic principles for adjusting based on the symptoms given.
That said, it doesn’t matter how you adapt to symptoms by changing foods if those you eat are commercial, processed and poisonous to begin with.
As I alluded to in my introduction, the greater issue than the diets people eat is that most of the food people eat comes from polluted soils and water, and in a polluted atmosphere. Only 4-6 percent of all foods eaten worldwide are grown organically from healthy soils!
Yes, even organic and biodynamic farms are now polluted by worldwide influences beyond their ability to control or filter, yet, comparatively speaking, it’s like comparing Snickers bars to quality raw food.
The S.A.D. diet is essentially a Snickers bar diet, while the food consumed from organic farms and wild fish or animals is still life-giving food that will at least give you the resources needed to detox whatever environmental chemicals come with it (which are in very low levels of toxicity comparatively).
TAA: You mention coaching diabetic vegetarian clients. One can eat nothing but meatless pizza, soft drinks, candy and doughnuts and be considered a vegetarian. It’s not just about what you don’t eat, but also what you do eat!
A vegan eating exclusively fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds has virtually a 0 percent chance of developing diabetes (because this is the diet that has been proven by many doctors including Neal Barnard to cure diabetes in most cases), while a vegan living off soda, white flour, vegetable oil and etc. will be in terrible health.
PC: You are dangerously wrong.
I’ve worked with many vegetarians and vegans eating mostly organic foods who were actually, in metabolic typing language, mixed or protein types. Such people do not have the digestive ability to eat and gain the needed nutrients from raw foods, nor can they get enough protein from such foods, which leads to all sorts of hormonal disarray.
Please keep in mind, you are just reading about all this stuff, and I have been a therapist helping people with serious health problems for 32 years. That’s longer than you’ve been alive, I suspect.
You haven’t been exposed to enough people to see the dark side of your “belief system.” If you only read the authors who fit your dogma, then you risk becoming like a Christian who is willing to crucify Buddha without realizing that the message of Christ is that we are ALL One. (Split the wood, and I will be there. Lift a stone and I will be there.)
This is the kind of twisted logic as shared in What The Health that led me to feel empathy for people like you who are “believers” without authentic, practical knowledge or experience, and “believers are very profitable to the medical and drug industries!”
TAA: I agree with the fact that scientific studies are limited in their findings, and can often be biased in many ways. That is why epidemiology, although not as controlled, is very helpful in gaining insight on what a healthy diet is.
The longest living, disease-free cultures are all eating heavily plant-based diets. None are eating diets high in animal products (rural Chinese, rural Africans, Okinawans, etc.).
PC: You are looking at modern research comparing sick people to less sick people. There are many people, even today, living to be a nice ripe old age who eat meat and have eaten meat as a primary staple of their diets their whole lives, but often, they are more in tune with their bodies.
There are also many following the kind of plan you promote who are dying of cancer or have chronic diseases, and were able to heal such diseases with vegan or vegetarian approaches because of the medicinal benefits, but ran into trouble because they got into a dogma and, often out of fear, didn’t want to go back to eating quality flesh foods.
I’ve had several such people as patients, and know several other doctors and therapists who have seen many as well, not to mention that there about 10,000 students of the C.H.E.K Institute who send me reports often on such issues (I serve as a consultant to them too).
To reinforce my introductory points, you really have to look back to our ancestors, and the health of their environments relative to the environment most any race or class of human beings is living in and eating from now (the gold standard today being biodynamic and organic farms) to see what different people ate, and what healthy food contained comparatively. The many resources I’ve cited do exactly that for you.
TAA: Thank you once again for your thoughtful responses and let me know your thoughts on my responses!
PC: Thank you for your youthful enthusiasm. Please study the resources I’ve shared, and the many references in them, and the many more available through the organizations I’ve cited.
You may also want to look into the works of biodynamic farming authors and experts, organic experts and the Soil Association in the U.K.
Another fantastic resource for you is Science in Agriculture: Advanced Methods for Sustainable Farming by Dr. Arden B. Andersen.
This book will give you a very good understanding of how soil works, and how essential it is — regardless what diet philosophy one follows — to get our soils healthy worldwide, or there will be rampant disease among plants, animals and human beings moving forward. We already have extensive evidence of this now!
Additionally, if you study what I offer in my web-based program, Primal Pattern Eating, you will gain several very important, practical tools to use to guide yourself through the diet maze out there.
Please be aware that I don’t teach my students “what to think.” I teach them how to think, observe and make dream-affirmative changes for themselves.
Love and chi,