Timothy Markus

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since Mar 28, 2016
Ontario, Canada
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Recent posts by Timothy Markus

Borislav Iliev wrote:Going by that logic drinking water is also harmful if you drink too much

Drinking too much water can actually kill someone.  If a person drinks too much while exercising they can enter hyponatremia, which can lead to unconsciousness, epileptic seizures, or even death.  The doctor that first identified the issue with marathon runners was Timothy Noakes, the same guy who defended himself for suggesting a HFLC diet (and won).
1 month ago
I wonder if strict adherence to any diet would result in healthier people and longer life spans.  Regardless of what diet you choose, you're aim is to be healthy, so I would think that you would take better care of yourself in general, and that might be the real cause of people on any diet living longer in today's society.  

One of the great things about being alive today is that we have unprecedented access to information, so we can each make up our own minds.  We've got lots of people trying lots of diets and reporting to anyone who's interested.  Not scientific, sure, but you can learn a lot if you're discerning.  

edit: didn't see Trace's comment, too slow...
1 month ago
Thanks for the post, William.  I agree with a lot of what you said and family is very important to me, too.  My daughter is finishing up her course in video game design.  She is exceptionally talented and a hard worker and I think she'll be able to take her pick of jobs and locations.  Her industry typically runs on 9 month game development cycles, so a lot of the work is on contract.  I've talked to her about taking advantage of that by working in other countries.  She's on board with that, and she loves Vancouver, so she's going to start there.  I lived in Germany for a while as a student and loved it, so I think it's a great experience for her.  I'm encouraging her to do what's best for her, even if it means leaving her dad behind.  My plan is to let her figure out where she wants to end up and then move close to her.  I want to use the time between now and then to live my passion and build up equity and the best place I've identified is clear across the country, but it may be temporary.  I love kids and I think being a grandparent is the best gig going, so I'm going to move hell and earth to be near her if/when she settles down.

My relationship with my parents is much different.  They are great people and I love them very much, but they have never understood that I value different things than they do and they have made it known many times that they think I'm a disappointment to the family and an embarrassment at times.  My brother and sister are very much like my parents; great, caring people who don't get me and don't think much of what they think I've done with my life.  Again, it's a different value system.  I happen to be a fantastic father, have a degree in engineering from one of the top schools in Canada, built a business to over $400k in 4 years, can cook anything, raise my own food, design and build a house, but I don't work for a company or have a pension plan, so I'm kind of a failure.  My brother flew me out to Vancouver to sort out his home reno mess with several contractors, but he told me I was underemployed when I took a job in construction finishing homes.  From my standpoint, I got paid to learn the little construction details that I didn't know, even though I've done renos professionally.  

I've tried my best my whole life to be a good son and brother, and while I know my parents did a lot for me, I'm struggling to decide if I've done enough to move away now, when they're health is starting to become an issue.  
1 month ago
Hi John,

First, thanks for being kind and not jumping on me for coming across as the only truth.  I didn't mean to say that it's the only conclusion to be drawn, so I apologise.  I think that there are people for whom a high carb diet works, but there are many for whom it doesn't.

To me, the opinion of the majority of doctors isn't very important.  Research is quite a different animal from medical practice, so I look to medical researchers for verification.  Permaculture isn't accepted by the majority of farmers, but that doesn't mean it's wrong  I love my doctor but I think it was Dr. Fung who said that Canadian doctors get about 10 hours of instruction on nutrition, which is understandable.  Most doctors just go by the published nutrition guidelines.  On his blog I think Dr. Fung goes into the history of the accepted North American diet and the lack scientific evidence to support it.  I would believe that there aren't any civilizations now where people live long, healthy lives with high fat diets at this time, but there were in the past.  My understanding is that fat can definitely cause health issues, but that's when it's consumed with a lot of carbs.  It's the combination that causes most of the issues, so I think the best option would be a high carb, very low fat diet, or a high fat, low carb diet.  I've tried both for extended periods of time and, for me, there's no comparison.  

What I've read about fat and insulin insensitivity is that it's the fat stored in your body that's an issue, not the fat in your diet.  The fat in your body (stored fat, not dietary fat in the bloodstream) blocks the insulin receptors, reducing the glucose uptake. I eat about 60% of my calories from fat, so I've got a lot of dietary fat.  What I experienced is the opposite of what you've said.  I was able to get off all diabetes meds and reverse my diabetes with a high fat, low carb diet.  

I didn't look at Dr. Greger's videos, so I didn't see any citations, but I'd caution anyone to take any study at face value, from either side of the issue.  Studies are skewed all the time, results without statistical significance are often found, they are often not double-blind studies, and study population selection can have a large influence on the results.  I'm not saying that's the case with Dr. Greger's citations, and I think people should question any study to determine if the results are valid.  I haven't read Dr. Fung's books as it's all in his blog, so I don't know if he gets into statistics or meta-analysis in the books, but he does on his blog.  I'm certainly not a statistical expert, but I've taken engineering statistics, both undergrad and grad, and I've got experience with R&D, so I am able to read the papers and get a feel for the quality of the study.  It's pretty dry stuff, for sure, but Dr. Fung does a great job of explaining study bias in his blogs.  I think we all should take an active interest in our own health instead of just believing what we're told.  

I really like that we can discuss such important issues with respect here.  If anyone feels I'm not doing that, please let me know, as that's not my intention, I'm just an asshole by nature
1 month ago
I posted in Roy's thread, but I wanted to add my support and experiences in this thread.  Thanks for starting it, Matt, and for the great videos.

First, I'll say that I agree with Maria that there isn't a single diet that works for all of us.  What I've read is that 10-15% of us are 'carb adapted', so they don't experience the same results with a high carb diet as the rest of the population.  There are also some people who are more sensitive to carbs than the average, so we all have to find what works for us.  I'm T2D and for years I followed the suggestions from my doctor, a diabetes nutritional workshop, the Canadian dietary guidelines (all the same stuff).  I took the meds prescribed and exercised.  All that got me was progressive weight gain and more meds.  I've researched many diets over the years and tried all that seemed legit, so I feel I have a good understanding on how my body works. Here are a few I've tried:

High carb vegetarian - felt shitty and gained more weight, also had a spike in my long-term blood sugar levels
Atkins - I lost weight but my blood sugars didn't improve much.  
Paleo - This worked very well for me and was a huge step to where I am today.  I lost weight, felt great, dropped my BS levels and really cut down on my hunger, which naturally led to:
Intermittent Fasting - This was a natural progression for me.  I've always struggled to eat breakfast but 'it's the most important meal of the day', so I did for years.  Once I switched to paleo I started eating within an 8 hour window, then just ended up eating once a day because that worked best for me.  
Ketogenic - This is where I ended up.  It doesn't require you to eat only once a day, though I do, and it's changed my life.

I came across paleo very early on in the movement, but there weren't any studies that I could find that supported it.  It made sense, but I need more than that because I can be pretty stupid at times.  It wasn't until a few years ago that I came back around to it though several books that cited studies and gave a much more in-depth explanation of why it works.  When I did try it, though, it worked very well for me.  As I said above, I ended up eating just one meal a day even though the suggestions were to eat in an 8 hour window.  This is essentially intermittent fasting for 16 hours a day.  I then found this site which really brought it all together for me.  How our bodies deal with nutrition, how to deal with the underlying issue, not the symptoms, and all backed by a critical analysis of the statistics and studies that support the various schools of thought on diet.  Once I found that site, it was like a revelation.

The guy who runs the site is a kidney doctor who's only about 2 hours away from me.  His patients were mostly morbidly obese diabetics, so he ended up looking into diabetes as it was the disease that drove most of his practice.  He was able to explain the mechanics of diabetes in a way that I found very easy to understand.  Once I understood how my body was acting and reacting to my diet, it gave me the tools to fix the issue.  I was already motivated to make a change as the reason I was researching nutrition and diabetes was because I needed to go on insulin, according to my doctor, and I had zero interest in that or the complications.  So, what does Dr. Fung recommend?  He's a proponent of a Low Carb, High Fat diet.  He also is a proponent of fasting, the ultimate LCHF diet.  I know it sounds extreme, but it doesn't have to be.  Eating only within an 8 hour window give you a 16 hour fast everyday.  This lets your blood sugar drop, which increases insulin sensitivity.  For extreme cases, he often suggests fasting for a day or more.  He's been able to get many of hit patients off insulin and often all other diabetic drugs within a few months.  That was my experience, too.

This is really hard for me to admit, but I was once over 275lbs.  I'm not sure how much over because I couldn't face weighing myself.  I'm 5'6" and, when I was younger, I was at the national level in a couple of sports, so it isn't like I hadn't been healthy before, or didn't know how to train.  Through extreme HIIT and calorie reduction, I was able to drop a fair bit of that weight, but I still stalled at about 225.  I had a specialist comment on how amazing that was, given the weight-gaining effects of the meds I was on.  That got me involved in what I was putting in my body and I ended up dropping most of the meds, to the chagrin of my doctor.  That made it easier to lose or even maintain the weight, but my blood sugar kept rising until we got the insulin stage.  

With that motivation and what I'd learned, I decided to try fasting.  At that time, I was already on the paleo diet, so I was in ketosis, though I didn't really understand that at the time, but it means my body was already adapted to burning fat for fuel, not carbs.  That, and the fact that I only ate once a day, made fasting surprisingly easy for me.  There are a whole host of good things that your body does when fasting, such as an increase in your natural HGH, more energy, and clearer thinking, all of which I experienced.  I would've seen the same results with a keto diet, but not as quickly.  Fasting allowed me to jump-start my weightloss and it's remained an effective tool if I fall off the wagon and need to get back on.  After I lost the weight I needed to lose I switched to a ketogenic diet, which is similar to paleo.  I had a meter that would measure your breath to measure my ketosis, so I used it to test foods that I added back in to my diet.  Dairy is very interesting in that it has sugars but also fat.  The fat offsets the sugars to some extent, though to different degrees in different people.  Some people on paleo or keto avoid dairy, but I found it didn't raise my blood sugar noticeably or kick me out of ketosis, so that's great for me.  My tests were done with raw milk and the cheese I made from it, so I got full fat.  

What I've read about protein has shown me why the Atkins diet didn't work for me.  When you eat fat, it stays as fat.  If you eat too much protein, however, your body can turn some of it into glucose, giving you a blood sugar spike.  I tried this out with my glucose meter and also the keto breath meter and I found, for me, that too much protein didn't work for me.   I also came across other research into protein that supports this and, sadly, also finds a correlation between too much protein and aging/cancer issues.  Personally, I think that just about anything these days can give you cancer, so I don't worry about it too much, but I do think that a moderate protein diet makes the most sense.  That leaves me with fat for calories but, happily, meat has fat.  Meat is around 25% protein, so if I want 60 grams of protein, I need to eat about half a pound of meat a day for a moderate intake.  This is where I differ from what Matt's doing.

In the end, I was able to go from 210 when I started doing extended fasts to 160, in 4 months.  The fasting re-set my hunger signals which made it much easier.  I used to be able to eat about a pound of cheese without feeling full but now I feel full when I've had enough.  I've done several 5-7 day fasts and the longest I've done is 11 days, but you don't need to do that if you aren't in crisis.  I've seen a lot of people who've lost a lot of weight end up with lots of excess, saggy skin.  I lost over 100 lbs without any saggy skin and I think it's because of the fasting.  When you fast, your body scavenges what it needs.  I had lots of fat, so energy wasn't an issue, but my body used the excess skin for protein.  This seems to be typical with fasting.  

Now I typically eat a HFLC diet.  I do eat a lot of veggies and greens, but my low carb allowance is about 25-35 grams of carbs a day.  I don't eat root veggies and you have to watch some things like peppers, but there's an awful lot to eat.  I have huge salads with full fat dressings and/or veggies with my meat.  I don't need any meds for my blood sugar, my colitis is gone, along with a host of other issues, and I feel great.  I do miss grains and I occasionally fall off the wagon or have holiday dinners, but I'm convinced that it's the best for me.  Someone mentioned that it takes 3 days for your body to switch over to burning fat, which it may, but I found it takes me 5 days.  Once you do, though, it's great.  

Thanks to everyone who's contributed here.  I'm always interested in learning more about what works and doesn't for nutrition and I hope everyone here finds something that works for them.  I urge you to check out the site I linked, or take a gander at his books, The Obesity Code and The Diabetes Code.  Dr. Fung is incredibly good at explaining what is happening in our bodies, and that's definitely good to know.
1 month ago
Hi Liz,

I'm struggling with this issue right now, but in reverse.  I've spent most of the past few months dealing with my dad's rapidly declining health.  After two long hospital stays, he's in a nursing home as he is now at the point that he needs 24 hour care most of the time.  There are days when he's able to function well enough that he could still live at home with my mom, but those are getting progressively fewer.  Dementia is a bitch.  To make matters worse, my dad's hearing is so bad that he hasn't been able to speak on the phone, so I can't even call his room if I want to talk to him.  

I moved to this city where my parents live, along with many extended family members, in order to live with my daughter while she's in school (her request) and to be close to my parents.  My sister lives a couple of hours away and my brother is 4000 miles away.  In the past few years I've reno'd their house to make it easier for them to live in it as they age.  Now, though, my daughter is less than 4 months away from graduating and she wants to move to Vancouver, which is great.  We're very close but I think I need to move to the east coast to start farming because land is so much cheaper there than the west coast.  My daughter's very supportive of what I want to do, and I'm sure we'll talk every day, but it does suck.  My parents are another issue as I've been the one to help them out over the years.  My siblings are great, just not local, and I'm really struggling with the guilt of not being there for them.  It's really hard to put my dad in a home and I'm worried that both he and my mom will feel abandoned.  I sure get the dilemma that you have as I've got the same issues about moving away.

I've got horrible allergies and SW Ontario, where I live, has a lot of air pollution, which makes it worse.  Every time I'm near the ocean, though, my allergies clear right up.  Even in Florida or the Caribbean, where the mould and pollen counts are much higher than here.  So, after living with it for 48 years, I'd really like to be able to breathe through both nostrils more than 5-10 days a year  That would be reason enough alone, but my passion is farming and the east coast make the most sense for that.  I know that it's my life to live and I haven't had much choice for the last 20 years, so it's time, but it's still really hard.

I'd appreciate hearing from others about how they deal/dealt with this too.
1 month ago
I've done a lot of reading and research on the subject and, from my understanding of how the body works, vegan diets aren't suitable for the majority of the popluation.  I found this statement on the site:

Why does the site seem biased against certain foods?
For the same reason that the website of the American Lung Association probably seems biased against tobacco. The Philip Morris Corporation has come up with more than a hundred studies showing the health benefits of smoking.  

This is the issue I have with studies, and it is just as applicable for the studies that support veganism, HFLC, caffeine or chocolate use.  I only trust sources that can back up their claims and, for diet and nutrition, that means published papers.  I'm not a statistician, but I do have a decent understanding of statistics and, more relevant, a career of R&D.  There's a saying that statistics lie, and they sure can.  We've based our nutritional guidelines in part on a study where, it turns out, the 'researcher' just removed all the data that didn't fit his hypothesis.  There's a lot of that crap that goes on, so it's in your best interest to understand the basis for claims, especially claims about nutrition.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by the body's increased insensitivity to insulin.  Insulin is the body's way of getting glucose into the cells.  If you have more glucose than your body needs, it gets converted to fat, which increases your insulin insensitivity.  It now takes more insulin to do the job, increasing your insensitivity yet again.  It's a circle that doesn't stop.  At some point, your body can't produce enough insulin to force that glucose into your cells, so it floats around in your bloodstream and your doctor notices it (after about 13 years) as high blood sugar.  Conventional treatment is to give you drugs to boost your insulin production, thus lowering the blood sugar, until you progress to having to take insulin shots.  However, if you eat a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet, your body won't have glucose to store, so your insulin levels drop and you can regain your insulin sensitivity.  If you keep eating carbs, you'll never stop the cycle.  About 10-15% of the population is 'carb adapted', and they can eat carbs with far fewer issues, but that doesn't work for the vast majority of the population.  

A couple of years ago I was faced with the prospect of insulin shots.  Until then, I'd followed the medically suggested diet and I just kept gaining weight and my diabetes kept getting worse.  I dived in to researching how our bodies worked to try to see if I could make changes to get myself healthy again.  I've got over 1000 hours of reading and watching videos about diet, from all approaches.  It really clicked when I came across this site Intensive Dietary Management from the guy who wrote The Obesity Code.  The doctor who runs the site deals mostly with diabetic patients.  Dr. Fung in incredibly good at coming up with analogies for how the body works.  He's written a couple of books, but I think you can get all the info from his blog, though there's a lot to it.  Dr. Fung takes a critical look at how any trials are carried out and, most importantly to me, he cites all his sources, so you can go and read the actual published research papers.  I get that that isn't everyone's cup of tea, but you can determine for yourself if the study had scientific merit.  

One of the other great resources is the trail for professional misconduct of Dr. Timothy Noakes, a pre-eminent research physician in South America.  Here's the link to the Youtube playlist.  It's about 80 videos and about 40 hours in total, but it's all gold.  For the record, he was exonerated.

I don't want to die for a long time, so my health is kinda important to me.  The most valuable part of my post-secondary education was learning how to learn, and I've applied that skill to many disciplines, most importantly my health.  When I was doing my diet and nutrition research, I looked at many approaches, but the high fat, moderate protein, low card diet is what is best supported by dietary studies.  I can also tell you that it works amazingly well for both people and dogs.  

I tried a vegan diet but went off it when my blood sugar levels spiked.  I'm sure it works for some people, but my conclusion is that it's detrimental to the majority.  If you're struggling with weigh, diabetes, inflammation or auto-immune issues, I'd highly recommend looking at a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet.  Here's another resource about a physician who seems to have reversed MS with such a diet: The Wahls Protocol.
1 month ago

Chris Wang wrote:Is sustainable vegan permaculture possible? I have not been able to think of how it could be possible, unless you have high tech lab grown food and completely wipe out natural ecosystems and/or live in a separate, purely anthropocentric ecosystem.

I'm genuinely open to thoughts to counter my belief. I would also be interested to know if any 'high level' permaculture people endorse veganism?

That's my fundamental issue with it too.  The vegans I know consume a lot of almond or soy milk or both.  I think that there are frightening issues with current agricultural methods for farming both of these, just like there are with all other 'state of the art' farming for meat, grains, etc.  I think you could have a sustainable vegan diet with a nut-based food forest.  If you ran an animal rescue you could graze them for their remaining lives, but that's still using the animal.  Maybe a food forest abundant enough to let a lot go to wildlife.
1 month ago