Tag Archives: longevity

Bi Gu

Dr. Atkins didn’t invent sugar restriction diets.  The ketogenic diet has been around for over a hundred years in the west, at the onset of the rise in obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer that was coincidental with the introduction of refined sugar and grain into the western man’s diet.

But eating no grain or artificial starch goes way back to Ancient China, and to the Taoist alchemists who sought longevity and aspired to be immortal.  The word Bi-Gu is a combination of Chinese words that mean, ‘without grain’.  This diet would seem controversial and eccentric to a people that lived off of rice and millet.  If you don’t eat grain, and dairy is not really available, what do you eat?

Taoists in China were responsible for many accidental discoveries in China which led to progress for the human race.  To Taoists, science and religion is not irreconcilable.  Taoist masters were often experts at science.  This is similar to scientists in the west like Isaac Newton and Copernicus, who were scientists and Christians at the same time.

Like I said in my previous post, the first thing in longevity is eating a diet free of grain.  There is a whole lifestyle of longevity in Taoist Culture, and nutrition is the first thing.  It’s not everything, and obsessing about the perfect diet will cause you mental harm.  But nutrition is the foundational knowledge.  Start there.

 

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The Origins of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine used to be called, ‘Taoist Medicine’ but they changed the name to avoid any religious or spiritual connotations to the science of it.  Really, it all comes from The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine.  Huang Di as the Chinese call him was a Taoist adept and sought immortality.  In the first chapter somewhere it says, ‘to live forever, one must eat a diet free of grains,’ or something to that effect.

Chinese Medicine is Taoist Medicine, and although no one ever succeeded in becoming immortal, besides in folk legend, many have led better lives with greater health and vitality.  That is the promise of TCM and the wholistic lifestyle, a longer life with less pain and illness.

The first thing in changing your life so that you increase longevity is not just to reduce carbohydrate, but to reduce grains like wheat, rice, and corn.  These foods are just empty filler and feed cancer and raise blood sugar.  There are benign starches, like quinoa and sweet potato and beans, but that’s a different story.

Nutrition is the beginning.  Changing your life for the better also includes external exercise, internal exercise, meditation, psychology, rest, hygiene, etc…

The Taoist masters wanted to live a long time.  I do too, because I’m not banking on the afterlife.  The more wholistic health knowledge you have the better off you are.  And the first thing in turning your life around is changing your diet.  That is why the subject of this blog is Taoist Nutrition.

Philosophy, Religion, and Diet

In this era, anything goes.  But some people still adhere to dietary laws as entailed by their religious views.  Observant Jews don’t eat pork, shellfish, or meat and dairy together.  Muslims don’t eat pork or drink alcohol.  And most of the religious traditions of the Indian subcontinent advocate a lactovegetarian diet.

Veganism is growing in the USA.  The biggest reason people do it is because of sympathy for the animals and also environmental concerns.  Veganism is not a religion.   But if one examines history, it is the Ancient Hebrews who first considered vegetarianism a lifestyle choice.

Kosher vegetarianism is a very sane, moderate view of diet.  Meat symbolizes death and decay, while milk and dairy products symbolizes life and growth.  Fish and Eggs are considered Parve, or spiritually neutral.  A kosher vegetarian eats plant foods, dairy products, and is not against eating fish or egg.

In the east, amongst people like the Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, and Jains, lactovegetarian is reccomended.  Some Bengali vegetarians consider fish and seafood to be ‘fruit of the sea’ and therefore still eat it.

And amongst the Taoists, no food is taboo.  It’s about eating the right portions and proportions of food relative to each other.  Christians too say any food is clean to eat.

My view is to do what is best for yourself.  Don’t tell people about your eating habits and don’t bore them with your list of abstentions.  I like dairy products, so I’m not giving them up.  I do what is best for myself.

I believe meat, fish, and eggs was originally natural and good, but capitalism, consumerism, and overpopulation ruined everything.  Applying the factory line production method to agriculture was a grave mistake by humanity.  Animals are not machines, every animal, from insect, to cow, to dog, to monkey, to man has sentience.

In this era, it’s not hard to go to a supermarket and get anything you need, all year round.  I live in a part of the USA where there are few natural disasters.   Veganism and Vegetarianism is a vote for the environment, for animal rights, and reverses many diseases.  Only in this country is it easier to get restaurant food with animal foods in it than without.  I’ve decided to stop going to restaurants, unless its for a slice of pizza or vegetarian sushi.

I think kosher vegetarianism is the most sane way to go as far as diet.  Dairy is very nourishing, in some cases too nourishing, and fish and eggs should be an option for people who don’t have the time or inclination to prepare their own food.  The main thing is to eat what’s available and not obsess about diet.  But in this crazy society, even the nutrition textbooks are wrong, let alone the media and public perception.

At the end of the day, gaining or losing weight is about calories in and calories out.  But also at the end of the day, looks and weight don’t matter so much.  You don’t need the body of a bodybuilder to be healthy.  And a six pack of abs means nothing.  Judge your health by how you feel, how long you live, and the state of health you’re in.

As an aside, remember that years upon years of weight fluctuation on the atkins/paleo/ketogenic diet causes insulin resistance and liver derangement.  A doctor can’t invent a crash diet that violates everything we know about nutrition and get away with it.  Bodybuilders and boxers use the low carb approach before contest because it causes a rapid decrease in water weight.  Don’t think the atkins diet is a lifelong diet.  No one in Asia, Africa, or South America is adhering to this philosophy, because they have no obesity problem.  They eat a lot of fiber and walk a lot.

 

Who Wants to Live Forever?

Not many people are really interested in longevity and the possibility of immortality.  Benjamin Franklin said, ‘nine in ten men are suicides.’  That means, most people bring about their own destruction without even knowing it.

But there is that one in a hundred or so that really wants to live, and not just for hedonistic pleasure.  They want to live because strength and longevity is also virtue, and there is joy with strength and longevity.  We don’t simply live to eat and procreate.

There are few who like to constantly make progress and also learn about the world around them.  Getting to know Creation is the best way to know the Creator.  And you’ll never know it all.

The ancient Chinese said, ‘longevity is merit.’  The longer you survive under the sun, the more worthy you are.  To really be immortal, you have to put aside the mundane things of the world.  To live forever, you have to be worthy of living forever.

The secular, capitalistic, ordinary world is very depressing.  Even celebrities commit suicide because they feel life is empty.  The spirit is bigger than the body, and the higher life of a seeker is more fulfilling.  Of course, as a human being, one needs food and sex to live and be healthy.  A spiritual man aims to fulfill his gross biological needs in a loftier way than the crass worldly man.

In the Baghavad Gita it says, ‘each one becomes a slave to his own activity, if you want to be truly free, perform all acts as worship.’  This means we are all stuck in the same condition.  If you really want to live happily and for a long time, do your mundane earthly activities with spirit and zeal and selflessness.

 

Worst of the Worst

There’s a lot of bad, unhealthy, low-quality foods out there.  There’s hydrogenated fat, there’s high fructose corn syrup.  There’s refined wheat flour.  The list can be quite long depending on your beliefs about nutrition.

But one of the worst foods for you is dairy products.  Of course, everyone likes creamy, milky, sweet, bland food.  But I’ve been hearing the anti-dairy facts since 1998, when I began studying Traditional Chinese Medicine.  And the facts are clear.

Dairy products are the worst foods out there.  Milk, Cheese, Cream, Ice Cream, etc… are all mucous-forming and yin-tonics in a yin-heavy world.  There are dairy products that aren’t that bad, like plain yogurt and clarified butter, but even they aren’t good for everyone.  There’s a lot of merit in going dairy-free.

The alternatives are so much better for you.  That includes rice milk, coconut milk, and almond milk.  There’s no question that the milk of a different species should not be consumed, especially after weening off your mother’s milk in infancy.  People who drink cow’s milk are the minority around the world, not the majority.

There are other things one should avoid in dieting.  Things like excessive sugar, which is acidifying, and also gluten, which brings with it a lot of toxicity.  Even starch can be bad, depending on what food you eat.  But dairy is all the way junk and should not be seen as essential to the human diet.  Because it isn’t.

And this goes without mentioning farmed meat, everything from beef to lamb to chicken to whatever barnyard animal you slaughter.  There was a time when people lived on family farms and slaughtered their own animals.  These were active people who lived on the land and healthy animals that lived somewhat normal lives.

There’s so much toxic food out there, and it’s easy to make bad decisions.  But one basic decision that can influence your life for the better is to go dairy-free.  Find substitutes in your cooking that taste similar, and you will get acclimated to the substitutes and not cow udder secretions.  Almond milk is good in coffee.  Tofu is good in stir-fry.  Tempeh makes a good meat substitute.  And coconut milk is good in curries and smoothies.

You’ll be better off if you go dairy-free.  So do it.  Even if you indulge in cheese or ice cream once in a while after going dairy-free, your taste buds will change eventually and you will notice what dairy really is.  The baby-food of a bovine, not essential nutrition of an adult human.

 

Nutrition is the Best Hobby

Everyone should be educated on the subject of nutrition.  It is the most fundamental knowledge.  You are what you eat, your body is literally reconstituted nutrients from the soil, but your mind and spirit are made of other things.  There shouldn’t be so many overweight and sick people in a country where food scarcity is hardly an issue to most.

Most people bring about their own destruction.  Benjamin Franklin said, ‘nine in ten men are suicides.’  If you really valued your own life, you’d eat higher quality food and not mess around with the cheap stuff, like too much protein or too much sugar, dairy, and gluten.

If people were smarter, they’d dedicate some time every day to the production of their own food, and also some time to study nutrition.  Nutrition is all about finding out what is best for yourself.  Help yourself.

Of course, exercise is important too.  But diet is more important than exercise in the fitness equation.  If you really want to look and feel good, you have to exercise, but if you just want to be normal bodyweight and live nutrition is the first subject to learn.

I know people have day jobs, so eating home cooked food is not always an option.  But if people had more knowledge, they could make better food choices at restaurants and whatever.  It seems the West has exchanged one set of diseases for another.  Although more people are living to adulthood than in previous centuries, and infectious disease isn’t such a big threat in the developed world, people aren’t living the quality of life that is optimal.

Just educate yourself, and all things will fall into place.

Longevity is Merit

The longer you survive under the sun, the more value or worth you have.  In addition, the better you age, the more beautiful you are.  In this crazy society, most people are ready for the scrap heap by age 30.  And it’s all because of ignorance of the basics.

I keep saying this in my blog, but it is true.  Eat less calories, less carbs, and more water, and you will be better off.  There are people in this world who profit off your ignorance and misery, and you don’t want to let them win the game of life.

America has become a youth culture.  And this is not a good sign.  Youth is vanity, when you’re young you are just figuring yourself out and don’t know much, life really begins at 40, it doesn’t end there.

There are some practical ways to age more gracefully.  First is to eat a lot of high fiber foods.  If a food has a lot of fiber in it, it means it is unprocessed and natural and therefore good.  Second is to incorporate movement into your daily routine.  Don’t be sedentary.  Third is to be more calm and serene and slow down.  The more you speed up and hurry, the more stressed out you get and you actually sabotage yourself by getting worked up.  If you slow down and pace yourself, everything will work out better.

So that is my view on longevity.

Not Conforming to Society

Be in the world but not of it.  Is working 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday really worth it?  Who told you, you have to do what others do and value what others value?  I say, do your own thing, but before you reach the level of master or expert, a free spirit will have to endure a lot of hardship before they finally get to the lifestyle they want to live.

I know money is a real issue, and you need food, shelter, and clothing.  That is obvious.  But really, aren’t you doing too much?  Why is living on a fixed income so looked down upon in this country?  What does your money buy you?

I shop at a regular supermarket, a Stop n Shop here on long island.  There’s a lot of food there.  Whatever your heart desires.  But most people don’t even know what to get to benefit themselves.  They have no real education, so they spend too much money and eat too many calories and end up patients of the medical establishment.

There’s no need for a fancy supermarket like Whole Foods, unless you are a gourmet and insist on the best quality.  You can live a long time in the land of abundance if you know what to choose.

Knowledge is Power, and a self directed education is the key to living a full life.

The Herbal Diet

At some point in time, you will get old.  I’m getting to the point where my hair is falling out, my posture is worse than ever, and I don’t exercise as often as I used to.  Things are changing, I’m shifting into a new phase of life.

Eating good should start from youth.  Educate the young on good nutrition so they won’t be confused when they get older.  Diet is 80% of fitness.  But there are other factors, like exercise, rest, hygiene, meditation, attitude, etc… And when you get sick or old, it’s time to begin the herbal diet.

Herbal medicine is very old.  Even animals know to medicate themselves with non-nutritive plants when they are sick or old.  Dogs eat onion grass when they are sick in order to cleanse their system.  No one had to teach them, they simply know.

Gorillas and chimps take certain herbs when they are sick, and even leaves decomposing in water makes a delicious tea from time to time.  Herbal medicine is natural, and the foundation of both eastern and western medicine.

It’s not a matter of synthetic versus natural cures.  It’s a matter of synthetic vs natural herbs.  Pharmaceuticals are herbs too, just synthetic ones formulized in a laboratory, not in the wild.  Natural medicine is about what you ingest from the natural world, whether it be food or herbs from the earth.

In fact, there is no need for western medicine, with it’s pharmaceuticals, surgery, chemo therapy, and radiation.  It is all bad for you and based on reductionist science.  The real way to be well is to not get sick in the first place, and to grow old with no need to be restored to perfection.

I know a little about herbal medicine, enough to know that ginseng of various kinds is good once your power begins to wane.  Red meat and bone broth is also good for vital power.   As I approach 40, I know what I got to do to continue to age skillfully and not become decrepit and useless.  I wish you well.

Back in the Saddle

I changed my mind again and decided to renew the subscription to wordpress.  I can use this site as a portfolio to get volunteer and paid jobs, and I can still disseminate the knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine to the masses as I wish.

A lot has gone through my mind over the past few weeks, but really, everything is changing and yet remaining stable at the center at the same time.  That is the paradox.  The words of truth seem paradoxical.

I think sugar restriction is the only real diet and the only real way to lose weight.  There’s no way around it.  In the end, calories count, and to reduce calories, simply reduce carbohydrates such as sugar and starch.  Carbohydrates are the bulk of any sensible diet.  You can lose a lot of weight in very little time with low carb dieting, but the question is will you stick to this new way of eating.

A healthy weight maintenance is an ongoing battle, and discipline, moderation, and self control are the key virtues.  You will never be perfect, but it could always be a lot worse.

So it doesn’t matter if you call yourself an Atkins dieter or a Paleo enthusiast, or a Keto adapted athlete (which isn’t even healthy in the long run).  To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.  Or in other words, if you want to be healthy, eat less sugar and move more.