General Health Concepts

Some of my readers have requested an outline of what even the point is of all this (now my book does that explaining). Usually my readers have been those familiar with the ideas behind this kind of health approach, but as my reach extends more visitors do not know where or why this approach to health originates, so here is a short explanation of the why behind my blog and unique approach to understanding health. 

In late 2013 while in the midst of a severe health crisis I came across the work of a biologist named Ray Peat whose writings, while dense and meandering, point out real inconsistencies between accepted ideas on nutrition and the work of notable biologists, including his own. It was the first time I had read any advice on health which was explained in scientific terms that made sense, and was grounded in reasonable discussions on cell physiology. Where much of the current dialogue on health is reduced to reactionary generalities like "fat is bad," and "sugar causes every disease we know," Ray's dialogue on nutrition is presented in the context of chemistry and the workings of human cells as outlined by many notable biologists, including those awarded a Nobel prize for the discovery of cellular concepts, and encompasses a more nuanced understanding of nutrition in the context of biochemistry. 

I promptly read and re-read all his articles and in dealing with my own health issues embarked on an immersive exploration into my own health through the concepts initially presented by Dr. Peat. Having a solid foundation from his elucidation of hormone and nutrition basics I used my own knowledge and self-experimentation to figure out how to effect change in my own health through easily accessible means, as the medical establishment presents too many hurdles to achieve meaningful resolution of some health conditions, and complete disinterest in others.

It soon became apparent that most of the approaches to health I had heard in my life (like portion control, low carb, will-power, etc.) were complete bullshit, and I began to see the body as a very competent, amazing and logical construct of nature. The basic foundation of Dr. Peat's work, as I have adopted for my own, is the understanding that energy begets structure. This means that human cells, if able to generate/assimilate generous levels of energy through food and nutrition are then able to arrange their structure and function in ways that achieve best health outcomes, and that interruptions to the assimilation of energy cause the reverse to occur, through the disordered assembly of cells and their various parts.

This means that foods and substances which are stable in the high-heat, high-oxygen environments of our internal bodies, and behaviors which facilitate more energy production than they consume are those which are most helpful, and that foods which spoil or degrade rapidly in the presence of high-heat, high-oxygen are unhelpful and best avoided, and behaviors which limit the production of energy either by inhibition or over-consumption are best kept to a minimum. 

Examples of foods which are part of this understanding are butter, which is composed of fats that are highly stable in high-heat, high-oxygen conditions, beef which, because of the physiology of ruminants, is similarly composed of stable compounds, and fruit which is low in anti-nutritents and high in energy-creating carbohydrates. This includes good sources of minerals to facilitate energy production but low in factors which leech minerals from digestion and maintain high-rates of cellular respiration. Behaviors like fasting, excessive exercise, low-carb, and skipping meals cause the metabolic rate to plummet and contributes to the development of metabolic diseases over time. Additives to food like iron, emulsifying gums, some preservatives, and vitamin deficiencies also inhibit robust metabolic function. 

The specifics are exhausting and all-encompasing, but with some exceptions the approach to this way of eating is extremely similar to the diets of our ancestors—eating regularly, traditional foods and gentle medicine, avoiding exotic and novel restrictions, manipulations, behaviors, supplements, and a few toxic contaminants is easy to do. My blog outlines specifics, and information is generally grouped by associated symptoms and disease, since that is how we generally associate our quest for health improvement. 


My article Misleading Studies discusses why some heavy cynicism is healthy when listening to health professionals tell you what you should and shouldn't eat, and the perils of following social trends in food and supplements, and is a good place to start to understand the problems currently plaguing the conversations on nutrition and health. 


My article A List of Helpful and Unhelpful Foods is a good place to see what categories certain foods and substances fall in. Context is always important when considering foods. For instance, milk is a very healthful food but some people may have bacterial infections in their guts which feed on milk, and can cause problems. Also, others may think a food is harmless because they want it to be harmless, but not because it is chemically harmless. This often comes with a desire to consume grains and bread, but may also extend to supplements and ingredients, which are more often harmful than not. As one person I came into contact with who asked for guidance on a supplement said they were immune to the effects of silica. How they could know such a thing is superhuman, really, and some power I have been searching for but never found. Chemistry is constant, governed by the laws of physics and does not change just because of your DNA. Wishful thinking is not the same as reality, and if your quest is to understand your health, biases and desires must be sublimated to truth. Usually that is not truth I present, but self-honesty discovered by questioning yourself. The upside is that a great many foods commonly regarded as unhealthy, like sugar, are actually healthy and this way of eating supports constant satiety and many foods regarded as indulgent, like ice cream.


Lastly, the chapter How to Perform Self Therapy in my book discusses helpful techniques to correlate your own metabolism with what you put into your body (or don't). The metabolism is actually quite obvious, though it sometimes doesn't seem so, and easily described by body temperature, pulse, and mood which is used as a tool to help in curing everything from hair loss to hypothyroidism, cancer, insomnia, erectile disfunction, and many others. 


Nathan HatchComment