Cow-Free Diet – Avoiding Palmitic Acid by Canceling Cow from My Life

Julia spotted news of this UT Southwestern Medical Center study the other day. It seems that some fatty acids (namely palmitic acid) might be blocking our feelings of being full while eating. Palmitic acid is commonly found in beef, milk, cheese, and butter.

I’m no scientist but it sure sounds like if I were to eat fewer food products that come from cows I would feel fuller faster when eating. Logically that would mean I would stop eating sooner and avoid overeating more often.

So last Friday, just as an experiment, I decided to stop eating all products from cows. Luckily we’ve been doing a lot of shopping for non-dairy products the past three years because our daughter is allergic to milk. We already had a fridge full of great dairy alternatives.

The study also says that palmitic acid stayed in their test subjects bodies for 3 days. Today is day 4 for me and it might all be in my head but I think I’m feeling fuller faster already. I’ll keep it up a while longer and see if canceling cow from my diet helps me eat less.

I also want to point out that if the findings in this study are true and someone comes up with a successful cow-free diet the cattle industry is going to probably be hurt bad. Bummer… I guess they could always farm organic soy beans.

I’m also going to miss all the multi-million dollar marketing campaigns and diets too. You know like the Got Milk campaign, Beef It’s What’s For Dinner campaign, and diets like the Atkins and South Beach Diet, which pushed protein of all kinds.

(Photo below… that’s as close to tongue-in-cheek as a cow can muster.)


Photo credit foxypar4 on Flickr.

Could the Planet Earth be Alive and Sentient?

Did the red pill just kick in or I have totally gone off the deep end?

As I dive into exploring what it would really mean to live a self-sufficient and sustainable life it occurred to me to ask some much bigger questions about our planet. I also want to clarify that I’m not talking about the thin crust and atmosphere that surrounds earth, I’m talking about the big blue ball itself.

  • Is Earth alive?
  • Is Earth sentient (self aware)?
  • What might planet Earth think of Humans?

I suspect many ancient and primitive people would answer these questions in the affirmative… of course planet Earth is alive and self-aware. Science can teach us a lot about our planet but it can’t really teach us how to stay connected to it. In this regard primitive people had an incredible advantage over us and quite possibly held the key ingredient to truly understanding Earth’s real nature.

planet earth from the moon

Modern society tends to insulate and distract us from the natural world around us. Many of us spend almost all of our time inside our climate controlled cars, homes, and work-spaces focused on society related tasks like earning a living, watching television, and shopping. It’s really no wonder why many primitive people must have felt like they were apart of the natural world and why we feel so separate from it.

Is Earth alive?

So lets stop for a moment and focus our advanced modern minds on the question, is our planet alive? Could a giant ball of magma covered in a thin hard crust spinning in space be a living creature? If Earth were a life form it would probably be virtually impossible for us to recognize or understand it simply because it would be unlike any life form we’ve ever encountered before. There is no point of reference.

It’s almost like we’re the microscopic organism trying to understand it’s much larger host while we go about our normal business. You know kind of like we’re the bacteria digesting food in someone’s large intestine. Relatively speaking we’ve just begun to understand our planet and how to effect change, but there are certainly many more mysteries to be discovered.

Simply speaking I don’t think it’s possible with our level of understanding to answer the question scientifically. Instead I think we need to fall back on our beliefs and let ourselves be open to the possibility that Earth is actually alive. To prove or disprove this idea scientifically would require finding a set of criteria to measure it by. Since that would first require a level of understanding that is probably greater than our combined knowledge our best option falls back onto belief and gut feelings.

Is Earth Sentient?

So lets assume you just took the red pill like me and think that it’s remotely possible that the planet itself is a living creature. Could it be self-aware?  Again since heading down this path requires a lot of imagination just jump off that cliff with me and say yes. Thanks.

Sure… if a planet could be alive it’s probably at least sentient if not an incredibly advanced life form. Scientists estimate that the earth is 4.54 billion years old. Just for fun lets compare that to humankind which has been on planet earth for about 250,000 years. I’m pretty sure that if one entity could live for billions of years it would develop a wisdom beyond our imagination.

What might planet Earth think of Humans?

So if our planet is alive and sentient what might it think about us? Well first off we’ve only been on it’s back for a small fraction of her overall lifespan and for most of that time we were not really noticeable. But in the last 100 years our numbers have dramatically increased, kind of like an infection. In fact today there are something like 6.6 billion humans running around mother earth’s back.

If you don’t think of that’s a lot of people consider this. There is now more than one person for each year the planet earth has been around. Somehow we get really impressed by numbers like 4.54 billion years and pretty much scoff at numbers like 6.7 billion people. Weird huh? Yeah well tell that to the virus that gave you that flu. The real question we should be asking is… is the virus sentient?

All kidding aside the point of this little essay isn’t to make you feel shitty about being human… not at all… in fact I don’t think humans are all that bad; some of my best friends are human.

And the point is…

My point is that we better get on the stick and stop trying to imitate an infectious disease or this big round friendly lady might just start a scratching or get a fever or something so she can get back to enjoying her travels around the universe.

We can all start today too. We just need to begin to use that incredible intellect we brag about to the gorillas and choose to live in balance with the rest of the living creatures who seem oddly content to live peacefully in Mother Earth’s arms.

Reading between the lines in ‘World Made By Hand’ by James Howard Kunstler

I just finished reading World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler. It’s a story about what life might be like if we were to run out of gas and experience a global economic collapse. As a novel it’s captivating and an entertaining quick read if you can stomach the topic in general. As a prediction of the future World Made by Hand is just one of the infinite possible scenarios we might experience if we were to suddenly run out of oil.

41cGA2QQXlL._SL160_But before you discard the idea of reading a book about the end of the world as we know it let me point out some of the values and lessons I found written between the lines that could be immediately applied to our lives today.

Self-Sufficiency – Corporations, government, international trade, global communications, and manufacturing in a World Made by Hand have shut down simply because the economic infrastructure, once powered by oil, has collapsed. Since the vast majority of people had built lives on a reliance on oil it’s no wonder the entire civilization was brought to its knees.

The lesson is that when we accept fewer single points of failure in our lives we reduce the risk of being forced to live through hard times. The recent severe recession has been a good example of how something simple, like job loss, can disrupt and destroy lives. When the vast majority of people accept the same single point of failure the problem amplifies. So then logically if an entire civilization was built on one of these fault lines it would tend to collapse when normalcy was unsettled.

When each of us works to become more self-sufficient we reduce the risk of life disrupting events for ourselves. As more people choose to reduce single points of failure the entire society becomes less likely to collapse.

Sustainability – The characters in World Made by Hand have been essentially forced by circumstance to adopt sustainable lifestyles. This is simply because sustainability really describes life sustaining choices and when people are faced with survival situations people either choose to live in balance with their natural resources or use them up and move on. If people choose to use them up they inevitably die because out-pacing natural resources simply eliminates life sustaining systems like water and food.

The lesson here is that if we choose to live more sustainably we increase the chances that humanity will persist. The problems we are beginning to experience are due to the fact that we’ve out-paced our natural resources and only through our cleverness and reliance of oil have been able to increase food production, hold disease at bay, and keep water clean enough to drink. But at some point it is conceivable that we will hit a wall or one of the single points of failure will break causing a collapse like Kunstler describes in this novel if not enough people come together and choose sustainability.

Community – Something similar to tribalism emerges in World Made by Hand. Kunstler paints a picture of emerging factions with strong leaders, some who strive for freedom and others who greedily seek power.

The lesson is that when people choose to embrace diversity and come together under commonalities the combined group becomes stronger and overall prosperity increases. When they choose to isolate themselves and cut off ties with others and focus on their differences they weaken and ultimately fail after a period of short-term prosperity.


Even if you have no concern or belief that we may be facing trouble when we run out oil this book is a good read and convincing illustration of how society works, albeit in a fictional story. It can also spark some introspection into personal values and lifestyle choices. I highly recommend reading World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler.