Betty’s Quilts #2 – Stairwell quilt

Here’s another of my wife Betty’s quilts. Betty gives most of her quilts to relatives and friends, but this one is staying in our home, since it was designed to hang on the wall we see coming down the stairs.

There are artefacts in these images that come from the process of straightening and evening the original photos, which had been taken from above on our kitchen floor, and suffered from the inevitable foreshortening. I personally think that the resulting distortions are quite pleasing, and lend a folk art cast to them.

Stairwell quilt.

Why I Am on an all Animal (meat, eggs, dairy) unrestricted calorie diet

I need to lose weight, and modern weight-loss regimens involving less eating and more exercise clearly don’t work. If they did, everyone would be slim. Diets that are high in protein and low in carbohydrate do work, as many studies have shown:

Vilhjalmur Stefansson travelled with Inuit groups, and over five years ate the same diet as them, just about 100% caribou meat. He observed that he, the Inuit, as well as northern Europeans (like us) who ate the same diet of meat as them, were among the healthiest of people he had ever seen.

Blake Donaldson treated thousands of obese patients with a diet high in fat and protein and low in carbs (including sugar, flour, alcohol, and starch) and a low, but not zero ration of raw fruit or root vegetables. Most of his patients lost two to three pounds per week.

Alfred Pennington learned about the diet from Donaldson and prescribed it to his patients, beginning around 1944. George Gerhmann, at the highly regarded medical department at Dupont, also tried the meat diet on the overweight executives at the company, after calorie-reduction and exercise regimens failed.

Margaret Ohlson and Charlotte Young did similar research into the meat diet, and published journal articles describing their positive results. The articles were ignored, but thousands of obese and overweight patients lost appreciable amounts of weight without starving themselves.

I am losing weight on this diet: about four pounds per week so far.

I also need to lower my blood sugar, and if possible by means other than giving myself insulin. In the few days since I started this diet, my insulin needs have sharply decreased: down to a quarter of my usual overnight dose, and down to ZERO of the mealtime dose on a couple of days so far.

I’ll address a few common objections to this diet:

1) If you don’t eat enough starch or sugar, you’ll starve your brain of glucose.
The liver has been synthesizing glucose and delivering it to the brain for hundreds of millions of years. It’s inconceivable that such an important biological function could depend on the vagaries of diet.
2) Your diet is deficient in a number of important nutrients.
All the vitamins and amino acids required by the body are present in meat, eggs, and dairy. It is known that a high carbohydrate diet, leading to high levels of blood sugars including glucose, is a cause of nutrient deficiencies. For example, Vitamin C and glucose have a similar molecular structure, and the two molecules compete for cellular receptor sites. Glucose wins, which causes the deficiency of Vitamin C. There is observational evidence that victims of scurvy only succumbed to the disease if their diets lacked Vitamin C AND were high in refined carbohydrate and sugar. Although eating fruit can cure scurvy, it does not follow that a lack of fruit causes it.

In any case, I am continuing to take vitamin and mineral supplements, and I’ll ask for bloodwork to evaluate whether I have any other deficiencies.
3) It’s important to eat a variety of foods in order to maintain health.
This very reasonable recommendation, asserted by everyone, lacks any scientific proof. It is based on the observation that some foods can correct dietary deficiencies, but without establishing that a lack of these foods actually causes these deficiencies. Again, sugar and starch could be the culprit in many of these deficiencies. A diet of meat is just as healthy, in terms of nutrients, as a diet of vegetables. Potatoes and bananas may be good sources of potassium, but that doesn’t mean we have to eat them.
4) Meat contains too much fat and cholesterol.
Fat has been exonerated as an agent of heart disease or poor health in general. There is as much cholesterol, of the “good” and “bad” varieties, in every food.
5) Eating meat is bad for the planet.
This is one objection that is difficult for me to deal with. However, getting our meat from a local butcher supplied by local farmers cuts down on environmental costs of meat.

There are environmental benefits to eating meat, including red meat from cows. Cows graze on marginal land that is not suitable for farming. They eat grass, and obtain most of their water from grass, dew, rainwater, and snowmelt. Their manure nourishes more grass production. There are experiments underway in Africa where cattle are helping to expand land into desert regions by encouraging the growth of grass.

Consumption of vegetables in winter means that we are eating food that has come from hundreds or thousands of miles away, and moreover is produced by farms that exploit poor illegal immigrant workers. And most vegetables that Canadians eat in winter come from the United States, an unstable and unpredictable country.

The Jewel in the Sidewalk

We were coming home after our morning walk. We were on Jones Avenue, specifically on the sidewalk in front of #76. Most mornings I usually steer Gibson to the south side of this street. He doesn’t like being in the road instead of on the sidewalk, but that’s where most of the shade is. Anyway, it was cool enough this time that we were walking on the sunny north sidewalk.

Something caught my eye. It was a gleam, much brighter than the odd glitter of quartz or mica that you might see in the concrete of a sidewalk. It also had a bit of rainbow sparkle that you see from leaded glass or diamond, and at first I thought someone had lost the diamond from her ring.

We walked on a bit, and then curiosity got the better of me and we circled back. I know they write numbers on diamonds with lasers these days, and maybe I could help return the gem to its owner.

We came along in the same direction, and there it was, gleaming as before. I stopped Gibson, and we stood before the gleaming object. As I bent down towards it, I realized that it was a tiny sphere, and the gleam in it was an image of the bright morning sun, like the sparkle in someone’s eye. It seemed to get bigger as I got closer. Was it some kind of bead made of exotic glass? I reached to pick it up, and discovered that it was a perfectly clean, spherical globe of…

…sap from the evergreen tree above the sidewalk. And of course I destroyed it trying to pick it up.

Gibson and Simpson

Out for a late afternoon walk with Gibson. So beautiful to enter the woods with the sun shining almost horizontally through the trees. It’s been a long time since I’ve had the confidence to strike out on a long walk like that on the spur of the moment. (You don’t want to know why.)

I thought about Jeffrey Simpson, who retired this week as columnist at the Globe and Mail. In his valedictory column, he wrote of his opinion of Canada as not just a success story for multiculturalism, but as a success story for the integration of other cultures into Canada’s two mainstream cultures, the English and the French. He lamented the difficulty and reluctance of indigenous cultures to integrate in the same fashion. With all due respect (and there is much) I believe Mr Simpson missed the point, and he has missed it for many years. Don’t you suppose it might be a good idea to try just a little bit to integrate *ourselves* into indigenous culture, instead of insisting it be the other way around? We don’t even know what we *don’t* know about the history and lore of the people who have been living here for thousands of years. Perhaps with the old guard fading away into retirement, there may be new voices in our national media with a vision beyond mere truth and reconciliation.