The Surprising Correlation Between Cholesterol and Heart Disease – It’s Not What You Think

There is a lot of confusion about cholesterol levels and human health.

Is your Dr. recommended level of total serum cholesterol under 200 justified?

What would the ideal total cholesterol level be for your health? Here is an interesting graph I came across. It measures cholesterol levels and mortality rates from 164 countries around the world. There are some surprising results. It seems that the *ideal* total cholesterol level is higher than what doctors recommend. By ideal I mean it has the smallest correlation to heart disease and overall mortality.

  • Those with a total cholesterol level of 208 were the least likely to die from heart disease. About 220 deaths per 100,000 people.
  • People with a cholesterol level of 150 accounted for 600 deaths from heart disease per 100,000. Meaning those with total cholesterol level of 150 were nearly 3x as likely to die from heart disease than those with cholesterol levels just over 200.
  • Only when cholesterol levels go above 244 do we find that high cholesterol is worse than having a cholesterol level of 150.
  • The ideal cholesterol level to have for not dying of any reason, not just heart disease is 223. But this is largely to a dramatic decrease in infectious and parasitic diseases.
  • My father recently cut down on red meat, and egg yolks and his total cholesterol dropped from 201 to 165. The popular thinking on this is that he just did a great thing for his heart. Yet according to this graph he just doubled his chance of dying from heart disease!


Is this result replicated in other studies? Apparently yes. In a study done by the Japanese they found that patients with total cholesterol levels between 200-219 were the least likely to die. The optimal LDL level was considered between 120-139.  A standard lipid profile you get during a routine check up will tell you that having a LDL level of under 130 and a total cholesterol level of under 200 is ideal, but that doesn’t seem to mesh with this data.

According to these results my fathers total cholesterol drop from 201 to 165 increased his risk of mortality by 72%. And his lowering of his LDL from 138 to 101 increased his rate of mortality 20%.

In Conclusion: These are only a few studies, and I am sure there are probably other studies with different results.  But at the very least one has to wonder whether or not the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease is really as scary as people make it out to be. There in fact have been a plethora of books on the subject lately that argue that relationship between cholesterol and heart disease is a myth. I’ll tell you one thing, my total cholesterol level at my last check up was 212, and I’m definitely not worried about. It may even be ideal.




Ben Franklin on the Superior Quality of Life of the Indians

Here are some more quotes from Ben Franklin in the happiness, ease and tranquility of Indian life.



” To those who remained behind, it was often rumored that those who had gone over to the Indians had been “captured.” While some captives were taken, more often the whites took up Indian life without compulsion. As Franklin wrote to Peter Collinson May 9, 1753:

The proneness of human Nature to a life of ease, of freedom from care and labour appear strongly in the heretofore little success that has attended every attempt to civilize our American Indians. . . . They visit us frequently and see the advantages that Arts, Science and compact Society procure us; they are not deficient in natural understanding and yet they have never strewn any inclination to change their manner of life for ours, or to learn any of our Arts.
While Indians did not seem to have much inclination to exchange their culture for the Euro-American, many Euro-Americans appeared more than willing to become Indians at this time:

When an Indian child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and makes one Indian Ramble with them, there is no perswading him ever to return. And that this is not natural [only to Indians], but as men, is plain from this, that when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived awhile among them, tho’ ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet within a Short time they become disgusted with our manner of Life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them.
Franklin followed with an example. He had heard of a person who had been “reclaimed” from the Indians and returned to a sizable estate. Tired of the care needed to maintain such a style of life, he had turned it over to his younger brother and, taking only a rifle and a matchcoat, “took his way again to the Wilderness.” Franklin used this story to illustrate his point that “No European who has tasted Savage Life can afterwards bear to live in our societies.” Such societies, wrote Franklin, provided their members with greater opportunities for happiness than European cultures. Continuing, he said:

The Care and Labour of providing for Artificial and fashionable Wants, the sight of so many Rich wallowing in superfluous plenty, whereby so many are kept poor and distress’d for Want, the Insolence of Office . . . the restraints of Custom, all contrive to disgust them with what we call civil Society.”—-

Benjamin Franklin on the nobility and manners of the so called ‘savage’ Indians.

Benjamin Franklin
Remarks concerning the Savages of North America

Savages we call them, because their Manners differ from ours, which we think the Perfection of Civility. They think the same of theirs.

Perhaps if we could examine the Manners of different Nations with Impartiality, we should find no People so rude as to be without Rules of Politeness, nor any so polite as not to have some Remains of Rudeness

The Indian Men when young are Hunters and Warriors; when old, Counsellors; for all their Government is by Counsel of the Sages; there is no Force there are no Prisons, no Officers to compel Obedience, or inflict Punishment.—Hence they generally study Oratory; the best Speaker having the most Influence. The Indian Women till the Ground, dress the Food, nurse and bring up the Children, & preserve & hand down to Posterity the Memory of public Transactions. These Employments of Men and Women are accounted natural & honorable, Having few artificial Wants, they have abundance of Leisure for Improvement by Conversation. Our laborious Manner of Life compar’d with theirs, they esteem slavish & base; and the Learning on which we value ourselves, they regard as frivolous & useless. An Instance of this occurr’d at the Treaty of Lancaster in Pensilvania, anno 1744, between the Government of Virginia and the Six Nations. After the principal Business was settled, the Commissioners from Virginia acquainted the Indians by a Speech, that there was at Williamsburg a College, with a Fund for Educating Indian youth; and that if the Six Nations would send down half a dozen of their young Lads to that College, the Government would take Care that they should be well provided for, and instructed in all the Learning of the White People. It is one of the Indian Rules of Politeness not to answer a public Proposition the same day that it is made; they think it would be treating it as a light matter, and that they show it Respect by taking time to consider it, as of a Matter important. They therefore deferr’d their Answer till the Day following; when their Speaker began by expressing their deep Sense of the Kindness of the Virginia Government in making them that Offer, for we know, says he, that you highly esteem the kind of Learning taught in those Colleges, and that the Maintenance of our young Men while with you, would be very expensive to you. We are convinc’d therefore that you mean to do us Good by your Proposal, and we thank you heartily. But you who are wise must know, that different Nations have different Conceptions of Things, and you will therefore not take it amiss if our Ideas of this kind of Education happen not to be the same with yours. We have had some Experience of it: Several of our young People were formerly brought up at the Colleges of the Northern Provinces; they were instructed in all your Sciences; but when they came back to us they were bad Runners ignorant of every means of living in the Woods, unable to bear either Cold or Hunger, knew neither how to build a Cabin, take a Deer or kill an Enemy, spoke our Language imperfectly, were therefore neither fit for Hunters Warriors, or Counsellors, they were totally good for nothing. We are however not the less oblig’d by your kind Offer tho’ we decline accepting it; and to show our grateful Sense of it, if the Gentlemen of Virginia will send us a Dozen of their Sons, we will take great Care of their Education, instruct them in all we know, and make Men of them.—

Having frequent Occasions to hold public Councils, they have acquired great Order and Decency in conducting them. The old Men sit in the foremost Ranks, the Warriors in the next, and the Women & Children in the hindmost. The Business of the Women is to take exact Notice of what passes, imprint it in their Memories, for they have no Writing, and communicate it to their Children. They are the Records of the Councils, and they preserve Traditions of the Stipulations in Treaties 100 Years back, which when we compare with our Writings we always find exact. He that would speak rises. The rest observe a profound Silence. When he has finish’d and sits down; they leave him 5 or 6 Minutes to recollect, that if he has omitted any thing he intended to say, or has any thing to add, he may rise again and deliver it. To interrupt another, even in common Conversation, is reckon’d highly indecent. How different this is, from the Conduct of a polite British House of Commons where scarce every person without some confusion, that makes the Speaker hoarse in calling to Order and how different from the Mode of Conversation in many polite Companies of Europe, where if you do not deliver your Sentence with great Rapidity, you are cut off in the middle of it by the Impatients Loquacity of those you converse with, and never suffer’d to finish it—

The Politeness of the Savages in Conversation is indeed carried to Excess, since it does not permit them to contradict or deny the Truth of what is asserted in their Presence; By this means they indeed avoid Disputes, but then it becomes difficult to know their Minds, or what Impression you make upon them. The Missionaries who have attempted to convert them to Christianity, all complain of this as one of the great difficulties of their Mission: The Indians hear with Patience the Truths of the Gospel explain’d to them, and give their usual Tokens of Assent & Approbation: You would think they were convinc’d. No such Matter. It is mere Civility. A Suedish Minister, having assembled the Chiefs of the Saquehanah Indians, made a Sermon to them, acquainting them with the principal historical Facts on which our Religion is founded, such as the Fall of our first Parents by eating an Apple; the Coming of Christ, to repair the Mischief; his Miracles & Suffering, &c. When he had finished, an Indian Orator stood up to thank him. What you have told us, says he, is all very good. It is indeed a bad Thing to eat Apples. It is better to make them all into Cyder. We are much oblig’d by your Kindness in coming so far to tell us these Things which you have heard from your Mothers; in return I will tell you some of those we have heard from ours. In the Beginning our Fathers had only the Flesh of Animals to subsist on, and if their Hunting was unsuccessful, they were starving. Two of our young Hunters having kill’d a Deer, made a Fire in the Woods to broil some Part of it. When they were about to satisfy their Hunger, they beheld a beautiful young Woman descend from the Clouds, and seat herself on that Hill which you see yonder among the blue Mountains. They said to each other, It is a Spirit that perhaps has smelt our broiling Venison & wishes to eat of it: Let us offer some to her. They presented her with the Tongue, She was pleas’d with the Taste of it, and said, Your Kindness shall be rewarded: Come to this Place after thirteen Moons, and you shall find something that will be of great Benefit in nourishing you and your Children to the latest Generations. They did so, and to their Surprise found Plants they had never seen before, but which from that antique time have been instantly cultivated among us to our great Advantage. Where her right Hand had touch’d the Ground they found Maize; Where her left hand had touch’d it, they found Kidney Beans, and where her Backside had rested on it, they found Tobacco.—The good Missionary disgusted with this idle Tale, said, What I delivered to you were sacred Truths, but what you tell me is mere Fable, Fiction and Falshood. The Indian offended, reply’d, My Brother, it seems your Friends have not done you Justice in your Education, they have not well instructed you in the Rules of common Civility. You saw that we who understand and practise those Rules, believ’d all your Stories: Why do you refuse to believe ours?— [interleaved is a sheet with no writing, but a sketch of what appears to be a hot air balloon]

When any of them come into our Towns, our People are apt to croud round them, gaze upon them, & incommode them where they desire to be private; this they esteem great Rudeness, the Effect of & Want of Instruction in the Rules of Civility & good Manners. We have, say they, as much Curiosity as you, and when you come into our Towns, we wish for Opportunities of looking at you; but for this purpose we hide our Selves behind Bushes where you are to pass, and never intrude ourselves into your Company.—

Their Manner of entring one anothers villages has likewise its Rules. It is reckon’d uncivil in travelling Strangers to enter a Village abruptly, without giving Notice of their Approach. Therefore as soon as they arrive within Hearing, they stop & hollow, remaining there till invited to enter. Two old Men usually come out to them, and lead them in. There is in every Village a vacant Dwelling called the Strangers House. Here they are plac’d, while the old Men go round from Hut to Hut, acquainting the Inhabitants that Strangers are arriv’d who are probably hungry & weary; and every one sends them what he can spare of Victuals & Skins to repose on. When the Strangers are refresh’d, Pipes & Tobacco are brought, and then, but not before, Conversation begins, with Enquiries who they are, whither bound, what News, &c. and it usually ends with Offers of Service if the Strangers have occasion of Guides or any Necessaries for continuing their Journey, and nothing is exacted for the Entertainment.

The same Hospitality esteem’d among them as a principal Virtue, is practic’d by private Persons, of which Conrad Weiser, our Interpreter gave me the following Instance. He had been naturaliz’d among the Six Nations, & spoke well the Mohock Language. In going thro’ the Indian Country to carry a Message from our Governor to the Council at Onondaga, he call’d at the Habitation of Canasetego an old Acquaintance, who embrac’d him, spread Furs for him to sit on, plaid before him some boil’d Beans & Venison, and mix’d some Rum & Water for his Drink. When he was well refresh’d, and had lit his Pipe, Canassetego began to converse with him, ask’d how he had fard the many Years since they had seen each other, whence he then came, what occasion’d the Journey, &c. &c. Conrad answer’d all his Questions, & when the Discourse began to flag, the Indian to continue it, said, Conrad, you have lived long among the white People and know something of their Customs. I have been sometimes at Albany, and have observed that once in Seven Days they shut up their Shops, and assemble all in the great House; tell me, what is it for? what do they do there?—They meet there, says Conrad, to hear and learn good Things. I do not doubt says the Indian, that they tell you so: They have told me the same; But I doubt the Truth of what they say, and I will tell you my Reasons. I was lately to Albany to sell my Skins, & buy Blankets, Knives, Powder &c Rum &c You know I us’d generally to deal with Hans Hanson, but I was a little inclin’d this time to try some other Merchant; however, I call’d first upon Hans, & ask’d him what he would give for Beaver. He said he could not give more than four Shillings a Pound; but says he I cannot talk on Business now; this is the Day when we meet together to learn good Things, and I am going to the Meeting. So I thought to my self, since we cannot do any Business to day, I may as well go to the Meeting too; and I went with him. There stood up a Man in Black, and began to talk to the People very angrily. I did not understand what he said; but perceiving that he look’d much at me, and at Hanson, I imagin’d he was angry at seeing me there, so I went out, sat down near the House, struck Fire and lit my Pipe, waiting till the Meeting should break up. I thought too that the Man had mention’d something of Beaver, & I suspected it might be the Subject of their Making. so when they came out, I accosted my Merchant, Well, Hans, says I, I hope you have agreed to give more than four Shillings a Pound. No, says he, I cannot give so much; I cannot give more than three shillings & sixpence. I then spoke to several other Dealers, but they all sung the same Song. Three & sixpence, Three & sixpence. This made it clear to me that my Suspicion was right; and that whatever they pretended of meeting to learn Good Things, the real purpose was to consult how to cheat Indians on the Price of Beaver. Consider but a little, Conrad, and you must be of my Opinion. If they met so often to learn Good Things, they would certainly have learnt some before this time. But they are still ignorant. You know our Practice. If a white Man in travelling thro’ our Country, enters one of our Cabins, we all treat him as I treat you; we dry him if he is wet, we warm him if he is cold, we give him Meat & Drinks that he may allay his Thirst and Hunger, and spread soft Furs for him to rest & sleep on: We demand nothing in return. But if I go into a white Man’s House at Albany, and ask for Victuals & Drink, they say, where is your Money? and if I have none; they say, Get out you Indian Dog. You see they have not yet learnt those little Good Things, that we need no Meetings to be instructed in, because our Mothers taught them to us when we were Children: And therefore, it is impossible their Meeting, Should be as they say, for any such purpose, or have any such Effect. They are only to contrive the Cheating of Indians in the Price of Beaver.—

Scientifically Validated 7 minute Bodyweight Workout

Looking for a high intensity full body workout that you can do just about anywhere, anytime and you don’t need any fancy equipment? Here is a great one from the American College of Sports Medicine.


“The following is an example of a 12-station HICT program. All exercises can be done with body weight and implements easily acquired in almost any setting (e.g., home, office, hotel room, etc.). The exercise order allows for a total body exercise to significantly increase the heart rate while the lower, upper, and core exercises function to maintain the increased heart rate while developing strength.

Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between bouts. Total time for the entire circuit workout is approximately 7 minutes. The circuit can be repeated 2 to 3 times.

1. Jumping Jacks
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2. Wall Squat
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3, Push Up

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4. Abdominal Crunch

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5. Step-up on to chair

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6. Squat

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7. Tricep dip

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8. Plank

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9. High knees/Running in place

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10. Lunges

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 11. Push-up and rotation
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12. Side plank
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High Intensity Circuit Training seems to be an efficient means of exercise to help decrease body fat, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve V˙O2max and muscular fitness. As the hectic pace of today’s corporate world continues to infringe on the amount of time individuals have for exercise, these types of programs can offer a good option to help busy individuals improve their health and recover from stress via exercise.

The practicality and accessibility of HICT using body weight as resistance makes this exercise program a viable option for the masses. Individuals who previously believed that they did not have the time for exercise can now trade total exercise time for total exercise effort and get similar or better health and fitness benefits.”

Does Enlightenment Make You More Attractive To Women? Answers from 3 Enlightened People

The cult Guru Osho claimed to have sex with more women than any man in history. Osho claimed to be enlightened and maybe he was, or maybe he was just a charlatan, but other guru’s have had similar reputations for holding mass orgies with their many groupies. But is their sexual prowess due the benefits they received from being enlightened? Or can we chalk it up to charisma and a position of power?

It seems that becoming enlightened would give you many traits that on the face of it would be attractive to the opposite sex. Non-neediness, confidence, happiness, emotional equanimity,…but then again I’ve never heard any woman go…”Oh those buddhist monks, they are so sexy!” Perhaps a side effect of enlightenment is a lack of desire, passion and worldly ambition that many woman also go for.

So what gives? I decided to ask three people I know who are enlightened and get their responses…

The question was, “Has becoming enlightened made you more attractive to women?”

Daniel: I do think that there is something about meditative accomplishment that can make people attractive, many things, in fact, and emotional intelligence is refreshing and reassuring to people, like a breath of sanity, and people who are really present to others, who can really listen and respond to what someone is bringing to an interaction or a conversation, are more compelling, and meditative attainment can generate confidence, and that is attractive, and it can reduce cortisol levels and that makes people seem healthier, and it makes people more lighthearted and people like that, and it creates pathways of thought and association that people find fascinating, and it can itself be a status symbol, and some people like those with status, and it can make the brain function better, which breeds success, and success is attractive, and so and and so forth…


Blue (nickname): Meditating has a giant potential to improve your success with women.

1) Meditation improves equanimity and unattachment. These are the single most important factors when dealing with women. They are the benevolent forms of apathy, the reason that bad boys are so attractive to women.

2) Meditation improves the vibe you give off . How you make the woman feel is the second most important thing. The gold standard is “The way you feel is the way the women feels”. If you are having a blast the woman will have a blast, if you feel super cool and awesome the woman will perceive you as cool and awesome.

The way people perceive you is exactly the way you feel

Dauphine: In my personal experience, what seems to have made me more attractive was meditation itself, not necessarily the progress/enlightenment that came with it. I think it’s somewhat like this: Once you get some decent mindfulness and concentration going, your mind relaxes, your body relaxes, your face relaxes, and you look healthier, happier, more wholesome, so people will like your appearance. As you start understanding the nature of reality, though, you inevitably come to see that “falling in love” and “passion” and “commitment”—and all the other stuff that your partner is probably going to be looking for from you—are basically nothing but deluded mental fermentations leading to suffering, so as soon as you open your mouth, especially now that you’re not really into lying anymore, the women who initially had the hots for you will change their mind really quickly.


That last response is pure gold.




Joe Rogan’s Green Smoothie

Joe Rogan likes to start his day by making a green smoothie. It’s paleo friendly and a great way to start the day.


Here are the ingredients

  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Ginger
  • Kale
  • Pear



1. Chop up cucumber, place in blender

2. Slice up pear, place in blender

3. Blend

4. Add Kale and blend

5. Add celery and ginger


7. Drink!


Here’s a video of the very powerful Joe Rogan making his famous smoothie





3 Quick Tips to Make Eating Paleo Easy For Lazy People

I get a lot of people asking me, “Is the paleo diet hard to follow?” or “I’m pretty lazy and don’t cook much, how can I make eating paleo easy? Below are my three favorite techniques for making things super easy for us lazy folks.

1.Eat the same meals over and over again until you get the hang of it. Basically pick out 2 different breakfast’s..The egg scramble mentioned here or a green smoothie and just alternate back and forth or have whatever you feel like. And then have about 5 different lunch/dinner meals that you know how to make and are comfortable with.  You probably already do this anyway, you are just replacing your meals with healthier choices

Your five different lunch/dinner meals could be
  • Bratwurst/Sausages and golden potato’s.
  • Ground Beef with Mixed veggies and tahini Sauce
  • Salad with roasted chicken
  • Salad with Salmon
  • Juicy steak with a sweet potato
2. Put Potato’s in the microwave. Simply wash off potato, then pierce by stabbing it with a fork to let out heat while in microwave, and then put it in the microwave for about 5 minutes

3. Make food in bunches for the whole week. That means Cook a bunch of chicken/Sausages/steak/Ground beef and then just save it in the fridge for the week. That way whenever you want a meal, just pop a potato in the microwave, or make a quick salad and reheat your meat.

How to Stay Calm in the Face of Death

Bhante G, a buddhist monk residing in Washington D.C found out that his mother was gravely ill and would die sometime in the next few days. He immediately hopped on a plane and started heading towards his native Sri Lanka. After making a pit stop in Hawaii, he switched planes to a jumbo jet. Two hours into his flight over the vast pacific ocean, he looked out the window and noticed one of the engines was on fire!

The pilots voice came on over the intercom and said that they would be turning around immediately and would hopefully be making it back to Hawaii, giving instructions on what to do in case of an emergency landing. As you can imagine, there was panic on board. People weeping, couple’s kissing, the fear of death plastered over the faces of all the passengers. Except Bhante G.  Bhante G  was having a grand ol’ time.

Bhante G had reasoned to himself that if he was going to die, being afraid wasn’t going to prevent him from dying, so he might as well keep his mind calm and clear. He thought to himself that he bad been doing a lot of good deeds recently and didn’t have any regrets, he thought of the moment as a good opportunity to meditate on the concept of impermanence and let go of his attachment to life.

I’ll let Bhante G explain the rest in his own words from his wonderful book “Eight Mindful Steps To Happiness”. The most clear and modern explanation of the Noble Eightfold Path out there.

“I felt no fear.I actually enjoyed watching the flames come out of the engine at 39,000 feet! The flames were blue, yellow, and red. You seldom see such blue flames. Sometimes they were streaming out; sometimes they were low. They looked like fireworks or the aurora borealis. While I was enjoying the drama, the hundred other people on the plane were suffering terribly. I looked at the other passenger’s from time to time and saw the agony they suffered from the very thought of death. They seemed to be dead almost before they died….

…We did make it back to Hawaii and the plane made an emergency landing. We went out the emergency doors as instructed, sliding down the chutes. Going down the chute was an entirely new experience for me. Perhaps everyone else on the plane had at least down a playground slide in their childhood, but I had never done such a thing in the poor village where I grew up. Thus right up to the end, I enjoyed it all very much.”


Let’s recap what was going on in this man’s life..

1. His mother was on her deathbed and he was flying halfway around the world to see her die.

2. As he is flying over the largest ocean on the planet the plane catches on fire and there is a decent chance that it is going to go down and everyone will perish. Can you even imagine the terror you would be experiencing on a plane that was about to crash over the Pacific ocean? What would you be thinking about? All the things you have yet to do in life, how you don’t want to die, how your poor mother is not only dying, but she might find our right before her death that her son died in a plane crash on the way to see her. How you would never see x,y,z person again. It would be absolutely terrifying.

3. Yet this man has such strong control over his own thoughts and emotions that he rationalizes that negative thoughts aren’t going to help him and decides to instead keep a calm mind and focus on the beauty of the flames!

Oh the power of meditation! Keep this in mind the next time you are stuck in traffic, bogged down in work or think you are in some other situation that is ‘just awful’ and ‘couldn’t possibly keep a positive attitude’.  Just remember this story, think about the time that plane crash landed in Hawaii and of all the terrified passengers going down the slide, getting off and running away as fast as possible in case the engine blew up just as they were instructed. Meanwhile, here is this old, bald Sri Lankan man wearing the red and orange robes of a monk and he is going down the slide like “WEEEEE”..


Cavemen Didn’t Get Cavities..But Why?

When I was younger I always used to wonder how did our ancestors ever survive without toothbrushes and toothpaste? Didn’t they all lose their teeth by the time they were 15? I brushed my teeth twice a day, went to the dentist every six months and STILL got cavities.  Our ancestors must have been chewing apples with their gums right?

Well it turns out that our hunter-gathere ancestors didn’t get cavities. Like ever.

And when I switched to a paleo diet two years ago I stopped getting cavities as well. I skipped out on the dentist for two years and when I showed up.. Zero cavities. I had cut out all the processed sugars that I was sure was mucking up my teeth and gums. But it turns out that the answer as to why Hunter-gatherer’s didn’t get cavities might be even a little more complex than that.

In a study published in the journal Nature Genetics, a team of Australian scientists have come up with a different hypothesis. Yes processed sugars ruin your teeth, but our ancestor’s teeth went bad long before the invention of Coca Cola. It all started with the invention of agriculture and our diet changing from that of meat and vegetables to now eating carbohydrate rich foods such as wheat and barley. The problem with this change in diet is that harmful bacteria, especially adapt at feeding off of these carbohydrates began to flourish in our new bread and pasta eating mouths and won out over the friendly bacteria that were the original inhabitants. This lead to gum disease, cavities, and perhaps even diseases not normally associated with the mouth such as diabetes and heart disease. The effect of having your mouth in a state of constant immune response in order to fight off bad bacteria can lead to problems elsewhere in the body.

Just another reason to ditch the grains and start eating Paleo. Avoiding a mouthful of harmful bacteria.

A picture of the Tribal Maori's Teeth Before Adopting Western Diet


The Maori's Teeth After Adopting Western Diet


The Inner Path

There are a few different ways to go about finding happiness in life. The most common one looks something like this…

Get a job–> make money–>acquire things–>keep up with the Jones’s–>get a spouse–>fall in love–>try and maintain connection despite obvious pitfalls of monogamy–>raise children–>hope children are successful

Along the way you may or may not find happiness. Those little moments when your kid takes his first step or you finally have time off your hectic work schedule to take a vacation.  Those moments are great, that is what most people live for. But in between there is generally a lot of stress, too much work, fights with your spouse, your kids get ill. Things just don’t go according to plan. I don’t have to tell you all about this, this is normal life for the vast majority of people on planet earth.

I call this the Outward Path, because it’s the path of trying to make things in your environment just right so that you can live a good life.

There is however a different way to approach life.

The Inner Path.

The inner path is in many ways the opposite of the outward path. The outward path finds happiness by trying to accomplish some goal, or do some activity that causes a positive emotional change within your body.  However, if things don’t work out the way you want them to, sadness and stress appear.  The inner path involves working with your own mind directly so that you can experience well-being regardless of the circumstances of your outward life.

The most popular and perhaps most effective style of the inner path is that laid out by Siddhartha Guatama (more commonly known as the Buddha) in India 2500 years ago. In the hundreds of years since the Buddha existed lots of myths and legends grew up around his life and his teachings and we don’t know exactly what is true. I personally don’t believe that he was in any way other than a normal human being who happened to gain through years of dedicated practice an immense understanding about the workings of his own mind.

In other words, he may have been the world’s greatest psychologist.

What we do know is that you can strip away all the miracles, karma, past lives, in a sense..all the religion that surrounds buddhism and break it down into a very secular philosophy and psychology on how to become happy.

Here is the path to enlightenment.


In buddhism morality is really about living a life that is going to allow you to have as little stress as possible so that you can get the most benefit out of meditation. Getting in fights with others, hurting people, stealing, killing, too much gossiping, or having a job that takes advantage of others all lead to a stressful mind from which it would be hard to meditate. Having greedy worldly ambitions for power, money and excess is also not going to lead you to a place of peace. But neither will a life of asceticism and poverty as the Buddha learned the hard way. That is why the Buddhist path is called “The Middle Way.” Sort out the conditions of your life in such a way that you are not going to be worried about the basics of food, shelter,health and good relations with others than get to practicing.


Now down to the very enjoyable business of meditating.  Here is where the rubber meets the road.  The end goal of meditation is to see reality clearly, without any illusions, but to do this one needs have very strong powers of concentration to focus on whatever aspect of reality you are going to be looking at later on. Therefore it is mandatory to begin your meditation practice by training in concentration. Which I’ve already outlined how to do here..

Eventually when your concentration powers get super strong two things will happen. First you will be able to access incredibly joyous and sublime states of altered consciousness called jhanas. These states of deep absorption are better than sex.  And if you are really good at meditating than you can access these states of bliss whenever you want.

Second you now have requisite concentration powers for the third training.

3. Wisdom

Also known as insight meditation these forms of meditation allow you to focus on the reality that is going on within your own body and mind. You will look at the sensations that make up your feelings, thoughts, and even the nature of your sense of self and see more clearly what they really are and how they work.

There are three realizations that you will come to learn about the nature of reality.

A)Impermanence- Everything in life, and especially when we are talking about the sensations that make up your world of experience is transient. Sensations come and go, thoughts come and go, mental images come and go.  This is important to know because it chips away at the notion of a stable self or mind, that we all believe we have.

B) Suffering- When you really examine your mind, you will notice that desire leads to suffering. I’m not talking about gross levels of suffering such as depression and anxiety attacks, or intense desires such as to become a billionaire or take over the world, but the smallest little minute aspects of our moment-to-moment experience. The desire to overcome boredom, restlessness (think waiting for a commercial to end), the desire to get a word in during a conversation or desire to have this person think you have this quality or that quality. The desire for traffic to move faster. The desire to be pain free or the desire to win this or that or finish whatever it is you are doing so you can do something more enjoyable. When you get really good at meditating you notice there are even more subtle levels of desire than this. What you find is that the current way you view the world as a self and everything outside of you as other leads to inherent unsatisfactoriness the keeps you from being perfectly calm and restful.

You may think, oh but I’m actually happy, I don’t suffer! Well that’s great, but remember I’m talking about very subtle levels of dissatisfaction that you may not be aware of if you aren’t really paying attention to what is going on in your mind. In other words, you think you are happy but you really don’t know just how calm you could be..

C) No-Self.  Probably the most confusing aspect of buddhism, and one that I still haven’t completely wrapped my head around. But the illusion here is that there is a permanent, stable, “I” that exists instead of a series of transient phenomenon that gets weaved into a story of “Me,Mine,I.” To elaborate on this more would be take this post way too long and since my understanding of it is purely theoretical and not experienced (I am not enlightened..yet!) I will hold off for now..

What I can tell you is that this belief in a it the basis for all the desires we have that lead to the subtle levels of unsatisfactoriness that inhabit our moment-to-moment experience of existence.  “I” want this person to think I’m funny, “I” want xyz, I want to be successful, I don’t want this person to know this about me” etc. Once the ego is seen for what is it, an illusion, then it begins to drop away and so do the desires that cause dissatisfaction.

What’s left? What happens when you have have done all of this?

After all this meditating your conscious experience is completely transformed and the way you perceive reality has changed so that your natural state is that of inner peace. A peace that is just way beyond anything you could experience in common every day consciousness. This peace is also relatively independent of external conditions. It is just there, now. You sit at ease with the world, without the need to effect or manipulate it in any way so that you could be less stressed in that moment.  My friend Noah Elkrief, who has attained enlightenment said that even when his Dad was in a life or death surgery at the hospital he sat in the waiting room completely free of worry and at peace. If you want you can access those blissful states called jhana I mentioned earlier, states that are better than sex or any pleasure you come across along the Outer Path. You can do these whenever you want and they have no side effects to your health.

Author of “Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha”, (the legendary underground book that is hands down the best explanation of enlightenment by someone who reached it as normal every day person and not a monk)  Daniel Ingram wrote in response to the question “What is the point of all this?”

Very briefly:

The naturally clear mind is much better than the unclear mind, the semi-clear mind and the intermittently clear mind.
The awake mind is much better than the less awake mind.
The timeless mind is much better than the mind caught in the illusion of time.
The mind without any artificial boundary is much better than the artificially bound mind.
The mind that knows there is no mind is much better than the mind that believes there is one.
The directly perceiving mind is much better than the mind that filters things through and the sense that there is attention.
The mind that knows there is no perceiver is much better than the mind that believes it is perceiving.
The mind that is stainless is much better than the mind that is stained.
The mind that is the same as bare phenomena much better than the mind that is the same as bare phenomena but doesn’t know it.
The mind that is without extraneous noise is better than the noisy mind.
The mind for which all the world arises effortlessly, naturally, lawfully, causally, this is much better than the mind that pretends it is creating effort, creating thought, creating anything.
That fluxing, shimmering field of bare experience that occurs on its own, knows itself directly where it is, as it is, is totally ephemeral, totally fresh, totally natural: this is so much better than the world perceived some other way.
In that mode: there is nothing to want anything.
In that mode: there is nothing to know anything.
In that mode: there is nothing to do anything.
And yet, wanting occurs, as there is an animal that has needs from an ordinary point of view, which is still a valid point of view, but this wanting is just a natural part of the field.
There are preferences, but they are just causality functioning, shimmering, fluxing, doing what it does and always has done.
There is knowledge, but nothing that knows it beyond the shimmering, dancing, flickering little tingling bursts that make up knowledge.

This is vastly, immeasurably better than the other ways of perceiving reality. To prefer something less is madness. 😉