The last week has delivered two absolute gems to my screen.

The first, Strong Medicine by Dr Blake F. Donaldson, is available to read and download on Babel!

I accidentally came upon it via Ash Simmonds and his HighSteaks blog. His meat-filled twitter feed is also recommended. (I have to admit that I’m getting absolute grills, Afrikaans for the heebeejeebees, mentioning some stranger’s twitter feed. StalkerPro here.)

The book itself is quite the entertaining read! A lot of pervasive life truths are punctuated by some boldly stated and highly cringeworthy thoughts straight out of a totally different cultural era. It is a bit of a rollercoaster, but Doc Donaldson pulls out some great one-liners that keep me reading, consider:

“It seems to me there are three horns to the dilemma of the fat man.”

and

“There are probably only two perfect foods-fresh fat meat and clean water.”

Always cutting straight to the point, as he also was in his recommendations to patients:

“Unless you are willing to stop eating flour now and forever, I don’t want to take care of you.”

But the zinger award must surely go to:

“You are out of your mind when you take insulin in order to eat a Danish pastry.”

And then there are musings on medical science that shows some perceptions really have not changed, not one little bit:

“…cholesterol has been made a whipping boy, which is unjustified.
Since the determination of its importance much of the research work on cholesterol has been abandoned, though some is still going on. Talk about cholesterol is old hat, forget it, and certainly it would never help you with weight reduction.”

Sigh.

Donaldson put his patients on a very strict but simple regimen, mostly fatty red meat and coffee three times a day. After the desired sustainable weight was reached, meals could be expanded to include four ingredients. I had a look at my breakfast of eggs, chorizo and tomato cooked in ghee and thought, ja, why overdo the ingredient list and make it more complicated for my body. It’s just a machine, after all.

The man had a sympathetic heart to make up for his stern and strong medicine. He recalls his experiences of working in a hall of soldiers in varying stages of recovery or death, or both, after mustard gas exposure. He crafts a striking image of a Hungarian violinist coming to the hospital ward to play beautiful songs by request from the suffering men, but the doctor, having built up strong armour to defend against the daily horrors of slow deaths, is suddenly overwhelmed by the atmosphere:

“As the strains of that old melody swept through the hall I had to leave. Some things in life you just can’t take.”


The other goodie was another one of the lectures from the Low Carb Down Under series: Marty Kendall on “Managing Insulin to Optimise Nutrition”.

If you know someone who is unlucky enough to have Type 1 Diabetes, have them watch this talk. There is no sensationalism and the explanation behind why Marty and his wife eat like they do is wonderfully clear and logically explained.

But also, this is science communication done right! Yay!

By this I mean that someone has not only made an effort to understand the underlying science, but has taken the extra (and necessary) step of translating it beautifully so that I can get an intuitive grasp of what the hell you are on about. I don’t want to spend two minutes figuring out your graph and axes in a short lecture. Stick some proper labels and pictures in the graph so that I can see what’s up! I think it can be even better, as is always the case, but this is already great to see. Clear, concise and pretty.

Marty Kendall’s blog is over at Optimising Nutrition. Go have a look.

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