About

About this site

Many moons ago, I started this blog to combat some of the myths floating around the vegan world from whence I came—especially wacky notions about human physiology, evolutionary nutrition, the health effects of animal products, and other issues that tended to get me banned from vegan message boards when I talked about them.

But I soon realized there were more exciting things to write about than hybridized avocados and raw vegans with bad teeth. This site was thus reborn into what it is now: an arena to examine the science behind common nutritional beliefs, the ongoing scuffles between omnivores and vegans, and the emerging evidence for individual variation in human nutritional needs… along with cute animal pictures to make my long-winded blog tomes less insufferable (YOU’RE WELCOME).

This site isn’t low-carb or high-carb, vegan or carnivore, raw food or cooked food, or anything else that could be neatly labeled. I avoid “isms” as a rule. My own experience as a (recovered) raw vegan taught me that dogma allegiance is more harmful than anything we could put in our mouths, so the emphasis here is on finding the truth rather than building an ideology. My goal is to make nutritional science accessible and non-boring to those who really care about their health.

Most importantly, this is a place to question everything—including the very words I pen. Respectful critics are not only allowed here, but enthusiastically welcomed! I’m a lifelong student, not a guru, and I learn as much from y’all as you do from me.

dogmaril

About me

Nutshell version for rapid stereotyping purposes:

  • INTJ
  • Enneagram 5w4, sx/so
  • Only child
  • Half Jewish
  • Taurus sun, Leo moon, Libra rising
  • Human Design 1/3 manifestor
  • Shoe size 8

I’m not going to put my age on here anymore because I always forget to change it when I get older. So I’ll just let you guys know I was born on May 4th, 1987, at 6:11 PM Pacific Standard Time—you do the math. (Birthday emails are gleefully accepted.) I’m quasi-nomadic and can be found bouncing between Seattle and California at any given moment. I like Scrabble, cats, thunderstorms, knee-high boots, mysterious things, mountains, really old houses, aspen trees, albino gorillas, sugar snap peas, and the ASL sign for “sea turtle.”

I’m a researcher both by vocation and by instinct. I may seem like a marginally normal human on the outside, but rest assured, I have enough nerd in me to make Steve Urkel look like the Fonz. In January 2014, I published a book called “Death by Food Pyramid” and have a few more simmering on the back burner. My ‘public time’ is divided between speaking at conferences, yapping on podcasts, and consulting with health seekers near and far.

My interest in health started at age seven, when I first went vegetarian, and then resurged at the age of 11 when an undiagnosed wheat allergy turned me into a walking zombie for a year. Although cutting out wheat improved my health tremendously, that alone wasn’t enough to keep me feeling big-H Healthy, and over the years I cycled through various versions of cooked vegan, raw vegan, Weston A. Price-ish omnivore, and what could only be described as “How Could Such a Small Human Eat This Much Sushi,” which was my favorite, but not for long, because money. Until I master photosynthesis and become a breatharian, my current diet is some conglomeration of real-food plant-based no-crap fare with smaller amounts of seafood, eggs, and organ meats.

I firmly believe we all have the right to be healthy, and that an understanding of nutrition isn’t a privilege reserved for the elite. Speaking of which…

Who do I think I am, running a health blog without a nutrition PhD? Shouldn’t I be flipping burgers at McDonalds like all those other English majors?

I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED! This question (which has haunted my inbox for time immemorial) speaks volumes about how we view learning, and why we’re chronically confused about what to believe when it comes to health. “We can’t possibly understand nutrition if we haven’t studied it within the walls of an institution! Let’s just trust someone with formal credentials instead of thinking for ourselves.”

First of all, let’s take that argument to its logical conclusion. Say we’ve made peace with our ignorance and have chosen to fully outsource our brains to the published scholars, professors emeriti, and PhD-holders of the health world. What happens when they disagree with each other? When one “expert” says to go vegan and another says low-carb or bust? When one says to eat breakfast, and the other says fast until noon? When they all present compelling arguments for their wildly, irreconcilably different conclusions?

What then, my friends? Do we flip a coin and side with fate’s victor? Do we thrust our arms into the air and deem the whole situation hopeless? Or do we figure out for ourselves what’s true by polishing off our critical thinking skills and diving into the same pool of evidence that those experts use—a pool available to all of us, if only we put a little time into learning the language of science?

I know which strategy I prefer.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Formal education is a must-have for certain vocations (do you really want to get a root canal from someone who learned their trade from How2BDentist.com?), and I have a touch of envy for those who thrive in a traditional school system (my K-12 experience is best summed up as “low-key prison”). Most of my family has worked in higher education (my dad, a former college vice president; my mom, a former biologist who did postgraduate immunology research), and my original aspiration was to teach at the university level. Some awesome stuff happens there.

But I also believe that—for people who are self-motivated, have the time and resources for independent study, and aren’t learning a hands-on trade—that degree-earning is not only nonessential, but can even be a barrier to objective thinking. Teachers, after all, come equipped with their own set of biases—ones students must cater to or even adopt if they want to pass. Ideas become derivative and weirdly incestuous as they breed within the walls of academia. Some have made the claim, which I’m tempted to agree with, that “Higher education is drowning in BS.” Being outside the system can be a great way to see it clearly.

My nutrition education strategy has been simple. I approach the field of health like learning a new language: total immersion-style. You didn’t learn your native tongue by sitting in a classroom following grammar lessons; you learned it by jumping into an initially confusing world and feeling your way around until it all started making sense. Every day, I make a conscious effort to surround myself with learning opportunities and give my brain non-stop material to eat. I read everything I can get my hands on, and PubMed is my internet-home away from home. If I can’t grasp something on my own, I email or call smart people and ask them to help me. My goal is to understand. I don’t stop digging until I’ve plowed to the bottom and broken my shovel trying to go even deeper.

I believe anything can be learned. I believe the entire world is a classroom. I believe the subjects that have personal relevance are the most enticing, intriguing, and fulfilling ones to study. This is why I blog.

warm

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381 comments

  1. Hi Denise, I too noticed a distinction in eye colour after increasing my consumption of dark green leafy vegetables – especially kale.

    How did you draw a distinction between glutathione and eye colour?

  2. Hi Neisy, I have something kind of off-the-wall I want to discuss with you – can you shoot me an email and I’ll fill you in?
    best,
    Jini Patel Thompson (google me if you want some background)

  3. I have an intelligent question:
    Do I understand it correctly that vegans reject any part of an animal as unnatural, except for dung (fertiliser)?

  4. Death by Food Pyramid is a pretty humorous title . . . Reminds me of the black humor classic by Celine, Death on the Installment Plan.

  5. Have you seen Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human? It’s a very interesting and exhaustively researched review of the role of cooking in human culture and in the evolution of our species. Without spoiling a thought-provoking thesis which deserves its development the conclusions seem pretty clear. We are not well-adapted for a raw diet. Not at all. We are adapted for cooking our food. And there isn’t a single human culture anywhere in the world now or in the record which gets most of its nutrition from raw food.

  6. Everyone, your body responds to anything you consume, you can make the connections. Your body gives results from which you can make connections. Btw, I find a basic human diet, which is omnivorous, including all the basic traditional foods, including plenty of cooked, and some raw, is what works best for me, keeping me well and vital, and apparently is the standard worldwide. Not ‘overeating’ is important. Occasional ‘tonics’ can be helpful such as herbal ‘cleansers’. Alcholic beverages are good for us. All the basics of human traditional diets are generally good. Moderation is key.
    Raw veganism whether LFRV or otherwise is extremely insufficient whether plentifully consumed / high caloric consumption, moderate, or low. It’s unbalanced for the body.

  7. Very impressive critiques of Forks Over Knives and China Study. Agree with much, the rest is in an area of grey “IMO zone”, but you’re perspectives are quite well thought out and bottom line: I’m impressed and would appreciate (theoretically, since it’ll likely never happen) any “chance meeting in a cafe over some coffee and having a chat”! Keep up the great and spirited search for truth!
    Dr Tom

  8. I am extremely impressed by your work… It is absolutely beautiful. I have had a similar struggle with formal education. I am currently finishing a BSc in Plant Science and Neuroscience and Master Gardener training, having come from the arts (BA Philosophy/International Development), having come from an agricultural and carpentry background. I am looking for excellent PharmD programs in the US so that I might eventually practice compounding pharmacognosy. We’re a year apart! Even though I’m the older one, I feel like you’re a decade ahead. All the best to you, and please keep at it! You’re amazing. All the best,
    Gryph

  9. Your writing skills are very good. However, I feel though that your free-thinking vs credible degree in science separation is not scientifically mature. Creative thinking is wonderful, but my 10 years of doctoral research taught me how to think clearly, and, as it turned out, invoked more free-thinking. It certainly did not suppress it. There’s more to it than you think and you would benefit by experiencing it. Scientific literature is not a blog. Sometimes taking years to compile it’s then put up against peer review before published. And if it’s not good enough, it’s not accepted, period.
    I like your mission, but I think you’d make a greater impact experiencing research methods and not just reviewing them. The people (scientists included) who can make a difference, will immediately dismiss your good ideas simply because of your impression of credibility being just a college degree. Credibility comes from years and years designing experiments, carrying them out, failing miserably over missed points, and starting over. it also comes from working side by side some brilliant people who can teach you a lot….a biochemistry or chemistry PhD would serve you well.

    1. I think you misunderstand Denise’s explanation of her educational background. The argument is not that college degrees are empty credentials, but rather that she is able to construct a valid set of knowledge and critique scientific articles without formal PhD credentials.

      While I agree that Denise has the mind to do well in biochemical research, I think that the impact that she’s making by reviewing existing research is immense. The ability to take very technical, vary vast fields of knowledge and coalescing them into understandable and enjoyable-to-read snippets is crucial to exposing more lay-readers to the data behind nutritional theory. So long as her analysis is sound, the so-called “people (scientists included) who can make a difference” would be remiss to dismiss her arguments on any basis other than the virtue of the argument itself.

      In your post, you insinuate that those who do not dismiss her ideas due to her impression of credibility are incapable of making a difference. As someone who loves logic and reason, I find this to be deeply offensive. Denise’s work resonates with people who thirst for knowledge amid the static of dietary debate, and the analyses she produces allow them to more objectively evaluate their dietary choices. She IS one of the people who are making a difference.

      The idea that helping people understand at an individual level is useless, and that change can and/or should happen from a higher societal station (such as academia or government) is elitist, and I predict will also prove wrong.

    2. You are mistaken about Credibility. It’s a nice idea you’ve got there but it’s wrong. Also, your experience invoked more free-thinking? I’d hate to see where you started from! You can’t seem to accept that someone has done well without spending years pandering to a superior.

      This is coming from someone who is following the conventional academic route. It does help, yes, and it does create opportunities, but it’s not the be all end all you seem to be labeling it as.

    3. You don’t need a credential to know how to think.
      To do science you just need to follow the scientific method. Period.
      Ask to Michael Faraday if he needed a college degree to become the father of electromagnetism. Or maybe ask to the Wright brothers if they needed an engineering degree to build their plane. Or maybe to James Joule, a manager of a brewery, maybe he could tell us how he became the father of modern physics without a degree.

      The formal education in institutions might ensure a framework for common people, but it is not necessary for gifted people who are eagerly willing to learn by themselves.

      Nothing beats gifted people full of wonder and restless curiosity, passion for knowledge, rationality and logic. Autodidacts are in a whole different category from the rest of the population.

  10. Hello!! I am really interested in raw diet, and all thsi talk about changing your eye colour. Could you be as kind as to show a picture before your eyes changed coulor ? I would be really greatful 🙂

  11. Dear Denise,
    Great blog. Excellent insights. Just a few questions.
    1. Can you point me to some links on how to eat, process raw meat products (mainly meats, pork, chicken, beef, etc.)? Where I live fish is not readily available freshly.
    2. Aren’t you worried about clams and shells and hepatis?
    3. From sources I have gathered flaxseed oil has close to equivalent omega fats as cod liver oil, is this something you can verify for me? Once again, where I live cod liver oil is not available and expensive, whereas flaxseed oil is cheap and abundant.
    4. I know cooking oil is not recommended, but if you do use oil, what is the best you can recommend (coconut oil)? Or what do you recommend for light cooking (fat?)?
    Also, if you take a personal opinion into consideration, here it is. You should get a nutritionist degree. You have obviously emerged yourself up to a point, where you are more knowledgable then many nutritionist. However, if you want to really make a change, I am sure this will be bought up against you. Thanks, Ben from Hungary…You can also reply to titkosbalint@gmail.com

  12. Hi Neisy,

    I adore your approach to the continual experiment on how to best care for a human, and communicate your views on the research coherently with less bias than most. (I almost put no bias, but really, the best we can do is grow our awareness of what kind of bias we may have and work on being transparent about it…) Let’s see if I can sum up an overview of my relevant ones for instance… then I promise to head straight back to more comments actually for you and your blog my dear! 😉

    I had a desire in my teens to figure all that out as soon as humanly possible so I could “help people”… so I started aiming for med school to be a doctor… to be informed, healthy and helpful – and well paid…

    Once my post secondary got underway I just couldn’t see myself putting in all that effort of a 4 year degree in anything (that is any degree is actually acceptable to get into med school, provided you can pass the entrance exam), to do that grueling entrance exam, followed by at least 6 more years of study and most likely end up seeing patients for a super brief period, finding an ill and prescribing a pill… my plan b ended up looking for more time with the people, off to nursing classes I went… maybe I’ll even be a diabetes educator… Then I’ll be informed, healthy, helpful and paid decent for sure! right?… right…

    Immersed in full time nursing I did pick up a few healthful tips and tricks along the way (most of which was found outside the classroom teachings or official position of the health authorities that oversaw my license)… however I was far from feeling healthy and helpful… and was questioning that informed part a bit between bouts of questioning if I could have less ethical stress dealing street drugs than doctor prescribed drugs… what is truly “informed” consent? why don’t new grads seem to know about things like prune juice?…

    Needless to say, feeling like a legal drug pusher for government endorsed health care just isn’t my thing… and after a few post nursing years of attempting to educate myself on how to best care for this human, I still come up feeling like I am a long way off of truly informed consent on everyday nutrition… I do have a bias against “modern medicine” sticking their sticky fingers into diabetic education (which I never did specialize in) or mental health – way too much medication on that scene and a whole rant and rave for another day! If I get hit by a truck, sure as heck I want a medical doctor to piece me back together again… otherwise all the kings horses and all the kings men can go for tea really…. even just the different forms of IV infusions prescribed – I think now I would be much more comfortable with an IV if someone who has studied nutrition and its effects on the body was present to influence what was in that cocktail…

    And now my darling, back to you! 😉

    Your energy for life and health are infectious! It has been a fun couple hours discovering your blog and the various opinions on it (and some opinions of your writing on 30bananasaday).

    I don’t know if I would want to eat the exact same as you, or if your site has all the answers to the question of what food is best for optimal human performance – I do know that I am really enjoying your personality and level headed approach to things. The whole China Study debate is great food for thought! Thanks for not “having an axe to grind” or paid agenda.

    I am intrigued by where you are at in your journey and where you may end up later on… I see a few people on your site recommend you firm up your “official” learning in nutrition to go further… well I can’t help but add my 2 cents here and say if you wanna blog and share your story, write articles and books, you are well on your way! Keep up the good work!

    I hear you on the free thinking and academic routes! After having seen medicine from a few different angles, I am learning more on nutrition, and health in general, OUTSIDE official channels… Funny though, I’ve had times where I present someone with some health info I learned (after my nursing years) and there is a point of contention – which is no longer debated after I add in my background with nursing…. It may not have any bearing whatsoever, even if there is good stand alone evidence, most people do put more weight on commercialized learning and designations. In general the nursing title tends to lend some weight in a lot of arenas as it is touted as being the most trusted designation in health care… Initials/designations can open doors and minds sometimes…

    My official recommendation – have fun and grow with it! Just as there are choices to public school or home school for basic education, we all have choices on where we get our education on how to care for a human.

    I think I’ll come back often and hope to grow with you in this sea of information and opinions.

    Be well 😉

    Oh, and if you have seen a critique of the eat right for your type diets I would love to be pointed in that direction! Could use some intelligent background info on that debate too.

    Many thanks.

  13. Lovely eyes, Denise. I got the same colour change but in adolescence, from brown to greenish. I am curious about the glutathione cause, Is there any source on that? I could not find it.

    Cheers

  14. Just stumbled onto this blog. Very fun reads (you are an excellent writer) and interesting, well-researched articles! As someone who has recently gone Paleo-ish (and lost about 50lbs of fat while putting on muscle without trying as hard as I should be), I’m always on the lookout for books/websites with recent nutritional research. So, thanks! 🙂

    Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays etc!

    BTW, let me know if you need a boyfriend. I also like mountains and cats and all that other stuff too, so there’s that. I’m not half as attractive as you, and you would need to fly me out to Hawaii, and probably support me financially for several months. Also, I can’t guarantee that I won’t fall for some other hot blogger. Are you sold yet?

    Let me know,
    Horse!

  15. Denise,

    You are a breath of fresh air in the contaminated indu$try of health.

    I greatly appreciated reading your review of “Forks Over Knives” and do hope you continue challenging the establishment with your research. As you, Dr. Mercola, Dr. Burzynski and numerous others keep chipping away at medical dogma in search for the truth, we’ll hopefully see the decline in the medical-govt-food industry corruption that’s centered around the status quo of revenue over health.

    I do hope you email your list when your book comes out.

    Ted

  16. I love all of your stuff! You have a truly great mind and have a wonderful talent in keeping the most involved, usually confusing topics interesting, understandable and humorous.

    And, holy crap, I recently noticed that my eyes have changed color from light brown to almost green! I thought I was going bonkers, but read the last line of this post. Guess a whole year of finally eating right has done it!

  17. Hello,

    …, “Death By Food Pyramid,” to be published mid-2012 by Mark Sisson.

    heuuu… and in french ??

    Very Thanks for sharing your ideas, and a little of your brain! ..in the “paleo” jungle nutrition today …

  18. Great blog, I love your attitude and the tightness of your reasoning, just went through 1000 words or so of your rebuke of the China Study and was frantically nodding in approval, when I realized I wouldn’t finish the whole article before lunchtime I looked up the ‘about’ section and was blown away by your CV, I am extremely impressed and it doesn’t happen very often!

  19. Fascinated by some of your blog here, but I am still wondering how an English major can make some of the bold medical claims you do. You have no personal clinical research or lab time to back up what you are preaching. You say that the internet has taught you most of what you claim to be medical fact? You claim learning by “total-immersion”, yet you don’t claim ANY examples of those learning resources. Please take some time to think about putting this information out into the real world. Your claims may be mistaken as legitimate science and actually harm some people, who are not willing to do any discovery on their own. Trying my best not to be rude, but please try to be honest with yourself about your qualifications. Also, please no rebuttals about “paying for a degree”. That is the statement that most people lacking data or formal education in a specific area use. Also I am not going to pretend to have any legitimate or empirical data to negate your claims, as I agree with some of them (as far as nutrition), but you are trying to state things as hard fact. Also you are trying to debunk legitimate medical/clinical/laboratory research in most of your blog postings. Your recommendations are unfounded and reckless. Sorry if it stings, but I am sure you will brush it off.

  20. Ari,

    I have the credentials to comment on or debunk “legitimate medical/clinical/laboratory research.” But I think it is great that Denise comments on them too. God help this country if the nimrods who have run our government and our medical institutions actually succeed in dismantling the first amendment as it pertains to “health information.” It is certainly your right to think and say that what she is doing is reckless, but it is her absolute right to comment on these studies. We are all losers if we collectively wind up silencing those we disagree with, especially after we judge their pedigree to be deficient. In my opinion, after spending better than 25 years in academia, most of what we see published as “legitimate medical research” is close to worthless. Most of it is preconceived biases packaged as science in order to get published. And the people that do that have impeccable credentials too…………….

  21. Not to be rude but your “academic profile” reeks of arrogance. Perhaps, if you didn’t think you were above the education system, you would have received better grades and had the opportunity to attend a university more challenging than your elementary school.

    1. Denise got straight A’s at the university and received the “Outstanding Senior Award” AND “Outstanding English Major Award” when she graduated. She put herself through college–didn’t spend one cent on tuition–winning writing contests and scholarships.

      She couldn’t receive better grades because they don’t give anything higher than A’s.

      Her mom.

  22. I have been wondering why vegas are so concerned with a paleo/ raw food / whatever lifestyle.
    Then it occured to me.
    Wheat is being pounded from all directions.
    Off course if they loose their saint wheat, rhey will be in trouble, as they will be left with just vegtables (and fruits).
    This would in turn mean, they would need a micribiology diploma just to get enough nutrients.
    This must be what pisses them off.
    It is also really wierd, hiw they all show signs of mental retardation, i am sorry, but i will just call it as it is.
    This has to be the wheat, which has be proven to contribute to this.
    Just my 2 cents.

  23. So very glad I stumbled upon your page. Can’t wait to dive in! Please add me to your newsletter list (if you have one….on my cell and haven’t fully explored 😉

  24. thanks so much, ive recently found you on youtube and listened to your lecture about debating vegetarians. I am so glad someone is offering a different point of view and i really hope you stay on it and keep writing, posting on youtube etc… your awesome, and cute as well:) thanks and dont give up

  25. Hi Denise,
    Just discovered your blog. I love, love, love this part:
    “I typically spend about seven hours a day reading and writing about nutrition—voluntarily. I may seem like a normal human being on the outside, but rest assured, I have enough nerd in me to make Steve Urkel look like the Fonz. I’m currently writing my first book, “Death By Food Pyramid,” to be published mid-2012 by Mark Sisson.”
    Ann

  26. Hi Denise,

    Thank you so much for all the work you have done in this field. I know you aren’t a dietician or a molecular botanist, but I appreciate the work you have done. My brother got taken by Colin T Campbell, but I have hope for him as he is counting the days since he converted(Means it isn’t set in stone yet.)

    I found myself watching the movies he pointed out, and not liking the conscript nature of the message, searched out to debunk them, and I found your blog. Want to get your book, like yourself, I am an english lit grad who am actually in military logistics, go figure.

    I know since this is like response 2K you wont likely read it, but still thanks all the same.

  27. I hope you send out an email to this address when your book is out as you’re a very talented writer!

    Your use of humor makes reading very easy, if not fun!

    Love from North Cal,
    Tim

  28. Neisy,

    I like your blog! As someone who was formally trained to be a “lover of wisdom” at the doctoral level (but not in a field related to nutrition, mind you), taught at the university level for a few years, published a couple peer-reviewed scholarly research, and saw how extremely biased and protective of their cherished beliefs many of my colleagues — and I, also — had regarding how to interpret research results, I appreciate your efforts to critically — meaning logically, not necessary vituperatively — challenge the statements and opinions of those who seem to rely on their formal credentials to try to convince the rest of us of the merit of their opinions.

    And because many such people — and I speak from experience from being one, as well as working closely with a number of them over the years — tend to consider those without such credentials as wholly unqualified to challenge their opinions, it is not surprising that some folks, as well as their lesser-degreed but passionate admirers, criticize your blog based on the your lack of formal credentials. What those folks do not realize is that logic and reasoning are not limited to only those with such credentials, even if such credentials more easily allow some folks to hold positions at research and/teaching institutions and afford them preferential consideration regarding research funding. 

    And as you pointed out with your reference to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, neither of them had even college degrees. And let’s not forget that Albert Einstein got tremendous inspiration for his ideas regarding the photovoltaic effect and special relativity while working at the Swiss patent office, a job he took because he could not find work in a teaching position after graduating from university!

    But if those examples don’t convince folks of the merit of a fresh challenge to thinking regarding a paradigm touted by those who are already established (and recognized) in their field, here is the link to a-now MIT Sloan School of Business professor whom I had the opportunity to hear discuss her doctoral dissertation before a small lecture hall of academics, who were in the process of evaluating whether to offer her a teaching position at their well-known-in-their-field school, but judging from the comments I heard them make while attending that presentation as a doctoral student, didn’t seem to like the idea that their dominance in their field would be overshadowed by the next generation of researchers who were not trained to follow the paradigm they adhered to:
    http://web.mit.edu/rhenders/www/home.html

    And guess what? This person’s ability to challenge herself and others to think more clearly on the issues related to innovation, paradigms and research policy have earned her many credos over the years that I am sure will inspire you to ignore the spurious criticisms of those who place too much weight on the statements of those with credentials in the nutrition field merely because they have them:
    http://ideas.repec.org/e/phe120.html

    Oh, and for those who would like to dig deep into the specific source document that helped me identify this innovator-in-her-field so many years after hearing her talk, you can check it out here, with its numerous references to her early work on the subject of the longevity of faulty paradigms in another particular field in this 800+ page doctoral dissertation on technological innovation in the semiconductor industry:
    http://www.xecu.net/schaller/schaller_dissertation_2004.pdf

    Again, thanks, Neisy! And keep up the good work!

    The Tightwire Guy

  29. I am impressed with your blog and your insight, but what struck me most was that you are a stunning beauty! Life must be good!

  30. I’m a new, big fan of your blog, Denise.
    My wife watched Forks Over Knives and I came home to a fridge full of soy “milk,” quinoa, multitudes of colored produce, and tofu.
    While I must say we’re about 80% or so plant based, and pretty much always were, I thought she overreacted. I watched it, and being the engineer I am, questioned the bias and legitimacy of the claims made.
    At 30, I’m in the best shape of my life. My athletic ability and form (8% body fat and trending down) is as good as ever. Diet plays, and will play, a huge roll.
    I look forward to your book and continuing to learn from your blog how to discern the so called scientific claims around nutrution.

  31. Hey, your blog is great, thank you for putting it up there for us!

    I disagree with your Raw Egg consumption. I deeply believe in instinct gut-following…

    When you take a raw egg and swish it around your mouth, don’t you just want to puke??? I gag.. x_X

    1. Nope. Some folks have problems with textures. Seems you don’t do slimy. You might be able to remedy this by separating the yolk from the white and just eating the yolk for a while.

      Save the whites and add them to chicken soup or something 🙂

  32. Great blog and really loved your comments on why you feel qualified to run a health blog without the formal training. I agree that formal higher education has its place. But I developed interest in many of the areas that I’m most passionate about long after I got my degrees. There is definately a place for the passionate “amateur” in this world who can often bring insights (and in your case, great writing) from a variety of experiences that the dedicated professional lacks.

  33. all i can say is: WOW!
    i read your deconstruction of the “red meat will kill you” “study” on sott.net https://www.sott.net/articles/show/243055-Will-Eating-Red-Meat-Kill-You-
    and it directed me to this blog. and then i read your academic story – WOW. what a monster brain you are. i’m floored. :-)) and funny, too. and gorgeous! i just love women!
    i’m 37, i’ve had late stage chronic lyme disease for around 20 years of my life, i’ve been anti-meat all my life, would never spend my personal money on buying meat but was not a vegetarian (i would never be able to refuse meat when offered), then i started experimenting with various diets since it finally hit me that what i was eating had a major impact on how i felt physically and mentally. so i went from cutting out sugars, sprouting beans and peas, to going raw vegan, not raw but vegan, fishetarian, not vegan but raw and cooked meat and it finally hit me what was making me sick: starches, sugars and dairy. so after around 5 years of trial-and-error i finally arrived at the diet that minimizes my lyme symptoms to the point of near non-existence: meat (all forms and colors and temperatures) and fish, leafy greens, a lot of animal fat (cholesterol), eggs, raw almonds now and then, no dairy, no sugar, no starches, no starchy veggies, no caffeine. i eat meat 2 – 3 times a day. i’ve been on this diet for over 2 years now. the clarity of mind is just awesome :-)). i’m 5’11” and weigh 150lbs, am always being asked whether i used to be a model – just to make clear how trim i am. so after a year of being on that diet i found out that it had a name: paleolithic. and that it had a movement! and that there were food symposiums about that type of diet! and that there were restaurants dedicated to it! and that there were doctors who had cured their late stage multiple sclerosis with it (dr. terry wahls), and people who saved their inflamed colons from being surgically removed (laura knight-jadczyk’s son) and that there were cardiologists with 20+ years of experience (dr. dwight lundell and the author of “wheat belly”) who were completely debunking the idea of cholesterol = heart attack. wowowow. the rabbit hole just kept getting deeper and deeper LOL.
    so, yeah so far my diet change has been a phenomenal experience.
    a woman who is living with me and who started joining me at meals, so she basically adopted my eating habits, and who started substituting milk with almond milk said that she also started feeling clearer, calmer, lighter, more energy and: she said she’s had a bad vaginal discharge all her life which stopped around 4 weeks ago when she stopped using dairy. the discharge had been especially worrisome for her since she was diagnosed with fibroids in her uterus in her 20’s. she’s 47 now.
    so anyways, thanks for sharing your brilliant and entertaining mind with us. it’s a real treat :-))

  34. Thank you for shining a bright light on Forks Over Knives. I’m really impressed with your insight and readable detail. If you ever want to publish a book with a medical oncologist (you do all the work, I act as the figurehead), hit me up.

  35. Happy 25, Denise! It’s 3am Seattle time and I coincidentally just noticed your birthday in your bio, so perhaps I’m the first to send greetings. Love your blog, super intelligent and life changing, and was excited to see you excerpted in Wheat Belly. Hope your book is coming along, can’t wait to read it.

  36. Denise,

    I am in love with your blog. I’m a premed student and I’ve bounced around different diets myself. My biggest peeve is bad science, followed closely by adherence to bad science and to correlation=causation. I’m thrilled to be able to read criticisms of bad science written in vivid language… speaking about degrees, I won’t have a degree in science either… I’ll have a Classics B.A. with a minor in chemistry from my med school prerequisites. Useless degrees for the win!

    I was linked to your blog after writing a post about my feelings on dietary dogmatism. My latest self-experiment is in the paleo sphere, and in the midst of vegan-bashing I’ve repeated like a scratched CD my sentiment that anyone seeking to return to eating real, whole, sustainable foods–regardless of whether Bessie the Cow is friend or food (or both)–is a comrade-in-arms in the fight for optimum health. It helps to have a low-carbing sister who eats red meat and spinach to manage anemia from thalassemia minor and good friends who are just about 100% raw vegan (except on their birthdays).

    I’ll look forward to your book!

  37. Well done! Your critical thinking skills exceed currently accepted “health” and “nutrition” guidelines.

    We are on a similar diet discovered by self-experiment which put an end to many physical ailments–and 15+ lost pounds for both my sweet husband and myself.

    You are leading the way and we are wildly proud of you.

  38. I came across your blog while searching for information on casein and cancer. You did a great job debunking that, and I feel more informed than I had before about food. I also think you are a beautiful and intelligent woman. Marry me?

  39. Smart idea for a blog site. If it encourages people to change for the better (reduce their fat, sugar, cholesterol, and decrease their footprint, it is good. But, please don’t give em a reason to stay fat and sick. Please consider removing your critique of Forks Over Knives. There are many ways to interpret data and you were not selected for the review board prior to determine the studies publishing. The tone of your review reads very self serving. Please be supportive, and Best Wishes

  40. Francis, I couldn’t disagree more, and don’t understand your remark: How would it make sense for only those officially involved with production of a scientific study, book, or documentary to be the ones to publish analysis, fact-checking, and critique of those? Seems to me that they’d be more likely to be inherently self-serving. Personally, I’m a big fan of independent fact checking and analysis of studies, like this blog, in fact I believe that’s considered the basis of scientific method.

    FWIW re: Forks Over Knives, it was a handful of themes and assertions I noticied in that film that didn’t make sense to me (correlation confused with causality, etc.) that drove me to search for independent critques of it online, which is how I came upon Denise’s analysis and found it to jive exactly with the misgivings I had about the film’s claims and conclusions.

  41. I like your writing voice immensely from reading your most recent blog post, and just had to comment that my birthday is May 3rd (I turned 14 the day before you were born) and I have a RED house in Corvallis. 🙂

  42. Hello, Denise. I just learned about your blog and love what I have read so far. Your perspectives on the raw food diet, real/whole foods, and animal foods are exactly what I have believed in for many years. You have a great writing style. I also appreciate your thorough research that you bring into your writings. Looking forward to reading more of your posts and getting your book when it comes out. Thank you and keep up the great work!

  43. I was recommended to read your analysis on the China Study. Sadly, it only confirms my fears. Enough scientists still approach research like a religion, where faith seeks facts. I’m glad people like you exist who have can crunch data and spit wisdom out to shut those idiots up. Keep the bastards down.

  44. Pretty face! Sexy bod! Addicted to raw meat and attention! I’ve been following your fight with Colin Campbell. You appear to be the mosquito attacking the elephant. What worries me however, is the raw meat you are consuming with such gusto contains all kinds of added pollutants. Eventually you will pay a high price, and I am sorry about it. Please — give up the raw meat before you really do yourself serious damage.

  45. Denise, I think I love you.

    And I’ll admit that it’s in a slightly weird, stalker type of way and I hope you’re okay with that.

    I found your site googling Ancel Keys, whom I, as a low carb, plant-avoiding carnivore, viewed as killing more people than Hitler or Stalin, and you restored a more balanced viewpoint of him in my eyes. I’m often (okay, always) accusing the low fat advocates of being blind to good science and healthy critique but your take on Keys was a good reminder that even the most open-minded of us start to close up once we lock in on a belief. The man was just a human who made some mistakes.

    I experiment with my diet a lot (and I refuse to get into an argument with someone on the subject of diet and nutrition if they’re not willing to experiment on themselves) and your posts remind me that I need to experiment with the opposite hypothesis too, and be open to whatever results yield.

    We can never be together, Denise, but I will always look at you from afar and see “the total package”: uber smart, confident yet humble, funny and articulate. I will look at your photo and think, “I want to eat what she’s eating.” I will wonder about the carpaccio we might have shared.

    Goodbye.

    You hang up.

    No you.

    You hang up.

    Okay on three.

    Bye.

    Bye.

    Bye.

    I can’t believe you’e still here!

    Bye.

    K bye

  46. Hello Denise. My name is John M. Raht, and I just self-published a book, called “The Diet Wars! Decisions That Have Harmed the Health of Millions” I know it would not quite be your cup of tea, but I would like to give you a copy, to see how far afield you think I’ve gone.

    Let me know where I can send it, and I’ll get it in the mail. Please reply to my email address: johnraht@aol.com.

    Hope to hear from you.

    John

  47. Denise, I came across your magnificent site while investigating the claims made in Forks Over Knives, and after glancing around the rest of this I have the impression I’ve stumbled into some kind of internet blog wonderland. I am impressed by both the quantity and quality of your words, and I would spend hours more reading tonight if only my time to rise was more than six hours away. Thank you for your investigation into FOK; as an engineer I was a bit skeptical of the arguments made in the film, but I lack the time to follow up the way that you did, nor would I have done the job so well.

  48. Stumbled over your blog while researching claims made in Forks Over Knives. I am a flexatarian and I really felt the movie was pushing for total veganism-that put me off a little. Anyway, I love your blog! Once upon a time I did not know diddly squat about nutrition, but now I am on my way to becoming an expert. I pondered going for a formal education in nutrition but I totally agree with you, there is really no need when you can look up stuff on the Internet, buy the book and besides if you go to any university they can give you guest access to their journal databases!! I look forward to reading your book because you write so eloquently. It is really a breathe of fresh air reading blogs that are free of grammatical errors and also rich in thoughtful writing. Keep blogging, I am hooked on your writing style.

  49. Thank you Denise,
    You are the mirror of my passionate food soul. I am a nutritionist in Denver with a huge passion and drive to learn as much as I can about food and holistic health. I also ginny pig myself through all the different diets and detox plans, learning and exploring, adjusting and taking in. I struggle with big agg and government agencies and all the politics behind our food system. I trust my intuition to lead me down the correct path, never really trusting all the research and how it is interpreted. I have been in private practice with focus on GI disorders, fertility and pregnancy, as of late epigenetics. I struggle with reaching the masses and where my career is taking me. I feel inspired by your passion, I am not alone! Please keep up the amazing dedicated work.

    Thank you!

  50. So where’s the study? I don’t see any link to more information. Without details about the research this is blurb is meaningless.

  51. First of all, if you believe valid education only happens in a classroom setting, I sure hope you aren’t reading this blog on a computer—since both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were college dropouts without any credentials to work with technology.

    when i read your lines , i was blown away . good thinking and its true. you don’t need a piece of certificate sheet to prove who you are . your blog is so cool , have a good one .

  52. The comment about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates-logical fallacy; counting the hits and ignoring the misses.

    “Scientific journals make sure that studies are credible and worth publishing by having them reviewed by other researchers qualified to do so. The reviewers can recommend that the study be published or not, based on what they think of the study design and other factors.” from Vegan for Life by Jack Norris and Virginia Messina.

    I highly doubt any of Minger’s followers have the qualifications to properly understand the China Study, or how she has analysed it.

    This is not to say a lack of qualifications makes someone stupid; but attempting to analyse and be taken seriously criticizing a scientist is like a child with an inflatable sword trying to pick a fight with a soldier; you just don’t have the resources nor the knowledge.

    Good stuff, deleting a comment from a cancer epidemiologist; people should really take you seriously eh?
    From what I’ve read, Dr Campbell shut you down in his responses.

    And you know, your credentials seem even more bare when you unprofessionally post a petty video of animals getting killed, titled “how to win an argument with a vegetarian or vegan”. I know this has attracted a lot of negative comments, but what to you expect when you show you have no compassion for non-human animals?

    And science researchers without qualifications, I’m sure you’ll find they are nonexistent.

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