Julia Winter

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since Aug 31, 2012
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Pediatrician with a Master's Degree in Nutritional Sciences. Moved to Portland, Oregon in the summer of 2013. Took Geoff Lawton's first online PDC in 2014.
Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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Recent posts by Julia Winter

Ah, sugar.  It was many years ago that I watched a lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig, a pediatric endocrinologist, that at that point had 3 million views (it's had 9.2 million views now):

It's a long video, but worth your time.  In this, he explains that fructose, the part of sucrose (sugar) that makes it sweet, is as toxic to your liver as alcohol.  He put up the Krebs cycle and showed why fructose can't go 'round like a glucose can.  So, only the liver can metabolize fructose.  Fructose doesn't make you drunk like alcohol, but it is metabolized in the same way as alcohol, and if you eat/drink too much fructose, you damage your liver.

Back in Wisconsin I had a morbidly obese teenager, over 300lbs and I checked some blood tests because I was worried about him developing type 2 diabetes. His hemoglobin A1C was high, but not at diabetic levels.  However, his ALT and AST, the liver enzymes, were highly elevated, indicating hepatitis.  He had no risk factors for infectious hepatitis.  I referred him to a pediatric gastroenterologist, who performed a needle biopsy of his liver.  The pathologist looked at the tissue from his liver and called it "non-alcoholic fatty liver syndrome," basically saying this teenager has a liver that looks like the liver of an alcoholic.  

At the time I was still a bit of a sugar addict, and I was buying Agave syrup from Costco to sweeten my coffee.  The label said it was a "low glycemic index sweetener" and that sounded good.  After watching the video I realized that the reason that agave syrup has a low glycemic index is that it is almost all fructose, which is toxic.  I stopped using the agave syrup.  I learned to drink my coffee without sweetener.
1 day ago

Kyle Neath wrote:If you haven't read the book this is from (1491), I'd definitely suggest it.   (snip)

Once I was able to rearrange my perspective from Americans were technologically behind Europeans to Americans were innovating in food while Europeans were innovating in war, it really helped a lot of things click into place in my head.

That is an excellent formulation, I might steal that!  (As you can tell from my previous post, I steal wonderful phrases all the time.)
2 weeks ago

Tereza Okava wrote:The link I forgot to put in before: just one example of new research indicating how little we know https://www.businessinsider.com/archaeologists-found-previously-undiscovered-settlements-in-the-amazon-2018-3
Terra preta in regions also considered to have been "just wild" seems to discount this idea. We apparently still have a lot to learn, and like Julia says, the sooner we get on this the better!!

Great article! I love the end:

"Many parts of the Americas now thought of as pristine forest are really abandoned gardens," Christopher Fisher, an archaeologist at Colorado State University who was not involved in the study, told The Wall Street Journal.

The Amazon rainforest, once thought of as completely untouched before European colonization except by small bands of hunter-gatherers, may actually have supported a kind of large-scale sustainable agriculture that influences the growth of the forest to this day.

"The forest is an artifact of modification," de Souza, the study's lead author, told The Washington Post. "It has nothing to do with the kind of practice we are seeing nowadays — large-scale, clearing monoculture. These people were combining small-scale agriculture with management of useful tree species. So it was more a sustainable kind of land use."  

A lot of environmentalists like the idea of removing humans from places.  I think what we're learning is that humans can make things better as well as making things worse.  One of my favorite permaculture ideas is to stop worrying only about your footprint and start worrying about your handprint.  What can each of us do to maximize photosynthesis?  

I truly think the solution to the world's problems can be found in a garden, if you define garden as land where humans influence how things grow.
2 weeks ago
I'd encourage you to read the article, it's very interesting.  Nobody is saying that humans planted the entire Amazon, the conservative estimate is 12%  Given the lifespan of trees, that's not so hard to imagine.

Another similar lesser known fact is that the "Great Dying" in the Americas after the introduction of European diseases led to such regrowth of forest that it likely caused the mini Ice Age of the late 1500's and early 1600's


“The great dying of the indigenous peoples of the Americas resulted in a human-driven global impact on the Earth system in the two centuries prior to the Industrial Revolution,” wrote the UCL team of Alexander Koch, Chris Brierley, Mark Maslin and Simon Lewis.

The drop in temperature during this period is known as the “Little Ice Age”, a time when the River Thames in London would regularly freeze over, snowstorms were common in Portugal and disrupted agriculture caused famines in several European countries.

Humans have been influencing the climate for a long time.  I find this hopeful. I think we can save the planet by transforming scrubland, currently with very little photosynthesis going on, to grasslands and forest.  We need to get on this!
2 weeks ago
I don't think intermittent fasting will make your poo black.  Black sticky poo can be from bleeding of the stomach or intestine.  Black poo with a more normal texture can be from iron supplements, or other things you ate.

It's pretty easy to check for the presence of heme in stool - I think any primary care doctor can do it.  
2 weeks ago


Before it became the New World, the Western Hemisphere was vastly more populous and sophisticated than has been thought—an altogether more salubrious place to live at the time than, say, Europe. New evidence of both the extent of the population and its agricultural advancement leads to a remarkable conjecture: the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact


(You can read 4 articles/month for free from The Atlantic, FYI)

I just read this 17 yr old article and thought I should share it.  It goes over the theory that the Americas were as heavily populated as Europe back in the 1500's and 1600's, but the introduction of European diseases (by explorers and by the pigs they brought with them) devastated the native populations.  

I have previously heard that much of the "untrammeled wilderness" of America "discovered" by Europeans, was actually tended by humans.  In the Pacific Northwest, the people kept the Douglas Fir in check, because it wasn't useful to them.  Edible Camas flowers were encouraged, on the other hand.

I hadn't heard that there's evidence the Amazon rain forest is maybe the world's biggest forest garden.

For many millennia the cave's inhabitants hunted and gathered for food. But by about 4,000 years ago they were growing crops—perhaps as many as 140 of them, according to Charles R. Clement, an anthropological botanist at the Brazilian National Institute for Amazonian Research. Unlike Europeans, who planted mainly annual crops, the Indians, he says, centered their agriculture on the Amazon's unbelievably diverse assortment of trees: fruits, nuts, and palms. "It's tremendously difficult to clear fields with stone tools," Clement says. "If you can plant trees, you get twenty years of productivity out of your work instead of two or three."

Planting their orchards, the first Amazonians transformed large swaths of the river basin into something more pleasing to human beings. In a widely cited article from 1989, William Balée, the Tulane anthropologist, cautiously estimated that about 12 percent of the nonflooded Amazon forest was of anthropogenic origin—directly or indirectly created by human beings. In some circles this is now seen as a conservative position. "I basically think it's all human-created," Clement told me in Brazil. He argues that Indians changed the assortment and density of species throughout the region. So does Clark Erickson, the University of Pennsylvania archaeologist, who told me in Bolivia that the lowland tropical forests of South America are among the finest works of art on the planet.  

At the end, there's an interesting idea presented that some of the species present in huge numbers when the settlers arrived: bison, elk, passenger pigeons - were all having population explosions because the humans that had kept their numbers in check for ages were suddenly gone.

Anyway, it's a very interesting article and I recommend it.
3 weeks ago
I think the first design will heat better.  Getting a tub coiled like that is super tricky, and where my plans all broke down when I looked into this a couple of years ago.  

I don't see water under pressure here (the surface of the tub is open) so I'm not seeing the boom-squish risk.  Can someone point that out?
1 month ago
I've had a similar experience: my waist has gotten thinner even when my weight has held steady.

I'm finishing my 10th month of eating "one meal a day."  To be more precise, I'll have coffee (with half and half) in the morning at work, a latter (with whole milk, made at home and brought to work) for lunch, but I don't eat any solids until 6pm.

On work days, I usually have some mixed nuts after 6pm.  Our family eats dinner pretty late, usually not until 7pm and sometimes not until 8:30pm.  I eat dinner with my family.  Sometimes I make myself a sweet thing after dinner - this was brownie in a cup for a while, more recently decaf black tea with honey.  Then I don't eat again until the next day at 6pm.

Still working great.  I went to New Orleans for three days, had three very nice meals, and actually lost half a pound (because I really did walk almost 6 miles each day).  Travelling is easy when you don't have to worry about feeding yourself.  It's good to know you could go a whole day without eating and you'll be fine.
1 month ago

I second PokPok.  I think Alberta Street in NE Portland, between 15th and 25th (roughly) is an excellent slice of Portland life.  Salt and Straw, near 21st on Alberta, is another big Portland thing - it's gourmet and unusual ice cream.

If you like planned city parks, Laurelhurst Park is a gorgeous place to spend some time.  You can take a stroll, have a picnic, watch people, watch dogs. . .  (from Wikipedia:)

Laurelhurst Park is a city park in the neighborhood of Laurelhurst in Portland, Oregon.[2] The 26.81-acre (10.85 ha) park was acquired in 1909 from the estate of former Portland mayor William S. Ladd. The City of Portland purchased the land in 1911, and the following year park superintendent Emanuel Mische designed the park in accordance with the Olmsted Plan.

In 1919, the Pacific Coast Parks Association named Laurelhurst Park the "most beautiful park" on the West Coast, and in February 2001 it was the first city park ever to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]  

So, the trees planted for this park are now over a hundred years old.  If you like lovely old houses, the homes around and especially to the north of Laurelhurst Park are very nice.

One great thing about Portland is the bike system.  There are neighborhood greenways - city streets that are set up as bike "highways."  They get priority over cross streets (no stop signs) and when they cross busy car streets, there are special crosswalks and buttons you can push that STOP the cars pretty quickly.  

There's a bike share system, so you can rent a bike easily.  I do recommend some biking.
3 months ago
I like Duluth Trading Post.  I also like Lands End for clothes - they have many, many sales.  Their kids clothes are tough enough to last through multiple kiddos.

I see ads for t-shirts made of wool - expensive, but supposed to go for 100 days without needing to be washed.  I found this article:

3 months ago