Fasting protects mice from lethal DNA damage by promoting small intestinal epithelial stem cell survival

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience high rates of dose-limiting morbidity. Recently, short-term fasting prior to chemotherapy was shown to decrease toxicity. In the following paper, the researchers report that fasting protects multiple small intestinal stem cell populations marked by Lgr5, Bmi1, or HopX expression and maintains barrier function to preserve small intestinal architecture from lethal DNA damage. Their findings provide insight into how fasting protects the host from toxicity associated with high-dose chemotherapy.

Read the whole paper here: Fasting protects mice from lethal DNA damage by promoting small intestinal epithelial stem cell survival.

I Drank Only Water for 20 Days, See What Happened to My Body

This video is a good basic video on fasting. It is seven minutes and forty-four seconds long. Here is a little blurb from the description:

"What is water fasting? What are its benefits? Intermittent fasting is gaining huge popularity as a dietary option, but what actually happens to your body when you fast? When I first heard about water fasting, I thought, “No way am I doing this!” But after doing some research and finding out about the benefits of this process, I changed my mind. And now I'm going to tell you what I experienced during my 20-day water fast."

Exercising While Hungry Might Increase the Benefits of Exercise

This is a new study from Science Daily:

According to a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, health scientists at the Universities of Bath and Birmingham found that by changing the timing of when you eat and exercise, people can better control their blood sugar levels.

Read the whole study here: Increase health benefits of exercise by working out before breakfast.

Fasting Might Help You Exercise More

A new study from Science Daily:

Limiting access to food in mice increases levels of the hormone, ghrelin, which may also increase motivation to exercise, according to a study published in the Journal of Endocrinology. The study suggests that a surge in levels of appetite-promoting hormone, ghrelin, after a period of fasting prompted mice to initiate voluntary exercise. These novel findings indicate that better diet control, for example limiting food intake to mealtimes or fasting intermittently, could help overweight people maintain a more effective exercise routine, lose weight and avoid debilitating complications such as diabetes and heart disease.

Read the whole study here: Limiting mealtimes may increase your motivation for exercise.

A Study Using Fasting to Protect Against Radiation Treatment

Share this with anyone you know who is getting radiation treatment.

The purpose of the study was to find out if fasting could protect the intestines from high-dose radiation, which could allow for higher doses of radiation treatment in killing pancreatic tumor cells. (When patients undergo abdominal radiation the intestines are, due to their rapid turnover of cells that make up the lining, very sensitive to the dose of radiation, and patients are often debilitated by colitis-like symptoms.) Not only did the investigators demonstrate that fasting improved survival and intestinal cell regeneration, they also found that fasting improved the survival of mice with pancreatic tumors also subjected to lethal doses of abdominal radiation. The investigators also noted that the protection conferred by fasting applied only to the normal tissues, whereas the pancreatic tumors were not radioprotected, and actually may have been more vulnerable as a result of the 24-hour fast.

Read more about it here: Fasting and Cancer.

Read the study here: Fasting Reduces Intestinal Radiotoxicity, Enabling Dose-Escalated Radiation Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer.

What is it Like to Only Eat Every Other Day?

Here's a man who talks about what happened to him when he ate whatever he wanted every other day, and on the other days, ate nothing at all.

What Would Be a More Reasonable Explanation?

Whenever a setback or failure occurs, you will explain it. You can’t help it. Your explanation will come quickly and automatically. And your explanation will seem entirely self-evident. Some of your explanations are good, some will make you feel bad unnecessarily, and some will make you less capable of dealing with the setback successfully.

The main technique in my book, Antivirus for the Mind, is to look at your explanation and see if you've made any thought-mistakes.

If you then find mistakes in your explanation, you will naturally form new explanations of the setback. The question for today (What would be a more reasonable explanation?) goes straight to the task of creating a new explanation. You can use the question as a sort of shortcut to the antivirus for the mind once you've trained yourself to detect mistakes in your explanations. You can also use this question if you don’t have time to look for mistakes and want a quick and dirty method. After a setback occurs, notice the explanation you automatically made for it, and then ask yourself what would be a more reasonable explanation.

For example, let's say you have a goal to make ten thousand dollars this month but by the end of the month, you didn't achieve your goal. This is a failure, and you will explain it automatically. Let's say you explain it like this: "The economy isn't doing very well right now."

But then you use today's question. You ask yourself, "Is there a more reasonable explanation?" Not that there is anything horribly wrong with your first explanation. It's that not bad. It takes the blame off yourself, so it will keep you from feeling too bad about it. But on the other hand, the explanation leaves you somewhat powerless. It doesn't give you any avenue for finding a way to make ten thousand dollars when the economy is doing poorly, which leaves you somewhat helpless in the face of forces outside yourself.

So you try to think of another explanation (something that is true). "I didn't do all I planned on doing. That's why I didn't make the ten thousand dollars." This explanation gives you an avenue to pursue that might actually lead to you achieving your goal next month regardless of what the economy is doing.

It's always good to come up with more than one alternative explanation. So you try again. "I wasted a lot of time on the least profitable part of my business. If I eliminated that part of my business, I would have more time for the more profitable things." Again, this could lead to actions that might make you more capable of hitting your goal next month.

Every failure is probably influenced by many different factors. Trying to come up with alternative explanations opens your mind to factors in your power to control, and that not only makes you feel better, it makes you more capable of changing things in the future.

If an event happens and you feel bad about it, your feelings derive largely from how you explained the event. And your ability to deal with the setback is influenced by the way you explained it. However reasonable your automatic explanation is, can you think of an even better explanation? If you can, it will change your feelings and your capabilities.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

Direct Your Mind: What Emotion Am I Aiming For?

One of the problems with the positive thinking literature is its obsession with cheerfulness and enthusiasm, which often translates into acting cheerful or enthusiastic, which often translates into being phony. And being phony doesn’t feel good. That's one way "trying to be positive" short-circuits itself.

But cheerfulness and enthusiasm are not the only two positive or worthwhile emotions. Many other emotions are superior, especially around other people. It can be annoying for other people when you are acting cheerful and enthusiastic when they don’t feel that way at all. Especially if they suspect you're faking it.

But nobody would be annoyed if you were cultivating the feeling of affection or kindness. Those are also positive emotions. And they focus your attention outside yourself.

Another good emotion to aim for is calmness. Another is a feeling of determination.

Once you know what emotion you’re trying to cultivate, it will influence what you do. When you’re aiming for calmness, for example, you will probably change your posture a little, and maybe change the way you breathe. You might take deep breaths more often. You'll speak differently. Trying to cultivate calmness might change the way you're thinking and the way you treat people. And the result will be: You’ll feel more calm and relaxed.

Whatever emotion you cultivate influences you. Most of us want to be "a more positive person." And that's admirable. It would make the world a better place. It would make us personally happier. But let's do it in a way that feels good inside. And let's do it in a way that helps others feel good too. Think about the possible positive emotions, and choose to cultivate the ones you really like. W. Clement Stone liked enthusiasm and showed us how to cultivate it. Napoleon Hill liked cheerfulness and showed us how to cultivate it. What emotions do you like?

Adam Khan is the author of Self-Reliance, Translated and Principles For Personal Growth. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

The Best Question To Ask

I have a little coaching for you on the way you use questions to direct your mind. The first piece of advice is to make sure your questions do not have the word "why" in them.

A woman (Vivian) wrote to me and told me she had trouble sleeping. She had four kids and she was worried some day she would commit suicide. I was telling her about this principle of asking questions, and she tried it the very next night. But the question she pondered all night was, “why do I think I’m destined for suicide?”

Vivian said, “I was up all night answering myself! I thought of answer after answer. The list went on and on, each answer breeding more questions of its own.”

I told her that generally “how” questions work much better than “why” questions. She had been suffering from insomnia for a long time. But the very next night after she learned about the difference between "why" questions and "how" questions, she asked herself, “How can I prevent myself from ending up a suicide?” and she thought of so many good answers so quickly, she relaxed and fell asleep and slept longer than she had in a very long time.

The next day I told her about studies on suicide showing that people with suicidal thoughts who don’t commit suicide had a reason to live. That almost sounds so obvious, it seems almost ridiculous someone had to do an experiment to prove it. The reasons people had varied quite a bit. Some people didn’t kill themselves only because it would be too painful for their sister, or it was against their religion, or they had some purpose they wanted to fulfill. But the difference between those who stayed alive and those who killed themselves was simple: The people who had a reason to live did not kill themselves.

The next day, Vivian was thinking about that study and she realized she really wanted to see her boys grow up. She had four sons, the oldest was 13. She said, “I have thought before that I’m here because they need me, but it felt like an obligation. But I’ve realized I really want to see my sons grow up to be old men.”

That is a powerful realization. I'm sure you can easily grasp the tremendous difference in motivation, determination, and power between an obligation and a genuine, sincere, deeply-felt desire.

So she had a goal, and the thought was on her mind for a few days, when she told me, “I like to watch them and think about them ‘then’ and ‘now’ and now I wonder what they’ll be like when they’re older. It’s a surprise I don’t want to miss. This very thought has been in my mind the past couple of days...’it’s a surprise I don’t want to miss.’ It’s exciting and motivating.”

Do you see what happened? She had a new question she was asking. "I wonder what my kids will be like when they're older?" Her question was purposeful (since she can influence the outcome) and forward-looking. And it directly counters the thought of suicide, doesn’t it? She’ll miss the surprise if she kills herself. It’s a question that can’t be answered now. She has to stay alive to see the answer. Brilliant, really.

She was already asking questions without realizing it. We all are. She started doing it deliberately and stopped asking herself "why" questions and it totally changed the direction and tone of her life.

It can work the same magic for you if you would only start using it. Why not start today? Wait, change that to: "How can you start today?"

Adam Khan is the author of Self-Help Stuff That Works and Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot. Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

Saudi Arabia Achieves Its Goal

According to The Week, which is summarized from the Wall Street Journal:

At least 77 North American energy companies have declared bankruptcy since the start of 2015, following the collapse of oil prices. Oil and gas companies have defaulted on $26 billion in debts this year, according to Fitch Ratings — a figure that already surpasses the $17.5 billion total for 2015.

Saudi Arabia recognized the threat to their monopoly and control of fuel prices, so they pumped as much oil as they could to drop world oil prices, putting their competition out of business. A classic monopolist move.

If the Open Fuel Standard had passed when it was in Congress, the Saudis' efforts would have not damaged the U.S. at all.

The goal of genuine fuel competition in America remains as important as ever. It will simply have to be achieved by other means.

Fuelverine

John Brackett, the engineer who shows you how to hack your car's computer in the movie PUMP, has created an interesting web site loaded with great information. Check it out: Fuelverine.

On the web site, Brackett writes:
I created this site to give you a choice, because your government and the car manufacturers keep pretending you don’t have one. With the latest EPA regulations, $5,000-15,000 per vehicle is added just in emissions control systems to keep that dirty gasoline from polluting our atmosphere. With alternative fuels, most of these components wouldn’t be needed. There are half a dozen other fuel choices that could be made locally, burn cleaner, create local jobs, improve infrastructure and provide true energy independence. But why are we not allowed to use them? Is it a chicken vs the egg problem? Yes. Is it a technical problem? Not in the slightest. Is this your problem even if you don’t have a car? Yes. Everything in our economy is tied to the cost of oil and transportation, which is controlled by a monopoly, lobbyists, and your government. Do you realize every taxpayer spends $5,700 per year in subsidies for the oil companies… who are making record profits while our country goes more in debt. In whose interest is it that we don’t have fuel choice?

Everything on a car will break, and if it doesn’t, the bolt next to it will. Then you have to heat, cut, grind, lather, repeat. It’s an endless cycle and if you don’t do your own car work, will usually cost you a grand per visit for what used to be simple tasks. This story is only going to get worse over the upcoming years. So much so, that I don’t believe people will be able to afford a vehicle at current trends, especially when gas goes back to $5/gallon, which it will.

So who am I to tell you what to do? My education is in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration on Automotive Engineering. With the guidance of some brilliant minds, I’ve been able to run engines on a dozen fuels cleanly and reliably. Now it’s your turn to learn what you can do to enable your own fuel choice and start demanding a change.

Check it out: Fuelverine.

The Desire for Fuel Choice is Rising

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that 65% of Americans give priority to developing alternative energy sources, compared with 27% who would emphasize expanded production of fossil fuel sources.

Support for concentrating on alternative energy is up slightly since December 2014. At that time, 60% said developing alternative energy sources was the more important priority.

If you are one of those who want fuel choice and ideally robust fuel competition, join Fuel Freedom today. Subscribe to their updates, follow them on Facebook or Twitter, and get involved here.

Saudi Arabia Takes Over America's Largest Refinery

"Saudi Aramco, the kingdom's state-owned oil behemoth, took 100% control of the sprawling Port Arthur refinery in Texas on Monday, completing a deal that was first announced last year," says CNN.

"Port Arthur is considered the crown jewel of the US refinery system. The Gulf Coast facility can process 600,000 barrels of oil per day, making it the largest refinery in North America.

"Aramco previously owned 50% of Port Arthur through a joint venture co-owned with Royal Dutch Shell (RDSA) called Motiva Enterprises.

"But the two oil giants had a rocky relationship and reached a deal in March 2016 to separate their assets. Shell put out a statement on Monday confirming the "completion" of that break-up.

"In addition to Port Arthur, Aramco is acquiring full ownership of 24 distribution terminals. Aramco also gets the exclusive right to sell Shell-branded gasoline and diesel in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, the eastern half of Texas and the majority of Florida." (Read the whole story here.)

If the U.S. had robust fuel competition, this would not be a news item of much concern. To help make fuel competition happen in America, click here.

Robust Versus Feeble Competition: A Key Distinction

We have two very different ways fuels can compete with each other. One is what we have now — different cars competing with each other, each car using a single source of power: gasoline or compressed natural gas or electricity or hydrogen, etc. The other way is for the cars themselves to be capable of using multiple power sources, like flex fuel cars, plug-in hybrids, Ford’s new CNG-gasoline truck, etc.

Competition between cars is feeble. It is weak, slow, expensive, and cumbersome. It will do very little to lower fuel prices. Competition between power sources within a single vehicle, on the other hand, is robust, vigorous, agile and immediate. It pits fuels against each other, creating a strenuous daily battle to provide the best deal for the consumer. That's the kind of competition we should be aiming for.

To brew coffee at home, imagine what it would be like if each different kind of coffee required a different kind of machine. If you wanted to brew Folder’s coffee, you had to use a Folder’s machine. If you wanted to make Peet’s coffee at home, you had to use a Peet’s coffee machine. Each machine costs, let’s say, $100. You would be able to say that technically the different kinds of coffees are competing with each other, but it is also clear that this is a far cry from what we have now — where a single drip coffee machine can brew any of these brands of coffee, which forces the brands to compete more directly with each other. They must constantly try to outcompete each other to get your coffee dollars.

What if Peet’s dropped the price of their coffee, and you really liked Peet’s coffee, but you had a Folder’s machine? You couldn’t take advantage of the new low price for Peet’s unless you forked over 100 bucks for a new machine. You might hesitate to get the new machine. Peet’s new lower price might be temporary, after all. And how long would it take for you to recoup the 100 dollars for the new machine at Peet’s new low price?

That’s the choice people have now with cars and fuels (but with far more money at stake). You can buy a CNG car, but the car is more expensive than a gasoline-only car, and it still runs on only one fuel. No fuel choice. And what happens if natural gas prices rise and/or gasoline prices drop? You cannot easily switch fuels. That’s what happened in Brazil during the mid-80s and early 90s — the country had switched most of their cars to ethanol-only cars in the early 80s (flex fuel cars hadn’t been invented yet), but OPEC decided to drop the price of gasoline very low in the mid-80s. Brazilian drivers of ethanol-only cars were paying much more for their fuel than the owners of the old fashioned gasoline-only cars.

Competition between cars is feeble compared to competition between fuels within a single car. Think about what happened to phones. Originally, each cell phone had different features, and you could choose between phones. This was weak competition, though, because phones cost money and you often had to agree to a two year contract, etc.

Now most phones are capable of using apps. The apps are competing within single phones, and innovation has exploded. You don’t have to buy a new phone to get a new function. There are literally millions of apps available, doing every conceivable thing, with the level of innovation rising exponentially.

The same thing could happen in the fuels market. Imagine automakers creating cars that can use multiple power sources — the more power sources the better. For example, General Motors is coming out with a Chevrolet Impala in 2015 that will be capable of using gasoline or compressed natural gas. It will have two different tanks. Drivers will be able to fuel up on either, so those two fuels will have to compete against each other at the pump.

But GM could go even further. Since the car can burn gasoline, with a few very minor tweaks it could also burn ethanol, using the same liquid fuel tank used for the gasoline. Now all three fuels would have to constantly battle each other.

When the EPA changes its regulations, methanol could be added too. Four fuels in a single car. That's starting to look like robust competition.

Methanol and ethanol can also be made from multiple feedstocks, and those sources would have to compete with each other. Most methanol, for example, is made from natural gas. But it can be made out of many things. If a local waste conversion facility was turning garbage into methanol, it could compete with methanol made from natural gas. They could compete on price, and they could also compete on other factors. Even if the methanol made from local waste was more expensive, some people would rather buy it because it is local or because they want to support that industry, or for whatever reason. So even between different sources of methanol, we could have competition. The same would be true for ethanol.

But we can go still further. If the car can burn compressed natural gas and gasoline and methanol and ethanol, it might also be a plug-in hybrid. Now all those fuels would have to compete directly with electricity.

The point of all of this is that we need to draw a clear distinction between vehicle competition and fuel competition. They are two very different things. And we should be aiming most intently at fuel competition. We should aim at pitting fuels against each other in real time.

Methanol sells today for 93 cents a gallon. It is only 60 percent of the energy density of gasoline, but that still makes it half the cost of gasoline per mile driven. This low cost is in the absence of a vigorous competitive fuel market. If methanol was allowed to fight for our fuel dollars in an open market (which is what the Open Fuel Standard would accomplish), methanol could get even cheaper, and gasoline would have to radically drop its price if it had any hope of competing.

Robust fuel competition would transform our economy. Each of us would have more money to spend, which would create more jobs. The strategic importance of the Middle East would dwindle, which would allow for fewer conflicted foreign policy decisions. We’d save billions that we now spend protecting shipping lanes for oil. Every power source we’ve mentioned — CNG, ethanol, methanol, and most sources of electricity — produce less pollution than petroleum fuels, so the competition would be good for our health too. The petroleum industry would no longer have a monopoly and the excessive power it gives them. America would be a happier, freer, more prosperous country.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and podcasts at The Adam Bomb.

The Famous Food Versus Fuel Debate

Have you ever wondered why you've never heard a "food versus flowers debate?" After all, we have an enormous amount of farmland devoted to raising flowers around the world. I've stood in places where as far as you can see in any direction are endless fields of flowers growing on prime farmland.

How many giant greenhouses are devoted to growing flowers around the world?

Shouldn't all these resources be used for food? Are all these fields and greenhouses causing worldwide starvation? Is the massive flower industry raising the price of food? Certainly if all those fields were used for growing food crops, the price of food would drop.

But we don't hear anything about a "food versus flowers" debate. But we frequently hear about a "food versus fuel" debate, don't we? Are flowers more important than food? Are flowers more important than fuel? No, and that's not the issue anyway. The source of the "food versus fuel" debate is fuel alcohol's most dangerous competitor — the oil industry. Those who have the most to lose from the rising popularity of alcohol fuels created the "debate" and inserted it into the public dialog. The petroleum industry coined the phrase in 1979. And because the alcohol fuel industry is dwarfed by the immense wealth of the oil industry, the myth-busting facts have not reached nearly the number of people who have heard the food versus fuel idea, and millions of people have bought the phony "debate" hook, line, and sinker.

The flower industry is only one of many we could mention. How about booze? How much land is devoted to raising crops just for liquor or beer? Shouldn't that land be devoted to food? How many food crops does it take to make a bottle of bourbon? Why don't we hear of a "food versus booze" debate? Or is booze more important than transportation? It seems to me I need to get to work, but I don't need to get a buzz (or buy flowers, for that matter).

What about Christmas trees? What about dog and cat food? Are these more important than starving people or transportation?

I could go on and on. In fact, I'm going to go on and on (in a minute), but you've gotten the main point of this article already. I'm going to beat this issue to death, though, because I've had enough of the argument. The phony issue shows up in articles and books and interviews, and it is completely taken for granted by most of the people who mention it, even though several impartial researchers have shown that food prices have only risen slightly because of the ethanol industry.

And it has also been shown that by far the largest influence on rising food prices is rising oil prices. Oil prices and food prices are directly and necessarily correlated.

And the slight impact the ethanol industry has had on corn prices has actually been a good thing for the hungry people of the world. The overabundance of cheap U.S. grain around the world has essentially put local farmers in Third World nations out of business. And not just in Third World nations. It is an untenable condition for the world to have American farmers producing so much grain so inexpensively that even the American farmers themselves can't make a living because their abundance has pushed grain prices too low.

So ethanol's small impact on food prices has been a good thing, encouraging small, local farming operations to spring up around the world, which is increasing the world's food supply. And if we can get an Open Fuel Standard in America, those Third World farmers may get a chance to do more than merely grow their own food; they will have an opportunity to turn their surplus crops into ethanol and export it to a fuel-hungry world, which will help lift them out of poverty.

But like I said, I intend to beat this issue to death. Are you ready? Besides the food versus flowers debate and the food versus booze debate, what else can we look at? What other good potential croplands are being "wasted" when there are starving people in the world?

How about wine? Why don't we have a food versus wine debate? There are millions of acres of wine grapes planted worldwide. One single variety, Airén — an undistinguished white grape — is planted on more than one million acres in central Spain. Is wine more important than food?

How many acres are devoted to football fields? Baseball fields? Soccer fields? How about a food versus football debate? A football field, including end zones, is 1.3 acres. Almost every junior high school, high school, and college that plays interscholastic football has their own football field. That would put the number of football fields in America up into the thousands, probably the tens of thousands.

I'm not suggesting we get rid of football fields. Not at all. It is completely unnecessary. As Robert Zubrin points out, we have plenty of farmland to grow both food and fuel, and so does the rest of the world. I'm bringing this up to point out that other perfectly legitimate potential crop land is never mentioned, because the source of the argument is the oil industry, and their target is the ethanol industry.

What about lawns? I'm not even talking about the acres devoted to people's front and back yards, although those should count too, since that alone adds up to 30 million acres. But many farmland acres are devoted to growing sod or turf used for planting lawns and football fields, baseball fields, soccer fields, etc. In the state of Texas alone, 54,000 acres are devoted to growing sod or turf.

Mowed lawns are the largest crop by weight in the U.S. Is all the land devoted to lawns in the U.S. more important than food or fuel? Why don't we have a food versus lawns debate?

We feed nearly all our millions of acres of corn to cows. It takes 17 to 20 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. Worried about starving poor? Become a vegetarian. Is the deliciousness of beef more important than transportation? Why not stop feeding cows and feed people instead?  Please don't accuse me of being a vegetarian. I love meat, and I'm going to keep eating it. But more corn is going to feed cows than is going to make ethanol by far, but we hear almost nothing about the "grain versus meat" debate. Even without becoming a vegetarian, we could eat grassfed beef to save that grain for starving people.

What about tobacco? Is it more important than food? What about a "food versus coffee" controversy? How much land is devoted to coffee and tea in the world? Are coffee and tea more important than food? More important than fuel?

And the biggest source of untapped food is waste. According to experts who study it, like the economist Mancur Olson, an astonishing 30 to 50 percent of all the food produced is never eaten! In poorer countries, most of this waste is from the crops rotting in the fields, being eaten by rats, or spoiling in transit. In richer countries, most of the waste is from excess that is thrown away — salad, bread, fruit, vegetables, etc. Read more about this here.

Regardless of what else we do, we definitely need to tackle the food versus waste issue.

I'm sure I'll add to this list of potential "debates" over time as I think of more. But the point is, nobody is having these debates because there's no motivation for them. But oil money buys influence, and the oil industry has decided, and I think quite astutely, that one way to cripple the ethanol industry — one way to undermine popular support for their strongest competitor — is to make people believe that growing crops for ethanol will cause people to starve. It's a clever tactic. Let's hope a growing number of people will see through it.

Adam Khan is the co-author with Klassy Evans of Fill Your Tank With Freedom and podcasts at The Adam Bomb.

OPEC Makes a Trillion Dollars in 2012

Quoting from an article in CNN entitled, OPEC cartel to reap record $1 trillion: "The Opec oil cartel, led by Saudi Arabia, will pocket a record of more than US$1tn in net oil revenues in 2012 as the annual average price for Brent, the benchmark, heads to an all-time high in spite of weak economic growth.

"The windfall will provide fresh capital to some of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the most influential members of the cartel, are home to three of the world's 10 largest SWFs by assets under management, according to estimates by the SWF Institute."

The average price per barrel of oil in 2012 was $111.5, an all time record. Saudi Arabia's oil minister says they planned to keep oil prices above a hundred dollars a barrel in 2012. They've achieved their goal, much to the detriment of the rest of the world's economy.

The price of oil is rising steeply, driven by OPEC's desire to bleed the world. Only ten years ago, OPEC made $200 billion. In 2012, they made over a trillion dollars. This greatly helped the Save the King Foundation and the spread of Wahhabism worldwide, but caused economic damage to the rest of the world. The last paragraph of the article makes it clear that our gasoline prices are only going to go up:

"The International Monetary Fund estimates that Riyadh and Abu Dhabi both need oil prices at about $80 a barrel to balance their budgets. Only a decade ago they were able to balance their budgets with oil prices averaging $25." Gal Luft says they will need at least $110 a barrel by 2015.

If we had fuel competition in America, we wouldn't have to worry about this.

MIT Professor of Economics Emeritus Says What the Real Problem Is

M.A. Adelman, the MIT professor, wrote:

"The real problem we face over oil dates from after 1970: a strong but clumsy monopoly of mostly Middle Eastern exporters cooperating as OPEC...Price fixing by private companies on the OPEC scale would not be tolerated in any industrial country. In the United States, the officers of firms that engage in such activities go to jail. But the OPEC members are sovereign states, subject to no country's laws."

- Quoted from the book, Petropoly, by Anne Korin and Gal Luft.

This is, in fact, the real problem: We are victims of an illegal fuel monopoly. But the Open Fuel Standard can solve this problem cleanly and efficiently. And it won't cost taxpayers any money. It is not a subsidy or handout. It's a simple change of policy. It is doing what governments are supposed to use their power for: Preventing monopolies from stopping free market forces from doing what they do best.

Forests Are Disappearing

California redwood trees, the tallest trees on earth (over 300 feet tall) are also some of the oldest. Some are estimated to be 2,000 years old. Before the mid-19th century, according to Melissa Fay Greene, the redwoods "towered above two million acres of America's Pacific coastline. They created their own ecosystem, laundering the skies, purifying the water, enriching the soil, sustaining unique flora and fauna, and anchoring the land. The forest was a natural carbon sink, breathing in CO2 and exhaling oxygen."

By 1968, ninety-five percent of the redwoods had been cut down.

People need wood for many things, of course. So they cut down trees. The larger the human population, the more trees are cut down. "In Kentucky," writes Greene, "the Daniel Boone National Forest is being converted by the U.S. Forestry Service into a regulated tree farm, and the Appalachians are under siege. More than half of the world's boreal forests have been reduced to junk mail and catalogs. The rain forests of South and Central America, Africa, and Indonesia, including the magical cloud forests; the enchanted Danube basin; the Black Forest; the monumental Russian Tiaga — all are falling, falling."

Massive trees are made of a massive amount of carbon. In the absence of the trees, the carbon is in the atmosphere, warming the planet.

Doesn't the Population Go Down When Countries Get Wealthier?

Princess Bolkiah, the fifth child of the Sultan of Brunei,
one of the world's wealthiest men, on her wedding day.
Some people have asserted that as countries or individuals become wealthier, they naturally and inevitably will have fewer children. But this is not true. Many oil-rich countries have some of the highest birthrates in the world, and in those societies women have few rights. Even if a man is very wealthy in a woman-oppressing country, his wife will have little or no choice over her own reproduction.

Nafis Sadik, the woman who ran the U.N.'s Population Fund for many years, said when she was first starting out in Pakistan as a medical doctor, many of her patients were women who were having a child every year, and often starting young. As a concerned doctor, Sadik counseled these women to slow down, to space out their births, to give her body a chance to recuperate. Having babies too close together drains a mother's body of nutrients and can cause debilitating anemia and other problems.

Dr. Sadik was shocked to hear the common response: "That's not my decision to make." In other words, she didn't have the power to decide whether to get pregnant or not. That was her husband's decision; not hers.

The population will not necessarily drop just because a country or a family becomes wealthier.

No, the key to slowing or reversing population growth is rights for women — the right to choose who she marries, when she marries, and how many children she wants to have. And the right to an education so she has economic choices and enough knowledge to use contraception. Population growth is consistently higher wherever women lack these basic human rights.

The Girl Effect

How to Have a Good Time With Your Family for the Holidays Even if Some of Them Drive You Crazy

One very good way of dealing with a predictably stressful situation is to prepare beforehand to respond differently than you normally do.

In an article in the New York Times about how to handle holiday family stress, the author gives this example:

Dr. Bulik told the story of a patient whose mother scolded her for not eating her homemade cookies. “You don’t like my cookies?” she asked. As a result, the daughter relented and took a cookie. But when she then reached for a second, her mother scolded her again. “Do you really think you need another one?” she asked her.

It's the kind of stuff that drives you crazy at the holidays, right? But at the end of the article, there is a good example of doing something about it, preparing ahead of time:

Betsy, a high school teacher in Boston, said she had longstanding issues with her mother-in-law, some of which began after she underwent a Caesarean section. After the delivery, her mother-in-law, a slim woman, brought her only light lunches of lettuce salad, even though she was famished after nursing her baby.

Betsy said her cousin also complained of holiday meal tension with her own family, so the two devised a strategy to help each other cope. Each made bingo cards, but instead of numbers, the squares were filled in with some of the negative phrases they expected to hear during the meal, like “That outfit is interesting” or “Your children won’t sit still.” As comments were made at the separate family celebrations, each woman would mark her card.

“Whoever fills up a bingo row first,” Betsy said, “sneaks off to call the other and say, ‘Bingo!’”

If you normally find it stressful to hang out with certain members of your family, try something new.

Read more about how to come up with
new responses: Solve Problems With Creativity.

Solve Problems With Creativity

Yale psychologist Alan E. Kazdin did an experiment with kids suffering from "conduct disorder" — young people prone to violence, vandalism, truancy, and hostility.

Many things have been tried over the years but not much has been successful. How do you change a problem child into a healthy, happy, productive youngster? Theories abound. Results are rare.

Kazdin tried something unusual. He trained the trouble-making kids and their parents how to think up options for handling situations, and to come up with different ways of interpreting situations — other ways besides using hostility.

The result: Troublemaking was significantly reduced.

When the only response you have is hostility, that's what you do, regardless of whether it gets you the results you're after. Kazdin trained these people essentially to ask themselves, What else? The parents and their kids learned to say to themselves before they responded to something, "Okay, I could do that (what I've always done), but what else could I do?" He taught them to think of new options they hadn't thought of before.

And also he taught them to ask, "What else could it mean?" When someone bumped into them, for example, instead of immediately interpreting it as a hostile attack or a threat, they learned to ask themselves, "Okay, it might mean that, but what else could it mean?"

It seems a simple solution to a difficult problem. But it's harder than it seems. Our minds are designed to streamline our mental processes. Asking what else? makes the decision-process more complex. So it takes some deliberate effort to turn your mind to the task of coming up with alternative ideas.

This method is useful in many different ways. As I'm writing this, it's really cold outside, and even though a little while ago I had the heater turned up and my feet covered, my feet were still as cold as ice. Turning the heater up and covering my feet were obvious solutions. But, I asked myself, what else might work? What else could I do?

When you ask yourself a question, it awakens a part of your brain that answers questions. Ask a question, and your mind seems to search through all the things you've heard or know, and it often comes up with something.

I remembered my wife once telling me, "If your hands are cold, cover your head." She used to live in Lake Tahoe, and she learned a thing or two about dealing with cold weather. I grew up in Southern California and didn't know much about it.

So a little while ago I put a wool hat on. My feet aren't cold any more.

What else? It's such a valuable question. It's especially useful when you've been doing something a certain way for a long time. I'm always surprised when someone comes up with a new way to do something that's been done for a long time, because it makes me think, "Now why didn't I think of that?" Once you see the new way, it seems kind of obvious. But it took somebody asking what else? to come up with it.

"Unaware of Mind's effect in patterning and enslaving their lives," wrote William Bartley III, "people live in a state of waking sleep, in a state of enchantment, of mesmerism, most of the time. Every day, in every way, they become more and more the way they have always been."

A couple of days ago I saw measuring spoons, but rather than having a separate spoon for teaspoons and tablespoons and halves and fourths, it was a single spoon with one end of the cupped part capable of sliding back and fourth, making the cup bigger or smaller, and there were lines on it for teaspoon and half teaspoon, etc. Why didn't I think of that? Because I didn't ask, "What else could measure teaspoons besides the measuring spoon I'm so familiar with?"


DO SOMETHING ELSE

What else? is an especially practical question when what you usually do doesn't work very well. Besides getting miffed when a certain person makes certain kinds of remarks, what else could you do? You can do a certain task grudgingly, but how else could you do it? What other ways could you go about it? In what other ways could you think about it? When you interact with your teenager, and you both end up angry, ask yourself, "What else could I do?" What other approaches or responses can you think up besides what you normally do?

Here's a good rule: If what you're doing isn't working, do something else.

Of course, you don't want to go with something just because it's different, because in point of fact, the new idea might be worse.

Creativity is the process of thinking up new ideas and then rejecting most of them. But those are two processes, and the parts of your brains involved in each are different, so they can't really be done at the same time. In other words, when you're thinking up alternatives, don't judge the ideas for their merits at the same time. Let your mind go. Let it come up with crazy ideas, off the wall angles, impossible notions. This stretches your mind beyond the limits within which your thinking has been confined. Out of that loosened-up state of mind, a truly original idea and sometimes a perfect solution can suddenly become obvious. You just couldn't see it before because you were unknowingly confining your thinking about that subject within certain parameters.

Think up ideas, and keep thinking them up until you get a good one. And if it's important enough, and you have the time, keep thinking up ideas, keep asking what else? and see if you can come up with an even better one.

The best way to characterize "thinking" is as a dialogue. Consider thinking as a dialog with yourself. I know that if it is with yourself it's supposed to be called a monologue, but thinking isn't done very well as a monologue because there is nothing to provoke the thoughts further. A monologue is an expression of an already-decided thought. Dialogue can create something new.

Have a thought and then criticize it and you have a dialogue. Come up with an idea and then ask, "What else?" and you have dialogue, and that's where good thinking happens.

"Well, my in-laws are coming over," says Pete to himself, "and they always drive me nuts. Maybe I'll just not say anything."

If Pete stops there, his monologue has created one idea. But this time he has a dialogue with himself, and thereby becomes more creative. "Yes, I could try that," he says to himself, " but what else might work?"

"What else might work for what? I guess I need a goal if I want to think up an idea to solve it. I need to know what I'm trying to accomplish."

"I want to feel happy even when they are here."

"Do I feel happy when I say nothing?"

"No. I've tried that before. It's not much fun. It's a little better than being annoyed, but I'm definitely not happy."

"So what else could I do?"

"Since I want to be happy, I should do what makes me happy. I really enjoy playing my new video game. Maybe I can enlist one of them to play with me."

"Good idea. But I'm not going to stop there. What else could I do?"

"I like talking about politics. I could make that my theme for the night. I could turn every conversation to the subject of politics."

"That's a good one. What else could I do?"

And so on. The more Pete asks, the more he'll get. Some of his ideas will be goofy or won't work very well, but thinking is like good photography: You take several rolls and get rid of almost all of them. You'll have maybe two or three good ones, but they were worth all the waste.

All creativity is like that. You generate lots of ideas and throw out most of them. But in generating so many, you have more to choose from, so your chances of getting a better one improve as the number of ideas increases. And the way to get many ideas is to keep asking, "What else?"

This article was excerpted from the book,
Principles For Personal Growth by Adam Khan.

Who is Allan Savory?

The following is excerpted from Wikipedia. Read the whole thing here: Allan Savory.

Allan Savory is a Zimbabwean ecologist, livestock farmer, environmentalist, and president and co-founder of the Savory Institute. He originated Holistic management, a systems thinking approach to managing resources.

Savory advocates using bunched and moving livestock to what he claims mimics nature, as a means to heal the environment, stating "only livestock can reverse desertification. There is no other known tool available to humans with which to address desertification that is contributing not only to climate change but also to much of the poverty, emigration, violence, etc. in the seriously affected regions of the world." "Only livestock can save us."

Savory received the 2003 Banksia International Award and won the 2010 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Prince Charles called him "a remarkable man" and noted farmer Joel Salatin wrote, "History will vindicate Allan Savory as one of the greatest ecologists of all time."

According to Savory, he has worked on the problem of land degradation (desertification) as early as 1955 in Northern Rhodesia, where he served in the Colonial Service as Provincial Game Officer, Northern and Luapula Provinces. He also claims to have continued this work in Southern Rhodesia first as a research officer in the Game Department, and even claims to have been an independent scientist and international consultant.

He advocated for slaughtering large numbers of elephants up until 1969 based on the idea that they were destroying their habitat. His research, which he claims was validated by a committee of scientists, led to the government culling 10,000s of elephants in following years. However, this did not reverse the degradation of the land. He has called the decision to advocate for the slaughter of large numbers of elephants "the saddest and greatest blunder of my life."

This unnecessary massacre, brought about by interpreting supposed research data to fit the prevailing world-view that too many animals causes overgrazing and overbrowsing, led to Savory becoming determined to solve the problem, which eventually led to his development of the holistic framework for decision-making and to holistic planned grazing, and to his book, Holistic Management: A New Decision Making Framework, written with his wife Jody Butterfield.

Savory was influenced by earlier work of French agronomist André Voisin who established that overgrazing resulted from the amount of time plants were exposed to animals, not from too many animals in any given area. Savory saw this as a solution to overgrazing, and believed that overgrazing was caused by leaving cattle too long and returning them too soon, rather than the size of the herd.

After leaving Zimbabwe, Savory worked from the Cayman Islands into the Americas, introducing holistic planned grazing as a process of management to reverse desertification of 'brittle' grasslands by carefully planning movements of dense herds of livestock to mimic those found in nature, allowing sufficient time for the plants to fully recover before re-grazing.

Savory immigrated to the US, and with his wife Jody Butterfield founded the Center for Holistic Management in 1984. Its name was later changed to the Savory Center and later Holistic Management International. In 2009 Savory left HMI and formed the Savory Institute. Savory, Butterfield and philanthropist Sam Brown formed the Africa Centre for Holistic Management, based in Zimbabwe in 1992 on 2,520 hectares (6,200 acres) of land Savory donated for the benefit of the people of Africa as a learning/training site for holistic management.

Thousands of farmers, ranchers, pastoralists and various organizations are working globally to restore grasslands through the teaching and practice of holistic management and holistic decision making. This includes conservation projects in the US, Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Canada, and Australia in which various NGOs, government agencies and universities are practicing holistic management and its holistic planned grazing to reverse desertification using livestock as the main agent of change to restore the environment, increase ground cover, soil organic matter and water retention, replenish streams, and combat biodiversity loss.

In 2003 Australia honored Savory with the Banksia International Award "for the person doing the most for the environment on a global scale" and in 2010, Savory and the Africa Centre for Holistic Management won The Buckminster Fuller Challenge, an annual international design competition awarding $100,000 "to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems."

In a 2012 address to the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, Prince Charles said:

"I have been particularly fascinated, for example, by the work of a remarkable man called Allan Savory, in Zimbabwe and other semiarid areas, who has argued for years against the prevailing expert view that it is the simple numbers of cattle that drive overgrazing and cause fertile land to become desert. On the contrary, as he has since shown so graphically, the land needs the presence of feeding animals and their droppings for the cycle to be complete, so that soils and grassland areas stay productive. Such that, if you take grazers off the land and lock them away in vast feedlots, the land dies."

His 2013 TED Talk, "How to green the desert and reverse climate change," attracted millions of views and was followed up by the release of his TED Book, The Grazing Revolution: A Radical Plan to Save the Earth. In his TED Talk Savory asks, "What are we going to do?"

"There is only one option, I'll repeat to you, only one option left to climatologists and scientists, and that is to do the unthinkable, and to use livestock, bunched and moving, as a proxy for former herds and predators, and mimic nature. There is no other alternative left to mankind."

"The number one public enemy is the cow." says Savory. "But the number one tool that can save mankind is the cow. We need every cow we can get back out on the range. It is almost criminal to have them in feedlots which are inhumane, antisocial, and environmentally and economically unsound."

He condemns the practice of slash-and-burn cultivation of forests and grasslands, saying that it "leaves the soil bare, releasing carbon, and worse than that, burning one hectare of grassland gives off more, and more damaging, pollutants than 6,000 cars. And we are burning in Africa, every single year, more than one billion hectares of grasslands, and almost nobody is talking about it."

The Power Of Holistic Management, In Pictures

This is a video put together by Sheldon Frith, full of great before and after pictures. Behold the regenerative power of Holistic Management:



Comparison Photos of Holistically Managed Land Versus Conventionally Managed Land

Grasslands LLC is the managing partner of The Savory Institute. Grasslands LLC is holistically managing a total of 160,000 acres in Montana, Hawaii, South Dakota, and New Zealand. Grasslands LLC is also providing support and consulting services to another 350,000 acres in the U.S.

Holistic Management is practiced on over 40 million acres around the world. The results are amazing. Here are some before and after photos of some of these sites, with descriptions we've edited from the original postings on PlanetTech. You can see them all at: Land Restoration with Holistic Management.


The photo above is South Africa (Karoo country) showing desertification with low stocking rates and conventional grazing on the right, and high stocking rates using Holistic Management on the left. The land on the right continues to deteriorate supporting fewer and fewer animals, while the land on the right improves, supporting more.

Check out the two pictures below. This is Chihuahua, Mexico:


The photo above and the photo below were taken on the same day about 3 miles apart in Chihuahua. The photo above is typical of the area: capped, bare ground, woody brush, no perennial grass, too few animals overgrazing. This is a man-made desert. It has desertified over hundreds of years, but the desertification can be reversed fairly quickly. The photo below is of a site using Holistic Planned Grazing with double the "conventionally recommended stocking rate" (in other words, twice the number of animals grazing than the land can supposedly handle) while employing high density grazing.


The photo below was published on Hut With a View, along with some other good before and after shots. Click on the image to see it larger. This is an edited version of Seth Itzkan's description of how the transformation occurred: This time-series sequence shows the transformation from a barren landscape in Zimbabwe to a healthy grassland savanna from 2004 to 2013. Average annual rainfall is 600 mm. The land, which had been barren and eroding for decades, was “treated” with a heavy concentration of animals. About 500 cattle were corralled on the site for 7 to 10 evenings, leaving an excessive amount of dung and plant litter. Within one year after the animal treatment, short-rooted annuals started to grow, such as aristita (the white stringy plants in the 2005 photo). With the emergence of these plants, the land was then incorporated into a carefully monitored grazing plan (using Holistic Management). After only a few years, the annuals and first succession perennials (chloris, urachloa) are densely packed. These provide “ground cover” that helps retain moisture and builds biodiversity in the soil (2006 photo). These annuals and early perennials are a first-phase in the restoration, but their carbon capture will be minimal. After about 8 years, however, deeper-rooted perennials appear (Heteropogon contortus, Panicum maximum, 2013 photo). These accelerate the carbon capture which can continue for decades.


Here are some excerpts from some Allan Savory talks, showing some before and after pictures:


Getting Results on the Land with Holistic Management

This a quietly delivered Power Point presentation on Holistic Management. But some of the before-and-after pictures are great:

Applegate Farms Announces It's Joining The Regenerative Agriculture Movement

Applegate Farms recently unveiled a line of pork sausages made using regenerative ranching practices designed to strengthen soil (and by extension, extract carbon out of the atmosphere). It's called The New Food Collective.

"At Applegate, we want to change the meat we eat," John Ghingo, company president, said in a news release. "We're making a big bet on regenerative agriculture as one of the paths to show the world that raising animals and eating meat doesn't have to be a problem. Animals can and do play a vital role in a healthy food system."

More and more, shoppers, especially millennials and Gen-Z'ers, are buying with the environment in mind. Nielson named 2018 the "Year of the Sustainable Shopper," reporting that Americans spent $128.5 million on sustainable packaged goods—a 20 percent growth from the year before—and 48 percent of U.S. consumers now say they would be willing to change their consumption habits if it meant improving the environment.

The above is excerpted from an article on MGBPlanet. Read the whole thing here: Applegate Farms Announces It's Joining The Regenerative Ag Movement.

A New Choice For Consumers: Regenerative Organic

The USDA organic label has changed the way Americans eat, serving as a trusted seal for shoppers looking to avoid chemicals and synthetics. As of 2016, nearly 15,000 U.S. farms across 5 million acres had been certified organic. But as the market continues to grow, we're realizing that it isn't doing enough to protect the health of farmland. Regenerative agriculture takes the philosophy one step further, and it's about to be the next label to look out for in stores.

MegaFood, along with other major companies like Ben & Jerry's, Danone, and Annie's, are betting it's because there isn't enough credible information out there to help farmers change their ways. They're joining together with advocacy groups Carbon Underground and Green America to put a data-backed, industry-wide standard in place to help growers measure their impact, set new goals, and achieve real results quickly.

Though it's still a work in progress, this standard could eventually feed into a labeling scheme like the upcoming Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) seal.

Jessica Evans, the director of standards at NSF International, the organization behind the seal, says that shoppers can expect to see it in stores as early as mid-2019. In many ways, it will serve as the next step beyond organic, and farms will need to carry the USDA-certified organic label before they can become certified regenerative. Twenty companies—including Justin's, Thrive Market, Patagonia, and Dr. Bronner—are already piloting the certification.

- The above is excerpted from an article entitled, "The New Food Label You're Going To Want On Your Radar." Read the whole thing here: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/regenerative-agriculture-label


Suston Magazine has this to say about this new certification:

Following the success of the organics movement, and in response to several of its shortcomings, this month saw the launch of the Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC). Initiated by the Rodale Institute in partnership with Textile Exchange and Patagonia, among others, ROC seeks to take sustainable agriculture to the next level by combining three ambitious sets of benchmarks into one certification: proven organic agricultural practices that regenerate the soil, enhanced animal welfare and social fairness.

While most organic certification schemes focus on mitigating soil damage by preventing erosion and prohibiting synthetic pesticides and herbicides, the Rodale Institute believes we can, and should, aim to improve soil quality by adding nutrients and building up organic matter. This approach would also have positive climate implications as soil is an excellent carbon sink. Soil is so effective, in fact, that a 2014 study by the Institute calculated that if all current farmland and pasture shifted to regenerative organic practices, 100% of annual global CO₂ emissions could be sequestered.

ROC is not intended to supplant existing certification schemes, but instead to support them. A company can apply for certification once they’ve attained a recognized organic, animal welfare and fair trade certification, and additionally made the changes ROC requires under each category.

Banning Beef

Data for Progress co-founder Sean McElwee, whose liberal group has helped shape the Green New Deal, says he’d love to rein in the immense economic and cultural power of America’s “meatriarchy.” But his polling has found there’s literally nothing less popular than banning meat.

“It’s up there with giving VA benefits to ISIS,” McElwee says. “That’s the tension the left has to struggle with; Democrats eat meat, too. But even minor improvements could create massive gains for public health and the environment.”

The above was excerpted from an article in Politico. Read it here: Inside the Race to Build the Burger of the Future.

Later in the article...

The [beef] industry’s climate message is that it can be part of the solution—not only by increasing yields through more intensive production, but by storing more carbon in its pastures and cutting emissions from its operations. For example, one of Project Drawdown’s top 10 proposals for fixing the climate was “silvopasture,” planting more carbon-storing trees on grazing lands. Bill Gates recently touted the potential of “regenerative agriculture,” which uses cover crops and no-till farming to keep more carbon in the soil, to grow animal feed with fewer emissions. And some ranchers use climate-friendly “rotational grazing” to mimic the patterns of migratory buffalo herds; cattle are clustered in one area to devour the grass and fertilize the soil with their manure, then moved to another area so the grass can regrow. General Mills is encouraging its suppliers to embrace these practices; Jerry Lynch, the company’s chief sustainability officer, says one Georgia rancher who provides beef for its EPIC Meat Snacks is sequestering so much carbon his overall emissions are approaching zero.

Right now, there are huge tracts of grassland turning to desert because there are no grazing animals on those lands (grasslands without grazing animals become unhealthy). Meanwhile, in other places, huge tracts of land are used for growing soybeans and corn to feed cattle. Those lands turning to desert are releasing their CO2 into the atmosphere. It's tragic. The need for beef to eat and the need for returning those lands back into thriving ecosystems need to come together on a massive scale. This should be the central theme when discussing the ecological impact of eating beef.

Grasslands are the largest ecosystem on land. And 70 percent of it is desertifying. The issue is urgent.

Video: How to Green the World's Deserts

The largest ecosystem on land is grassland with seasonal rainfall (dry part of the year). For this kind of environment to thrive, it needs large numbers of grazing animals because the grasses have evolved to need the trampling, the clearing out, the urine and defecation. Without that animal impact, grasslands turn into deserts.

The huge wild herds with their accompanying deadly predators are gone from most grasslands now. The land has been divided up into separate ownership. So now what can we do to prevent widespread desertification and the resulting immense release of CO2 into the atmosphere?

Allan Savory has a solution, and the Savory Institute and Holistic Management International are putting it to work all over the world.

Watch Allan Savory's TED talk on how it works, and see his before and after pictures:

Make Your Mind More Positive and Spread it to Others

One of the easiest ways to make your mind more positive is to have the goal of trying to give sincere compliments. Flattery is easy. But giving honest, sincere compliments takes some effort, and part of the effort is paying attention to what you genuinely appreciate. Which means what? You're on the lookout for the good. You've got your attention on what you like.

It helps to set a goal for the day: "I will give three good compliments today." It sets your attention to look for things you appreciate all day long.

Doing this, you get the benefit of having your attention on the lookout for what you sincerely like, and that is a positive frame of mind.

But in addition, and more importantly, when you do this often, you start living and working in an environment that grows increasingly positive as the people around you begin to realize you are noticing and appreciating the good things they do. They are in better moods, and they are motivated to take more good actions. It creates a positive, upward spiral of good feelings and good actions.

To give a really good acknowledgment, you will have to take the time to think of something that isn't genetic or came about by pure luck, and that you genuinely appreciate. You'll have to dig in and find what you have been taking for granted that, if it was gone, you would really realize you would miss, and that, now that you come to think of it, you really do appreciate but have been ignoring. (Use comparison-reframes to help you with this.)

The reason you want to avoid complimenting genetic things is that it is best to compliment the choices and efforts people make. When someone chooses to put in extra effort to do something well, the choice and the effort is voluntary and therefore legitimately praiseworthy.

If someone was born with a fine-looking face, and you compliment their face, the compliment is not for the person, really, it is for their genetic luck. There is nothing to feel proud about in that, and the compliment somehow feels flat and emotionally meaningless. The person herself had nothing to do with the structure of her face, and cannot take credit for it. Or if she did take credit, it would be vanity, which is a far cry from personal pride.

However, if you compliment someone on the quality of their work, or the extra time they took to do something, or the kindness and consideration they showed in dealing with you, the compliment has some traction. It will have an emotional impact because it is truly meaningful and legitimately praiseworthy.

Also, the more specific you are, the better the compliment. "I appreciate how thoughtful you were when you responded to that woman, and how considerate you were when you answered her difficult question." That is a more specific and memorable compliment than something like, "Good job," or, "You're great."

Be specific about exactly what you appreciate. What did you see and hear, specifically? And why do you appreciate it? What does it mean to you? How does it make you feel?

So that is your mission today, if you should decide to accept it. Start to train yourself to focus your attention on what is good. Overcome your natural negative biases and start creating better feelings immediately. This mission is a great way to do that: Give three good compliments today.

Adam Khan is the author of Self-Help Stuff That Works and Cultivating Fire: How to Keep Your Motivation White Hot

The Science of Fasting: Now Streaming on Amazon Prime

It's called The Science of Fasting and it is available for streaming at Amazon Prime here. This is the description of the film:

"Young biologists from the University of Los Angeles have overturned conventional wisdom and used molecular biology to demonstrate the powerful effects of fasting. This research suggests a wide-ranging potential, which could include treatments for the disease of the century, cancer. If these scientists are right, maybe our approach to disease and treatment will need a rethink."

Coaching on Asking a Good Question

Here's a good method for asking questions (see more about using questions to direct your mind here): A good way to use the power of asking a question is ask it on paper and then make a list of answers. Ask the question and keep writing down answers. Set some kind of target — 100 answers, for example — and don’t stop until you hit the target. I think you’ll be surprised at some of the things you come up with, and probably surprised at how creative you are.

Or set a timer for a period of time, say an hour, and keep coming up with answers until the timer beeps. Pick one question, set your alarm, and jot down as many answers to the question as you can in that time. Don’t monitor your answers or judge them (yet). Just try to answer the question as creatively as you can.

The first few answers will be normal, predictable answers. But then you’ll run out of those, and your creativity will have to kick in.

When your time is up, go through and pick the best answers.

A freeform question-and-answer session can be productive too. By "freeform" I mean to ask whatever question comes up for you, and then answer it to the best of your ability. Then see what question comes up for you next, and then answer that one.

For example, this little freeform dialog happened when my first book was published and I was trying to get it for sale in bookstores. I hit several setbacks in a row and I was feeling disheartened. Yet the written dialog I had with myself lifted me out of my demoralized state within minutes. I felt strong and determined afterwards. My fighting spirit had returned. Here's how it went:

Q: Why do I feel sad and defeated?

A: It seems like all I do is stick my neck out, then people are mean to me, and then I feel like a loser.

Q: Why do I want to promote this book?

A: I want Klassy proud of me. I want to make a difference with my life. I want to sell lots of books. I want to make money.

Q: Would I be willing to gain those things if I had to pay for it by sticking my neck out, having some people be mean to me, and occasionally feeling like a loser?

A: Yes. Absolutely.

In that short time, I suddenly felt determined. My motivation came back. I remembered that every person I admired had experienced similar trials and hardships, and my line of questioning cast my setbacks in a new, more noble context.

The primary way of asking questions is to create a good question and then have it on your mind for several days or weeks, pondering it in your spare time. It's a good way to direct your mind, motivate yourself, increase your determination, and make lasting changes.

But the two variations I mention in this article can work more quickly. Either ask a question and challenge yourself to make a list of answers, or use a freeform question-and-answer technique. Any questions?

The above is an excerpt from a book by Adam Khan. See it on Amazon here: Direct Your Mind: How to Steer Your Mind to Work For You Rather Than Against You.

Feel Bad Less Often

I was recently visiting a friend of mine at his workplace. He looked at me with a smile that obviously wasn’t full of happiness. “I hate this job,” he said, “I’m getting to the place where I can’t stand these customers!” He was no longer smiling. “There’s no place for me to vent. I can’t tell off my customers. I’d lose my job!”

“John,” I said, “Let me tell you a true story. Once upon a time, a team of researchers wanted to find the best way to deal with anger. They experimented with children at school. In one group, whenever a child got mad at another child, they had him act out his anger with toy guns. With another group, they had the child express his anger verbally. In the third group, the researchers merely gave the angry child a rational explanation for why the other child did what she did. And you know what? The method that worked the best was the last one.”

“The rational explanation?” asked John, obviously needing a rational explanation.

“Yes. There’s been a lot of research showing that anger isn’t really something that ‘bottles up’ inside you, and that ‘venting’ doesn’t help — in fact, venting increases your feelings of anger. Isn’t that surprising? I didn’t believe it at first. But pay attention next time you ‘vent.’ It makes you more angry! Anger is caused by the way you’re thinking at the moment you’re angry, and it seems like it’s building up because you’re running those thoughts through your head over and over, getting madder and madder. But it’s the thoughts that make you mad, not the event itself.

“Imagine you’re in a restaurant with a friend,” I continued, “and you order dinner. Your waiter takes your order and goes on about his business. After awhile, you wonder where your food is. You look for your waiter but don’t see him. You’re getting angry. By the time your waiter walks up (empty handed), you’re really mad. ‘Where have you been!’ you demand, ‘And what happened to our dinner?’ The waiter says, ‘I’m sorry. I forgot to give the cooks your order until only a few minutes ago. I’m really sorry. The hostess just had an epileptic seizure, and I was calling the paramedics and trying to keep her from hurting herself.’

“On hearing this, what happens? Your anger disappears — almost instantly. Where did it go? If anger really bottled up inside you, it would still be there, right? You’ve had no way to ‘vent it.’ But you’re suddenly not the least bit angry. The idea that anger builds up and needs to be released is just another generally-believed idea that’s been proven wrong.

“The reason you’re suddenly not angry is that your anger was being produced by the thoughts you were thinking, and you’re no longer thinking those thoughts, so the anger is no longer being produced.”

“So what am I supposed to do?” asks John. He isn’t smiling, but he isn’t frowning, “When a customer is being a jerk, do I think to myself, ‘My customer is a nice person; I love my customer?’”

“Good question,” I said. “No. I doubt if that would work, because saying things to yourself you don’t believe doesn’t do much good. Have you ever tried it?”

“Yeah.”

“Did it work?”

“No.”

“Right. Sometimes it does, but not very often. What you need to do is question your interpretation. Don’t try to pump yourself up and tell yourself a bunch of positive stuff you don’t believe. Tear apart the negative. When you’re angry, you take your thoughts for granted. If you thought it, it must be so, right? You can trust your own thoughts, can’t you? But if someone else came up and said exactly the same thing out loud to you, you could take the statement apart no problem. But you said it, so you just accept it.

“You should treat the thoughts in your head with as much skepticism as you would treat the words of a fast-talking salesman. ‘Hold on there, buddy,’ you might say, ‘Slow down and say that again...(let him say one sentence)...Can you prove that? Who says? Has a study been done? Who conducted the study?’ You don’t take everything a salesman says at face-value. You question it. You should do the same thing with the thoughts you have that bring you down.

“As soon as you start arguing with your own thoughts, you’ll find it pretty easy to tear them to shreds because the thoughts you think when you’re angry are almost always exaggerations and distortions and unprovable interpretations. Almost always. Like 99 percent of the time. And when you take your thoughts apart, your anger disappears.”

John looked unconvinced.

“Give me one,” I said, “Tell me something you were thinking about a customer.”

“Let’s see...” John recalled, “This lady was being really condescending and the other people...”

“Wait,” I interrupted, “Let’s take one at a time. ‘The lady was being condescending.’ That’s a good one. Do you think you could argue with that?”

“Well...I don’t know.”

“Was she being condescending?”

“Yes. She was.”

“Are you sure? Can you read minds?”

“No. I guess it’s possible she wasn’t being condescending.”

“Maybe she wasn’t. How could you know for sure? Maybe you misread her tone of voice and body posture. It happens, you know. Don’t you hate it when someone misreads your tone of voice? It happens. Maybe you misread her’s. Are there other possible explanations for the way she was talking to you?”

“Yeah, I guess. Maybe she was in a bad mood when she came in and I had nothing to do with it.”

“That’s a good one. That’s certainly possible. Give me another one.”

“Uh...I remind her of her son, and she’s in the habit of being condescending to him.”

“That’s pretty good. You’re good at this. Both of those explanations have nothing to do with you. In other words, with either of those explanations, you don’t have to take it personally. And if you don’t take it personally, you’re probably not going to get angry. Can you think of another one?”

“Let’s see...How about: She was actually strongly attracted to me and had a hard time controlling herself and her effort to control herself looked like ‘condescension.’”

“Okay. Good. Now which explanation do you settle for?”

“Hmm...let me think...”

“None!!!” I say a little too loudly. “You have effectively destroyed your original interpretation—the one that was making you angry. You’ve proven to yourself that there are other equally possible theories to explain what you experienced besides, ‘She’s being condescending.’ Since you don’t know what the ‘real’ explanation is, you can just leave it at that. It is unknown. And when there are several equally possible theories to explain things, you won’t be too upset by any one of them. And you’ll feel better. And you’ll act more effectively because of it.”

“This is good,” he says, looking a little hopeful.

“It works really well. How do you feel now.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you feel angry?”

“No.”

“See, it’s working already!”


MOST OF THE MEANINGS we make automatically are given to us during our upbringing. We’re using the meanings we’ve been given without ever suspecting we have a choice. We’re somewhat passive receptacles of the culture we grew up with.

We don’t realize our power to make meanings, so we don’t exercise it. But the meanings we make have a tremendous impact on our lives.

If you think when you and your spouse get mad at each other it means your marriage is on the rocks, that meaning will affect the outcome of your life. It will affect how you feel. If you become afraid of conflict because you think it means The End, and you avoid conflict (maybe you don’t speak the straight truth in order to avoid conflict), you’ll create misunderstandings. Things s/he doesn’t know about you will start accumulating. Confusion and distrust will accumulate right along with it. This, in itself can lead to what you feared: the eventual demise of your marriage.

The meanings you make have an impact on your life.

By experimenting with different meanings, you can improve your attitude and ability to handle problems in your life because a different meaning gives you different feelings and different actions, and that gives you different results in your life.

Meanings are not facts. When a meaning causes you dysphoria or ineffectiveness, question it. Make up other meanings.

You’re in the driver’s seat.

Adam Khan is the author of Antivirus For Your Mind: How to Strengthen Your Persistence and Determination and Feel Good More Often and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English).