Aspirin – To bleed or not to bleed, that is the question.

aspirinAbstract:   Aspirin is commonly prescribed as part of standard stroke recovery medication, but I know of no research done on the interaction of Aspirin with a ketogenic diet. In particular, salicylates are known to interfere with mitochondria, and in particular, lipolysis and beta-oxidation (the creation of ketones). Aspirin is known to up regulate and down regulate gene expression, often along with other substances. The purpose of this brief study is just to sound a warning to those already on a high plant food ketogenic diet.  

A low carbohydrate diet, also high in vegetables, herbs and spices is potentially already blood thinning. In particular, these vegetables in our regular diet are high or very high in salicylates: green pepper, mushrooms, olives, tomato, broccoli, spinach and sweet potato.  We also eat moderate amounts daily of these fruits very high in salicylates: apricots,  blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.   And then there are almonds and most of the spices I use in generous amounts!  We would easily consume well over 50mg of salicylates every day.

While eating a high plant food diet is healthy,  adding additional salicylate in the form of aspirin, may cause long-term toxic effects. Eating high salicylate foods which are rich in a whole variety of nutrients is quite different to consuming aspirin alone.

The Krebs cycle enzyme α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase is inhibited by aspirin and salicylates,  and worse, Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) appears to be associated with a decline in α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase.  There may be no causal link here, but if AD is a result of damaged mitochondria and oxidative stress, then taking aspirin long-term seems to be a very foolish thing.

(This page is incomplete and under development)!
What is Coming:
How Aspirin thins the blood.
What else does Aspirin (and/or salicylates) interfere with?
What research shows on preventing a second stroke – and comparison with Vitamin E. 
(Just a lot of research to read & summarise)

Conclusion: I have no definitive answers on aspirin. It is potentially a powerful tool against an existing metastatic cancer. It is also possibly lifesaving in the short-term to people on a SAD diet. In the event of a stroke, an immediate dose of aspirin could be a life saver, and I would administer such a dose in this situation. For someone who is on a poor diet, in bad health, and refuses to consider a healthy life style, regular low dose aspirin may indeed reduce all cause mortality!  They are already heading for an early death from cancer, heart disease, stroke or AD.  Aspirin is unlikely to hasten their already expected early demise.  However,  for someone on a healthy, high plant food diet, rich in natural blood thinners, and salicylates, the regular use of aspirin may be ill-advised.

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Stonewall Jackson (The Original!)

Did ‘Stonewall’ Jackson have Asperger’s Syndrome?
by Michael Fitzgerald. (See note at foot of this article)
Picture from the Virginia Military Institute Archives

To conduct a study of General Thomas Jonathan ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, one of the greatest military geniuses, to see if he met the criteria for Asperger’s Syndrome or Asperger’s Disorder. A study of the writings on ‘Stonewall’ Jackson was conducted. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson meets the criteria for Asperger’s disorder with clear evidence of a qualitative impairment in social interaction and restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities. While individuals with Asperger’s disorder suffer major problems in social relationships, nevertheless because of their ability to focus on a single topic they can be capable of great creativity, in this case, in the field of battle and in military affairs.

Did ‘Stonewall’ Jackson have Asperger’s Syndrome or Disorder?

In 1944, the Austrian Hans Asperger described a number of children mainly boys who were socially odd, egocentric and who had circumscribed interests in specific topics Asperger (1944). He called this autistic psychopathy. Later Wing (1981) refined the syndrome and called it Asperger’s syndrome. Later Szatmari et al. (1989) outlined specific criteria for the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. The American Psychiatric Association (APA, 1994) also set out criteria for Asperger’s disorder. Both (Szatmari et al., 1989; APA, 1994) these criteria will be used in attempting to establish whether ‘Stonewall’ Jackson, possibly the greatest military leader in the American Civil War, had Asperger’s syndrome or disorder.

In defining Asperger’s syndrome Szatmari et al. (1989) in their first two criteria for Asperger’s syndrome, emphasised solitary activities and social relationship problems. It is clear that ‘Stonewall’ Jackson met these criteria and the evidence will now be presented. During the American Civil War his nephew Henry Kyd Douglas (1947) was with him during the campaign and he described how “the General always kept himself always very much apart . . . and he did not encourage social calls”. It was not thought by those who knew him best that he was a good judge of character (Douglas, 1947). Douglas (1947) described him as “hard as nails in the performance of a duty. I never knew him to temper justice with mercy; his very words very merciless. I can recall no case when he remitted or modified a punishment that he believed to be just and according to the law . . . He was governed by his judgment alone, by his strict construction of his sense of duty, by the demands of the public service. There was no place for sentiment or pity. In the execution of the law he was inexorable, justice and mercy seemed out of place”. Douglas (1947) describes how at Law School he was regarded as “such an oddity” and a classmate of his said that “old Jack is a character, genius, or just a little crazy” and that he “lives quietly and don’t meddle”. Douglas (1947) points out that on one occasion a soldier wanted to visit his wife before she died and he said to the man “man, man, do you love your wife more than your country?” and turned away. The man never forgave him.

His problem in social relationships was also seen when he was posted in Florida and he made allegations of immoral behaviour against his commanding officer Major French. Henry (1979) stated that here Jackson showed his “implacable and vindictive characteristics and indeed his attack of French was pitiless, narrow minded and legalistic”.

As a teacher at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington he was “an appallingly bad teacher and extremely unpopular with his students. The cadets considered him a strange character, grim, aloof, unable to communicate with them in or outside the classroom, who subjected them to a petty and relentless discipline” according to Henry (1979). Jackson was known there as “old Hickory” and indeed according to Henry (1979) the authorities made an unsuccessful attempt to remove him from his job. Locally the people of Lexington “considered him to be one of their local eccentrics, but despite his shyness and odd ways” he was respected by members of his Church (Henry, 1979). People considered his appearance odd “and this, combined with his reserve and awkwardness in company, made him the object of many jokes and derisive comments” and he was regarded as having a “shy, introverted and secretive personality” (Henry, 1979).

He therefore meets all the criteria for Asperger’s syndrome as set out by Szatmari et al. (1989) in social relationships with: (a) having no close friends, (b) avoiding others, (c) having no interest in making friends, (d) being a loner, (e) having a clumsy social approach, (f) have a one-sided response to peers and having difficulty sensing feelings of others as well as being detached from feelings of others, (g) he was “reticent and self-reliant” (Henry, 1979).

He also meets the criterion set out by Szatmari et al. (1989) for impaired non-verbal communication. He showed limited facial expression and indeed it was said by Douglas (1947) that he “rarely if ever laughed” and had a “reserve and awkwardness in company”.

The last criterion Szatmari et al. (1989) was odd speech and he certainly talked very little. Indeed in battles according to Douglas (1947) he sometimes didn’t inform people about his future military plans. We don’t have information on whether he had idiosyncratic use of words or repetitive patterns of speech.

Asperger’s Disorder (APA, 1994)

He certainly meets the first criterion of a qualitative impairment in social interaction (APA, 1994). He had a failure to develop peer relationships and there was a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment and interests with other people (Douglas, 1947; Henry, 1979). There was a lack of social and emotional reciprocity. Henry (1979) described him as “a withdrawn, morose, isolated personality of eccentric habits and with a hypochondrical preoccupation which bordered on the bizarre”. He also said that he was “grim and humourless” (Henry, 1979). At school he was described as being “shy and unsociable, retaining much of the awkwardness of his previous personality” (Henry, 1979). During the American Civil War there were much rumours that he was “mad” and some of his fellow officers resented his aloof, high handed way of conducting his campaigns (Henry, 1979). It was noted by Douglas (1947) that when General Winder came to work with Jackson he had “a will as inflexible as that of Jackson himself and at first their relations were not very cordial and each certainly underrated the other; in many things, they were too much alike to fit exactly”. Despite being a loner, being aloof and distant Douglas (1947) stated that “never in the history of warfare has an army shown more devotion to duty and the wishes of one man” as his army showed during the second battle of the Manassas.

The second criterion for Asperger’s disorder (APA, 1994) are restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviour, interests and activities. He was preoccupied with religion and with war. Henry (1979) points out that he was “an avoid reader of military history and studied intensively the campaigns of Napoleon”. He received the nickname “Stonewall” during the 1st battle of the Manassas when his “Virginia brigade stood up to the enemy in a very rigid fashion and Lieutenant H. Lee cried out “look! There is Jackson’s brigade standing behind you like a stone wall” (Douglas, 1947).

He and his army was “well-disciplined” (Douglas, 1947). Nevertheless Jackson was described as the “worst-dressed, worst-mounted, most faded and dingy-looking general” there was ever seen (Douglas, 1947). “In all his movements in riding to a horse to handling a pen, the most awkward man in the army” (Douglas, 1947). He walked and rode in a most “ungainly” manner (Douglas, 1947). While he was “aloof and secretive he drove his soldiers mercilessly; and his discipline was almost inhumane but the troops marched and fought and died for him with remarkable devotion” (Douglas, 1947). He studied war and military matters all his life and was probably one of the greatest generals that has ever commanded an American army. He was described as being “a bold leader, probably the boldest the war (American Civil War) produced” (Douglas, 1947). Indeed it was this boldness and leading out his army from the front which was entirely unnecessary which led him to be shot at the battle of Chancellorsville an event that may very well have lost the war for the southern states (Alexander, 1996). He was entirely indifferent to bullets flying around him. He was a brilliant military strategist but then he thought of very little else throughout his life except perhaps of God” and had a great ability to “mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy (Alexander, 1996). He read no newspapers and allowed no newspaper correspondents to visit his camp.


There is no doubt that ‘Stonewall’ Jackson met the criteria for Asperger’s disorder which gives the individual enormous handicaps in terms of social relating and empathising with other individuals but can be enormously beneficial for a leader as is shown by Jackson in his leadership of his army. He met all Szatmari’s et al. (1989) except missing one additional item under the heading of odd speech for which historical data is not available. Because he was a Professor in the Military Academy and studied battles and war throughout his life he was better prepared for the American Civil War than any other military general. This extreme focus on a single topic can have enormous benefits and it is probably impossible for anyone to produce work of true genius without this exclusive focus.

For correspondence:

Professor M. Fitzgerald, Henry Marsh Professor of Child Psychiatry, Trinity College Dublin, Child & Family Centre, Ballyfermot Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10, Ireland.

Telephone Number: (+ 353 1) 626 5676.

Fax Number: (+ 353 1) 454 4418.


(1) Alexander B. (1996). Lost Victories: The Military Genius of Stonewall Jackson. New Jersey: Blue and Grey Press.

(2) American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic Criteria from DSM-IV. (1994). Washington: American Psychiatric Association.

(3) Asperger H. (1944). Die “autistischen Psychopathen im” Kindesalter. Archives fur Psychiatrie und Nervenkrankheiten, 117, 76 – 136.

(4) Henry W. D. (1979). Stonewall Jackson – The Soldier Eccentric. Practitioner, 223, 580 – 587.

(5) Kyd-Douglas H. (1947). I rode with ‘Stonewall’. London: Putnam.

(6) Szatmari P., Brenner R., Nagy J. (1989). Asperger’s Syndrome: A Review of Clinical Features. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 34, 544 – 560.

(7) Wing L. (1981). Asperger’s Syndrome: A Clinical Account. Psychological Medicine, 11, 115 – 129.

From Society of Clinical Psychiatrists (Original page is faulty and disappears after briefly appearing in a browser window) Copyright elsewhere is assumed, and this page will be removed when they repair their website!

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The Low Carb, Lower Fat diet.

Don’t get me wrong. This is the same diet called elsewhere LCHF, or low carb high fat, or as Dr Caryn Zinn says, LCHF = Low Carb, Healthy Fat,   but you are likely eating LESS FAT than you would be eating on a high carbohydrate diet.  Note that I am writing this from the perspective of a somewhat sedentary pensioner with a relatively low energy requirement.  An active sports man or women following a LCHF diet would have a much higher calory need, and higher fat input!.


Above image from the Edify Food Community

From the US Centers for Disease Control

“The decrease in the percentage of kcals from fat during 1971–1991 is attributed to an increase in total kcals consumed; absolute fat intake in grams increased (5). USDA food consumption survey data from 1989–1991 and 1994–1996 indicated that the increased energy intake was caused primarily by higher carbohydrate intake (6). Data from NHANES for 1971–2000 indicate similar trends.”

When on the weight loss part of the diet, most of the fat you consume is your own body fat!  At maintenance weight, you are likely consuming no more, or even less, fat than your poor friends and family on the SAD diet. (SAD = standard American/Australian diet!)

On a low carbohydrate diet, you eat a lot fewer calories than your former obese self on a high carbohydrate diet. True, you probably now eat more fat than a healthy vegan, or even someone who tries to eat well and starve themselves on a carb rich diet. But when compared to the worst of those who eat the SAD diet, your total fat intake is probably comparable, but made up of much healthier fats.

LCHF is high fat as a percentage of the calories we consume, but not compared with the SAD diet. We likely don’t eat as MUCH fat as the obese on a SAD diet.

So let’s stop calling this a high fat diet.

Note: Following standard Government guidelines for “healthy” living,  would result in a much lower fat intake than on a LCHF diet, but I think the average Australian, American and New Zealander gets far too much fat, which  when combined with a high carbohydrate intake is a recipe for disaster.

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On Doctors, Medicine and Pharmaceuticals (Part 1)

Warning:  I am not a doctor.  Self medication and even extreme nutrition can have serious consequences.  Always discuss any changes to medication with your medical advisor(s).

Now, first, a little about me, and why I am often going to disregard medical advice! Don’t get me wrong, I tell our doctor exactly what I am doing, and why. She doesn’t necessarily believe me,  but good health tends to override objections. However, my wife and I are on a journey of stroke recovery, and going to reject most of the advice we get on pharmaceuticals.  I will detail exactly what we do and why, along with progress in other posts, but this is post is to explain why I consider myself a little better prepared to step outside the “system”.

I have an honours degree in organic chemistry. I started a doctorate to study the structure of superoxide dismutase (someone eventually succeeded, see image below), and that year, I lectured first year medical students in organic chemistry with a little elementary pharmacy thrown in.  I dropped out after a year as I needed a higher income to support my growing family.

I also spend a few months as a medical representative, and learned how the pharmaceutical industry works from the inside. After some years teaching,  I went into computer software, and developed the leading New Zealand dispensary software, at one time in over half the chemistry shops in New Zealand.  I “sold out” early on in the project to a large pharmacy wholesaler, and was employed as the project leader for the software for some years. I was again on the inside of the pharmacy industry, visiting pharmacists, being involved with pharmacy conferences etc.

I developed automatic warning labels, and automatic warnings to the pharmacist on drug interactions – where different medicines interfere with others.  So I delved quite deep into the problems of pharmaceuticals, and determined to avoid pharmaceuticals wherever possible.

Life went on for many years.  In 2014, on the suggestion of a friend, we started down the low carb/ketogenic lifestyle, to try to halt my wife’s primary progressive multiple sclerosis which she had had for some years but wasn’t diagnosed until 2012. I was, by now, her full-time carer, and I became heavily involved in researching biochemistry, nutrition, and MS. reading biochemistry textbooks, and original research papers.

In Part 2 I intend to discuss the problems with most medical research.  (to be continued)

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Stroke! 11th May 2016

My wife has had a stroke!

Why?  Eating a healthy diet, weight close to ideal BMI, blood pressure (140/90) not over high.  Excellent lipid profile, at least according to Assoc. Professor Ken Sikaris No matter what you do, and how many medications you take, you cannot eliminate the risk of stroke.

The high risks for stroke, even on a healthy diet are

  1. Age  (nothing you can do about that)
  2. Family history – an indication of genetics!  (nothing you can do about that)
  3. Obesity – Losing weight will help, but the past obesity will haunt as blood vessel damage can take a long time to reverse, if that is even possible.

However, in this case, there is an overriding factor: Radiotherapy to the head and neck, which unfortunately my wife received about a year ago. Research suggests that this increases the risk of stroke by between 2 to 5 times. Here  and  Here for a couple of research examples.

This was NOT discussed with us at Peter Mac Cancer centre before the treatment, which is apparently deliberate.  No one we have discussed this with after the stroke (our GP, the hospital Doctors) disagreed, and “well of course, but we can’t cover all the risks” was one comment!  Don’t get me wrong, the skin cancer was so aggressive, that my wife would have agreed to the radiotherapy even had the risk been explained.

The arteries to the brain are damaged increasing the risk of stroke: “Many investigations have demonstrated that radiation can result in the increase in carotid intima-media thickness, carotid stenosis and consequently lead to a higher risk of cerebrovascular events such as transient ischemic attack and stroke. “

All this is past history, and my wife now has stenosis of the minor brain arteries, if not the carotids themselves. The damage is thought to be permanent, and the risk grows over time as the radiation induced disease progresses. She had a much more serious reaction to the face radiation than most,  and I surmise that the damage to the arteries was also greater than in most.

Some research shows that this damage is NOT amenable to normal treatment for atherosclerosis such as blood thinners etc.

Nothing here PROVES that the stroke was caused by the radiation damage, but the risk of that is so much higher than anything else, that we accept this as the most likely cause.

Much, much more to follow!

Posted in Nutrition | 2 Comments


Linseed(Flaxseed) – Walnut – Almond – Sunflower and Pumpkin seed.

Designed to boost Gamma Tocopherols when supplementing Vitamin E with Alpha Tocopherol.

Note!  I do not generally support Vitamin E supplementation, and real food sources are always preferred. As Chris Kresser says  Throw away your multivitamins and antioxidants!

LSA is a well know product, made from ground Linseed(Flaxseed), Sunflower and Almond, in the ratio 100 to 30 to 15.  (As these ingredients all have approximately the same density, it matters not if you measure by weight or volume.)

But different nuts and seeds have different profiles of Vitamin E which comes in several forms, the main being Alpha and Gamma Tocopherols.  Most multi vitamin supplements contain only Alpha-tocopherol, and too much of the Alpha form in the blood drives down the Gamma form. If you are using Alpha tocopherol (Vitamin E 500 units every other day) as a therapeutic anti-coagulant instead of Aspirin and other more dangerous anti-coagulants, then using LWASP instead of LSA will help boost Gamma Tocopherol levels a little. There is huge disagreement on the relative advantages of Aspirin vs Vitamin E, and this is something I am still researching.

The following ingredients essentially have only one major form of vitamin E.
Linseed (Gamma)
Walnuts (Gamma)
Almonds (Alpha)
Sunflower seeds (Alpha)
Pumpkin Seed (Gamma)

I chop the nuts (equal parts by weight) in a food processor, then add to a bowl:
200 gms Linseed,
30 gms Sunflower seeds,
30 gms Pumpkin seeds and
30 gms of the chopped nuts (effectively 15gms each of Almonds and Walnuts)

I transfer the mix, 1/8th cup at a time to my spice grinder & grind for about 15 seconds to a fine meal. Takes a while!

I keep the meal in the fridge, and use just as you would LSA, or ground Linseed, in cooking, porridge, smoothies etc.

In all things, I try to introduce variety – to use as many different foods as possible.

Read More on Vitamin E:
Researchers have discovered how vitamin E deficiency may cause neurological damage
Newly Discovered Benefits of Gamma Tocopherol
The need for vitamin E and how much is enough


Posted in Low Carb Food - Ideas and recipes | 1 Comment

Low Carb Seed Bread

Egg and Gluten free, low carbohydrate, and optionally dairy free Seed cracker or seed bread.  Which is simple to make.
I wanted something more like this:


Rather than this recipe from “The Real Meal Revolution” by Prof Tim Noakes, Jonno Proudfoot and Sally-Ann Creed as shown below.


The problem with these, is that they are just broken pieces,and hard to use as a base for other foods as they tend to be too brittle.

Mine is stronger, better shapped, and able to standup to butter, cheese, avocado dip etc.

So, to get the new, improved Noakes Seed Cracker:

Preheat oven to 180C,
In a bowl add:
80gms sunflower seeds
80gms Pumpkins seeds (Pepitos)
80pms Sesame seeds
50gms Flax seeds
50gms ground flax seed (freshly ground or buy pre-ground) or LSA or LWASP
15 gms Psyllium husks (3 tbs)
half a teaspoon of baking powder,
1 tsp salt,
400gms water (with 1 Tbs Apple cider Vinegar)
Stir before adding:
60gms Tahini (Sesame seed butter)

Optional: (if dairy OK) : add Parmesan cheese 25-50gms to taste.

Stir and leave for 15 minutes.
Prepare two baking trays (mine are square, 32cm x 22cm)
Place baking paper along bottom & fold up the sides.

Pour the Mix into the trays, and spread with a heavy spatula – it is a thick gelatinous mass. Trays will be covered about half a cm deep or so. Too thick, and the crackers will remain moist.  At this stage, I use the spatual to outline the crackers – these lines will not remain, as the mixture will flow, but it makes the dividing lines easier by pushing the larger seeds away from the cracker outline. It also lets you see if the mixture is evenly spread, which you can correct at this stage. It looks something like this:


Place in In the oven, and immediately turn down the heat to 150C, the initial higher temp will speed the drying, and bring the mix quickly up to heat, and help with a little raising, but you don’t want to over heat the seeds, as the oils and fats are prone to heat damage over 160C or higher.

After 20 minutes, remove each tray briefly, and score with a spatula to outline the cracker size you want,  – this makes the crackers easy to break into a uniform size & they look good, but you can skip this and just break the whole slabs as you want.


Return each tray to the oven for a further hour or so – but check after about 45 minutes, as overcooking will burn the crackers.

This will take a little trial and error depending on your oven. Too little heating, and the crackers will be too soft and moist. Too much, and the crackers will over roast – which tastes nice, but isn’t wise to overheat seed oils and fats. You can remove one cracker & test that it is done.

Store in an airtight container when done. I find that the flavour appears to improve as the crackers are stored, but maybe that is just me, as these are super yummy with anything.

Strong enough for cheese, dips, etc etc.



Nutritional information: Assuming 32 crackers, average per cracker
Dairy free: 71 calories, 3.4g Protein, 6.2g Fat, 0.4g Carbs
With Parmesan: 77 calories, 3.9g Protein, 6.6g Fat, 0.4g Carbs

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