The Blood Code: Unlock the Secrets of Your Metabolism
by Dr. Richard Maurer
The Twilight series of fantasy romance novels seems to be popular with the younger crowd so I want to be clear about one thing right from the beginning. There is not a single reference to vampires in this book. The Blood Code approach to health starts with blood panel results used to analyze where you are and where you need to go. Course corrections are accomplished with diet and lifestyle changes, not drugs. As the title suggests, metabolism issues are carefully addressed. Many people are having metabolic issues these days including jeans that are getting too tight. There is a widespread habit of blaming genetics but you can’t blame genes or jeans. Genetic expression is not carved in stone; it depends on lifestyle and diet. Dr. Maurer outlines a six-step process:
1. Blood panel
2. Skin fold measurements
3. Interpretation of results
4. Adjusting the diet
5. Exercise and lifestyle adjustments
6. Nutritional supplements
Many pages follow explaining blood panel results, normal ranges, etc. Those pages are understandably not very exciting, but very informative. The book is a combination of educational text and reference book. As with a dictionary, no normal person would read it from front to back, not that there is any such thing as a normal person.
Skin fold measurements are made in four places: triceps, biceps, back, and hip. Each area reflects different details of your overall condition. Triceps, for example, reflect the tone of your extremities— both arms and legs. Other positions and combinations are further explained in the book.
There are some good quotes among the dietary recommendations. Fran Lebowitz reminds us that food is an important part of a balanced diet. I think that’s a good thing to keep in mind when wandering the aisles of a typical supermarket full of food-like items which should be labeled “Not to be taken internally.” Erma Bombeck warns you never to order food in excess of your body weight.
Dr. Maurer makes some interesting points. One that may catch many people’s attention is that the glycemic index doesn’t work. He lists three reasons. The first is that fiber and fat lower the index of carbs.
Dr. Maurer comes down hard against the delusion that saturated fat is going to kill us all. One chapter subheading is “The Low-Fat Diet is Dead.” Several major recent studies are cited to back up that fact. Hard on the heels of that is the section on cholesterol in which Maurer captures how the pharmaceutical scam works so well. While the patent is still active for a drug, the pharmaceutical companies do a brilliant job of manipulating statistics to make the drug look good. By happy coincidence, just after the patent expires and the drug goes generic, negative studies start leaking out. He illustrates with the example of Lipitor, the most popular drug ever. It went generic in January 2012. Starting in February, WebMD began publishing articles which suggested Lipitor wasn’t so great after all. Maurer lists six articles from 2012 to 2013 connecting statin drugs to memory loss, diabetes, fatigue, cataracts, muscle weakness, musculoskeletal injuries, and more.
The discussion of supplements, in particular fat-soluble vitamins, is not complete. However, as implied by the quote about food being an important part of a balanced diet, supplements are not the most important factor in the diet and should not be depended upon at the expense of food.
Maurer’s exercise advice doesn’t exactly follow conventional wisdom either. The best exercise option is what the Swedish call fartlek. As you might guess, that is not the ideal name for an exercise protocol in an English-speaking population. More familiar terms for us would be cross-training or interval training which indicate short bursts of more intense activity interspersed with recovery periods. Maurer points out that even big, clumsy, authoritative organizations like the American Heart Association agree with that. He also points out that too much aerobic exercise will actually reduce muscle mass—not something you ever want. I’m sure someone out there will get flustered about this, but his advice on stretching before exercise is—don’t. He does say why and if you want to know more, that is good reason to buy the book. Another reason is because my big, clumsy thumb is UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2014