Thursday, September 1, 2022

Pearson's square, hard-times and lysine

Pearson's square is a simple way to calculate the relative ratios of two components to hit a target for a single nutrient.

For example, suppose you want to blend feed for laying hens with 18% protein and you are mixing cracked corn with 8% protein and soy-grits with 35% protein

Pearson's square is a calculation aid. One puts the percentage of desired component of one ingredient on the left side of the square at one of the corners...and label that corner. Then to put the percentage of the other component at the other left side corner.

Then the target percentage, which must be between the that of the two ingredients, is placed in the center of the square.

The feed blender works on the diagonal. Whichever is lower, target or component is subtracted from the higher and place at the opposite corner of the square.

This is done with both components individually.

The result of the subtraction (the number in the opposite corner) is the relative amount of the OTHER component.

Hard times

It is difficult to over-emphasize the importance of stating one's assumptions when looking into the future. That is because, should somebody want to bend the answer to a desired result, it can most easily be done by "adjusting" the assumptions*.

  1. Hard times are recurring events in human history and cannot be avoided.
  2. It is impossible to predict the future but it is possible to visualize potential outcomes as a probability cloud.
  3. One trace in that cloud is a famine in the United States where the government takes over the distribution of food or people must rely on foods they stored or can forage.
  4. Grain are generally the cheapest, most transportable, easiest to store source of calories and become the foundation of diets during hard times.
  5. Meat and animal products, currently our major source of protein, will become scarce and expensive.
  6. Grain does not have sufficient Lysine, an essential amino acid to support human life.
  7. Thriving in hard times will hinge on getting enough Lysine. Take care of Lysine and most other nutrients will take care of themselves.
  8. Nearly everybody will be physically active and will lose weight. Calorie bogey is 17 Calories per pound of body weight. I will assume that body-weights will drift to a BMI of 25 over time.
  9. 30% of your calories will come from fats and oils. Fats and oils have zero Lysine.
  10. My readers are over 18 and not pregnant and consequently your daily Lysine requirement will be 14mg/lb lean body mass/day**

Let's put those assumptions together and see where they lead us.

This is an appropriate time to use rounding-up. 4 parts rice or corn or wheat and 1 part beans or lentils or split peas, by weight will get it done.

What about meat?

Suppose you can get grain but not beans/lentils/peas; how much meat would a person need?

Assuming that a total break-down in society meant that you can only find whole grains (actually to your benefit because the germ is rich in Lysine) a typical adult will need about three ounces of meat a day (when added to the Lysine in the grain) meet their daily need for Lysine.

That is one chipmunk or two starlings or four sparrows; gutted with the heart, kidneys and liver tossed back into the stew-pot. Birds plucked and chipmunk skinned. Bones strained out and everything else eaten.

Bonus Links:

Lysine content of various foods

Lysine requirements for humans

Calorie requirements for humans

BMI Tables  

Pearson Square

*Expect authorities to change definitions as they lose control of events. We already saw this with the definition of "Recession". Expect them to dramatically revise downward recommended Calorie intake, protein allowance and other key metrics.

That is why it is important to write things down on paper. They cannot revise a page sitting in your three-ring binder.

**I am living in Mathematical sin by combining English and Metric units. I accept that I am a flawed human. I used the units I thought are most familiar to my readers.


  1. This is information I have never seen. Thank you for stating this. I think I need to start a notebook for the hard times information like this.

  2. i take lysine supplements when i feel like im coming down with something.
    more than the recommendation on the bottle.
    especially when i feel a cold sore starting, which signals body is under attack from viral and stress response.

    although now i take ivermectin in addition to the the lysine.
    the cold sore never surfaces or is lessened by healing faster.

  3. While I'm no "expert", it is my understanding that yeast leavened grain *does* have sufficient lysine.

  4. Interesting approach. Adding it to my 'keep track of file'...

  5. We have red squirrels here in Copper Basin Alaska. Back when they were killing chickens and other animals and and putting them in a landfill at the beginning of Covid I declared them strategic meat reserve so I could shoot them with a pellet rifle off the porch! As I understand it lysine is one of the hardest nutrients for vegans to get.