180 Healthy Eating Guide Part III – Investigation

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Of all the components to the 180 Healthy Eating Guide, none is more important than investigation.  And I’m not just saying that because the only books I read as a kid were Encyclopedia Brown. Investigation is by far the biggest gaping hole in Western medicine, as well as many alternative therapies. While you may receive many blood tests and get diagnosed nearly to death, and this can prove to be a useful form of investigation in some cases, you are very unlikely to see investigation beyond this. This is partly due to the fact that doctors simply don’t have the time required to do a thorough investigation of all the potential disease-triggering stressors in your life. Most doctor visits last something like 7 minutes.

Secondly, Western Medicine has only recognized the true root cause of a very small percentage of all ailments. And even with diseases where they have identified a root cause – such as H. Pylori infection and stomach ulcers or Streptococcus mutans bacteria and tooth decay, they fail to note that the presence of these organisms does not explain the development of disease from it. Most people with H. Pylori in their stomachs do not suffer from ulcers. Most teeth of people with Streptococcus mutans in their mouths do not suffer from decay.

So don’t expect a doctor, after diagnosing you with cancer, to ask what emotional traumas you’ve experienced that could have triggered it. Don’t expect, if you enter a doctor’s office with lots of strange and seemingly-unrelated symptoms, to be asked what you’ve been eating lately – or if you have lost weight dieting or overexercising. If you do mention losing weight, you will probably be congratulated by the doctor while simultaneously being interrogated by the nursing staff on how you did it – as a large percentage of nurses fall into the most weight-obsessed category (Caucasian, middle to upper-class females).

In my direct experience, emotional trauma, intentional weight loss, and poor diet – whether from overly restrained and restricted eating (as in vegan or carbohydrate restriction) or a simple lack of real, nutritious food – are the primary triggers of disease. What they all have in common is triggering an increase in glucocorticoid exposure and in turn the reduction in the ability of the mitochondria to produce energy. This (the stress reaction that is) seems to be nearly universal in all ailments.

In short, stress is the cause of disease. It comes in an endless array of shapes and sizes. Poor diet and emotional trauma just seem to be the most frequent causes in the modern world, but the stress reaction can be caused by just about anything. Most people can figure out what caused their health problem better than any doctor, because they live with their bodies and minds 24 hours a day.

The power of investigation goes well beyond diet obviously, but because diet is a great tool to solve health problems – even if they weren’t caused by something diet related (food can be powerful medicine for shutting down the stress reaction of the body, regardless of the cause of that stress reaction), and it is so common for people to create and exacerbate problems with an unsuitable diet, we’ll focus solely on the eating wing of investigation (so pass the hot sauce)…

There are endless ways to try and gauge, based on physical and mental indicators, whether your diet is increasing or decreasing your overall health. Although there can be some strong “head fakes,” where you feel great but are actually doing damage as I’ve discussed a long time ago in CATECHOLAMINE HONEYMOON, there are still many things to focus on.

Some of the things that I have personally found to be directly influenced by diet are mood, stress and anxiety levels and response to stress, appetite and cravings, body odor, color and texture of tongue, breath odor, skin moisture, warmth of hands and feet, body temperature, skin complexion, sex drive and function, energy levels, sleep depth and quality, tooth sensitivity, level of back pain and other aches and pains, shine and hardness of toenails and fingernails, stool moisture and ease of expulsion, mucous levels, clarity of nasal passages, athletic performance and recovery, and more.

While none of these in and of itself is of great concern, looking at all physical and mental function as a whole paints a decent portrait of the overall quality of your health. Paying a lot more attention to these subtle indicators, and fixing small problems before they get blown out of proportion into full-on medical issues requiring medication just to function, makes for a preventative health plan that is more sophisticated than any “check-up” or physical exam one could obtain.

Many of you have no doubt experienced many changes in areas like this, as well as with chronic minor health problems and annoyances that you may have dealt with for many years upon tinkering with your diet. Not everything that you experience with various dietary permutations will yield solely positive benefits in all areas. In fact, usually a bunch of areas improve while a couple of things get worse or appear alongside the improvements when you start toying around with your diet. Health whack-a-mole I call it, like the kid’s game where moles pop their heads up and as soon as you whack one on the head another pops up.

Pay attention to all of these subtle indicators as well as other indicators that you personally experience. They tell a story. Armed with the power of intuition and information, there is a strong possibility that investigation into how your body responds to simple changes in your eating will show you the way to the current nutritional needs of your body – making steady improvements with your health as years pass.

Notice that I didn’t say your “metabolic type” or “the right diet for you.” These are highly flawed concepts, as the nutritional needs of our bodies change depending on the season, our age, our current stress levels, how well we slept the night before, and the type and duration of the exercise we have performed in the short, medium, and long-term. For women, radical changes in nutritional needs occur during various phases of the menstrual cycle as well as during pregnancy and lactation with corresponding changes in appetite and cravings. There is no way of eating that works all of the time. Flexibility, an open mind, and a little self-investigation is always required to truly meet your needs.

Of course, with the honeymoon effect of many diets, investigation can really go wrong too. It’s not a foolproof strategy. Learn how to distinguish a temporary high from a true core improvement in your health. Many things that raise the production of the catecholamines, norepinephrine and epinephrine (loosely referred to as “adrenaline”), can give you a feeling of great elation, focus, energy, blunted appetite, pain relief, effortless fat loss, and more – similar to caffeine or other stimulants. This high is short-lived though, and there’s no question that large exposures to these psychoactive biochemicals accelerates the aging process and leads to an overall lower quality of health long-term.

It seems that low-carbohydrate diets, fasting, extreme exercise, and basic calorie restriction are the most likely to trigger this effect. Early warning signs that you are experiencing a honeymoon and not real, lasting benefit are cold hands and feet, racing pulse, morning hypoglycemia (shakiness and trouble sleeping in the pre-dawn hours), a drop in body temperature, problems sleeping, irritability, anger, aggression, or anxiety, digestive problems, autoimmune disease or allergy, loss of sex drive or sexual function, and feelings of fatigue and foggy-headedness upon eating a large, mixed meal with substantial amounts of carbohydrates.

So yes, when you are pursuing a healthy diet and overall relationship with food, use your intuition, information, and investigation to guide you in the right direction. And keep a very open mind about what you are trying out, as another glorious word beginning with the letters “I-N” – interpretation, is where things either come together or fall apart.

Most of all, always maintain flexibility in your thinking. It’s those who become most rigid in their beliefs about what is and is not healthy that seem to get themselves in the most trouble – probably because the information they have latched onto has become so much a part of their identity and belief system that intuition and investigation are completely overshadowed by it.

Anyway, hopefully this made for a good summary for you guys. I’m doing some backpacking over the next 10 days and will be only making a brief appearance here and there on the blog. Don’t you worry though. I’m overflowing with excitement about some great upcoming posts (like an interview with a 180 follower who has now lost over 120 pounds – and shares what she believes were the secrets to her success) as well as some upcoming writing I’ll be doing about my “investigation” of a naturopathic doctor using nutrition in the most unique and precise way I’ve ever come across. It’s going to be a great, mind-bending summer – one I’m eager to start off in the woods with a stack of books and an entire quart of maple syrup, among other things.





  2. Hurry up with that weightloss post, please!!! I need to lose 80 pounds by October 4th! lol

    desert dweller

  3. "Guac-A-Mole"?

  4. Great information, as always. Have fun on your trip and I can't wait for the other information. Esp, with that weight loss story, as I seem to be gaining weight with RRARF, which I know is common, just hard for me to handle.

    Anyway, take luck and be safe!

  5. Excellent post Matt! Stress IS the cause of all disease! What stresses YOU is what one needs to find out. Until you find out WHAT is causing your stress, eating high carbs (or better yet, sugar) is a great way to keep those high cortisol levels at bay.
    If I promise to sit on your shoulder and poor the maple syrup straight in your mouth, can I then come too?? Pretty please!?

  6. poor= pour

  7. Hmm, my life has been pretty much constant stress for the last 18 months, between my dad dying, both my dogs dying, being laid off from my job, having to sell my house, trying to get the house ready to sell and find a new place to live, and getting it livable, dealing with the Unemployment bureaucracy, dealing with my sisters over my dad's estate….Yeah yeah, we *all* have issues. I know that. But the point is even if you *know* or have a strong feeling that stress is causing your health issues, or exacerbating them, there is usually not any good way to avoid it. Just telling yourself "there there, calm down now" doesn't seem to cut it. :-)

  8. Not all investigations arrive at solutions. I've investigated for 20 years and still don't know what to eat to feel vibrant and healthy. Thus far no experiments have yielded results, including Matt's various suggestions. My investigation had many red herrings and ultimately led nowhere. Put me in the cold case files.


    Maybe that's your cue -you have been over investigating. Maybe you just need to kick back?

  10. Those "other things" that you brought with you better not be lemons and cayenne pepper haha. Great post, looking forward to the rest of the summer.

  11. scall0way, whoa! What an onslaught! I'm sure I express the sentiments of all in saying I hope there's some clearing in that thicket as soon as possible. Hang in there.

  12. "There is no one diet that works all the time:" Amen! This needs to be said over and over.

    Great list of possible markers of 'honeymoon' rather than genuine 'feel better.' And the ranks of us having zits whilst otherwise feeling way better is a great example of 'some things getting better, some other things taking a dip.'

    One thing I might add to the checking in on oneself is that if you can listen to it, and have a partner, getting feedback from your partner can be really helpful.

    I so didn't want to hear it when my husband was critiquing my elimination of fat and protein and reversion to fruitarianism (which isn't quite but I'm doing but to caricature…)

    But I did listen, and his comments that I am talking faster and more staccato, and generally seem to be in more of a rush, and sometimes a bit more anxious, hit home for me. They reminded me of the fact that when I used to be fruitarian, some folks found me hard to be around because I was going so fast and ungrounded.

    I've been eating more, including more cooked food, and having fat once a day, considering even having an occasional egg.

    It was a huge thing for me to actually take in what he said, since in every other respect I'm feeling tons better, the best I've felt in ages.

    Whack-a-mole? I thought it was 'whack-a-mole with an accent on the end, as in weedwhacking under avocado trees in HI! You gave me a whole different visual.

    Yay for backpacking–have a great time with the syrup!

  13. @scall0way
    Although we cannot avoid stress, and I have never personally dealt with anything of that magnitude, I've personally found that doing your best and being accepting as possible of the situation, both the good and the bad, the easier it is to deal with the unavoidable. The more I decrease overall stress in my life, the easier it is for me to deal with stress in general.

    And speaking of getting fat lately I've been thiking it's the release of stress that causes fat gain. Every time I've gained weight it's always come after the relief of stress. In the past when I eat ice cream, pizza, etc… it would always cause me to be able to eat way more food before feeling satisfied, much like my recent sleep experiment when I started eating way more food than I normally do even though what I eat did not change.

    Every time I've lost weight since "stoning it" it's always been spontaneous and after my body has gotten back into a schedule of sorts. The more I listen to my body and sleep, eat what I have a craving for, etc… the faster/easier it is to lose any weight I gain every time I gain it.

    I have also noticed that the more I seem to satisfy what my body is yelling at me to do (be it sleep or food related) the less tasty processed foods are. As a result I try to understand what about that food that I'm perhaps not getting otherwise that is causing my body to want it so I may include, whenever possible, a "whole food" equivalent.

    Case in point; I love pizza. yumyum! However, every time I've eaten pizza in the past year I gain weight and I'm super hungry for the rest of the day, at least in comparison to when I eat my normal regimen of whole foods. A couple months ago I was trying to figure out why I would get cravings for pizza. Eventually I figured out it was in large part due to the salt, and decided to eat as much salt as i wanted. BAM, appetite increased quite a bit for a few weeks afterwords and so did my waistline. Pizza no longer smells, looks, or tastes as good to me. it's still tasty, but I'm no longer drawn to it randomly twice a month or so.

    Another example; ice cream. ever since my sleep experiment ice cream just doesn't taste as good nor do i get the same relaxation effect I had before. i also become way more satisfied when I have eaten it. Sugar in general is no longer as good tasting to me, as well. For years I've preferred sugar over just about anything, except for the times when I binged on protein and/or fat. Now I'm finding myself craving fat more than anything.


  14. Notice how Matt differentiates between the stressor and the stress reaction. This is key.

    We'll never be able to remove "stressful" events from our lives, but we can learn better ways to deal with them.

    For help with this, I recommend the books of Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie.

  15. Matt, what the hell happened to 180 degree health. One moment, you had a freight train pounding downhill at a million miles an hour with gay peat month, then you slam into the ground, burst into flames, and a bear comes running out of the wreckage screaming. If you know what's good for your blog, you'll tackle an aajonus vonderplanitz vs. matt stone month. Otherwise, call the fire department, because my attention is elsewhere.

  16. And Matt, I mean that in a constructive criticism type manner. Ray may was a success. Why drop that momentum so quickly. why not tap into the month of this person's ideas concept just a bit longer until it really dies.

  17. Been looking forward to this series for a long time. Thanks for sharing all the insights. You're definitely a maverick of this generation; it might take a lot of people a lot of time to catch up with all your ideas here. Seeing this process unfold is really exciting. I'm not a flatterer but just think encouragement is really important. Keep it up.

    Not sure what else to say — the past three entries here speak for themselves.

    "Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home."
    -Matsuo Basho

    Seemed like an appropriate quote to me in regards to the topic of "Investigation" and the whole health/recovery process in general. Hope you have a good break and everyone else does too, even if they aren't taking one!

  18. Following the advice of terpol, I went low fat and when I had that hankerin' for some fat I would eat a lot of it. One thing that I learned from this was what it feels like to really be needing fat. It's hard to explain, but was easy to learn doing this.

  19. Some random thoughts of current 180DH ideas, I dunno if they are wise or not…

    - High fruit diet (containing a lot of water) may cause people suffering from hypochlorhydria to have some extra problems digesting animal protein. According to Poliquin or Wright, hypochlorhydria is very common in high stress people.

    - Daylight (walking outside etc) might significantly help sugar absorption and reduce sugar-induced acne etc… some sources: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12638695 and http://www.acne.org/messageboard/Zinc-Zinc-Regimen-Adul-t243340.html

    "We evolved to live in the sunlight, alas." – databased

    - I think it's probably wise to get enough choline on high-fruit diet. I dunno if I'm misinterpreting or something, but according to Chris Masterjohn's article, fatty liver caused by fructose can often be prevented by just eating enough choline (eggs, liver) etc… http://blog.cholesterol-and-health.com/2010/11/sweet-truth-about-liver-and-egg-yolks.html

    - I think that it could be very beneficial if most people got some vitamin D in capsule form. It's rarely mentioned here cuz vitamin D doesn't help often much with most common stress-related conditions but many people still seem to be deficient… This came recently to my mind when I saw this study (hip BMD … huh) http://www.ajcn.org/content/89/4/1132/T3.expansion.html

    Those are just some random thoughts of mine, maybe I'll think differently some day.

    I've been reading this blog since summer of 2009 and have commented just once before. Matt has a lot of interesting stuff here!

  20. Janelle,
    That is a great link! Wow, so informative. It really makes me want to spend more time outdoors. We humans were really meant to spend a great deal of our time outside. Too bad that the culture and time we live in is so based indoors, it's hard to break out of that.

  21. Matt said:
    "Some of the things that I have personally found to be directly influenced by diet are mood, stress and anxiety levels and response to stress, appetite and cravings, body odor, color and texture of tongue, breath odor, skin moisture, warmth of hands and feet, body temperature, skin complexion, sex drive and function, energy levels, sleep depth and quality, tooth sensitivity, level of back pain and other aches and pains, shine and hardness of toenails and fingernails, stool moisture and ease of expulsion, mucous levels, clarity of nasal passages, athletic performance and recovery, and more."

    This list is really interesting to me. I experienced about half of these with no change in diet or exercise, only a change in hormones from my IUD.

  22. quart of maple syrup? maybe you should mix that with some gelatin and create your own jell-o. why don't you just drink tons of wodka, we all know we won't get out of here alive..

  23. @Janelle = thanks for that link, fascinating reading. wonder if this means acne more likely in winter as well?

  24. ^ The acne forum guy is saying that we have too high daytime melatonin levels because we stay inside. Light suppresses melatonin but indoors it isn't bright enough. And because we have too high daytime melatonin, we won't get high enough nighttime melatonin. And he is saying we need the high nighttime melatonin to prevent/cure acne.

    He also says that you need usually wait a few days before that starts working. And if you do something wrong with your diet or sleep patterns, the effects on the skin will be seen only after a few days.

    According to Wikipedia the illuminance of family living room is sth like 50 lux and daylight can be 20 000 lux. Plus daylight offers some UV rays which are blocked by glass.

    So according to his theory winter may be worse if you stay too much inside at winter.

    BTW Here's an interesting study of how melatonin suppression is related to illuminance: http://www.springerlink.com/content/2yxqhaqdr12m4v7k/

    "Furthermore, the mean melatonin suppression by light in both males and females was dose dependent (17%[200 lux], 40%[500 lux], 56%[1,000 lux] and 74%[3,000 lux]). Our findings suggest that melatonin suppression by light in intensity dependent, with no gender differences in light sensitivity."

    …And in the thread the acne guy also mentions several things that can also be helpful
    - b-50 complex
    - zinc
    - selenium (helps with zinc metabolism or sth)
    - boron
    - eating some meat (for some tryptophan… what would Ray say?)

    He also mentions that he has an extremely bright office with a lots of lamps because he can't always work outside.

    Strange guy btw, he mentions drinking crazy amounts of coke every day. Despite being some kind of a "health nut".

    I dunno if that's related to melatonin only. Paul Jaminet (author of Perfect Health Diet) suggested that hypothyroidism and problems with circadian rhythm are very interrelated. This sun thing might also affect thyroid function in a good way as does intermittent fasting for some people: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/?p=1260

  25. Ray Peat has a few articles related to melatonin.

    This one is about Serotonin and Depression and Peat argues that serotonin (from which melatonin is derived) is a stress hormone that actually contributes to depression and, therefore, modern antidepressants which encourage serotonin are actually doing harm.

    "Three years before Prozac received approval by the US Food and Drug Administration in late 1987, the German BGA, that country's FDA equivalent, had such serious reservations about Prozac's safety that it refused to approve the antidepressant based on Lilly's studies showing that previously nonsuicidal patients who took the drug had a fivefold higher rate of suicides and suicide attempts than those on older antidepressants, and a threefold higher rate than those taking placebos. "

    This one is about how melatonin makes the eyes sensitive to light, which serves a proper function for vision at night, but contributes to eye damage when melatonin is unnaturally high during the day due to stress & diet.

    "Degeneration of the retina is the main cause of blindness in old people. Retinal injury is caused by ordinary light, when the eyes are sensitized by melatonin, prolactin, and polyunsaturated fats.

    Melatonin and prolactin are induced by stress, and darkness is a stress because it impairs mitochondrial energy production.

    The popular supplements melatonin, tryptophan, fish oils, St. John's wort, and the various omega -3 oils, all increase the risk of retinal light damage and macular degeneration. Serotonin uptake inhibiting antidepressants are suspected to be able to cause it."

  26. The aforementioned Peat article explains how something as natural and ubiquitous as sunlight can do damage when our modern diet & lifestyle is so unnatural. And how common lifestyle practices like replacing sunlight / outdoors for artificial light / indoors, and poor sleep and light exposure patterns can also do harm.

    It also helps to explain that poor vision – which would have major disadvantage for primitive man's survival – is a disease of modern civilization because of our light exposure / sleep habits combined with poor diet / stress.

  27. "It also helps to explain that poor vision – which would have major disadvantage for primitive man's survival – is a disease of modern civilization because of our light exposure / sleep habits combined with poor diet / stress."

    Some people say that one of the main reasons behind myopia could also be that people never evolved to read. I mean that reading requires accomodation (use of ciliary muscle) and now that we read all these books and sit 8 hours a day at computer, our ciliary muscle gets severely cramped (staying in the "reading position") and causes myopia, back pain, migraine and even high blood pressure.

    Dunno how significant that is but Finnish ophthalmologist Kaisu Viikari has written some interesting books. Panacea is her largest book and one can download it as a pdf on her homepage. The book contains also many interesting case stories and a lot of patient data. She usually recommends plus lenses for reading because that's the first way to prevent the ciliary muscle cramp.

    "…patient No. 1591, a 50-year-old man; blood pressure values earlier approximately 180/120, distant glasses +1.25 and +3.0, +0.5×90, add. 1.75 in March 1974. Was immediately given reading glasses +5.5 and in the summer, bifocals of equal strengh +3.5, add. 2.0; H at least +5.5d.: blood pressure in September 120/80 with drugs – Catapresan x 1/2 and Moduretic x 1 – which was already a much smaller dose than earlier. When the patient then raised the matter again, the doctor replied " Maybe I ought to start believing ! " (Kaisu Viikari: Panacea, page 262)

    Hmm… :O But yea… There are other theories too. Insulin resistance, sunlight etc…

  28. indeed, the most likely cause of myopia is prolonged accomodation. this has been shown definitively in experiments on primates. you can easily induce myopia in chimps by putting them in a cage and restricting their vision so that they can't see more than fifteen inches from the eyes. for example, this is also consistent with the fact that orthodox Hebrews (who're generally abusing their eyes) have a much higher frequency of myopia.

    not too sure whether accomodation has anything to do with high blood pressure. I thought that blood viscosity is primarily influenced by the concentration of red blood cells.

  29. I have a question about my so far crappy RRARF experience.

    I starting RRARFing 4 weeks ago b/c my 4month old was not having BMs on her own. I ate insane amounts of ice cream, OJ and whatever else I could get my hands on. High carb (esp. starch), mod-high fat, low-mod protein. Mostly whole foods, and lots of fruit as well. It took anywhere from 3000-4500 calories to satisfy plus overeat a little.

    At first I crashed, could barely stand or walk, headaches, palpitations, etc. But then I started to feel better, a little more calm. My cravings went away, and I was able to pass on coffee, tea and Dr. Pepper.

    My baby had her first BM on her own the second week, another one the third week, and then last Saturday had the first non-constipated BM on her own. My temps haven't gone up though (hanging out at 97.2-97.4). My digestion has improved some, in terms of frequency of bms, but still need improvement.

    I haven't been able to get the rest or sleep I need/want, though. Baby is up with teething, and taking fewer naps during the day, but nothing different from the months before RRARF. But I've started to feel WORSE.

    First my sleep got worse. I'd wake up in some sort of coma in the morning, with no energy at all. I felt better around 10:00, but started going downhill around 2, bottom out around 4:00. Then my energy level shot through the roof after dinner and I couldn't calm down enough to get into bed before 11:00. Then I started getting hot at night and soaked in sweat when I woke up, and have tense nightmares early morning – that's all the last two weeks. It's been like that to a lesser extent for about 3 years, but only this bad since RRARF.

    Today, I can't relax at all, I had a horrible nightmare early morning (and was hot and sweating again), and today I feel completely crashed. I can barely get around, pick up my baby, I have a headache smack in the middle of my forehead, I'm very sensitive to light, my jaw is clenched, everyone is making me furious, I have heart palpitations, confusion/foggy-headedness and I can't say hi to the neighbor or talk to my kids' teachers without getting extremely anxious and wound up.

    What the hell is happening???

    I'm pretty sure I've been low-metabolism and/or hypothyroid since I was a young girl, and went through some emotional trauma. Within months I became the fat girl with two chins, ate constantly without satisfaction and was anxious. It continued like that for years.

    I went low-carb during pregnancy of my second (3 years ago), and (even though I lost weight and felt GREAT!) completely crashed into bad PPD after that. Can't function without adrenal supplements now and symptoms just keep on going or getting worse.

    Is it possible I need more than RRARF? Am I doing RRARF wrong? I just want to feel better.

  30. @Kelly
    Your symptoms sound very similar to mine before I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease. I did really well with RRARFing until I added bread and gluten-contaminated oats back into the mix. (I had been doing a low-carb diet before I found 180 and had felt pretty miserable.) I would definitely get some blood work done–and have the doc test for antibodies to your thyroid. I have been gluten-free for almost two months now, and am seeing a good doc who treats me holistically; I feel substantially better. Even lost a couple of pounds. Good luck! I hope you find out what's wrong!

  31. @Kelly

    P.S. "Stop the Thyroid Madness" Web site has some great info on Hashimoto's if you are interested…

    and if you do found out you have Hashimoto's, you may want to avoid the synthetic T4 drugs… I was put on levothyroxine, but I have NEVER felt worse in my life… needless to say I've stopped taking it. :)

  32. Anonymous said: "not too sure whether accomodation has anything to do with high blood pressure. I thought that blood viscosity is primarily influenced by the concentration of red blood cells."

    I think the only way ciliary muscle cramp could cause high blood pressure is sympathetic nervous system overactivation but yea, I also think it might be quite unlikely to cure blood pressure problems with eye glasses :P

  33. Thanks, Lyn. I really wanted to avoid all the testing. I did that once about 3 years ago when I bottomed out (also after having a baby), but it lead to lots of theories from lots of people and all dead ends.

    It might come to that again this time, since RRARF hasn't helped as much as I need.

    I'm looking at that website right now – good info.

  34. I'm stoned right now so……oh my god I forgot what I was gonna post.:(

    NM I remebered….I just toasted up the most ultimate quesadilla ever.I had cooked 2 before and they just did not hit right.They were off in some way and it dawned on me……maybe the reason the french are so thin eating ungodly types of food is because they eat food that is ungodly.This 3rd quesadilla I took a certain liking too.I waited and waited until I "felt" the time was right to turn….I added salt and felt that a bit more was perfect etc.Now I have no craving for anymore quesadillas………….Hmmmmmmm

  35. Thing about RRARF is that it takes time. Like, a lot of time. Several months at least for most.


  36. Is it Aajonus month yet? Damn!

  37. I agree with Anonymous. RRARF takes time. You can't just say "I tried eating lots of nutritious food and it didn't help" You don't cure yourself in a couple of weeks, or months for that matter. I know I have been through hell and back and RRARFing brought on some positives as well as negatives.
    When changes are happening in the body, your gonna notice it. You don't just go from bad to great, straight away. To feel better, a lot of hormones are going to be rearranged, and that just don't happen over night. And WHEN those rearrangements are taking place, of course your gonna feel it! the body likes being in homeostasis and when you're trying to push that "save" zone, you're gonna feel it.
    I believe the more damaged your are, the longer it's going to take to heal.
    One thing is for sure, eating nutritious food, is not going to make you worse in the long run.
    For me, adding sugar to my diet helped tremendously.

  38. @Kelly

    I can understand your hesitation about seeing another doctor, but once I knew I had the thyroid antibodies, things started to simplify for me. I finally had a direction on which to focus my health investigations. Before, I had an idea my thyroid was off, but I wasn't quite sure what to do. There are a lot of things to try out there… RRARFing is just one, although a helpful one, if you are RRARFing on foods that your body finds nutritious.

    Best of luck!

  39. Lin, I'll probably get all the testing done, since I'm going on year 4 of the worst of it.

    The reason I was expecting more improvement is b/c when I initially emailed Matt, he thought I should see a LOT of improvement in baby's digestion in weeks. She only goes once a week on her own, and she should be going multiple times a day. Even RRARFing and resting as much as I could that's all the improvement I've seen.

    So I have to brainstorm other solutions. I understand that fixing myself may take time, but I have to find a way to at least see Baby's bms increase in frequency. Matt thought this would do it, but it hasn't.

    Any ideas for baby's digestion? I wondered if I needed to take her off my low-quality (apparently) breastmilk that is too high in stress hormones.

  40. @kelly

    you could try using another mother's breast milk for 2-3 weeks to see if there are any changes in your baby. at least, i'm pretty certain there are places where you can get human milk.

    My "sleep anytime I'm tired" experiment results thus far;

    -vision improved DRAMATICALLY. it's almost as good as what it was when i was 12. i no longer require the use of glasses. visions seems to be strongly connected to stress/sleep. i have been forced to wake up sooner that my body naturally wanted to on a couple occasions and every time my vision worsens.
    -some skin blemishes appeared on my neck, chest, and chin.
    -hunger went through the roof at first and is starting to subside. i've gained roughly 15 pounds so far in 3 weeks eating exactly what i have been eating for the past 3+ month
    -it's like all my body's sensitivity for sugar, fat, protein, and starch reset back to zero. i was having hyper/hypoglycemic reactions to drinking orange juice, something i haven't dealt with in months. i ate the hell out of sugar and starch for the first 2 weeks. by the end the weight slowed and then seemed to have stopped. this past week my body has been going crazy for protein and fat and i started gaining weight again.
    -most of the fat gain seems to be focused around my abdomen.
    -i feel great!
    -when my body tells me to go to bed it's been evening out at around midnight these past few days. it's still fluctuating, though, so who knows when, if at all, i'll achieve that fabled 10pm-6am sleep schedule all the circadian rhythm books seem to talk about.
    -i've been finding that i don't always nap, but when i do it's usually no more than a solid 2 hours. if i don't feel like napping that day, at around the 12 hour mark after awakening i feel a strong urge to go back to bed. i usually sleep a good 6+ hours every time. in fact, most of the time this is what my body has been doing.
    -my body was shifting backwards the time when i get to bed and wake up. for instance; go to bed at 5am, wake up at noon, go to bed at 3am, wake up at 9, go to bed at 1am, wake up at 9.
    -my anxiety has gone waaaay down. it was already the best it's been in years, but whenever I stopped smoking pot for a couple days it would go through the roof. currently i feel fairly consistent. I definitely feel there is still improvement to be made, however.


  41. @Kelly

    I personally don't know anything about breastfeeding, but have you tried contacting anyone from La Leche League? http://www.lllusa.org.
    They are international in scope, but have local chapters, and they have all sorts of troubleshooting ideas for nursing moms… it might be worthwhile to give them a call before you quit breastfeeding. My understanding is they aren't just about getting the baby to feed, but also address health issues. Maybe they'd be able to put you in touch with a mom who has had a similar problem?

  42. Kelly you could also try the WAPF raw milk formula. Supposedly it's fabulous. You can even make it using pasturized milk (by adding kefir cultures, I think) if you don't have access to raw milk. Check the WAPF website for the recipe.

  43. After learning from link Matt posted awhile back to http://www.yourbrainonporn.com and the posts on Food Reward from Matt and Stephan Guyenet I'm pretty sure that my experience with Ray Peat's sugar / fruit juice ideas may have just been a catecholamine honeymoon – specifically a catecholamine named dopamine.

    Peat might be right that sugar is the superior carb, but the problem is that it comes with a price (in dopamine).

    I still remember the rush I got from the first few days of lots of fruit juice. I felt happy, energetic & motivated and I had high ambition & libido. Turns out that's exactly what dopamine provides. Lab rats with artificially suppressed dopamine just sit there and do nothing until they starve to death.

    Like other highly rewarding, desirable foods (and activities), high-sugar foods cause a rush of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is responsible for the urges, cravings & desires for all things rewarding as determined by the limbic system – the primitive part of the brain that we share with all mammals. The two primary drives of the primitive brain are food and sex. And because these are so important for survival and propagation, the brain responds to relevant stimuli with high desire and high rewards – lust and orgasm.

    Your Brain on Porn:
    "Recent research reveals that behavioral addictions (tasty food, gambling, video gaming) and substance addictions have something in common: reduced dopamine and a drop in dopamine receptors in the reward circuitry. This is a major hallmark of all addictions. With fewer dopamine receptors, it’s a lot harder to stimulate the reward circuitry. This leads to what all addicts experience: a numbed pleasure response."

    "Excess consumption (food or sex) is the signal to your primitive brain that you have hit the evolutionary jackpot. With sufficient stimulation dopamine receptors begin to decline. This leaves you dissatisfied, craving more. This numbed pleasure response is your genes’ way to get you to gorge on food and mating opportunities. A "binge mechanism" is an evolutionary advantage in situations where survival is furthered by overriding normal satiety."

    With internet porn, we have access to sexual stimuli of unprecedented quality, quantity and variety. And for some people, giving in to sexual desire by way of internet porn & masturbation has done some serious damage.

    With modern food culture, we have access to food stimuli of unprecedented quality, quantity and variety. Giving in to these food desires may be a major cause of serious health damage.

    The solution for porn addicts is to give up porn, masturbation and orgasm by avoiding stimuli/triggers, denying cravings and suffering through any withdrawal symptoms in order to reboot & rewire the brain to normal dopamine / reward circuit sensitivity.

    So if the situation with food is analogous to internet porn, the cure for food addicts is the same: give up pornographic foods, avoid food porn stimuli, and suffer the cravings and withdrawal in order to restore brain sensitivity and rediscover healthier foods and food habits.

    I, for one, could use a little more dopamine sensitivity (low dopamine sensitivity is found in people with depression, anxiety & compulsions) so I'm going to give it a try. I was inspired by the testimonials of recovering porn users so – even though my use of both is within the normal range – I am going to (try to) give up pornographic foods and pornographic pornography and see what happens.

  44. @ Kelly, RRARF specifically talks about cutting out sugar… so as far are you "doing it right", I'd say no. I know Matt's been talking about ice cream, etc. on the blog, but as far as I know, he's never changed RRARF to include sugar.
    Also, I think it's impossible to REALLY RRARF with an infant! It's about rest, which is something you never get enough of when your schedule revolves around baby feeding times/ teething!

  45. sirhc

    I think I reached the same conclusion about a high-sugar high-energy diet leading eventually to suppression of dopamine signaling, which causes overall motivation and energy to decline. Its stunning to me that eating what is supposed to be the most metabolically energizing diet possible has actually caused my libido and overall drive to plummet way below what it was in my most severe calorie-restriction days. But thats the way it feels.

    Though people say dopamine insensitivity is supposed to increase cravings, I found that eating a Peat diet for the past 6 months has rather completely eliminated the reward value of food. I have zero cravings and cannot remember the last time I fantasized about food or even looked forward to my next meal. Eating has become this largely joyless and mindless routine that I do only to silence hunger and maintain warmth and energy levels.

    I'm pretty sure the only way I could start enjoying food again is to go back to intermittently fasting and/or eating less food and lose weight, but becoming so entrenched in Peats philosophy has made me paranoid about this causing a drop in metabolic rate, my feet going cold on me and my chronic injuries flaring up again.

  46. Thanks for the suggestions. I've used the WAPF formula before and it was fine. I've re-thought it recently, from reading some people's thoughts (including Matt's). Some say goat's milk and a bit of lactose would be just as good?

    I might talk to LLL about it. I hadn't considered they run into health issues as well.

    About RRARFing with sugar: yeah, I've been real confused. But when Matt emailed me, he told me to eat as much ice cream as I could, drink OJ for water, eat fruit whenever I got a craving, and fill in with solid meals and rest when I could. He did tell me results would depend on how aggressive I could be, which, yeah Chanelle, means not as much as someone without a baby. :) But he gave the example of another mother with a small child and a baby who had great results, so then what now?

    I was confused by Matt's advice, which is why I wondered if I was doing it wrong. But how can it be wrong if the expert tells you to do it?? I don't know.

  47. Collden

    I also saw a reduction in food cravings. I used to think that was a good thing – but now I'm not so sure. It sorta throws a wrench into the whole intuition theory.

    Like Matt said with this series, intuition needs to be combined with information and investigation. I had hoped that intuition would lead the pack, but now I'm not so sure.

    The addict can no longer rely on intuition – on his body's cravings and urges. He's got to rely on rational thought and will power. And I think there's a pretty good case to be made that our relationship with food has become an addiction – that these days we're not just eating to feel full, we're eating to feel good.

    I ate a lot of ice cream and then I got bored with it – and so I boasted that ice cream no longer tempts me.

    But the dopamine / reward circuit / porn analogy would be that you watched the same porn video a dozen times and it no longer turns you on – so you go looking for stimulation elsewhere. That site describes how porn addiction escalates because users keep needing to find more stimulating, exciting, shocking content as they build up their tolerance.

    So if regular ice cream doesn't do it for us anymore we have to move on kinkier foods like chocolate chip fudge brownies or whatever is the food equivalent of S&M.

    The theory goes that the dopamine tolerance allows us to binge – to consume past normal satiety. So we end up less satisfied and looking for more / better foods. But by that point, we're on the hunt to satisfy our reward circuitry, not our hunger.

    This might be an explanation for the experience I have sometimes at Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers. There's so much food, drink and desert available so I eat all day and I stalk from dish to dish; yet somehow at the end of the day I'm left feeling less satisfied than I would be from a normal meal.

    Anyway, I think it's pretty clear that if we want to be able to enjoy simple, natural, humble food again we've got to quit the pornographic foods.

  48. @kelly

    have you tried a probiotic or digestive enzyme for yourself and/or the baby? i was an active member of the wapf baby yahoo group for a few years after my first was born and there were always people with really great advice and suggestions for all kinds of breastfeeding/baby bm issues (and many other things, of course.) check it out if that interests you.

    i was told when my kids were young infants that if they were exclusively breastfed they would not have "regular" bm's. like even one a week was considered "normal." does your baby seem to be in pain? there are all kinds of natural easy digestive things you can do like teas or supplements…are you giving the baby cod liver oil by any chance?

    i'm not an expert by any stretch of the word, just a mom of two with a history of major stress hormones raging through me during pregnancy and mostly with my first for his first few years of life. the wap diet plus massive amounts of clo and other supplements really helped. now i am still nursing my almost 2 year old (second child) and am doing really well by just relaxing about food in general and pretty much eating what i want when i want.

    i was just about to ramble on and on about whatever trying to come up with something else that might help you, but i will save you from that. :) i hope you find solutions quickly.

  49. @kelly,
    wanted to second some comments already made – for a woman with a child waking through the night and breastfeeding – rrarfing would be so hard. I think the number one emphasis of it is rest and relaxation (with eating lots helping you stay relaxed), and how on earth do you manage that with a baby – it is the antithesis of that!

    It is not that different though to the usual advice you would get from your maternal health nurse, sleep when the baby sleeps, get as much rest as you possibly can, try to get others to help out heaps with meals and housework.

    The birth of a baby can be such a tumultuous time on an emotional level, you mentioned early trauma, the birth of a child is re-owned for bringing up unfinished emotional issues.

    So a thought to take the emphasis off food entirely and attend to your spiritual/emotional needs – however you frame that for yourself and hope this will make a difference to your own health and wellbeing and consequently your baby's too.

    All the very best.

    brilliant summary of that internet porn series and related issues. I only just got around to watching this recently from that old post and found it fascinating.

    for me the thing that I am most addicted to, in the sense that I have barely gone a day without one for the last 20 years, is a bloomin cafe latte. I have tried so many times to give up this milky caffeine treat, but never could. I realised though it was not so much the coffee, as having black coffee has absolutely no appeal at all, it has to be with lots of milk. But certainly the anticipation of getting to a fav cafe and having the morning coffee has immense pleasure or reward built into it for me.

    In fact it is not just coffee, but hot drinks in general. some food like toast, just has no pleasure for me at all without a hot cup of something or other. I think we just get these habits of a life time that are so hard or near impossible to give up I find.

    guess that's why they are called addictions, though pretty mild or harmless ones(!) – but addictions all the same.

  50. Hi Kelly.
    I've also a 5 months old baby girl and I exclusively breastfeed her (and I'm still breastfeeding my 4 years old boy)
    My baby used to have bms many times a day up to 3 1/2 months old, then started having bms once a day, which I find common as they get older. Now it is spacing out, maybe every 2-3 days. I think it is also related on how my bms are. For myself, I need to drink sufficiently and I need to eat plenty of leafy greens to have regular bms.
    I think I'm always been on a kind of RRARF diet, I do not count calories, so I'm not sure how many I have in a day, but for sure much much more than 2000 a day. I'm 5 feet 1' and weight 103 pounds.
    I feel I've some hormonal imbalances (stiff feet and legs when I wake up in the morning, headaches), which are for sure related to pregnancy and feeding and I'm testing right now.
    With my son, I got my period back at 30 (!) months and wow, finally no more painful sex.
    I think I must have a pretty healthy metabolism, otherwise I would be so fat for what I eat…
    I eat to appetite, or a little more: no sweets beside the occasional ice cream (fruit) and dry fruit. I try to limit my baguette and pasta consumption but I have always some carb with my meals. Living in Monaco I eat a French/Italian diet. So, in my experience it is possible to eat tons and loose weight (I'm still loosing).
    After reading Diane Schwarzbein I decided I want to rotate my food more. So I'm getting off the habit of having the same breakfast everyday. Although I have my regular weekly fixing of food we love (oysters, liver, sea snails)
    If I were you, I'll test myself, eat what I'm in the moood of eating still trying to keep it healthy and sleep and trying to relax as much as possible. I don't think your milk is not good, I don't share the view of WAPF on milk formula.
    Sleep and rest is an issue. This baby is very good at sleeping, my older son was a NIGHTMARE and still is at 4. So, I'm trying to do what I can. Enjoy my food (egullet rocks), appreciate my husband and family and have a positive attitude.

  51. I just read the F-it post and am wondering if I'm overanalyzing this. I get so worried all the time about everyone in my family, and I don't know why.

    Baby does seem to get uncomfortable/fussy if she goes more than 4-5 days without a bm, and I know she's got issues b/c she generally can't go without a suppository and even then it's not the right consistency.

    But when Mama is stressed out, what else could I expect I guess.

    I know that I have some major hormonal health issues (cortisol and thyroid, from blood tests) and I'll probably do whatever I need to to fix them up fast (since I'm getting so tired I just sit and do nothing, and I'm really angry a lot). But counseling could help too. :)

    Thank you! for the help. I'll just relax and eat and see how things go. Somehow I managed to make even RRARF a stressful thing.

    Oh, and btw, I will add CLO back in our diet. I used to have a bit every day (and give some to kids) but stopped a couple years ago. I see the kids getting sick more often, acting out more often (impulsive), allergies popped up, and they don't sleep as well.

    Even though I'm glad I know all sorts of ways to deal with symptoms and issues that pop up, I"m pretty sure if I could learn to eliminate and/or deal well with the stress in my life, I'd be golden.

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