Milk Diet Fail

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For those unfamiliar with the famous “Fail Blog,” you should check it out. It is an encyclopedia of the comical side of human blunder. Up there with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and Stuff White People Like (JennytheNipper, please click on the Stuff White People Like hyperlink) as one of my favorite humorous places on the internet.  This is one of my favorites entitled “Activist Fail.” 

In today’s installment, we’ll summarize my milk diet adventure – in which I drank nothing but raw milk for weeks on end…

I called this one “milk diet fail,” not because the milk diet was a complete and “udder” failure – which it certainly wasn’t, but because I didn’t quite make it 30 days like I had hoped to.

Yes, that’s right, I’ve been eating solid food for 4 days now, and loving every last delicious, hot, salty, spicy, crunchy, chewable morsel of it. In fact, I can’t remember enjoying making and eating food as much as I have the last 4 days since “bagging” the milk diet.

On the 26th day of the milk diet I started having some gastrointestinal issues. I woke up and fasted for most of the day on the 27th, bent over in pain and pooping every 30 minutes. By the end of the day, the last thing in the world I was wanting to do was drink more m’f’in milk. Boo to the Moo.

Couple this with the fact that I was in basically a hyperallergenic state and snotty as hell, and I was ready to mooove on. I was even snoring for the first time in a decade or so, and keeping Aurora up at night. I had to sleep on the couch by the end of the milk diet – or, more accurately, lying awake on the couch at night.

Still, the milk diet did deliver in many of the categories in which I was seeking deliverance. I began taking an interest in the diet after reading certain things about it. Of course I was interested in its alleged ability to cure disease. I mean, one of the co-founders of the Mayo Clinic, J.E. Crewe certainly felt confident in it:

“…the treatment of various diseases over a period of eighteen years with a practically exclusive milk diet has convinced me personally that the most important single factor in the cause of disease and in the resistance to disease is food. I have seen so many instances of the rapid and marked response to this form of treatment that nothing could make me believe this is not so…”

-J.E. Crewe, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic (Excerpt taken from William Campbell Douglass’ The Milk Book; 1984).

But more specifically, I was interested in the fact that it raised body temperature, raised blood pressure in those with hypotension (while lowering it in those with hypertension), and raised the resting pulse – all signs of raising the metabolism, which is obviously a key focus of mine. I have always had very low blood pressure – not a bad thing, and definitely better than having high blood pressure, but I am still unsure of whether or not it’s really better to have blood pressure at 105/66 vs. 120/80.

Milk diet authors certainly noticed people healing from chronic disease while blood pressure went from low to normal. And very low blood pressure almost always accompanies a low body temperature in underweight people. So, in some respects, low blood pressure is a sign of being in a low metabolic state (ironically, so is very high blood pressure).

I’ve also had a low resting pulse throughout my entire adulthood. I remember as far back as high school when I was having my wisdom teeth removed, and the doctor woke me from my drug-induced stupor to ask me what my normal resting pulse was. In slow motion, I told him “about 40 or 45.” That’s pretty damn low. During surgery it had dipped to the low to mid-30’s. That’s beats per minute.

Some, like Ray Peat, believe that the resting pulse is a better indicator of metabolic health than the body temperature. Is this true? Maybe. I’m open to it, but the body temperature thus far has been a much more reliable indicator. I certainly don’t think you’ll find an obese person with a low resting pulse like that of an Olympic athlete, but you’ll certainly see a low basal body temperature – which I still feel is more telling.

Still, resting pulse does fall the deeper into calorie deficit that you travel (barring the adrenaline rush you get in the beginning). So it is a sign of a low metabolism – or at least the body making efforts to conserve energy when at rest (which would make sense in light of Olympians and endurance athletes, whose bodies shut down into near hibernation when they go into a restful state).

Anyway, here are my final stats during my 26-27 day raw milk fast.

-Blood pressure up about 10-14 points systolic and an equal amount on the diastolic side.

-Resting pulse came up over 60 (from the high-40’s to low-50’s) and remained there or higher throughout the milk diet and persists now – sometimes as high as 70 bpm.

-Body temperature, which had quickly and suddenly fallen to 96.9 degrees F due to my dietary deviance leading up to Aurora’s jaw surgery (ice cream, French toast, chocolate cake, all-you-can-eat pancakes, fruit juice, you get the picture) rose to above 97.5 degrees F. I’ve had some readings at nearly 98 degrees first thing in the morning, and mid-day temperatures have consistently run above 98 degrees F for the first time since I began keeping track of body temperature in 2008.

It’s also worth mentioning here that, despite eating ungodly amounts of calories – eating basically all day long and gaining 5 pounds of sheer body fat during the month of April, my body temperature dropped and appetite increased – once again confirming to me that the greatest factor in maintaining good health and a strong metabolism is food quality, not quantity (although you can certainly combine both for an added bonus).

My weight change was -1 pound. That’s it. This was strange as I lost 5 pounds in the first 7 days and then slowly replaced this lost weight up until the end. I really had to force feed myself to do it though. I didn’t have the slightest urge to eat the entire time, and found myself daydreaming constantly about not eating and exercising like crazy towards the end. Eating every 30 minutes sucks. But hey, it clearly impacted my physiology the way I anticipated.

Anyway, that’s that. The milk diet could really be a powerful healing tool. Sure, it’s not easy. And I had my fair share of struggles throughout it – mainly being snotty, sneezing a lot, wheezing, having the occasional gastrointestinal complaint (pain, constipation, foul-smelling stools with the consistency of clay), and feeling like I was perpetually fighting off a head cold/sinus infection.

It’s certainly worth noting that the milk diet is about as close as you can get to a sure thing for curing tooth decay. My teeth, after nearly 4 weeks of 6 quarts of raw milk daily are the best they’ve been in years. They are incredibly strong and pain-free. I feel like you could hit ‘em with a sledgehammer and they’d remain intact.

Interesting experiment. Learned some stuff for sure. Time to Moove on though!


  1. Matt, I am interested iin your comment about snoring. Has your research lead to any leads on its causes? My wife reports that I've gotten better, but I still snore more now than I did years ago. It sure would be nice to nix that.

  2. I wonder if I should just add some raw milk to my diet rather than going the full milk diet route? I already eat the HED diet which I've been doing since March but it doesn't seem to help the way it has for others. I have always been told that my blood pressure is low plus taking my temps over the last few day orally they notched up at 96.9 at the lowest not much higher than that other days!

  3. Matt,
    Sorry to hear it didn't work out man. As you know, it didn't work for me either. At least your ear didn't explode like mine did!

  4. cusick,

    do you sleep on your back… maybe your jaw is dropping back blocking your air passage when your sleeping, making you snore… your nasal passage could be narrowing, which happens to most people as they age…. more teeth crowding, and the maxilla slowly narrows…


  5. Matt,

    Glad you made it, and welcome to the club! :-)

    On the 26th day of the milk diet I started having some gastrointestinal issues. I woke up and fasted for most of the day on the 27th, bent over in pain and pooping every 30 minutes. By the end of the day, the last thing in the world I was wanting to do was drink more m’f’in milk. Boo to the Moo.

    Couple this with the fact that I was in basically a hyperallergenic state and snotty as hell, and I was ready to mooove on. I was even snoring for the first time in a decade or so, and keeping Aurora up at night. I had to sleep on the couch by the end of the milk diet – or, more accurately, lying awake on the couch at night.

    This is the place where a lot of things we don't like to do on the "official" Milk Diet (including me) come into play. Enemas are great for this situation. Coffee enemas in particular remove pain, especially gastro-intestinal pain. I don't know why. Not aware of any science behind it. Just works. And when someone is having a problem that needs an immediate solution, that is good enough for me.

    Anyway, that’s that. The milk diet could really be a powerful healing tool. Sure, it’s not easy. And I had my fair share of struggles throughout it – mainly being snotty, sneezing a lot, wheezing, having the occasional gastrointestinal complaint (pain, constipation, foul-smelling stools with the consistency of clay), and feeling like I was perpetually fighting off a head cold/sinus infection.

    Had we been in Thailand – w00t! – I would have recommended some serious old school hydrotherapy and you would have said goodbye to the head cold/sinus stuff. It is rare for someone to get along this far and actually have to worry about this kind of thing, but then you had some true detox early on.

    Curious, have you had head cold/sinus infection issues in the past?

    At any rate, you made it, and survived some good detox as well. 27 days is just a day short of a true 4 week month, so I would hardly call that a fail on your part.

    Congrats on the improvements.

  6. Troy,

    Sleeping on my back is definitely problematic. I move a lot when I sleep, and my wife reports that I'm loudest on my back, quieter on my right, and silent sleeping on my left side. Why right and left side sleeping are different I have no idea.

  7. Michael-
    In my childhood I had tons of sinus issues, ear infections, and so forth. My father WAS the same way, pursuing allergy shots, sinus surgery and more to no avail – then he ate no sugar for 60 days as part of a "candida cleanse" and hasn't had a single case in 5 years, nor have I.

    One thing I found really interesting was a swollen feeling in the back of my throat that almost gave me a gag reflex. Interestingly, where my tonsils were removed there were huge nodules that had swollen up. Weird, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I don't think my appendix grew back though :)

    As far as recommending a strict "milk diet," I wouldn't recommend it to people unless they were really desperate. It's unlikely to do any real harm though unless you are JT and chug the milk cold.

    Like most things, it worked out and it didn't work out. To read this post and think that it was only negative with no positives would be mistaken and vice versa. On some level, it did feel healing, but the timing was definitely not good. After a long bout of inactivity and chugging milk during peak pollen season – I found it to be quite aggravating to be on a milk diet.

    The question I was seeking to answer was can it bring body temperature and pulse rate up. The answer to that was clearly yes. On that level, it was a great success, and I imagine I'll be reaping the benefits of that for some time to come.

  8. Cusick,

    You probably have some jaw shiftment going on and are probably dominant on one side, so your jaw may fall into a more favorable position when you sleep on your left side… if its a real problem though, you might look into getting one of those mouth pieces that hold your jaw forward so it doesn't drop back… i have never used one before, but when i had a normal retainer, it annoyed the shit out of me, until i finally got my invisalign retainers…. having anything in appliance on the teeth is shitty though…


    Coffee enemas are the shit… heeha'…. but i do a 3 day cleanse/coffee enema routine twice a year that Dr Wong reccommends…. Coffee enemas are supposed to cleanse the liver well… and since i am a huge micro brew drinker, i figure its a good things to do.. i should probably do it three times a year.


  9. Your symptoms sound like what I get when taking CLA, or when eating artificial trans fats. Methinks the CLA is the ingredient in milk which causes the congestion. It's retoxing, not detoxing…

  10. Matt

    In my childhood I had tons of sinus issues, ear infections, and so forth. My father WAS the same way, pursuing allergy shots, sinus surgery and more to no avail – then he ate no sugar for 60 days as part of a "candida cleanse" and hasn't had a single case in 5 years, nor have I.

    Thats what I thought but wanted to confirm it before I sounded like a fool. You were entering "deep cleanse territory" and old symptoms tend to flare up as part of the healing process. Had you stuck it out an extra day or two with an enema and some hot/cold therapy you probably would have felt fantastic.

    Still, that is great stuff you did for your body.

    One thing I found really interesting was a swollen feeling in the back of my throat that almost gave me a gag reflex. Interestingly, where my tonsils were removed there were huge nodules that had swollen up. Weird, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I don't think my appendix grew back though :)


    When I did my first "traditional" fast my throat was swollen almost shut and my tonsils inflamed. I had been treated for neucrotic (rotting) tonsils before that and I was having the exact same symptoms. I could also taste the drugs and smell them coming out of my backside. I knew what to expect going in and fortunately it all passed in about 24 hours.

    When I had major work on my teeth done a few years back, I did the Milk Diet not long thereafter, and my gums were bleeding all over the place. My body was accelerating the healing from the trauma of the surgery. Then after a few days everything was fine and dandy.

    Probably drugs detoxing/trauma healing going on. Give it the opportunity stuff and the body can do some amazing things.

    By the way, just a warning for anyone reading Matt's post who has a history of hard core drug use and is contemplating a full milk diet, don't do it without help. Don't do it without the help of someone who is familiar with "fasting" of all types. Please.

    As far as recommending a strict "milk diet," I wouldn't recommend it to people unless they were really desperate. It's unlikely to do any real harm though unless you are JT and chug the milk cold.

    Yup, that is kind of its main history before the 20th century, used for people with major diseases, or very temporarily (10 days or less) for "beautification" purposes. :-)

    For many people reading your blog, the 10 day approach or even the semi-milk diet for a couple of months is probably sufficient for what they are trying to accomplish.

    In your case however, I had forgotten your history, so it is probably just what the doctor ordered.

    Also, contrary to some of the old schoolers, I think a semi-milk diet (and maybe the full-on for some) is a great way to lean out while working out without restricting calories (though that is obviously not a good idea is you are really sick).

  11. Thanks for your report, Matt.

    My own milk diet experience was mostly positive from start to finish, though by no means miraculous, as several issues (principally low energy/drive, minor depression, and tinea versicolor) seemed unchanged throughout. I went for 32 days on 6 quarts/day of raw milk (mostly from jersey cows), including some homemade kefir. I had also hoped to do a lot of sunbathing in tandem with this, but sunlight turned out to be too much to ask of the Pacific Northwest in May, so that didn't happen. At any rate, here's what I observed:

    - My most dramatic improvement was weight gain. I'm 6'3" and the most I've ever weighed was 175 pounds at age 18, the healthiest age of my adult life. From age 19 to 25, my health gradually deteriorated and my weight dropped into the 150s and eventually even went as low as 145 last summer. During those years, I never dieted, almost never exercised, and generally stuffed myself full of crappy processed carbs. Go figure. After close to a year of eating only whole foods, my weight was up to 162 pounds (still overly thin) on day 1 of my milk diet. From there, I quickly gained 10 pounds in the first two weeks, then slowly put on 3 more pounds during the remaining time. My weight has now stayed fixed around 175 pounds for a week and it feels as though my body won't allow me to gain any more.

    - Morning temperatures were inconsistent and fluctuated as much as 0.8 degrees from day to day. (Sleeping and waking times were inconsistent, too, though I generally got plenty of sleep every night.) Day 1 temperature was 96.9. Day 32 temperature was 97.2. Average temperature for all 32 days was 97.1. My lowest temperature was 96.4 on day 2 and my highest temperature was 97.6 on day 10. I am curious if my temperatures would improve more substantially on a second milk diet now that I'd be starting from a more normal weight. At any rate, lately I've felt somewhat warmer than usual during the day and at night, and even registered a 98.1 mid-day temperature a few days ago. But again, morning temperatures are still relatively low.

    - I actually tallied my bowel movements, as constipation has been an almost lifelong problem for me. I had 41 in 32 days, and while I confess to having no prior stool-tistics with which to compare, I can pretty confidently say this is the most regular I've ever been in my adult life. So much for fiber. Stools were still poorly formed, though (something I'm used to), and consistently had small traces of bright red blood (not something I'm used to). Anyone's speculation as to the significance of the blood is appreciated. Also, I generally wouldn't have a bowel movement until later in the day around my fourth quart of milk, and now that I'm off the milk diet, I fear my bowels may be slowing a bit. Not sure whether this is a problem of calories or some particular nutrient (or maybe even water?) deficiency. Again, I welcome anyone's thoughts on the matter.

    - A plantar wart that resisted three years of frequent treatment, both conventional and natural, is now nearly gone, though I did finally start to see small improvements before starting the milk diet.

    - Nose "drippiness" halted after months of annoyance. Congestion and sneezing were low to non-existent.

    - I experienced no orthostatic hypotension during the milk diet. This has often been a problem for me in the past, even after replacing processed foods with whole foods.

    - Some months back, I noticed some small spaces between my lower front teeth where the teeth met the gums. I didn't remember having these minor spaces in the past, but didn't think much of it either way. Now at the end of the milk diet, it looks as though my gums have apparently grown and filled in these spaces. Perhaps less positively, my gums bled whenever I brushed my teeth, which has not been a problem previously.

    …continued below…

  12. …continued from above…

    Finally, now that I'm eating solid food again, my enthusiasm for cooking is at an unusual low. This diet certainly spoiled me with its simplicity and ease, though it'll be nice to increase my activity and not have to eat all day long anymore. But I expect I'll do it again at some point and hope the second time around may yield the temperature/energy/mood gains that eluded me this time.

  13. Matt I totally cracked up on the "activist fail" :)

    Matt, thanks for posting how the moo juice has affected you. I am on day 23 (including three normal meals though due to social commitments) and for around the past 6 days I have felt like i have spring allergies, which i never have as mine last Jan to April, but yours and Michael's posts give me hope to press through. Temps are also back up again at this point. Pulse rate is still low and i have no means to test my normally low blood pressure. I want to try and go for 30 days (I still have one more real meal i need to eat, graduation dinner with the students next week).

    Mike your experience seems really positive overall, thanks for sharing all the details.

  14. OK Matt, you took the right decision by quiting "early". It was interesting to follow you. Thnx for sharing this. VBR Hans.

  15. Michael,

    Could you provide some information or some links to information on the semi-milk diet you referenced above? (I think I can figure out the 10 day diet.) :)

  16. Matt,

    I'd also be interested in any insight you have into the snoring thing. My husband snores pretty badly, and we'd both like to see him get that cleared up.

  17. Matt mentions having low blood pressure and a low resting heart rate. This is very common in well trained athletes. It is said Lance Armstrong has a resting pulse in the 30s and I bet his blood pressure and body temp are low. His metabolism is so fast he's in a calorie deficit everyday of his life. So my question is this. If body temperature really is that important, what is to be said of athletes, especially well-trained athletes (not over-trained, over caffeinated, over supplemented gym rats) who are in great health, would pass every single medical test with flying colors, but have a low body temp and low blood pressure. Isn't this a good thing because at rest your body is more efficient. Or is this "training effect" actually doing damage to the body by slowing down the metabolism. Very curious as to what you guys and Matt have to say about the 'training effect', which will cause a lower body temp/blood pressure and is thought to be beneficial. Also, if one is an athlete how is it possible to maintain a high body temp while constantly being in a calorie deficit Thank you.

  18. @PaulP…some have said that Mario Lemieux (Pittsburgh Penguin hockey legend) and Marty Liquori's (distance runner) Hodgkin's disease was due to over-training.

    From Ironman magazine…

    "If you seriously doubt that overtraining may have long-term medical implications, bear in mind that exercise is a form of stress. While most think of a suntan or muscles as merely cosmetic, that’s not why they exist. Suntans and larger muscles are defensive barriers the body erects to protect itself from future assaults from the same stressors, but they can be overwhelmed. Someone who repeatedly overexposed himself to the intense August sunlight would soon die, as the sun’s rays would literally cook his skin and underlying tissues. By the same token, chronic overtraining could inordinately tax the overall physical system and possibly result in a breakdown somewhere, such as the glandular system. Cooper has gone so far as to attribute the Hodgkin’s disease of hockey great Mario Lemieux and distance runner Marty Liquori to chronic overtraining."

    Perhaps Lance Armstrong's cancer could be related as well. He has also been implicated in doping but I don't know whatever happened with that. So maybe he wouldn't be the best example of the point you were making! :-)

  19. Paul-

    One of the best question I've had in a while.

    I believe that exercise like this is probably the most unhealthy thing a person could do. I don't believe that Lance, a guy who had cancer at a young age and looks sickly in person, is healthy in the least. Take cycling away from him and he would overeat, get fat, have health problems, and be in bad shape – that's because the exercise substitutes, in a way, for strong metabolic activity. I've gone from Lance levels of physical activity to none a dozen times in my life and the aftermath is always hell – no matter how good you looked and felt while exercising a ton.

    We know that exercise can negate a slow metabolism by burning fatty acids and raising the adrenal glands, but unless you plan to do it every day of your life for hours on end – it won't keep you slim, healthy, and feeling good. It certainly won't increase lifespan. In general, athletes are extremely unhealthy, not extremely healthy.

    Dean Karnazes, the ultramarathoner, is so unhealthy that if he takes a single day of rest he gets violently ill and depressed. Sounds awesome. Where do I sign up?

    The only way to really protect yourself from negative metabolic adaptation (which you should want if your body is in prolonged calorie deficit – it protects you) is to try to eat an extremely nutritious diet. Then, you might get away with it. Pound sugary drinks, gels, powdered drinks, and live with the belief that you can get away with eating anything (and you certainly could without getting fat) and your days are numbered.

    Mike Jones-
    Sounds like a pretty positive experience. I must critique you on the use of the word "stool-tistics" though. I like where you were headed with that, but must say that "shitistics" has a much better flow to it – but might make others think you have a speech impediment if you were to say it out loud.

    Yes, the return of seasonal allergies was the most alarming thing. I was giving it the benefit of the doubt, but even yesterday, after drinking milk for the first time since quitting the milk diet, I was a sneezing fool.

    On snoring-
    Mysterious indeed. Being overweight is probably the number 1 contributor to snoring, although it's unclear how exactly – perhaps just by narrowing airways and nasal passages. I suspect Cusick's snoring subsides or at least improves as he loses weight over the course of the rest of the year.

  20. I appreciate the response Will. And you are absolutely right about overtraining, as I learned the hard way after doing marathons/ironman triathlons. I feel so much better now exercising every other day focusing on strength training and HIIT. That being said, I am still finding it hard to believe anyone can reach the 98.6 degree body temp, while still exercising 3 days a week and eating healthy. If you are always in a calorie deficit and in good physical shape, won't your body temperature/blood pressure/resting pulse always be low? Isn't this a sign of good health? This is assuming a person is not overtrained, but is simply a lean/muscular/fast metbolizer. I just can't comprehend how it's possible to have a 98.6 degree body temperature, yet be in a good physical shape and eating a healthy diet. It seems that to constantly have a waking body temp at 98.6, one has to be an untrained, slightly overweight individual who is always in a calorie surplus from quality food sources. Are these people actually the healthiest? And are the Kobe Bryants, Lebron James, Lance Armstrongs, and Olypic Sprinters of the world acutally some of the unhealthiest people? Would love to hear comments about the athlete vs. non athlete debate, being that the low body temp/low blood pressure/low resting pulse is seen as a welcomed and healthy response to exercise…

  21. Matt, great to hear from the man himself. Thank you. But I going to keep challenging you on this because I believe this is one of the most interesting debates out there. Let me give you an example. A natural bodybuilder/HIIT athlete, who doesn't use any supplements (no steroids, sugars, vitamins, whatsoever). Their diet is high in protein (chicken, eggs, lean meats), moderate carb (brown rice, potatoes, no sugar/fruit), veggies (steamed spinach/asparagus), and low-moderate fat (olive oil, coconut oil, very low omega 6). Let's say the macronutrient breakdown is 380g carb (50% calories), 110g fat (30% calories), and 180g protein (20% calories). This seems like a very healthy diet. Yet, this would have low metabolism written all over it. This person would have a lot of muscle, which would require a lot of calories in the resting state. The high protein and weight training/sprints, coupled with the moderate carb and fat, would greatly slow the metabolism. Also, unless this person was eating over 4,000 calories every day they would always be in a caloric deficit. But if you saw this person in real life he would like the ideal specimen and anyone, including doctors, would say this man is in perfect health. I guarantee you this person would have very low blood pressure, low resting pulse, and low body temp, all signs of a well trained athlete who eats a healthy diet. So to go 180 degrees, it would seem to have normal blood pressure, normal resting pulse, and a high body temperature, one would have to do little physical activity, eat high fat, high carb, low protein, and be in a calorie surplus (from quality food sources) everday. This person would look very different from the first person, having little muscle definition, little endurance, more body fat, and basically look like an average human being. So my mission for you, Matt, is explain to me why the first person is actually unhealthier than the second person, what is the ideal balance between physical acitivty and daily macronutrient breakdown, and how it' possible to have a 98.6 degree body temp if you are in a calorie deficit because if you are in a calorie deficit your body will slow your metabolism but if you are in a calorie surplus your body will just store the excess calories as fat and eventually lead to weight gain. Thank you!

  22. Physical activity within reason and sedentarism probably don't yield much in terms of body temperature differences. I also don't think a person is likely to be able to build much additional muscle without the body temperature being pretty high. It takes a lot of confidence in food supplies for the body to build muscle – it can't be running in conservation mode that's for sure.

    Like people here witness. After seeing a rise in body temperature, they often see the number on the scale increase without their pants getting tighter. In other words, negative fat balance while in positive calorie balance.

    I also don't think the diet you described would be anti-metabolic.

    A well-muscled bodybuilder and an endurance athlete will not have the same stats either. A bodybuilder, who must maintain a high metabolism and NOT be in calorie deficit to succeed, will have much higher body temp and higher resting pulse. Only attempts at excessive leanness would undermine that.

    But I would think a person would need to do one or the other – be hypermetabolic or experience a faux hypermetabolic state by exercising a bunch.

    But in my experience, excessive exercise – like the kind that creates a calorie deficit that simply cannot be overcome by eating more food due to physical impossibility, is not a great way to be healthy. It is a fabulous way to develop joint pain, emotional instability, infertility, autoimmune disease, and cancer. Unmatched probably.

  23. I'll also mention that I've been very lean eating to appetite and not exercising. In fact, I got 5 pounds leaner than the pig's head photos without exercise and without hunger. I'm not saying that how I did it was healthy (low-carb) or that I was healthy (mental and physically impaired for sure), but I certainly looked healthy, had fantastic "stats," and a 6-pack without exercise – including abdominal exercise.

    But excessive exercise did drop my body temperature from 97.9 to 96.2 in 5 months of continuous calorie deficit. In 2008 I was doing some weightlifting and more moderate amounts of endurance exercise. Body temp. remained high, even with 150-200 grams of carbs per day.

  24. I felt as though I had some sort of improvement in my health this week, but was very surprised that this morning my temperature is up to 98.6! I was not doing the milk diet per se, but a semi milk diet which included kefir, small amounts of berries and cherries, and enough sugar to make the kefir taste okay. I have done the milk diet 2 times in the past, though,for 10 days at a time, both times ending with a huge migraine.
    I mentioned before that I have been trying to keep diet purines as low as possible, and I think it is finally paying off. If anyone is looking for a semi-milk diet, please read Dr. Alexander Haig's online books about uric acid. A quick glance through the table of contents and index will show you how many issues are related to uric acid. (metabolism being one of them) However,I am not sure that he came to the correct conclusions about the way to do the diet. I've spent the past year trying different forms of it, and the recent diet seems to have made the biggest difference, except that my kidneys go through stages of having a hard time. I have not technically been eating enough calories (or nutrients!)for my weight and activity level, but it seems as though just not putting in the wrong thing makes it much easier to live well and be well on what I do eat.

  25. Matt,
    I just wanted to mention that biggest thing I appreciate about your blog is how honest you are with your experiments. I really respect the fact that you admit when your diets don't work. Most diet guru's would lie and just make up all of the positive benefits they received.
    This gives you a lot of credibility. Keep it up man!

  26. @ Hypothyroidism & Overexercising

    check out these two articles:

    and here a list of athletes with thyroid-problems:

    Carl Lewis DX 1996 – Olympic Athlete – Hypothyroidism

    Carla Overbeck DX 2000 – the captain and one of the defensive
    stalwarts of the United States women’s Soccer national team. – Graves' Disease

    Emma Robinson DX 1999 – Olympic-caliber Canadian Rower – Thyroid Cancer

    Dominic Seiterle DX 1997 – Olympic-caliber Canadian Rower – Thyroid Cancer

    Karen Smyers DX 1999 – Olympic-caliber Triathlete – Thyroid Cancer

    Isabelle Beisiegel Canadian golfer – Graves' Disease

    Patty Berg – Winner of the first Women's NationalOpen Golf Tournament
    1946 and member of the LPGA Hall Fame – Thyroid Cancer?

    Pat Bradley, a top player in the Ladies Professional – Graves' Disease
    Golfers Association.

    Ben Crenshaw – World Class Golfer – Graves' Disease

    Gail Devers DX 1989 – Olympian – Graves' Disease

    Jerry DiPoto DX 1994 – Baseball relief pitcher – Thyroid Cancer
    Colorado Rockies.

  27. Since our body temps are a warm 97 or 98+, why would it make a difference whether or not we use cold milk or room temp. Wouldn't cool milk just quickly warm in our stomach's in very little time anyway?


  28. Dr Myhill is a UK physician who treats chronic fatigue. I like a lot of her ideas (not all) and have corresponded with her a bit.

    She says on her site that it is very common for her patients to be former athletes.

    Myhill focuses on a lot of things, mitochondrial dysfunction, B12, Mg, adrenal and thyroid issues, etc.

    My own focus is primarily on adrenals, as that's been my largest problem.

    IMO, athletes have very high cortisol while they feel well, but then burn out their adrenals and wind up… the kind of folks like me, who are mostly housebound and often bedridden, and thus disabled well before age 50.

    I was not an athlete. I was a single mom who raised a kid through college and grad school, and then had her freak out during adolescence for a few years. I went decades without enough sleep, and there was an entire year I averaged 10 hours of sleep a week! So I had… basically about 40-50 years worth of stress in 10-20 years.

    Athletes who do 40-50 years of exercise in 10-20 years are setting themselves up for a similar fall as I've experienced.

    And yeah, they'll get fat pretty quick – little packs it on quite like being bedridden.

  29. Matt,

    The milk diet is NOT HARD! Pssh. Thirty-five days here. If you want hard, try a water fast, although Macfadden says you might get cavities on an extended water fast. Milk diet versus water fast is night and day. Anybody who says a milk diet is hard isn't in it to win it. I still love you.

    Can you really make clear cut statements, such as that about tooth strength, after only twenty-seven days on a food? Perhaps a few months or so would be more reliable.

    Matt, would you say ground cornmeal, like that in the Italian food polenta, or wheat meal, like that in bread or wheat farina, are natural? They don't seem like whole foods per se, but it doesn't seem unnatural to hit wheat or corn with a rock to grind it up.


    You guys hear about that Washington Redskins cheerleader last fall who allegedly had dystonia symptoms from a vaccine? She was apparently almost cured all the way in just forty-eight hours using hyperbaric oxygen therapy as well as some intravenous treatments for various vitamins and minerals and perhaps other nutrients. What do you think of them apples?

  30. My ear is starting to hurt! It hurts from above the ear canal and the pain extends into the gland below my jaw. Any ideas about what to do? It started last night and it's worse this morning.

  31. @trix:
    I don't know why it is better to drink milk at room temperature (or even at body temperature), but it definitely is. I don't know if you have tried drinking cold milk vs warm milk, but for me warm milk is much much easier on my digestive systems. It might not matter if you consume small amounts, but I personally probably couldn't drink great amounts of cold milk.

    My personal guess is that this has something to do with the enzymes needed to digest milk. They probably won't do their job as well if the milk has to warm up first.

  32. Thanks for sharing your experience Matt. You seemed so sad about having to start but you went through with it.

    Do you think some organic unhomogonized lightly pasteurized milk can also have a beneficial effect? More along the lines of 1-2 cups/day rather than a full on milk diet. That's all that is available here and it tastes great compared to the regular grocery store crap.

  33. Re: Leanness looking healthy

    I have often wondered about what is an optimal body fat %. Is there a universal number that everyone would be if they were eating the optimal diet? I have always had a little pudge except for 2 years ago I was in a 12 week contest and lost down to 147 lbs on a 5'5" frame. I'm guessing I was ~10%. I had a four pack but never clearly saw all six with my veins protruding and all. Of course I was calorie restricted and over exercising so I was by no means healthy. I would love to be lean but I don't think I'm meant to be that lean. I think I'm supposed to hold more fat. It's like the "big boned" people you know. They just wouldn't look right being lean. I've saw some that have extremely high amounts of discipline that lose down and look sick, not healthy. I think even if they got their temps up and lost weight they still wouldn't look right.

    Speaking of six pack abs, I remember seeing a few full body pictures taken by Weston Price and the natives didn't have the leanness that we all consider a sign of health. I think it's just another social stereotype that we all have. (This coming from the guy that wore "huskies" and/or sweat pants till the 7th grade so take it with a grain of Celtic sea salt)

  34. @Jenny: Nice to hear about your milk experiments and the results. Currently I'm replacing like 4-5 meals per week with a quart of milk and plan notching it up a bit.

    Also, contrary to some of the old schoolers, I think a semi-milk diet (and maybe the full-on for some) is a great way to lean out while working out without restricting calories
    Interesting. What exactly makes you think that? Personal experience?
    I don't wanna say that you're wrong, quite the contrary. I think replacing some of my meals with milk and getting back into the gym with a very good exercise routine (thanks Riles!) seems to affect my body composition in a positive way, but it's too early to tell.
    But whatever, just wanted to hear your reasoning behind it.

  35. Re: lean body types

    I have the newest version of NAPD which includes some extra photos. Some of the guys are clearly ripped and muscular, some are not and most are wearing clothes so it's hard to tell. The science of getting lean is something that we probably understand better now, but a very low body fat under natural conditions is probably not that common. Ryan's blog, Health Matters to me, has a great picture of some very lean Aboriginies, so it certainly is something that existed back in the day.


  36. I mean, Matt, come on. Body fat has all the same disadvantages you listed for muscle, and does even less to help you stay nimble and mobile. The Kitavans are one example of a pretty damn lean natural population, and I still think leanness (in the 8-12% BF range for men) is the standard phenotype of a healthy human. One hint is children, who generally possess the greatest metabolic health (at least before HFCS entered the scene), are typically very lean. They would also if anything probably benefit more from a little extra fat than adults in terms of survival, but they rarely have it anyway.

  37. Re: Paleo geeks often eat raw meat and don't wash their hair – but then they'll bow down in worship of what Men's Health Magazine decides is sexy at the moment. Funny.

    True dat. Nikoley went ape s*** when someone commented on him not being as lean as Sisson or Harris.

    Re: In 2008 I was doing some weightlifting and more moderate amounts of endurance exercise. Body temp. remained high, even with 150-200 grams of carbs per day.

    Anyone think training strictly for powerlifting is detrimental to health/metabolism? All I'm concerned with is strength and not the puffy water muscles, Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (I looked it up on wikipedia), of the bodybuilder, nor the 2 hour workouts. With reps kept low, strength increases in greater proportion to size (with my genetics, size increases are almost impossible). I do no cardio and workout 3x a week for ~45 minutes each. Your thoughts…

  38. Hey Swede, how is your iodine supplementation going? Has it fixed any problems that the HED itself didn't take care of? I bought some Lugol's solution myself, thinking it might help with the poor blood circulation in my feet (and chronic achilles tendon injuries which are probably related) that still hasn't improved noticeably after 6 months HED and 6 weeks milk diet.

    I tried the smear test where you put Lugols on your forearm skin and wait to see how long it takes to disappear. My patch started out dark brown, had faded quite a bit by one hour and was completely gone within 5 hours. Assuming that indicates a pretty bad deficiency, I've been taking 6 drops (about 38mg iodine) daily for the past week. Initially it didn't seem to do anything, but then came a few days when I felt pretty bad, almost as if I was coming down with a cold or something, but now it's getting better again, and I think my achilles tendons have improved considerably in the past week, still not rid of the cold feet though.

  39. It is very unwise to compare yourself to someone else when it comes to physique aesthetics. What is a natural and easy to acheive body composition for one person or ethnic group may be very different from another. This obsession with paleo diets and people is going too far. Just because HG's looked and ate a certain way does not mean it is healthy for you, not unless you they are your direct ancestors. They only ate what they did because they had to, not because it was the healthiest.

  40. @Collden

    It's going great thanks. I've been taking 2 Iodoral per day and am loving it. Like Matt has said about many diets, the benefits only last for so long, and I think that is true of the HED (or RRARF) as well. The iodine has brought back someone of the positives that I experienced in the first few months of HED that eventually faded away.

    Sleep – for the first time in as long as I can remember I can fall asleep before 11 pm and sleep most of the night.

    Bowel movements – Early on with the HED I was having several per day, but they decreased back to once per day after a few months. Now with the iodine I have at least 2 per day, even when eating as few as 2400 kcals! The last time that I tried a calorie specific diet the first immediate effect that I noticed was decreased bowel movements and slight constipation.

    Skin – was already fairly clear, but now it is super clear and even the pimples that I used to get under my hair are gone, as well as the pores in the backs of my legs are no longer inflamed.

    Fasting – I trying the lean gains method and its going great. so far in three weeks a 5 pound weight loss while my strength has increased, based on doing a full-body workout with weights about once every five days.

    Keep in mind though, that my case was not as bad as what many people have written about on here. I was similar to Matt, sickly child, tonsils removed, with some symtpoms of hypothyroid, but I have retained healthy adrenals because I never used stimulants. That could be a key to why it has gone so well with me.


    I agree 100%.

    "Just because HG's looked and ate a certain way does not mean it is healthy for you"

    The fact that humans took over the planet while eating certain foods gives a good starting point as to a healthy diet, but we still have to consider whether modern technology and science has helped create new foods that are even better, and strict paleo disregards that aspect.


  41. Matt,

    I was doing the milk and cheese diet for a couple of weeks and switched to the milk made into kefir low uric acid diet since May 8th. I did read about you and JT having ear problems, so I am a little anxious about how bad it could get. I use homeopathic rememdies and tried belladonna one time so far today. I don't know if that is what helped, or just getting up and moving around. It eases up sometimes and then I can feel the pain come back. It is definitely not just in my ear, though. I looked up the parotid gland and the pain seems to be in that area, too. So it has something to do with my glands, too. I have to take a look at what I'm doing and maybe cut back on protein a little. I was having difficulty urinating yesterday, so things aren't getting out of my body the way they should be. I know McFadden and Porter say that you can't take in too much milk, but I don't believe that.

  42. Collden and Swede, Ray Peat has said that anything over 2x the RDA for iodine can damage the thyroid. I asked him about the iodine test and he said that it had something to do with, well, here's the actual quote…

    "Some of the iodine painted on the skin evaporates, and the rest is
    turned into invisible iodides by reductants in the sweat and skin,
    such as ascorbic acid, cysteine, and glutathione. More than twice the
    mininum requirement for iodine can interfere with thyroid function,
    and injure the gland."

    Not saying whether you or he is right (because Dr. West is proponent of supplementing iodine as you are doing and I think he is awesome) just mentioning it.

  43. Yeah I've heard his stance. Could be the skin test is just some BS designed to make people think they need to buy supplemental iodine. On the other hand, most of the research cited as evidence that too much iodine can damage the thyroid or give rise to autoimmune thyroiditis has been performed either on specific animal models who are already very prone to develop autoimmune diseases, or on human populations who are iodine deficient to the point of having developed goiters.

    In those cases it seems even a little iodine can aggravate the problem, but then there are studies on healthy animals showing no particular harmful effects of a massive chronic intake of iodine, as well as human population studies in China were increasing iodine intake is not associated with any thyroid problems. The Japanese for one probably consume a lot more than 2x RDA for their whole lives.

    So I'm just gonna go with this supplementation for a while longer and see if it can fix my feet problems or not.

  44. @Matt,
    I'm with Colliden, and call bullshit on this one, amigo. Maybe the key here is what you define as uber leanness, but my impression of foragers is that they were, by and large, lean, attractive people. That's part of what Price observed- they had a vitality to them and that vitality was reflected in their bodies as well as their dispositions.

    I have to imagine the generalized appreciation for a well formed body that most people have is probably based on our history, and the fact that this might be a side effect (though certainly not a cause) of robust health. Not saying there's not variation, or that natives in marginal environments don't have different adaptations like the Inuit who had selective pressures to be shorter and squatter in cold environments, as compared to the tall lean Masai who have more surface area to allow for a greater evaporative and thus cooling capacity in their hot climate. But I don't think less muscle and more fat would have made much sense for foragers living in all but the most marginal environments (like the Arctic), since we didn't evolve in a hypocaloric environment, something both you and Stephen Guyenet point out.

    Also, on the note of our sensibility toward leanness versus fat, Stephen points out here that while visceral fat can be attractive, ectopic fat, like those pesky love handles, generally isn't and that may be because it points toward metabolic dysfunction.

    Again, not to say I don't agree that there are unhealthy ways to pursue leanness, that it should be thought of as an end goal rather than a side effect. But like reduced appetite and increased exercise might be consequences of health rather than instigators, a lean body with a six pack might too be a consequence of health. I really have trouble believing that media like Men's Health are completely generating the 'lean is sexy' meme, and think it's more likely they're fanning the flames of a sensibility we already have for reasons grounded at least at one time in reality.

  45. Despite what I read about excess iodine being not good for your thyroid, I did try it. It did appear to work for awhile, but I eventually got sicker than I had been for quite some time. I now think that I was foolish to think that I would need such large quantities of iodine. Not to mention that part of Iodoral and Lugol's is iodide. Iodide clears the blood of uric acid, so it can very quickly give you a boost. But then the uric acid comes back into your blood stream and will cause more problems, maybe even more severe. I have seen in the Homeopathic Materia Medica remedies that help when the issue is caused by abuse of iodides! When you think about it, why would anyone need more iodine than what is found in a few glasses of milk or a few sheets of nori. You have to ask yourself what on earth is it doing. It may just be locking uric acid into your thyroid! I think that most times thyroid issues are caused by substances that got trapped in the thyroid tissue when it got strained out of your blood.

  46. Betsy, could you give more details? How much iodine did you take, and did you already have severe thyroid problems when you started? What problems did the iodine cure initially and in what way did you eventually get worse?

  47. Annabelle: I don't have any specific link, but I think I googled, "bare-foot walking" and Bare-foot running." The upshot was that I found a lot of people wearing vibram five fingers had claimed to eliminate plantar facitis pain. I tried some of them on and found them to be ridiculous looking on me, and really, really hard to put on. (It took me 20 minutes to get them on in the store.)

    I read that in places like china where they wear flip flops all the time they don't have certain back and knee injuries that are common in the west. So I started to employ the barefoot walking stride in flip flops. I take shorter strides, taking care to land on the middle of my foot so that my arch has the opportunity to flex and take the impact of the stride. At first as I noted this caused other parts of my legs to hurt and caused me to have some soreness in my arch (most plantar facitis pain is at the attachment of arch muscle at the heel.) I also try to lean forward more when I walk.

    I'm going to give myself the rest of the summer to try to fix it this way. I'm hoping I don't have to switch to orthotic shoes in the winter as I'll just be more and more dependent on the orthotic.

  48. You guys need to watch some more travel channel. There are plenty of HG tribes on there eating traditional diets that don't look good at all, especially some of the tribes from the amazon.
    The one that look good from places in the pacific like Papua New Guinea and Kitava are puny little guys with abs. They are not big muscular guys.

    Stop with the paleo insanity!

  49. @Jennythenipper,

    thanks for your milk update. so what other meal did you substitute milk with besides the quart for breakfast? what was the rest of your food intake like?

  50. Matt — Will raw milk continue to be a part of your diet at all?

  51. Matt,

    Thanks for sharing your information about the milk diet. But at times, a bit too much information.

    I don't have doubt that my speech will return to normal at some point on my whole foods diet. However I do have doubts that it will return within the foreseeable near future, the months ahead. This is why I'm gonna try my hand at hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which seems to have some almost miraculous results. On YouTube, people have thrown around ozonated water, intravenous hydrogen peroxide, intravenous vitamin c, sauna therapy, and intravenous chelationg therapy as means to detox, however with the exception of sauna, I question the others' worth and safety.

    Before recently, I never saw brown rice at an Asian restaurant. Yet Asians still seemed to have pretty solid hair. And it's not like Asians started consuming white rice a decade ago. It's been around for generations. So if it were to have a detrimental effect on hair health, we would have seen it by now. Perhaps brown rice is better, but a poor aspect of the diet can be overcome with a remaining solid diet. Similarly, I don't see how grinding wheat, corn, or rice into pasta or whatever with a rock is unnatural, although it may not be a whole food. I mentioned this before, but I don't think it was worthy of you. =)

  52. Collden, I think it's been a year and half since I used the iodine, and unfortunately I can't remember specifics. But I did use at least one bottle of Iodoral and then I bought some Lugol's. I had a low temperature(96-97.6) for years. At first I felt an increase in energy, but by the end, which I think was about 2 months, I got very sick. I took some dessicated thyroid, too, during that time. The symptoms made me think that I had terribly congested my liver, and my thyroid symptoms got even worse than before. During that time I started to paint the lugol's on my skin thinking that would be a safer way to take, and where I painted it the skin became burned. I started to wonder if it also burned the mucous membrane of your digestive tract. Also, the lady who ran the forum about taking iodine went to the doctor who wrote the book about it,(is it Brownstein?) and she was getting tested to see if she was taking enough. She had to keep raising the amount she was taking, which was already incredibly high. In other words, it didn't seem to be working. There may be some benefits to taking iodine, but maybe only in amounts that would be found in foods and in a form that is more similar to that found in foods instead of potassium iodide. A Chinese lady had told me that to help my thyroid I needed to clean my liver and bloodstream, but that didn't seem to be working and I thought this would be a quick fix. Unfortunately, I was wrong again!

  53. Matt, which ear was bothering you? Did the congestion in your head go away since discontinuing the milk diet? What are you eating now? Does it taste good? I tried some mashed potatoes last week, and they tasted terrible to me. My ear felt better during the day today, but it's worse tonight than it was last night. My other ear is starting to hurt, too.

    JT, did the problem with your ear affect your hearing?

  54. raw milk fast stats:

    -Blood pressure up about 10-14 points systolic and an equal amount on the diastolic side.

    -Resting pulse came up over 60 (from the high-40’s to low-50’s) and remained there or higher throughout the milk diet and persists now – sometimes as high as 70 bpm.

    -I’ve had some readings at nearly 98 degrees first thing in the morning, and mid-day temperatures have consistently run above 98 degrees F for the first time since I began keeping track of body temperature in 2008.

    In my opinion all these "benefits" have nothing to do with the supposed increase in metabolism. It looks more like an allergic reaction to dairy. Especially pulse rate which is a good indicator of having problems with food allergies.

  55. Betsy,
    Yes, when my ear exploded on the milk diet it did affect my hearing. The ear doctor thought I had permanent hearing loss, but it has mostly come back now. You don't want this to happen, the pain was horrible. My Ayurvedic doctor wasn't surprised at all when this happened, he said that the raw cows milk wont digest properly in most people and it needs to be boiled with spices to digest. He gave me an interesting analogy, he said it was like using the wrong kind of fuel that doesn't burn efficiently and the dirty smoke rises and goes up and gunks up the system in your head creating a lot of buildup and pressure until something blows out.

    I agree, sounds like the body is giving off a stress response. People need to understand that the metabolism is a lot more complicated than just the body temperature. I always had a high body temperature when I was zero carb because my adrenaline and cortisol levels were so high. During this time of my highest body temperatures is also when I was doing the most severe metabolic damage.

  56. Just a comment about heart rate:

    My resting pulse has been between 80-90 bpm my entire adult life, no matter what my BBT, level of fitness, blood pressure, weight, body fat percentage, etc. So I'm not really a big believer in it as an indicator, myself.

  57. Ha ha. Thanks JT. You're very correct sir in that the Paleo infatuation has to stop. Any infatuation I have with them is that they had very low rates of Western Disease, but this was also true of agriculturalists studied by Cleave, Trowell, Burkitt, Price, etc.

    But to think that all Paleo peoples had levels of muscle and fat that is comparable to that seen on the cover of most health and fitness magazines in the year 2010 is almost laughable. The average Kitavan male has a BMI between 21 and 22. That's not much muscle. At a similar level of leanness, my BMI is closer to 26.

    I'm not talking about extreme levels of fat or anything, but there were clearly many people in Price's book that were not very muscular and not particularly lean. It was not a theme that was seen across the board, certainly not among those living in a more seasonal climate. The photo he includes of an Aborigine that is shirtless is skinny fat, with tiny little arms, shoulders, and chest and a round belly with love handles. I'm not saying that we should all strive for that. Just telling it like it is.

    Good points. RRARF is rehabilitative. Like I've said many times, it's designed to help people heal themselves. Maintaining health is not about laying in bed all day and trying to eat as much food as you can. But clearly doing so can help many get unstuck. It also makes you want to naturally eat less and want to exercise more, which I'm glad to hear you are doing and enjoying. With your current pursuits, I know you'll do them wisely and won't crash and burn like so many do, squeezing every last drop out of their adrenal glands.

  58. JT-
    Agreed on your assessment of body temperature. It's easy to raise body temperature by doing something that causes a big catecholamine release – which I plan to write about soon.

    But this trashes your adrenal glands and causes adrenergic receptors to shut down – leaving you with a big, hot mess and making body temperature fall through the floor any time you try to rest and eat a mixed meal.

    If it were all about body temperature without any other considerations, or a more comprehensive overview of how the metabolism works, we could all pound amphetamines and live happily ever after.

    RRARF is healing because it drops adrenal hormone levels and allows your body to rejuvenate – producing healthy amounts of hormones without relying on temporary and potentially harmful means of raising your metabolism – such as stimulant use, fasting, low-carb dieting, etc.

  59. Danyelle-

    There's no question in my mind that body temperature is a better assessment of metabolism than pulse rate.

    In general, pulse rate rises the heavier a person gets. Respiration increases. Metabolic rate (total calorie expenditure) increases. Essentially, the body is having to work overtime, and is burdened by all the extra weight. But body temperature will often remain low, and even get progressively lower – which is more a sign of the body operating in conservation/hibernation mode.

    Ultimately, the best health and longevity will probably be had by those with a low BMI, low blood pressure, low oxygen consumption, low resting pulse, and a high body temperature (a sign of the body working correctly and not actively trying to conserve energy).

    I guarantee this is exactly what you would see amongst Kitavans or Okinawans.

  60. So the Paleo ideal is not a paleolithic human or even modern-tribal. The body ideals of lean and muscular probably come form Greek and Roman art not the Venus of Willenforf!

    Besides the last time I checked Fred Flintsone was carrying a spare tire or two:)

  61. Yes, consitent carbohydrate abundance as found in the Roman era allowed for people to become quite muscular. They knew that wheat and barley gave them a huge physical advantage – and grains are still prime staples of today's most impressively muscular bodybuilders.

    Also, Barney did not fit the modern fitness ideal either. There was some evidence that strength to bodyweight ratios were much higher though – the ultimate sign of fitness. Bam Bam exemplified a much higher level of functional fitness than that observed in the modern era.

    I am surprised to see the body types of Flintstone era females. Both Betty and Wilma seemed to have narrow hips, and body types indicative of fertility problems. But hey, I've already discussed how the Paleo diet was able to keep overpopulation at bay – so this should come as no surprise.

  62. rawlion, great to see you here my friend! I have been meaning to email you to tell you to look into Matt's blog here so I am really glad that you found this place. If I don't get a chance to email you, please send me an update. Take care and hope things are going well for you!

  63. The biggest problem I have with the HED is digestion. Still having loose stools, flatulence, bloating. Meals consist of potatoes or brown rice, coconut oil, steamed spinach, and chicken breasts. My body temperature is low, 96.8-97. Will this improve over time with the HED and how long can it take? Or do you recommend the use of digestive enzymes, such as betaine HCL before meals? Can the body repair itself over time to produce more stomach acid and enzymes needed to digest food and is there a direct correlation between low body temp/crappy digestion and high body temp/perfect digestion?

  64. Nick-

    Most note an increase in digestive performance after an initial rough time after 2-3 weeks. As metabolism rises, your body produces more gastrin and more stomach acid for better digestion. Your transit time also decreases, which helps overcome constipation, bloating, fermention/putrefaction in the gut, etc.

    I'm not saying everyone has eventually had a big increase in digestive strength on HED. In fact, some with legitimate starch digestion issues haven't been able to heal up.

    HCL and digestive enzymes can help, but usually aren't miracle cures. HCL is typically more effective than enzymes.

    And yes, there's a huge correlation in my experience with digestive problems and low body temp – mostly stemming from slow transit time and poor gastrin secretion – and also from bacterial overgrowth, candida, etc. which are typical of those with low body temp.

  65. @ Nick: I had the same problems when transitioning from Paleo. Having some Potatos for dinner would send my tummy going crazy as would pretty much any big mixed meal.

    It has been 4-5 months of mixed meal eating now and I can say my digestion is pretty darn robust. Rarely do foods give me a problem, I steer clear of large portions of animal protein (upwards of 30g) with meals though as it seems to slow digestion and make me feel lethargic and bloated as well as triggering slight anxiety. (which I got used to when eating Paleo)

    Anyway just keep plugging away and with time digestion will improve. As Laird Hamilton said you want you digestive system to run like a truck not a sports car.

  66. @Nick
    Took me about 2.5 to 3 months for digestion to really kick in, I did use Betaine HCL during that time (first two months), one dose with each of my 4 to 5 meals per day. I feel that it did help.

    Now at 8 months, my digestion is rock solid, I can eat huge meals with no impact.

  67. Turbogirl: I eat regular HED style meals. That is I always eat till I'm full. Lately I've been trying to monitor my fullness and eat more slowly at the end of the meal so I don't have that "too full" feeling. Part of that is just the warmer weather.

    A typical HED meal for me is meat, starch and green veg for dinner, protein/starch and green veg at lunch. Sometimes I'll have eggs or cottage cheese as the main protein in a meal, earlier in the day.

    My typical routine has been M-th, I replace breakfast and lunch with milk. I have a regular dinner in the evening. F I have milk for breakfast, eggs for lunch(See, stuff white people like #Breakfast Places), Saturday and Sunday I have breakfast with my family (buckwheat crepe with cottage cheese and blueberries is a fave or whole wheat bagel with cream cheese,rye bread, cheese,summer sausage) I have milk for lunch and have a regular dinner in the evenings on the week-end.

    I try to eat clean avoiding sugar, white flour, fructose and as many additives as possible. For example I buy a cottage cheese that has no added protein or stabilizers. It's just curdled milk. With the amount of dairy I'm consuming, I like to keep it as clean as possible. For meat I try to eat beef and lamb as much as possible. When I started on HED I ate a lot of pork, but I've cut that back. I've also reduced my restaurant meals to no more than one a week and even then I stick to things that are usually cooked in their own fat (burgers, steaks) or in butter (eggs at my favorite breakfast place.)

  68. I have been doing research on slow transit time and hypochlorhydria because my son has those issues. I found that B vitamins, especially B-12 are very important in producing stomach acid. I would suggest either consuming some liver or taking a dessicated liver supplement for the B-12. To complete the B-complex, you can add in some Brewer's Yeast. :-P

    I also started giving him some raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar with a bit of raw honey. He's only 6, so I have to dilute it with water to the point where he can't taste it (he hates the taste), so I don't know if he is going to get much benefit from it.

    I was giving him some Brewer's Yeast, then that with some Dess. Liver, then the Dess. Liver by itself, but it was such a struggle to get him to take it (in applesauce, peanut butter) that I stopped. His developmental pediatrician said that it was great that I was giving him that but I just can't get him to take it. Being allergic to damn near everything really limits what we give him, and the foods that we can hide stuff in.

  69. I have been having problems with my eyesight lately, unable to focus on objects, and if I am looking at something close up and then have to look at something further away, it takes a while to focus or if at all. When I first started college, I had this same issue and the doc told me that the muscles that move the eyeball were weak, so when it was time to move them to focus from near to far (sitting in the back of huge lecture hall going from looking at my notebook to looking at the board) they were struggling. When I went low carb, this went away. Now, I rarely eat bread, very little sugar but I eat lots of white rice and my vice to keep me away from sugar is sourdough pretzels.

    Any opinions? So do you think that it is just the total amount of carbs or just the bad carbs? JT, I know you eat lots of white rice…any eye issues?

  70. let me tell the paleo geniuses something. if you brought a cave man to today that guy would be all over dairy and grains. they only ate the way they did cause they were losers with no options. you guys wanna live like losers with no options?

  71. No one here is trying to defend the paleo diet. The discussion was just started about what kind of physiques occurred in HGs. Were they ripped muscle monsters or flabby soft bodies?

    I agree with Dakkon. Starch and dairy are awesome foods and I don't know why anyone would not want to eat them (barring allergies or bad reactions of course)


  72. Give me options or give me death! -Patrick Henry

    I ain't ever been nothing but a carbo faced winner… -Paul Bear Bryant

  73. …that was for the paleo geniuses.

  74. Dakkon-

    Appreciate it. If I have any "paleo" inclinations it is to use the millenia of evolutionary programming to decide what is and is not suitable food. All creatures understand the beauty of dairy products, and will indulge in them when given the opporunity. I don't see many creatures turning down bread either. Haven't come across many people that said, "Bread? Ew gross!" Grilled cheese sandwiches? Yeah, Grok would've loved those.

    Yes, of course many people have problems with these "neolithic foods," but I have no reason to believe that the problems people have with wheat and dairy were caused by consuming wheat and dairy.

    I too suspect that hyperinsulinemia plays a very vital role in the development of eyesight problems. The connection between myopia and insulin levels in particular seems pretty convincing. Carbs can aggravate that in the short-term, especially for low-carbers. I notice that if I carb cycle my carbohydrate tolerance becomes horrendous – I get sleepy after carbohydrate meals, sluggish, emotional, etc.

  75. Hey Matt…I'm not cycling carbs right now. Just eating high carb. I'm feeling a bit tired after lunch today, which was brown rice (starting to stay away from the white rice), boiled chicken breast, peas, with coconut oil and soy sauce. Two big plate fulls. Since you suspect hyperinsulinemia, since I'm not cycling carbs, would that implicate the bad carbs then?

  76. @Jennythenipper

    Thanks! I might try your plan–maybe for 3 days and see what happens. Were you doing the milk drinking every 30 minutes or just at meal times?


    Bam-Bam:D LOL Wilma and Betty were slim and trim, but once you became a mother-in-law watch out you became bigger than Fred!

  77. Turbo-
    Yes, it did appear that women got heavier as they aged in the Flintstone era. This contrary to what we know of the Kitavans, who tend to decrease in weight with age.

    Keep me updated. It is most likely that any carbohydrate will aggravate a hyperinsulinemic condition in the short-term, but as you know, my goal is to improve carbohydrate tolerance, not identify "sleepiness" after a meal and decide to go Charles Washington.

  78. @Will and Matt

    Just curious? Is Will truly hyperinsulinemic? Or could the sleepiness just be the soporific feeling after a meal since digestion takes major energy? I know after a heavy meal I sometimes feel tired and will just take a short stroll until the feelings pass. A doctor I worked with at a research lab suggested the little stroll to aid digestion. And I am talking about a short leisurely stroll not a brisk walk.

  79. Turbogirl: I pretty much drink milk continuously from the time I get up till I finish my quart. If I'm doing a gallon (breakfast and lunch) I drink a little bit at a time till I finish the gallon. It works out to continuously sipping milk all day, usually. I put my milk in a big bottle. i use a bpa-free plastic bottle with a wide drinking spout and a removable top that is easy to clean. Nothing worse than trying to get milk out of a narrow neck bottle or those horrid "sport tops" that never really get clean. I can put the pieces in the dishwasher every night and no worries.

    The best thing about sipping milk all day, slowly is that as long as I'm drinking it I have no interest in food. I used to count the minutes till lunch, like I was dying I was so hungry or I'd have to go get a snack (often something sugary). Now I just have rock-solid blood sugar and zero interest in food until I either run out of milk or make the decision to stop drinking it.

  80. Thanks Matt, but I can't go CW on you because I'm already lean enough that hard wooden chairs are uncomfortable, LOL! ;-)

    turbogirl, I may try that at some point but after lunch, I generally have to get back to work right away at my computer and remain motionless (except for my fingers, LOL!) for another 4 hours or so!

  81. Annabelle: I wanted to add to what I said yesterday about Plantar facitis and flip flops. You should now that this is a radical 180 type experiment. Most podiatrists recommend against ever going barefoot or wearing flip flops if you have PF. Of course most podiatrists want to put you in a "foot cast" special shoes with pronation control, with special custom orthotics till the day you die. My deal is I have very high arches. Unusually high. I'm actually wearing real shoes today because it's raining and they have cutouts on the sides. They are naturalizers which supposedly have good arch support. I can see my arch a good 1/4 inch above the arch support. Superfeet, regular birkenstocks, all of these things help, but don't give me enough support. I've looked into doing foot strengthening exercises, massage and stretching as well to try to fix the problem. I had some success doing trigger point massage for a really awful case of shin splints. I'm hoping I can help heal up this PF flare up faster. I'm giving myself till Sept. before I go to a doctor and get fitted for the custom orthos.

  82. Turbogirl said:
    "Just curious? Is Will truly hyperinsulinemic? Or could the sleepiness just be the soporific feeling after a meal since digestion takes major energy?"

    "It is said that effect of eating too many lettuces is soporific."
    -Beatrix Potter, The tale of the Flopsy Bunnies.

    Yeah, I have a four-year old.

  83. Will, when I eat white rice my vision gets blurry, too. Other grains, even white flour, don't do that. I've tried cutting it out and adding it back many times, thinking white rice is the easiest grain to digest, but it always happens. Maybe you could try cutting out the white rice and try a different form of carbs for a week or so.

  84. All this is making me wonder about the romans and renaissance Italians (all Michaelangelo's subjects are pretty ripped, he used real people, probably laborers, as models…). What do you think their mac rat nuts were? If the classic Modern Italian diet is any basis, they were high carb, high fat, moderate protein (meat is a garnish in many dishes)…Italians are still in much better shape than us (though as Matt always reminds us, that is changing…and yet that classic modern Italian diet doesn't work for most Americans. I can cite you film references as early as the 1930s of Americans complaining that eating pasta all the time was making them fat, especially around the middle. So what gives? Why doesn't it effect Italians that way? My theory is that the moderate protein intake combined with the super laid back Italian lifestyle (long lunches, siestas, five weeks of vacation a year, etc.) mean low cortisol levels in the blood. Their fat sources are mostly saturated or from olive oil so they are fairly benign. They manage to drink a lot of booze, eat white sugar, invent espresso and live off of white flour and still be thinner and have lower instances of hypertension and saccarine disease. The main difference, I think is not the diet, but the lifestyle. When you put this diet in America with its wreckless, stressful culture it fails and becomes a negative thing.

  85. Most animals don't have the opposable thumb required for milking a cow. Perhaps if they did we'd see more interspecial milk drinking!

  86. @Jenny: Don't the Italians also eat smaller portions of pasta as a side dish, and small thin-crust pizzas?

    I just checked out Charles Washington's blog, I find it funny that after his food rules he puts "DO NOT obsess over what you eat".

    Make zero-carbing fun and easy!

  87. Will,
    No, rice doesn't bother my eyes, no carbs do. I started having eye problems back about 12 years ago and I had to get glasses, only wore them for a few months and now my eyes are perfect. If I were you I would go to a doctor and get my blood sugar checked, you don't want to be downing a ton of carbs if you are diabetic. I knew one guy who had symptoms like you with carbs and he did a bunch of self treatment stuff to control it, but he only made himself worse. He eventually went to india and got treated at an Ayurvedic clinic and now I think he is OK.

  88. Jenny,
    I think that the diet of the average laborer during that time would have been really high carb (grain) with low fat and protein because it would have been cost prohibitive.

    I worked in Italy for a while and I can assure you that they eat a lot of pasta, it was almost always the first course. The also eat plenty of other carbs and alcohol. Jenny is right, it is the lifestyle. They are more leisurely with their meals and enjoy it more. Also, they like most other Europeans walk a ton compared to americans. That was probably the hardest thing for me when I first moved there was all of the walking.

  89. Swede,
    Most of the HGs I have seen were mostly pretty average looking. Some soft and flabby. A few are lean with abs, but tiny. None of them have been ripped muscle monsters.

  90. JT
    Yeah. Most likely the neanderthals were probably larger and more muscular, something that might have contributed to their extinction.


  91. Jenny,

    I can describe my situation as being almost identical to yours – very high arches, doctor's recos for orthotics, etc.

    My yoga instructor, who is also a Muscle Activation Therapist is very against orthotics because she believes that any forced shifting or "locking in" of the foot will just refer the imbalance to another part of your body, like the knee, hip or spine. And I'm inclined to agree! She says it's all about the foot and when you forcibly change foot placement, there is a domino effect on the rest of the body and you can end up really throwing your joints out of whack. Makes sense.

    I am very interested in barefoot walking and running. I've read quite a bit on the subject, as far as treating foot/joint problems. It makes sense – think about how hard we pound on our feet when we're wearing cushy shoes… I'm sure it's murder on the joints. If we were all barefoot, all the time, we'd walk and run gingerly and probably focus most of our weight on the balls of our feet – rather than pounding on our heels – just like every other animal does when it runs.

    I've also been experiencing a lot of toe numbness when exercising, lately. I think I may try doing some of the exercises barefoot to see if I notice any improvement.

  92. Thanks Betsy. Maybe it is as simple as the white rice. I just made a big batch of brown rice, so when that's gone, I'll start killin' some taters!

  93. Along the lines of what Brian H said, a very nice lady that has a private group for folks that think that saturated fat is healthy, sent some questions, and had some email exchange with the Bear. To make a long story short, he was extremely rude to her and told her that she was obsessed with diet. He also told her just to follow his rules. I'm thinking, you have a website and rules on how to eat and she is obsessed with diet?

  94. Thanks for the feedback JT. The last time I had my glucose checked over a year ago, it was slightly high. I think that it is supposed to be between 70 and 99…mine was 106. I will try staying away from white rice and see how that goes. I have a Dr.'s appt in the next month or so, so I will make sure that he checks my blood sugar again and then go from there.

    Oh, and one other vice of mine is drinking a few glasses of wine with dinner. I had been doing that every night but I wanted to trim down a little so I cut back to a few nights a week. Maybe I'll just cut it out entirely for awhile. I hate to give it up entirely because it raises my HDL like nothing else.

  95. Just a quick comment on overtraining and metabolic rate/leanness.

    I find it interesting that Martin Berkhan (leangains) uses a very low frequency routine. 3 sessions in 10 days HIT-style workouts.

    Maybe thats why he can fast and maintain leanness so well despite not having the genetic makeup for it. He has a good post about this called the Minimalist.

    Bodybuilders get extremely lean for competitions but then they crash and burn and get fat again. I wonder if that might be to overtraining and calorie restirction. The solution might be a healthy diet, fasting and infrequenct but tough training like Martin does.

  96. @Will, try nuritional yeast instead of brewer's. My mom tried to make us eat brewer's yeast and just managed to "teach" us to despise the stuff. Nutritional yeast tastes vaguely like parmesan, works as a topping on popcorn, pasta and in Italian salad dressing. Also, my mom tried to make us eat liver, which didn't work for most of my siblings (one liked it). It still doesn't work for me, I can't even stand the smell. However, liverwurst does work. I've no explanation for this, except it's much milder than liver.

    I've been diabetic for two decades, mostly with tight control, sometimes not, and never seen much of a difference in eyesight. But when cortisol is low with the resulting hypothyroid, it seems both my prescriptions are off (I wear bifocals) – bad enough that I can't really see the computer or see well enough to drive.

  97. JT, that is interesting. Many cultures seem to have a much healthier relationship to food compared to North America. People don't really eat leisurely, at least not breakfast or lunch. For me lunch is 15 minutes in front of the computer screen.

  98. jpatti…lots of good info in that little post of your, LOL!

    A few questions…

    Is nutritional yeast and brewer's yeast similar in nutrient make-up? Also, I did a quick Google and found that Now Foods sells nutritional yeast but they have flakes and powder…have you tried both kinds…is one better tasting than the other or is it just a texture thing?

    Does liverwurst have any of the "bad" stuff that a lot of the processed meats have, like nitrates. I will Google it but thought that you might know off the top of your head.

    It's funny that you should mention cortisol and hypothyroid because I am having a great deal of physical and mental stress right now. For example, I had 4 tons of limestone delivered yesterday and I moved it from the front of the house to the back of the house…lots of shoveling and wheelbarrowing. Started just before dinner, took a dinner break and finished around 9:30PM.

  99. @Anonymous…

    "I find it interesting that Martin Berkhan (leangains) uses a very low frequency routine. 3 sessions in 10 days HIT-style workouts."

    I think you are ABSOLUTELY correct. I believe that I posted something similar not too long ago. I think he has the equation between training, rest and diet nailed down pretty good.

  100. "@Jenny: Don't the Italians also eat smaller portions of pasta as a side dish, and small thin-crust pizzas?"

    Well yes and no. I'm just re-reading A Farewell to Arms right now. Hemingway was in the Italian ambulance corps and out among peasants eating what they ate. Pretty much he describes eating pasta as a side dish at every meal, like bread. When there was less other stuff available they ate more pasta to fill up. I think if you are eating several small plates of spaghetti a day that adds up to a lot of carbs. Prior to this period (early 20th century) the national food was polenta…Again, high carbs.

  101. Anabelle: Ok, wow, yeah, it sounds like all the same issues as me. When I was running, I always suffered from shin splints. A really bad case of them two years ago had me really just a mess. I switched shoes, started running on trails and off pavement and started toing message on my shins and I managed to fix it. Then I started getting PF symptoms on my longer runs so I added superfeet to my shoes. They helped the PF but then I started getting numbness in my foot because, I think, the orthotic was keeping my foot immobilized. I ran a half marathon where I could barely feel the trail beneath my feet for the last few miles which is really dangerous. After I quit exercise last year my foot problems went away only to resurface as PF in the winter. I think it's because I wear mukluks all winter on pavement and they have no arch support at all. I really don't wanna put orthotics in my mukluks because they don't work then. (They keep your foot warm by allowing it to move and keep blood flowing.) I've finally found the perfect winter shoe for MN and I don't wanna stop wearing them.

    I think your yoga instructor is right. I think we just need to change the way we walk and run. I wish I could get the five fingers to work for me, but I have short stubby toes and chubby feet and they just don't want to go on. Not to mention I look like a total Clanger in them.

    I'm going to get super aggressive about doing all the alternative therapies I can for this. I think message was really wonderful for my shin splints, I could feel instant relief from it.

    I've been experimenting with shoes. I have some tabi that I use for Taiko and they are pretty much just a thin rubber sole and canvas. They look wierd too but at least I can get them on my feet.

    BTW, how is your sunsperiment going?

  102. Hi All…. Its Sugar Addict!

    Its a daft question… but am after a little advice. I need to lose 30 pounds before a Dr's app in December. Does anyone know if this is possible without further ruining my metabolism and also keeping the weight off for good. I think HED is the future, I got this fat through dieting anyway.. but as I am now time restrained am worried about further weight gain and not hitting the target and being taken off the list…Any thoughts? Cheers me Dears! :)

  103. Hi everybody.
    I’m Italian and can tell You that pasta is always a big serving.
    Even here the consuming of processed foods is rampant (i.e. cookies; industrial made pastries; breakfast “american” cereals…).

  104. I’d like to add a comment on the overfeeding issue.
    It is great in winter since one is able to feel warm.
    Know that the hot climate is arrived (in Italy) I drastically reduced my eating intake, added a few days of fasting every week, lost 6 kg and don’t suffer the heat at all. Don’t eating past 3 pm I, also, don’t feel hot when is time to sleep.
    Therefore my (personal) conclusion is that the overfeeding should be adapted to the climate.

  105. Sunsperiment going great! I actually started going for tanning sessions at the tanning salon for 3-, 4- and now 5-min bursts. Even though it's mostly UVA light, my skin is definitely changing – I can tell. It's toughening up. I'm freckled all over but not burning.

    One day I went out for a walk without sunscreen and lasted 20 min before I started burning. And even then, the burn was mild. Just pink – not red and hurtey. I'm going to keep doing this 3 x week all summer long, if I can. Maybe by the end of summer I'll actually have some sort of 'tan'.

    I'm keeping a close eye on freckles and moles.

    I, too, get horrible shin splints. Looks like we're foot sisters. I also have really fucked up legs, too, though, which doesn't help matters. I was born with really severe genu valgum (knock knees) and metatarsus varus (pigeon toes). Trust me, it's a hot look. Suffice it to say I don't ever wear mini-skirts or shorts.

    My pediatrician put me in little ankle braces for the first year of life, but it never really worked. I still have major alignment issues. I can't really run at all, withough extreme knee/ankle/foot pain. I can do short bursts, but after a couple of weeks of intervals, the pain gets bad and I have to let everything heal. Anything really high impact does this.

    I should really just boost my pilates and yoga frequency, as they're the only exercises that don't hurt my joints. But OMG snore city. I like dancing around like an idiot. Otherwise, I just get bored.

  106. Matt, I'm curious as to WHY you think you had the GI issues at the end.

    I had to stop my milk diet after 14 days due to a friend's death, so I know you were on the diet much longer but I found my digestion to almost instantly be fantastic. Twice a day, easy, substantial, well-formed. A couple of days when I got a bit behind on my milk intake and didn't have as much, things slowed down a bit, but I just made sure to pick up my intake. Is it likely I'd have the same issue had I continued?

    @Jenny re:boobs mine weren't tender but they did get and stay larger. It was noticeable right away after starting the milk diet. Insta boob lift.

  107. @Jennythenipper

    Glad my Beatrix Potter reference was picked up by someone:)

    You're commitment to drinking all that milk. Wowzers. But I do like the idea of not thinking about food.

    About Michelangelo's superhero like figures as far as I know his drawings from life are far less muscular. He was very influenced by Hellenistic sculpture and sketched from it alot. He was known for piecing his figures together–the arm from that sketch the leg from another. It's just my opinion, but I think he just really got into exaggerating the human form. Just look at his contemporaries like DaVinci.

  108. @ Jenny and Rebecca: Yes, loved the, um, bra-filling side effects of the milk diet. Just the fact that it was enough to notice was pretty impressive to me.

    Milk, it does a body good. :D

  109. Any women on the milk diet with cyclical fibrocystic/tender breasts? If so, notice any difference in pain? The comments about getting bigger make me wonder if it makes it worse. W/in the last 2 years, I've developed this to the point where I can't take hugging my kids for 2 weeks out of the month. It's the first time in my life I've WANTED my period – makes it go away instantly. Taking Iodoral and/or natural progesterone didn't do squat, either.

  110. @Elizabeth the noticeability surprised me as well, especially since my boobs change size all the time while nursing! This was unmistakeable, lol.

  111. Matt, quick question about HED. How is goat meat categorized? With beef/lamb or with chicken/pork? We have a ton of goat so jw if it's ok or less than ideal for that to be a significant source of my protein.

  112. @Will, I have just bought flakes, I assume all the nutritional yeast tastes sort of the same. It's not something you're going to eat spoons of by itself, but it's pretty good used as a condiment. IMO, brewer's yeast has a nasty flavor and makes things taste bad (but my cats like it).

    As for liverwurst, well, it's like asking if there's any healthy lunch meats at all. Sure, but they're gonna cost more and are unlikely to be on the shelf at your local Wal-mart.

    An "OK" brand is "Jones Dairy Farm Sliced Braunschweiger" (no nitrates, but does have nitrites, plus has bacon so it's yummy).

    The real good stuff you need to get from a local farmer who pastures cows or pigs or someplace like US Wellness Meats. Here's a couple totally chemical-free versions: and

  113. Will,
    You have had great results with intermittent fasting and HIT training? My experience has been the exact opposite.
    When I first started training as a teenager I did higher volume training with a typical bodybuilder diet and developed a pretty good physique really quickly. Then I ruined everything, started reading the muscle mags and got into HIT and then IF and it really made me look and feel worse. I wish I would have never gotten off track and done any of the IF or HIT because the only thing I got out of it was less muscular, more fat, messed up metabolism (from IF), and injuries (from HIT).

  114. Swede,
    "Yeah. Most likely the neanderthals were probably larger and more muscular, something that might have contributed to their extinction."

    Yes, the neanderthals were MUCH stronger and more muscular than humans. I have seen some models of them and they were really huge and ripped. I think this is where a lot of the paleo fanatics go wrong, they think we are the same as neanderthals, and we are not.

    You think they died out just because they were much more muscular than humans?

  115. "the bra filling side-effects of the milk diet"

    Are we talking about estrogen!!!
    Who is the person here who knows how to contact Ray Peat? Would you mind asking him if there is a reason that we don't have to worry about the estrogenic effects of milk.

    Sheesh! What can we eat? I feel as though I should just drink water. I stopped the kefir diet the night before last because of my ear, and have greatly reduced the amount of milk products I'm eating. I also took some olive leaf extract and drank some decaf green tea, and by the next evening I was better. I'm back to searching, but what's left?

  116. Betsy, I have contacted Ray Peat about the Hormone levels in milk.

    This is part of his reply, saying it is pretty much a non-issue.

    "High estrogen, relative to progesterone, interferes with lactation, and the enzymes that convert estradiol to the less active estrone and estriol are increased by progesterone. The amount of estradiol in milk is usually much less than one microgram per liter, and it's concentrated in the cream, so low-fat milk has very little estrogen. The cow's diet is probably a more important factor in the estrogen content of milk than pregnancy."

    And since cow's are rumens, they convert unsaturated fatty acids they consume to SAT fats unlike pigs and humans. So it is likely never to be a problem.

  117. Thanks, Riles, that's a relief. I need dairy for protein.

  118. JT…no, not all, LOL! We were talking about Martin Berkhan and LeanGains, and that a reduced eating window may necessitate a lower volume of training. That may explain his success. Someone doing IF and high volume training may fizzle pretty quickly.

  119. jpatti…thanks for the info. I started some searching and actually had a hard time finding a nutritional yeast that wasn't fortified with B vitamins and other crap. The only unfortified one that I could find was from Kal and it was called Imported Yeast. There may be some sort of US law that mandates fortifying nutritional yeast, which would explain why Kal's unfortified version says "imported".

  120. Will,
    Good to know. I misinterpreted what you wrote as an endorsement of the IF and HIT approach.

    I agree with you that someone doing IF may need a lower volume of training. But, look at Surge Nubret who was famous for ultra high volume training and eating only once or twice a day. Of course he was not eating anything like the average IF person, he could eat 6 pounds of horse meat in one sitting! Riles just posted a blog about him.

  121. Hey JT, Serge has a thread on and in the beginning, nobody believed that it was him on the thread! There were people that were rude to him and ridiculed him for being a fake until the site gave him "pro status". After that, the thread was filled with people bowing down to the legend, LOL! I found the thread because I had heard about his style of IF and was actually a regular poster there for awhile. It was doing his high volume routine and IF at the same time that I toasted my thyroid/adrenals, LOL! Serge is a GREAT guy, posted his workout for free in the thread, and answered questions all the time. He was online almost every day. The only time that he would get short with people was when they would ask a question that had been asked and answered many times before and were too lazy to read the whole thread. (Although I have to admit that the thread was HUNDREDS of pages long!). Like I said, Serge is a great guy.

  122. Will,
    I have been training Serge's way for more than a year now and it is probably the best way to build muscle and burn fat at the same time, if you are eating right.

    Now, not knowing exactly your situation, but I am guessing you weren't eating enough calories, and that is what caused your burn out. Not necessarily the IF or the training. The same thing happened to me early on.

  123. Will,

    Yes I have read Serge's threads. It was amazing that a legend like that would get on their and answer everyone's questions. I guess he is on his deathbed now. Something shady happened to him a while back.

    My guess is that the IF is what caused the burnout. If you are training intensely while fasting then your adrenal glands have to work extremely hard to maintain blood sugar and provide energy for the high intensity of work. If you were also in a calorie deficit at the same time then this might have been really stressful.

    I performed high volume of training while I recovered from my adrenal burnout, and i think it helped me recover.

  124. Riles and JT, yes, I was doing high volume training, doing IF, going to grad school, not sleeping much, wife just had a baby, etc. It was ALOT of different things going on at the time.

    JT, you said Serge is on his deathbed? I didn't know that. Man, I'm sorry to hear that. He is really good guy.

    Riles, I just started following your blog. I saw that you follow chaos and pain. Send me an email…I have another one for you. (

  125. Annabelle: I know what you're saying about Yoga and pilates. I get so bored with them. I don't know why. I can run for hours and not be bored, it's really strange. I just really wanna get this foot healed up so I can go hiking this summer.

    Glad the sunsperiment is working. My husband freckles like that in the sun. Instead of getting tan he just gets almost continuous freckling.

  126. This question is for Undertow. A few posts back you spoke about using Betaine HCL. I did some reading about it on the internet and thought it sounded like a good product for me. I have heartburn, bloating, gas issues and seem to match the symptoms of low stomach acid shown on the internet. So, I bought some yesterday at my local health food store. It was Betaine HCL with fenugreek. I took one at lunch time and one at supper time, however, I did have some burning symptoms, heavy feeling in stomach and felt generally unwell and very fatigued. So I'm not going to take any today but may try again in a few days. Did you have any issues with yours. The internet said if you had any burning or heaviness feelings to not use the supplement but I'm wondering if there would be an adjustment period such that if I have poor digestion that the initial does would be cleaning up some backlog from previous meals and not just the meal I just had. I was really hoping this would be a great solution for me. I had taken Nexium (and like products) for years but have been off of them for over a year now. The heartburn flairs up and down where I can go a few days and be fine and other times have it constantly, I eat tums when I really need some relief.


  127. Hi Mary

    From what I understand from my reading, if you take Betaine HCL and have burning sensations, you most likely are producing enough stomach acids. Do make sure that you take it after eating food and not before. When I started taking them, I would not get any burning at all, after two months I was, so tapered off.

    You may want to look into Bitters, Elizabeth did a good post at her blog, that might be something to look into if HCL is not helping:

    Also take a look at the info here, in the articles:

  128. Goat is more like beef for the person who asked that…

    I think the secret in Italy is that they eat more starch and less sugar – and they don't pound vegetable oil. Not to mention they have a pretty balanced life with easygoing exercise, social activity, lots of sunlight, etc. You see the same in Asia. But yes, health is in speedy decline in both Asia and Italy, and much of this probably has to do with more and more convenience foods, soft drinks, and other addictive sweets displacing starches – as well as the use of more and more liquid oils.

    Your adrenal issues in the past were certainly the reason behind your HIT and IF failures. Low-carb as well. These are all big adrenal pushers, which, can make a person feel awesome, get super lean, etc. when the adrenals can keep up with the workload. Disastrous then they can't. I hope to post on this today or soon thereafer.

    But yes, Berkhan's success is multi-faceted. He spends time in calorie surplus and calorie deficit (tax the adrenals, then rebuild). He trains hard, but makes sure it's infrequent (tax the adrenals, the rebuild), and he takes advantage of IF without it actually being IF. All this probably equates to him being able to "get away with" getting really lean and maintaining it.

  129. Undertow – thanks for the reply. I will check out those links. I did take it BEFORE my meals yesterday so that may have been the problem. I will try again by taking after before ruling out they are not for me.


  130. Hi Mary,
    I want to also add that you can wait 30mins to 45mins after the meal before taking the HCL. Hopefully that will help.

  131. Matt,

    Would you continue with a whole foods diet with everything natural or would you continue with that but add hyperbaric oxygen therapy? My patience has worn, but I don' want to do anything rash. One thing in researching this oxygen that I may be missing is that oxygen toxicity, which can cause cell damage, nerve damage, and lead to seizures, is when higher partial pressure of oxygen is breathed at higher than atmospheric pressures. Wait, isn't that exactly what hyperbaric oxygen therapy is? Am I missing something? I don't see guys like Terrell Owens or Darren Sharper, NFL players who use the therapy, with seizures. Or that Washington Redskins cheerleader who allegedly used the therapy to recover from seizures. I'm a bit confused.

    I went to go see a chiropractic yesterday who is a "chiropractic kinesiologist". He actually went graduated from a very good dental school but was dismayed with conventional medicine. You have any comments on applied kinesiology, acupuncture, laser therapy or any of these other soft therapies? Bullshit, somewhat bullshit, or not?

  132. I haven't heard negatives about hyperbaric oxygen, and do admit that most of what I've heard sounds promising.

    As for your "soft" therapies, like most things, it probably depends in large part on the skill of the practitioner. I've had amazing things happen with acupuncture short-term. Yet, I've seen acupuncturists for months with no positive results. I would feel more confident in that than kinesiology though. My experiences with it were totally bullshit. As for chiro – depends on the person doing the work on you.

    There's some new form of chiropractic that I heard was pretty cool, but the name escapes me right now. You never know though, virtually all of my new agey explorations have been useless – and I've been exposed to all kinds of crazy stuff on that side of the fence.

  133. Matt,

    I've had one doctor do applied kinesiology on me. Bullshit.

    As for acupuncture, I don't see how sticking small needles in me, for example, will help my speech get better. On that note, Chinese medicine with its chi and energy linears feels bullshit, as well.

    The world would have completely come together for me if this raw whole milk thing brought me back. It might, sure, but hasn't in almost two months drinking a lot of the stuff.

    Check "oxygen toxicity" on Wikipedia. It mentions three situations this occurs, certain diving, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and oxygen given to premature babies. The doctor I saw yesterday threw this out. He said if you do hyperbaric oxygen first without me doing muscle testing, and you don't test for it, you could get oxygen toxicity. Huh? It was a short consultation but besides this off-the cuff remark, he didn't mention any side effects of hyperbaric oxygen. He did say it might work and I might not need muscle testing. He didn't go over anything about hyperbaric oxygen other than saying I could try that. Nothing about side effects (although the form I signed later mentioned not suing him for any side effects, including death), nothing about what atmospheric pressure the chamber is in, what percentage of oxygen is there, how long I'll be in, or difference between soft-shell and hard-shell.

    He also mentioned soymilk is poison because of its estrogen effects on European men, while Asian men are okay on it, but it's probably how it's processed today. (I disagree with this. Humans, no matter where, can adapt to different diets. I might agree about the processing.) That said, he also said milk was poison for the same reasons, and when I said I drank tons of milk for years with no noticeable problems, he said that the problems could have been under the table and soymilk could have really manifested them. Blah blah. I think he's bullshitting me. I'm not saying with everything he said, but I think with this.

  134. Derek,

    Maybe this has already come up, but have you looked into hexane toxicity as a possible cause of your slowed speech? Soy products are frequently processed with hexane, and from some quick googling, it looks as though hexane can cause all kinds of problems, including issues with speech.

    I have no idea really, but maybe homeopathy (I know, more crazy stuff) would have something to offer if this turned out to be the root of your problem?

    Also, though I've yet to try it, I'm not convinced all acupuncture is bullshit. It's a pretty old practice (a lot older than the consumption of soymilk, which I think we can agree IS bullshit), and I have a hard time believing it could have endured for so long if people never experienced any improvements from it. I really don't think the Chinese are so backwards as to keep doing something that doesn't work for thousands of years. Chris Kresser has a nice series explaining acupuncture here: . It's not exactly what you think it is. But like Matt implied, there are probably incompetent acupuncturists as well as excellent ones. Again, not sure whether they'd be of any help with your issue, but I wouldn't rule it out a priori, especially given everything else you've been willing to try!

  135. Also, Matt,

    This may be way off your research radar, but Wikipedia mentions that a metabolite of hexane may react "with the amino group of the side chain of lysine residues in proteins, causing cross-linking and a loss of protein function."

    Ignoring the specifics of the above example, I am curious whether you've encountered much information on the general subject of cross-linking and loss of protein function, and whether and how it can be reversed.

    I encountered what I think is another example of this the other day, where it was mentioned that "nonprotein amino acids" (from certain legumes) assimilated into a person's body proteins (specifically, certain enzymes), were capable of retarding their functioning or even totally inactivating them.

    Pretty off-topic, I know, but I'm just curious whether you've read anything on this subject.

  136. Mike Jones,

    Back in summer 2009 I came across hexane and thought this might be my problem. However, I only bought my soymilk from Whole Foods Market, and while that's not a guarantee, the two types I had, Silk and EdenSoy, were processed without hexane, or so they so. I came across a blog that said Silk used hexane, but I called them and they told me they didn't and never did, however the person answering didn't seem too knowledgable. The Silk I drank may or may not have been organic, but the EdenSoy was. For a period of time I was also not drinking soymilk but just taking isoflavone supplements equivalent to the amount the average Japanese might consume per day, like 100mg or 200mg. In summer 2009, I switched to roasted soynuts, still everyday, for the final two months, then gave up soy entirely. So is it hexane? I have no proof either way.

    As for homeopathy, I saw a thyroid doctor in January, a relatively famous one, and he was such a quack. He did applied kinesiology to prescribe me things, like Lugol's solution (didn't use), PD-7 (didn't use), some multivitamin (didn't use), and some vaccine reaction homeopathic thing which contained thermerosal as well as polio and some crazy ingredients (definitely did not use). Homeopathy sounds really crazy and grasping for strings. Whole foods are tried and true.

    I've never tried acupuncture so maybe I shouldn't diss it yet.

    Very interesting about a metabolite of hexane cross-linking. Perhaps the non-protein amino acids from legumes you're referring to are isoflavones, which look very similar I believe to thyroid hormones and attach themselves to receptors where thyroid hormones would normally attach. Where did you come across this?

  137. Mike Jones,

    Just checked the Wikipedia page for hexane. Serious research. I did not have any of the listed hexane toxicity signs or symptoms. Honestly, this slow speech thing came around in three days. Was perfectly fine Friday and Saturday and Sunday. Started soy sunday late morning. Monday was Memorial Day and just chilled all day as I was out of the country for the prior three months and was getting ready to start class. Tuesday I went to my only class at 1 or 2 PM and, voila, noticed my speech seemed a bit different. Chalked it up to getting used to the American accent although after a few days to a week knew it was something else. Don't underestimate the amount of soy I was consuming. Used to do about a gallon of milk a day, so it seemed logical when I stopped milk to replace it with soymilk.

    Hey, you know anything about hyperbaric oxygen therapy or other oxygen/oxidation therapies like ozone therapy or hydrogen peroxide therapy?

  138. Derek,
    I have read that mother's milk is high in Hydrogen peroxide and that colostrum(first milk) is even higher. Maybe hydrogen peroxide therapy could help you. I know that HPT(hydrogen peroxide therapy) is supposed to help with immune situations.

    My only real concern with oxygen therapy is Oxidative Damage. I am not sure when something like O2 goes from life sustaining to life damaging.

  139. Riles,

    From my research this week, it seems that hydrogen peroxide therapy, ozone therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy are all related and dovetail to this idea of flushing the blood and tissues with oxygen.

    Yes, that is also a concern. Besides randomly mentioning oxygen toxicity, the chiropractor I saw mentioned something about oxidative damage potentially leading to cancer or tumors. He seemed to be dissing his own hyperbaric oxygen therapy, although in my opinion, I think he wanted me to have an exam with him first, that exam being applied kinesiology, and that will determine (as much as AK can determine anything) whether I undergo HBOT.

    Here's the bottom line. I want nothing more than to stick with my whole foods, and have those solve my speech problem, as well as a random facial tic problem I've had for eight years now. But my diet since late December has been really good, and I've been drinking a hell of a lot of milk for two months, with no noticeable results, so I feel like some sort of oxygen therapy might be key. That story about the Washington Redskins cheerleader who had severe speech and body movement problems and seizures and her being cured by hyperbaric oxygen therapy (amongst some other nutrition and perhaps chelation) mostly within two days is very intriguing.

    Basically, my interest in HBOT piqued about a week ago because while not natural per se, it is on the same level as a supplement for natural, and perhaps this could be the thing to kick start the person somewhere in me.

  140. Sorry brother Mike. Not too much insight to add on cross-linking and hexane.

  141. If my speaking comes back via whole foods, I'll feel complete and it will reinforce my belief in the power of whole foods. If it takes hyperbaric oxygen therapy and it comes back, I'll be happy no doubt but a part of me will be disappointed in the power of whole foods.

  142. That's so great that the teeth got so much stronger! And also that the resting pulse and blood pressure normalized. Thanks again Matt for doing this experiment for us all!

    Why do you think you got all those allergy reactions? Detoxing or something? Do you think it was good or bad? (part from being super annoying of course)

  143. I also wanted to comment upon the snoring thing. I know that mouth breathing causes snoring. I tape my mouth shut every night to make sure I nose breathe, but I seldom snore anyways, my boyfriend does snore though, and it helps him a lot to tape his mouth at night. I know Weston A. Price noticed and mentioned "mouth breathers" in his "Nutrition and Physical Degenerating", in many of the unhealthy primitive people who had adopted a modern, refined diet. So there is some kind of connection there. Perhaps to the narrowing of the upper palate, perhaps to a lower control pause, ie chronic hyperventilation (if you know of Buteyko's work).

    So, to sum it up, the way I see it, perhaps taping your mouth shut during the night would help you snore less, and if your control pause is low, upping it would likely help too. (the control pause, for anyone who doesn't know, is your ability to hold your breath after an out breath without any discomfort or effort, and being able to breath totally normally after holding your breath, pinching the nose is required to do this test. Ideally this should be 60 seconds. Below 20 seconds and you hyperventilate.)

    Btw, does anyone here know if, and how a low basal body temperature is connected to a low control pause?

  144. JT-
    It would be interesting to hear your recovery story.

    Will, myself and some other folks trashed ours metabolisms by doing intermittent fasting, low/zero carbing and exercising rigorously at the same time.

    I still wonder how some can get away with eating one daily meal…

  145. Good thing that you've shared this information!

  146. Sorry brother Mike. Not too much insight to add on cross-linking and hexane.

  147. I recently posted on the anorexia article> would it help me gain weight if I drank milk like this while eating? Or will it aggravate hypoglycemia?

  148. I think the milk, consumed in small quantities very frequently like this is a good choice combined with solid food especially. My current diet is kinda like that right now anyway. Milk consumed with starches and a little fruit mostly.

  149. Calcium intake can really be a big help in order for us not to have tooth decay because milk is rich in calcium. But things like these are really not enough in order for us to have good oral care. As for me, I always consult my Easley dentist regularly for dental check-up. And indeed, Easley, SC dentist offices have great dental services for their clients.


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