Paleo Myths

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12 Paleo Myths: Eat Better Than A Caveman eBookThe online PALEO SUMMIT is underway!  Please go REGISTER HERE so you can hear my talk entitled “Matt Stone Debunks Paleo Diet” when it launches tomorrow.

I also wanted to let you know that my latest eBook, 12 Paleo Myths: Eat Better Than a Caveman, is now available for pre-order.  Normally I would breeze through writing a book like this, but writing an entire book about what is so head-thumpingly obvious has proven to be quite tedious!  I feel like I’m writing a Master’s thesis on why a fork is not the best utensil for eating soup, if you know what I mean.  So it’s still undergoing its final revisions and will be released March 10, 2012.  If you get it before March 10th, the price will be $14.95 instead of its full launch price of $19.95.  So if you know you want to hear my take on why Paleo is such an abysmal failure for so many people, get it early.  If you have purchased the Platinum Collection in the past, or purchase it between now and March 10th, you will receive the 12 Paleo Myths link as soon as the book is released.  No extra charge.

Anyway, just because it’s been a little bit of a chore to write, doesn’t mean it’s no fun to read!  Here is an unedited excerpt below, from a section entitled “Wiener Malfunction” in the Chapter Signs and Symptoms of Paleo Gone Wrong

Wiener Malfunction

This doesn’t have to mean full-on impotency.  It could be something very minor, but still noticeable.  If you are a male, you know what I mean.  There’s 100%, then there’s not 100%.  And 100%, as a male, is really important.  Anything below 100% starts to make you a little mental during sex.  And that slight amount of anxiety just produces even more sympathetic activity.

This is a simple issue really.  If sympathetic activity decreases peripheral circulation and constricts blood vessels in the extremities (cold hands and feet), and having an erection depends upon maximum peripheral circulation and blood vessel dilation, you are obviously going to see wiener malfunction frequently occurring.  That was one of the first early warning signs that I experienced on a lowish-carb diet.  Things started running at 80-90% of max power.  On a zero-carb diet, or during harsh calorie restriction, I couldn’t even spell “boner.”  As you can see, I spell it perfectly now, even before spell-checking this.

By the same token, creating a condition in the body with more parasympathetic activity usually corrects this in your typical cold hands/feet type of case.  As most men have discovered, taking a nap is a great way to restore erectile function, precisely because sleep is the ultimate way to enter into a parasympathetic dominant, restful state (likewise, stress and nervousness has the opposite effect, triggering too much sympathetic nervous system activity and contricting blood vessels in the periphery).  But being TOO parasympathetic can cause troubles too, which is why erectile function is usually crappy immediately after a really heavy meal, and why some people, myself included at first, may experience improvements during the first few months on a restricted diet.

In a cold hands and feet type of male, foods that would make a Paleo guru gasp in horror are incredible at restoring lost junk function.  Have 4 pints of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, a quart of fruit juice (or soda), and an entire pizza one day.  You will likely wake up the following day with levitating sheets (assuming you weren’t so hot that you had to sleep bare naked, in the snow angel position), and your love rocket might even hurt.  Then the phone will ring.  It will be Ron Jeremy.  He will want something back and it won’t be his hairy back.

There’s no question that poor sexual function is a common side effect of bad body chemistry triggered by a poor diet and lifestyle.  But getting away from the many pro-sympathetic Paleo commandments can be just what the nurse ordered.

Order 12 Paleo Myths HERE

91 Comments

  1. First!! Now Im off for a large pizza and 4 pints of Haagen Dazs Vanilla Bean Ice cream. The best stuff on earth!

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  2. A stiff drink may help as well!

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  3. I get the opposite reaction. I have observed with absolute certainty that if I eat a good dose of beef, such as a big steak for dinner, it has a definite positive effect on my libido and the “levitating sheet” phenomena, and if I eat less meat or even other kinds of meats like chicken, I do not get that effect. One of the first times I experienced nocturnal emissions was when I had bought a 5lb case of smoked salmon and was eating a piece every day. I have had a pint of ice cream at night and not noticed anything except perhaps more dreams or bad dreams, which I have noticed with either high fat or high sugar consumption at night, which a dose of brewer’s yeast (b vites and amino acids) will usually cure for me. So again it looks to me like everyone is an individual and there are no absolute rules that apply to everyone.

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    • If you are talking sympathetic and parasympathetic, you are talking Metabolic Typing. If one is already parasympathetic dominant, then eating meat will help put one into the sweet spot.

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      • Not talking specifically about metabolic typing, as there is much more to it. It’s more about finding the underlying stress and eliminating it. If you are on a low-fat diet, adding fat back can be quite bonerific. If you are vegan, meat… schwing. It could be something even more complex and harder to detect, like a deficiency of B-12 or a particular amino acid in meat. Thus eating meat would eliminate that stress. It could be reducing serotonin exposure (this is important for me, I can’t eat too much late at night or I get similar symptoms of fogginess, crazy dreams, waking up in the middle of the night, etc.). But there’s no doubt that a lot of the recommendations of Paleo increase sympathetic activity, and for those who already have excess (a lot of people), it buries them further. That which gets them out of that most quickly is the best “medicine.”

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        • You wrote: “there’s no doubt that a lot of the recommendations of Paleo increase sympathetic activity, and for those who already have excess (a lot of people), it buries them further.” With that I agree. If one is already on the sympathetic dominant side, paleo would mess them up.

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    • Eating it at night doesn’t have the same effect. It’s more about large calorie consumption during the day, which takes a while to kick in.

      But you are right in that everyone needs different changes in order to get their physiology into that balanced sweet spot. For a vegetarian, meat may really increase erectile function. In your case it could just be the B12 hit or something, and that’s the underlying stres that was keeping it from running full-throttle. It’s an interesting conversation no doubt.

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  4. As soon as I stop waking up with a raging boner, I know it’s time to crush a few boxes of Frosted Flakes in front of the TV. Today was one of those days.

    It’s funny, back when I was living in Japan, the times my girlfriend and I would have the best sex was always the morning after a big night out in which I would usually get completely wasted and gorge on mountains and mountains of pancakes.

    When I started messing around with low carb, alcohol became hard for me to tolerate and staying up late was impossible, so needless to say our sex life took a hit. Thank god my LC love affair only lasted a few months.

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    • Yeah, some people, like myself, have to choose between a love affair with a woman, or a love affair with low-carb. I cannot have both simultaneously.

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      • We are softer, prettier, and smell better. . .just sayin’

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        • Plus with us, you can eat all the carbs you want! Such a deal.

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        • Not always true, just sayin’!

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  5. Looking forward to the new book. I tend to buy in to the overarching paleo idea, so I’m curious to see your arguments. For example, Stefan Lindeberg’s “Food and Western Disease” seems pretty reasonable to me. And if you believe his book, the Kitavans _are_ pretty healthy, at least in terms of avoiding degenerative diseases. Could be something besides the diet, though.

    In other news, I started restricting water about a week ago and felt better for a few days, but then starting feeling extremely tired/crappy (though my fasting glucose did go down to about 80 from ~95). I just got in a shiny new refractometer today and the first reading was a 5.0, so maybe I just went too far. I’m going to try to keep it around 2.0 – 3.0 or so. I still have not found the secret for high temps, as I’m usually around 97.5 no matter how much I eat.

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    • I find the glucose meter and refractometer often travelling in opposite directions. The tiredness could be temporary – your body getting out of a high stress state and back into a relaxed state with your adrenals on vacation (would also explain lower fasting glucose levels). Take a bunch of naps and see if you start to come out of your coma.

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      • The thing is, though, that it’s not just feeling tired. I seem to be cycling through a bunch of different states; 1) totally zonked (but warm/relaxed), 2) totally zonked w/ cold hands/feet, and 3) fidgety (but usually alert). Various levels of inflammatory signs are present as well for any of these states (itchy skin, tooth pain, light intolerance). Sleep has been erratic; some nights I’m waking up with night sweats.

        I’m going to stay with fluid restriction for a while yet (it’s the first novel idea I’ve heard in a while, and nothing else seems to do much). I can easily believe that there’s an adjustment period.

        What’s weird is that I’m really not very thirsty. I mean, my mouth’s super-dry, but I don’t otherwise feel any need to drink.

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  6. Wow. I feel like a guy who has just walked into a roomful of women talking about their periods. :)

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    • Nice Lynn! Way to break the awkward maleness going on in the comments here.

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  7. I saw Mark Sisson in a porn once…

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    • Was he wearing vibrams?

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      • I think he’s coming out with a Paleo sex toy that is supposed to mimic the male member during the Paleolithic era (it was WAY bigger back then, haven’t you heard?), called the Vibe Ram. With 5 “finger” attachments. Okay, I could have way too much fun with that. I leave the rest of the creativity up to Mr. Dean, as usual.

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    • Oh that one scene where he was tossing a big-ass salad…

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      • LOL, that’s a good one. Fits perfectly. He was using macadamia oil for lube…And he sells feminine lubricants too which he simply labels fish oil. Okay that’s messed up..I gotta get some rest though I’ll get goof-master some otha time. Matt, you said in the interview with Sean that your biggest challenge with helping people is their weight. I know you’re right with gettin people healthy first, then let the weight come off more naturally, but I think that you were too modest. I’m wondering how many people said screw this I’m not listening lol. Some people would rather be good lookin an feel like shit. I feel like if you had time with most people one on one you could most certainly help them with their weight most of the time. And if it mattered more to you, you yourself could be leaner too. Maybe you’re just afraid to give advice how to lose fat because people will do it without being metabolically ready and might go overboard which is what you’re totally not wanting us to do.

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        • Most people would rather look good and feel like shit when they feel good. Most people would rather feel good and look like shit when they feel bad.

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  8. Matt,
    A little off topic, but i’m really reaching out to different people and would love your opinion.
    I’m currently consuming a high fat diet with grass fed meats and raw dairy for the past year. I was diagnosed with a not so serious heart murmur when i was younger. I just paid a visit to the doctor and he told me the heart murmur is getting worse and that i may even have to get surgery to remove some of the muscle from the heart because of the obstruction being considerable. The worst part about is my family is now blaming it on my high fat diet. I even supplement with hawthorn berry and gingko biloba for heart support and obviously that didn’t seem to help. I’m really frustrated right now. Could it be possible that the high fat diet isn’t for everyone. Maybe i should just stick to raw fruits and vegetables with occasional salmon? Please help!

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    • Why do you think it’s necessary to go from one dietary extreme to another? Find some balance, and listen to your body, maybe.

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    • Heart murmurs are not caused by diet, nor are they “made worse” by diet, nor do they “get better” with diet. A heart murmur is a genetic mutation on one of the valves (a valve doesn’t close properly, allowing small amounts of blood to back flow). Almost all heart murmurs diagnosed as a child/young adult are congenital in nature (genetic mutation). Heart murmurs diagnosed in adults are almost always caused by infection (most often viral) or simply from aging. It’s common for very young children to have heart murmurs which then resolve with maturity–usually between age 10-12, yearly check-ups keep track of the murmur. If the murmur doesn’t resolve by adolescence, it’s permanent. Now whether your murmur stays “innocent” your whole life or turns “abnormal” is a total crapshoot. It’s a role of the dice, or most likely crappy genetics. Diet has nothing to do with whether a murmur goes from innocent to abnormal. It’s not a disease, and your type of murmur is a genetic condition that is not influenced by diet.

      Apparently, your cardiologist is lacking in his bedside manner if he failed to explain this to you. Because your murmur is turning abnormal is no reason to suddenly change your diet.

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      • I only brought up the question because i’ve read on this blog (as well, as a few others) that a higher fat, lower carb diet (i’m talking even up to 150 grams a day) caused some heart palpitations for many people and heart burn for others. I’m not necessarily on a low carb diet though, but i do consume a lot of fat. I usually eat around 1800 cals a day and those are the days when i’m consuming around 100-160 grams of carbs. Other days, i might up the cals to around 2500-3500 and go crazy on fruit. Those are my “bad” days i guess, since it usually halts my fat loss progress. I wouldn’t even necessarily call it a cheat day either. Anyway, i’m middle eastern and i’m very curious to see what would happen if i started incorporating more rice(preferably wild rice) and grains (preferably sprouted fermented grains) with some organic beans or something since i’m assuming a lot of my ancestors definitely ate these type of foods, especially rice. Thoughts on the whole “eating based on your genetics thing Matt?

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        • Yeah, I think you would do great on a starch-based diet. The last handful of generations plays the biggest role in what diet we are designed and primed for, for the most part. And almost all of us are primed to eat a starch-based diet. I don’t think you’ll have to limit calories much the higher you go in those starchy staples.

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    • High fat diets in general are very problematic. Not sure that has anything to do with the heart murmur, but it could I suppose. I would think eating more fruits and starches and things would be worth a shot.

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  9. PENIS!

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  10. Zogby
    why dont you stop looking at the Kitvans, Eskimo and Okinawan..
    They been eating for centuries or more the the way the did and it’s written in their
    genetics that this diet is good for them. Not necessarily for us. Look at your ancestors
    and see how they eat and if they were healthy. I am sure that a diet based on your gens
    history will better then eating like a tribe that has been living in different climat and condition
    for ages.

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    • I dunno, I think there’s probably a lifestyle & diet that most of us would be healthy on, regardless of our heritage. The fact that Kitavans (apparently) don’t get degenerative diseases is interesting. It doesn’t mean their lifestyle is perfect, but we shouldn’t ignore it either.

      I say lifestyle because it could well be that diet isn’t that big of a component, other than largely providing food. Maybe it’s a lack of stress, or pollution, or that they stand more than we do. Or hey, maybe Kitavans would whiz out a 5.0 brix if you tested them. :)

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    • People really underestimate the importance of multi-generational dietary consistency – or even the fact that they are eating the same diet as adults that they did as kids in places like Kitava – or any hunter-gatherer type of tribe living in isolation.

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      • Are you saying studies of groups like the Kitavans and Okinawans is not as relevant for us everyday people?

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        • Somewhat relevant maybe from a general perspective, but not as relevant as we think on an individual basis. I think there are factors so far from what we can clearly conceptualize of that it’s best not to put too much stock in narrow viewpoints about Kitavans and Okinawans. I mean, what if you grow up on American food and become way larger than those people? Can you go back to eating low-calorie density food without having your metabolism thrashed? Perhaps not.

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  11. Performing at 80% and cold hands definately seems to go together.
    I was wondering about ear thermometers. Do they work as well as a regular armpit/mouth reading? Are the readings on average higher/lower than armpit/mouth?

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    • Ear temps run higher. I imagine it’s fairly accurate, but just as wiener and hands lose circulation, so do the ears. So it could be slightly colder than core temp. The most reliable testing place is the butthole.

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    • Heh, I was going to mention something along those lines. A lot of Paleo bloggers are starting to moderate their stance on carbs at the moment. And I also remember one of either Wolfe or Sisson recommending that people do a carb overfeed every now and then as well (read binge) A couple of years ago when Paleo was more closely aligned with the low carb movement this would have been considered blasphemy.

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      • Reading through the comments on the FTA post, you can see lots are ditching the low-carb paleo path. For sure, if you posted eating potatoes or rice on there in the years past, you would be skinned alive!

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        • Ha! Thanks for sharing that link. Really interesting stuff going on there! Though, Nikoley seems to love his wild generalizations, saying that Matt Stone was telling people to “gobble up sugar” a few months ago. Wow. This is how rumors start… Does he even read 180DH at all?

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        • @undertow:

          “Reading through the comments on the FTA post, you can see lots are ditching the low-carb paleo path. For sure, if you posted eating potatoes or rice on there in the years past, you would be skinned alive!”

          Not entirely accurate. It will be two years ago in April that I did two posts on potatoes as being fine (and not just sweet potatoes, white potatoes) in the lower-carb paradigm. While there was surely some resistance there was plenty of agreement. At the time, I was averaging about 130g carb on 3 workout days per week and 50ish the other days.

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          • Point well made. Paleo has never ruled out starches such as potatoes to my knowledge – but the same can’t be said about rice. Is this just an experiment on your behalf, or is the Paleo movement starting to incorporate non-gluten grains back in the mix?

          • Potatoes are a neolithic food but sweet potato/yams are not and would be more akin to what paleolithic hunter/gatherers ate. Grains were always around and would have been cultivated to a minor extent prior to the mass adoption of agriculture.

  12. Kurt Harris’ comment on Richard’s blog was great. He, Chris Kresser and Mat Lalonde are the only guys who seem to remain completely objective on everything and only base their opinions on solid scientific evidence. They also have no problem admitting they’re wrong and changing their opinions based on new research – something a scientist is supposed to do.

    It’s a shame for such a promising movement (sustainable farming, low-toxin whole foods, smart exercise etc.) to shit the bed so quickly. All the snake-oil peddlers and charlatans just trying to make a name for themselves/suffering from a God Complex/just wanting to make money have managed to turn it into just another fad diet that is going to quickly lose what little credibility it has left.

    Hopefully more people like Matt engage these paleotards and call them on their bullshit, helping to weed out all the flawed logic and pseudoscience that’s doing nothing more than confusing the general population and giving real scientists a good laugh.

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    • I think I missed something, but where’s this shitted bed everyone keeps referencing?

      Since when has paleo not been still evolving?

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  13. …then the phone will ring. It will be Ron Jeremy… Oh man, I was roflol! Per a reader’s comment, I have a question. What about fidgety-ness? ha ha. Is there a reason for that in general? If you say Haagen-dazs is the answer I will gladly take a pint a day.

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    • Fidgety-ness is actual a good sign. I mean, you don’t assume a small dog has a problem because it fidgets and has a lot of energy. Or a young kid. But it depends on the circumstance I guess. I notice that if I eat a lot and don’t exercise I start to get really fidgety to burn up some calories. Tell us mo.

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  14. This is sort of off-topic but I’m hoping someone here can help. This question has puzzled me for months.
    Ray Peat as we all know is very strongly against PUFA and Omega 6 fats, to the point of avoiding plant food that have minuscule amounts in them. However, he encourages the consumption of eggs. Egg yolk has one of the highest concentrations of arachidonic acid of any food, and I thought that arachidonic acid was the most inflammatory of all the unsaturated fats. What gives??? Who can resolve this conundrum wrapped in an enigma shrouded by a mystery?

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    • Astute observation. I tend to feel the same way. I wrote a post a long time ago about Floyd Chilton’s take on AA vs. LA, and why he thought AA was much more of a concern. I don’t notice any increase in inflammation from LA, but I definitely see increases when I eat a lot of meat and eggs – a richer source of pre-formed AA. But the amino acids in meat seem to have a lot to do with that too. Not just the AA itself.

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    • This actually depends on the diet of the laying hens. If you are eating pastured eggs or eggs from hen’s fed a diet high in omega-3s, the omega-3 content balances the omega-6 content. Generic eggs have extremely high amounts of omega-6s. I pass on those when I’m buying eggs. A healthy diet isn’t one that totally eschews omega-6s, but keeps them in balance with other fatty acids by not eating them excessively. The most common way to overindulge in omega-6s is by consuming vegetable oils (other than olive oil).

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  15. You had mentioned on FB a little while back that grains don’t cause PCOS. I understand eating grains may not have caused it, but how do I know what I can do to get rid of it? I had a stressful childhood but I’m over that. I’ve tried different things and so far nothing has been all that helpful. My life is not all that stressful right now and hasn’t been for a year or more. Had good results with Paleo initially but not long term. I’m just so lost and tired of of not having answers. My basal body temps are decent. 97+ usually, up to 99 at times. Most of my weight is around my middle. I used to have tremendous fatigue but it’s not so bad anymore. Can you talk more about this mitochondrial dysfunction you mentioned? What is that about? Cause I did notice improvements once I started taking B12 and CoQ10 and Magnesium. Could that be a clue?

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  16. Welcome to my blog, sir. Such an honest voice (and I mean that beyond your criticisms of Matt) deserves to be seen by a lot of people.

    You have a “guest post” and didn’t even apply. It’s top of the blog right now (I’m in Matt’s place and am not going to toss a link). It’ll be read by thousands of Paleo folk.

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    • My word Richard; I do occasionally read your blog, and in one entry’s comment section recently you put forward the point that your umbrage with Matt Stone is due to how you feel he antagonises you/The Paleo Movement. But I can’t help but feel you’re not exactly coming out it all smelling of roses with your posts in here at the moment in all fairness.

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  17. Ice cream, pizza, breakfast cereal, etc… would be for people with very bad digestion, starting with refined processed food will allow for the person to assimilate calories and help boost the metabolism. People coming off paleo that are not having issues with digestion should stick to whole foods, whole starches, unrefined sugars, animal proteins, saturated fats… focusing mostly on carbs and then more carbs. But even healthy people should enjoy ice cream or cereal… don’t tell me that you didn’t like this stuff as a kid, and it didn’t make you smile! Just don’t pound it for 3 meals a day! There is no voodoo here, or some secret answer in the books. Eat food to raise your body temperature (boost metabolism). If you feel well, lift heavy things, sprint, swim, play, sun tan, hobbies, etc…

    This is just my take, but missing from above is that refined seed oils should be avoided, this can be done even while eating processed foods if you are careful. I think one thing that is good; is that all groups agree that refined PUFA is pure crap.

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    • Hi Dan,
      If you watch Stephan’s video, you might come away with the idea that sugar is the problem, but it appears that modern health problem correlate with the increase in industrail oils, at least that is what I take away, sugar has been around a long time, and we do eat more of it. But once industrial oils gets in the food chain, modern disease climbs:

      http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2012/02/my-tedx-talk-american-diet-historical.html

      Still pollution, eroded soils, plastics, modern work stress, financial stress, bad sleeping habits, etc, would probably be a factor too.

      Also if you are wary of sugar, read some of Danny’s latest posts relating to Peats idea, it will definitely through you for a loop :)

      http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2012/2/27/sugar-pure-white-awesome.html
      http://www.dannyroddy.com/main/2012/2/23/orthodox-paleo-or-how-to-increase-stress-inflammation-bone-l.html

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    • All I can say is that when I was trying my hardest to be healthy (following a pretty strict, WAPF-style diet with very little sugar, mostly local and organic, lots of soaking grains, and almost zero processed foods) was when my actual health became the worst. I know that I developed gluten sensitivity from eating that way for over 3 years! I am now (2 years later) starting to noticeably heal my reactions to gluten, because my diet isn’t so damn stressful and restrictive. Victim? I think not.

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      • Paleo, Raw Veganism and a couple of others have very large and vocal communities. I think it’s just inherent with such an arrangement to become very insular and self congratulatory. Indeed the big shots in both mentioned (Richard Nikolay from Paleo, and Durian Rider from Raw Veganism for example) almost make it their mission to bag on each other’s ideals – further cementing the ‘us versus them’ mindset. It’s within such an environment that people form such close bonds with their diet and the names associated with it.I guess that’s why people say *insert whatever* made me ill – because the respective communities foster a mindset and willingly enable people to make something as trivial as diet become their identity.

        Here on 180, not everyone agrees with Matt to the letter. There’s a healthy degree of scepticism that is actively encouraged. We all however agree with the major points (pretty much) and love that experimentation is the main emphasis. (And the fact that Matt is willing to make himself the lead guinea pig in all this is pretty damn awesome!)

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  18. Daniel,

    You shouldn’t assume that people that try out some of Matt’s ideas do so because they’re unwilling to ‘man up’ and eat clean. When I first heard about paleo, it made all the sense in the world to me, and I ate about as clean a diet as anyone can for about 6 months. No gluten, no grains — pretty much exclusively whole food meals of grass-fed meat, fish, saturated fat, and veggies. I cooked my own meals and watched on the sidelines as friends and family had the cake and ice cream. But it didn’t work for me. I’ve also tried paleo + starch, low fat, zero sugar, bland, fasting, ray peat diets, and several others. In all of them, I generally felt about the same — crappy.

    I think paleo eating, with starches, is a fine idea, in that it’s probably not harmful and better than many diets.

    I want to feel good, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I’ve got willpower to spare. Hard core paleo did not work for me. If you’re got the perfect solution, I’m all ears.

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    • Thanks for explaining that Zogby. 180 is a site for recovering health fanatics. Eating clean wasn’t our problem. At one point I only consumed food from local farms. My diet was as clean as anyone’s in the modern world, yet this is the time that health problems hit me hard. We don’t know all the reasons why “the perfect diet doesn’t yield perfect health.” But that’s just reality.

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    • Dan,
      I think you’re still not getting it. You say, “Giving up “junk” food was the easiest thing I’ve ever done; watching others eat it all around me does not make me miss it. And that started with a simple lifestyle choice.”
      I think it’s safe to say that most 180 readers, myself included, would have said the EXACT same thing when we started our so-called “healthy diets,” whether we gave up “junk,” carbs, sugar, fat, meat, or whatever. The target audience of 180 is not people who have been eating fast food and candy this whole time and are just too “lazy” to give it up. The “bad habits” that we needed to overcome involved excessive restriction (my god, I was a food nazi!). We thought we *were* open-minded and thinking critically. We thought we were right. We thought we could continue our ways of eating forever. But eventually, for most people, the straw breaks the camel’s back, so to speak. You get burned out, with a serious deficiency of vitamins “R & R.” And yes, a little refined sugar or other “junk” becomes exactly what your body needs, even just to restore your frickin’ sanity. “Eat The Food” was like a giant boulder being lifted off my shoulders.
      But you may not get it yet because you don’t need to. You are clearly at a different place in your journey and health, and that’s okay.

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  19. Thanks a lot for your comment Daniel. Sorry if anything I have written has come off as sales-pitchy. It’s not meant to be.

    My main point is that we should focus on how our bodies work, not so much on what we eat. When we do this, we can use a wide variety of dietary and lifestyle strategies to fix certain problems. You can fix some health problems with pizza. You can fix some health problems by avoiding it.

    No I don’t have all the answers. No one does. I can’t even answer the question “what causes obesity?” The ones who will answer that question for you are the ones who think they know everything, but haven’t studied the subject deeply enough and are buying into an oversimplified model that is easily refuted (like Taubes’s carb hypothesis, which is a joke). But reduced metabolic rate certainly is a big piece of that pie, and there are hundreds of things that negatively impact metabolic rate – polyunsaturated fat, aging, zenoestrogens, mental stress, inflammation, restrained eating, chronic infection. I assure you that the connections between chronic infection and obesity are a lot tighter and more compelling than carbohdyrate intake – as all the research on carbohdyrate intake shows that carbohydrates have an inverse association with obesity on a global scale.

    This site is more about not knowing that knowing, and the site itself is an exploration.

    But you would discover if you personally followed a low-carb diet long enough that you would run into serious negative health consequences, mostly attributable to downregulated metabolism. Many are too brainwashed about carbs to add them back in like you have, which is your salvation. And my book is about providing other perspectives so that people overcome their fears and the mis-information they’ve been dealt regarding carbs and insulin, in turn freeing them to save themselves as you have.

    But let me ask you this, if you felt and functioned better with refined sugar and grain than you do fruit and tubers, would you continue eating the fruit and tubers despite noticeable health consequences (like reduced sex drive and function, gas and bloating, inflammation, tooth pain, etc.)?.

    The reason I ask is because I encourage people to be open-minded. Like one person who recovered from Paleo said – it wasn’t until he finally added refined sugar back in that he finally got his health back.

    Perhaps there are some variables that you are not taking into account – like all the major changes in development that occur when someone is raised on a certain diet, and then the massive upheaval it can cause when a person switches to a radically different diet that it’s body did not develop to handle correctly (because it was built to match the diet it was raised on). There are countless variables that are unnaccounted for. That’s why it’s important to know less. I’m glad you are open enough to read and think freely. That’s what this site is about. Not shouting dietary commandments based on short-term studies taken out of context to support pre-conceived notions.

    Reply
    • It should please you to know that this line can be found in my latest interview… “Each person’s relationship with food is different.”

      Reply
    • you should post this comment as a blog post or disclaimer right at the startpage of your blog matt. this pretty much sums up the reason why I read your blog, and continue reading even when there are some pretty cuckoo new ideas that you bring up. and this will probably be the answer to a lot of newcomers’ bewilderment/downright refusal to accept your ideas.

      Reply
    • I agree, Matt. You should have this as a disclaimer somewhere. It really does sum up why so many read your great writings.

      Reply
  20. Hey Matt,
    I just wanted to inform you about my “fluid-experiment”, since I drink less fluids I feel warmer and I sleep much, much better. Years ago I tried a low carb diet and drank a gallon of water each day. The weight loss was great , moreover I slept great for a while, but after a few months I woke up in the middle of the night plus I had leg cramps. I ditched the water drinking but I drank other beverages like milk and fruit juices. Even though my leg cramps disappeared I still woke up in the middle of the night . I don’t have to tell you that my urine was clear all the time plus I had cold hands and feet most of the time. Since I drink much less fluids ( half a quart of juice or milk) I feel warm and I just checked my body temperature it’s 37.6 C
    or round about 99.68 F and I feel great. I even noticed I don’t feel as thirsty as before, but the best thing is the sleep. I can sleep atleast 7 hours straight,whereas before I could sleep 3 hours, then wake up, only to go to sleep again after a hour or something. I hope it stays that way.

    Reply
  21. OT: I went to a kid’s birthday party over the weekend. There were 2 obese little girls there (probably age 4 or 5). I noticed that they were totally focused on the food while the other kids milled around and played. They both had third and one had FOURTH helpings of nasty Costco birthday cake (my skinny 3 year old licked a little frosting off and then lost interest.) What is the difference between these kids and mine? I have to believe it is epigenetic factors. If so, these kids are doomed to a life of obesity… it made me very sad. In 2 or 3 more generations will everyone be obese?

    Reply
    • The answer to your 2nd question is yes, haha.

      Let’s just hope that obese people are not doomed to a low-fat raw vegan diet with 100 mile bike rides to get it off. Cuz that ain’t gonna happen.

      Reply
  22. Well Matt spends pretty much all his time reading, researching, writing, talking to people. There’s really no room for a “day job” so he does ask for some money for some of his books. He’s very open about it though and willing to work with people and their financial circumstances. I’ve personally bought several ebooks and I don’t expect any of them to give me all the answers but I figure it’s the only way to learn a lot.

    As far as “manning up” and eating a clean diet, that’s how most of us around here f*cked up our health. You think you know a lot but the reality is you don’t. It’s very difficult to apply nutritional knowledge without falling into traps of “yes” foods and “no” foods or “yes” eating patterns and “no” eating patterns. That leads to ignoring your own internal signals. That, along with the stress most people have over these things, leads to a much quicker decline in health than simply eating cake. And for someone with low metabolism and poor digestion, foods like cake and ice cream will be far more beneficial in the short term than some perfect diet. The trick is to sort out the useful information and apply it to without becoming obsessive or without finding a balance with our social lives. Easier said than done.

    As far as fat gain, Matt’s being completely honest about researchers not really knowing. It’s a shitty reality currently. It’d be nice if simple-minded theories like Taubes’ were correct, but there are too many contrary cases and his arguments don’t hold up under scientific scrutiny. My belief is it’s a complex set of factors. I think evolution would’ve designed it this way. Your body’s going to be picking up on a lot of subtle factors you aren’t even aware of and doing its best for long term planning. It’s not just food quality. It’s mental state, social stress, sleep quality, and so forth. People do successfully lose fat without damaging the metabolism but I agree with Matt that forcing it off is not the way to go.

    Reply
  23. Hi Matt-

    Discovered you from the Paleo Summit and Carb Sane. Your diet recovery program describes my recent symptoms after being low carb for about a year! I seem to have hit a wall – fatigue, dry eyes, low stomach acid, dry skin, low body temperature. I started adding some safe starches/PHD but that only helped my eyes. Now I am feasting to raise my body temperature and come out of “hibernation”. I ate a ton yesterday and feel really great this morning. I even broke out into night sweats a few times last night so something is going on. I have never felt better eating more starches/grains so thank you!! I purchased your diet recovery book and look forward to recovering.

    Interestingly your program and Dr. Cate Shanahan’s recent post on going low carb too fast /bears/hibernation/hormones are speaking the same language (drcate.com/going-low-carb-too-fast-may-trigger-thyroid-troubles-and-hormone-imbalance). But she attributes it to transitioning too fast. I transitioned fine but now my body is ready to recover. I like the bear analogy and haven’t read through all of your site yet to see if you use it. I did post there to share my experience.

    Thank you for your work! Pam

    Reply
    • Cate Shanahan, lol. Yeah, it’s the speed of transition, that’s why it kicks in after 6 months!!!

      Well hopefully things will continue to go well for you. Let us know if you need any help or have any questions.

      Reply
      • Thanks Matt….I do have a question and it relates to my kids mostly. I am recovering them as well :(. The dark circles under their eyes are starting to disappear but they have really chapped lips and one complains of an itchy bum – good signs or something I need to look into?? Is it related at all to low stomach acid? Thanks!! Pam

        Reply
      • One more – have you found Candida overgrowth to self-correct w/recovered metabolism??

        Reply
        • Never left a comment here before but I’m replying to this because I’m very interested in this as well. I too hit that 6 month low carb/paleo wall. I lost a ton of weight, look leaner than I have in years but started losing hair, sex drive plummeting, and developed an egg sensitivity along with some suspected other “allergies”. Now I’m eating WAPF style and eating grains again, so my hair loss has stopped, but now I’m experiencing some candida problems. I’ve had a YI off and on for several months and it is getting extremely annoying. This metabolism thing you’ve got going here and the “non-diet” resonates with me (since I’ve always had low temps) but I’m fearful of carbing it up since I’m afraid I’m going to make my candida worse. Currently we eat a mix of moderate carb and grain free meals. We are kind of middle of the road right now. Have you seen yeast infections get better after raising temps and metabolism? One reason we started this journey was to help my 3 year old’s eczema. It ebbs and flows and she eats a ton of carbs, refined and unrefined. I’ve tried “cleaning” up her diet and being lax. Nothing seems to help. Anyway, just a bunch of rambling. Not really sure where to go from here.

          Reply
          • I’ll put it this way Tara…. I’ve never NOT seen yeast infection and candida improve with a rise in metabolism. You’ll probably do best eating tons of starches, a little bit of refined sugar (but not fruit), and cutting way back on the fat until you’ve cleared out the intramuscular and myocellular fat that keeps sugar from getting cleared properly after you eat. Really high-fat diets tend to cause carbs to cause trouble, if that makes sense. But persistence with the carbs (I would eat at least 400 grams of carbs per day, minimum) usually clears that stuff up. You can run from candida, but you can’t hide. Ultimately you have to face the sugar to overcome excesses of it, or else you stay trapped in low-carb prison forever.

          • Ok, so funny because this is the exact opposite of what I have currently been doing. I had been eating low carb, high fat, and staying away from sugar. Might as well take a stab at it. Thanks for the quick reply.

          • Is this covered in any of your ebooks?

          • You’re kidding. Well this would explain a lot… I too was on a high fat, low sugar diet for a long time and the last few months have had nasty Candida symptoms. Also have staph infection on my skin that is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. Worse then child birth. Probiotics have helped, but to now hear that eating MORE sugar could make it go away for good is so interesting. Wow.

            My kids have symptoms of Candida overgrowth but they eat a high carb, lower fat diet. They might be getting too much fruit though. My son lives on apples. Started them on probiotics a month ago in hopes it would help….

  24. I just have to LOL about all of this! I can so relate Tara. My husband will be thrilled. Can’t hurt to give it a try. I have been craving orange juice and rice and white bread – so here we go!! Keep me posted!!

    Reply
    • Where’s the “like” button Pam? Ditto on the happy husband. :)

      Reply
  25. Question to all here…

    Since trying to go down the road of healthy eating&healing,I constantly have fights with my mom&sister…though we always used to have a very close bond (kinda like the Gilmore Girls+1). They believe in conventional wisdom,quick fixes in the form of pills,antibiotics etc.

    So,lately they’re saying I smell bad,like a sour body odor….
    Has anyone else ever experienced/had comments like that?:s

    Sometimes I’d wish I’d could just shut my eyes&go back to my chronic Cardio days and eat the crap I used to eat and just become diabetic,die or whatever in a couple of years….cause I sure as hell felt a lot more ‘normal’. Though I know I can’t go back there anymore eating those foods,without paying the price I used to (unknowingly) pay back then. (jointpains,tiredness/sluggishness,emotional moodswings…..though the latter is now becoming even weirder).

    Reply
    • I had horrible breath and body odour doing low-carb. With higher carb intake, I now shower with-out soap and only use baking soda on my pits. No complaints and no odour, even after workouts.

      Reply
      • When I was low carb I also had horrible breath/BO. I actually started shaving my armpits (Im a guy) because the hair was stained with the bad BO smell and would still smell even after thoroughly washing them. Suffice it to say it is much better now.
        You’ve found Matt now. For the most part his recommendations are not too crazy sounding (especially compared to some of the raw and low carb nonsense we all spouted at one point), so it shouldnt cause too much more drama with your family. But you also have to take your stance and tell them what you will and will not eat/do and ask them to please just accept it for now as you hope things like the BO will change.

        Reply
        • I seriously don’t know what to do anymore. My body/poops/temperature? seems to thrive well on VLC of almost only leafy and other greens,however it does something weird to my mood/emotions. It’s not that I’m really lethargic/depressed but feeling something/happiness is something I really have to remind/myself of,work on. I really don’t know how to describe it….as if I’m in an emotional state of zeroness…. (I also experience other ideals).

          When I eat carrots,pumpkin,sweet potatoe my skin turns orange. When I eat beets my pee turns red/purple. So,I layed off them for a while now again…..
          Fruit/fructose makes me walk as if I’m drunk. Gluten,Sugars etc. make me feel ‘happy&positive’ and feeling like doing various things,living as a ‘normal human being in society’ other future ideals,while my body shows all these strange symptoms and my mind goes wild….and the day after,I feel depressed/sluggish/jointpain usually. (However I do my best to avoid MSG&Aspartame like no other!,cause that shit seriously messes with my brainchemistry&overeating!…even the natural Glutamate foods like tomatoes,peppers,peanuts cause me lots of harm
          )
          So,I’m&my so called life’s really a mess( feeling weirder&weirder and lost in life by the day) and lately I wish more&more I could just ‘shut my eyes’ and go back to my ‘old ways’….

          Reply
          • Hey Dutchie,
            Have you ever done a liver detox or had your liver function checked out? Just askin because I’m pretty sure that’s my root problem and some of your symptoms sound like a sluggish liver. I don’t know a lot yet but am about to start on some things that will hopefully help detox the liver (I know that raising metabolism helps too, but I think my liver needs additional help).

          • Hi Kari,

            No I’ve never done one,thought about it though,’cause my energetic therapist said it’s not good for me…..don’t know why though…..
            I did hear some people can get very sick,especially the first time,with vomitting etc.

            Are you talking about the flush by Andreas Moritz? (Saw a YouTube video of him…..God,that man has a boring monotonous voice!)

          • No, I’m not too familiar with flushes but they may work great- I have read that milk thistle is a really good herb for liver support. There is also a product called Livatone that has a ton of good reviews on amazon, but I’ve never tried it. This nutritionist I went to just put me on a few herbs that are supposed to detox the liver–he promised me that I wouldn’t have to be on them for a long time. I’m not too interested in taking a lot of supplements, but I think that sometimes they can be very helpful : ). I do take HCL with meals to supplement my stomach acid levels, which seem to be low (probably due to adrenal stress or low metabolism or something).

  26. BP: The more I read, the more convinced I am that high blood pressure is, at least partially, an imbalance in the sodium/potassium ratio. I’ve been reading about coffee enemas lately and just ran across this: “Cells normally have a preference for potassium over sodium but when a cell is damaged it begins to prefer sodium. This craving results in a damaged ability of cells to repair themselves and to utilize energy. Further, damaged cells produce toxins; around tumors are zones of “wounded” but still non-malignant tissue, swollen with salt and water.”
    http://www.gallbladderattack.com/coffeeenema.shtml

    When eating something really salty, I used to get edema in my face. Now when I get it, I take a potassium tablet to clear it out.

    Back to the coffee enemas, I’m going to be starting up very soon. Apparently they stimulate the liver and gallbladder to function better and release toxins. The bile from the gallbladder carries toxins out of the body but most of liver/gallbladders are overwhelmed with toxins. Just curious if any one here has tried them and if you liked the results.

    By the way, coffee enemas were in the Merck Manual until 1977 then just disappeared without a word. No surprise there.

    Reply
  27. I have suffered from anorexia since 11 years old, on and off, I am now 24 and spent the past year and a half recovering via the paleo method, which took me a year and a half to gain a stone and 6 pounds, im not quite there yet, its been tough going, and i still do not menstruate – only twice in my life i have and that was when i was eating definately anti paleo foods such as cheesecake, bread, peanutbutter and hummus but also plenty of organic meats (even when i was 16!!) vegetables etc. I had a baanced diet. Long story short, i had a somewhat stessful year whereby, i got married, my grandad died suddenly of cancer and we moved house, so i spent a year before the wedding doing continuous cardio and under-eating to deal with emotions that were too overbearing to deal with, then realised i could not go down the anorexia route again as i would probably die seeing as i had the illness on and off since age 11…so as any anorexic knows, its easy to be led to the ‘perfect way of eating’ that almost makes it ‘alright’ to eat, and you want to ‘do it right’ because your already ingrained fear and utmost unease with food so you search for the perfect plan to health and immunity, sometimes it leads people to veganism, vegeterianism and so forth. it lead me to paleo, the more i read about paleo the more it scared the shit out of me, i became convinced and petrified, certain foods began to be the disease-causing enemy. Despite the fact that i had read studies like the blue zone, and testimonials from people in sardinia eating bread or ikaria eating beans, and living cancer and diabetes free, my fear was solidified by all of the paleo blogs etc etc. Can you believe that such is the sheer obsessiveness of a recovering anorexic’s mental state surrounding food that despite throughout my paleo eating ive suffered, skin peeling, raised body temperature to the point of boiling hot have to go to sleep, body shut down because of the amount of work my digestive system had to do in order to process meat, rashes, mental fog, blurry vision, mood disruptances, panic attacks, depression leading me to anti depressant taking, and worst of all for me is a daily bout of severe IBS- was it all enough to contradict the paleo lifestyle i was living? well, anyone with orthorexia or recovering from anorexia has an absolute dedication to a way of eating that will protect them because it bounds up with so many of their issues with eating in the first place! my digestion was perfect before paleo (as in the year before i starved myself i was having periods and eating granola and yoghurt or rye toast and peanut butter for breakfast, hummus and veggies and olive oil or chicken wrap or rye and olive oil for dipping and homemade flapjack and cream or dark chocolate for lunch then chicken or prawns or tuna salad with homemade chips or fried chicken and mayo or goats cheese tart and salad and then ice cream or banana or yoghurt for dessert or sometimes banoffee pie!) i was full of energy, had no skin issues, was mentally stable (now im checking into a mental health clinic in two weeks time- not blaming paleo just saying surely it shouldnt be haied as the all healing all solving diet for all) my digestion is terrible and i am now too petrified to switch but i know i will because its baby steps at a time and bread and olive oil or beans and he convenience of picking up a wrap from wholefoods or at a cafe is far more sociable for me unlike now when im scared to go out coz im worried about the different foods that i might be faced with and my stomach is too bad to even have an appetite to eat out anyway…. this is long, i apologise… i guess what im saying is, i believe attitude, positivity and so much more is a bigger contributer to long life, and health, aswell as making wise food and exercise choices according to your own body’s needs and requirements. My dad is 53 years young and eats whatever he wants, is slim and has an enthusiastic attitude about life. My grandad died when he was 86 and never passed a thought about food, other than eat what you enjoy, in his case red wine and trifle and bread and dripping. And all three of my grandparents in their 80s never followed a paleo movement and they are all pictures of health! how silly that i was persuaded by people on the internet when i was happier and SO MUCH HEALTHIER following my instincts on food before. When will we learn? im planning to learn now. Im going to stop living my life in fear, and ignore what everyone else is doing and do whats right FOR ME, before i totally lose my personality and sanity.

    Reply

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