Stalling the Aging Metabolism

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My girlfriend’s daughter just turned 7.  We were eating some food at a restaurant the other day and I watched her eat 2 cheeseburgers, half an order of French fries, a small milkshake, and a few good sips of a soft drink.  I looked up all the nutrition data for her meal, and it totaled, by modest estimates, 1,200 calories.  She weighs a whopping 49 pounds.  That day she consumed over 2,500 calories.  No I don’t meticulously count all her calories.  But I did that day because her appetite was extraordinarily large, and well, you know, I’m a nerd.  Metabolism has been the epicenter of my research for the last several years, and that’s just too impressive not to calculate and ponder.

To put it into perspective, that single meal equaled nearly 25 calories per pound of bodyweight – in 15 minutes flat.  For a 200-pound adult male that would be 5,000 calories.  And she’s lost 3 pounds in the last 10 weeks eating that way.

Yeah, metabolic rate declines as we age.  The declines with aging are inevitable.  We’ll probably never see an 80-year old win a gold medal in a 100 Meter sprint at the Olympics.  I think the oldest ever was an ancient 32.  But there are a great many things we can do via our diets and lifestyles to either hasten the decline, slow the decline, or in some cases even reverse the decline.  To better understand this, we turn to some really basic principles of how our bodies work, and a shift in thinking when it comes to how we look at diet and exercise…

In the 20th century, people looked at nutrition in a very Neanderthal-like manner.

“Cholesterol bad.  Saturated fat bad.  Saturated fat raise cholesterol.  Saturated fat cause heart disease.  Me eat canola oil instead.  Me fat.  Me eat less Wooly Mammoth.  Me eat only lean cuts Wooly Mammoth.  Me cook Wooly Mammoth on Foreman George.  Me burn more calories on stairmaster.”

But this ain’t the 20th century anymore.  We don’t use typewriters or travel agents, and kids don’t even want Lite Brites anymore.  And those things were totally sweet.  Instead, we recognize that, like bellbottoms and parachute pants, the relationship between the food we eat and things like blood cholesterol levels are not direct, but indirect.  Okay, that was a terrible metaphor that made no sense, but I squeeze in parachute pants whenever I can. Halloween is just around the corner.  I hope to squeeze into some then.  They’ve gotten tighter every year since age 30, when the first major hallmarks of aging start to set in.

Fashion from the past aside, what I mean by a shift in thinking in how we see nutrition and exercise is this…

As we age, statistically-speaking, we consume fewer calories, less saturated fat, less cholesterol, less salt, less sugar, and the list goes on.  We consume less of everything “naughty” because appetite decreases with aging.  We eat less of everything, period.  And, parallel with that decreased consumption we see rises in cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, body fat, blood sugar, rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and well, pretty much everything undesirable.

The reason?  Could it be something other than butter and steak and apple pie that causes these changes?  Well gee whiz I think it might!  Decline in metabolism?  You betcha!

All of the changes mentioned can pretty neatly be tied back to our rate of cellular energy production and respiration.  The higher the rate of cellular respiration and energy production, or metabolic intensity you could call it, the better one’s health, body composition, hormonal balance, cellular repair, longevity stats, and so on.

“…increasing cellular energy production appears to improve EVERYTHING, and follow-up research is underway to look at immunity, strength, endurance, and cardiovascular health.” 

-Stephen Cherniske; The Metabolic Plan

Does your diet and lifestyle have an impact on metabolic intensity?  Of course it does.  It has a huge impact – an impact larger than probably any two other factors.  But it’s not a neat and direct impact such as the small, temporary, and insignificant rise you might see in blood pressure when you have a few too many Doritos, or the half pound you might lose after a week of obediently grinding out time on a treadmill.  It’s more of a long-term impact, and one that has little to do with various health religions, most of which revolve around some puritanical, joyless, restricted diet or self-assaulting and/or ridiculous New Age workout.

If I had to trim the concept of aging down to an oversimplified summary, I would call it the outcome of a lengthy tug-of-war battle between the body’s hormonal forces of building vs. breaking down.  This is referred to as the anabolic vs. the catabolic.  This can probably further be distilled down to what goes on in the adrenal glands, and the battle of DHEA vs. cortisol.

We know more and more each year about the balance between these pivotal opposing forces.  Most of the major things we can do to enhance metabolism and DHEA and decrease our exposure to cortisol are far out of line with typical healthy eating guidelines.  With our diets, the major metabolism promoters and cortisol suppressors are what I call the “Anti-stress S’s.”  They are, primarily…

1)      Salt

2)      Sugar

3)      Starch – Potatoes, yams, rice, oats, beans, and others

4)      Saturated fat – Red meat, dairy products, coconut, chocolate

These are the de-stressing foods – the things you crave when you have gone too long without food, have done some hard exercise or overexerted yourself somehow, have been dieting, have experienced some kind of emotional turbulence, have been forcing yourself to drink tons of water and tea because some bonehead said it was good for you (that bonehead being everybody, more or less), or haven’t been sleeping enough.  If you can’t remember these, at least remember to eat foods that you enjoy and crave.  The lower the metabolism gets, the more important these foods become.  Salt and sugar seem to be particularly potent, and exceptionally maligned by those with eating disorders (nutritionists, dieticians, internet health gurus).  The opposite of eating foods you enjoy would be to do some hard dieting of some sort.  Cut out the carbs or calories, do some vegan dieting or a cleanse – that will cleanse you all right – cleanse you of DHEA, sex hormones, strength, and an immune system.  To name just a few of the downsides.

In terms of lifestyle, the factors that will give you the best youthful metabolic preservation are…

1)      Sleep – the king of all destressors

2)      Anything that decreases psychological/emotional stress – different for everyone and relative to what you find stressful and unstressful

3)      Exercise – particularly strength training and speed training, but not too much, and not if you injure yourself doing it (although to get more exercise, all most people really need to do is decrease their total screen time in front of computers, tv’s, and smart phones to as close to ZERO as possible while still functioning in society)

Simple I know.  Or you could get wrapped up in a bunch of minutiae and supplement propaganda and advanced training strategies and other magic wands and potions and get nowhere (unless you call reading health websites in your spare time somewhere).  Sorry, but the keys to good health aren’t New and Improved or residing in some traditional custom in an undiscovered Himalayan village somewhere.  They are simple, and very basic.  And they go with the flow of what our bodies actually seek, not against it.  Or as I say, “The Health Gods are much kinder than I ever expected.”


  1. Good overview, thanks.

    • Look, I was first, and I didn’t have to point it out like an idiot. Oh wait.

      • haha

  2. Say what? I’m first? Thank you for this post Matt. It’s a great overview for the people who don’t know and love you.

  3. Word! Sleep, enough real food, and EXERCISE are the fountain of youth. Everything else is a magic pill (and we all know how effective magic pills are).

    • I don’t know. My girlfriend brought home a magic pill one time. Seemed to work really well.

      • Being Mr. Natural, I didn’t take Magic Pills, only Magic Mushrooms :)

        • MUSHROOMS FTW!

          • You’re funny, Debbie. You are one of the few people I miss from when I was on the Weird Ray Facebook group.

          • Oh Thomas I bet you say that to all the weird Ray Fans :-) It was fun, there is a forum now but I just don’t have time to dish the ray dirt as it were. :-)

  4. I was developing a stress pot belly this summer and couldn’t shake it. So the other day I ate mostly watermelon, avocado, tomatoes and rice cakes, probably half the calorie my body wants to take in. Took a long walk, too. Well lo and behold, I woke up the next day feeling really sick for the first time in ages. It took a day on the couch and a bacon-cheddar-onion-avocado burger with ketchup on a bagel, plus a fudgesicle, to turn this ship around. But I have a serious problem destressing. I don’t know what the hell to do about it, and it makes me fat. Help! Ice cream takes the edge off, but not enough! I have more like, ADD-Anxiety type stress. Any helpful hints? Sleeping nine hours per night is a great idea, but I still have to cinch ce my body to comply somehow, knowwhatimsayin?

    • Uh, cinch ce translated is “convince”. Excellent auto-correct.

    • I would stop trying to use food to solve the problem, and instead get to the root of what’s causing your stress, and finding non-food ways to deal with it. Fixing the cause would be helpful, if it’s fixable. Or meditation or yoga could help reduce the stress and anxiety. Or therapy or whatever.

      • yeah, that.

      • Yoga and meditation bore me, so they stress me out even more. People who do yoga and meditate irritate me, so there goes yoga class! Life moving in real time always makes me feel better, driving, walking, whatever. It’s just sitting still when I don’t want to or having a bunch of kinetic and mental energy built up and not having a determined focus that makes me crazy. Food does help though.

        • Ditto! People who do yoga and meditate irritate me, too. They are usually the same ones that wear socks under their Birkenstocks. Now THAT stresses me out!

        • Have you ever tried spin? It seems intense, and it is, but I still love it. I was never one to exercise, it is boring. But I found a spin class where we basically dance on the bike. Its fast, its fun, and I can do it 1-2 times per week to keep myself maintained. The one I got to is called bike2tothebeat. They have others similar all over the place.

          Try new things and keep an open mind, you never know what you might actually like.

    • I had “ADD anxiety” like you describe for 5 years. It just kept getting worse and worse. I found a book written in the 60s by a lady named Dr. Claire Weekes called “Hope and Help for Your Nerves”. I also got her radio sessions on CD called “Pass Through Panic”. Best thing I ever did. I tried several different anxiety meds, different diets, meditation, counseling, exercise, all in an effort to get rid of the anxiety. Dr. Weekes information was the ticket to help me. She explains in very plain language how the adrenal glands can be triggered by stress of some sort and kick into overdrive and begin misfiring when it’s really not needed. She also explains exactly how anxiety has a very specific pattern it follows in the body, and then she goes through some information on how we can change our response to the anxiety and eventually it gets less and less then goes away. It’s now been about 1.5 years since I first read her book, and I can definitively say I am anxiety free except for the few occasions when I am overtired. But when I catch back up on my sleep, it goes away. I could not have beat the anxiety without Dr. Weekes information. I listened to the CDs over and over, until I had them memorized, then when I felt the anxiety coming on, I would hear her voice in my head, describing what I was feeling, and what I needed to do about it. It was a slow process, like I said 1.5 years, but it was well worth it. I do think it would have gone quicker if I hadn’t also been dealing with weaning myself off anxiety meds over the last year.

      • Ha ha, I’ve read that book. I find it’s really great for panic-attack type anxiety, but not so effective for the day to day shakes. Maybe my life just sucks! Probably.

    • In my experience working with anxiety issues, salt is the most powerful single substance, and it has no calories!

      • Watermelon of course being the antithesis of salt.

        • Growing up in the South, we ALWAYS put lots of salt on our watermelon. The gustatory reason was that it brings out the sweetness (it does….I still won’t eat watermelon without salt) but, of course, it would also counter some of the diuretic issues caused by watermelon, no?

          • We did that too! And raw potatoes with salt too. :-)

    • @Big Kitten I’m dealing with some of that anxiety stuff too. Also the having to sit down especially for a long period(for instance when going to the movies,which I used to love,nowadays I’m mostly viewing at my watch how long it’ll take to the end…or it has to be a really good movie) when one doesn’t want to(I now have a standing desk to stand behind my computer),makes me crazy as hell too,which makes it kinda hard when you’re visiting someone….or I sometimes crash,which doesn’t make me feel good either. I (can) rarely sit nowadays,it never used to be that way.(I guess I sat too much,which made me sluggish/fatigued so I constantly had to kick myself in the ass to do something,go somewhere by bike,go to the sportsclub etc.)

      I hear you on the Yoga thing…..I really sometimes am not in the mood for ‘high-flying spiritual mumbo jumbo” and sometimes I feel attracted to spiritual topics/talk. I do sometimes enjoy taking a Bodybalance class at the gym,which is a mix of tai-chi/yoga&pilates(though I’m really not bendy at all) and some relaxation/meditation at the end.(sometimes I lay there with my eyes closed,deeply relaxed….and all of a sudden I feel tears welling up out of nowhere and for no reason…really strange:s ) only with modern music.

      Anyway,have you tried pure magnesium oil for relaxation?I sometimes rubb,especially when I have something like the flu and my entire body aches, a little bit under my feet before I go to bed and I usually ‘fall into a deep coma”.The next morning I wake up with no aches whatsoever anymore. However I’m still on the fence with the entire magnesium thing,as it relaxes a person,I really have a hard time dealing with the kind of feeling of ‘calmness’ it brings about.(Maybe that’s also why I keep struggling with the entire Paleo thing,bc I mostly eat leafy greens which are high in magnesium and make me/not give me a boost/drive to workout.)

  5. What is the working definition of Metabolism? Here’s my (perhaps overly) simple one: “Metabolism involves physical and chemical processes through which substances are either broken down and converted into energy or combined with other components for essential use. The minute nutrient molecules must be in a form that our cells can utilize.” (Hans Napier M.D. “The Curious Man).

    Given this definition, why aren’t we talking as much about digestion as we are about overeating and cortisol? I went to a camp in the Sierras this Summer with my kids. The food served there had stuff that upset the stomach of EVERY adult I talked to (including my own). The kids, however, were doing great. What was the difference between the adults and the kids?

    • I think you’ve got a valid point there Thomas – I’m no nutrition expert but digestion sure sounds like it would play an equal role in mid-life big gut syndrome as what we are putting in there. I’m just waiting for the “experts” to discover that one in the “undiscovered Himalayan village somewhere”.

    • Thomas,

      You and I ponder many of the same kind of things. So, in this reply I’m going to share some potential answers to these vexing questions that have occurred to me. Hopefully, they’re scientific enough for you…because if not, we’re both out of luck – there is nothing more scientific at the present time that I’ve come across.

      “The food served there had stuff that upset the stomach of EVERY adult I talked to (including my own). The kids, however, were doing great. What was the difference between the adults and the kids?”

      Simplest answer I can give: the adults are chronically protein deficient. What? Yes, protein deficient. I don’t mean they don’t get enough overall protein, for example Xmg/kg of body weight. I’m sure many of those adults do get Xmg/kg of body weight per day (and some probably more).

      However, there are 9 ‘essential’ amino acids out of the total 20 amino acids used in protein synthesis. ‘Essential’, as I’m sure you know, here means the body can’t make from other nutrients and are therefore _critical_ for health. Two of these are positively charged amino acids. The most recent studies on protein synthesis have shown humans have ‘extreme sensitivity’ to deficiencies in positively charged amino acids, i.e. protein synthesis of positively charged proteins stops when deficiencies are in encountered in the timeframe of _minutes_ to _hours_. This is not the case for negatively charged or neutral amino acids.

      EVERYTHING the body does is based on DNA. DNA directs the synthesis and de-synthesis of PROTEIN.

      People need to get “genes = protein synthesis” and “protein = chain of amino acids”.

      Do you have ‘bad genes’ OR have you been bad TO your genes? How? Protein deficiency. How? Insufficient _daily_ intake of the 9 essential amino acids, particularly the 2 positively charged ones.

      Want your genes to work ‘right’? GIVE THEM WHAT THEY NEED: the _essential_ amino acids every day.

      Whatever it is your body is trying to do ‘correct’ a current malady ultimately depends on it’s ability to synthesize specific protein in cells (probably ones it hasn’t been able to make enough of). So, without a sufficient amount of _essential_ amino acids it simply can’t do it.

      The result? It compensates, by synthesizing ‘compensatory’ proteins that can be made with the amino acids available in the bodies ‘pool of free amino acids’, OR, if it can’t compensate it will catabolize it’s own protein structures to ‘free up’ the essential amino acids it currently needs. Does this ‘process of degeneration’ sound familiar?

      FYI – this ‘rant’ really isn’t directed at you personally…just needed to get it off my chest.

      PS: the ‘all natural’ food supply itself is apparently ‘vunerable’ to deficiencies with respect to providing the human body enough of the _essential_ amino acids. I guess God likes a good joke now and again.

      • So Tony, why would I not be getting the 9 essential amino acids, particularly the two positively charged ones, that you mention? How do you go about correcting that? How did you come to this conclusion?

        • As I hinted at in my “PS” above: the ‘all-natural’ food supply is actually vulnerable to providing insufficient daily amounts of essential amino acids. Or, put another way, one would have to eat a LOT of ‘all natural’ foods (particularly fruits and veggies) to be sure to get enough essential aminos every day. Eating like that would become a task unto itself. I will guess that consuming that much bulk food would lead to weight gain, although that person would probably be ‘healthy’ in most ways that matter.

          Young people, who are also generally speaking ‘small’ people, do fine because their absolute requirement (based on weight) is lower and (as Matt’s blog points out) they typically eat large quantities of food with respect to their body size when compared to mature adults. Oh, and their bodies haven’t been protein deficient for years to decades yet either – so they aren’t trying to nutritionally dig themselves out of a ‘protein hole’ with what they do consume.

          I am going about it by using protein powders, the kind with the ‘free’ amino acids that get absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. They are ‘complete’ proteins, i.e. they have all 20 aminos. Interestingly, they all lack taurine, a semi-essential amino which us benevolent humans insist our pet cats can’t go without in their food supply because they get really unhealthy without it and we can’t have THAT, I mean there’s actually a LAW about it…lol.

          I ‘enrich’ the blend with at least 3 amino powders (all positive charged) to optimize the balance. Do you think cow milk or egg protein (which is where the powders source from) were made by the Old One to specifically ‘correct’ years of essential amino acid deficiency in adult humans? If not, you might need to think about ‘optimizing’ the powders for yourself.

          You can get all of this stuff at your local Costco, GNC and of course…wait for it…..Amazon.

          • Why don’t you just eat meat, dairy and eggs regularly? Why bother with all the work when all the EAAs come prepackaged in delicious, edible packets in the form of tasty, tasty flesh?

          • Sounds like you’re still in the ‘if it’s all-natural it must be better’ camp. I’ve come to see all diets as ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ propositions. What to do?

            Now that trans-fats have been virtually eliminated from the SAD, I’m thinking of going back to it and simply supplementing where it comes up short (EAAs, EFAs, vitamins, minerals). Best of both worlds? Perhaps, time will tell.

            I don’t plan to supplement every day, I don’t think that’s needed. But supplementing all the _proven_ ‘essential nutrients’ several times a week seems a very safe way to go.

          • Um, no, if you read what I wrote, I stated clearly that I thought eating whole animal foods is tastier and more convenient than trying to mess with supplementing EAAs that can be easily obtained in the diet. If you honestly prefer mixing and measuring food powders, that’s obviously your call.

            Do I think natural foods are always better than man-made ones? Nope. But I do think it’s a good precautionary principle to assume that one should choose whole foods over processed foods, unless there is strong evidence to the contrary. This is because our understanding of nutrition is so incomplete, and we don’t understand fully what we’re messing with–when an artificial food demonstrates superior nutritional and/or flavor characteristics, then I’ll freely choose it. But trying to construct an optimal diet through selective combination and supplementation of isolated nutritional elements seems to me a lifelong goose chase given how rapidly we continue to discover new compounds and interactions.

          • “than trying to mess with supplementing EAAs that can be easily obtained in the diet.”

            Don’t be so sure of that. Protein deficiency studies, in _obese_ humans, have shown otherwise.

            “But trying to construct an optimal diet through selective combination and supplementation of isolated nutritional elements seems to me a lifelong goose chase”

            More science on this has been done than people realize. The ‘issue’ is the information isn’t widely known. Of course, we don’t know it all and new things are always discovered. But we do KNOW what nutrients are required to not only keep human beings healthy, but actually help them recover from sickness and disease:


            This scientifically based ‘diet’ has done just that for _millions_ of people across decades of research, for periods lasting longer than a year. Needless to say, this would be one hella bad tasting.

            But the combination of real food and supplements should come close to providing the same nutrients. It’s really not that hard.

          • @Tony you can supplement stuff,but aren’t you worried that you’re gonna get leaky gut/Candida,fatty liver and stuff?

          • (Dutchie, in case you’re still following…)

            No, I only supplement with ‘orthomolecular’ nutrients. Even megadosing with those is safe. And no, I don’t megadose. In fact I look for ways to find out how exactly how much is needed. Niacin is singularly unique in this respect, it tells you.

          • Also, it occurred to me you may be relying on your sense of taste to guide your food choices (‘if it tastes good, eat it’). I don’t think that’s a good method, our sense of taste is not evolved enough to really offer the feedback we need to base our eating choices on for optimal health.

            Example 1: table sugar (50% glucose/50% fructose) tastes extremely sweet, starch (100% glucose) doesn’t taste sweet at all. Of course everyone today ‘knows that’ today but previous generations didn’t and it wasn’t obvious/intuitive to them exactly because they didn’t ‘taste the same’. I still remember telling my 70+ year old mom that bread and pasta are really just sugar – she didn’t believe me.

            Example 2: Supplements. Have you ever come across a vitamin/mineral supplement that tastes good? Do you like the taste of free-form amino acids (most easily digestible protein)? Probably not, that’s why the protein powders have flavorings added.

            Example 2: Poisons/toxins. May reportedly have sweet flavors. That definitely doesn’t mean they should be consumed!!

          • Hey Tony

            Could be, and definitely something to consider when going down the ‘natural is not necessarily optimal’ rabbit hole. That said, I imagine there’s more than taste/smell that impacts what sort of cravings we have. The gut is considered by some to be another brain in our body, due to the cluster of neurons there. I think there are likely sophisticated sensors in place that interact with our head brain and give us cravings.

          • I agree, the body uses cravings to influence consumption and the type of cravings produced are most likely derived from nutrient sensors in the gut (& elsewhere).

            But, does that mean we should ‘listen’ to them? Maybe, maybe not.

            Example: protein deficiency animal studies found that animals on EAAD diets actually gained weight due to increased carbohyrdate consumption (which wasn’t restricted). In other words, the animals got a ‘sweet tooth’ and listened to it. It might seem strange that a protein deficiency elicits a sweet tooth. But remember that carbohydrate consumption is ‘protein sparing’, i.e. it minimizes the amount of the body’s protein that must be catabolized to address the dietary deficiency. In other words, it seems the ‘evolutionary logic’ is this: in the event of a protein deficiency, turn on the sweet tooth in the hopes that dietary carbohydrates are available that can spare protein until dietary protein sources become available.Of course humans weren’t studied but primates were.

            So, is it wise to obey cravings? Yes.

            But, is it wiser to ignore cravings and actually give the body what it needs (assuming we can use science to figure that out correctly)? Yes.

      • while i play around with supplementing free aminos peri-workout, i dont think that there’s much evidence to suggest which aminos are needed for each individual. if you have more info about “why” positive, etc, please bring it, otherwise it seems crackpottish at this juncture

        • Crackpottish?

          Here’s a suggestion: adopt a mangy old mutt for a pet. One in really bad shape, as close to death’s door as possible.

          Buy some dog food, any kind it will eat. Enrich the dog food with a ‘complete’ protein powder at EVERY feeding – be sure to add taurine if lacking . Watch and learn what it does for the mutt.

          Whats the worst that can happen here? You give a mangy old mutt an extension on life with somebody who really, truly loves him. And if you do this experiment a little before Christmas time you’ll get an extra ‘warm fuzzy’. Hey, all I’m sayin': think it over…

          • While I am not going to get an old dog and experiment on it (hyperbole much?) I cannot see how just feeding said dog higher quality complete whole food proteins would be worse… Although if your point is that supplementing EAAs to really shitty food will help someone… Well duh. Are you advocating larger amounts of protein in the form of EAAs or hydrolyzed protein powders instead of just more gelatinous/muscle meat proteins because somehow adult digestion of whole foods is impaired?

          • It’s true – my whole point here is a big duh, but until you ‘get it’ you just don’t get it. Protein requirements, when viewed as a composite of 20+ individual amino acids, are complicated. How do you know you’re really getting enough of each, in whatever form? If you’re getting ALL the protein you need every day then you should be in good shape, literally.

            A good book on this is called ‘The Obesity Cure’ by Scheele.

            Don’t worry, I’m not ‘oversimplifying’. Nutrition is complicated, there’s at least 50 types of nutrients needed by the human body (only 20 or so are protein). But getting those 20 or so aminos right helps the body deal with deficiencies in the others much more effectively than visa versa.

          • Oh, and good nutrition can only cure what bad nutrition causes. Many diseases are not caused by poor nutrition but a lot of the common ‘chronic degenerative’ type diseases probably are.

          • I love mangy old mutts. But where can you adopt them? The pound has young dogs.

    • All I can say is that Matt and others have previously talked about sensitivities, metabolism, digestion..and eating what I crave for the past few months, I am a 100 times more resilient to foods I eat, haven’t had bad IBS, cramps etc…for a long time now. It keeps getting better too. I’ve had some discomfort from stuff, but shit it’s like a baby slapping me compared to what I’ve delt with for MOST of my life. and I poop like a Boss.

    • Hey Thomas,
      digestions is directly affected by metabolism. This is even apparent in the definition you posted. “physical and chemical processes through which substances are either broken down and converted into energy or combined with other components for essential use ” this is precisely what the digestive system does. If there is no need on a cellular level for said components due to a sluggish metabolism then naturally you will digest at a slower rate and further more the digestive system itself most likely will need less energy and components at a cellular level within the digestive track so you wind up with not only a slow digestion but a slow half ass digestion.

      The difference is the kids don’t know about paying bills, carbs, the economy, calorie in/out theory, diets, bosses…. yet.

    • That’s very similar to the defition I have used in the past – the sum of all processes that convert everything we eat, see, ingest, breathe, and experience to what we know as life.

      But in this post I would say it refers more specifically to the rate of metabolism, or the amount of energy and oxygen used per unit of body mass.

  6. –Salt and sugar seem to be particularly potent, and exceptionally maligned by those with eating disorders (nutritionists, dieticians, internet health gurus).–

    You are so right! I majored in dietetics, and eating disorders were rampant (although well hidden) among my fellow students! While most were thin (starving), I was (am) the fat kid since my eating disorder leaned more towards the diet/ binge roller coaster.

    • The funny thing is, I’m absolutely convinced that salt helps people stay thin. Between being satisfying for the body, making food taste better, and stopping blood sugar crashes, it’s definitely helpful for the waistline.

      • I have to agree with you about the salt Amy. My father who is 80 piles the salt on to his food like it is going out of fashion. Mum uses plenty in her cooking but Dad still plasters it on about an inch thick at the table. He eats like a horse but is extremely thin. Oh – and he treats butter on his bread the same as salt on his food – the thicker the better!!

      • @Real Amy Interesting….what makes you think salt helps the waistline?(I always thought it was the O3 in fatty fish that keeps the belly fat in check;))

        To add something to your theory…I personally thinks it’s important that it’s salt which still contains it’s minerals and not regular tablesalt,which is just as empty of nutrients,depleting the body, as white tablesugar is.

        • For the reasons listed above. Mostly because it makes food so much more satisfying for the body. Low-salt food (except for things like fruit that are intended to be low-salt) is inherently unsatisfying, and will leave you wanting more.

  7. Wait, are you saying its okay to eat SUGAR?! Kidding! :) i cant believe i fell for that anti-fructose, low-carb crap last year!

  8. I bow to no Health Gods. They have been rather fickle with me. And bTw, I will venture to say that appetite can increase during menopause. Sorry hag haters, it’s a true story. Fucking estrogen, you are so damn dominating.
    love ya
    the hag who is still not frozen but seriously considering my options

  9. 1) Salt

    2) Sugar

    3) Starch – Potatoes, yams, rice, oats, beans, and others

    4) Saturated fat – Red meat, dairy products, coconut, chocolate

    I would like to add a 5th element to this list: Sunlight:

    5) Sunlight

    Given this list is correct, isn’t it downright ORWELLIAN that all five of these are presently considered EVIL. How did that come to be? Look, I am no fan of these blathering Conspiracy Theorists, but you have to admit…this gives pause.

    • As with many things, there are no mass conspiracies. Just collective stupidities…

    • I think it’s more that association does not equal causation. These things are associated with ill health, as in: people who are in bad shape crave them because they can have a re-balancing effect.

      But without realizing that they might be re-balancing something off, you can look at the trends and see unhealthy people going for this stuff and think ‘By Jove, must be because of all the saturated fat, sugar, starch and salt that these poor chaps are suffering…”

    • lets add Sleep for 6 S’s, Thomas!

    • I think a lot of it comes back to our puritanical roots in this country. People inherently believe that something that makes us feel good must be bad!

      • I think you are right Real Amy. Some Health Guru (I am thinking it was Jack Lalane) said, to paraphrase, that if you are eating something and it tastes good, spit it out, because it must be bad for you.

      • I absolutely agree. That’s what the war on drugs is really about too.

    • Those are the food S’s. Sleep, sunlight, and sand (sort of representative of earthing or spending time outdoors) have been my other S’s in the non-edible category.

      • Or soil.

        • and Stress

      • add sex to the list :P

    • I would say so. Especially considering the wealth of research that has gone into these topics. They know what’s good for you, and what’s bad; it’s all there. And somehow this doesn’t correspond with public health advice. I think domestication doesn’t go hand in hand with properly fed subject:). Most dogs don’t eat a diet of raw meat. It’s not conspiracies, it’s just practicalities.

  10. Well spotted :(

  11. So what exactly is the single biggest cause of Americas obesity epidemic in Matts eyes? I feel like we eat plenty of sugar, salt, sat fat, and starch in our diet yet waist lines are expanding as we speak. What is the solution if eating 1-4 (and everything in between) is clearly not working. I am totally in that camp of health nerds (not that bad only been into nutrition/health blogs for 1.5-2 yrs now) but I feel like I should give up now after coming to 180D. I feel like Matt is so lax about everything that it is like what is the point to try being healthy in our terribly unhealthy society anymore (being healthy is hard so fuck it kinda attitude). I had a huge passion for nutrition/health but it seems so small and pointless now after coming to 180D health because everything is blamed on poor metabolisms (some gurus think it is all about gut health or liver health..) and apparently junk food is now the solution to our problem? What did I miss? I appreciate his healthy skepticism but it seems it is a double edged sword Matt is playing with because now I have an attitude that everything I previously learned from the raw food or vegetarian or paleo or WAPF camps is wrong and NOTHING can be known about health/nutrition so don’t bother stressing yourself trying to study it. Where do I go from here? (I guess it is hard not having an identity or ideology behind an eating strategy to fall back on…although maybe that is for the best) just hard because both Intuitive Eating (180D style) and JERF (paleo style) are incomplete. Intuitive eating can go awry if you have gut disbiosis or nutritional deficiencies and therefore craving for processed foods which you body actually DOESN’T want but then adopting a philosophy of JERFing is equally stressful because our modern food culture wants nothing to do with real food. But if you can’t intuitively eat or JERF what the hell do you do? Sorry this was a long rant but I kinda don’t know what direction to go anymore Matt thoroughly flipped all my previous conceptions of health on their heads congratulations Matt.

    • Hmm. Is the a single cause? I think these are some possible contributors to obesity:

      1) Fluoride.

      2) Famine or dieting when a child is in the womb, which can cause epigenetic changes to the offspring, or just give them a really bad start to life. (Am reading a book on Epigenetics by Richard C. Francis right now. It’s really interesting.)

      3) Birth control pills.

      4) Stress (not sleeping, traumatic experiences, chronic negative situations, etc).

      Probably stress would be the main cause, because everything harmful to the body can basically be considered stress. :P It’s just determining what stresses the body, basically.

      • “2) Famine or dieting when a child is in the womb, which can cause epigenetic changes to the offspring, or just give them a really bad start to life.”

        While my mom didn’t diet during my pregnancy,she suffered terrible morning sickness for the first 4 months. The basically lived off milk&tangerines. I guess one could view that as ‘starvation’.
        I also was fed instant formula instead of breastfed.

    • you just have to keep self experimenting until you get it right. fail forward, my friend. (speaking from 6 years experience putting AI disease into remission)

    • I think the answer to this is multi-faceted. I’ve certainly given it a fair amount of thought. There doesn’t seem to be any one answer. Stress alone probably isn’t bad, nor is a poor diet. Poor diet, chronic low grade stress, inadequate sleep… these all add up over time. I think we are starting to witness the multi-generational effects of these factors working for the past several decades.
      As far as the obesity epidemic and its associated diseases, I think a lot of that comes from dieting. That’s my best guess. It precipitates a cycle where the dieter never real recovers from the previous “starvation mode” before starting the next one. It gets complicated by guilt and shame of course.
      Those are the two main factors as I see it: the overall force of all the factors (which affect lower economic classes more heavily), and the diet/exercise and guilt/shame mentalities that begin to dominate those already caught a ways down that path.

    • Jon Gabriel’s book might be helpful for you. A lot of it can be mental. I agree with Puddleduck and Aaron, too, though.

    • Here’s an interesting question, to put the effects of stress into perspective. Do you think someone would lose weight if they won the lottery? I think they would certainly get healthier, as long as they’re not brainwashed by some health regimen. But does that mean less weight?

      Also, it seems Matt is contradictory these days. I don’t know if he has a clear position. At times, he indicates that obesity is caused by too many calories, due to psychological stimuli. But an abundance of calories is what he suggests to raise metabolism. Personally, I never think too many calories is a problem. Getting fat may be unavoidable for some people, but what is truly unhealthy is depriving yourself of something that you want, long-term.

      • Most likely they will maintain the same weight regardless how much they win in the lottery it is possible that it might prevent future weight gain.

        • Hey Chief! missed you and wanted to say HELL O! xoxo Rhymes with Jello

    • That is exactly one of the things im battling with. Gutdysbiosis which makes it hard to trust oneself,yet it makes me ‘feel good’ for a while ,while simultaneously robbing me of nutrients/weakening immune system. Yet eating real food makes me so anxious or lethargic,i feel sluggish,dont want. To exercise or whatever. I still cant seem to bring myself to eat 3meals a day and doing the stuff i dream about bc of anxiety,so i keep going in this vicious cycle poisining my liver&health,delving myself into financial troubles etc.,anxious about having to gain&becoming fat again etc.
      At night i seem to be my most calmest,when i should actually go2bed,and feel like doing creative stuff and dreaming about the life id like to have…….and then the next day i unfortunately wake up and hell starts again…..

      • Hi, I have quite similar issues. Suffering major anxiety daily, and going on the GAPS diet made it a lot worse somehow. I’m also best in the evenings mentally, just when I need to sleep.
        Have you ever taken medication? I ask because, for me, a lot of my problems were caused by coming off an antidepressant med.

        • Years ago,I’ve had antidepressants for a short while but they messed me up even more,so I quit them. I actually found that my body doesn’t handle any kind of AB well.
          As a child I always already felt a natural repulsion towards Paracetamol etc.

    • “Tyler:
      I feel like we eat plenty of sugar, salt, sat fat, and starch”

      Saturated fats at least is a lot lower than in the past.

      U.S. Animal fat consumption

      Almost all crackers cookies and bread uses soybean oil or vegetable oil, very very few products are made with butter or beef tallow.

      In the entire store there might be only three or four kinds of cookies made with butter. And not a single kind of cracker.

      Until 1990, McDonalds fries were fried in beef tallow. In 1990 they switched to vegetable oil.

      • and also the demonization of coconut and palm oils in the 80’s … propaganda from the soybean and canola cartels… it used to be in many cookies and crackers, and, yummy beyond imaginings, on popcorn in movie theaters. People are very easy to convince.. just have some articles written by the experts, and everyone folds up. It’s unusual for someone to even know how to ask the right questions…. but you can start with “follow the money”… fluoride, vaccinations, pastuerization, etc, etc, etc…

  12. Idk buddy, get warm, eat what you crave whilst being mindful of inflammatory foods, do some liftin, some frisbee, whatever I guess. Maybe you’re not getting what you want because you haven’t actually figured out how to relax about it, or are impatient. Sometimes it really is about relaxing, seriously. I pushed my dysbiosis out of the way with tons of macaroons =P

    • Bob, I was curious to learn how many meals you eat in a day. Also, which are the inflammatory foods you talk about – is it pufas alone or more?

      • usually one big meal after work, but I’ll have what I want if I’m hungry. I drink gatorade powder stuff at work and snack on bugles or pretzels if I’m hungry. Sometimes customers bring in donuts, i’ll have that. Inflammatory foods, yeah, pufas, pork, idk. I wish peanut butter was a super food, I’d eat the shit out of it. Maybe even dairy can be inflammatory, but I love it so much…I still use acne medicine. I think the dirty conditions and constant sweating at work doesn’t help one freaking bit. I can use much less medicine in winter. I’m just trying to help, I don’t know all of the answers =( But I feel much better having what I want, HANDS DOWN #doitrealbig

  13. Best. Post. Ever.

  14. Matt/Rob, Is an ideal meal a combination of the 4 S’s or are they useful by themselves as well? The reason I ask is that some peatarians recommend a sugar solution or orange juice but what I am confused about is spiking blood glucose to high levels with sugar alone (without protein/fat) might be a bad idea? By the way what would be considered ideal blood glucose levels after a meal – sugar highs are definitely addictive but crashes are not !

    • I think Matt would say that it varies from person to person, and one’s cravings are usually a good sign of what you need more or less of. I know I crave starch a lot more than sugar, but a totally sugar-free diet doesn’t do me well either. So just trust your instincts. How much butter and maple syrup do you want on your pancakes? Put that much on.

      As for crashes- I know I don’t generally eat sugar by itself except after/during exercise, as a way to top up energy reserves. I do think that a healthy metabolism will have a better time managing those spikes, and will maintain a lower after meal blood glucose level. I don’t think it’s strictly necessary to always, always eat sugar paired with something, though it may help in many cases. No sure about ideal numbers- I remember Matt saying something like, when he experimented with enhancing his glucose clearance, he was spiking his levels to 100 or 120 or so after a high glycemic meal including some baked potatoes, and was back in the 60s or 70s within an hour or two. (Numbers are based on memory, so could be off- but that’s in the ballpark.)

    • Blood glucose usually spikes higher when it is combined with fat and protein than when it is ingested by itself. Still, I find combining everything in the way that it is the most palatable has the greatest pro-metabolic effect. Deleting any one of those elements usually results in greater coldness. But one of course could emphasis one of them singularly, like salt or sugar for example.

      • Thanks Matt and Rob.
        “Spiking his levels to 100 or 120 or so after a high glycemic meal including some baked potatoes, and was back in the 60s or 70s within an hour or two.”

        I have been googling to figure out what an optimal or even normal glucose fluctuation is and the above statement was quite a surprise ! Would love for either of you to do a post on this.

  15. Sugar
    Sat. Fat

    • Reminds me of another quote from Isak Dinesen: “The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea”

  16. Booze de-stresses me. Does that count as sugar? :D

    • Yes, Nicole, booze counts as sugar, as does sex :)

  17. On the subject of stress, I advise everybody to look at this lengthy documentary featuring Professor Robert Sapolsky, an expert on stress. He suggests that we can differentiate between different types of stress. The person who is on the top of a hierarchy and working hard will not be damaged by stress the way someone who is on the lower end of the hierarchy, so you’ve got three choices:

    1) Get to the top of the hierarchy

    2) Quit your corporate job and find fulfilling work

    3) Bring into being a socio-political system in which power is more evenly distributed.

      • Hey thomas That is a really good documentary your bringing up, watched it a while back and loved it. I think instead of getting to the top where you would be causing other people stress by the simple nature of beast, removing yourself from the hierarchy is a better option as that would reflect the non stressed out monkeys he studied after their bully system fell apart. People that usually get bullied still generate the same stress response once they are on the top due to how they approach daily life. Instead of evenly distributed power simply have nobody with power over others which is the real issue. This documentary is a must watch for anyone that doubts stress as the primary driver of obesity.

        • I think that power *over others* is an important point, and is in contrast with power *with others,* as in, conceptualizing power in collaboration more than by how many people I can boss around and issue ‘or else’ orders to.

          Ran Prieur pointed out the difference between constraint and coercion. People talk about both in terms of freedom or agency, but they mean different things. If I’m constrained, I want to do something, but can’t. If I’m coerced, I *don’t* want to do something, but am forced to. Ultimately constraint is probably important and valuable in a healthy society (and may promote creativity), but coercion creates the sort of (dis-)stress we’re talking about.

          • werrrd up Rob, it’s funny how people don’t automatically notice the difference. A study was done where they looked at people on the top of the corporate ladder and many of them possessed the same types of brains and personality traits as serial killers. Is it any wonder there is so much obesity and heath issues that are caused by stress when we create a system that rewards serial killer types that naturally enjoy abusing others and have no empathy.

          • Chief, I totally agree. I am for two of the options: getting out of the rat race and creating a society in which power is more evenly distributed. Like it or not, this is ultimately a political question. I am not talking about choosing between Democrats or Republicans, but something more radical.

          • I’ve never voted for just that reason. I agree it will take radical change and I’m already working on a quite radical project because of it.

          • Let me be radical with you radical (ninja turtle style) dudes!

          • Totally agree with Chief on all three points :)

            I’ve never voted either. I’ve never even registered to vote. And I agree with Chief and Thomas that it’s gonna take *radical* change.

            I too am working on a radical project in that respect. Been doing it for a long time offline and I’ve also recently brought it online. And it’s about to get way more radical… because things are about to get way more radical… in a really good way :)

            Maybe too radical for some, though. Be brave peeps. Open your minds. Open your hearts. And listen to your hearts. Look way way further outside the box. And you will see what millions around the world already know that the rest of humanity only need wake up to.

            Good news is, that’s exactly what’s been happening… more and more people are waking up in larger numbers every day all around the world. And that is part of the very radical changes we will be seeing all over the world! :)

          • Corena, it is encouraging to read what you say above. BTW, if you are 42 and look that good, then you must be doing something right. What is it? I am subscribing to your blog.

          • Please clue me in Thomas.

          • Tony, I am not sure what you want me to clue you in about. In any case, please see the above video as it is highly informative.
            However, maybe you are asking about the “political” thing. Well, how much time do you spend really doing what you want to do and how much time do you spend working to make a profit for other people or working to satisfy false needs produced by marketing and social pressures? How much power do you have in your workplace or your country?

            Now when you answer those questions, you will realize how you are getting screwed and how much all of that is a source of stress. If you’re like most Americans (assuming you are American, but it’s true for most of the industrialized world), you are working more than 40 hours a week. That does not include the usually long commute you have to work. Much of your free-time is going to be recuperating from the stress of work and commute. Of course, the guy who runs the company where you work thinks you are spoiled or, at best, has to compete in the marketplace, so he ships your job off to China so some poor Chinese woman can be paid next-to-nothing, worked nearly to death, making the crap they sell at Walmart. And now you will buy from Walmart because you are forced to work at a service job, because you lost your “good” job and don’t have the money to purchase from anywhere else.

            OK, so now you decide to go and vote for “change”, but all the candidates are bought into the above game. The one will tell you that all would be better if we would just let the free market do its thing. Of course the free market will send your “good job” to China because labor is cheap there. Then this same politician will whip up anti-foreign hysteria. The other party will give lip-service to protecting your job, but is basically bought into the same system. Either way, you’re screwed. If you bitch about it, you will get a response like “Who said life is fair” (comically uttered by John F. Kennedy, a guy born with a silver spoon in his mouth) or might be asked, “Why don’t you start your own business? (that way, you can screw other people over). So you can either buy into this, or start to think of other possible scenarios in which the rules of the game are changed.

          • Yes, exactly, the political thing and yes, I’m American. You echo my sentiments on this completely. You wrote:

            “So you can either buy into this, or start to think of other possible scenarios in which the rules of the game are changed.”

            I assume you already have, so again, please clue me in.

          • Thomas,
            This is so perfect and I agree with you on pretty much everything you said. I won’t be voting this year for those reasons (this is only the second election I can vote-in 2008
            I didn’t know any better). It just seems like we’re in way too deep to change anything at this point though, doesn’t it?

          • Stephaney, I agree with Thomas here too, and I will add, with regard to other possibilities in which the rules of the game are changed…

            For starters, forget the rules, don’t play the game. And look way further outside the box. Way beyond debates about politics, religions, hierarchies, the economy, education, careers, etc. Those debates just keep people inside the box – very intentionally by design.

            Radical change cannot happen if people are not willing to think radically :)

            Oh and, nope, we’re not in too deep. And it’s not too late! :)


          • Thomas/Chiefrok
            Regarding Sapolsky and dominance hierarchies – humans are born with a tendency to form them – politically I don’t see a possible solution that will prevent that tendency to hierachize to reassert itself in the future.

            Culturally speaking however I believe there is a solution, a very old set of concepts that are oddly alien to the modern mind – namely humility and gratitude. Humans are not exactly animals and humility and gratitude are the built in tools for individuals and societies to pull themselves out of pathological hierarchies. This is the fourth choice nobody talks about – the thing missing IMHO.

            I think its also worth pointing out that as screwed up as our society seems – by global and historical standards, it is pretty much better than it has ever been. Not all needs (i.e. work) are illegitimate, its very possible to make high salary on only 40 hours a week (I do it), not all jobs are at risk of outsourcing – not to mention all the wonderful things about modern life – the freedom, the conveniences, the ability to travel, the internet, etc, etc.

            I really sympathize with those who criticize the modern west and I don’t deny the problems pointed out – however it does seem those criticisms often get a bit over the top.

          • Most likely the reason anyone can make a high salary is because someone else, or several elses, are making way less than what their working energy is worth. I might be wrong in your case specifically, but work through the chain and see where you are.

            This is what prevents me from giving any serious thought to making a career. It just doesn’t thrill me to think I might be the one on the top, while others are at the bottom.

            Of course there are benefits to modern life, any system built on oppression comes with substantial benefits to the few.

            But conveniences rarely come with genuine, lasting satisfaction. It’s not in our nature.

          • Josefina
            Hiearchies and businesses, just like individuals are not necessarily good or bad. Likewise making a low wage isn’t necessarily bad – it depends upon the context.

            A large percentage of Americans live very comfortably – some don’t. The (somewhat politically incorrect) reality of the disparity is mostly due to a combination of luck, talent, skills and work ethic. You attribute it to oppression which is incorrect and insults a lot of people. Now of course it is true there people who make a lot of money and don’t deserve it – or do more damage than good, but that is more the exeception than the rule. Unfortunately it is becoming less the exception, but my point still stands. You could just as easily say that our system is based upon freedom and opportunity or hard work and ingenuity as to say it is based upon oppression (which is an extremely tenuous statement at best).

            I expect one of the biggest factors causing unemployment now is the rise of productivity and automation. It requires fewer workers to do more. It is the low skill jobs that are going first. This means unfortunately that people lack the talent and drive to do better will struggle. This is a huge problem that is only going to get worse, but fortunately we are far from the point where you can say most people that do well are “Oppressors”.

            Further I think a lot of people tend to underestimate how good even the lower classes in the west have compared to the historical norm. Its all in how you look at it. It really is possible to get rich quick:

          • In,

            That automation you talk about is one of the earlier justifications for technology- it will free our labor- we can do what we please! Didn’t work out that way, and as you said, it just meant that either or both of the following happened: we just produced more by working the same number of hours more efficiently, and/or people lost their jobs.

            One solution proposed: a guaranteed basic income! Every individual gets an amount of money they can live comfortably (though not lavishly) on, and the rest of the entitlement system gets dismantled. What happens we people aren’t coerced into shitty jobs anymore? Who knows?! But my guess is, after a while of detoxing from no longer being forced to work, people can start to tap into their own innate creativity and actually contribute by doing stuff they like to do. And if that happens, who knows what sort of world we create?

            It’s the sort of wacky and insane idea that might be considered self-evident in century or two, like abolition or universal suffrage.

          • Rob
            I’m totally down with that idea. I’ve heard others call it a “citizen’s wage”. The idea doesn’t seem to be in the public consciousness at this moment, but lets spread the word!

            The beauty of it is it avoids the corruption caused from doling out handouts unequally while providing some level of a social safety net for everyone – it also provides an incentive for responsibility.. I don’t know how well it would work in practice of course, but its gotta be better than what we got now.

          • I know some people that are getting SSI or whatever the hell, and can definitely still work. They’re taking advantage. Just like chicks having kids on purpose to get more money and food assistance. What percentage of the population you guys think would do that, at first, at least. I guess that’s what the Detox is about. Goodness, that’d be interesting…But ya, citizens wage sounds pretty cool, wonder what I’d do then…I’m about to watch that rich video too. Are they gonna tell me to just imagine my water is chocolate milk and everything will be great? Sweet!

          • Robster, yes! You are on the right track. But no need for money at all. Money is what got this world in such a mess to begin with. Money was a sham disguised as a necessity. The power-tool that enslaved Humanity. Money is not necessary. Never was :)

            And it won’t take a century for Humanity to figure that out. That moment of truth is upon us now. Millions already know and more and more wake up around the world every day… it’s going viral :)

          • Corena,

            I hear you, but I’m not convinced that money is what got us into this mess, though I’m no fan of it. Gift economy, for the win, whoo! I just always have a bit of suspicion when *anything* is proposed as a root cause, because that usually is code for “stop thinking,” as in, we know the answer now- no need to keep looking.

            Charles Eisenstein wrote a book called ‘Sacred Economics’ and has some interesting ideas about how money might be used to more accurately reflect a connected and ecological way of life. He talks about things like negative interest, in which the longer you hold onto money, they less valuable it becomes (since movement of this chi is the lifeblood of an economy, and damming it up so it can become larger undermines the point of economic exchange). He also talks about local currencies and de-monetizing our needs. Groovy.

            Fun fact: people imagine that barter economies came between gift economies and money economies. Not true! No sustaining barter economies have ever been observed, and barter seems to be a patch meant to re-personalize the lost connection that happens when we use cash, and get a little of that original gift economy flavor back in. as in, we know the answer now- no need to keep looking.

            Charles Eisenstein wrote a book called

          • Hey Rob :)

            Clarification: Didn’t mean to imply that money was *the* root cause of the mess. Just a tool that was used and exploited, among many. Money clearly being one of the most powerful of them. TV and mainstream media being strong contenders.

            So not saying money is *the* answer/cause and you can stop looking now. No way! Keep looking! Way beyond money, politics, religions, the economy, education, careers, debt, etc. – those being some of the other tools that were used in the same vein.

            Again, those *debates* just keep people entrapped inside the box – as was the intention. But none of those are the *root* cause of the mess. There is one, though. And everyone will figure it out in their own time, at their own pace. Some sooner than others. And that’s okay.

            So, absolutely, keep looking! The truth is out there in the open for all who look way outside the box and beyond mainstream media. And more truth is coming. It will soon become so out in the open that even mainstream media (and those who control it) can suppress nor ignore it any longer.

            Oh and barter systems? They too are a closed-ended system. That’s why they don’t work either.

            I will be regularly sharing on my blog what does work and how and why. BTW, I am not selling anything. Only sharing :)

          • Hey Corena,

            I jive and figured we’d be on the same page. Just wanted to throw that out there for posterity- haha.

            Look forward to your thoughts on barter systems. Will keep an eye on your blog- glad it’s up.


          • Rob,

            I figured as much too :)
            But I could see why my earlier comment needed clarification – thanks to your great points. And this is a great example of why (I feel) live real time discussion is way better than this form of discussion. Which is why I hesitated to do a blog. But I’m looking into webinar-ing and posting videos of real discussions I do offline, maybe.

            And speaking of clarification, no, not barter systems. Haha :)

            Reminder, I wrote:
            “Oh and barter systems? They too are a closed-ended system. That’s why they don’t work either.”

            One more thing. I meant to say this before…

            I adore Einstein and have an enormous amount of love and respect for him and his work. But (and I will explain why) using any form of money/currency (a middle man) is counter-productive and counter-intuitive. Even money that depreciates or expires like vouchers or coupons. Although, I agree, they are way much better ideas than our current economic system. Ultimately, money devalues everything. Especially people.

            I’m workin’ on some posts and things for *sharing* an even better way :)

            Hint: BTW, my comments/writings (intentionally) often have more clues than answers. Why? Because when people figure things out for themselves they get more out of it. They “get it” more. And not everything resonates the same with everyone, at the same pace. So I tend to nudge people in relevant directions and let them do the rest. Using their own internal tools of discernment, further investigation, and such.

            You know, like you said, so peeps don’t “stop thinking” :)

          • Well since we are talking about politics, radical change, and some of the top dogs having the same profile as serial killers;
            I will post a link to this book below that a man in my homeschool group has written.
            In it he talks about this stuff;
            and has a section on psychopaths- and how some of the top people in power are true psychopaths (same as serial killers)- cold emotionless beings who
            dont emphathize with humanity and are in it for power/money or whatever. And basically, will not be caring a jot for the common man!

            The first edition of my first book is now available for free as a PDF:

            Global October – What Sustainable Development *Really* Means For You
            64 pages
            by Stephen Blackheath

            The book explains that Sustainable Development is not an environmental
            movement, but a political and economic policy that has nothing to do with the environment, but everything to do with an unprecedented
            expansion and centralization of global power.
            Enjoy, and please let anyone know who you think might be interested.

          • I’m half way finished. I didn’t think I’d be spending my saturady evening reading some shit like this. I’ve seen Loose Change, I’ve seen the Zeitgeist, I know who Alex Jones is, I know who Michael Rupert is, these things don’t surprise me, I just don’t want to buy into the whole inevitability stuff. Good things and bad things are happening at the same time. I can’t believe schools are drug testing kids, it’s so fucked up..right? The high school in my town now doesn’t allow guys to wear blue jeans. It’s too casual for a “business environment” and I live in Elyria, Ohio LOL. Since when do these fuck sticks think the high school is private.

          • I dont like to buy into the whole inevitablility thing either.
            I would like to think enough people thinking on higher levels, wanting bring in more positivity on this earth, and living freer lives out of the matrix,
            will help to create change and work against the negatives that exist out there!
            Seen Zeitgeist too..

  18. I think the biggest cause of stress in our lives is that they aren’t really all that stressful. Not so long ago, i.e if you were my grandmother as they say, you probably didn’t have that much food, very few options in life, you were big into the rationing (Ireland was a poor poor place not that long ago. Well a while ago, but not centuries ago.) Things had to be got on with as they say. If you told my grandmother’s generation that you were worried about whether your job was fulfilling or if your phone was cool enough (I can tell you now mine is not)or if people liked you she’d give you a clip on the ear, bless her. Mollycoddling, too many options and not enough things to really care about are the young people’s problems she always said. Not the most resilient. And that’s what dealing with stress is all about. We also love the old self pity, so I’m not giving out about these things, just saying that we’re all a bunch of babies. Also that Claire Weekes book is really very very good. Life saving good. That and Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates. Great passages about stress, depression and naval gazing

    • Niamh:
      “if you were my grandmother as they say, you probably didn’t have that much food,”

      More of a percentage of the population were farmers in the past. If you are a farmer you grow food and sell it for cash to have an income. Crops are worth very little and you have have to sell many tons of crops to earn a living. A farmer might be destitute because grain prices are down and his silo full of tons of wheat is worthless. Also he could have a large garden and be eating a huge quantity of vegetables (compared to modern people).

    • Chronic unrecognized malnutrition and the resulting myriad of illnesses is incredibly stressful and lower resiliency to all sorts of minor annoyances. It’s hard not to have a pity parade when your body and mind are so worn down. It may be accurate that acute stress helps put things in perspective, but I don’t think it is a helpful strategy to individuals who are overwhelmed by chronic stress.

      • Indeed. Sometimes when I am acutely stressed I often go into “freeze” mode and cannot take any action, or I dissociate. It really depends on the situation.

  19. So, Matt, what you’re saying is that I’m going to live to 100 because I went to bed at 9:30 and got up at 7:00; ate butter-fried eggs with salt, a pile of white rice and a medium helping of fresh greens with coconut oil for breakfast; ate some fish crusted with coconut & rice flour on more rice, plus yogurt, banana, and dates for lunch; and am planning to go home and work out, walk my dog, eat another nutritious, hearty meal, then sleep (hopefully after getting laid) for nine or ten more hours?

    I should be immortal, right? Right? :D

    Seriously though, I’ve learned a ton from you since I’ve started following this blog, so keep it up! I’ve been hoping for a post or posts that sums up your current philosophy semi-concisely, which is what you seem to be doing here. Cheers.

    • Sounds like a great plan to me! Long, healthy life to you, my friend!

  20. I used to have the anxiety type stress issues too. But they disappeared when I upped carb intake to 400 to 500 grams per day of mostly sugar.. Sleep issues also disappeared. Lost weight in the long too.

  21. Uh, no any proselytizing, but I started trancedental meditation a year ago
    for various reasons including post addiction depression and anxiety and
    the sh.t works. Once you get the strange stuff and the loonies that seem
    To have part in any spiritual process out of the equation, it comes to simple act
    of doing your self a pleasure once or twice a day. I can shamelessly compare it to
    masturbation, cup of coffee in the morning or piece of cake.. Maybe the fact that there is No
    breathing, twisted legs pose and concentration demanded help to get use to it
    and look upon as pleasant act of relaxation. Ah, and let me not forget to tell you
    that my last anxiety crise( nuke in the plexus) dates from 10 months.
    most probably will do that till the end of my
    life, all that coming from a person that strongly dislike any mental or physical
    efforts based on daily or else repetition. Cheers!

  22. Thanks for sharing such a valuable information. It’s really amazing.
    nice sharing it is helpful me…

  23. Matt, what do you think about the effects of sugar on dopamine levels? Could this be why eating sugary foods helps stress?

    Personally, I have been a sugar addict for years. Chocolate has always been my “go to” food when I am depressed or stressed in some way. It makes me feel so much better. And it’s why going low-carb caused me tons of anxiety and made me feel worse.
    But I don’t like being addicted to it. I need to work on getting my dopamine fix from other sources.

    • That’s funny. I love how people say they are addicted to sugar and then mention a food that is more than 50% fat with caffeine, theobromine, and phenylethlyamine in it – then blame it all on sugar. Try eating 500 grams of sugar per and you’ll find it’s not addictive or even enjoyable. Plus, addictions will always remain if you are not properly nourishing yourself with an abundance of all the things your body wants and needs.

      • Was thinkin’ the same thing. So true.

        And you need more than food to properly *nourish* yourself :)
        Addictions aren’t just about insufficient or imbalance of nutrients. Addictions (and other psychological symptoms) will remain even if your body gets sufficient nutrition… if you are not properly nourishing yourself with an abundance of ALL the things your body wants and needs. Hence common psychological symptoms such as addictions abound. It’s usually not about food.

        PC, your answer is in your own comment above :)

      • I love chocolate because it has all that shit in it. And Sugar.

  24. I spoke to you about a month ago, Matt, and have been following your advice by adding carbs and sugar back into my diet (already had the salt and fat thing down). I feel awful. I mean, really truly awful…and my temps haven’t risen much at all. They are a bit higher at night (around 97.2) but my morning temp is still hovering between 95.4 and 96.2. I’m also now constipated, tired, and good Lord am I moody. I’ve been eating ice cream every day and have added back wheat (since I have discovered I don’t react to Einkorn).
    I also started giving my daughter more sugar and starch since she had very low temps (she’s 7) as well. Overnight she went from being a sweet natured, delightful child to a fifteen year old. Moody, catty, mean to her sisters, crying over everything…It’s been a few weeks and I’m seriously considering never giving her anything with sugar again! Help, please, because I don’t think this is working for me.

    • why dont you just focus on starch (white wheat, rice) and saturated animal protein/fat. maybe it would be better to go easier on the fructose soft drinks for now, as has certainly been the case for me. I stick to some fruit for that. Most processed sucrose-foods are usually filled to the brim with vegetable oils and other crap which stresses you out

  25. seriously suggest using medicines to fix metabolism instead of only food. you’re just piling on the damage continuing the junky way.

  26. I’ve never had a big appetite. Except for briefly in my 20s, I haven’t binged much or had cravings. My temperature I suspect has also always been pretty low…..Ugh, I just think of how fat I felt when I went through the pizza and cookie phase a few years ago. Once a week I ordered a pastry or pizza. I really felt bad about it, and towards the end got in to fasting and interval training to try to reduce the “damage”. I can’t imagine having to do that again, just to raise my temperature. I don’t think I can do it either, since I’m pushing a size 2; people are just so judgemental. I don’t even look like I work out.

  27. Hey I have a question if anyone cares to weigh in (vague pun semi-intended)… I have been eating to appetite for close to 2 years now, put on loads of weight, lost some of that weight, and raised my average temperature around 2 degrees celcius; I’ve stopped measuring and weighing etc now but my body definitely is much happier. Anyway my question is, does anyone know how I can improve my digestion? I’m just really terrible at digesting food! I usually can’t eat more than a small amount without getting bloated & uncomfortable, and it’s much worse in the evenings. Foods that I have the least trouble with are things like white rice and yoghurt. Anything else and it’s just kind of unpleasant. I still try really hard to eat vegetables but I a finding myself just veering more often toward easy foods like chocolate and rice-based things because it’s so hard to digest pretty much everything else! Has anyone had a similar experience that they’ve improved and can give me the benefit of their knowledge? I’m starting to get frustrated that I feel like so much has improved but this one thing is still SO bad!

  28. I would love to know too as I have had huge improvements in just about every area but

  29. Hi Matt,
    In regards to relieving mental/emotional stress; have you had any experience with nootropics? I’ve done some research and quite a few them have the potential to improve mood and cognition without being a stimulant. Just wondering if you had any thoughts or experience with this sort if stuff.




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