Stress vs. Stress Response

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The hot topic at 180 these days is stress. But before we continue with the conversation, I think some important groundwork needs to be laid down. Many of us here have had some various form of stress undermine our health, be it an extreme diet, a traumatic event, poor nutrition, endurance exercise, calorie restriction, sleep loss, a job that we hate, or what have you. Many more of us have had stress in the form of food allergy and sensitivity, other allergies and sensitivities, chronic illness, and so on (Read more about some of these issues Diet Recovery).

There’s no doubt that the number of things we can encounter in today’s world that trigger a decline in health are endless. But a huge question remains. Is it “X” trigger of our symptoms that is the problem, or is there something going on at a deeper level that makes us respond to various stressors in an exaggerated way? In other words, is the root problem STRESS itself, or our RESPONSE to stress? Here are some brain teasers that may help us to better answer that question.

Pottenger’s Cats

In my early writing I discussed Pottenger’s Cats quite frequently. It’s been a while since I’ve brought these kitties up, but like Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery (who, other than the bad teeth is really who I try to emulate most in life), “I never forget a pussy… Cat.”

Pottenger’s Cats, when fed a nutritious whole foods diet of suitable, uncooked foods including mostly meat and milk, had excellent health and were able to produce litters of strong and equally-healthy kittens. However, a side-by-side comparison of those fed only cooked foods, which has been hypothesized by some to have damaged the amino acid Taurine and caused a deficiency (it could have been the heated lactose, it could have been the denatured proteins in milk, it could have been inability to assimilate the nutrients in cooked milk, or any number of things), revealed that the subsequent generation was all kinds of messed up. While it’s incredibly fascinating that they developed skeletal and facial deformation, which made their teeth crowded just like a modern human’s post-refined foods era, it is of greater interest to our conversation that they developed ALLERGIES.

To me, allergies epitomize what I mean by the stress RESPONSE, and not the STRESS being the root of the problem. In the comment thread on the last post we heard from people with an allergic reaction to everything from cat fur (guilty) to, get this… WATER! There are people with an allergic reaction to sunlight as well. It doesn’t get much more benign than water and sunshine. Fortunately, this allergic reaction to water has been overcome with super anal nutrition (this just means strict avoidance of refined and processed foods – not to be confused with the South Park episode where a new fad emerges in which everyone starts ingesting all their food rectally).

This also speaks volumes about why I generally try to discredit those who blame gluten or lectins or salicylates or nightshade vegetables or dairy or starch or cooked meat or fiber or various carcinogens or whatever for bringing about the demise of mankind. Individual food sensitivities usually spark the quest to unearth all the dirt and grime of the offender, and it’s easy to find supporting evidence for or against any known food these days (for example, one could easily formulate a one-sided counter argument championing Wheat as the ultimate food for digestive health, type 2 diabetes prevention, and more).

I’ve fallen into that trap before, as drinking water once gave me indigestion and I started telling people to stop drinking it while quoting other authors who seemed to have the same problem I did (Aajonus Vonderplanitz and Konstantin Monastyrsky). As character Nick Rivers (Val Kilmer) sang in the movie Top Secret, “How silly can ya get?”

And so, from Pottenger’s experiments, it appears to be that the stress response, and not a particular stressor per se, plays a more primary role in health. This perversion of the stress response looks like it can be most attributed to a general degeneration process, however, keep in mind that there was something about the diet – either presence of some toxic or indigestible substance and/or nutrient deficiency that was a stressor causing the degenerative process itself. Again, we are stuck with a little bit of a chicken or egg question.

Arachidonic Acid

Switching gears for a moment here, we have another leading contender for the perversion of the stress response – arachidonic acid (AA). As a reminder, arachidonic acid is a polyunsaturated fat that is either ingested directly through food (like eggs and liver, a minor source of total AA in the modern world) or is converted from linoleic acid (omega 6) found in greatest abundance in nuts, seeds, and vegetable oil (the primary source of modern AA).

AA is a wildly unstable and inflammatory molecule, and its presence in excessive amounts causes a greater production of the most harmful and vicious inflammatory chemicals produced by the body – such as Interleukin-6 and TNF-Alpha (both of which have very strong ties to all inflammatory conditions from asthma and arthritis to heart disease and obesity).

In fact, the entire series of Zone books by Barry Sears is a long-winded argument and strategy for reducing cellular levels of AA, which he labeled in one of his more recent ramblings, “toxic fat.” Dr. William Lands has dedicated his entire career to lipid research and decided that AA, and therefore omega 6 polyunsaturated fat consumption, is basically the root cause of most modern disease epidemics. Ray Peat and Joe Blair, some of my favorite researchers, have come to similar conclusions and put greater emphasis on reducing AA in the body than on any other nutritional issue. Russ Farris, another of my favorite researchers feels that nearly all health problems can be traced to the production of these first line inflammatory molecules like IL-6, but has somehow failed to make the connection between omega 6 ingestion, AA, and these molecules.

This is the strongest theory I’ve come across in support of the belief that it’s not necessarily the stress your body is exposed to – be it infections, carcinogens and other environmental toxins, potential allergens, psychological stress, injury and other physical stressors, etc., but your body’s reaction to that stress that counts. And the severity of that reaction is believed to be entirely related to the fatty acids present in the cells themselves.

If overloaded with AA, the response to stress is overzealous. If overloaded with omega 3 instead, the response is much less dramatic – however there may be some serious health concerns with having your cells overloaded with omega 3 as well, and in those with these fatty acids in balance, like in the Japanese, there is certainly no shortage of stroke, cancer, autoimmune disease, and other inflammation-related illnesses. But there’s no doubt that omega 3 can displace and blunt the AA overload problem, which is why there is so much hype surrounding fish oil these days.

Ray Peat and Joe Blair feel like the best route to take is to not be overloaded in either omega 6 or omega 3, but consume the minimum of ALL polyunsaturated fats – triggering the production of a different and less explosive fatty acid to take the place of these seemingly-toxic ones. This internally-generated fat is called Mead Acid.

This all sounds amazing in theory. Only problem is, I have personally reduced my polyunsaturated fat intake to a minimum for an entire year now without a reduction in inflammation, pain, sensitivity to allergens, etc. My suspicion is that this theory is missing something. Then again, the process of overcoming AA overload is very slow. It took a century for the cells of Americans to get to this point of imbalance, and it takes several years of a very diligent approach to undo it – and one can’t expect to ever really feel a dramatic change at any point during the process.

Still, when I’m loaded up with pain killers like Advil that shut down the production of AA-derived eicosanoids, any aches and pains I have ever dealt with instantly vanish and activities that normally worsen or even cause the pain (like running) do not seem to do any damage. I used to load up on Advil every day before football practice from age 14 to 18. Without it I could barely walk due to the shin-splint like pains below my calf muscles, but with it I felt no pain during or following practice even after the Advil wore off. So I do KNOW that these molecules are involved with many problems, and maintain faith that avoiding polyunsaturated fat for many years will help.

But when we think back to Pottenger’s Cats, all of whom had the same fatty acid composition in their diets, it’s hard to look at the overall issue of stress overreaction as one that solely resides on the shoulders of cellular fatty acid composition. I also can’t deny overcoming my lifelong seasonal allergies and drastically improving chronic back pain that I had dealt with since I was a teenager while eating a considerable amount of nuts – especially cashews, almonds, and pumpkin seeds (all very high in omega 6), in my first whole foods nutritional bombardment trial back in early 2004.


The biggest glitch in the theory that STRESS is the cause of disease, as opposed to the body’s REACTION to stress, is my personal dealings with Layla as discussed in THIS OLD POST, and in recent comments.

Layla overthrows many of our modern stress theories because her life was the most stressful of anyone I’ve ever met, yet her health is also the best of anyone I’ve ever met.

She actually provides incredible insight into the argument of stress vs. nutrition in a battle of importance, as her parents’ nutrition, as well as hers during the formative years of her life, was the best of anyone I’ve ever met personally. Her facial development, with 32 teeth in perfect alignment (no dentists, orthodontists, toothbrushes, or toothpaste required) and broad nostrils just as Weston A. Price described, is a testament to that nutritional excellence. When a person with the best health you know had the best nutrition, and the most stressful life, that is one hell of a check mark in the Nutrition box.

Layla was raped and beaten over 100 times before the age of 10. When she was still a young kid war broke out in Somalia and she spent six months on the run with her family. The sound of bombs and gunshots trailed slowly behind them, leaving them in a constant state of fear. They were sleep-deprived, food-deprived, over-stressed, and over-exercised. Her mother was nursing a child the whole time (successfully) while subsisting off of mostly powdered milk. Traumas unimaginable to us were the daily norm, including seeing lions scavenging on human remains daily, and the constant fear that if she were to succumb to exhaustion, a starving person would cut her throat and drink her blood for nourishment (which was rumored to be common). This isn’t even the half of it. She also spent over a year in isolation, separated from her family, traveling thousands of miles by foot and subsisting primarily off of nuts and berries. This tale of trauma goes on and on and on I assure you.

Yet, Layla today runs 100 miles per week. She has less than 10% body fat. She drinks blue Powerade and eats boxed breakfast cereals and glutinous goodies and cooks her food in vegetable oil. Yet, she has never had a menstrual irregularity or negative menstrual symptom, can sleep for 2 hours and not be tired the next day, has no major or even minor health complaints… you get the picture. While the rest of us become allergic to frickin’ water or have all our teeth rot out and wheeze n’ sneeze every day of our lives with 248 food sensitivities from eating a mediocre diet and having to study hard for exams, or that one moron-a-thon we were dumb enough to run, or having an adult fondle us inappropriately a few times when we were a kid, or developing a life-threatening autoimmune disease from petting a cat with a retrovirus, she thrives.


The bottom line is that we are all a pretty sorry lot of degenerates, and poor NUTRITION, not exposure to STRESS – including infections, emotional traumas, overexertion, lack of food, and so on, is the ROOT CAUSE of the health circumstances many of us have found ourselves in.

But a strange twist is that exposure to STRESSORS is now a much more powerful cause of disease than poor nutrition, as it is much more of an immediate threat to our health. For example, a person I know who just completed a moron-a-thon 10 days ago, has had a fever consistently for 10 days and has the first cold sore breakout in a year, which the doctor described as “the worst case I’ve ever seen.” 12 cold sores in total covering the mouth, and even breaking out on the nose and in the ear. More marathons for this person and autoimmune disease, allergy, infertility, bone loss, weight gain, and god knows what else will follow.

I think this strange phenomenon is exactly why so many of us have decimated our health much more on highly restricted diets like vegan or low-carb, doing too much endurance exercise, restricting calories, staying out partying too late, studying too hard, dealing with the loss of a loved one or traumatic event, and so forth than we ever could have just eating white flour and white sugar till the cows came home while otherwise taking great care of ourselves.

Like Paula said in a comment on the last post, all the nutritious food in the world couldn’t counter the stress of repeatedly ingesting gluten, as she is a diagnosed Celiac.

The grand summary is basically that poor nutrition got us into this mess, and while it’s the only thing that will take us back to health collectively, there are far greater pressing and more imminent concerns on an individual basis than diet.

A good analogy would be that of lighting a house on fire by playing with matches. The fire department shows up and gives you a lengthy lecture about how you shouldn’t play with matches, and that’s how fires get started. The appropriate response to that would be…

“Thanks for the tip jagoff, but if you haven’t noticed my frickin’ house is on fire. Can you please help me put out the flames before we have a discussion about how it got started?”
And so the stress conversation will continue. I certainly continue to stand by RRARF, an anti-stress, nutritionally-outstanding strategy that makes a great starting point for those with health problems of all kinds – particularly for those who developed health problems on a superficial quest to find their abs or achieve eternal youth based on the advice of one of the thousands of health authors and bloggers out there.



  1. I gots 32 teeth … :)

    if there is a cult like following for AV I'm surprised the rectal feasting never caught on.

  2. Great distinction, and an interesting perspective on stress.

    I know that my stress tolerance has increased since I began eating better. One night of bad sleep doesn't kill me anymore, and I can handle small problems without losing my cool (most of the time), but overall I still seem to have a low threshold for stress. This kinda bugs me, because on some level I'd prefer to be superwoman when it comes to stress if at all possible. Sometimes I feel like I have to treat myself with kid gloves and that's definitely not where I want to be in the long term.

  3. love the last 5 or so posts matt,

    I was thinkin about 2 things, first the stresses layla went through were of the acute type, scared of a lion and then a more pressing issue takes your mind off of it such as finding food. I've been through some crazy shit/life threatening stress growing up mostly ages 12 -16 and i handled those stresses great .. it actually had me at my slimmest strong and fastest ….then fast forward to age 19 running 5 businesses and things like traffic, angry customers and the rest of the shit that goes with post industrial life caused me to get fatter by the minute, hair coming out in the shower in clumps, and a container of anti acids in my pocket everywhere i went. which all reversed changing diet and lifestyle so it all depends.

    second thing is everything we eat causes inflammation as the body perceives it as a foreign invader until it goes through all the processing. my point is what if the white stuff pufas etc is actually causing stress internally which comes back to the root causes being stress and technically not a lack of nutrition. this would explain why vitamin deprived junk food lovers get away with not eating everything they require. Don't get me wrong I do strongly see the connection of physical degeneration because of DNA not replicating properly without certain key elements and what not , just saying something that pops in my head as always peace

  4. i have 31 teeth :(

  5. Thanks for the detailed post Matt.

    Hopefully you can come up with some sort of formula and put in a pill to solve all of this.


  6. I have a friend who is genetically blessed just like Layla. Most of his life he ate the SAD and he recently became vegetarian. He smokes (weed) and drinks and hardly exercises, but he still has naturally straight and white teeth, perfect vision, thick-as-fur hair, natural V-shape muscular build. He claims he never gets sick and has no health problems. He's got some semi-recent Native American ancestry so maybe that's where his health carried over from.

    I say he's genetically-blessed, but there must be some sort of very short term genetic heritage that is strongly based on nutrition, where – like Layla – if your ancestors even just a few generations back had great health and great nutrition, you will be immune to affects of poor nutrition and environmental stressors.

    But it may only last for a generation or two, because in your original Layla post you describe how her children, on the SAD, are having the standard American health problems. So presumably her ancestors had great health for many generations time and then she used up the last of the nutritional-genetic reserves so to speak. So after one generation it's gone! Maybe for some it lasts longer.

    I'm afraid that my friend will end up bestowing the same fate on his kids or his kids' kids because of his poor nutrition now.

    Unfortunately, it may be possible that those with poor health are doomed to suffer for the sins of their fathers (and mothers) and even perfect nutritional and lifestyle habits will not cure everything.

    But! On a happier note, we will just have to wait and see if the trend can be reversed and maybe all of this effort we are putting in to getting healthy will save our children even if it won't save us.

  7. Chief, I think Layla had both acute and chronic stress. If you read the earlier article it sounds like food was not always plentiful growing up. And she was on the run for her life for months not days. Acute stress accumulated over months would equal chronic stress. I think PTSD is one of those things that works out as a chronic stress over time. And then again, some people go through trauma and don't get PTSD.

    Also, I think Matt's point is that it took us many generations of poor nutrition to become the flimsy, hot house flowers that we are. Layla's kids will probably be fine.

  8. Re-reading my post… (what? doesn't everyone do that?) I just noticed "her children on the SAD are having the standard American health problems"

    How bout coining a new acronym and saying that they, on the SAD (standard american diet) have the SAHP (standard american health problems) or have SAH (standard american health) !

  9. chris,
    good health among natives is actually quite rare unless they were more isolated than the average and stayed more traditonal. terrible living conditions and alot of starvation due to the shittty food rations and being pushed to un-farmable lands stuff like that.

    lots of crooked teeth diabetes and a host of other junk on most rezs.

  10. I do think eating well can help a lot. This last year has been majorly stressful for me, probably the most stressful year of my life – starting with my dad dying, both my dogs dying, squabbling with my sisters about my dad's estate, getting laid from from my job of many years, trying to get my house ready to put on the market to move out of state as I can no longer afford to pay my mortgage and taxes, etc etc.

    And yet through it all I've felt pretty good, pretty upbeat, and have not been sick in over two years. And it was 2 years ago that I made a strong commitment to eat "real food" – and no (or unavoidably minimal amounts) of sugar, high-PUFA oils, wheat. Modern hybridized high-processed wheat does do nasty stuff to me, and I feel depressed and down, and suffer all sort of intestinal distress when I eat it.

    But there are lots of alternatives which I feel are much healthier and which I still feel great when I have. I mean I'm still probably pretty wrecked. Hard to undo a lifetime of following the SAD. But I keep thinking each day has to be better.

  11. Oh, sorry, I rer-read the old article and see that my last post was wrong. Layla's kids do have all the typical American problems.

  12. Jenny ,
    I did not assume layla only had difficulty finding food for days …I have been there just like her in the crazy shit. I was never raped but savagely beaten more than 30 times with bats, police batons and all kinds of crazy shit. Friends of mind have died violently before my eyes. police have put me on the edge of a highway with no coat in 40 below weather. I've been near death on numerous occasions. I've been In a strange big city as a teenager having to steal food for months. The stress never became chronic it was just repeating acute stress. I've been face to face with animals that could easily eat me often none of it compared to (for me personally) the chronic stress I encountered later in life.

    Ill take standing 3 feet from a grizzle over a weeks worth of traffic any day.

  13. Well, maybe we are arguing semantics, but I would say you having to have repeat acute stresses every day for months would accumulate to be chronic stress.

  14. Good stuff, Matt. I agree 100%. Your piece about Layla reminds of a post I was working on a while back, called "Lost boys Of Sudan: Stressful Life, Hardy Boys." I arrive at the same conclusion as you, although my conclusions were drawn from a documentary I watched where I was constantly astounded that these men who suffered the loss of their entire families appeared to have absolutely no emotional baggage.

    They also adapted incredibly well to a new environment when they came to the US. From Sudan to the USA is quite a change, and they are able to adjust to the traffic, abrasive people, and ridiculous hours of work. Just hearing them tell their horrifying stories of the mass genocide of their people with such a level of detachment and ease is almost unsettling for a Westerner like myself — especially since I work therapeutically with addicts and alcoholics in the wilderness and am confronted with intense, poorly self-managed human emotion on a daily basis.

    I am astounded by the hardiness of people like the Lost Boys who are of a more pure, less degenerated genetic stock. I think it's important to understand the differences of such people to both take a more compassionate approach to our own health and to acknowledge what true health looks like so we can work to provide our kids with opportunity to live a healthy, hardy life.

  15. "We are all a pretty sorry lot of degenerates and poor NUTRITION, not exposure to STRESS is the ROOT CAUSE"

    Hilarious and true.

    But a part of the problem in diagnosing these problems and experimenting with nutritional cures is the fact that – to varying degrees – your health is not just determined by your nutrition, it was also determined by your parents' nutrition and their parents and their parents.

    My Nutritional Heritage Hypothesis is this:

    If it's true that (like the case of Layla):

    If your recent ancestors had good nutrition / health that grants you some immunity regardless of your poor health habits.

    Then the opposite is probably true:

    If your recent ancestors had poor nutrition / health that gives you some susceptibility regardless of your good health habits.

    That would explain why Matt could reduce or eliminate omega-6, but still have some allergies and inflammation. It could be that it just takes time to feel the full affects of good nutrition, but it could also be that it won't make a difference because it was pre-determined by his nutritional heritage. (Sorry Matt, let's hope that in this case it's not pre-determined, it's just a matter of time – I have allergies too and it's a shame cause I think cats are awesome little Zen masters.)

    It would be nice if healthy nutrition could reverse all our poor health factors. But for example, I believe it's true that a good diet alone can help prevent tooth decay, but I don't expect it will widen my dental arch and give me my wisdom teeth. But my diet might do that for my children. Some effects now, some for my descendants.

    So a big part of this nutritional experiment is to discover what is determined by our nutrition and what was pre-determined by our nutritional heritage. But what I've learned about this in the past few years is revolutionary compared to the mainstream. Many things thought to be genetically predetermined or the result of chance are actually in our control through nutrition.

    And another truly revolutionary idea is that it was all determined by nutrition at some point in time. That good nutrition makes "good genes." and that "good genes" don't just flow down the genetic line without any effort or upkeep from people receiving them.

    And if you were not "genetically blessed" then you what you choose today could possibly change that for your genetic line. You can give yourself proper nutrition and pass on the knowledge to your children and if they do the same then eventually you will have "genetically-blessed" descendants.

    The problem is that saying "genetics" makes it sound like it is beyond human control at any point in time: "Why can he anything wants and never gain weight? Genetics – the lucky bastard." It was determined by genetics, but who determined the genetics? Humans did – through nutrition.

    That's why I feel the need to invent a new word. Some attributes are beyond our control: genetics. But some things are within our control through nutrition, whether for us or for our descendants: nutritional-genetics or nutritional heritage.

  16. For what its worth, regarding the effects of prolonged stress, my feelings are that it can vary.
    In some folk it seems to have a hugely comprimising effect.
    But in others it appears to bear little negative effect, quite the contrary in some instances.
    If we take the example of spiritual ascetics on a quest for so called liberation, many practices involve the deliberate imposition of stress on the individual.
    Sitting in meditation or contemplation without moving for extremely lengthy periods hour after hour, day after day, month after month.
    Then theres other awareness techniques to bring moment to moment into every day activity that seem completely foreign, debilitating and encourage suffering.
    Theres sundry other techniques too, but a common denominator is stress imposed on individual concerned.
    There are many instances when above practices send the individual not to liberation but into a psyche hospital.
    But sure enough, there are others that undergo a complete surrender to the whole exercise, or 'liberation' from mental effects of suffering that extends into everyday life no matter what occurs.
    And of course, others that fall somewhere between.
    My feeling is that it depends on neurology.
    Brain re-wiring takes place and is taking place.
    But results can vary..dramatically.

  17. That last sentence should read:
    "Brain re-wiring takes place"

  18. Chris,

    I couldn't have said it better myself — well put! I believe the word you are searching for is "epigenetics." This is the part of the genome that can be changed within our lifetime and is potentially passed on to our children. I wrote a post on epigenetics and obesity a while back that might clarify some of your thoughts.

    Do you have a blog? You articulate your ideas very well, and I'd like to hear more!

  19. Hi Matt,

    Interesting mention about gluten, lectins, salycilates–although I wasn't alive 50 years ago, all of these intolerances seem to be a new phenomenon. There is biological explanation though regarding the negative ideas on those things.

    Also, there is a big difference between vegan and low carb in terms of resulting health. It's very hard to argue that it's impossible to eat a healthy low carb diet, but a vegan diet is just plain silly.

    This post sparks a really good discussion. I think the general public has a very simple (stupid) perception on "consciousness," as if it can't be explained or understood through physiology (we just can't do it yet). Stress response is a good example of how physical and mental states are interrelated. Maybe a [hungry] bodybuilder avoids cake because he/she has great willpower, but another person avoids it with ease, and without spending any time fantasizing about it. This does not imply the second person likes cake any less.

  20. Jenny, actually i was trying to clear up what i meant guess it did not work lol

    what i mean is stress does not automatically become chronic simply because it is acute for months …say for instance you sprint every 2 hours every day. this is something that is ongoing for months but would not compare at all to running a moronathon even once a week. they both may even burn the same amount of calories and hence be technically the same amount of mechanical work for the muscles yet be not at all the same " wear and tear on the car" " :)

    I was saying that seeing a lion eat a human would be forgot most likely a few hours later as other crazy shit occurs in an acute fashion and becomes the primary concern, where as sitting in traffic may piss you off all day make you hate your job etc. and become chronic. It might take the same amount of time as a lion eating a human but the effects on the human body would be vastly different.

  21. Chief and Ryan both out of the wilderness. What is the world coming to? I feel so blessed.

    Thanks for your input. I'll definitely take that into consideration in the whole scheme of things. It's interesting that Selye used restraint as a primary way of inducing stress upon rodents, which would often kill them given sufficient time. I guess this is the same as traffic! Traffic is the real killer!


    Yeah I saw the Lost Boys movie too. Mouths full of piano keys. That scene where he pulls out a Pepsi bottle and says, "Pepsi, where we come from it is called Coke" ruined a perfectly good pair of white underwear. One of the funniest things I've ever seen in my life.


    Well put. We do have to be realistic with what can and cannot be overturned. I'm not expecting to be able to see constellations with my naked eyes. I can't even see little Mateo clearly without glasses/contacts.


    Having a long-term view is a huge asset that few people have these days when it comes to health improvement. Most seem to give up if they haven't achieved perfect health in the first 87 hours of a new diet.


    If a vegan diet is so silly, why was the video Mercola just posted of a 108-year old man that claims to have never been sick a day in his life reporting that he has been eating a vegan diet? Where are all the videos like that of people who spent the last 75 years on Atkins? A low-carb diet was a huge stress that humans went to great lengths to overcome, and I happen to think it's particularly stressful in today's day and age of shoddy adrenals, chronic stress to begin with (from too much traffic according to Chief!), and other factors.

    I've seen equal amounts of severe deterioration on either end of that polarized, unbalanced, and stressful spectrum.

  22. First, Mercola holds little weight with me because many of his ideas are not well-supported. You're using 1 person as an example? I can look around and find someone who reached 100 eating low carb, but that'd be a waste of my time, because as you know, that doesn't really mean much.

    A vegan diet is silly because there is absolutely no biological explanation for getting rid of all animal foods. Would that man have been less healthy if he ate 100g of shrimp per day? Unless we can explain why animal foods are so bad, considering them so reminds me of the people who think 10g (or 50g or whatever) of carbs is worse than 0g.

    The bottom line is that a low carb diet can be healthy (I don't know if it's optimal or not), but a vegan diet is certainly not optimal.

  23. Great comments everyone, good to see Ryan back for sure!

    My thoughts on my own healing are that it will take time, and I hope the good nutrition will sway my health and epi-genetics in the right way. I grew up in a stable home, with low stress, but nutrition was good ole SAD, health went downhill when I started university, being poor, no sleep, partying, shitty jobs, bad relationships, and even worse amounts of SAD eating… weight started adding on, so went with lots and lots of jogging, less sleep, gym everyday, even more partying, and worse relationships, and SAD but low cal starving.

    Here I stand at 15months RRARF, low PUFA, gluten free, low fructose, etc… still having my main issue acne, and basal stuck at the endless 97.2! DAM that 97.2, my nemesis! But my setpoint is stable, body comp is better, i eat mountains of food, I can go with less sleep and feel refresh, and like some have commented I am starting to feel like my body wants to exercise, like it misses it or something, so things are moving along. I just feel it will take years to overcome the health past on by my parents and a lifetime of eating SAD and stresses listed above.

    My hope is that my young daughter will benefit from me learning from you all and carry on with this. So far her dental arch and chompers are looking great, and she loves eating RRARF style! Even if I never get back to "adrenal type" health, I will help my next generation to hopefully get there.

  24. Wanted to add 28 teeth here, very straight with no braces, but really narrow arch and slightly pinched style nostrils!

    Been doing some BG tests after some epic meals of unrefined carbs, protein and sat fat this week:

    pre: 85
    1hr post: 86
    2hr post: 110
    3hr post: 85

    Was surprised to see the 2hr mark, that high, but food is really being digested good by that point.

    Most meals are 2lbs potatoes, ground beef, cheese and coconut oil, butter

  25. For Chris and all those interested in epigenetics: Survival of the Sickest by Dr Sharon Moalem has some interesting information on it (plus, it's a really good read).

    Personally, I think that it is really hard (maybe impossible) to distinguish between the effect of the stressor and the effect of the stress response. Look at European history, for example: In the Middle Ages, people definitely did not eat SAD, but they had bloody bad teeth and died in masses from any infectious disease that came along (plague, syphilis, and so on). They had lots of chronic stresses though: famines, wars, a totally repressive religion. I know: that does not explain away Layla's health miracle but then she is one who survived. What about those that did not?

  26. Ryan,

    Well there you go, "epigenetics" is the word I was searching for. Thank you for that informative post.

    I do not have a blog, but I have considered starting one – if for no other reason than to have an alternative outlet so to spare my friends and family from hearing more of my ideas than they like to.

  27. Hey gang,
    good comments one and all. But Chief what is a 'grizzle'? Is that related to a "Grizzly Adams"?

    And on the Dr. Mercola tip, that dude is being touted as a vegan, a raw vegan and if you take the time to listen to the man, he says he eats FISH all the time, he is so not vegan, he does eat veg, both cooked and raw. Not sure why all those factoids are being swept under the vegan rug as it were.

    Me, I prefer a fur rug.

  28. Also, again Matt with the pictures of me, this time attempting to eat my keyboard. Enough of the stalking already!

  29. Deb-

    I would be hungry enough to try to eat my keyboard too if I had been on a raw vegan diet as long as you were.


    Not touting a vegan diet, or using some lame Mercola video as proof of anything – just busting your balls. Ice 'em down and they'll be fine in the mornin'. I do think that the standard plant-based, carbohydrate-based, low-moderate protein recommendations of the veganish front (Fuhrman being one of the more level-headed) is generally more congruent with longevity. But who cares. Quality of life far outweighs quantity of life, and a veganish diet makes life miserable for me.

    I would be curious to see a 100 year old person that has been on Atkins level carb intake though. That really would shock me. Seriously. I have my doubts that it's possible.

    Anonymous on Layla-

    At the worst point of fleeing during wartimes, they had no food whatsoever and were literally starving. The whole family had been bitten by malaria-ridden mosquitos their entire lives but were never ill. During full-on famine they did come down with malaria and the entire family was found malnourished and on the brink of death with stomachs full of grass by some farmer or something, who nourished them back to health until they could move on. The mom was found semi-conscious and totally starving with her newborn still plump and happy as all get out attached to her teat, which is freaking awesome if you ask me.

    Many authors and bloggers do make the mistake of creating some pre-industrial era health utopia, which is groin-rockingly naive and inaccurate. But at the same time Paleo authors state that when grains came along, stature declined and people started developing degenerative diseases. Well yeah turkeys, that's when famines began too because we outgrew what the local flora and fauna could support if there happened to be a drought or swarm of locusts. They were hard times, and health was NOT good unless food was abundant.

    I do believe that the stress pathway that is chronic and debilitating is designed and programmed specifically to deal with prolonged food deprivation. That's why many chronic stresses drop body temperature just like famine would, and result in the same degenerative process being initialized.


    Little by little. I appreciate your relentless good spirits. I do think that once you begin exercising in a more playful and vigorous manner you'll start to see even more positive changes, but we'll see.

  30. I think there might be something to the context of fats. Saturated fats are more stable and might not need all the protective nutrition and antioxidants that unsaturated fats might need. In terms of fatty acid content, palm oil varies a whole lot from something like corn oil, as it's only about 11% polyunsaturated (linoelic) acid, and mostly saturated and monounsaturated fat (palmitic and oleic, I believe) — but what may be more important than the fatty acid content is the entire matrix that all the fatty acids exist in.

    From Wikipedia:

    "Red palm oil gets its name from its characteristic dark red color, which comes from carotenes such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene—the same nutrients that give tomatoes, carrots and other fruits and vegetables their rich colors.

    Red palm oil contains at least 10 other carotenes, along with tocopherols and tocotrienols (members of the vitamin E family), CoQ10, phytosterols, and glycolipids."

    And olive oil's benefits, I'd assume, aren't directly from the monounsaturated fats, but the antioxidants and nutrition that accompany them in that matrix.

    Also, look at the history: palm oil is speculated to have been around in ancient Egypt. Homer (not Simpson) called olive oil "liquid gold."

    When did corn oil come around? 1898?

  31. I'm aware that vegetable oil vs. nuts/seeds is far from a direct comparison to refined sugar vs. unrefined starch, but I still think it's something worth considering.

    Now, the availability of nuts and seeds in the quantities that we have them in now is also something worth considering. At one point I was eating so many nuts and seeds because I didn't know what else to eat — it probably would've taken an average person a day and a half to shell all the nuts I'd eat in an hour or two.

    But I think there's something to be said for all this, and especially considering traditional oils like olive oil and red palm oil.

    I'm sure there's even something about ghee and coconut oil, which are also traditional oils — maybe it isn't just the saturated fat that's stable and protective, but again, the matrix that it's in.

    P.S. Speaking of stress, I accidentally deleted my original comment, which started after I read what Matt said about nuts/seeds and their unsaturated fat content not seeming to be a problem in that one particular instance of his experiences. If that clears up any confusion ;D

    All that magnesium, selenium, zinc, vitamin E, etc. have to make some kind of difference, and I was thinking of it in comparison to "the context of carbs" — e.g., carbs are not carbs, so to speak, but the entire matrix that they're involved in. A cup of sugar will not nourish you the same way that a cup of mashed sweet potato would — kind of along that line of thinking.

  32. P.P.S. I mentioned saturated fats needing less antioxidants as compared to unsaturated fats because that's in the context of natural, whole foods — highly refined foods don't need to abide by the natural laws of nature, and artificial preservatives, etc., can be used, when in nature things like antioxidants would be necessary to preserve the integrity of fats in, for example, palm fruits.

    Just another argument for whole foods with a history behind them, I suppose XD

    Moving on: one more post about stress.

  33. In my life, chronic stress and trauma has made me feel like I'm in a negative feedback loop.

    Traditional Chinese medicine has the concept of "kidney yin deficiency," and I think it's pretty interesting. Just if anyone's interested in reading about that! But what I'm getting at is this:

    Chronic stress (at least to me) and trauma feel like they've taxed my reserves, and continue to tax my reserves, so by flooding myself with as much nutrition as I can, I feel like I'm barely starting to pay off the debt, so to speak. Like I'm working as hard as I can just to get to the point where I break even, let alone start building up reserves. I've had nervous breakdowns and psychotic episodes, have been institutionalized twice, grew up with verbal and emotional abuse from childhood through high school, had another nervous breakdown and then dropped out of college, was extremely isolated for over 2 years which felt like being tortured in solitary confinement, which brings me to where I am now.

    I was also born with one kidney, so if it's "kidney yin deficiency" as Chinese medicine says then I'm REALLY at a disadvantage XD

    I am a fan of optimism, though, and on an abstract or more spiritual level, I think the people who have a really hard time learn the most, because they have the most reason to learn the most.

    The negative loop probably started at day 1 for me, being born C-section and having to be in an incubator or something before I was able to go home, like my heart had stopped or wasn't working right or I wasn't breathing or something like that happened.

    But that's left me to spend a whole lot of time thinking about things and learning more and more. If someone with good genes was doing what I've been doing maybe they'd be some kind of superhuman or something. Homemade kefir, homemade viili, Okinawan purple sweet potatoes and regular sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, pre-soaked and fermented brown rice, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil, leafy green vegetables, liver, eggs, fish, beef, nuts and seeds, spices and herbs, miso, tamari, seaweed, nigarisui (a drink make by dissolving nigari flakes — basically, magnesium chloride — in water), dates, figs, dried apricots, berries.

    (It's also a lot cheaper than you might think, which I get even more excited about)

    And of course the *very* occasional unfiltered India pale ale or Guinness extra stout. Love that stuff. I'm also a fan of plain, unsweetened Baker's chocolate. Every once in a while I have a square of that.

  34. Of course, RRARF covers the same thing — nutritional flooding, eating all that good stuff and as much of it as you can. I secretly just wanted to rant about all the foods I personally like because I love sharing things with people and a couple of the foods I eat are ones most people (at least around here) seem to have never heard of before, like viili and nigarisui and the purple sweet potatoes, so yeah, if I can get other people into that stuff I think it's great :D

    ANYWAY! (can you see why I ended up in a mental hospital a couple times? Brain's like a galactic pinball machine) A person with good family history and a good start in life might REALLY thrive on these kinds of things. People with a bad start might have to do these nutritional floodings just to break even, and may still be in a lot less than optimal health even after doing everything they can.

    It's just how it is, as far as I've learned. I have to accept that I'll never have the health of someone with a better family history and early life than me — I have a (very slight) deformity in my left hand, one kidney, scoliosis, my teeth are straight after braces but were crooked before that, and lately they've been getting kind of yellow for some reason.

    But I've also learned more and enjoyed more in the realm of nutrition and health than most people ever will in their lifetime because of how much reading I've done and how many different things I've tried. How many people in America are eating purple fleshed sweet potatoes and making homemade Finnish (I think it's Finnish) yogurt on their countertop, you know?

    I am a pretty lonely person and always have been, and posting things like this helps with that a lot. And I do think the modern trend of isolation and lack of personal closeness is incredibly destructive. If I had affection and intimacy and a lot of love and support in my life I probably wouldn't be as stuck in this negative feedback loop as I am lately, you know?

    But we all do the best we can. And I will keep doing my best :D I just have too many thoughts about all this stuff (nutritional reserves/etc. in relation to coping with stress and etc. etc.) to really finish anything I'm saying.

    I love this blog, though, and I love the comment section :D I lurk most of the time but every once in a while I might make a guest appearance. Just wanted to say thanks again for sharing all this, and keep it up — there's a WORLD of thinking and learning to do here, and it's always growing and developing, which is completely awesome.

  35. I nominate ' groin-rockingly naive and inaccurate' as the new paleo catchphrase. What? They won't like it? Ya think?

    And @Undertow: Buddy, I would give all the Tea in China to have your bg numbers. wow. Your daughter will be great. Thank god somehow my shitty genes have been mitigated by my devotion to eating meat/eggs/protein while pregnant, breast feeding my daughter past the one year mark and getting her to eat good clean meat/eggs etc all her little life. No cavities in sight at 9 1/2 and she is rarely ill, she has perfect attendance her entire school career to date. Or maybe it's the Chinese genes of my hubby that make her so dang healthy.

    We will never know. Nor care. Just pray for the next generation.

  36. So how do we get our response to stress to be more healthy?

    I'm getting more sensitive with age. I used to handle illness and medical trauma (surgeries and tests) with a nonchalant so-be-it attitude.

    Yesterday I had an angiogram (heart is fine, tech said my arteries were nice and juicy!) where they thread a catheter up into the heart via the groin, inject die and take pictures.
    Well, I was the biggest friggin' baby. I started sobbing when they were trying to insert the catheter. Was tense and fragile the whole time.

    I couldn't believe it was me on that table. I used to be so tough!

    I woke up and my whole body was in pain today. It took me a day of hard napping to recover from that.

    Seems I'm not getting better at responding to stress.

    P.S. Knee surgery is happening Dec 21st. They needed time to clear me of any cardiac issues. Should I tell my cardiologist how much coconut oil, butter and whole milk I ingest? lol

  37. DEB lol a grizzle was meant to be a grizzly as in grizzly bear … i spell bad and type worse …#%*@

    damn you ! lol i was just saying traffic as one specific example the title of your next article better not have …. Avoid traffic in it. if you do … the wolf pack will be a one man wolfpack again and ill hit you with jenny's pemican chair.

    traffic does suck … i now do creative or off the wall fun shit when i get stuck in it which is tres rare.

    well except the gain fat on purpose days which i also need cut sleep to to be able to do now.

    I think the real answer is that it's a real chicken or the egg/ omelette with chicken chunks in it sort of thing.
    meaning :
    Diet can make one mess up genes for future generations who eat bad and then get direct stress from the food and who are also ill-equipped to handle the stress due to genes and poor nutrition during formative years and handle the stress poorly because of environmental cues and learned behaviors which results in a bunch of degenerates hanging out on 180 blog :)

    Matt D connection with others is super important , reach out great things will come from it, I always make sure to advise people to be as social as possible for health.

  38. Lisa, i think you really have to dig deep for that one it can be different for everyone. look at others around you analyze em' and question yourself and why you do certain things a certain way.

    good luck on the surgery btw

  39. "look at others around you analyze em' and question yourself and why you do certain things a certain way.

    Do you mean we should compare ourselves to others? I know of many people who I tried to be like for so many years because I thought they were handling things the "right" way, or in a better way when compared to how I was handling things.

    Well, it turns out a lot of these people are deep in denial, and in a state of dissociation. That's why many people appear as though things don't affect them negatively – they just ignore all manner of shit (and nicely pass it on to the next person).

    Since I've stopped analysing how others do things, I've become way more comfortable with the fact that I do things the way I do (or react the way I do) for a damned good reason… which has helped to to be kinder to myself, which was something that was always hard to do when constantly comparing myself to others.

    Kinder to self is, I think, where it's at.

    BTW, get a blog already.

  40. Anon,

    I said "look " not compare lol
    I meant it more in the sense of look for examples in others because we can all learn a thing or 2. It helps to look at yourself from the outside looking in and truly get at your personal hurdle. By all means do not judge yourself by someone else's measuring stick, loving the skin your in is ground zero in my opinion.

    You are so right about "throwing it on others" it's an effective form self protection but at the same time negatively impacts many people I have seen it many times.

  41. Matt D: I'm a fan of optimism too. Happy Emoticons!

    Lisa: Seriously don't beat yourself up about being a wimp. Angiogram is no picnic. I was in labor for four days and had about 2000 pelvic exams in that time and the worst part of the whole fricken ordeal was the catheter. No fun, no.

    Chief: I'm glad you acknowledge the pemmican chair. It makes me happy.

    Undertow: it's good to have a nemesis, even if yours is a temperature.

    I thought I'd share this deranged email I got yesterday. I don't know how I got on this mailing list but I don't unsubscribe because it keeps me amused. I tried to cut and paste it into the thingy but it was too long, so the gist of it goes like this. "Beat the Holiday Blues"

    –see your doctor about seasonal affective disorder
    –don't eat too much

  42. In lieu of this conversation, I'm reminded again that we're all just using a slightly different language to make the same point that non 180 people make- health often is unique. Not unique in that one person is a totally different species from teh next, but the accumulated weight of our histories impacts what we thrive on today.

    I appreciate the self-denigration, Matt, basically calling yourself a jagoff who lectures on not playing with gluten. I also want to overcome any shortfalls and be able toe at effortlessly whatever foods and macronutrients I want. And yet, I don't want to dig myself in deeper and feel shitty in an effort to overcome health challenges.

    This is I think underneath some of the vitriol between you and Nikolay and Sission some of their readers. The question in my mind is: do we have to 'suffer' now for our past 'mistakes'? Do we have to put on fat and feel shitty when we finally start to eat to appetite of the foods we crave? Or can we be selective in our food choices, maybe not eat grains or gluten, and feel good as we regain our health? And maybe at some point be fortified and strong and able to eat the quality bread or our heart's content, or cheese, or whatever? I think you've argued persuasively that carb restriction has long term consequences if practiced uninterrupted. But you can load up on taters and yams and all the rest without eating grains, and maybe? get to a point where you don't experience brain fog and achiness whenever you have some gluten.

    I guess my point is- I too want to keep a focus on overcoming allergies, and not cater to them life long. But where and when is it appropriate to selectively avoid irritants in the healing process, and where and when is it important to expose yourself to them to re-build your tolerance?

  43. Also, as a long-time sorta grain hater on the big scale, and a student of anthropology, I'm wodnering about this section above:
    "when grains came along, stature declined and people started developing degenerative diseases. Well yeah turkeys, that's when famines began too because we outgrew what the local flora and fauna could support if there happened to be a drought or swarm of locusts. They were hard times, and health was NOT good unless food was abundant."

    Is your point simply that people came to rely on grains and thus their food situation was more precarious due to environmental challenges of relying on one or a small handful of crops? If so, then I'm on board with you, because part of the argument in my mind is that grains are not just potentially toxic on their own, which they may be, but that they displaced more nutritious food in our diet, and in practice, tended to get us sick. Relying on a staple or three is risky business.

    If the argument is that people turned to grain cultivation because of otehr food shortages, then I'd say the jury's out on that one. We don't know exactly why people adopted agriculture when and where they did, but there's at least some good evidence that food shortages played very little role in some of the sites of early agriculture. So the common idea that people were precarious before growing their food and had to start planting it to stay fed doesn't universally hold water, and may not at all.

    Just some thoughts

  44. Gang, we are all "experiments of one". Every single person is totally different in their needs and those needs change over time as well.
    Since I am neither a woodchuck nor a lab mouse or a "Quest for Fire" cavewoman, I am finding my way slowly but surely with a ton of roadbumps along the way.

    Thanks to everyone here for making it a lot more interesting than it actually is.


  45. Yeah, Rob A, we started farming grains for one reason: to brew beer. At least that was what I read this one time. It might have been in a pub, actually.

  46. Hey Jenny,

    I've heard that argument too. Makes some sense to me. :-)

  47. debbie, I think you're right that in some ways we are experiments of one but I'm wondering if there maybe are certain truths that apply to all of us.

    For instance, sugar. That white stuff that's on diner tables in the glass R2D2 shaped containers, can we agree that it's not a favorable "food" and I put it in quotes because if it has no nutritional value I'm not sure it can be called a food.

    I ask this because I was recently told off and blasted for daring to say "sugar is not a good idea if you want to be healthy". I was told that I should not be universalizing my experiences. That no food is evil. That saying to avoid sugar is the equivalent of being a diet pusher and the food police.

  48. Yes, Lisa, there are universal truths that most of us are well aware of , Sugar being one of them But on the "unique' scale, some can get away with eating a bit, some cannot tolerate any.. but no one should be eating it.. or PUFA"s, fast food, conventional produce, anything GMO or factory farmed meat/dairy etc etc etc. Good luck with most "non health geeks' on those, most do not get it yet.

    @ Jenny: And if you read the TRUE story of Johnny Appleseed, those groves were for DRINKING, as in making hard cider. So basically, our ancestors were drunks who planted stuff so they could drink. And we were so brilliant as to take the alcohol basic ingredients and try to make real food/processed food out of them. Says alot about the power of the almighty dollar and the effects of alcohol.

  49. Very interesting post! I may comment some more after I finish the comments.

  50. Ah, to be immortalized in a post. I feel honored to be right after Jenny.

    Anyhow, most everybody has said what I want to say, from epigenetics to the generational effect, and the difference between the chronic stress of facing grizzlies everyday to facing traffic everyday. But my brief feeling is industrialized food in general is the first blow… once health is poor, either SAD or stress can keep it there.

    Who knows, it's all just anecdotal until we can do multi-generational, extremely controlled experiments with a diverse population… Most people, if asked who they want to meet, say they want to meet Lincoln or Jesus… I'd like to meet Grok and see what he really ate – and what kind of health he really had.

    On the woo-woo side, I started listening to the Jon Gabriel CD every night, and it really does put me right to sleep. I'm not even sure what he's telling my subconscious, since I fall asleep pretty darn fast.

  51. Looks like you are making a strong case for pre-natal and/or early childhood nutrition. You can have healthy parents who ate well most of their lives and still be unhealthy. At least that is what Weston Price recorded. He showed huge variances in dental and other health within the same families. They younger children were born after western foods were introduced.

    Given the time, those western foods were not fortified and they weren't taking supplements, so some of what Price observed may have been already fixed in the Standard American Diet.

    Frankly, I think the bed rest part of RRARF is wacky. Being too sedentary stresses me out something awful. There are an awful lot of options in between bed rest and 8 hour hiking days/marathon running/Natilus style high intensity weight training.

  52. Carl M. You are just like me. I have to move my god pod or so help me I just get crazy.( er). One hour a day, about 5 days a week seems great to me. If I don't put muscle on my hormones will turn me into Java the Hut. Seriously.

  53. Jenny, keep coming with your brand of funkiness ..sometimes i wish 180 had a "like" button similar to facebook .lol I also threw a car analogy in to win you over :)


    just because some people show no immediate signs doesn't make them impervious to sugar's ill effects it could be doing some rather nasty stuff on the inside … …I do notice in eating experiments that it does not seem to have much of an negative effect post workout as well as mixed in with a ginormous meal or even with a cheat day approach every once in a while. At the same time I don't think its a good idea to go out of your way to eat it hopefully i wont die from some of my somewhat foolish experiments.

    If you remove al the massive amount of variables in all facets of life that make our lives unique from one another I think we are all pretty close in terms of genetic potential in regards to health in the sense that as long as it is caught early enough and efforts are made nothing is irreversible with enough determination, know how and small sacrifices. Know how probably being the hardest to come by. After all we all humans. Mixed race offspring don't end up like offspring of horses and donkeys.

  54. Carl M said:
    "Looks like you are making a strong case for pre-natal and/or early childhood nutrition"

    I absolutely agree 100%. I had been reading 180 for about a year when my wife and I decided to start trying to conceive. I simply told her to start eating a crap load of healthy foods: mainly eggs, butter, milk, cheese, meat, ice cream instead of cookies, potatoes, etc…

    I am similar to Matt, regular white guy, glasses, wisdom teeth gone, tonsilectomy, ate a lot of crap food growing up, etc (but I lucked out – no allergies). Same with my wife, except she does not wear glasses, yet.

    Anyhow, our baby finally came and she kicks so much ass it blows my mind. The doctors in the hospital were marveling at how well she was developed and how strong her suck was, they said it was stronger than all the other babies. Now she is 4 months old and is already crawling! She gets mad if you don't hold her hands so she can walk around with her legs out straight under her body.

    Her body is incredible, she is only the 25% of weight for her age but I swear it is pure muscle. She eats more than similar aged babies who outweigh her by several pounds! She doesn't ever spit up her food, is always happy (unless she is hungry or tired!), sleeps for 8+ hours a night, and has not been sick despite being exposed to at least 10 people with winter colds.

    All of my peers who have had babies recently are dealing with a host of problems. I'm certain that our child is so healthy because my wife ate over a dozen eggs a week, cooked in butter! To top it all off, she only breastfed for 1 month, so my daughter's incredible health has continued even on formula (milk based, of course).


  55. Chief: Yes, I can see your point. But are you saying my daughter is akin to an ass? :) love ya xo

    Swede: Good on ya mate. Your daughter sounds brilliant, maybe she will make it to the Olympics with her super healthy self one day!

    Matt: Good to hear your voice tonight.. Forever to be known as the 'voice of reason'. No matter how goofy you get, your health geekery is like buttah'. Raw grass fed buttah'.
    the Hag xo

  56. In my opinion you are moving to the right direction. :)

    Two things I'd like to ask/comment.

    I do strongly agree that cellular formation and accumulation of AA is connected to many different health problems but I think that some of basic thoughts around omega-6 inflammation connection could be atleast partly false.

    If linoleic acid feeding increases cancer in animals (a fact), how could increasing TNF-a be a causative factor linking LA/AA and chronic disease? TNF-a seems to have some role in cellular orchestra of cancer prevention. I personally think at the moment that problem with omega-6 is that they mess up our T helper cell mediated immunity. In ageing angry macrophages accumulates and they are last to leave the place and high cellular AA formation (=body (stress)responce) could accelerate this process.

    Allergies and body responce has been my n:o 1 interest since February. I've had a little different approach to this issue since I've been looking things from the immunological view: T cell function, ageing of the immune system, macrophage accumulation & function etc. I think that controlling body responce to things in our food and environment is the key. It seems to allways come down to that.

  57. What about minerals (or the lack of it)? People like Layla didn't have to produce massive amounts of foods from their soil. They just made enough to feed themselves. Now a days, food is a big money maker and soil has become one big factory! The soil gets raped again and again, which leads to mineral deficiency. Even buying organic, the soil has still been squeezed "dry".
    Isn't minerals more important than vitamins itself? Why else would people be able to survive with very little variety in stables? Not to mention most countries had no fruit what so ever, during winter (back in the days).
    Because we are mass producing foods now a days, the quality of minerals in the ground is severely lacking.

  58. Speaking of prenatal nutrition…..when I was expecting my first baby, I ate a candy bar every day. This daughter is now almost 10 and is a sugar/chocolate fiend. With my second, I had been eating low carb, I increased carbs with the pregnancy but kept them moderate, and ate no sugar. This daughter is 5 and basically doesn't have a sweet tooth, she will eat sugar but she can have a bit of dessert and then walk away from it. Interestingly, the oldest has been incredibly healthy, while the younger has had a serious of ear infections/tonsilitis and is getting ready to have a second set of ear tubes, tonsils and adenoids removed.

  59. Matt-

    I talk about this in the most recent videos posted. If we started a big agenda to have Americans eat 1 cup of mixed raw nuts and seeds such as walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds every day for the next year, we would see dramatic improvements in health over the course of that year. Displacing non-nutritive foods with nutritious foods is a huge step in the right direction. Plus, the nutrients found in nuts and seeds make for great partial antidotes to the damage done by vegetable oil consumption. Antioxidants, minerals, vitamin E, etc. And nuts/seeds perform great in clinical trials which is why they are hailed as being healthy foods by the mainstream health authorities (like Walter Willett).

    In fact, with frequent vegetable oil consumption, it’s probably much better to eat a diet with lots of nuts and seeds than not eat a diet with lots of nuts and seeds, because we need that protective nutrition. So for a big blanket recommendation to give to the general public, telling them to avoid vegetable oils but making no recommendation to avoid nuts is probably good overall advice. I don’t have a major problem with it. But that doesn’t make it optimal, and is certainly worth exploration, which is what I have been doing over the past year.

  60. Rob-

    The Nikoley/Sisson fiasco began quite simply actually. Blogger Diana Hsieh developed carb-restriction-induced hypothyroidism from her Paleo diet, and in part due to the weight loss she experienced on a Paleo diet. I went to her blog and left a comment trying to explain to her that it was in fact her diet that was most likely causing this, and that her esteemed low-carb colleagues like Jimmy Moore and Richard Nikoley also suffer from low body temperature/hypothyroidism, etc. I went so far as to mention that Nikoley’s root problem in the first place was hypothyroidism (which is true, and he’s even been diagnosed as such), which is why he gained weight earlier in his life, and that you could even tell by looking at his face that he was hypothyroid (he doesn’t show the true “Sign of Hertoghe,” which is poor growth of the outer third of the eyebrows with severe edema surrounding the eyes, but he does show some sign nonetheless).

    Nikoley took this as some big personal assault (he loves to divide the world into friends and enemies, part of his quest to become a primitive man I suppose), the whole community took this as a big shot against Paleo and a desperate cry for attention by yours truly, and Nikoley issued a warning to all Paleo bloggers to ban me from their sites, which Sisson, Metzgar, Nikoley, and probably a few others did.

    So much for trying to help somebody out, but hey, that did launch a huge growth in my popularity due to the controversy stirred up, and hundreds of suffering low-carbers found me, and freedom, from a diet that was running their adrenals and thyroid glands into the ground.

  61. Rob cont….

    As far as agriculture is concerned, Jared Diamond does a good job at describing the switch to agriculture in Guns, Germs, and Steel. Areas with abundant food, such as the Pacific Northwest, had no impulse to switch over to agriculture because agriculture was a net-negative in terms of opportunity cost in an area teeming with salmon, wildlife, and edible plants, berries, mushrooms, etc.

    Early agriculture was full of drought, insect plagues, soil depletion, and other big mistakes that caused huge famines because the population was large enough that falling back on hunting and gathering was not an option. Early agriculturalists who grew grains were incredibly vulnerable, not protected like we normally think of when we think of agriculture in the modern era.

    There were also hierarchies that made it so the poorer class couldn’t have access to more coveted foods, like meat and milk – or sufficient food in general. This has always been the case with poorer classes until now, when poorer rural folk tend to be healthier, not because they can’t afford milk and meat, but because they can’t afford boxed junk foods and other imported crap.

    And we know, of more modern times (not just speculating based on skeletal remains, which is a retarded way to come to conclusions and is bound to be filtered through a person’s belief system when any conclusions are made), that well-fed agriculturalists that have sufficient food and plenty of accessory foods like milk, that stature is not only good, but much better than Paleo cultures like the little dwarf Kitavans or Inuit or Amazonians.

    But that is all beside the point really. There are other contradictions – one that being SMALLER is now strongly associated with increased health and longevity. The Paleo people should really be arguing that a Paleo diet makes people smaller and therefore healthier, which would probably be true on both accounts if consumed from birth (never true once adopted in adulthood). Staffan Lindeberg, who is a real scientist and not some weird dietary cultist, does make such assertions in his most recent book – pointing out that agriculture usually makes people bigger and sicker.

    Overall, in some sense, grains are superior to root vegetables because they are much more calorie dense, and appear to foster bacterial flora more congruent with those who do not suffer from digestive disease or the widespread metabolic and inflammation syndrome that has swept the globe in recent decades.

    Plus, all healthy, large human civilizations ate a starch-based diet, without exception, many of them being centered around glutinous grains. How can this be ignored in favor of a fad in which we speculate as to what Grok did and ate based on EXTREMELY LIMITED information, and try to emulate that by running around barefoot, and eating a diet that Grok wouldn’t have eaten if he had access to superior foods like grains and dairy?

  62. Cont…

    What Grok did doesn’t make it healthier. Roger Williams once stated that if given good enough nutrition, yeast could reproduce quickly enough to take over the earth in a matter of days. Only in a laboratory could nutrition be provided that was so superior as to allow such rapid reproduction. But the environment is limiting. Extremes in temperature, weather changes, food shortage (fasting), limited carbohydrate availability, having to travel great distances to get food, etc. were barriers to Paleo man achieving better health and greater dominion over the earth, not the reason for the strong bones and teeth found in the ground tens of thousands of years later.

    But I think the strongest evidence is that as our diet includes less and less grain and dairy, which has steadily been the trend in the U.S. for the past century, the more inflammatory diseases from arthritis to cancer to diabetes to obesity to asthma to autism we seem to get. Paleo authors blame this all on grains and dairy. This might be good comedy, but it is not good science.

    I have very low tolerance for those who malign foods that have been profound sources of nourishment for mankind for thousands of years, diverting focus from nutrient deprivation from food refining, the depleting nature of modern agricultural practices, excess refined sugar consumption, excess PUFA consumption, and other things much more closely linked to the etiology of the “developed” world’s most common illnesses.

  63. Westie-

    We'll see where it leads. Most authors on the anti-AA bandwagon feel pretty srongly that this rise in AA determines the severity of the immune response to any threat. Chilton likens it to making 100 copies of something that you only needed one copy of. I've always used the lethal injection vs. nuclear bomb analogy.

    But something still seems clearly missing. We do know that leptin is the primary determinant of immune system health generally speaking. And also you have guys like Broda Barnes and Mark Starr who have both plainly stated that lupus, an autoimmune, is very easy to prevent and treat by bringing metabolism back up to snuff.

    We've also seen several people overcome seasonal allergies and other inflammatory symptoms here over the years, including food allergies, IBS, arthritis, and others – even when gaining weight which would hint at a heightened inflammatory response, not the other way around.

    Cellular fatty acids definitly play a role, but it could be that linoleic acid's perversion of the immune system comes, in part, because it drops metabolic rate – our immune system's primary source of strength. I kind of suspect that when the enzymes and immune cells cannot operate efficiently at a lowered body temperature, the body overcompensates for this poor function by making the immune response hypervigilant. That's a more digestible theory to me, with AA just compounding the problem, but not being the root cause.


    Great to hear. There's no doubt that the 180 general message is best for parents looking to conceive, and young people in general. I'd like to see your kid wrastle Cusick's kid one day, as Cusick reported almost the identical story that you have.


    I think you're probably right about the exercise. Stress is individual, and being sedentary vs. active can be stressful to certain personality types. This really hit home with me when Selye spelled this out clearly.

    I've written an addendum to 180 Metabolism which will be coming out January 1st that you'll probably find more sensible on the exercise front. And I've also realized how biased I am against exercise because of the type and quantity I've done over the years.

    But most people coming to 180 are people who have done far too little physical activity, not far too much, and won't get the same therapeutic benefits from exertion-avoidance that I have.


    Hey, no self-deprecating thoughts! I thought we went over this! I'm a way bigger wuss than you anyway. I won't even get blood drawn and get light-headed just taking my blood pressure!

  64. A lot of those Paleo bloggers are small minded proto Fascists. Kurt Harris is a giant dickbag who used to regularly ban me from his sicko blog. Apparently while not hunting for dinosaurs, he divides his time between electrocuting himself with vintage guitars, irresonsponsibly irradiating hospital patients, lecturing his children on the evil's of all foods not meat, and performing unmentionable perversions on his wife's ear lobes.

    I still think Richard N is pretty cool though.

  65. Matt-

    I LOVE this blogpost and loved the comments section even more. This is all so interesting. Two things to consider:
    It has long been a theory of mine that COMPLEXITY of stresses, rather than INTENSITY of stress, is the problem (well, not THE problem, but a greater problem than the latter).
    I've long observed people with probable dietary malnourishment (both caloric and micronutrient wise) lead healthy, happy lives.
    The same can be said of those with extreme workloads of exercise, or those who have experienced drought, trauma, or poverty.
    Can it be that SIMPLICITY is the key here? That, as long as our stresses are limited in number/places of origin, we can endure and adapt to those stresses? I've long experienced a misplaced envy for those in the third world who can get by with barely enough food, lack of shelter/clothes, and daily violence, without signs of autoimmune, digestive, cardiovascular, allergic, or mood (clinical depression/anxiety) problems. This is all while we in the states are relatively hyper-nourished, clothed, safe, and comfortably housed–and experience all of the aforementioned health problems.
    I feel that this is because the stresses of the third world are rather simple in nature: get food, stay warm, stay safe.
    Our stresses are thus: jobs we hate, body image issues, underexercise, overexercise, too much exposure to computer/tv screens, overeating, overconsumption of drugs, financial stress, career choice stress, school stress, food stress (is it healthy? is it fattening?), sensory overload stress, keeping up with the Jones' stress, dating stress, guilt, etc… JUST TOO MANY STRESSES COMING FROM TOO MANY DIRECTIONS!

    Second thing to consider, check out Brad Pilon's blog post on fast metabolic rates correlating with disease states:
    not saying I agree with everything he says, but he has some interesting things to say.
    - josh

  66. Hey Matt, here are some ideas, carrageenan being most important:

    1. Coconut oil makes me kind of sick, I don't care what anyone says, refined or not. I prefer tallow.

    2. I think I break out (acne) due to carrageenan, which is in MOST ice creams, buttermilks, cottage cheese, hot dogs, cream, etc. see

    3. Who knows I've thought maybe cottonseed oil in burger buns has a particular effect, but they might put carrageenan in either for all I know.

    4. They might feed vegetable oil to fatten up animals- has anyone heard of this? Anyways, I've noticed a very significant difference between rendered fat from grassfed vs grainfed, be darned. Perhaps this is an unexpected source of omega 6, especially with pigs, whose digestive system does not turn unsaturated into saturated.

    5. Palm Oil is 10% omega 6, which wasn't on your list. Palm Kernel Oil is much less, which was on your list. I wouldn't trust either really- unnecessary. Info from here:

    While I'm writing: I'm continually impressed, and sorry I suggested you do anything different from what you're doing. (Well, actually, the bruises post was outside the norm. And also I lol'd hard at Mr. T.)

  67. "They might feed vegetable oil to fatten up animals- has anyone heard of this?"

    I've heard of animal feed being supplemented with not just vegetable oil, but *used* vegetable oil that has been used for cooking and had the crap heated out of it.

    Same with rendered fat – grass-fed animal fat tends to be yellow and tasty.

  68. Matt,

    Great response- I appreciate the thought and effort that went into it. I don't want to turn this comment thread into just a debate about this, but I do want to throw out a few comments.

    Re: Nikolar, Sission, etc- thanks for your take on it, and it sounds like you acted reasonably. The issue I was getting at is something I maybe didn't state clearly, and that I heard some of the readers getting to- in the course of healing, how necessary is it to experience those undesired side effects, like fat gain, lethargy, etc? Essentially, it sounds like you're saying these are all a detox effect from nutriient deficiency, carb/calorie restriction, etc- and some people, myself included, wonder whether there's any way to smooth out that transition back to health, so that you don't suffer those side effects. It's hard to argue with people who are losing fat and feeling energetic that they are actually digging themselves deeper into a hole- maybe that's all the catecholamine honeymoon, and there's set to be a huge reckoning in a few years for thousands of current paleo folks. Maybe not, though, and if not, how do you argue that they did the wrong thing? I mean, it sounds like even Atkins doesn't recommend permanent carb restriction- what's to stop people from transitioning to some quality carbs from roots as things progress, and retain the gains and avoid the crash? Again, you present a solid theory that makes sense, but I can see how people find it hard to put more stock in a future bad thing that might happen than in the fat gain and lethargy they experience right now.

    Re: the NW Indians and food abundance- good point. There seems to be some drive or agitation toward complex and hierarchical societies in human societies, at least the recent several thousand years, and we really don't know whether this is wholly recent or more deeply rooted, but absent from the archeological record.

    I'm not sure I agree with your casual dismissal of bone records- they can't tell us everything about how someone lived and they are subject to interpretation, but I think critical review can discern some findings of value.

  69. (cont)
    Although it's all the rage now with a huge paleo contingent in the health and wellness world, don't forget that the paleo perspective was a response for the assumption apparently for generations that agriculture was the flower of humanity and liberated us in precisely the ways you argue- better, more secure nutrition, as well as giving us leisure to create art and build culture. The pro-paleo perspective emerged to say- hold on, that's bull. Turns out people were not miserable and starving, the leisure came from apparently newly develop social stratification that created a lesiure class, but gave the population as a whole more drudgework, and the culture developed outstripped the local environment and began an imperial quest that continues to this deal.

    Now, is there more nuance? Absoltuely. As you point out, many people did get healthier and stronger and agriculture isn't always allied to ill health. But it's curious that, though the number of forager populations has diminished, those that remain, even on marginal land, appear generally healthy, and on the whole an average San forager, say, is probably more robust than the average global population member. We in the US, after all, are really the global elite, and compared to the life of a someone, likely poor, in India or China, say, as 1 out of 3 people in the world are, the typical forager has it pretty good.

    As for the grains and dairy- I think Stephen Guyenet argued that the American Diet from 100 years ago you point out (and I think are referring to above) includes wheat consumption near its historical high, and so a regression to the mean is what we might be seeing, not some abberant and precipitous drop that is the cause of our current maladies. And I don't hear too many hardliners arguing against quality dairy these days, and probably many paleo folks would love to see more people displace current SAD calories with that dairy.

    In all this, I want to say, that I appreciate your rigor, and think it is probably good to focus on what's definitely to blame (refined industrial foods) than to pre-emptively link the latter to all neolithic foods. I think there's nuance to tease out, just as there's nuance to tease out beteen cultivation of any sort and 'catastophic agriculture.' That realization has encouraged me to not condemn all food production in favor of foraging, but to consider the possibility that certain types of cultivation can be regenerative. Maybe we just need to get nutritious grains into our diet, and industrial foods out, and not altogether dismiss them.

    But I'm also not prepared to dismiss outright the pro-paleo perspective- I think clearning away all assumptions, and offering that new framework actually creates space for the nuanced and grounded perspective to emerge.

    Alright man, that's all for me now.

  70. Rob A,
    I can tell you with out a doubt in my mind that at least the side effect of weight gain with rarrf is avoidable, something I have been working on for quite a few years is coming to a close, just needs final testing. The weight gain comes from these individuals not realizing their bodies have been operating within a state of starvation and consciously controlling their weight being under their current weight set point which naturally given proper calories the body quickly achieves it. there is However a way to turn that switch off without anything other than food and mild exercise very mild.

    good point about natives of the northwest, only you mentioned mushrooms and none of their recipes that I have encountered contained em and when I asked they unanimously said , we just pick em sell em to white people … mushrooms ??? yuck. lol seems to be the consensus.

  71. Rob-

    Don't forget that people coming off of SAD do lose weight eating to appetite or even beyond appetite of a whole foods diet. That's what RRARF was more intended for when it was created.

    But it's hard to expect not gain some fat if you have insufficient muscle mass like yourself or others coming out of an underweight and over-dieted state.

    My current diet is more than 50% neolithic foods, so I'll let you know how that turns out.

    Also, don't put so much stock in how people look physically. A person can become leaner and develop 10 health problems that they are in denial about and all you see is the person getting lean, which forms your judgment.

    If you want to see an example of that happening, scroll to the top of this page and look at the picture of the guy holding a knife and pig's head. He had been eating a low-carb diet for 3 years and had indigestion after every meal, horrendous body and breath odor, gloomy and aggressive mood/behavior, declining sex drive, inability to build muscle lifting weights, and aching teeth – just to name a few of the things you can't see. I also couldn't eat a banana without crying.

    But I sure "looked" the part of healthy, and preached the gospel of health as if I knew all the answers and that it was going to take carb-restriction to overcome the hypersinsulinemic mess the modern world had found itself in. I believed every word I wrote too. Denial isn't just a river in Africa.


    Would love to hear about your sneaky method. Thanks for leaving us hanging!


    Pilon makes some good points. I do not think that adding muscle prolongs life. I do not think that adding body fat prolongs life. And I do think that one of the reason those two things probably do shorten lifespan is that both raise the basal metabolic rate, which is more workload.

    But when I refer to metabolism, I'm not talking about calorie burn. I'm talking about body temperature. If your body temperature is low, your body is conserving energy. Ideally, from a health standpoint, your body would be running correctly (normal body temperature) and you would be lean and therefore burn less calories.

    That's where much of the disconnect between the two paradigms resides. A person that weighs 150 pounds and has a body temperature of 98.0 might burn 2,500 calories per day at rest. A 300 pound person with a 96.5 degree body temperature might burn 4,000 calories per day at rest.

    You want high body temperature and low calorie burn, not low body temperature and high calorie burn.

    Building muscle is not something to do for longevity, but for functionality in advancing years and physical appearance.

  72. Deb,

    I was saying your daughter and all other awesome hybrids ( few in my lineage) are the opposite of asses.

    What I was getting at is we cant really go to a local mall and have our DNA manipulated, so focus on what can be changed. Ultimately, when most of the variables are accounted for I have seen the same health strategies work on most if not all people. If we were that different, tylenol would have "asian formula" or "geeky caucasians and athletic caucasian formula" or "not recommended for african american use label"

    loves back :)

  73. Hey Matt and Chief,

    Thanks for the replies. And I second Matt- way to leave us hanging, there Chief. :-)

    I hear you, Matt, and agree that leanness is hardly a sufficient means to categorize health. Your approach is a lot like regenerative gardening for me- your yields right away might not be so good, though they could be if you're really meticulous about it (maybe that's you, Chief)- but the long term consequences of soil (health) building far outperform the short term yields of regular tilling (restrictive diets of all kinds). And it makes sense that there's a bumpy transition period, especially since it's largey un-mapped terrain.

    Good points about SAD and that RRARF produces decreases in allergies simultaneous to weight gain, counterintuitive to what you'd expect in an inflammatory state. I think that demonstrates that all fat gain is not equal, and there are nuances there to tease out.

    Re: protein- everyone from Ferris to Sisson to Berkhan to Riles to the bodybuilding magazines on the shelves recommends lots of protein for lean muscle building and retention. 180 and Veganmaster are about the only ones I know of who don't. From my vegan days, and just because my body has never craved tons of protein, I've never bought in to it, but I also have never been able to gain much lean mass. What's the deal? Is 30%+ protein really unnecessary? Is the high protein more a requirement for muscle sparing when calories restricted? Is there any good way to determine how much is enough and how much too little?

    Finally- looking forward to your thoughts on Ferris' book. My copy's on the way.

  74. Woah! I've neglected this blog for 3 months and look at what I'm missing. Ironically, I haven't had time to read much here due to changing jobs, which is always a big stressful event.

    About traffic (sorry Chief, but I had to bring it up), I strongly believe it's all in how you look at it. Traffic doesn't have to piss you off. You can let it, but it doesn't have to. I prefer to look at it as my own little "alone time" now. I get to choose the music and sing at the top of my lungs, if I want. I also use that time to think about whatever needs thinking about, that day.

    We do have control over how we react to things, emotionally. It takes a lot of practice not choosing the negative thought, but it's certainly possible.

  75. Hey Matt, will there also be a blog post in the near fututre about that weird diet scheme you seem to pursue right now? Kinda made me curious.

    And once more a question about grains: What are decent ways to prepare grains for everyone who doesn't own a grain mill or something equally silly? Basically the only grains I eat are rice and buckweat crepes both à la Wholehealthsource. Maybe I should try making sourdough bread once more. Tried it one or two times and that didn't work out that well. It baked rather unevenly for some reason and eating it also gave me headaches.

  76. Matt,

    Interesting post, but this one example should not reinforce the extreme orthorexia that is so prevalent around here.

    In these undeveloped areas there is usually an extremely high infant mortality rate, even with "ideal" nutrition. Because of this only the strong (like your friend)survive past infancy.

    My best friend has the best health and worst nutrition out of any person I have ever known. Since childhood he has pretty much only consumed junkfood, was born to drug addict parents, suffered daily abuse and neglect from birth. In spite of all of this he is in great health, has an ideal physique without training, is extremely fertile. He looks kinda like Usain Bolt (who is also know for a poor diet) but more muscular.

  77. Ok Chief, I need me a case of the "geeky Caucasian" formula Tylenol. :)

    It's a theory of mine that mixed race kids are much stronger genetically. Not just because I spawned one, but just makes sense. For example, CLL, my 'issue' is unheard of in China. It seems to happen mostly to "Geeky C's" like me.

    So the chance of my daughter getting it is probably at least reduced by fifty percent. Thanks to Daddy's better genes. He has much better teeth too.


  78. Matt,

    Your comments regarding paleo were great. Humans are starch eaters and traditional cultures have gone to great links to obtain it. I just don't understand how these paleophiles can still believe Grok only ate steak and lettuce. All they have to do is watch one of the documentaries on the hunter gatherers and see how much energy they put into getting their staples like manioc and sago.

    You were right on when you said that paeo diet = prison sex. You should do a whole blog post on this.

    Good comment regarding the Kitava obsession. Yeah the guys might of had abs, but they were the size of 10 year old girls.

    Also glad to see you are getting over the potato obsession. This can be an unhealthy food for some. I hope your followers will take notice and start broadening their lives with some healthy grains.

  79. JT-

    During the writing of that whole Paleo diatribe I couldn't stop thinking, "damnit, where the f$ck is JT right now. He'd back me up on this."

    I must admit, seeing your name in the comments section was like seeing a glass of water in the middle of the desert.

    You are very much correct that orthorexia, not just here but flooding the alternative internet health scene, is very prevalent and it is a disease in and of itself. I'm more likely to do a post on that than Paleo = Prison Sex but clearly the latter sounds like more fun (although probably less helpful). Especially considering some of the titles I've been reading lately.

    My core message is "Eat the Food" and to help people overcome disordered relationships with food and their bodies. I haven't done a particularly good job, but there's always hope for redemption.

    "Paleophiles" will definitely appear again on this blog I assure you.

    Protein for muscle building-

    Yes, I believe you do need protein, but there's no reason to go wild with it. Starch is equally if not more important for building muscle. The more food you eat, the less protein you need. The more carbs you eat, the less protein you need. Low-carbers probably DO need huge amounts of protein. Some pounding starch does not. 1 gram per kg of bodyweight is probably plenty. 1 gram per pound would be the absolute max I suspect.

    The vegan master does make an error though, and that is the belief that because carbs raise insulin they are the best for building muscle and shuttling protein into cells. Protein often stimulates insulin even more than carbs, and potentially could perform that function even better than carbohydrate. I do not think it's healthier though, and you won't catch Scott Abel or his followers, many of which are literally twice the size of Sisson, eating more than a gram per pound of bodyweight or restricting carbs for that matter.


    My current diet isn't that strange. I feel it's more appropriate for a high-intensity workload. And, I'm living in an efficiency apartment with a 2-burner, a rice cooker, and no oven by the beach so my food has lost some razzle and some dazzle. But I have access to cheap and incredibly good raw milk (coastal, iodine and selenium, yummy) and so have been drinking 2 quarts of that per day in lieu of much meat eating. I enjoy that with lots of oats, rice, potatoes, yams, and vegetables. I've also been eating bananas and molasses in my oatmeal, so more sugar, but nutrient dense sugar at least.


    No doubt about it. I'm a super mellow guy most of the time (assuming sufficient carb intake), so traffic and other things like that rarely get to me unless I'm really in a hurry. And I love just hanging out and listening to music as well as belting lyrics.

    I picture you belting Edie Brickell, but I wouldn't put it past you to belt your Canadian idol Celine.

    They play Twisted Sister on the radio where I live every day, so I'm pretty much in heaven.

  80. I missed you too Matt!

    The reason I stopped reading and posting for a while was because of the devolution of the comments. Not because of you. I think you are really showing a lot of maturation in your posting.

    It seemed like people were going backwards into thinking that IF, paleo/traditional diets = good. This is why I liked your paleo = prison sex comment so much. Even if these diets really were paleo/traditional (they aren't) doesn't mean it is optimal. Even if it was optimal for previous generation doesn't mean it is optimal for modern generations, especially ones with mixed or different genetic stock.

    I think you need to address your followers on here who are still sedentary thinking it is good for their health, but they are getting fatter and sicker. You have moved on to living a healthy active lifestyle reaping the benefits of smart exercise and they are just laying around wondering why they are looking and feeling worse even though they stuff themselves everyday and don't exercise!?!

    I am glad you are going to start to focus more on the orthorexia. Many of the people posting on here don't seem to realize that this is a mental illness and is only making them more sick. When you do this, could you address the potato fetish that has developed among your orthorexic followers as well?

  81. The only Celine Dion I listen to is when I'm in a taxi and can't control what's on the radio!

    I was singing some Bob Marley just yesterday on the way home. Mellow Mood. How appropriate. :)

  82. JT I hear you, the potato fetish for some is as bad as your rice fetish…LOL.

  83. JT (and Matt to some degree),

    You sound so arrogant! You make me want to join the paleophiles more than I did before. Casually dismissing IF and avoiding grains as if it indicates some character flaw or deep lack on intelligence really doesn't sway me. So the intention seems to be not advancing dialogue, but self-congratulations. Gosh- that's so frustrating.

    One thing I appreciate about you, Matt- you often give me the impression that you really have read widely and are familiar with many of the perspectives you now disagree with (like low-carb). So I'm open to being persuaded that there's something to your arguments. But casual dismissal like I'm hearing from you JT makes me think you're missing something the advocates of X make note of, and I trust your opinion less. And simply boostering a casual dismissal makes me feel the same way toward you Matt.

    I think it's legit to talk about 'orthorexia,' because it does abound, here and elsewhere, and I know I experience it personally. But I'd love to see some indication of how to respond in a supportive way- I would guess that most of us who you'd call orthorexic are reaching, maybe desperately, for health- simply applying a label doesn't make any of us magically change our ways, and in my case, only makes me angry. I know you're trying to get us to Eat the Food, Matt, and that's cool. I don't know what your recommendations are, JT- low fat, eat lots of rice and kool-aid along with workouts?

  84. Anabelle,

    For some reason a casual mention of traffic along with other things as a possible problems for some people turned into the end all be all of health. lol I'm not in some traffic watch coalition.

    It was just the first thing that popped into my head, something that i associate with the unhealthy environment/lifestyle of ( the disease of) Civilization. You may be calm as a cookie as i am in traffic but the subconscious mind is a whole other thing it may be affecting you without you knowing. i never got mad or freaked out much more than the average person, but i can tell you leaving the rat race behind was one great step in health for me.

    I really mean everything to do with current popular way of life, even things as seemingly trivial as an alarm clock contribute to bad health. when you start to ask yourself why do i do this again ?? and usually people say "it pay the bills". I say find away for your needs to be met without the hoopla.

    Im not saying anyone strip down n go live like grok, I'm saying look at the things in your world that suck ass and replace em with things that kick ass. using the knowledge that STRESS IS a major cause, find what your source is and reduce it or find better ways to deal with it….. I prefer the fukitol pill

  85. "But I'd love to see some indication of how to respond in a supportive way- I would guess that most of us who you'd call orthorexic are reaching, maybe desperately, for health- simply applying a label doesn't make any of us magically change our ways "

    Hi Rob A
    No need to be harsh on yourself.
    Folk do all sorts of things in the name of health, dietary exploration being one of them.
    It can sometimes be beneficial to try to contemplate exactly what one is looking for, and furthermore does that (whatever it is) exist.
    This mostly takes place by exploring a particular idea in detail. Generally it then leads somewhere else again and likewise that too is explored. Like peeling away a skin of an onion to find another. And so on.
    Along the way those things one once thought to be true often are no longer so.
    And perhaps that is what you are doing.

  86. Soo. Reading some comments in different posts it is said to avoid high protein diets, but is that really only diets that are high in protein and low in other macros? I would say my diet right now is 35% carbs (30 grams fiber), 33% fat, and 32% protein. I am getting in a good 210 grams of it. Is that bad at all? Also, do you find protein powders problematic??

    I have been eating 3000 cals a day for a while and am up 23 pounds. I was 120 am up to 143 at 510 so it is MUCH needed weight. IS this not enough to see any metabolism boosting effects?? I see people claiming eating 4,5, or 6k + cals. THat is nuts!

    Its weird because the first 10 pounds I felt very bloated and watery and then for a good 2-3 weeks I felt like I got leaner and less bloated/watery. Then it came back for a while, and after another 10 pound gain at 140 or so for another good 2-3 weeks I seemed to lean out and get less watery and feel better, but that too has passed again. It is kind of cyclical. Is this weird?? My diet an food choices didnt change during these times.

    My main issue right now, and really my only issue is that my bowel movements are very strange. It is like I have some kind of dysmotility. I will invariably go every morning, and most mornings I go a good amount, however I dont just have one normal bowel movement. Upon waking, and over a period of 20-30 minutes, I will have like 5 or 6 mini bowel movements. They normally feel very weak and incomplete, and it is like I have to squeeze them out sometimes :(

    HAs anyone here had that particular problem and has it gotten better with time?

    I am wondering if it is the fact that my gut flora is still low from the long period of malnutrition. I am eating fermented veggies twice a day now, full fat yogurt, supplementing with probiotics, and a fiber made from FOS to feed the good guys. I am guessing establishing a healthy flora to properly bulk up stools will take a long time, no? I had been using mirilax for a while but realized PEG devastates the flora and basically kills it on contact, and feel much better after stopping it. I still take 500-1000 mg of mag oxide at night though to keep things soft, could this be hurting the flora as well??

  87. J biz,

    you don't have to be all mathematical about it regarding ratios JUST EAT THE FOOD lol

    as far as protein powder many body builders avoid it weeks before competition because it "makes you have the fat bloated wrestler look" as one of them told me.

    I think it was mike mentzer who said a lot undigested whey protein packs in your intestines and makes a sort of protein power tire around your waist.

  88. Matt, Rob A,

    yes I am a perfectionist with certain things mostly i just start by throwing paint all over in the beginning and then refine later. If you read closely to all the posts i have made, a good amount of what I do is layed out quite nicely. The only problem is some of it does not jive with some peoples thoughts ( such as fasting) some of it may come off orthorexia-ish like paleo folks ( my traditional eating) Even though scientifically speaking I think its optimal and has some diabetes and fat-ass syndrome dodging potential in the three sisters.( Corn beans squash)

    a few things I do, might seem similar to paleophiles and misguided Ifers and so it gets lumped in and brushed off without understanding it. Stay tuned I promise it will be worth the wait.

  89. Nathan,
    Thats funny, but I have no rice fetish. I am nothing like the potato fetishists who believe it is superior to all other food sources, and all my problems will be cured if I could just eat more potatoes. I only use it as my staple because it is so cheap and easy to digest. Also, it is convenient and saves me time, I only have to spend time cooking it for about 2 minutes every 3 days. I eat plenty of other starches as well including wheat.

  90. Rob A,

    Sorry I hurt your feelings. My dismissal of paleophilia, IF, and grain avoidance is not casual in the least. I spent years doing IF, paleo, and avoiding grains. I was convinced it was the only way, but it almost killed me. The best thing I have done for my health is eat more meals throughout the day and add grains to my diet.

    Those are not my dietary recommendations. It is just what worked for me, but that doesn't mean it will work for you. There are probably a few people out there that do better on a low carb paleo diet. Quit trying to be convinced by people on the internet about what will work for you, because nobody will be able to tell you. Find the foods that work best for you by trying them out.

    Also, you are right about the orthorexia. Many of us get started on that path trying to cure our health problems. The problem with this is that your health problems may not be related to your diet. maybe you should see a legitimate medical professional and figure out what is really wrong with you instead of just obsessing about diet.

  91. Chief,

    I agree with you that eating corn, beans, and squash as the dietary staple would be good for fat loss. It is so high in fiber that it would be impossible to overeat. I think "Eating 3 Sisters" would be a great name for your book.

    I do like your style much more than the typical paleo crowd. At least you acknowledge that real traditional diet is based on carbs.

  92. JT, don't remember if you ever mentioned what you avoid, is there any foods that you won't touch. That you feel wouldn't work for anyone.

    Good to see you posting again.

  93. Yes it's really hard. I have so many allergies. I'm currently reintroducing raw milk one drop a day. Yes, you heard me, that's how little I could tolerate. I'm actually up to six drops per day now, and so far so good…..

    I also think it may have something to do with psychosomatic illness. I'm working on that right now. But I go between thinking that perhaps it's all nutrition, or perhaps it's psychosomatic….but I'm not sure at all…..

    Laylas story is just amazing. Thanks for bringing this up. I've seen this too in people who have perfect health yet drink, smoke and take cocaine, stay up late, and eat fast food and coca cola…..And I'm not even able to tolerate raw milk, though I'm on a 100% whole foods diet and have been for the last ten years…..(the low carb was of course idiotic but still whole foods based)

    Cool about Advil, I had no idea.

    And yes, I'm personally in a "my house is on fire" situation, still dealing with daily joint issues among several other issues (edema etc). Chief found some new interesting info for me though, it's possible that me eating fruits right now is not working. I may have to heal a lot longer before I can eat fruits. The fructose may cause gout apparently.

  94. Excellent post Matt answered many questions I had for a time. Keep up the good work, my son.
    JT I found your comment on exercise objectionable. Alot of people here are sick, the last thing they need to do is exercise. And isn't it Matt's point that being fat is a by-product of low metabolism, eg sickness. I challenge you to offer evidence that exercise (beyond the bare minimum)is good for the health. I recently read a meta-analysis of the research on the health benefits of exercise and the ONLY disease it helped was depression (actually it was the most effective treatment for that, outstripping prescription drugs and talk therapy by miles, but how useless is that since the last thing a person who is depressed wants to do is exercise.) I do think it is important to get that minimal exercise but most people would get that through their daily maintenance chores, standing at work, getting to work, looking after their children, etc. This is not to argue that exercise is not of benefit to the individual, if something supplies pleasure it is probably good for the general health. People just get so beat up on to exercise but i have no reason to believe the body isn't capapble of regulating that. Most healthy people get antsy if they sit around too long.

  95. Undertow,
    I can't really think of any foods that I think are always "bad" for everybody all the time. Excessive PUFA consumption is the only thing I still am a bit hesitant about, but i don't sweat it if I am eating somehwere and i know there is some in the food.

  96. Sydney,

    Go beyond your orthorexia and listen to Jack Lalanne who said that Exercise is King and diet is Queen.

    One of the reasons I stopped posting was because I got so tired of answering this question over and over again! Matt even agrees with me on this now. Who cares about a meta-analysis of research, I have seen it first hand many times. Ask the people who have gone from sedentary to fit if their health improved. Even if the only thing that exercise improved was depression then that would be enough. Many health conditions are related to depression, and it is one of the most horrible diseases to have. Of course many other things will improve as well with proper exercise. Overexercise or the wrong type could make a person worse.

    Maybe physical movement is impossible for you, or you are physically handicapped. In these instances you might only be able to do something like pranayama, qigong, or buteyko.

    But, I think a person should get checked out by a doctor first and cleared to exercise. Very important.

  97. I have been labeled orthorexic, a label I do not dispute, and I am thankful to Matt for helping to undo that way of thinking. When I think about how I stumbled into orthorexia, I realize it was something I resisted.

    It was Gary Taubes GCBC and Jenny's Blood Sugar 101 site that first started planting all the seeds in my head. It wasn't until several months later I finally got a glucose meter (just to see). Fasting was over 100 and 1-hour post prandial was close to 140. That did it… I had to keep learning more.

    I admit it's tough to not be orthorexic once you've learned so much. All I have to do is look around at my peers and their immediate family that are getting increasingly more health problems. And I don't just mean diabetes and heart disease. I mean stuff like Chron's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Narcolepsy, or having your galbladder removal. It's a tough balance and I think a lot of it stems from the feeling you can't rely on the medical system or conventional wisdom for real health.

    At JT,
    Good to see you around again. The strong debate that occurs here has always been one of my biggest draws to 180. I do take some umbridge with your exercise recommendation though. There are plenty of people that have fallen into that "constant struggle with their weight" trap who are following the standard dogma. And they are just ratcheting themselves up fatter and fatter. We might just be arguing semantics, but I think it's important to specify exercise not as a form of calorie control, but as an enjoyable use of your body. Weight training and regular walks can fit in that, but a lot of other things can as well.

  98. JT,

    it goes a bit deeper than fat loss the benefits the three sisters provide. for instance research has been done on pumpkins. Apparently eating it can repair your pancreas (yes we actually eat them lol)
    so they are trying to make some kind of drug out of it to reverse diabetes so money can be made out of something that pops out the ground for free.

    Iroquois white corn is not at all like its sugar spiking cousin typically eaten, steak probably spikes it better.

    Eating beans has been shown to help men in the bedroom as well. :) Contrary to "modern" (stone age in my opinion) The three sisters when grown together synergistically help each other achieve better nutrient quality and when eaten together facilitate their absorption.

    I think paleo people had it right that there is obviously something wrong now that was not there before. The only problem is they " rewinded" past the good part and do see that there was a sort of plateau in many cultures around the world that occurred a long time after grok.

    At one time I thought that maybe average americans should just back track to more simple times dietarily speaking but then I met some amish people from new york that live pretty much the same as certain people did in the 1700's …. the thing is they had "crystal meth crack whore Teeth" so I dont know what they were doing wrong but it can definitely show that perhaps paleophiles are misguided in their perception of Groks superiority.

  99. @Matt

    It's funny how Stephan guyenet has very similar ideas to You but nobody gives him any shit. Instead people just stopped following his blog.

    I actually feel bad for Stephan because it seems he is trying to fight against the tide and has fewer people following his blog because of it.

    I bring this up because It reminds me of the difference feelings make. People looked at the tone of your posts on other blogs and some would think you were funny and others would just get pissed off lol.

  100. About exercise,

    yes acute stress is good in the form of exercise and can have alot of positive effects but i don't think it is king when an insanely minimal amount achieves great results and diet can make or break everything in fitness goals, especially when one considers, most if not all human cultures have social engagements that are centered around eating and obtaining food . I cant think of one where pushup or are the major social activity.

    I think finding an activity you like, doing a little walking daily, some social interaction and a little bit of strength training is all that should be deemed necessary.
    when done correctly you can get away with fifteen-ish minutes a week of serious exercise.

    we live in a time obsessed with working out great results in many areas of life can be achieved with very little effort and often too much can sabotage it.(think moronathon)

  101. AaronF,
    I agree when I recommend exercise i mean to find an enjoyable way to use your body. This could be many different types of activities.

    That is interest info regarding the health benefits of the 3 sisters. I will look up some recipes.

    I disagree with you regarding exercise. There is no way that 15 minutes of strength training a week is optimal. I used to be an HIT follower for many years as well and now I am glad to say that I have found a better way.

  102. Chief: Oh for sure. I'm sure the body reacts to things out of habit, even. My point is just that you do have control over how you feel and react to things, especially if you practice feeling good and reacting well. Let go and enjoy.

    The more you focus on removing the culprit in life, the more the culprit appears.

  103. Again, folks, you are all UNIQUE! If a guy is a couch potato who guzzles big gulps, eats KFC and Micky D's all day long.. even just a few steps might count as a very stressful, extreme endurance sport. But someone who is moderately active, eh, it's nothing.

    So it is IMPOSSIBLE to say what is too much for any one person unless you are testing their abilites, seeing their bodies in action and assessing their over all health status.

    I would venture to say, as a former long distance runner, that MOST people would suffer from doing long runs. But there are those pesky mexican tribes who runs for days, barefoot. Seems to be ok for them.
    My new mantra remains "We are all Experiments of One". And if you can fit a "one size fits all" garment, trust me, you cannot be very big. :)

  104. Deb,
    Great points! I agree with you completely. Even though there are general principles that work for most of the people most of the time, everyone is different and everyone needs to find what works for them as an individual. Most people don't like this though, they would rather follow someone else and be told what to do.

  105. Jt depends on how you define optimal.

    for most people not looking to be a solid block of steel 15 – 30 mins is way more than enough to keep from becoming unhealthy. I for one only train on average around 1 hour total a week and never over more than an hour and a half and Im in the big brick shit-house category.

    I would say that 75 % of my results can be achieved in 30 mins a week or less so for the average person its far less.

  106. Chief,

    My definition is optimal=best.

    You can get the big bulky look and get pretty strong with HIT type of training as long as you eat a ton. You can also get the lean look as long as you keep calories low enough. I spent years following Mentzer/HIT principles and the only thing I got out of it was injured.

    There are many more benefits to physical activity besides getting bigger and stronger. Increased blood flow to the brain probably being the most important. Because of this it is important to spend more time doing it. We also need to keep in mind that there are many other types of physical activities besides weightlifting.

  107. Thanks JT
    Chief: You are a blessed person. And One sharp dresser.. if you wore clothing I could see.. Hee Hee.

  108. JT
    I am not orthorexic and do not want to comment on a site where its ok to throw around personal insults.

  109. Sydney,

    I am not insulting you, but I would be surprised if you didn't have at least a mild case of it. Almost all of us on here are dealing with it to some degree, me included. If we didn't then we wouldn't spend our time reading blogs and commenting on sites related to diet!

  110. "There are many more benefits to physical activity besides getting bigger and stronger. Increased blood flow to the brain probably being the most important."

    Oh that's why all the beefcakes and marathon runners have a PhD in astrophysics. Just kidding, but I don't think that any endurance activity contributes to improved mental fitness at all.
    If you want to build up bulky muscle mass than weightlifting is the right way to go. If you want to be healthy and have strong muscles nothing but a good diet is needed.

  111. Hey JT,
    Is it ok if I email you offline? I got some questions on adrenal recovery and symptoms and I want to know if what I'm still experiencing is related to adrenals. The symptoms are difficult to describe so I'd like to find insight from somebody who's preferably had first-hand experience of the same.

  112. Jannis: Your diet only theory has a bit of a caveat. If you are low in testosterone good luck with the muscle part. Most ladies are lowish, but post meno ladies like me sometimes have nearly zero.

    I don't like being called an ortho either but whatever. JT can use his words, I will use mine.


  113. Jannis,

    given that a lot of health issues come down to metabolism and homeostasis of the internal environment the main focus should be on your mitochondria … muscles happen to have the largest amount. I train people for whatever their goals are.
    To be big and strong or just the best shape they can be in. Weight training does not equal bulk and most women do not produce enough testosterone to get bulky.

    diet alone will not produce strong muscles if not peoples arms would not shrink while in a cast. It is due to something called muscular atrophy from lack of use.

  114. Orthorexia: a fixation with what the individual considers to be healthy eating.

    This is not an insult! It is only a description of most of us on here, including me. This is one thing I like about Matt's blog, he recognizes this as well and he is using his blog as a means to help us recovering orthos, kinda like a orthorexics anonymous.

    Fixation on "healthy" eating is not healthy. I know that in my experience the more I obsessed over healthy food the more unhealthy I became. Maybe some of you could share some of your stories of orthorexia. Have you ever avoided social situations because they didn't have the right food? Do you constantly talk and or think about healthy diet?

  115. Deb,
    its -7 C/ 19 F outside right now and I was sharply dressed in a T shirt and shorts.


    you assume I do HIT, but regardless of training regiment I have found no evidence that longer than 30 mins yields better results.

    IF blood flow is your goal try doing some walking and thinking with less clothing than most people would anywhere north of the 47th parallel in winter
    does wonders for mental clarity.

    It is possible that you may have been able to do things differently and avoid injury.

  116. Jannis,
    There is a strong correlation with brain health and physical activity, nobody even debates this anymore. I don't know any strong healthy people that are sedentary. Deb and Chief are right, women with low testosterone will not gain much muscle.

    I would love to help you man, but i am not qualified. If you think you are having an adrenal insufficiency you need to get tested. Go to a medical professional and run some tests so that you can really figure out what is wrong with you. maybe your issues aren't related to your adrenals, or maybe they are but not because of your diet. Could be something like your pituitary.

  117. Chief,

    There is more too it than just blood flow and looking good naked. I want to improve flexibility, mobility, coordination, and proprioception as well.

    I use Abel's training methods and I am very happy with them. I spent years experimenting with other methods and I am most satisfied with this style.

    Maybe i misunderstood your style as being HIT. Can you give us a description of your methodology. What does your typical training program look like.

    You are way more hardcore than me! There is no way i would ever walk around in the cold like that. Humans were made for tropical environments and that is the way I like it.

  118. Thanks JT,
    I have already had an initial consultation and had adrenal and intestinal function tests recommended plus some diet consultations. I think I'm just shying away at the expense of everything.

    Which Abel program are you following? He seems to have several.

  119. JT,
    It all depends where I am and what is available for instance I have not worked out for almost 2 months in order to gain 25 pounds of fat.
    If i do physical work such as building something or helping a friend move or chopping wood for an elder I don't train at all for a while and on purpose I take vacations from everything and just chill when I feel the need.

    sometimes i do very little just to prove a point such as this past summer I did 2 mins of exercise per day and ate 7000 calories while actually dropping weight to convince a bunch of people to change little things in their life and at the same time to stop trying to restrict eating to lose weight.

    training I do is like a lil different than the norm I do lil mini workouts like less than 5 mins (I never counted it) everyday before eating, a small routine of my own design. One a week I do a typical workout balanced between a few HIT-ish moves and a few typical hi volume exercises total time is like 15- 20 mins no matter what method its always compound exercises because the rest are more or less pointless. I do a few sprints a 2 times week some volume training and I alternate. I haven't looked into Abel's methods but from what some have said to me It is similar to what I do once every other week in an effort to "kick my own ass" Im pretty lazy with repetitive things and always look to do the least and get the most.

    I do stretch but i don't consider it "workin out" any more than walking to the stor. I just do it so i can kick some one in the face if i ever need to i don't think it is over the top required of all people.

    And I shovel the driveway in a tank top and still sweat so perhaps like a lot of things the general thoughts about what humans are made for is all in ones head. Maybe we all came from a tropical region we are pretty adaptable to a wide variety of foods and stressors.

  120. Oh dear. I gave up on looking good naked quite some time ago.
    I just want to live as long and as healthily as possible. Looking good naked or in a bikini is nice, but I don't want to burn anyone's retina's with my glorious flesh.

    Except my husband, and he is used to it. :)

  121. "I am not insulting you, but I would be surprised if you didn't have at least a mild case of it. Almost all of us on here are dealing with it to some degree, me included. If we didn't then we wouldn't spend our time reading blogs and commenting on sites related to diet!"

    Sounds like a pretty condescending comment to me.

    It is a sad, sad state of affairs when people are labelled as having a disorder for just for caring about what they put in their body, especially by someone who seems to have an interest in what he/she eats.

    Animals and infants are quite fussy in regards to what they will and won't eat… so are they orthorexic, too?

  122. Could someone explain why grains/legumes are so vital for health??
    I used to eat macrobiotic style, which is almost 60% grains base. I soak all legumes and grains, I developed subclinical hypothyroidism, hair falling out, bleeding/mucus stools,hemorrhoids-
    All these largely improved when moving to paleo. So my question is why would I go back to grains & legumes??? Do they provide some essential micronutrient? (I eat paleo but with a lot of not low carb frenzy here).

  123. Robert,

    I highly doubt a particular food eaten caused your hypothyroidism or hair falling out. more than likely the difficulty in achieving proper nutrition while eating macrobiotic was the cause. vegetarian diets require more organization and also a wider variety of food. Eating meat takes the guesswork out on how to find vit. b-12 as well as adequate fats.

  124. Chief,

    I really do think that soy & wheat have something to do in the equation, Once I eliminate those my thyroid test came up normal (just a slighty low on t3, thats why I increase my tuber intake)
    Blood & mucus in stools clear only when I eliminate grains & legumes.
    Eating meat & good fats have definately play a vital rol in my recovery. I don´t know if Im gonna reintroduce legumes & safe grains in the future…I feel really good now & I don´t wanna tumble with the same stone twice.

  125. Robert,

    I can't say about soy products as I generally avoid em due to body building circles saying they impair muscle growth in men. If someone cooks something with it I don't insult them and leave but in general It's a frankenfood to me. Alot of people eat wheat without a problem though so perhaps you are not factoring in the proper nutrition effecting your digestion. more or less a catch 22. you have mucus because of mostly wheat in your system and bad nutrition from having mostly wheat in your system and improper nutrition makes your system too weak to tolerate wheat hence one big circle.

    so which is it the chicken or the egg? ( wheat or improper nutrition) ….. or even stress :)

    I can say I am on the fence about wheat at this point. I can easily avoid it for the rest of my days. For me, legumes and grains have an almost religious context (three sister's story) which is cultural engrained in my mind and tell me that they are essential. I used to think these were just told to get kids to "eat their veggies" lol but I can tell you that recent scientific research has proven most of the qualities attributed to legumes and grains that are taught in traditional teachings to be true. Beans specifically have amazed me in my research which is funny considering how many people do not care for them. Resistant starch is a relatively new discovery so who knows how many other things will be discovered about legumes in the future. could you be missing something that could optimize your diet ?? that is for you to decide.

    ultimately I don't like pushing my views as some sort of dogma only wish to share and if it helps then good. Ultimately If you feel good, you like what you eat and your sure you are getting everything you need… then just eat the food!!!

  126. Aaron really nailed it with this…

    "I think it's important to specify exercise not as a form of calorie control, but as an enjoyable use of your body. Weight training and regular walks can fit in that, but a lot of other things can as well."

    Using exercise as a way to burn calories and force weight off is totally different from, what Jon Gabriel would say, "connecting with your body in fun, playful, physically active ways."


    I hope to do a post someday with many sub-classifications on orthorexia that you will enjoy.


    Yeah, Eating 3 Sisters is the perfect title, ha ha!! Pervert!

    J Biz-

    Overeating protein will definitely exacerbate constipation, and there's simply no need to eat that much. A guy your size can maintain nitrogen balance on as little as 50 grams per day. If you eat 100 grams per day, that's enough to store away muscle faster than anyone could ever possibly grow. It's enough to gain more than 2 pounds of lean mass per week. Try emphasizing fat and starch more and I think you'll see improvements.

  127. @Chief: That three sister story just once again reinforces my belief that many so called "primitive" cultures more or less intuitively possess a knowledge or wisdom that at least in some aspects is far superior to current scientific theories and beliefs.

    And I don't think this is limited to nutrition alone, but can also be expanded to medicine, psychology, spirituality, lifestyle etc.
    It's really sad when you think about how much of that wisdom has been and will be lost over the years and in my opinion everything should be done to secure as much of that wisdom/culture as long as it still avaivable and before the whole world will become "civilized", industrialized and whatnot.

  128. Robert-

    I too developed problems with those kind of foods as a vegetarian, as that's all I was eating more or less. Robert McCarrison said it best when he wrote…

    “Any ill effect which [whole grains] may exercise is due to the failure suitably to combine them with other food materials which compensate for their defects [notably vitamin D rich foods]. They are not to be condemned nor to be displaced from their prominent place in the dietaries of mankind for this reason. As well might we condemn the perfectly good fuel, petrol, for the overheating of the engines of our cars when we fail to supply them with sufficient oil, as condemn the excellent wheat and oats when we fail to consume them with sufficient quantities of milk or other vitamin-rich foods, which are required by the human machine for it smooth an efficient running.”

    That pretty much says it all. However, the body often develops allergic and inflammatory problems as well as digestive issues due to damage and sometimes we can't necessarily go back and eat them. There are no essential nutrients in them that you will die from not getting.


    Fantastic use of the word "rewind." That's exactly what Paleophiles have done, skpping over the best of times and rewinding back to the dark ages. It's like Weston A. Price's work doesn't exist and they'd rather look to a half million years ago to decide what to eat for dinner.

    I also wanted to notify you that I did find a good buffet that I hit on Saturday night. Ironically, it was an Amish buffet. Amish people do eat the hell out of some white flour and white sugar, and I noticed their baked goods contained lots of soy oil – your favorite. But the buffet was awesome, and I sleep 10.5 hours olid that night. With ample finances, I might become a buffetarian like you someday.

    Anonymous Orthorexia basher-

    It's always a fine line. Some people need to put a lot more thought and emphasis into eating healthy. Some need to put a lot LESS thought and emphasis into eating healthy. The lurkers here tend to fall into the latter category.

    Same with exercise. Some need more. Some need less. It depends on where you are coming from.

    But your average 180 follower, and especially commenter, didn't go directly from Big Macs and french fries and blue Powerade to eating a mixed whole foods diet.

    The average follower went vegetarian, then vegan, then raw, then low-carb, then Paleo, then raw Paleo, then the Warrior Diet, then Bees Candida Diet, then GAPS… And is now here. And for some peole, the best advice they can get is to take a hit off of Chief's fukitol inhaler.

    Diet fixation is also a huge mainstream problem that is the gateway drug to eating disorders, self-image issues, and more.

    You'll see in an upcoming post that I don't throw the term around like "ha ha," but very much mean business with it.


    Here's a good Paleo/high-fat/low-carb parody for you…

    He's got the adrenal fatigue skit down pat.

  129. matt,
    yea I didn't want to mention the title as I get enough flack for my "sexual healing " prescription towards health. one of my jokes is to go out for a night on the town n say … little girl clubs please lets see if I can pick up three "grown" sisters like corn beans n squash…

    amish people in Florida ?? send me the name of the buffet I'll check it out i don't think I'll get a case of crystal meth/crack whore teeth with one visit.

    your waiting for financial freedom ? rarrfing it down is not cheap my man lol … I have an idea for you in the finance dept….. I must leave you hanging with that one its easier to show you in person. what are you doing in florida for funds if you don't mind me asking?

    I think the paleophiles watched too much fred flintstone and see it as a better life with cars that don't require gas.

    BTW I think fukitol only comes in pill form

  130. Ok I need some fukitol stat. Pills or inhalers, I need it!
    Calgon, take me away!

  131. Thank Chief & Matt for your clarifying answer. I still totatlly agree that legumes & grains are not bad per se if you have a really healthy digestive system & a variety of healthy foods.Maybe I gonna give those mung beans another chance…will se.
    The principle of balance is inevitable.

  132. Matt,
    you mentioned this last year, but are you ever going to give your opinion into Joe Blair's SciDebateForum. In spite of the vege oil avoidance, he does a lot of things different from RRARF. Will there be a post in the future about these differences.

  133. MAtt,

    With tho whole protein thing, why do the many many members who eat anywhere from 1.5-2 grams of protein on various lifting forums do fine with it?? IS it because they dont have a low level of health, and once someone gets back to a higher state of health they can eat higher protein with no ill effect?

  134. I don't know anonymous. I've never met a bodybuilder that I would call healthy in person. I don't think the excesses of protein are really what is making a big difference for these guys. And even if it is working, that says nothing of its healthfulness. Steroids work too. I'm adding mass very quickly on more or less a lacto-vegetarian diet (emphasis on the lacto – 6 gallons in the last 2 weeks).


    I live off of what I make on the site. Florida is cheap so I can get by. I could certainly float the bill at the Amish buffet for you brother.

  135. Ain't been the money for me lately it's been TIME !! should have been there 6 weeks ago …Also getting fat when you are not a fatty is a complex time consuming affaire… I have had to bump all fun trips forward 2 weeks ( multiple times) …kind of like I've been hitting snooze over n over. Ill Be there soon then cali then hawaii

    Looking forward to amish paradise

  136. In regards to Chief's mention of how traffic is more stressful than other events that were actually dangerous. It makes sense. The "fight or flight" stress response results in either running form the situation or fighting your way out of it. In traffic, someone cuts you off, you live with it…or do something about it and go to jail. Your boss chews you out in his office…the fight or flight response would dictate that you either run out of there to get away or kick his ass…but if you want to keep your job, you sit there and take it. It all seems pretty logical to me, what Chief is saying. Modern society, manners, etc., prevent us from acting in a way that nature has dictated.

  137. Sounds good Chief. I'm ready to hit Amish paradise again soon myself.


    I agree. While we can of course program ourselves to respond with a benign response as Annabelle suggests (we do have such power over our minds), there is a natural mammalian physiological need to express pent up emotion, trauma, etc…. Dissipating it physically with action. I think this is ultimately why some types of exercise are de-stressing depending on their nature. Vigorous and dynamic and/or calm and energizing (Tai Chi, yoga, etc).

  138. yes that is what I am saying also I was saying that we were never bombarded with so many insanely stressful situations like we have in the modern world. you see banks going belly up on Tv and it feels like you might lose your job ( source of food) that would be like seeing no rain for months for an agricultural society.

    The other part of the stress factor is foreseeing a gloomy outcome weather it is like "oh man … great now i get to spend the next hour in traffic" ( shitty future on a small scale compounded over time = shitty future in general)

    or "how are we gonna pay these bills honey (this whole year is shitty or major chronic stress ) "…or … simply a teenage girl saying I'm too ugly! ( looking in the mirror stressing about the actual fat ) how will I ever get married and have a baby" = no survival/pretty gloomy future

    the body is only designed to handle one type of gloomy future ….lack of resources and the only currency it understands is food … Boom presto! fat switch is turned on to protect you against a future famine a few people might prefer to run on adrenaline and avoid food during this type of stress but its not the typical scenario. most people look for the comfort in food as the body feels protected from a perceived gloomy future.

    its either acute ( fight or flight when a natural response is achieved) which can make you run faster or punch someone better ( a good thing ) which in todays world is suppressed.

    or chronic (fight or flight when you eat it/sit there and take it ) or impending doom that consumes you subconsciously which is a chronic stressor like no other. Sometimes people think they are handling it well and pretend it is not bothering them but the subconscious keeps on trucking..

  139. You got it Chief. That's exactly what I've evolved to believe over all my years of geeking out. Once you realize all the things in modern life that our bodies can contrue as chronic stress (famine – the original reason for the pathway), the term stress takes on exponentially new meaning and a completely different ballpark of importance.

    Okay, back to reading Linda Bacon (can't believe I haven't read this yet) and her sermon on the horrendous nature of "restrained" eating.

  140. But your average 180 follower, and especially commenter, didn't go directly from Big Macs and french fries and blue Powerade to eating a mixed whole foods diet.

    Ha. I went directly from Big Macs and french fries and blue Powerade to eating a mixed whole foods diet. (Though soon after I tried four months of low-carb SCD before discovering 180 and the hypercaloric whole foods diet.)

  141. About orthorexia:

    I think obsessiveness is a natural part of *good* learning. I used to think of it as something pathological — and trust me, I know what pathological obsessions are like — but the less I beat myself up for it, the more fun I have learning and the less I obsess about "perfection."

    In other words: the process of learning is itself a form of perfection. In karate I remember my instructor telling me that when you get your black belt that it's like starting all over again, like going back to being a white belt but with a different mindset.

    It took me a long time to understand what that meant. But now after having spent years practicing guitar, and practicing things like singing, drawing, boxing, and to relate to everyone here, researching nutrition, exercise and health in general…well, it's a lot clearer to me now.

    I am accepting my 'obsessiveness' with health as the same thing as being a white belt, just starting to learn guitar, just learning how to throw a punch, etc:

    It's natural to obsess at first, and I wouldn't even call say 'obsess' because that can carry a negative connotation: I'd say it's being 'eager to learn' or 'excited to learn.' You can soak up information like a sponge in this stage. And it can take years. But there is a point where it pays off, and that's when the 'obsessiveness' gives way to 'second nature.'

    I used to think hour after hour, day and night, "How do I play this song? How do I position my hand that way?" Day and night. Fingerpicking like Leo Kottke/John Fahey is extremely difficult to learn. Just like all these things about nutrition/exercise/health in general. It's very difficult to learn.

    But after years of practice, these things became second nature. My playing still has many, many imperfections, but it's improved astronomically since almost 7 years ago when I could hardly go from a C chord to an E chord.

    Likewise, though my diet leaves much to be desired, and my cooking as well…I'm learning. I accept where I am now, appreciate the progress I've made, and look forward to making more, without feeling bad about not being 'farther along.'

    Making kefir and viili and brown rice as dietary staples has become second nature to me. Doing interval training and bodyweight exercises for strength training has become second nature to me. I still have trouble figuring out what to eat, but that's only because I simply haven't cooked enough, and I have limited experience with making full, satisfying meals. This is what I'm working on now. Eventually making meals of whole, nutritious foods, with tasty seasonings/herbs/spices/etc. will become second nature to me if I practice it enough.

    I'm light years ahead of where I was only a year ago. I've added dozens of new whole foods that I seldom had before to my diet, learned a lot more about cooking and nutrition, and many other things.

    I think it's very important to appreciate how far you've come — to step back and see how much progress you've made. I think it's common to be so caught up in 'when the shoe's going to drop next' that we forget to congratulate ourselves and appreciate how far we've come along on the journey.

    Yes, I have a LOT left to do, but look at how much I've already done. I'm not one for resting on my laurels, but I think it's healthy to do that once in a while to remind yourself of how good the learning process is, and to reduce anxiety we might attach to the previously mentioned "imaginary ideal" or "perfection" that I don't think exists as we imagine it.

    I do think it exists, but that perfection might be where we least expect it. Just a thought. Hope someone's able to get something out of my jumbled mess of ideas ;D

  142. I’d say Layla has a barage of friendly helminths on board. Hookworm, tapeworm, protozoa, whipworm, you name it. Now that’s health. Modulating our immune system for the last eon of time. Google hygiene hypothesis or helminth therapy to find out why parasites really need to be relabelled as opportunists. Don’t get me wrong, these things can kill when the balance is lost.


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