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Some Actual Nutrition Science (for once)!

Blog Forums Nutrition Some Actual Nutrition Science (for once)!

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    Hi everyone :)

    I recently read a book that I have found not only enlightening and informative, but after following the ‘advice’ in it for about 6 weeks I have noticed some significant improvements….after spending about 3 months following the advice here and eating whatever, whenever I noticed a number of health improvements (I got my period back, my hair and fingernails started to grow again, my food cravings diminished a lot) but I also gained about 5-7kg. This was about the maximum amount of weight I could stand gaining and I wanted to try to shift it without falling back into ‘bad habits’ and crash dieting etc. Anyway, I stumbled across the book ‘Our Natural Diet’ by Mark Hines after I saw Mark present at a Health and Fitness conference back in May and I found him a voice of sanity in a field of pseudoscience – he was talking about the latest fad for following a ‘Paleo’ diet, and all the issues/problems/misunderstandings that surround it, especially in the diet and fitness industry. Anyway, to cut a long story short I was impressed and I finally got around to reading his book in August, and started following the approach he recommends back in September. Since then I have had the following improvements:

    1. I have lost 1.5kg! Yes!
    2. My skin has cleared up – after I started eating more and my period came back I also ended up with the acne I had as a teenager. This past month though my skin has more or less returned to what would be expected from a ‘normal’ 32 year old!
    3. My food cravings have gone completely – following the approach in Mark’s book I still eat what I want, when I want but one thing he really encourages is a wide variety of natural foods (e.g. meats, vegetables, fruits etc.) in the diet and I honestly think that I was perhaps deficient in a number of nutrients because I always used to eat more or less the same things every week (even when I was following eat for heat, I still ate the same kinds of foods day in and day out).

    I have struggled for many years with my weight and I have always crash dieted or binged. Eat for Heat helped me so much and I needed to give my body a break for a while. However, I found that I was very unhappy with the weight gain and I also wasn’t too comfortable eating a lot of sugar or processed food (I know that E4H can be done without eating crap, but that was the kind of food I found myself reaching for when I gave myself free reign). The last thing I wanted was to go back to my old and destructive dieting ways but I also wanted some other way of losing weight and following a ‘healthy’ diet. I honestly think I might have found this in Mark’s book – his approach is all about moderation, variety and avoiding harmful foods (e.g. additives like Nitrates or artificial flavourings). One of the best things I found about the book is that Mark reviews the evidence around all aspects of nutrition and he doesn’t mind writing that some things are both good and bad for us – this in particular has really helped me stop seeing foods as just good or bad, and to be a little less rigid in my approach to eating.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share because I have found this so helpful in what I still consider to be my recovery, and I thought maybe some others here might find it helpful too!

    Sally x


    Thanks for posting about this book. I will look it up, maybe my library has it? Probably not, I can’t be buying anymore books right now. That is great that it has helped you. I have been doing this since last Feb & still not there. I admit I still don’t sleep thru the night, still have stress, & I think I am not getting the calories in unless I count them everyday. I just get tired of doing that. I want to eat intuitively, not worry about whether it is enough. Before I did this I was on a lowfat, low cholesterol diet which I think really messed me up so no quick fix for me.

    Steven e

    @Linda, I worried about “calories in” for too long. After my appetite diminished, I kept trying to make sure I was eating enough, and eating on time. My upper digestion (reflux and heartburn type stuff) became not so great. I thought I could eat my way into forcing my night time temps out of the mid 97’s. I couldn’t. The extra food I didn’t need (which I had rarfed down happily during initial re-feeding) was just a stress and probably pushed my weight up an extra 8 to 10 pounds that I didn’t need to gain for recovery (That’s what it seemed like to me anyway). I was also sluggish, super out of shape, and sleeping poorly.. When I finally realized I wasn’t going to eat my night temperature into rising (day time temps are fine), I did what Matt basically says to do when you’re appetite diminishes, which is eat what you want, to appetite. I also gave up on scheduling meals, because it just wasn’t working out for me. I had to digest what I ate and then eat when I had worked up an appetite. I craved more nutritious foods and vegetables and a more varied diet, regained my interest in cooking and eating good food, digestion improved quite a bit, lost about 7 or 8 pounds effortlessly, increasing exercise tolerance, am finally sleeping through the night sometimes, etc.. I don’t know where you’re at, or what your response has been to re-feeding, but just wanted to weigh in, in case my experience resonates with you at all. I hardly think about calories in anymore. I’m sure I’m below my maintenance intake (according to someone) some days, but other days I’m very hungry, especially if I’ve been getting more exercise, or having a long busy day.

    Re: the book, I know some people continue to want to eat junky food, but for me it was a natural progression from wanting to eat just really calorie dense food all the time and being completely uninterested in vegetables and fruit, and barely interested in meat, to really craving bone broth, meat and balanced meals that included vegetation. I think it’s important to steer our food environment a little. We don’t have to be at the mercy of the dominant culture all the time. There are choices we can make in our lives that steer us in a certain direction. Sure you can eat “instinctively”, but if you’re kitchen is like 7-11, you going to have diet fail. I don’t let mental interference have too much to do with what I eat anymore like I used to, but I keep almost all real food around (possibly accepting refined carbs like white flour, white rice, sugar etc…sorry for all the annoying parenthese:), so that’s what I eat. Some of it I don’t eat. I want to want to eat dried fruit for various reasons, but I rarely do actually feel like it, and rarely do. I just think that steering our food choices some is a good idea. I’m not sure that we shouldn’t also eat some foods, because of external information either, but it’s clearly difficult to do in a constructive way, and a fine line between subverting your bodies voice and making common sense diet interventions. Clearly though, the food environment is a major issue these days, and we can steer our food environments by the kind of food we bring into our homes, or grow and gather, which could allow us to eat instinctively within a reasonable quality and variety of foods.


    Hey Steven e, I feel the same way about the food. I think it’s clear now that eating the food is not enough for me to raise my temps. I stopped taking my morning temp because it never changes. Forcing the calories in was just another stress I don’t need. I didn’t notice any positive affects from doing that & I feel better eating to appetite.

    Part of my stress is figuring out what I want to do with my life. I never really wanted a career, I just wanted to be a wife & mother so that’s what I did, including homeschooling which is done because he is out of college now. These days it is very hard, as everyone knows, for a family to live on 1 income. I did work part time here & there over the years, & now I am looking again to work part time. So my stress is financial & figuring out what I want to do so I can have a more meaningful life. I think I finally figured it out. I love gardening. I have been trying to grow more of my food to save money at the grocery store, but every year I have problems with my garden. I want to grow a bountiful garden & make fermented veggies to sell. I would be doing something I love & making some money at it, but it is a challenge because every year I have some problem with the garden. I think I got off-track here, sorry for rambling, but these issues are things I have been worrying about for a long time. Even last year I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I just knew I wanted to grow a better garden, but I also have to find a way to make money.

    The other thing is exercise. I felt a whole lot better last year when I was exercising regularly. When I started the refeeding I stopped working out because it didn’t seem to be doing anything for me. I was still gaining weight. I used to go to the gym with my hubby & I noticed when we were done he was sweating & I wasn’t. With all the reading on Matt’s blog I thought I should stop for a while. Now I wish I had never stopped. Even though it seemed to have no affect I still felt better. Now it is SO hard to get back to it without crashing. This is another thing that is frustrating me. It isn’t just about losing the weight, I want to get back to feeling good. I want that spring in my step. Anyway, thanks for responding to me.

    Steven e

    So are your daytime temps Ok? Mine are generally very good, thought they fluctuate a lot and will occasionally go down a bit. Night time is consistently low though. And yeah, I stopped checking in the morning too, and pretty much during the day as well now.

    I’m finding that I just have to work up extremely slowly on the exercise. Most of the time just working around the place is enough. I have to restrain myself from doing too many pullups, pushups and squats and hard physical activity. I go through small recovery periods where I’m sore and have to eat quite a bit for a day or two. I feel like I’m a long way off from doing any kind of endurance exercise. Just trying to take it slow.

    I think Matt hits the nail on the head when he says follow your passion. Figuring out a way to monetize your interest is another challenge, but finding the thing you are interested enough in to excel at is critical. I have plenty of them, but if anything too many. Do the math on your fermentation/gardening project. In the meantime, if you love doing it, I’d say do it a lot, even if you just give the stuff away, and develop really solid recipes and technique. I’ve done a lot of lactofermenting and my results are still inconsistent. I don’t know how it is where you live, but here there are all sorts of restrictions via the health department and everything have to be done in a commercial kitchen. I always wanted to produce a lot of pepperoncini, because mine are awesome, but it’s pretty hard for artisinal food to compete in the global market, so I’m not sure it would be a viable enterprise or not. Then again, food itself is worth little now, so adding value by making a specialty product might just be the way to go. Also, selling the vegetables isn’t the only way to make money from your interest. You could end up writing or teaching. Fermentation is huge right now and classes are popular. I wrote a booklet on fermenting peppers that is in revision right now, but most of it is on the paleotechnics website for free anyway. I’ll be revising that and probably writing one on olive processing which was a really strong interest for me for a long time.


    To be honest I have not been taking my temps because I keep forgetting to keep track. I did take it today after lunch & it registered 98.0. Not great, but even after eating especially warming meals the best I would get was 98.2-98.4. Only once in a blue moon would I hit 99 so I decided to be happy if it is at least 98.0.

    As for the fermenting I just got that idea recently. I like doing it for my family and try to keep something on hand at all times. I have made friends with some of the farmers at the farmers’ market. A couple years ago one of them gave me deals on the eggs, pretty much letting me pay what I wanted instead of what he charged everyone else so I gave him a jar of homemade fermented sauerkraut. This past summer I was able to barter some with another farmer. He was very interested in fermented foods. I gave him some extra water kefir grains for eggs and another time I gave him a fermented veggie for soup bones. All summer long I wished I could grow a bountiful garden & be able to share it with others. So that’s how that idea came to me about selling fermented veggies. Who knows if it will come about.

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