Business as usual over the past several days?
The diet is going just fine and seems to be continuing to get better and better. I’ve even been able to exercise at fairly normal levels, going for several short jogs over the past three days, as well as do some brief resistance exercise.
I must confess however, that I did consume something not of animal origin. Yes, I know, I’m an evil plant killer, what can I say.
My excuse is that I’m moving from Hawaii back to the motherland of Carbondale, CO in just 9 short days. That means that everybody who knows me wants to hang out and watch me have a drink or two, and well, that’s exactly what I did on the evening of day 23.
I had one glass of white wine, and one glass of red ? both derived from grapes. Now it is true that the word ?apes? is in ?grapes?, and apes are of animal origin, but unfortunately this turns out to be just a random coincidence. Grapes and apes don’t have much to do with each other. No backpedaling out of that one. Looks like I’ve slaughtered some of Michael Pollan’s beloved plants. Say it ain’t so!
But let’s not call this some failure because this just so happened to be an outstanding opportunity to witness and track the changes that 23 days of an all-meat diet could provide. Earlier in this FUMPcapade, upregulation was discussed as it pertains to addictive substances. Well, it was obvious that I was in an upregulated state, because when I had that alcohol before dinner on an empty stomach? Whoa!
Within 20 minutes I was having a tremendous time speaking. Never before have I jumbled words so badly. One glass of white wine at that point and that was all!
Another factor in this scenario is that glucose is in limited supply on a zero-carb diet. It is provided by glucose from protein, of which there is little extra of after any meal. Alcohol has the ability to shut the glucose valves off in the brain somewhat, so I could have been really low in brain glucose in the early stages ? contributing specifically to brain dysfunction.
Anyway, alcohol hit me harder than I can ever remember in such a miniscule quantity. This should be expected having had simple sugar only twice since September and then switching to a totally carb-free diet.
But this detail is extremely important. Depression, addiction, and emotional instability are thought to be a result of downregulation ? or the closing of receptor sites so that feel-good brain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, and beta-endorphin cannot enter the system. Again, this is because the body has mechanisms to insure that equilibrium is maintained at all times. Thus, when a hormone or neurotransmitter gets raised above normal, that triggers a closure of receptor sites so that flooding doesn’t occur.
The higher the spike, and the more frequent the rise above normal, the more receptor sites close down to maintain balance. The result is that more of a substance is required to get a high (be it Pepsi, alcohol, caffeine, or any psychoactive substance). More importantly, is that you must ingest that substance to get your biochemical levels high enough for your active levels to hit normal. That’s because so many receptor sites have shut down. This is huge because when your biochemicals are at normal levels, you are getting less than enough in your system, and you feel terrible. The receptor sites won’t let the juice in.
Enter the addictive cycle.
People think that things give them a ?boost? or ?high,? but the irony is that those substances cause them to feel worse when they don’t have stimulating substances coursing through their veins. With too little active serotonin (due to receptor site closure, not inadequate levels of the chemical itself), you feel cranky, edgy, irritable, and anything but happy. With low levels of circulating dopamine, you feel fuzzy-headed, can’t think straight, and have brain fog in addition to being negative and cranky. With low levels of beta-endorphin you feel excessive physical pain and more.
Of course caffeine, alcohol, and sugar all trigger a surge in those substances and a closure of receptor sites, of which some people seem to be far more prone to than others ? leading to stronger addiction. In other words, and this is huge, sugarholics don’t binge on sugar because they have wide mood swings, they have wide mood swings because they eat sugar. Alcoholics don’t drink because they are negative, depressed, and otherwise miserable ? they are negative, depressed, and otherwise miserable because they drink. Likewise, coffee zombies need coffee to think straight, keep from having physical pain, and otherwise function normally ? precisely because they drink coffee. Without it, they’d wake up energized, clear-headed, positive, and feeling good like every single other creature of every species on the planet. Just observe a dog when it wakes up in the morning to see what mornings are supposed to feel like.
But if you could upregulate, opening up all of those closed receptor sites, then you would essentially be healed of depression, mood swings, brain fog, physical pain, addictive eating patterns and behaviors, and more. Strangely enough, the best way to upregulate and thus feel normal with normal biochemical levels instead of god-awful with normal levels, is to keep your biochemical levels low for an extended period of time. That allows receptor sites to turn back on.
Is an all-meat diet the best way to do precisely that? My answer, after monitoring my body, moods, energy levels, physical pain, and hearing from others following the same diet is? Probably.
Any diet devoid of addictive substances can achieve this, but I doubt any are as powerful as this. Plus, with benefits such as improved skin health, weight loss, reduction of inflammation in the digestive tract, healing of tooth sensitivity (worked wonders), and more ? this diet has real health improvement potential.
Over the past 3 days I’ve eaten?
4 pounds chuck steak (rare)
1 stick butter
2 bowls pig face stock
15 medium shrimp
6 eggs (3 scrambled, 3 overeasy)
2T macadamia nut oil
7 ounce ground beef patty (well) with 1 ounce cheese and 2 slices bacon
8 ounces heavy whipping cream (in one hit)
Glad to hear you are a fellow Coloradan! I grew up in the suburban-whitebread-home-of-Columbine Shooting Littleton. No Carbondale, but still the ‘ol CO!
Anyway, my ZC progress is such:
Negatives (first 4 days)
-No hunger, therefore no depression/obsession surrounding food
-fat loss, more muscle definition
-super soft hair/skin
-My frequent trips to pee have stopped! I am sleeping whole nights without getting up to use the loo. (related to the ZC diet I wonder??)
-no more digestive troubles of any kind
-less and less carb cravings
-energy to boot!
-Can’t stop talking about reducing refined sugar intake to friends, family, facebook, etc
4 more days of ZC! then my shopping list includes avocados, green leafy vegetables, sprouted grains, coconut, and more goodies. I’ll be keeping the refined sugar to a minimum on Christmas, even though my grandma is sending me a package of homemade Greek pastries in the mail…oh boy.
Thanks for this blog Matt! It has really changed everything I ever believed about health and weight loss!
My experience is exact, both in terms of positives and negatives, including the peeing. That’s due to the close link between water regulation, kidney function, and carbohydrates. I’m not dehydrated, but still, it’s like I barely even have to pee in the morning when I wake up.
Anywho, thanks for sharing. I will yodel in the general direction of Columbine upon my return.
interesting blog. How is your salt intake? In my opinion you have to lower your salt intake on Zero Carb, like the inuit which never use(d) salt.
Salt intake is moderate. Today I had zero. If the meat I’m having is good quality I find salt is not necessary. Still, my salt intake is no more than a third of my normal amount.
I don’t have to pee often, since I drink very little water. I agree with Aajonus, about avoiding water. Just that improves digestion, health, and skin/hair quality vastly. Avoiding fiber also helps IMO. I eat very little fiber, my only carbs are “unheated” honey, strained juice, peeled potatoes, organic white sushi rice, well cooked vegetables, and occasional Berlin Sourdough Spelt Bread (a piece every two or three days perhaps). I think you need to “isolate your variables.” When I went on the Primal Diet, I changed a lot more than just raw food, like avoiding fiber, PUFA oils, stimulants, etc. So, you have to look at all of the details. You can’t just say that eliminating carbs provided some benefit, without controlling all of the other things you changed.
Absolutely. I don’t want to give people the idea that carbs are the enemy while avoiding all else.
People need to remember that this is a program/lifestyle free of:
overly strenuos exercise
Focusing solely on carbs without the above disease-causers is a big mistake.
Do you mean the Primal Diet or zero-carb? Or do you mean what you’re doing? I don’t think pasteurized milk is as bad as other stuff in that list. For me, I can’t see a much of a difference between raw milk and pasteurized. In fact, the raw milk caused dizziness, vertigo, and I think a rash on my back. Other than that, the differences were not very apparent. Both will make me thirsty in the morning if I drink them at bed time. I seem to digest both types OK. Butter is the safest dairy product, IMO.
Also, some alcohol is worse than others. I’ve been talking about this lately with several people on my list. Several folks agreed that potato vodka is a lot better than grain vodka, for example. And vodka distilled six times is better than vodka distilled three times. People blame lots of problems on alcohol, but they’re only looking at people drinking grain alcohol and low-quality alcohol. Potato vodka is almost like water, it’s so smooth. I use Vikingfjord, six column distilled potato vodka. The difference between that and a grain vodka is like night and day. Stuff like whisky and beer will give you a bad hang-over, while the good potato vodka’s like a different food. I believe many of the problems blamed on alcohol can truly be blamed on grains, impurities, and bad water. Grain alcohol, esp dark beers and whiskeys, contain congeners, fusel oils, acetone, and methanol. These toxins have been proven to cause the hang-overs from drinking. More pure alcohols won’t cause the same effects, like vodka, esp potato based and high-quality vodka.
Here is a good article talking about the effects of toxins in beer, whisky, cheap alcohol, and other things.
And here’s another good point to keep in mind. Alcohol + PUFA oils (vegetable oil or fish oil) is known to cause alcoholic fatty liver and cirrhosis. Saturated fat like beef prevents alcoholic fatty liver and cirrhosis and reverses it. However, on a very-low-carb or zero-carb diet, it is very unwise to drink alcohol. I have tried it and experienced nausea rapidly. Drinking a little orange juice or eating unheated honey eliminated the nausea in minutes. So, if you do drink, make sure to have a little carbs with it and don’t eat high-PUFA oils or foods (like nuts, chicken fat, fatty fish, etc).
Risk Factors for Alcoholic Liver Disease
William Banting had 4-6 drinks a day on his moderately low-carb diet and he did just fine. But alcohol doesn’t mix with PUFAs or very-low-carb diet, IMO.
I included milk in the list because, for someone who underproduces lactase, pasteurized milk is extremely harmful. I think what was witnessed in Pottenger’s cats can be almost solely attributed to it – a huge misinterpretation by raw foodists that think cooking, in and of itself, is disease-causing.
As for alcohol, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world, particularly potato vodka as you recommend. However, it is psychoactive and has side effects just as everything that is psychoactive does.
Like I’m sure you’ve noticed, I develop addictions very quickly to even the most seemingly-harmless things such as television.
Lack of alcohol; however, is a big factor in good health for me. Only when my health was at its worst did I crave and enjoy it.
It’s hard to draw good conclusions from Pottenger, because he also mixed cooked meat and pasteurized milk together. The effects might have been different if he had fed them separately or in a certain order. The problem might be that mixing them together slowed down digestion far more when they were cooked. I think you shouldn’t mix them even when raw, since the digestion will be compromised some. Also, how did he cook the food? I asked about this on several lists, and nobody knew. I don’t think we should make form conclusions until we know how he cooked the food. Did he bake it in the oven or roast it (worst case scenario IMO). Did he simmer it in water and give the cats the broth (best case IMO)? Did he serve the milk warm (good) or cold (bad)? Did he feed the cats both foods together or at meals several hours apart? People do not know the answers to these questions so I would assume the worst until I get confirmation. I even asked some people in the WAPF and they didn’t know how he cooked the food. It’s ridiculous to say “cooked meat” as if cooking meat in the oven is the same as simmering meat with with and skin and cartilage and feeding the broth (gelatin) too. Pottenger even talked of how broth improved digestion, so not to test meat broths and so forth would be a massive error, IMO.
Regarding alcohol, I have no craving at all. I can go a week or a month without alcohol. I’ve never been drunk or had a hang-over, because I only use vodka and gin with reasonable quality. Since I’ve tried potato vodka, which tastes almost like water when drunk with food, that’s all I’m using pretty much. I drink just at random intervals. It’s a mild stress that makes the body stronger, IMO. What causes problems is drinking every meal, i.e. alcoholism, or binge drinking. I’m using it like a medicine in small doses, not for any craving or enjoyment. I’ve found that the good potato vodka causes the least physical symptoms.
“simmering meat with with and skin and cartilage and feeding the broth (gelatin) too.”
That should be “with bones and skin and cartilage…” Unless he simmered meats, with all the skin and bone and so forth included, I would consider it deficient potentially (like Charles’s diet). They might not have had any problems if he’d fed them properly made broth or fed the foods at totally separate meals.
Don’t try this at home, but here’s some commentary by a member of my group. He drank half a bottle of potato vodka with no hang-over or symptoms the next day. He said it’s less harsh and more mellow. He’s eating a very good diet: raw milk, beef, raw egg yolks, lean fish, coconut oil, butter, unheated honey, peeled potatoes, carrots, and fruits / juices with equal glucose/fructose. He agrees that the potato vodka is like water, in comparison to most grain alcohol. He is another person which the zero-carb diet didn’t work for. He eats like 30% fat, 40-50% carbs, and the rest protein.
An important factor why Pottengers cats degenerated on the cooked diet was imo taurine. It’s essential for cats and is (at least partially) destroyed by cooking.
Maybe, but my point has always been that pet food is the most lifeless, processed, garbage on the planet and pets do fairly well on it in comparison to Pottenger’s cats at least.
I’m more of the opinion that a lot of the health problems we face are more a side effect of a harmful substance than a lack of a beneficial substance. I mean sure, if you’re truly deficient, you’re screwed, but I don’t think “nutritient-dense, perfect foods” can save anyone from the ravages of refined foods (especially unabsorbable sugars from lactose and refined fructose-laden sugars), aside from their lack of nutrients.
But many cats and dogs are unhealthy, or have bad attitudes from eating processed food. I’ve known cats that got diabetes, had kidney failure, unable to walk right for years before they finally died, etc. And there are old people who eat refined sugar and pasteurized milk and remain in good health for 75 years. The problem is what happens after that. They’re usually reduced to invalids, and kept alive with drugs, surgeries, pace-makers, etc. I am convinced that diabetic drugs worsen the condition. Like giving people insulin, I think, just makes their condition worse. Many disease complications are caused by the drugs that are administered.
Most people who eat pasteurized milk are eating refined sugars, processed flours, PUFA oils, hydrogenated fats, etc. So it is hard to put the blame on milk when it is probably far worse to combine refined foods (like sugar and flour) than to eat pasteurized whole milk in the absence of refined sugars and flours. I don’t think pasteurized milk is nearly as harmful as potato chips, french fries, white flour, doughnuts, cookies, cakes, pies, regular or diet soft drinks, etc.
I don’t think past. milk, in and of itself, is any where near as harmful. I do think the foods you mention can disrupt digestion, alter gut flora, worsening the malabsorption of the lactose while allowing casein to enter the bloodstream undigested. This does massive amounts of harm, and is why many people notice dramatic health improvements when milk is removed from their otherwise unhealhty diets.
I know pets have terrible health too, just not as extreme as pottenger’s cats, and their food was hardly even processed – just cooked. But cooked milk for cats and cooked milk for humans is a different ballgame altogether. Only humans seemed to be adapted to milk to the point of producing our own lactase.
Refined sugar + white flour is probably the best recipe for fast digestive ruin. The effects are exponentially worse for stuff like doughnuts, cookies, pastries, cakes, pies, and so on. Processed wheat can damage digestion fast all by itself unless you ferment it into sourdough or something like that. Sourdough bread is like a different food, if made properly (without added yeast, sweeteners, PUFAs, or other garbage). I used to get a good sourdough white bagel with no additives at all. The only ingredients were stone ground organic white flour, pure water, and sea salt. The company stopped making them. Now, the best I can find is Berlin Sourdough Spelt, which is unfortunately whole grain. I’d prefer sourdough white bread, because I think it’s much easier to digest and less perishable. The fats in whole grains quickly turn rancid, so I keep the bread in the freezer until I am ready to use it. Most foods nowadays seem to be custom-designed to ruin your digestion. Lots of flour, sugar, PUFAs, chemicals, and additives.
Pottenger’s study may just show that it is bad to mix cooked protein foods like meat and milk. It probably slowed their digestion to a crawl. Simpler meals may have entirely prevented the effects Dr. Pottenger claims to have observed. Meat by itself, milk by itself, at least 4-6 hours apart. It’s well known that mixed meals take longer to digest, and cooked foods usually digest slower than raw. I think there are some exceptions, like a soft-boiled egg digests faster than raw or hard-boiled eggs. But generally food will digest faster if it is raw or less thoroughly cooked. We don’t know how he cooked the food. Unless he cooked meats in water with bone, skin, and cartilage, and gave the cats the broth to drink as well, it only proves that the method he used is problematic (for cats).
I think Occam’s Razor is appropriate here. We know Pottenger’s cooked cat food didn’t contain taurine – an essential organic acid for cats. Dogs can produce taurine, cats can’t. This in itself would be enough to explain the deficiencies observed. As Matt pointed out correctly cats can’t digest pasteurized milk. That most likly compounded the taurine-deficiency. But even with perfect cat food (minus taurine) cat health would be on a downhill slope pretty fast. Maybe food combining was a problem too, but I would suspect a minor one (compared to taurine and milk). Most cat food you can buy is cooked and contains quite some food-combinations. While some cats show health issues sooner or later most of them stay healthy for quite some time. Nothing like the degeneration of Pottenger’s cats. So neither cooking food nor combining food seems to be the culprit.
How do you know Pottenger’s diet did not contain taurine? That is like saying you would get scurvy from cooked meat, since cooking destroys vitamin C. It’s not all destroyed by light or medium cooking and fresh meat might prevent deficiency even if it was well-done. We have no idea how he cooked the food, how long, etc. So we can’t say for sure what nutrients in the food were reduced or by what percentage. Nobody has reproduced Pottenger’s study, so the results are dubious period. Maybe they could have digested the pasteurized milk if he hadn’t thrown in the meat and cod liver oil with it. He didn’t isolate his variables. I seriously doubt that he was cooking bone and gelatin broths like Matt does, even though he wrote articles talking about the benefits of broths for digestion and health. Until I know more details about HOW he cooked the food, it is a worthless study, IMO.
“How do you know Pottenger’s diet did not contain taurine?”
He didn’t say anything about it. I guess he would have mentioned it if he had supplemented with taurine. I suppose he wasn’t aware about taurine at all.
“That is like saying you would get scurvy from cooked meat, since cooking destroys vitamin C.”
That’s not quite the same because the role of Vitamin C in preventing scurvy is not clear. As far as I know it’s undisputed that taurine is essential for cats (well you never know, if EFA are really essential isn’t as proven as most people think).
But I agree, that we don’t know how much taurine has been destroyed by cooking in Pottenger’s experiments.
“Nobody has reproduced Pottenger’s study, so the results are dubious period.”
“He didn’t say anything about it. I guess he would have mentioned it if he had supplemented with taurine.”
I was just saying that we don’t know how much taurine was destroyed by his method of cooking. It’s a theory that should be tested by reproducing his study. Without knowing how he cooked the food, and what effect that would have on taurine, we do not know that the BeyondVeg theory about taurine is correct. The studies that say cats need taurine might be flawed in the same way the EFA studies, like they look at cats eating processed cat food filled with rancid fats, grains, etc. On such a diet, it wouldn’t be surprising if needs for nutrients were increased.
“But I agree, that we don’t know how much taurine has been destroyed by cooking in Pottenger’s experiments.”
Exactly. Maybe 30% was destroyed. Maybe 90%. Maybe none, depending on how foods were cooked and for how long. We do not have enough information, unless someone has read his book. Maybe he doesn’t say even in the study. He might have simply called it “cooked meat” and didn’t even bother to describe the exact method for cooking. I’ve read many articles saying Pottenger’s study proves something, but nobody even mentions HOW he cooked meat for the cats. Unless he tested multiple cooking methods, it wouldn’t prove that all cooked food was bad. There are many ways to interpret Pottenger.
There are virtually endless ways of interpreting Pottenger. That’s the problem with most studies. Conclusions are made based on some correlations, and the next thing you know everybody is believing something ludicrous.
What he did show, was that cats eating raw meats and milk with cod liver oil were healthy. He also showed that cats eating cooked versions of those foods were not.
The rest is subject to interpretation — which is endless in this case.
“What he did show, was that cats eating raw meats and milk with cod liver oil were healthy. He also showed that cats eating cooked versions of those foods were not.”
There are three variables, so we can not blame everything on the cooked food. For all we know, maybe if he hadn’t fed them cod liver oil, the cooked cats would not have had any problems. I am not a fan of the stuff, since most of it is processed and full of rancid fat. The studies have never ben duplicated, AFAIK, and they’re not convincing on their own. They’re too much like Colin Campbell’s bogus studies claiming “animal protein” causes cancer. He neglected to mention that the “animal protein” he used was purified casein and the rest of the diet was high in sucrose and cornstarch with corn oil as the only fat. (Very nutritious – NOT!)
We also don’t know how Francis Pottenger “cooked” the food. For cooking. Think of how most people cook meat. They pour the fat in the trash. What if he threw away all the fat and that’s why the cats that got cooked food suffered? Unless we know that he fed them the exact same amounts of fat and protein as the cats getting the raw food, we can’t say for sure that cooking was the problem. There is reason to doubt his conclusions are valid, when you consider the pet population problem. Where are all the modern cats who aren’t able to reproduce after 3 generations? I have speculated that one benefit of the raw meat diet is that it results in more fat being eaten, whereas most people get lean meat and cook off the fat. All such scenarios must be investigated before we conclude it was the cooking. All of the independent variables must be isolated. For ex: feeding the meat and milk hours apart, feeding all meat / milk, feeding cheese / butter instead of milk, etc. If you’re right that lactose was to blame, then feeding lactose-free milk or cheese might change the results.
Plus, cats are not humans are are never used in studies as a representative for humans. If we want to learn anything of importance for humans, you should use a similar species, like pigs.
Good commentary Bruce. Thanks for the side info. on Campbell. I was always peeved at his reference to powdered casein causing cancer and making that synonymous with “animal protein.” That would be like saying, because crystalline fructose causes metabolic syndrome, that “plant carbohydrates” are the cause of disease. Helpful to know that the rest of the diet was toxic. It’s very reminiscent of McCarrison finding, under circumstances of deficiency, that butter added brought about earlier death. Unlike Campbell; however, he was smart enough not to start a crusade against fat due to that finding. His other subjects thrived on it.
A word to Campbell – a poor diet is exacerbated, bringing about disease at a much faster rate when: it contains protein (triggering anabolism), and excess calories from fat – though neither is a harmful substance. In fact, to argue that either is outright harmful is completely illogical. Plant proteins are associated with longevity because it’s less utilizable, yielding less total available protein to bring ruin to someone on a nutritionally-inferior diet.
Here’s a link to one of Campbell’s awful studies. Check Table 1 on page two, that shows the composition of both diets. The diets were both high in sugar – over 75% of carbs – and the rest cornstarch. It’s absurd to blame “animal protein” when he used purified casein powder.
And the only fat fed to the poor animals was corn oil. I bet the results would be different if he had used coconut oil. It is well-known that high-PUFA diets cause cancer, while saturated fats like tallow and coconut oil prevent this, unless the PUFA oils are added to them.
Campbell has an agenda. He needs to look at his diets as a whole and consider the effects of each food: sugar, cornstarch, corn oil, and casein. Maybe if he used a diet of honey, white sushi rice, coconut oil, and cheese, they wouldn’t have been vulnerable to cancer at all.
Matt, what do you think about the WAPF’s emphasis on cod liver oil? I know you’ve said you don’t agree that we need all of the nutrients they say we do. Also, they misrepresent Price’s work. Sally Fallon, in one of her articles, said that all of the tribes Weston Price studied ate 10 x more fat soluble vitamins than Americans of his time. Price never said this. What he said was that the primitives ate 10 x more than the MODERNIZED groups which he studied. Also, he didn’t measure exactly how much fat soluble vitamins any of the tribes were eating. I’ve talked to Chris Masterjohn about this and he said Price didn’t have tests to accurately measure Vitamin A and D. The test was subjective like looking at a color. In other words, the 10 x figure is an estimate, not even an exact figure. It wasn’t compared with Americans of Price’s time, either, but I see that claim made all the time. I feel they’re deluding themselves to think you need cod liver oil to be healthy. It’s a lie to say that all the tribes ate large amounts of fat-soluble vitamins that you can only get through supplements or nude sunbathing 8 months a year! If you don’t eat foods that deplete vitamins, you can probably get by with very little.