How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)

Ruh-roh. (Photo Credit: We Love Costa Rica)

Following our Paleolithic ancestors, our Neolithic ancestors lost an average of six inches in height. Most people now have those last 5-10 pounds that seem impossible lose. The causes for both, surprisingly, may be the same.

Robb Wolf can explain. Robb, a former research biochemist, has functioned as a review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism and is co-owner of NorCal Strength & Conditioning, one of the Men’s Health “top 30 gyms in America.” He’s also a former California State Powerlifting Champion with a competition 565 lb. squat, 345 lb. bench, 565 lb. deadlift…

I have known of Robb for several years, but I only met him through a friend a week ago. Several weeks earlier, that same friend had sent me a copy of Robb’s book, The Paleo Solution, which I ended up devouring in a few sittings. The chapters on digestion and improving digestion were particularly fascinating to me, and, for that reason, this post is a book excerpt. It details a particular problem and specific solutions. Enjoy.

Enter Robb Wolf.

A Common Problem

Below I describe several people who at first glance appear different, but in fact they all share a common problem. They had significant health issues with no apparent cause or solution and assumed they had no treatment options, as their doctors were stumped and could offer few solutions.

For you, this chapter may represent the “missing link” in your quest for improved performance and health.

Alex, Age Five

I first learned of Alex from my friend Kelly. She related a story of a little boy who was very sick, underweight, and suffering from constant digestive problems. If you like kids and other small, scurrying critters, Alex’s features and symptoms were literally heartbreaking. He had painfully skinny arms and legs, attached seemingly at random to a torso dominated by a prominently distended belly. At night Alex thrashed and turned in his bed, wracked by diffuse pain in his arms, legs and, especially, his belly. Alex had severe lethargy and a “failure to thrive.” His doctors ran extensive tests but found nothing conclusive. They recommended a bland diet of toast, rice puddings, and yogurt, but with no benefit to the little guy.

Kelly contacted me on behalf of the family and asked if I had any ideas that might help Alex. I made a few specific recommendations, which the parents enacted immediately. Within ten days, Alex’s perpetually distended belly was flat and normal. He gained six pounds in a little over two weeks and was noticeably more muscular in the arms and legs. His sleep shifted from the thrashing, restless bouts that left him listless and tired, to the sleep all kids should have: restful, unbroken, and filled with dreams. Alex’s energy improved to such a degree that the other kids and parents could hardly imagine he was the same kid. He was healthy and happy, all because of a simple adjustment he and his family made to his eating.

Sally, Age Sixty-One

Sally was referred to us by her family physician. Sally’s doctor had worked with her on a variety of issues: low thyroid, osteoporosis, gall bladder problems, depression, and high blood pressure. It was an impressive and ever-growing list of ailments that both Sally and her doctor attributed to “normal” aging. Her doc was pretty forward thinking, however, in that she recommended that Sally perform “weight bearing exercise” to help slow the progression of the osteoporosis and muscle wasting that been accelerating in the past four to five years.

When this recommendation brought Sally to us, she was a bit reluctant to get started with a strength-training program and was very reluctant to modify or change her nutrition. We were gentle but persistent.

Our recommendations focused on specific changes to her nutrition and lifestyle. Within two months Sally was off her thyroid medications, her gall bladder issues were gone, she was four pants sizes smaller, while her symptoms of depression had disappeared. After six months of training with us and following our nutrition recommendations, it was discovered that she was no longer osteoporotic.

Of all the improvements, Sally’s doctor was most impressed with the increased bone density. She asked Sally what she had modified to affect this change. When Sally told her doctor how she had changed her nutrition, her doctor pondered things for a moment, then said, “Well, it must be something else! Food can’t do all that.”

Jorge, Age Forty

Jorge started working with us primarily to lose weight. At five feet nine inches and 325 pounds, Jorge was heading down a path of significant illness stemming from type 2 diabetes and obesity. Compounding Jorge’s situation was a condition neither he nor his doctors could figure out. Nearly every time Jorge ate, he would break out in a rash and his tongue would swell. Like really swell. Jorge had to keep an epi-pen on his person at all times, similar to someone who has a severe allergy to bee stings or peanuts.

Jorge is a practicing attorney and several times a week he would dash out of the courtroom on a mad trip to the emergency room, where he would receive antihistamines to bring his tongue swelling under control. His doctors were (again) stumped. His blood work did not show a specific allergy, nor did he appear to have a full-blown autoimmune disease. Certain immune cells were obviously overactive, but in an atypical fashion that left the allergists and rheumatologists scratching their heads.

We recommended a nutritional change for Jorge, which he fought tooth and nail. God has never made a person more appropriate to be an argumentative lawyer! Part begging, part threatening, we finally won Jorge over and told him, “Just do this for a month. If it does not work, what have you lost? If it does work, what will you have gained?”

Jorge gave things a shot and his tongue swelling disappeared. Now a year later, Jorge is down to 255 pounds and making headway toward his goal of a lean, strong 225 pounds. Thankfully, Jorge now argues for us instead of against us! Not to beat up on the physicians too much, but when Jorge told his docs what he changed, they too did not believe the cause and effect staring them straight in the face.

So, What Did We Do?

It will come as a surprise for most people that the underlying cause of all the issues described above, in these very different people, was the same thing—a common component in nearly everyone’s diet. Gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye oats, and barley. Other grains such as corn and rice have similar, but less problematic proteins (we will talk about that later).

OK, calm down, I get it. Bread, pasta, and cookies are yummy. They are also likely killing you. The other sections of this book I’m willing to give you a “pass” on understanding the technical points. Most people kinda get the insulin/high-carb issue. People are slowly realizing there are “good fats.” So, I’ll not hold you responsible for that material. However, I insist you read this grain issue, ponder it, and then do what I recommend.

We are going to learn the whole story about gluten, grains, and their roles in disease. I’ll then give you quantifiable measures for determining how much healthier you are without them. Then it’s all up to you. If you want to be healthy, you will find some level of compliance that works for you.

We have all seen pictures or videos of smokers dying from lung cancer yet still smoking through tracheotomy holes in their throats. Amazing, right? How can people do that? Well, gluten consumption is on par with a pack-a-day smoking habit.

Like most things, we need to start at the beginning.

Grains Anatomy

When I say “grain,” I am talking about one of many domesticated grasses in the gramineae family. This includes staples such as wheat, rye, oats, barley, millet, rice, and sorghum. These plants are derivatives or descendants from wild grasses that have been managed and bred for 2,000–5,000 years. All grains have the following anatomy:


The bran is the outer covering of a whole, unprocessed grain. It contains vitamins, minerals, and a host of proteins and antinutrients designed to prevent the predation, or eating, of the grain. When you see brown rice, the bran is the flakey outer covering of the rice.


The endosperm is mainly starch with a bit of protein. This is the energy supply of a growing grain embryo. When you see white rice, this is the endosperm with bran and germ removed.


The germ is the actual reproductive portion of the grain. This is where the embryo resides.

In the wild, the cereal grain is distributed by the wind, and when conditions are right, the germ (embryo) begins the process of growth using the endosperm for energy. It may come as a surprise, but plants are not benign, altruistic organisms just waiting to send their next generation of young into our mouths in the form of sushi rice or French bread. Grains, like all critters on this planet, face the challenge of surviving long enough to reproduce. This is particularly problematic for grains in that their most nutrient-dense portion (the part we eat) happens to be the reproductive structure.

Sidebar: Oats, Quinoa, and False Friends

Hey Robb, I appreciate your concern, but my dietician told me Oats are gluten-free, so no need to worry about my morning bowl of oatmeal? Yep, I love oatmeal too, but it contains similar proteins to gluten. Cereal grains tend to have proteins that are high in the amino acid proline. These prolamines (proline rich proteins) are tough to digest, and thus remain intact despite the best efforts of the digestive process to break them down. The result is gut irritation, increased systemic inflammation, and the potential for autoimmune disease.

Corn has a similar prolamine called zein. Now you can heed or disregard this information as you please, but grains are a significant problem for most people. Upon removal of these grains, you will notice that you feel better. With reintroduction of grains…well, you feel worse. Keep in mind this inflammation is also a factor in losing weight and looking good, so don’t dismiss this if your primary goal is a tight tush. What I’m asking you to do is take 30 days and eat more fruits and veggies instead of the grains. See how you do. Not so hard, right? And just to head you off at the pass, let’s tackle two other grain related topics: “Whole grains” and Quinoa.

When we factor in their anti-nutrient properties, and potential to wreck havoc on our GI tract, grains are not a sound decision for health or longevity. For the purposes of our discussion, consider dairy and legumes in the same category.

[Note from Tim: Many of you know that I consume some legumes and beans. Normal cooking will reduce anti-nutrients in both, but, when possible, I also soak them overnight beforehand in water with a tablespoon of baking soda. Soaking for 24 hours at room temperature has been shown to remove 66% of the trypsin (protease) inhibitor activity in mung bean, 93% in lentil (this is what I eat most often), 59% in chickpea, and 100% in broad bean. Remember also to distinguish “in vitro” (e.g. red blood cells in a petri dish) vs. “in vivo” (e.g. after normal digestion) studies.]

Quinoa pops up frequently and the refrain goes like this, “Robb! Have you tried this stuff Quinoa (the pronunciation varies depending on how big a hippy you are). It’s NOT a grain! It’s fine, right?”

Well, you’ve likely heard the expression, “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” Quinoa is botanically not a grain, but because it has evolved in a similar biological niche, Quinoa has similar properties to grains, including chemical defense systems that irritate the gut. In the case of Quinoa, it contains soap-like molecules called saponins. Unlike gluten, which attaches to a carrier molecule in the intestines, saponins simply punch holes in the membranes of the microvilli cells. Yes, that’s bad. Saponins are so irritating to the immune system that they are used in vaccine research to help the body mount a powerful immune response. The bottom line is if you think grains or grain-like items like Quinoa are healthy or benign, you are not considering the full picture.

One for Me and One for You

Some plants, like blueberries or similar fruits, have evolved a strategy of “give a little to get a little.” Critters (us included) eat these fruits, then pass the seeds in a convenient, warm fertilized package that all but guarantees the next generation. Sewage systems aside, this is a reasonable trade off. The critter that eats the blueberries gets a little nutrition in exchange for spreading the blueberry seeds for subsequent generations of blueberries.

Other plants take a different approach and try to dissuade all predation by shrouding themselves in nasty substances that are either irritants or outright poisons. Consider poison oak or poison ivy. These plants have developed chemical warfare capabilities and use oils that have a tendency to work their way through the skin of animals that come in contact with the leaves. This oil sets off an alarm that irritates the immune system. Lymphocytes and other white blood cells attack the oil and in the process release pro-inflammatory chemicals that lead to a rash. Keep this idea in mind as we talk about grains, as it will help you to wrap your mind around what is happening when we eat this “staple” food.

If we compare grains to the strategies listed above, “give a little, get a little,” like the blueberry, or “bugger off,” like the poison oak, we see that grains are much more like poison oak. If a critter eats a grain, that’s it for the grain. That does not mean that the grain goes down without a fight! Grains are remarkably well equipped for chemical warfare.


Grains contain a variety of proteins, some of which are called lectins (not to be confused with the hormone leptin). In simple terms, lectins stick to specific molecules and thus play “recognition” roles in biological systems.

For our purposes, we will look at wheat germ agglutinin (WGA), which is one of the nastier lectins, but also one of the better studied. Keep in mind, WGA (or similar molecules) are found in all grains, but it’s my opinion (and that of many other researchers) that wheat, rye, and barley, which are the gluten-containing grains, are likely the worst of the bunch with regard to health. Millet is similar to oats, in that it contains a protein only a few amino acids different from gliadin (the main problem in gluten), and it is therefore problematic for digestion. Be careful with “gluten-free” snack foods that seem too good to be true, millet-based or otherwise. Corn and rice can also be problematic, but they are safer if consumed infrequently (we will look at this later). WGA and similar lectins are problematic for several reasons:

  1. Lectins are not broken down in the normal digestive process. This leaves large, intact proteins in the gut. If you recall, most proteins are broken down in the digestive process, but the structure of some grain proteins makes them very difficult to digest (for the geeks: these proteins are high in the amino acid proline). Grains also contain protease inhibitors (dairy and some other foods also contain these), which further block the digestion of dangerous lectins. This lack of adequate protein digestion leads to serious problems, as you will see.

  2. The lectins attach to receptors in the intestinal lumen and are transported intact through the intestinal lining. Remember how amino acids and sugars are transported out of the intestines during digestion? Certain lectins “fool” transport molecules in an effort to gain entry into our bodies intact.

  3. These large, intact protein molecules are easily mistaken by the body as foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, or parasites. It’s perhaps unpleasant to think about, but the intestines are not the nicest place to hang out. This area is a major source of infection by bacteria and viruses, and the immune system lies primed, waiting to pounce on any invading pathogen. Not only does WGA enter the system intact, it damages the intestinal lining, allowing other proteins to enter the system. Why is this a problem? Our immune system mounts an attack on these foreign proteins and makes antibodies against them. These antibodies are very specific to the shapes of these foreign proteins. Unfortunately, these proteins also tend to look like proteins in our body.

Brother from a Different Mother—Molecular Mimicry

Proteins are made of molecules called amino acids (AA). Let’s imagine for a minute these amino acids are represented by Legos, with different shapes and colors denoting different amino acids. Imagine a string of Legos with a specific sequence; let’s say its five to ten Legos long. Now imagine another, identical set of Legos attached on top of many more Legos. The top five to ten of the long piece is identical to the short piece.

Let’s assume the short piece is WGA and the long piece is a protein in the beta cells of your pancreas where insulin is made. If the WGA is attacked by the immune system and an antibody is made against it (because the body thinks WGA is a bacteria or virus), that antibody will not only attach to WGA, it can also attach to the protein in your pancreas. When that WGA antibody attaches to your pancreas, it precipitates a wholesale immune response—attacking that tissue. Your pancreas is damaged, or destroyed, and you become type 1 diabetic. If that protein happened to be in the myelin sheath of your brain, you would develop multiple sclerosis.


Most people are familiar with a condition called celiac, which is an autoimmune disease caused by gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and millet. It is clearly understood that celiac is an autoimmune disease caused by lectins. It is also clear that other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjögren’s, multiple sclerosis, and a host of other autoimmune conditions occur at much higher rates in celiac patients. However, this association, for whatever reason, was largely dismissed as an anomaly until researchers recently made the connection between the development of celiac and other autoimmune diseases.

We now understood that WGA and other lectins have a significant effect on the enzyme transglutaminase (TG). Transglutaminase is an enzyme that modifies every protein we make in our body. How many proteins does TG modify folks? That’s right, all of them. Heart, brain, kidney, reproductive organs—all of them. So, if lectins can cause problems with TG, and if TG modifies every protein in our body, how many things can lectins cause problems with? I hope this is obvious—lectins can and do affect every organ system. Reproductive issues, vitiligo (a skin condition where the individual loses pigmentation in the skin) Huntington’s, narcolepsy—we have found literally hundreds of conditions in which lectins appear to be the causative factor. Not only do we have science to support this, we have observed clinical resolution of these conditions upon the removal of grains, legumes, and dairy. I hate to do this to you, but we have to go back into the intestines.

Really? Digestion? Again?

When food is emptied from the stomach into the small intestines, it is mixed with bile salts that are produced in the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Remember, bile salts are much like soap and are critical for our digestion and absorption of fats. In addition to bile from the gall bladder, the pancreas releases digestive enzymes that are critical to digestion. And lest you forget, much of the digestive process happens at the tiny structures in our intestines—the villi and microvilli. Now let’s see how lectins interact with the intestinal lining to produce autoimmunity.

Lectins such as WGA bind to a receptor in the microvilli, allowing WGA to be transported into the body. This is the mechanism of the autoimmune cascade I described above. If the gut wall (microvilli) becomes damaged, the entire contents of the intestines can now make its way into your system. Yes, that’s as bad as it sounds. You are not only in a position to create antibodies against WGA, which leads to autoimmunity, but you now have the potential to develop multiple allergies due to a permeable gut lining and inadequately digested food. This is how you can develop allergies to chicken, beef, apples, or other normally benign foods.

Additionally, if your gut is damaged, you expose yourself to a host of chemicals that would normally remain in the intestines. This can lead to conditions such as multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome, which is regarded more as a psychiatric problem than legitimate medical condition.

Let me be crystal clear about this: Anything that damages the gut lining (including bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, as well as alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy) can predispose one to autoimmunity, multiple chemical sensitivities, and allergies to otherwise benign foods.

As my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach says, “This no opinion is, this fact is.”

“If the gut wall (microvilli) becomes damaged, the entire contents of the intestines can now make its way into your system.” [Note from Tim: this is where the “feces in the bloodstream” post title comes from]

Full of Bile

While this digestive disaster is taking place, there are several other problems brewing. As you recall, the function of the gall bladder is to release bile salts into a meal as it is emptied into the duodenum from the stomach. When the intestinal wall is damaged, the chemical messenger, cholecystokinin (CCK), is not released. CCK usually sends the “on” switch to the gall bladder and the secretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes. When this signal is blocked, we do not properly digest our foods, particularly fat and protein. The lack of bile release allows cholesterol crystals to form in the gall bladder, which leads to gall stones. The standard medical practice of removing the gall bladder is effectively killing the “canary in the coal mine.” Gall stones are a symptom of a problem, an alarm. Instead of treating the cause (remove grains) we cut out the gall bladder. People who have had gall bladder removal are almost certainly undiagnosed celiacs and likely have a number of other progressive diseases. In my experience, these individuals are plagued with digestive problems, culminating in dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing.


The disruption of CCK and related hormones (PYY, adiponectin) in the signaling cascade of digestion is a really big deal. Not only is the digestive process severely damaged, much of our satiety signaling is taken offline as well. We cannot properly digest our food, we are always “hungry,” and the very food we crave, refined grains and sugary junk, happens to be the cause of the problem.

It Gets Better

Another piece of the chemical defense system used against us by grains is a group of enzymes called protease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors prevent the breakdown of proteins. This means that when you consume grains you do not effectively digest the protein in your meal. Protease inhibitors also stymie the digestion of lectins such as WGA, making these already difficult-to-digest items virtually indestructible. This leaves more large proteins in the intestinal contents, which increases our likelihood of developing autoimmunity, allergies, or chemical sensitivities.

Osteoporotic Much?

If you do not have a bellyache thinking about grains by now, let’s look at one more player: antinutrients such as phytates. Phytates are important for seeds and grains because they tightly bind to metal ions (like magnesium, zinc, iron, calcium, and copper), which are crucial for the growth and development of the grain. If the metal ions are not tightly bound by the phytates, the process of germination can happen prematurely and this can spell disaster for the grain.

When we consume grains, the phytates are still active and powerfully bind to calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. This means the calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron are unavailable for absorption. Because of the action of antinutrients such as phytates combined with the gut damaging characteristics of lectins and protease inhibitors, our Neolithic ancestors lost an average of six inches in height vs. our Paleolithic ancestors due to the Neolithic diet of grains and legumes. Are you concerned about osteoporosis or iron deficiency anemia? Do you suffer from fatigue or heart problems that might be caused by magnesium deficiency? Have you diligently consumed a “smart” diet of whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy as per the recommendations of your dietician and doctor? Do you see how ridiculous that suggestion is in light of what you now know about grains, legumes, and dairy?

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another!

Here is a recap of how grains cause malabsorption issues and how that affects our health and well-being:

  1. Damage to the gut lining. If the gut is damaged, you do not absorb nutrients. We need healthy villi and microvilli to absorb our nutrients, be they protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, or minerals.

  2. Damage to the gall bladder and bile production. If you do not absorb fats and fat soluble nutrients such as vitamins A, D, K, and other nutrients, you will have problems utilizing any minerals you do absorb, to say nothing of the nutrient deficiencies from inadequate essential fats.

  3. Phytates tightly bind to metal ions and make them unavailable for absorption. Analytical chemists actually use purified phytates in experiments where it is necessary to quantify the amounts of metal ions like calcium, zinc, or iron in a sample because the phytates bind to these metals tighter than just about any other molecule. The same thing happens when you eat phytates, and this is not a good thing for bone health or iron status.

  4. Open door for autoimmunity and cancer. Once the gut lining is damaged, we are at exceptionally high risk of autoimmune disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and several types of cancer, including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The pancreas is assailed by grain-induced inflammation due to CCK problems and elevated insulin levels. This inflammation is a potential cause of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

Why does all this happen? Because grains are pissed that you want to eat them and they are willing, and able, to fight back.

Here is a short list of the problems associated with leaky gut and the autoimmune response:

• Infertility

• Type 1 diabetes

• Multiple sclerosis

• Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Lupus

• Vitiligo

• Narcolepsy

• Schizophrenia

• Autism

• Depression

• Huntington’s

• Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

• Hypothyroidism

• Porphyria

But I’m Not Sick

Some of you, however, may think you have no issues here. You have eaten grains, legumes, and dairy your whole life and are “fine.” Well, maybe. But I suspect that is not the case. I’ll bet that if you completely remove these Neolithic foods from your diet for one month, you will notice a dramatic improvement in how you feel and perform. Why? Because if you are consuming these foods, I’ll wager you have gut irritation and other systemic inflammation issues.

A recent study looking at children with type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune condition) found that a significant number of them had overt gut pathology, i.e., celiac. Some had a positive antibody test for celiac, but a number of kids were negative on both the WGA antibody test (a common blood test for celiac) and on an intestinal biopsy. So doctors would think there was no gluten influence in their condition. Interestingly, however, nearly all the kids showed antibodies in the deep tissues of the microvilli to . . . transglutaminase.

The study authors suspected most of the kids would at some point develop what is commonly described as celiac. What this tells us is gut damage can be fairly benign (few symptoms) but still lead to autoimmunity. Once initiated, autoimmunity can and does progress to other problems. Your doctor or dietician will likely dismiss this information, especially if you are “negative” for any of the standard blood work or lab tests for celiac. They are foolish in this regard, but hey, it’s only your health.

Trust your medical professionals, they always know best. Or, try a simple experiment: Follow a Paleo diet, and assess how you feel and perform. I know, I can hear the MDs now, that it’s “just anecdotal.” If you are going to save your ass you are not likely to get much support in this matter unless you have a forward-thinking and aggressive primary physician.

What is the ultimate gold standard in all this? How do you know for sure you do or do not have an issue with these foods? The answer seems obvious: remove the potentially offending foods! Reintroduce them after thirty to sixty days. See what happens. Now there is a caveat to this. You only need to be exposed to things like gluten once every ten to fifteen days to keep the gut damaged. This can bedevil people as they “cut back on gluten” but do not notice an improvement in their overall health. I’m sorry but there is not a pink “participant” ribbon given out for doing this “almost correctly.” You need to be 100 percent compliant for thirty days, then see how you do with reintroduction.

Now, I’ll be honest, the reintroduction is for you, not me. If I did a phone consult with you, I’d ask, “How did you do when you had that piece of bread?” I know exactly how you did—I’ve seen this scenario thousands of times, but you are the one who needs convincing. When you reintroduce gluten you will not feel good. Sorry kiddo, it’s just the way it works. Now it’s up to you to decide if health and a long life are worth forgoing some of these foods more often than not.

Does all this seem hard to believe? Well, remember how I described the effects of poison oak on your skin? It’s a similar deal here with gut irritation and lectin exposure. If you want to get the full power of this program, you need to actually give it a shot. Worst-case scenario: You spend a month without some foods you like. Best-case scenario: You discover you are able to live healthier and better than you ever thought possible.

But I Like Bread and Pasta!

Yes, I like that stuff too, but they make me sick. I suspect it makes you sick, as well. Not only do grains make you sick by raising insulin levels, messing up your fatty acid ratios (n-3/n-6), and irritating your gut, but they are also addictive. Grains, particularly the gluten-containing grains, contain molecules that fit into the opiate receptors in our brain. You know, the same receptors that work with heroin, morphine, and Vicodin? Most people can take or leave stuff like corn tortillas and rice. Suggest that people should perhaps forgo bread and pasta for their health and they will bury a butter knife in your forehead before you can say “whole wheat!” Sorry folks, I don’t make these rules, I just have the lovely task of educating you about them.

Why I had to focus on gluten-free living, exercise, and trying to get you healthy, I will never know. I should have just peddled hookers, cocaine, and pastries! So much easier.

Instead, here’s a one week food plan. There are hundreds of great options, but this is a simple menu to get you started:

Week 1


BREAKFAST: 2–4 poached eggs, almonds, small piece fruit or berries

LUNCH: Chicken fajita salad

SNACK: 2 oz chicken, apple, few avocado slices

DINNER: Grilled salmon, roasted green beans, side salad


BREAKFAST: Leftover salmon, walnuts

LUNCH: Lettuce, tomato, onion, and condiments of your choice over 1–2 burger patties, orange, almonds

SNACK: Jerky, macadamia nuts

DINNER: Rotisserie chicken, steamed broccoli, side salad


BREAKFAST: Leftover chicken w/salsa, ½ avocado

LUNCH: Tuna and cabbage salad

SNACK: Remainder of tuna and cabbage salad

DINNER: Crock-Pot pork loin, tomato sauce, zucchini, chopped cauliflower, basil. Make a large portion, leftovers will be used for several meals!


BREAKFAST: Slice of ham, 2–3 scrambled eggs, fruit

LUNCH: Leftover pork loin

SNACK: 2 hard-boiled eggs, almonds

DINNER: Stir-fry beef salad. Serve over bed of greens with balsamic vinegar


BREAKFAST: Sausage stir-fry breakfast

LUNCH: Easy ceviche

SNACK: 2 oz chicken, apple

DINNER: Spaghetti squash (Note from Tim: this is delicious) or kelp-noodle spaghetti: cook either choice with marinara sauce, ground meat, olive oil


BREAKFAST: Chicken apple hash

LUNCH: 5–6 oz deli turkey, ½ lb steamed broccoli, drizzle with olive oil

SNACK: 2–3 oz turkey, carrot sticks, almonds

DINNER: Indian-style coleslaw, leftover pork loin, side salad with olive oil


BREAKFAST: Western omelet, sweet potato hash

LUNCH: Lamb patties, tomato, lettuce, strawberries

SNACK: Turkey, avocado

DINNER: Halibut, roasted asparagus, berries with balsamic vinegar

For full 30-day meal plans, recipes, and more, this is the resource.


Afterword: Holy religious war, Batman! Hundreds of strong comments below, including a few very smart contributions from MDs, nurses, etc.. Robb has also answered some of the most common questions in the comments.

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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1,403 Replies to “How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)”

  1. Tim,

    Great post. Aside from that, though, I am always intrigued how you bring in these interesting posts that drive traffic, comments, and most importantly, conversation. Enjoyed it. Thanks.

    -Stephen Martin

  2. I’ll try it for a month, what do I have to lose except weight and feces in my blood stream.

    The worst case scenario is I miss eating gluten for one month, I see no health changes and I go back to eat regularly after that month. The best case scenario is I lose weight and feel good and make a permanent change to my diet. I don’t really see how anyone can lose in this situation, why are so many getting bent out of shape?

  3. Hey Tim:

    I was super excited about this post, ready to stop eating grains, and buy this guy’s book. A good friend (who is a biologist) looked over the article for me to let me know if grains were really “fighting back”. Basically he let me know that there are a lot of holes in this argument and some things are flat out wrong. Basically it sounds like this guy knows a lot more about this stuff than the average person and is trying to sell some books in a tricky way. I can email you the instant messaging conversation that we had if you want to hear exactly what my friend said.

    1. Hi Bob,

      Thanks for the comment. I’m totally fine with you sharing your biologist friend’s comments publicly. Can you please post them here? If there are holes in the argument, everyone should know.

      Thanks much!


  4. For those trying to heal up a problem gut, you should look at either

    Restoring your Digestive Health by Brasco and/or Gut and Psychology Symdrome by McBride

    I had duodenal ulcers a number of years ago, completely healed them and got off meds with Brasco’s book. Have had at least a dozen friends use the protocol as well – very paleo friendly.

    McBride is similar – used it and Brasco with our kids to clean up some issues and they are doing great. While I don’t 100% agree with the paleo approach, my family basically eats a paleo diet, lots of meat and fat from pastured free range animals, lots of eggs, and vegetables. No grains at all for the wife and kids, I on occasion. Occasional lentils or other items, but mostly meat, fat, and veggies.

  5. Humans are funny creatures. Aren’t we? I think all other animals on earth are equipped with pretty good instincts regarding what they would be eating. But will all of the contradicting data out there, diet proponents and controversy, it appears that don’t have a clue. I wonder if the bears are sitting around in the wood, debating whether they should kill some salmon or find some berries instead, haha.

  6. I’m thinking that adding whole milk to the above diet is the answer for people who want to make size and strength gains in the gym.

  7. Tim-

    do black beans fit into your “broad bean” category in your sidebar above?

    @ John Paul Daley II

    my guess, without having read the book, is that milk is a natural inflammatory. If I understand things correctly, it’s because of that, most would recommend against it’s consumption. Remember, cancer starts as inflammation.

  8. This article contains a good amount of useful, practical information, as well as a considerable amount of misinformation.

    This is truly amazing! We have here two guys who *do not* have any formal medical training… offering medical, health and nutritional advice.

    Excuse me, and you may not agree with the fact that a degree in Biochemistry does not qualify anyone to give medical advice, but this is *reality* You do it at your own risk… MDs referring patients to a biochemist because they “are not able to handle a given situation”? Please, give me a break.

    This reminds me of Larry King, who had coronary bypass surgery, and, of course, he is now an expert cardiologist, offering medical advice to anyone who wants to listen.

    Once again, a “little” information [about anything] is truly dangerous.

    Thank you!

    Paul Green MD PhD

    PS: 1- Ease off on the eggs. They are an identifiable source of high blood cholesterol levels. You ever heard of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes? Eat only the ‘white’ part.

    2- You fail to mention other causes of digestive problems, particularly Chron’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome [IBS] and several others that may be caused by infections agents such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, prions, etc. Or genetic and metabolic defects?

    I guess that mentioning only gluten as a culprit would help to sell more books…

  9. Hi Tim,

    You mention doing blood work repeatedly in your comments — what specifically are you recommending we test and measure for these blood tests?

    I think it’s a testament to your hard work that such a fruitful and sometimes hilariously rude plethora of comments graces your writing — great work!




  10. Tim, I hope your new book stays true to the legacy of 4HWW and gives some decent hacks of how to follow this diet/lifestyle while optimizing for time and convenience. Trying to follow this so far has turned into “4 hour cook-day” for me, with food prep time, washing pans/dishes, more frequent grocery shopping, etc.


    450 posts and they’re only mentioned once? I guess most people really do find them gross, but they seem near-perfect to me, especially relative to this topic.

  12. Hmmm…how about maltodextrin? I’m thinking that’s OK since it’s just a straight up complex carb.

    I mix maltodextrin into my whey protein shake after lifting.

    Works great for recovery. If anyone else is ifting heavy and wants a good recovery drink – mix in some glutamine/creatine & maltodextrin with your whey.

    It’s helped a lot.

  13. @Tim/Rob

    How does world hunger factor into this equation? We cant all be eating so much meat and expect there to be enough calories to go around? Skimming the posts I saw that sweet potatoes are ok, so those are starchy. Also do these grains have the same effect on the animals we feed them to? Ie, if I feed the grains to my animals are they suffering the same fate I would have? Are there any animals that have evolved to deal with the grains issues?

    Thanks a tonne for all you give on this blog.


  14. In defense of Quinoa…

    After doing some online research into the saponin issue, it would seem that some of the saponins are removed during the initial cleaning and processing of Quinoa. I soak mine for 12-24 hours and rinse it repeatedly until there are no more soapy bubbles.

    To my mind, this process removes the saponins enough to make Quinoa safe and healthy to eat. Yes, it takes a while to rinse so thoroughly, but I cook large batches that last several days so it’s not a daily hassle.

    I *might* still try using yams as my carb source for a 4-6 week period like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, but I’m going to push that experiment to the one of back burners of my mind for now.

    It’s pretty clear that the author has had good success treating “hard cases” with the paleo diet, and I applaud that. I just personally rely on “clean carbs” to fuel my physical and mental endeavors far too much to eat a strict paleo diet.

    Finally, basic and advanced muscle testing (via Applied Kinesiology) yields consistent positive results for Quinoa in relation to my body.


  15. I have to say that if you’re enjoying your life and eating gluten works for you, then you should continue what you’re doing… I think a positive mindset, love, sociability contribute greatly to how your body does and what it can digest. The happier you are and the better your vibration, then the better everything is in your life and the better you can handle and process everything. Stay happy and loving. Then pretty soon you can eat anything without consequence!

  16. @Paul Green MD PhD

    Is that any worse than a doctor telling people not to eat egg yolks with 0 scientific evidence of harm? You do realize that there is not even correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol, right? And there is a weak correlation between total cholesterol and heart disease for only males? Right? Doctor? Professor?

    I guess it’s pretty easy to make Ad Hominem attacks when you can hide behind the MD and PhD after your name?

    I’m finishing my PhD now, and it certainly hasn’t made me omniscient. You just made a perfect example of a doctor talking out of his ass who has done minimal investigation into these matters.

    And for all of your patients, can you have them send me the egg yolks? I think they’re delicious, and only a moron would throw away the most nutritious, delicious part of the egg. Those kind of people like the feeling of punishing themselves and the sympathetic magic they are practicing that that kind of useless penance evokes more than the taste of food.

    Don’t eat the yolks? How would I make creme brulee?

  17. @ Cameron Benz

    Actually Cameron, the research you mention supports Dr Green’s claim:

    “Conclusion: ****Limiting*** egg consumption may have some health benefits, at least in women in geographic areas where egg consumption makes a relatively large contribution to total dietary cholesterol intake.”

  18. @ Steve Button

    re: ankylosing spondylitis – Low Starch Diet vs Paleo Diet

    1. The low starch diet is based on the work of a London based researcher – Dr Alan Ebringer. His theory is that people with a certain gene [HLA-B27], and a leaky gut, and an overgrowth of the bacterium Klebsiella will develop AS. Essentially all that klebsiella in your leaky gut gets in to the blood and ends up in places like the uvea (hence the iritis/uveitis) and in the collagen in joints (esp the sacro-illiac joint). This triggers an autoimmune response, which due to molecular mimicry results in the destruction of healthy tissue and all kinds of inflammation. Ebringer’s diet is supposed to reduce the Klebsiella population and thus reduce the AS symptoms.

    2. Robb Wolf’s version of the Paleo diet has a heavy emphasis on avoiding any foods that are known gut irritants which promote leaky gut and thus autoimmunity. Gluten is the #1 offender, but Robb goes into considerable detail re: all potential irritants. He stresses that everyone has different tolerances for this stuff, so his recommendation is to eliminate all gut irritants for a period of time, and then gradually add back, assess, tinker, etc.

    3. I have AS, and UC, Uveitis, Psoriasis, etc etc. I take a lot of meds, but over the past 4 mos I have been following a very strict Paleo regimen with great success: basically grass fed meat, wild caught fish, most veggies, fruit. This means no grains of any kind, no gluten, no sugars, no processed food, no legumes, no dairy, no eggs, no nuts, no seeds, no nightshade veggies [potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, egg plant]. If Ebringer is right, by avoiding starches and sugars I’m reducing the klebsiella, and if Robb Wolf is right, I’m healing my gut and reducing the permeability and the resulting molecular mimicry autoimmune response.

    4. If you have chronic iritis, IBS symptoms and joint pain, esp in the sacro-illiac area, there is a very good chance you have AS or psoriatic arthritis. Do you have any rashes? Is the back pain worse in the morning? How about tendonitis (esp achilles)? Chest pain? Are you a male under the age of 30? You need to see a rheumatologist and get tested for the HLA-B27 gene. This is a progressive disease. It will just keep getting worse and if not treated, will leave you crippled. The good news is there are many treatments and the sooner you get diagnosed, the less damage. I suffered for almost 20 yrs before finally getting treated. This is typical – symptoms usually start in the late teens and 20s, but the diagnosis usually takes 7-12 yrs.

    Hope this helps somebody.

  19. I’m going to try a version of this diet, as I often feel mildly unwell without any specific symptoms, and I figure trying it can’t hurt.

    However, I’m not convinced that everything in the article is an absolute truth, and many of my concerns have been mentioned by others in the comments. I’ll certainly have to do some more research before deciding on a specific diet plan.

    One question that was raised repeatedly but never answered (as far as I could see – I apologise if I missed a relevant post) is the question of sustainability. Ok, the diet may improve the health of the individual (not everybody, apparently, but most people who try it). If a few thousand people start eating a paleo diet, that’s all very well – but what if you managed to convince several million people to eliminate grains from their diet and eat more meat and fish? Would that even be sustainable?

    As far as I understood things (as I learned them in school, this may be outdated information) the point of settling down in fixed places and inventing agriculture was partly that this lifestyle could sustain larger communities as opposed to the hunter/gatherer nomads who needed a larger territory to feed their smaller tribes. What would happen if a large number of people reverted to the H/G diet?

    Not that I’ve tried it (yet), but a sensible option seems to be eating insects instead. That would be consistent with the “what-our-ancestors-ate”-idea as well as (probably) being better for us and our planet than beef production.

    I can’t find the original article that introduced me to this idea, but here’s another:

    Any thoughts? I’d be curious to hear what the experts would say about this.

  20. @ Miki

    Sorry for wording my original post poorly. Is that what you get out of it?

    ****Limiting*** egg consumption MAY have some health benefits, at least in women in geographic areas where egg consumption makes a relatively large contribution to total dietary cholesterol intake.”

    It only says may, it doesn’t say that’s for sure. It also said something about no noticeable change in men. I’d cut and paste that offer but its a pain now that I’m on my blackberry. I suspect that ultimately, if you’re already unhealthy and you start consuming fried eggs for breakfast every freakin morning, its probably going to an increase in cholesterol. I seem to recall butter once being evil and margarine was hailed as the saving grace and ultimately, it turned out to be far worse.

    My primary point is, here comes a doctor and starts saying something to the effect of “oh I’m an MD and I know far more than you simply because I have MD behind my name. In my experience, MDs are who you call when you need surgery or pills. I’ve yet to encounter one who actually treated stuff rather trying to cram pharmaceuticals down my throat. And this particular doctor seems to regard his education as the end all be all of the health community, despite the fact that science marches on.

    I once heard someone say that doctors are only practicing medicine because if they had it right, they wouldn’t be practicing.

    1. Be sure to play nice, guys. There’s a fine line between healthy skepticism and personal attack. Just be careful, please.

  21. Wow Tim, I’m surprised at the volley of comments this post has generated. Apparently in a green and educated society, Paleo is very controversial. 🙂

    Forgot to mention earlier – thanks for the blog and the conversation, I thoroughly enjoy it. I may disagree with Paleo on moral grounds, but for the sake of honesty I’ll admit I do believe it is a significantly healthier diet, at least for the individual, than SAD [Standard American Diet].

    I also wanted to encourage those who are considering Paleo simply for weight loss reasons to try and give vegetarianism with low dairy intake a shot in that arena as well. I went vegetarian last summer and lost forty pounds over the course of three months with no added exercise (other than some low impact while getting out in the vegetable garden, but as a gym rat I don’t consider “weeding” as real exercise :P). When I went back to the doctor, he grudgingly said my bloodwork was perfect. This was an amazing result to me since I come from a family of people rife with congenital heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. My aunt who was forty-five actually died of a massive heart attack last fall, and she was not even overweight.

    Anyway, anyone interested in more information about the moral argument for dropping animal products should check out this documentary – you can find the full video free on Youtube, but the trailer is here:

  22. @Mike

    Actually Mike, a number of authors have recently changed positions on meat production, world hunger, etc

    There is also the “Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith..

    If the animals are pastured, meat eating is a net gain to world calorie production. and in terms of nutrient density per acerage of production for certain kinds of land, you can’t beat ruminant animals or foraging animals turning marginal land for crops into nutrient dense food for humans.

    So, except for religious/ethical objections for vegeterianism, etc., the environmental objections actually have the opposite end result for the environment and world.

  23. I am always into improving my physical performance as a recreational body builder so I am probably going to try this. As long as I can eat fruit I am pretty sure I will have no problem eliminating grains.

    Josh Bulloc

    Kansas City, MO

    How can I help?

  24. @Dr. Paul Green

    First, I echo the sentiments of a few others – in my experience and that of many friends, doctors have some of the worst and most biased views on nutrition, disease, etc. of any segment of the population.

    Per eggs and cholesterol, have you checked out all the research compiled by Chris Masterjohn,

    Or the work of Mary Enig, who has a PhD in lipid chemistry, or any of the books by major writers/researchers that explore the evidence and point out doctored studies, wrong conclusions from the data, etc.?

    Or Cereal Killer by Alan Watson?

    Or the French paradox, where these people eat huge amounts of cholesterol and don’t have any of the issues associated with cholesterol in Western American minds? (BTw, I don’t think this is a paradox at all to someone who understands nutrition and food from a non-indoctrinated American perspective)

    Even consider that it is refined grains, cards, and trans-fats and PUFA’s that are the real cause? Those both biologically and historically make far better sense than blaming natural occurring cholesterol and saturated fat.

    I read both sides, and think it is pretty clear that mainstream doctors and medicine is completely wrong… moreso, proof is in the pudding. Over the last 50 years of government dietary recommendations, America has become a obese, degenerated, sickly people because of all these “wellness” guidelines.

    Eggs are more than perfectly fine, and cholesterol intake has little if nothing to do with your body cholesterol levels, etc. The findings in this area are so contradictory and confused, and many of the studies so poorly designed, that I would trust nature and history over any doc any day.

  25. I do not understand things simply from reading about it and I do not fully understand the gluten issue in theory, but trying it out and seeing what effect it has on me I do understand. So I have been on a gluten free diet since April and I have lost the dead weight and my energy level seems to be more steady.

    My suggestion is to try things and see and feel the effect on your body and not to get hung up in theoretical discussions.

    I enjoy reading your blog, Tim, and your book, and I am still trying to figure out your scam (joke). Your posts have inspired me to see how long I can hold my breath while still performing my mindless job (I got up to 2 minutes), or to write down my dreams in the middle of the night and see the nonsense in the morning and to put together a project to be my muse (got a little stuck) and just to play around with information and experience of others.

    I am reluctant to give you all the credit just out of spite.


  26. i didnt get through the whole thing yet (just skimmed) but this seems like a great article, i especially like the comparison to gluten consumption when you have an issue with it to a pack a day habit. the only thing i saw that was different that what i have seen in my research (i have be diagnosed with celiac since early 08) is that oats by the selves are gluten free but their gluten comes from contamination in shared fields, trucks, and equipment, major brands tested up to over 1,000 ppm of gluten. some brands out there do produce truly gluten free oats. however even with those some gluten intolerant people/ celiacs can have a reaction but it is not directly due to gluten but to an allergy that they have on top of the gluten issue.

    As a rule though, pretty much any oats you find in anything in the grocery store are not going to be safe.

    i will suggest to anyone who thinks they have a problem to push their doctors to find out what is wrong, my doctor when i was about 16 just blew off the fact i was taking imodium every day and having horrible GI issues as “o you jsut might have a touch of IBS”… really dude, a “touch”. my family uses an applied kinesiologist (alternative medicine using chiropractics and muscle testing, its weird but it works) and he was the one that figured out i had celiac, after going gluten free my immune system started functioning normally (before i would get colds 3-4 months a year). after i switched normal doctors i told him all this and explained the symptoms that went away and he agreed and said there was no point for me to poison my self for a month by eating gluten just to get a blood test to tell me what i already know… but i digress.

    i am very glad gluten intolerance/celiac along with other food sensitivities and allergies are being talked about more and more, and with an estimates 20+ million americans with gluten intolerance and most of them have no clue, we need all the info out there we can get

  27. This time last year I weighed 245 lbs and was weightlifting 5 times a week. When my trainer left, I saw two videos on youtube regarding the paleo diet and exercise because I wanted to know more after seeing it referred to so oft on crossfit and crossfit affiliate websites, though I’m no Crossfitter. Needless to say, I was floored.

    In February of this year I switched to a fully paleo diet with one weekly cheat meal which I have since eliminated. I reduced my lifting to 2-4 times per week, whatever I felt like, and threw in a decent-paced run every once and a while. My fat disappeared so quickly that I’m still waiting for my skin to tighten a little more so that my abs (ABS!?!?) can show.

    Today, I hopped on a scale at 170.6 lbs. My deadlift, bench press, squat, and cleans are all just as strong as last year. My row times are a little slower because I don’t weigh as much and I’ll trade that for 4 sets of 10+ pullups without a doubt. When I started running, I would run for 1 mile, now I run a barefoot beach 3.5 without any trouble, other than irksome toe-blisters ouch!

    I documented all of my progress on my facebook page if anyone has any interest in seeing pics of a fat guy turned thin, but I truly believe that the palo diet and a reduced exercise schedule has changed my life and I can’t ever see myself living in any other way.

    BIG THANKS to Tim and Robb for the insight and for making this potentially life saving nugget of wisdom available to everyone.

  28. This is all well and good but for a student–like me–it’s an economic nightmare. Meat is expensive here in Denmark. Even pork, which I’ve read is the cheapest of meats runs high in price. Not sure how to make this work honestly.

  29. I find this all very interesting, and suffering from auto immune problems, hypo-thyrioidism, and vitiligo, I am sure there is something not right with my system. I do not suffer from any sort of gut problems, and I currently eat a high fiber diet early in the day, due to a family history of colon cancer.

    However, I am a long distance triathlete and runner, wondering how you address the very low carbohydrate diet and needed the body to work for 5+ hours. Just curious…

  30. Hi Tim

    Excellent article. Nope not just saying that.

    Ive suffered with the pain of multiple gout attacks for the last 18 yrs (yikes im getting old).

    The number one coause of an attack. Protein overload. However I discovered by trial and error that by eliminating bread and bread type products from my diet Ive lost 1.5 stone in a year and my gout attacks are 5% as frequent

    I can now eat chicken everyday somethingi could not when eating bread.

    The proff is in the pudding.


    Steve Wyman

    1. Congratulations, Steve! Gout is some serious business. I also highly recommend removing diet sodas and carbonation (phosphoric acid), if you haven’t already. See Gary Taube’s post on gout on this blog, if you just search his name here.

      Well done,


  31. I may give this a shot for a month or two just to see how I feel. I’m already on a low-carb diet, but giving up legumes and cheese makes me sad! But, getting to add more fruit back into my diet is a plus. Overall I have no digestive or health issues – other than a propensity to put on weight ridiculously easy.

    Tim, I recommend gin over tequila if you really want to be carb-less. Most amber-colored liquors are made with grains, gin is made with juniper berries.

    Hard to believe that humans aren’t meant to eat beans and nuts, but are meant to eat eggs. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that.

    1. Valerie – gin is grain alcohol, *flavored* with juniper berries.

      I’d go for cognac and armagnac, which are distilled from wine, or some of the hard spirits distilled from cider.

  32. It is a great article… if a bit lengthy at that. Can see clearly why gluten could be a problem. Decided to try it out,just for the sake of experimentation. Personally, eating a mostly unprocessed, fresh food diet is something I started some +20 years back…while reading the Fit for Life program. Since that time, have made my breakfast from from fresh fruits only and not eaten anything else before 1 PM. Have followed the entire program for a few months and worked well for the entire family, but we dropped it later on due to too many restrictions – remained with the breakfast routin as well as eating a fresh, mostly salad based meals with whole grains and total banning of sodas and artificial drinks. It kept us all healthy quite well, so I am in total agreement here, fresh foods are the way to go.

    One question, I noted you mentioned sweet potatoes on the menu – is the regular potatoe also suitable? How about mushrooms, fresh? Found also that eating mushrooms greatly decreases my need for meat, while it adds loads of taste to all meals, fresh or stir fried.

    How about wild rice? And corn meal cooked in water?

    Would appreciate a quick reply back… thanks for the article.

  33. TIm’s new book will be a huge hit. I figured he would go with something similar to the Paleo Diet. It has everything you would want as an entrepreneur. It was the perfect Muse. The sales page almost writes itself. I wish you all the success in the world because the 4HWW helped change my life.

    Out of the internet fitness gurus I prefer Brad Pilon and John Barban. They push their targeted products but they also don’t use words like poison and kill.

    Does anyone actually believe they are being poisoned by their 1/3 Cup of Oatmeal? For 99% of the population it will not make a difference.

    Calories are no longer in vogue but they matter and will always matter for weight loss. This is no miracle cure all. It is a diet that falls in a great targeted niche market.

    The eat less book is much harder to sell. Paleo is a great spin and I applaud the entrepreneurs who took the market share.

  34. I know this may get lost in a sea of comments but I have to write to say “thanks”. Actually feeling a little emotional at the moment, so I’ll try to make sense. Because of your article and comments I just ate chicken for the first time in 7 months!

    Might not seem like a big deal, and I didn’t think much of it either, except that dropping land animals from my diet had seemed to put me in a permanently bad mood!

    Let me back up – My wife and I made the decision to stop eating all land animals thinking this would be a good health decision after reading things like the China Study. Intellectually, it sounded good, and we felt cool telling all our friends. But steadily over the last 7 months I’ve felt worse and worse. Not really physically, but emotionally – and just irritable. Most people besides my wife wouldn’t have noticed on the surface. But at home I was constantly irritated, and not so much in my usual good mood anymore. She’d constantly tell me I’d turned into a real jerk and I’d just brush it off thinking maybe it was just stress or I was busy etc.

    But back to the point of this article, reading it, along with your comments helped wake me up a bit. I realized that, at first, we had supplemented our lack of land animal meat with good stuff – lots of veggies, fruits, salads and we were juicing almost everyday.

    But slowly this lack of meat I think left a certain hole in my diet in which I was supplementing more and more with breads, muffins, pastries, sweets and coffee (gluten and caffeine – lots of it a day, everyday). I’d still eat boiled eggs, wild salmon etc to try to get my protein but felt continuously unsatisfied – and just buried this feeling of hunger so it became unconscious – nothing I ate made me feel less hungry.

    I was unfocused at work, disinterested in fun activities and pretty much looked towards mainly busy work as distraction.

    The best takeaway was what I got from one of your comments, where you mention simply to get a blood test, be honest with yourself and how you feel and do what works for you by collecting data on a regular basis and by how you feel.

    Well, in short that’s what I’m doing – I got a blood test this morning, am back to eating some lean organic meat a few times a week and cut back on all those pastries and coffee.

    While the lack of meat at the time seemed like a wise health decision, it really threw things way out of balance. I know just eating meat again won’t instantly fix things – life is a holistic system – but I do feel MUCH better about not just blindly following a diet that really wasn’t working! I’m hoping to actually enjoy life again and be in my usual good mood, especially around my wife!

    1. Dear Dan,

      Thank you so much for your comment, and your courage in posting this. I agree that life is more complicated than a single fix-all, but I suspect you’ll be feeling better in short order.

      Good luck!


  35. Tao-

    Shoot for some good protein at each meal, but obviously what you can afford. You might find fish to be in-expensive where you live. Use lots of olive oil, nuts, seeds, yams, and just do your best. It’s not about perfection, just make it work the best you can. BTW-I’m doing a seminar in Hellerup, DK. If you can make it to the event you can attend at no charge. Contact me via my blog so we can get you signed up as we have limited seating and it’s nearly full. I’ll do my best to help you figure out a meal plan that works.


    I’d recommend yams and sweet potatoes over fruit to maintain better leanness but you can certainly tinker with that.


    I mentioned the book “The Vegetarian Myth” for the sustainability issues. Here is a good review:

    You are correct about bugs! Most humans lose the ability to digest lactose at some point, no one loses the enzymes to digest bug exoskeletons. I’ve eaten my share of fried cricket in thailand! Also, good on ya for being skeptical but open to tinkering…That’s all I ask. You should look, feel and perform better IF the nutrition and lifestyle pieces work for you.


    Benjamin Franklin said something to the effect: “Beer is proof God loves us.” But most are pretty heavy with gluten. Solution? Track down a gluten free variety:

    Keep in mind however sorghum is still a grain and some people react very poorly to it. Ditch the pasta, go with sweet potatoes, or regular potatoes in a pinch.


    Thank man, you rock.

    Mike Graf-

    Yes, check out the Vegetarian Myth link above for sustainability. Regarding animal health: The movie illustrates what grains do the the GI track of animals who eat them: Grains are so irritating to herd animals that it is literally a race arainst time to get the animals fat for sale before they die from digestive problems. The movie “King Corn” takes a pointed look at this.

    Rocky Harris-

    I to find the lowly sardine to be nearly perfect.

    Denny Chepin-I mentioned the add-on blood work in my first comment. I devote a whole chapter to it in the book.

    Paul Green MD-

    Who referred patient to me? You need to re-read that. That is an excerpt from the book and I cover a full spectrum of GI irritants including Dysbiosis, antibiotics, NSAIDS and some other factors. I use the well studied WGA transport system to illustrate a basic “leaky gut” progression that applies ultimate to all these scenarios. The reason why the book sells, the podcast is top 5 on iTunes is because it WORKS, I do not appreciate the Straw Man attempt here. If you’d like a book I’ll send you one, if you’d like to discuss or debate this stuff further I’m game, but DO NOT invoke the boogey man of “no one with out a medical degree has any business talking about health.” REALLY? While our economy is eroded due to failing health care we just sit on our hands and wait for YOU to save us? Sorry, my Libertarian streak necessitates personal accountability and action.

    James W-

    there are a few varieties of digestive enzymes geared towards breaking down gluten but it’s more for preventing problems form accidental contamination than making it easier to eat large amounts. I;ve not tinkered with them yet but tend to get a little sick wne I travel due to cross-contamination. I need to give them a look.


    I’d love to know how I’ve re-written Evolutionary Biology in a “tricky” way to sell books! What does this bode for the folks who have reversed Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions following these recommendations? Was that also “tricky?”

    Sean Carston-

    The use of intermittent fasting and nutritnet cycling is pretty interesting. We are doing a 6-8 week experiment with John Welbourn (300lb NFL lineman) and it’s pretty interesting. High volume olympic lifting, sprints and IF on a paleo approach. Interestingly, John had, by trial and error, arrived at the paleo way of eating years ago. We’ll post photos and a thorough write up once this concludes:

    The IF is in part an attempt to reverse some of the trauma he sustained via his10 year career. This involves modulation of various cellular stress pathways like the Sirt-1 gene family. I’ll be looking at this type of stuff in my next book.

    Juan Tello-

    I like Tim’s glutamine recommendation but make sure it is a gluten free variety. That can be tricky. I’d go 100% grain, legume and diary free. Cook your food well to aid digestion. Take probiotics, Newchapter has some good options. SLEEEP!!!!! 8-9 hrs per hight in a blacked out room. Sleep improves secretory IGA which helps to re-establish gut health.


    these might be helpful:

    Sean Carson- I agree up to a point, but it is the very transition form the foraging life-way to agriculture that we begin to see these problems manifest:

    It does no one any good to ignore this and try to place all foods on the same nutritional level.

    Chris Ashenden-God bless you! It is remarkable how much kick-back one receives from “give it a shot, tell me what happened.” Perhaps if folks had read chapter 1 of the book and realized I had ulcerative colitis, high blood pressure and other health problems while following a vegan approach they might be more open to experimentation? Nah!

  36. Looks like substituting one problem for another. Your gut will be fine on this diet, but your heart and circulatory system will be seriously adversely effected by the increase in sodium and cholesterol it contains.

  37. Great article. My friends and I are currently in a 6 week paleo challenge and so far things are going great.

    I’m a little special, I have Multiple Endocrine Neoplaysia 1 and have had multiple surgeries to remove tumors from my pancreas/liver/abdomen. I also do not have a gall bladder. My question is, because I do not have a gall bladder, are there certain vitamins I should be taking to make up for the loss. Right now I take Omega 3 and Vitamin D.

    Thank you for anyone who responds, this is a huge struggle for me b/c the answer for all doctors is operate and they all believe using food as medicine is a joke and I don’t, so it’s hard find straight answers on this subject.

  38. @Bob

    “but your heart and circulatory system will be seriously adversely effected by the increase in sodium and cholesterol it contains.”

    You should read the book. Robb Wolf claims your cholesterol markers, triglycerides, and other lab numbers will improve on this diet.

    I’m also amazed how many people call this a marketing ploy and are still stuck on “eat less” and “moderation.”

    For me, this diet removes these issues completely. You don’t have to think about eating less. Your hunger, appetite, and energy levels all are extremely well managed and you don’t have to think about portion size anymore. Your body knows what portion size you need. It’s an amazing thing. Pretty much everything you’ve heard about portion control and cravings becomes completely MOOT on this diet.

    Also, the people pushing “moderation.” Would you say that twinkies are an essential part of a diet in “moderation?” Probably not, right? The point is that there IS no point to eating twinkies even in moderation and the same is true of grains. There is nothing essential in grains that you can’t get from more nutrient-dense food. If human beings did not eat grains as a significant calorie source for most of our evolution, why are you so insistent that they be eaten in ‘moderation’? Is it really that hard to give them up and see how you feel?

    Really, that’s the only way to understand what you are not understanding right now. The fact that you are still talking about “portion control” and “moderation” means you don’t get it. Until you have experienced this kind of nourishment at every meal that precludes the need for these things, you won’t understand that they are only necessary in a world where so many of our diets are terribly wrong. This is the kind of thing that will shift how you think about food. Just give it a try and quit making silly excuses. At the least, read the book.

  39. Oh, and about the egg study. If you look at the raw data, the >2 egg a day group is only 69 women. The other groups have over a thousand women. This means that every death in the >2 egg a day group is weight over an order of magnitude more than the deaths in other groups. I doubt this is a repeatable result. Also, with such a comparably small group, it seems much harder to control for cofactors. The >2 egg a day group had marginally more smokers, and the study authors claim the small difference in smoking rates means there probably aren’t other cofactors to control for. This seems like a pretty big assumption.

    The fact that there are so many fewer women in the >2 egg a day group seems to me to mean that these kind of people are quite different than people who don’t eat so many eggs. They are pretty damn unique in at least one way, I doubt it’s the only way.

    Regardless, to start telling patients to not eat egg yolks from such inconclusive studies that don’t even establish good correlations (let alone causation) doesn’t seem like a very good idea to me.

  40. I am very confused but some of this. I Have been gluten free for a little over a year but I never considered giving up all grains. I guess I have always believed that there were gf grains. but on the other hand I have been sick even on my gf diet. I would love to know more about this grain free diet.

  41. Hi, so this is what I want to say on the vegetarian posits. I have read back and forth that some say a plant based diet is the most healthy and I have read the opposite as well. And of course everyone has data to back up their hypothesis. I don’t have data, but I do have my own life experience. I was raised vegan by a very well intentioned mother. My staple foods growing up were brown rice, millet, barley, quinoa, soy milk, tofu, sea vegetables, squash, yams, sweet potatoes and fruits. My mother never smoked, drank alcohol and was an avid yogini. At 54, my mother died from a horrible autoimmune disease. No one could believe that she died. She was so thin and healthy! But by the time she died, her osteoporosis was so bad that she had 70% bone density loss. She had compression fractures up and down her spine, and couldn’t even be moved in a wheelchair, she needed to be lifted up and down in a stretcher flat on her back. Which was easy because she only weighed around 80 pounds at her sickest. Before she died, she said to me, “I think we made a mistake here…” and she made me promise that I’d try to eat meat. I was very resistant after her death, believing that it was not her diet that killed her, it was an autoimmune disease. But eventually I gave in and began to eat dairy, then fish, then chicken and turkey, then red meat. It was the best thing I ever did. My fingernails began to grow, my hair became thicker and more lustrous, and I stopped getting sick (I used to have sinus infections all the time– I haven’t had one in years). But the most notable difference was that I stopped being dizzy and foggy. I used to be pretty spacey, had trouble concentrating and was always dizzy when I stood up. That all stopped pretty instantly. I was 28 when I began eating meat again. I wish I’d done it 10 years earlier, college would have been a very different experience for me.

  42. @Robb: Will your book be available as an e-book (Kindle, iBook, whatever) anytime soon? I would like to buy it, but would really prefer an electronic version. Should I wait?

  43. Hey Tim,

    I read Robb’s post and after the initial horror I was amazed to find out that something that I’ve been eating all my life could be killing me. I am ready and willing to lay off grains, but the substitution will be difficult. My family is Dominican and not a day goes by that we don’t eat rice and bread. We’re also big on plantains (it’s an international joke) and other “viveres” like yuca and malanga. I was wondering if these kinds of foods are no-no’s as well? Viveres are starches, I think, just like potatoes. I know they aren’t as bad as grains, but do they cause significant (even in the long term) harm.

    Hungrily waiting for the answer…

  44. I’m a huge fan of Tim Ferriss. As a med student, comments of Leigh Peele got me goose bumps. Thanks a lot for the awesome post.

    Looking forward to the next life-changing book,


    P.S.: Tim why not a visit to Myanmar?

  45. Hi Tim

    I really like this article, have been looking into this paleolithic diet for a while now and put most of it to use. Feel much better to. I can highly recommende the book Primal Body, Primal Mind. That is where I got my information from.

    Have a great day, looking forward to your new book.


  46. On a 2000 calorie diet, what range/percentage of caloric intake is recommended come from protein on the Paleolithic Diet?

    Thank You.

  47. Hi Tim,

    I’m going to attempt a comment despite it likely being lost in the sea…

    Tim, you’re a favourite author of mine and proponent of Interesting Ideas. Another favourite author of mine, who I know you’re acquainted with, is Nicholas Nassim Taleb. So it amazes me that you can so seemingly wholeheartedly endorse Robb’s system while perhaps ignoring one of Nassim’s main ideas:

    It’s not what we know, it’s what we don’t know.

    Remember the “library of unread books” from the Black Swan? That is what we have in Robb’s article – a sea of anecdote and reasoning based only on supporting evidence (confirmation bias).

    What about all the Type 1 diabetics who DON’T have gut inflammation?

    Or those who have OTHER autoimmune diseases, NOT gut problems? (people, having autoimmune disease A + gut autoimmune disease B does not = gut disease caused disease A. It means of course if you have one autoimmune disease you’re predisposed for another of some kind).

    Or all the other possible antigens that could trigger a molecular mimicry response (esp. viruses)?

    What about all the correlation of heart disease/diabetes with OTHER environmental factors (not cereals)?

    What about all those who try paleo diets and DON’T feel better?

    I could go on and on, but you get the picture – it’s what we’re NOT being told here that matters, and I think there’s enough negative or neutral evidence that the positive evidence is pretty shallow, at best.

    And the worst logical problem you’re promoting here, Tim… the idea that the best thing to do is TRY it and see for your self… what you’re not saying is that:

    Even if you try something, and you get a result that you expect, it does not mean it’s from the cause you thought it was! therefore: (cut out cereals + feel better) does NOT = cereals made you feel bad! That is not “evidence”. That’s speculation.

    Personal anecdote is not good enough. “Well, it worked for me” does not equal causation.

    1. Hi Tyler,

      Thanks for the comment. I agree with almost all of your comments and, yes, I am acquainted with Nassim.

      First, this is a post by Robb. I’ve made it clear, even in the post itself, that I deviate slightly from his model.

      Second, I think “the plural of anecdote does not equal data” attack on good self-experimentation is unfounded most of the time. I’ll have more to say about this another time.

      Last, I haven’t chimed in on exact mechanisms. Robb has a lot of referenced material, so this post should be read in the context of that supporting material. But, needless to say, the exact mechanism is less important that the outcome, whether removing disease symptoms or bodyfat, as long as side-effects are controlled for.

      Hope that helps somehow!


  48. Well if you want to live like our ancestors, you need to hunt some deer and wild birds. Anything you buy at the store: organic, free range, farmer joe’s backyard animals, etc. is nothing like what our ancestors ate. Face facts, appreciate that your body is a wonderful adapting mechanism. Eat what you want, eat until not hungry (don’t eat until you are full), and enjoy life. You will live just as long as the “paleo” guy and be just as healthy. Trust me, my grandmother is 105 and eats everything described above as bad.

  49. Day 4 and I am down 4lbs and feeling great. Biggest challenge is that I have to keep reminding myself to eat, I don’t feel hungry despite eating a lot less junk. Though the $150 at the grocery store today was more than my usual, fruits and vegetables aren’t cheap.

    On a side note: Tim, please get remove the annoying share banner that is at the top of the screen. I would hope you would be more concerned with usability than getting a few extra clicks. At least, make it easier to move or get out of the way.

  50. Interesting take Tim .. I have heard of this diet and will check it out further since you have mentioned it here. I do agree that moderation is the best policy, but some things we have to let go to live healthy 🙂

  51. Very interesting that some grains have the same addictive qualities as heroin, Vicodin, etc.! But, no negative symptoms from bread and barley consumption here (and I exercise frequently and have no weight issues), so I’m looking forward to eating all the bread and drinking all the beer the rest of you leave behind!

  52. Your articles are always cool and insightful. I always forward them to friends, this one is very interested to me because I’m a vegetarian and now I’m thinking “good god NOW what do I eat?” I think I’m going to experiment, and go back to meat. I’m not that hardcore vegetarian, I know humans came to be from eating tasty animals that were too slow. Anyways, thanks again for the awesome articles! keep em coming.

  53. Hi Tim,

    Appreciate the response! You’re right, I don’t mean to conflate your opinions with Robb’s.

    I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts on the second point (future post? by email perhaps), “the plural of anecdote equals data”. As a medical student I struggle with how to deal with this a lot – I am convinced that almost anything can happen in an individual’s body, but very little is explainable at that level. Knowing this, how does one give “good” medical advice?



  54. @Robb Wolf “Who referred patient to me?”

    Read your [own] book excerpt above:

    “Sally, Age Sixty One

    Sally was referred to us by her family physician…”

    Yes, surprise, surprise, you *do* need some type of formal training in medicine to offer reliable health and medical advice. You may not have heard of this, but it is usually called “common sense.” — Case in point: someone having a heart attack would most likely ask for a ‘Doctor,’ meaning an “MD,” not a ‘doctor’ in biochemistry… or an ‘herbalist,’ or a ‘biologist.’

    Hearsay, “health news” from television, newspapers, the Internet [research shows that up to 98% of health and medical information online is either false, misleading and/or inaccurate – Most of this information is provided by people that have absolutely no clue about health and medicine.

    Sorry, but you have to face reality: a degree in biochemistry and being a weight lifter definitely does not qualify you to offer health and medical advice.

    No offense, but in the past, you would have been justifiably called a “snake oil” peddler.

    If you claim that ‘freedom of speech’ allows you to advise and publish whatever you want [in theUS], I would totally agree with you, but, at the same time, and we all learn [or should learn] with experience, that most of what is sold as “healthy,” “very effective,” “miracle cure,” “what the medical *establishment* doesn’t want you to know,” is just plain, old fashioned *GARBAGE.*

    If you do this, you will make a lot of money from uninformed and uneducated people. Is this right? Well, yes, if your goal is to make a lot of money. However, you still will have to live with yourself. Which is fine if you do not have any sound ethical and/or moral principles.

    Paul Green MD PhD

    1. Hi Paul,

      I’ll let this last one go up, but this is just unnecessarily ad hominem. Alas, due to comment rules, this will be the last one. Apologies.


  55. Tim, you are great at coming up with titles to your blog posts that catch interest and draw in readers, but maybe you should add a subtitle that actually accurately describes your posts. Especially since most–if not all–of them are worth reading on content alone and don’t need misleading, tabloid style titles to draw us (the readers) to click the link. What do you think?

  56. Robb:

    First of all, great excerpt. I have seen success myself by cutting out gluten (though I still need to work on that quinoa).

    I was wondering if you could comment on the effect of cooking on grains. Would the cooking lead to denaturing of those effectively pathological proteins/enzymes from the grains or does it expose them by breaking down the cellulose in the cell walls? Thanks so much!

  57. i <3 robb wolf again.

    beans are still a third world protein.

    AND for all those that dont know… if someone starts throwing acronyms at you RUN!

    Paul Green M.D., PHD why has our current medical system failed miserably? bc you treat symptoms not problems which allows a band aid to cover your work. egg yolk has zero credibility with atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes. this also is addressed several places here, but since you got your DEGREES you obviously failed to continue to learn. pull the acronyms!

  58. I’ve done both Tim’s paleoish diet (lost 50 pounds) and a strict paleo. Both are great. Tim’s is easier to do/maintain IMO and you will still lose weight.

    About 2-3 weeks into a strict paleo however, I notice my whole personality changes. It’s strange. All the sudden I’m extroverted, optimistic, I have boundless energy, more drive etc. A lot of people focus on body image when dieting and basically what I’m trying to say is that there are just as many psychological reasons.

    I’d like to see how effective a simple diet change is with treating depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.

    One more thing before I’m off. I’ve also tried reintroducing bread, beer, pasta, wheat, etc. Not to mention the weight gain, I get these side effects

    – bloating

    – insomnia

    – painful urination

    – depression

    – gastrointestinal pain

    – chest “tightness”

    – difficulty swallowing

    Anyway that’s my contribution. Cheers everybody.

  59. Great post!

    Tim are you familiar with Pier Duran’s diet? Looks similar to this but with diary products. I lost 15lbs (fat only) on ~200 body for less than a month, and eat as much as I wanted.

    Do you plan audio version for the new book and how soon after the paperback copy will be the release if such?

  60. So Robb, in the diet you described above… So your saying stay away from Glutten but get your Cholesterol high enough to clogg up your arteries? With all the 2-4 Eggs in the morning? 2 average sized eggs are 200g and you should not consume more that 300g of cholesterol a day…. Kidney beans, Lentins etc they are an excellent source of soluble fiber (which helps you in the digestion process) You just have to drink considerable amounts of water per day to clean your digestive track and so mantaining it healthy as well.. I did like this article though but still having some issues with some of your points..

  61. Great write, again! Can’t wait to post for our clinic. Chinese Medicine does not do a good job of discriminating about grains/gluten and such. If it has a label or is a grain, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

  62. Gentlemen,

    Thank you for the informative post.

    Switching to a low-carb diet (meat, seafood, and vegetables) a couple of years ago improved my health drastically. I lost body fat, gained energy, ceased craving food 24/7, and rid myself of some nasty allergies (severe itching and hiving). So it’s easy for me to be enthusiastic about most of Robb’s advice.

    Like Tim, however, I love red wine, so one sentence of the post alarms me:

    “Anything that damages the gut lining (including…alcohol[!!!]…) can predispose one to autoimmunity, multiple chemical sensitivities, and allergies to otherwise benign foods.”

    What doses of wine would pose risks of autoimmunity, etc.? Would you recommend restricting consumption of wine? If so, how am I to tolerate my relatives? 😉



    PS to Tim: Keep up the great work, tiger.

    1. Hahaha… ah, tolerating the relatives. Tequila or gin both work quite well. Me, I’ll just be sticking with my red wine. I assume everything will kill me, so I can choose a few lesser devils that give me some enjoyment 🙂


  63. Hi, Tim i am from India. as you know there are very few opportunities for business in India. i am 20 years old and done my graduation with computer application. but there is no job. so my parents are telling me to do MBA. if a do MBA then i have to stick with 9-5 job(which i hate) and my salary will be very low approx. $200 per month (9000 Rs). I have only $30 and my parents are not giving me money to start business because they think i loss all the money. what i do? i started i website [click on name] . but Google is not accepting me for Google Adsense. how i start my own website. i am also not good at English language because it is not my first language. how i ship my products to different countries from India to make money. any website? i read your book but i have nothing to start with. there are no one to help me. how i make money if i make $800 per month it is fulfill my dreams. plz gave me solution .plzzzzzzzz

  64. @ Paul,

    As Tim said, gin and tequila both work, particularly if you have relatives that require something higher octane than wine. A couple recipes I like:

    Gin Rickey

    In a rocks glass with ice add

    1oz Gin (personally prefer Bombay Saphire)

    2oz club soda

    Squeeze in half a lime


    Bucket glass or whatever works with ice (salt the rim first if you like that)

    1oz Tequila

    1/2oz Cointreau

    1 oz Sweet and Sour (make your own with 2 parts fresh lemon juice and 1 part simple syrup)

    Squeeze in half a lime (substitute other fruits for other flavors)

    Add a squeezed wedge of orange.

    And to help you keep the holiday spirit with the fam

    As much rum as you desire and mixed with a suitable amount of egg nog.


  65. Will someone please confirm these figures below as average for the Paleo diet?

    Protein – 35% of 2k cal = 700 cals /4 = 175 g

    Protein – 35% of 2k cal = 600 cals /4 = 150 g

    Fat – 30% of 2k cal = 700 cals /9 = 175 g

    Average Cholesterol = 700 mg

    Some outstanding features in the Paleo diet that concern me are:

    1. The levels of cholesterol and

    2. The forms in which the macro-nutrients (Fats, Carbs, Proteins) are packaged, I believe, are mostly items that are assimilated into the body and result in high levels of acid ash formation. This will in turn negatively affect the body’s PH balance which has been shown to have many ill effects.

    I have reviewed the beliefs of followers of the Paleo-diets stance on Cholesterol, and from what I gather, it is of the belief of the proponents of this diet that humans are able to consume more cholesterol than current FDA recommendations suggest.

    I would like to see some substantial peer reviewed research regarding the idea that cholesterol intake levels such as what is contained within the menus provided at the end of this article are in fact levels that are conducive to optimal health.

    I would also like to see some ph/litmus paper tests done (urine and saliva) as well as see nitrogen balance results on subjects on this diet.

    Thank you for creating a place where this can be discussed in such a productive manner. Very interesting replies so far!

  66. Correction:

    Protein – 35% of 2k cal = 700 cals /4 = 175 g

    Carbohydrates – 35% of 2k cal = 600 cals /4 = 150 g

    Fat – 30% of 2k cal = 700 cals /9 = 175 g

  67. My original post is still awaiting moderation, You can please delete my “corrected” post as well as this one (late night posting).

    I will correct it later if my original post goes up.

    Thank you.

  68. @Elizabeth

    Google is your friend. As far as I know, no correlation between dietary cholesterol and heart disease has ever been found. Also, if you read around, you will realize that the correlation between saturated fat and heart disease isn’t there either:

    Both of these lack of correlation make me believe, as you asked, that yes, most paleo dieters do not care what the government recommendations are for saturated fat and cholesterol. Not only that, but the general feeling is that the government is completely backwards in what it considers healthy and has a very strong agriculture bias.

    Also, your macronutrient %’s look off for me personally and the people I know who eat paleo. Most have fat calories above 50% and carbohydrates below 20.

    And your talk of acid ash, whatever that is, is new to me. It’s my understanding that the concerns about acid/base balance are actually addressed by a paleo diet of vegetables (alkalizing) and meats (acidifying). It’s even addressed here:

    Personally I think our bodies are pretty good at keeping this balance and that it isn’t a big deal. That’s my feelings, but I haven’t seen studies on it either way. The way you put it, it sounds like you take it pretty seriously. I’m skeptical as I haven’t heard much evidence. Beyond that, you can certainly have an alkalizing diet eating paleo.

    Other than that, what would you think if I told you that I demand to see research that says eating that level of cholesterol has a negative impact on your health. Would you go out and do a literature search for me? I doubt anyone here is going to do a literature search for you. Though, the one I’m asking actually makes more sense, since animal products with cholesterol have been proven safe for millions of years. It seems like someone should have to prove them unsafe, not visa versa. That really has never been done, so why is it that you are starting from that point of view? Do you actually have any reason to other than the bullshit you’ve heard in the media and from the government over the last 30 years?

  69. What about chia? What are you guys doing with it? I was going to make some kind of warmed chia quinoa for breakfast. Only now I have tossed out the quinoa. They are growing it for fun on my farm and the folks who planted it are runners.

    Enjoyed the read I am on day three, no dairy, no grains. I believe.



  70. Hi Tim,

    this is a very interesting post and I certainly enjoy reading new things on health issues, (i’m a health freak…most of the time…i’m also Irish, so i do like the odd pint….lol)

    I have a theory that the best foods for anyone are the type that are indigenous to their own locality and sourced naturally / organically and not mass farmed or produced as you described above, and this also includes saturated fats. I avoided fats for years growing up and always had trouble with my joints when playing competitive sports. I changed this along time ago and have noticed the improvements drastically. I have also have a diet closely linked to what you described above for a number of years now, not for the reasons you have suggested, but have always favored foods that are local to Ireland, as that is what our ancestors have eaten and that’s what our bodies have adapted to. Just like Eskimos have a high percentage of fat in their diets and doesn’t effect them the way the you would ‘typically’ think they should.

    I have always felt very good on this diet, haven’t been sick in many years and after some serious injuries, always made a full recovery, so for other reasons i can certainly vouch for this approach. I am 35 now and i am stronger, fitter and faster than when i was when i was 25 and i was competing at an international level at sports.

    I have one question for you. I have done some ‘testing’ on myself with certain foods and a number of years back I came across the Blood Type Diet. Now i don’t believe in exact science when it comes to the body, besides the fact that everyone is different, there are still variables that we don’t fully understand, but one thing struck me with this diet that i found interesting was the following. I am Type A-, rare for my part of the world. Typically people with this blood type have vegetarian origins, with low acidic blood and stomach acids, hence we should avoid red meat. I set out a test for myself. I never ate much red meat (although i love a good steak), however I began to increase it in my diet to see what effects it would have, and oh boy were there effects. The main effects were bloating, feeling very sluggish and the most profound was after eating a steak, for 3 days, i would weigh 2Kgs heavier and on the 4th day, i would go back to normal. This fascinated me as I can assure you I was not eating a steak that weighed 2Kgs. Effectively it made me retain fluids for longer and slow down everything in my digestion system. My question is, have you come across this on your travels or have done any studies on it.

    Warmest Regards


  71. I have just started the Paleo diet (day three in fact). Something my brother pointed out to me, is that it’s not sustainable. We can’t feed the world without grains, and modern agriculture. Hell, if we had a corn blight, people would die! So much food is made with corn and grain, even most the meat eaten is fed with it. I have the luxury of being able to go on the Paleo diet, the world as a whole does not.

  72. Elizabeth!

    Great questions…Not trying to be mean but you have not taken the time to read all the references listed! They address your concerns but here they are again:

    1-Macronutrient needs are flexible, the main point is good quality: Lena meats, seafoods, fruits veggies, good fats.

    -cholesterol is NOT the boogey man you may think. Everyday people suffer heart attack and stroke while sporting LOW blood cholesterol. The problem is inflammation, which is addressed with a paleo diet. I tackle ALL of this at length in the book, this is but one chapter. for more reading:

    2-No, the paleo diet is a net alkaline diet:

    Also keep in mind that we have a remarkable buffering capacity. We can literally exchange pounds of bicarbonate via CO2 retention or excretions. I used to put a ton of weight on the acid/base issue…not so sure anymore.

    The ravanskov papers above are some of the best on the cholesterol fallacy…you just need to give that a read. Urine excretion/salivary pH os correlative issue…don’t you want to reap the BENEFITS of an alkaline diet? Better bones, no muscle wasting with age? The pH measures you mention are a bit like blood glucose levels, very transient, not very meaningful. HbA1c (A1c) by contrast tells us blood glucose over the course of time and is a very valuable. Similarly, we see remarkable improvements in bone density and reverse in “normal” age associated muscle wasting that would be indicative of an acid load diet. Let me know if this helps or if you need more information on a specific topic…but I;d ask you to please read the literature at both of these sites:

    Great questions.

    Cameron Benz-

    Nice kitchen chemistry! We have been tinkering with “Paleo Mojito’s” that involve Nicaraguan run (Flor de Cana is a good one) juice of 1 lime, organic mint, coconut water. DYNOMITE!


    The I’d not worry about the wine consumption unless you are tying to “Leave Los Vegas.” I mentioned those other routes of gut irritation so when people in the field of gut health and autoimmunity read the book they did not ping me about omitting those obvious issues. If you had significant inflammation or GI problems then we would look there. Otherwise, I’d not worry about it.

    Mason Mcclellen-I wrote a paper for Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine on Five Element Theory and the a pleo diet back in 99-2000. I will contact Paul Carston and see if he still has that.


    Please see the cholesterol references above. I just received life insurance through New York Life and I was issued the least expensive quote EVER from the office in Chico, CA for a 38 YO man. The underwriter said I was the healthiest applicant he has ever seen. I’m going to be working a bit with NY Life to promote paleo as a way of SAVING lives, not ending them. I respectfully request that you read the literature, then give this a shot and track your results. As an aside: Cholesterol is NOT heart disease. Inflammation IS.


    Eating this way does two interesting things for neurotransmitters: increases serotonin sensitivity which is typically lost in a high carb diet, increases dopamine production. Dopamine is the “go” neurotransmitter. Caffeine, nicotine both influence dopamine (and other pathways like the HPTA). It’s not surprising you experience more energy and “pop.”


    Sprouting and cooking decrease but do not eliminate anti-nutrients. I just recommend that folks remove grains, legumes, dairy for a month, reintroduce and see how you do.

    Paul Green MD-

    Sally was referred to me for TRAINING. As part of that training I also recommend a food change that dramatically improved her life and now her doctor is a huge supporter. Imaging that! Her doctor saw an obvious favor event, was curious and LEARNED something!

    Doc, interestingly, I do not see you taking me to task on ANY science! Isn’t that fascinating? You instead attempt a Straw Man discrediting of the information because I am not part of the New Clergy! Talk to me about ethics doc, when I’m recommending whole, unprocessed foods, few supplements (none of which I sell) sound sleep, moderate exercise and plenty of community. How many statins have you prescribed? Did you ever prescribe Phen-Phen? Have you ever recommended someone under-go gall bladder removal? Ethics, really?

    If you want to talk the science let’s do it. Luckily this is NOT the dark ages, people can experiment and find what works. I have no idea what your notion of medicine is but Doc you need a reminder: Medicine is a branch of Biology. The guiding tenant of biology is Evolution Via Natural Selection. Now, you either get that and understand that an ancestral diet and evolutionary medicine is at the heart of human health and wellness or you are just making stuff up. So, what is it do, do you buy Evolution? Or are Humans unique snowflakes that are not governed by biology?

    Doc- You either comment on the science here or acknowledge this this is a character assassination and has nothing to do with science or oddly enough, helping people.

    Here is a doctor and a professor of pharmacology who seem to think I am spot on:

    Ah, but I guess they are “unethical” too?


    I fundamental problem with medicine as it is practiced currently, and DR. Green is perhaps a remarkable example of this, is that it is NOT based in science. Evolution via Natural Selection has not been applied to the question/answer/interpretation process around most of medicine and the biological sciences.

    here are a few things to consider:

    From that research page:

    “Our main objective is to study nutrition in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and related metabolic disorders. The working hypothesis is that a Paleolithic diet (the Paleolithic is the time period 2,000,000-10,000 years BP), basically meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts, has benefits even compared with prudent diets based on whole-grain cereals and low-fat milk.

    The basic notions are that

    1) foods are appropriate for any given species if they were regularly consumed during most of its prior evolution;

    2) plants protect themselves with bioactive substances directly aimed at animals, substances which may have untoward effects on long-term human health.”

    This is framing biological research from a testable, hypothetical model. Do you remember your physics and chemistry classes? Quantum mechanics, Newtonian Mechanics, crystal field theory…these are the guiding principles of those, more evolved fields. Biology has evolution via natural selection but it has not percolated into medicine. this is where you need to frame you thinking (in my opinion) or one suggestion looks just as good as any other. Medicine also had a guiding principle that has largely been lost: First, Do no Harm.

    finally, I’d recommend reading this debate between T-Colin Campbell, Author of the China Study, and Loren Cordain, Author of the Paleo diet. Of particular interest will be Prof. Cordain’s introduction which discusses these topics:

    Paul Green MD-

    I paid Prof’s Cordain and Campbell to have that debate and then made it available for FREE for people to read and make their own decisions about the material. Can you enlighten us as to how that is an ethical failing on my part?


    You wrote:

    “What about all the Type 1 diabetics who DON’T have gut inflammation?” These papers illustrate a commonality between autoimmunity nd gut damage. In some situations we do not see WGA antibody activity, but only Zonulin up-regulation. In one paper the authors observe that about half the children who have Type 1 diabetes currently have celiac, but given the high expression of transglutaminase antibodies the other children are HIGHLY likely to develop celiac:

    You are asking a lot of good questions and the frustration is obvious but what has happened is your medical education has failed to provide an organizational framework to look at this stuff. So you are left scratching around trying to make sense of a bunch of parts and pieces.

    tyler, you are right about the observational nature of some of this but that is only because you do not understand the mechanisms. If you give someone a sedative and you see them go to sleep that is “observational” but you have faith in the process because of pharmacology. You need to do some reading on this evolutionary biology stuff then you will understand that the removal of grains and the improvement in health is on par with your pharmacology observations.


    I’d certainly add Ox bile your meals to enhance fat and fat soluble vitamin absorption. Cook your food well. Gall bladder removal and many of the problems associated with pancreatitis have strong linkage to grain intolerance. I’d play with that stuff.

    I cannot find the question now but tim shot me an email saying someone had a question about millet. All grains tend to have gluten like proteins, rich in the amino acid proline which makes them tough to digest:

    Corn has Zein, oats have Avenin. Sensitivities vary but they are a problem. And again, this is why I recommend tinkering with this stuff and going 100% grain, legume, dairy free for a month, then reintroducing.

    Ok, that is three hours of answering questions, time for breakfast.

  73. @Paul Green: Seriously. Have you ever worked in a hospital that didn’t serve french fries and potato chips all day long in their cafeteria? How many physicians do you know that take things like sleep and stress management seriously? The simple truth is that the medical profession is ABYSMAL in it’s teaching of nutrition and wellness. Get yourself run over by a car, and we’re great at sewing you back together. We SUCK at keeping healthy people healthy, and most of us have horribly unhealthy lives ourselves. Most doctors are still parroting advice to reduce the cholesterol in diets when we’ve known for over 30 years that it doesn’t even change surrogate markers of health. In four years of medical school and three years of family medicine residency I didn’t learn a tenth as much about nutrition and wellness as I have listening to Robb. And it shows. I went paleo about a year and a half ago. In the process I lost 175 pounds, put on a bunch of muscle, and went from a lethargic couch potato to a fit, strong, athlete. If you think doctors are the only place people should be getting nutrition advice then great. The first thing doctors need to do is start giving people advice that works. If your advice doesn’t work and Robb’s does, guess who people are going to turn to for advice? I know who I paid for a consult when I got stuck with my diet last spring. It wasn’t my doctor. It was Robb.

    Jules Marsh, MD

  74. This is complete drivel, based largely on pseudoscience, anecdotal evidence, and speculation. Some things you’ve mentioned are indeed true and valuable: that is, that diet plays a large load in both psychological and physiological conditions.

    Diet can influence health greatly and that’s well known both in and out of the scientific community, but gluten is not to blame. I believe, rather than trying to drastically restrict your diet based on a personal trainer’s limited knowledge, you should endeavor to integrate more natural, unprocessed foods into your diet as well all the while increasing your consumption of whole grains.

    During a study where researchers looked at populations with the longest life, the vast majority ate healthy, balanced diets of mostly unprocessed foods. For Tim Ferriss readers who may be fans of barefoot running you may recall that the Tarahumara’s food consumption was largely pinole (made primarily by Chia seeds).

    Another danger of the ideas expressed above is that it makes unverified claims. People might actually get off of medication that is significantly important to their well-being, daily functioning, as well as their bodily functions, because they buy into the testimonials in this article and try to become their own doctors. Indeed, this diet may be effective, but if one considers getting off important medication for ANY of those conditions, they need to do so under the supervision of an experienced and intelligible physician.

    Alternative medicine may be quite seductive, but even most naturopaths or ostepathic doctors (DOs) will recommend sticking with what has been scientifically proven time and time again. For Tim Ferriss readers, this may be a challenge as you’ve been conditioned to go against the grain, but conventional wisdom is conventional wisdom for a reason: it’s sound.

    1. “Diet can influence health greatly and that’s well known both in and out of the scientific community, but gluten is not to blame. I believe, rather than trying to drastically restrict your diet based on a personal trainer’s limited knowledge, you should endeavor to integrate more natural, unprocessed foods into your diet as well all the while increasing your consumption of whole grains.” – James Stein, MD

      Is this an argument that “natural” or “organically grown” whole grains are significantly different than processed whole grains, with respect to both the gluten and the gliadin mechanisms ? (Just struggling to understand the underlying biochemistry, especially the tolerance/addiction aspect of it.)

  75. Tim,

    It is not my intention to offend anyone… but I confess that I could be a tad harsh from time to time. As I wrote before, “a little knowledge is dangerous.”

    You see, I am not a “politically correct” person, particularly when it comes down to tell people *real* facts about health and medicine. It is stunning the profound ignorance so many people choose to live in. Of course, including many people commenting here…

    I do believe that *political correctness* is the ultimate form of hypocrisy, and the last time I checked, hypocrisy is not a virtue.

    So, please tell me what part of my comments here have caused you to feel attacked or offended. Let’s have an open and honest discussion, *based on REAL, PROVEN* facts about health and medicine, diets, grains, cholesterol, diseases *totally* preventable by sensible diets, etc. Thank you.

    Paul Green MD Phd

  76. I’d like my above comment to be removed after much thought. I believe it may incite controversy. Additionally, I believe I haven’t looked into the issue sufficiently and would not like to give an opinion that may be critical of paleo-dieters without enough backing.



  77. This is a very important and informative article. I have never experienced the kind of health I have now, which is the best I’ve had in my life (and I’m 41) until I kicked my grain-replete diet and started eating real food with lots of healthy fats and proteins. Some people might laugh when they hear the term “real food”, but as an activist, I am keenly concerned with dispelling the vegetarian an vegan myths, as they are propagated by large industry (big agriculture and medical alike). These dietary recommendations don’t come with any real scientific evidence to back them up – they are all grounded in marketing and higher profit margins, and that’s it. Studies conducted that show vegetarian and vegan diets to be healthful are faulty and just plain wrong. If you follow the money behind these studies (and believe me, there’s a whole lot of that), you’ll find that there are big corporations funding these who sell certain products. Those companies are not going to allow small, sustainable and humanely-geared farmers to get ahead. And they have the power and financial backing to do it. When I was a vegetarian, I was never sicker in my life. When I returned to a diet high in fat, protein filled diet from animals raised sustainably and humanely, I saw improvements in my health I never knew imaginable. The “hard scientific evidence” and studies available saying a diet low in fat and high in grains and plants is better for health are simply incorrect, and is backed by industry to increase profit margins. I followed that philosophy and it got me nowhere except incredibly sick and malnourished. Low-thyroid, infertility, inability to gain weight, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, depression, nausea, muscle weakness, digestive issues, and much more. So anyone here who believes otherwise – please explain why my health is the best it’s ever been on a high fat and protein diet (and yes, I eat vegetables too, but 60-70 percent of my diet is nutrient-dense and is composed of foods with fat and protein) whereas before it was in the toilet. You will probably say there is no “scientific evidence” to support this, and yet it is otherwise. How can that be?

  78. Paul Green MD-

    You need to read this blog post by your colleague, Dr. Mike Eades:

    Tyler, you’d also do well to really study that post and its message. Dr. Green, you are part of the problem, not the solution. Somewhere along the line you quit thinking and that lack, because you are part of the New Clergy, that lack cost people in quality of life, if not life itself.

    When Quantum Mechanics first emerged it created a Holy War in Physics. The debates raged and the only thing that brought the world to a newer, better understanding of physics and the universe was a dying off of the old guard. Doc, you are fighting a losing battle and you do not even know it.

  79. So after you say “before you can say “whole wheat!,” I’m lost in translation.

    “Suggest that people should perhaps forgo bread and pasta for their health and they will bury a butter knife in your forehead before you can say “whole wheat!” Sorry folks, I don’t make these rules, I just have the lovely task of educating you about them.”

    My question:

    Does this mean whole wheat pasta is the way to go? Or should we totally avoid whole wheat pasta? Someone commented later about it that it’s nasty and should be avoided.


    1. There is *no* reason for whole wheat pasta. It doesn’t give you the pasta experience and also it’s mostly starch (glucose) calories, at best.

  80. Tim, thank you for once again promoting the non-mainstream truth. It’s clear that, while modern medicine is great for extreme emergencies, it is woefully lacking on the preventative front.

    My no-carb journey started when I did a modified Atkins Diet in the 90s, but at that time it was about losing weight. Over a couple of years, it became about being less tired and more productive. I moved away from that way of eating around 2004 for a while because so many people (some laypeople and some professionals) would question my elimination of an entire food group. Later, I realized how arbitrary the FDA food pyramid is (or maybe not, but it’s driven by economics more than science).

    Then in 2007, I was adamant about getting off my anti-depressants, which I had started taking due to an acutely stressful person crisis that I had since resolved. My doctor kept telling me there was no reason to stop taking them. I disagreed, especially because I was planning to have a baby. So I started researching and my trainer recommended The Heart Doctor’s Cure (Dr. Al Sears) which made me revisit eliminating carbs. Next came The Waterfall Diet (Linda Lazarides), which gave me more detail about the science you described above. Finally, the Blood Type Diet made me recognize my particular sensitivity to gluten as an O blood type.

    But, none of these books hit the issue head on like Robb Wolf does – I will be ordering this book on Amazon right after I finish this post. I had been suspecting for a while that gluten is causing auto-immune disorders, especially after seeing Gary Null’s video of how some kids are being cured of autism by eliminating gluten, casein and taking probiotics.

    Thank you for using your power base to spread the word. We are literally killing ourselves with food, which many forget – is a chemical just like any pharmaceutical!

    I beg you to tackle vaccines next. I know it’s a hot-button topic (to say the least) and I am sure the commenters will go wild on me after this, but the science is exactly the same. In extreme cases, such as an environment where there is horrible nutrition, water treatment and sanitation (like a third world country), vaccines are a critical emergency measure for saving lives. But in the US, where they are used as a preventative measure, all they are doing is ripping our intestines apart and causing chronic illness. Following the Paleo Diet would be better for protecting against infectious disease than any vaccine. I know that if anyone can help other people learn about the hidden danger of vaccines, it’s you. I hope you take me up on it.

  81. This great post has certainly stirred up a few strong feelings! Keep up the good work Tim.

    Robb, I love the sound of your book and am excited about reading more. In the meantime, here is my two pence worth.

    I say live and let live. If you want to be a vegetarian or a vegan, or just eat bread and pasta and enjoy life, then more power to you.

    On the other hand, if you want to live paleo-stylee, then hunt, gather and be merry.

    Do what you works for you and helps you to reach your potential in this life. If other people don’t agree, well that’s just the way the (gluten free) cookie crumbles. Getting really stressed out about it is likely to do more damage than any nutritional issues and in a much shorter space of time.

    What we must remember is that dogmatic views, on either side of the argument, are not particularly constructive, or a good thing. Listen for a minute and you might learn something.

    No one has all of the answers, or ever will.

    But that shouldn’t stop you from experimenting and taking action, or telling the world your opinion, if it is what you genuinely believe. Rather than shooting something down in flames because it runs contrary to what you have been exposed to before, give it a try and make an honest judgement, for yourself, as to whether it works or not, based on experience.

    Work with the level of knowledge that you have at this particular moment in time. You may not have all of the facts but at least you are brave enough to take some kind of action. If you were wrong, then don’t worry. Just correct course and keep trying.

    And don’t be scared of standing up and admitting that you were wrong. As your level of knowledge increases, you’ll realise you were wrong about many things, or could have done many things better. So what? At least you took some action and learnt from your mistakes, instead of sitting on the fence and criticising.

    Remember, life is a journey, not a destination. We are talking about Paleo nutrition here, not Paleo thinking!

    Finally, one thing I do know is that just being a medical doctor REALLY doesn’t make you an expert on nutrition. In my local surgery, there are posters on display advising patients to base their meals around starchy carbohydrates in the form of white and brown breads, pastas and rices, potatoes etc., only eat small servings of lean protein, minimise red meat intake and eat 5 daily servings of fruit and veg.

    We have the most advanced medical knowledge and technology ever known to man, have drugs for every ailment under the sun (and their numerous side affects) and specialists for every area of medicine, yet obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism and many other diseases / conditions related to lifestyle and nutrition (amongst other things) are running wild and set to become the norm, rather than the exception.

    Something doesn’t add up here…

    Love you all,


    1. Good write up Olly 🙂

      Glad you mentioned the biggest environment that affects the cells in our body – the way we think 🙂

      I got rid of having Crohn’s disease for 40 years, and in the middle of an acute bleeding attack – for good 🙂

      Now working with an IBD and mucosal specialist to write a paper, as the results I now have with other sufferers around the world as the predictability needed to show the medical world that we have passed the understanding of Newtonian physics with Quantum physics.

      All the best to all the good you are doing 🙂



  82. Those stories really brought back memories of my troubles with Celiac Disease especially the child with the constant stomach pains. Those days were rough. It’s quit amazing to find out what something that is considered a staple of our food today can really do to you pertaining to digestive health. It’s such a shock to everyone because gluten itself is a diagnosis for many health aliments. When you get sick and become bedridden what do the “good ole Doc’s” tell you to do? They recommend a bland diet as one story mentioned earlier. Now let’s say you get sick or maybe even bedridden, wouldn’t you go grab something bland? Like grabbing a piece of toast and butter maybe jam on top of the toast to settle your symptoms? It’s amazing that we all were in fact doing damage instead of “settling” the problem. I also would like to state a future forecast. There has been so much upcoming rise to this topic and so much heat has been brought on to the GLUTEN FREE diet I believe this will be the next upcoming health trend. So be informed and know when the trend hit’s you will not be doing

    this because it’s the next cool thing but because you made an informed factual based decision. It takes people like me and you Tim to inform the public of a Gluten free diet.


  83. I have a theory that the body actually uses a small amount of foods/substances that are thought of as poisons to strengthen the entire system.

    I think eventually we will find that the optimal diet includes a tremendously wide variety of whole foods with no food group being predominant.

    1. Strong evolutionary motive for that hypothesis. Variety and variation clearly strengthens any species over time by eliminating deadly recessive traits. If so in genetics then why not in diet ? The ancients observed intuitively that a tiny dose of “poisonous” plant or fungus could be used effectively as medicine or tonic. And the converse as well. Worth pursuing.

  84. For Tim or Robb,

    I follow a paleo type diet, so I agree with most of this post. I feel 100% better, while laying off grains and sugar. However, your argument that wheat uses lectins to defend against predators eating it, while fruit has a give take relationship with those animals which eat it, got me thinking…how about vegetables?? Surely they don’t want to be eaten, and many vegetables have defense systems in the form of chemicals to deter predators. Would it be safe to assume certain vegetables in moderate quantities could cause health problems as well? There are some in the paleo community who argue we should eat mostly meat, some fruit, and very little vegetables. Any thoughts?

  85. Hi Tim,

    The day before I read this posting, I had a QE Therapy session ( to see if we could figure out why my ankle is always swollen and why I never lose weight (besides eating too much:). The therapist (Elizabeth Tomboulian) advised me that I could possibly have poo (feces) in my bloodstream that was infecting my whole system. She did some work on me and I still need to have some work done on my ankle. She also recommended a special diet that includes grains – but which directed me not to eat grains in combination with meat – sort of a food combing diet.

    After discovering your amazingly timely article, I went ahead and bought Robb Wolf’s book – The Paleo Solution and started my 30 day test on 9/20/10 (this past Monday). I think this is the logical next step for me. Thanks Tim.

    p.s. By the way – I have both editions of your 4 Hour Work Week. 🙂 Great books!

  86. I’ve been on a 100% plant-based diet (vegan) for the past decade. My energy is through the roof. I’ve competed dozens of tris (and Ironmans) and generally function at a high level all day in a corporate environment.

    I eat some gluten (but try to limit it)…but find that the absolute key is getting TONS of fresh leafy greens every day, TONS of organic fruits and TONS of clean water (ideally from a natural spring).

    I noticed a MASSIVE change when I cut dairy out of my diet (I was vegetarian for years before going vegan). Dairy was like sludge running through my body and I didn’t realize until I cut it out for a month.

    There is also the big variable called SLEEP that I think is as important as diet (if not more so…try going a few days without it and you’ll see what I mean).

    I know there are a lot of vegans/veggies reading this post….and I hope they don’t totally throw out their commitment without first thinking through how they can get similar benefits by just reducing/eliminating gluten, exercising daily and hydrating/sleeping well without going 100% paleo.


  87. Anyone who is having problems on a vegetarian diet is having problems with malnutrition, NOT vegetarianism. You *have* to do it right. You *have* to keep on top of your macros.

    Man cannot live on refried beans and French fries alone. You actually have to eat some spinach and whatnot.

  88. Ermm Denise Minger has actually done quite an awful job a critiquing ‘The China Study’ I’m afraid. It’s easy to believe what you want to believe, so make sure you all read both sides of the arguments guy’s and gals: –

    Even a quick glance at her conclusions leaves an awful amount of problems… Science just doesn’t back up high meat, high fat or high protein.

    All the longest lived cultures in the world treat meat as a condiment. The Inuits and the Maasai live to a ripe old age of 60 (thats after you discount infant mortality).

    If anyone can offer peer reviewed scientific information about the benefits of high meat/animal product consumption on performance and longevity, please can you link me.


  89. Folks might find this piece from the Weston Price Foundation interesting:


    Sounds like you are experiencing great results, that’s awesome, but unless you have tried paleo, you really do not have a solid comparison. Either way, I think your recommendations are spot on and we certainly agree the gluten is best avoided. If you ever decide to experiment I;d be interested in your observations.

    MIKE R-

    YES! Plants have chemical defense mechanisms to and this is one of the recommendations for “variety.” from a toxicological standpoint we can overwhelm different detox systems by eating too much of the same food. On another level we see certain foods like cruciferous vegetables contain anti-thyroid chemicals (called goitrogens). Now this does NOT mean we stop eating plants! It’s just calls for some variety. Certain plants, like hot peppers, have taken this defense system to a pretty advanced, but tasty level.

    I had a paper that listed a couple dozen plants and the associated naturally occurring toxins but I can’t find it. Look for stuff from Bruce Ames who is pretty much the founder of modern toxicology:

    RJ- what I’m suggesting is “no wheat.”

    1. Hi Robb,

      As a vegetarian, mushrooms, lentils and legumes are a large part of my diet. I was directed to this through Tim Ferris and his work 🙂

      Could you, or someone, please comment on mushrooms? I love them and I also use Quorn in my diet, (Quorn is a product brand – “Mycoprotein is the common ingredient in all Quorn products. It’s made from a member of the fungi family (the same family that morels and truffles belong to) and is a high-quality meat-free protein that’s low in fat, high in dietary fibre.”)

      I’ve just come across the Paleo ‘diet’, but as a vegetarian, the options are not that appealing!

      I look forward to anyone’s thoughts on this matter 🙂



  90. I’ve also been on the paleo diet for about 18 months…along with the kettlebell workout. My whole body has changed! I never get sick and my energy level is thru the roof. Basically just don’t eat food that’s not natural.

    Tim, I think that eating whole fish is also a huge factor in getting healthy. There’s not enough emphasis on this.

    I own a seafood market and eat fish almost everyday. If you learn to eat whole fish instead of fillet you’ll save a ton of money. Plus, any filleted fish is soaked in sodium tripolyphosphate which cant be good for you.

    Keep it up…

    1. sodium tripolyphosphate ?

      Please tell me more about fish and it’s processing – we get salmon that is identified on it’s packaging as being from Peter Pan from a fisherman here – Pacific Halibut has gone up due to a % 25 cutback in harvest for the upcoming year. What kinds of fish do others prefer and why?

  91. One more thing…I forgot, in my initial comment, to thank Robb…

    Robb – you do an amazing job of explaining the science behind your recommendation in a way that’s easy for people to wrap their brains around it. I can’t wait to read your book cover to cover.

    Be well!

  92. If I ate that weekly diet I’d be so hungry I’d eat the sofa.

    And ham?! sausage?! Are you kidding? There’s not much healthy about heavily processed meat O_o