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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1,402 Replies to “How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)”

  1. Some of these comments are so funny! So many people think that the only foods are meat or grains…when in fact, they are the least like FOOD and the most like ENTERTAINMENT.

    Fruits and vegetables my dears. That’s the only real food on the planet and it’s all you ever need.

    The closer to the vine, the more divine! 🙂

  2. You make a good case, and I know this helps a lot of people. But the fact remains I went off gluten completely for 2 years and felt absolutely no change. In fact, I lost an unhealthy amount of weight because I didn’t like the alternatives to gluten I was eating and thus consumed too little food. The diet is not for everyone.

  3. I have been doing this since Monday, and have amazingly lost 5.2lbs! This is the easiest eating plan I’ve ever done, and I feel amazing. The only weird thing I’ve experienced is terrible acne. I suppose this is my body purging itself of toxins, but it’s like puberty all over again! WIll report back at the end of my 30 days 🙂

    1. Hey K,

      Try avoiding any fatty meats within 3-4 hours of bedtime. Too many nuts can also cause this.

      Good luck!


  4. @ Jones.

    Hey if ya did it Tim style, you’d get one cheat day to have all the cheeseburgers, fries, and beer ya wanted.

  5. Thanks so much for this article! One of my resolves before heading off to college was to eat better. Which sounds crazy, but I thought maybe not being around my parents (who are very into potatoes and steaks) would make it easier. We are occasional South Beachers, so that’s what I planned on doing. I did pretty well the first couple weeks, but I’ve been slipping off the boat. I had actually been noticing that I felt better than I usually did with most of the grains out of my diet, and this article was that final kick in the butt to get me back on the wagon! Thanks!

  6. Some powerful vegan quotes (some from some of the most profound thinkers of our history): –

    One farmer says to me, “You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make the bones with;” and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying himself with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle. ~Henry David Thoreau

    You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I’ll buy you a new car. ~Harvey Diamond

    Man is the only animal that can remain on friendly terms with the victims he intends to eat until he eats them. ~Samuel Butler

    We don’t need to eat anyone who would run, swim, or fly away if he could. ~James Cromwell

    The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of “real food for real people” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital. ~Neal Barnard

    A mind of the calibre of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows. ~George Bernard Shaw

    You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Truely man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds theirs. We live by the death of others: we are burial places! I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look on the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men. ~Leonardo da Vinci

    I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other…. ~Henry David Thoreau

    While we ourselves are the living graves of murdered beasts, how can we expect any ideal conditions on this earth? ~George Bernard Shaw

    I think if you want to eat more meat you should kill it yourself and eat it raw so that you are not blinded by the hypocrisy of having it processed for you. ~Margi Clark

    “Thou shalt not kill” does not apply to murder of one’s own kind only, but to all living beings; and this Commandment was inscribed in the human breast long before it was proclaimed from Sinai. ~Leo Tolstoy

    We manage to swallow flesh only because we do not think of the cruel and sinful thing that we do. Cruelty… is a fundamental sin, and admits of no arguments or nice distinctions. If only we do not allow our heart to grow callous, it protests against cruelty, is always clearly heard; and yet we go on perpetrating cruelties easily, merrily, all of us – in fact, anyone who does not join in is dubbed a crank. ~Rabindranath Tagore

    Can you really ask what reason Pythagoras had for abstaining from flesh? For my part I rather wonder both by what accident and in what state of soul or mind the first man did so, touched his mouth to gore and brought his lips to the flesh of a dead creature, he who set forth tables of dead, stale bodies and ventured to call food and nourishment the parts that had a little before bellowed and cried, moved and lived. How could his eyes endure the slaughter when throats were slit and hides flayed and limbs torn from limb? How could his nose endure the stench? How was it that the pollution did not turn away his taste, which made contact with the sores of others and sucked juices and serums from mortal wounds? ~Plutarch

    To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body. ~Mahatma Gandhi

    Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet. ~Albert Einstein

    Would you kill your pet dog or cat to eat it? How about an animal you’re not emotionally attached to? Is the thought of slaughtering a cow or chicken or pig with your own hands too much to handle? Instead, would hiring a hit-man to do the job give you enough distance from the emotional discomfort? What animal did you put a contract out on for your supper last night? Did you at least make sure that none went to waste and to take a moment to be grateful for its sacrifice? ~Anonymous

    My body will not be a tomb for other creatures. ~Leanardo da Vinc

    Live simply so that others may simply live. ~Gandhi

    Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. ~Gandhi

    A nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals. ~Gandhi

    Silly person….. Eating flesh is for zombies, ~Anonymous

    You can’t eat your friends and have them too ~Franz Kafka

    All the arguments to prove man’s superiority cannot shatter this hard fact: In suffering, the animals are our equals. ~Peter Singer

    All the best.

  7. Oh and LOL, Denise Minger hasn’t managed an even half decent critique – and she won’t even submit to peer review – Nuff said.

    If you think you have found a debunking of the china study think again.

  8. Am I missing something? If a natural inability to digest the proteins contained in grains makes them essentially poisonous to humans. And if grains are the primary food source–(they’re an essential component of most Third World diets and the foundation of our own “food pyramid”) Then it seems to me that the ultimate solution isn’t avoiding grains–(which seems uncomfortable, impractical and/or impossible depending on the availability of alternate foods)–but rather in developing a supplement that would allow human digestion to safely break down these naturally indigestible proteins and, in so doing, arguably make them even more beneficial. I would think this would be a significant advancement for medical science and world health care–and an enormous profit source for the “supplement” industry. Is there any research or development taking place?

  9. Tim,

    I read the whole article and a lot of comments but I don’t understand if it’s crucial to _eliminate_, or can I just cut back on grains and gluten in order to improve my health?

    Robb writes that it takes 10-15 days for the gut to heal and means that you will not notice any changes, while you(Tim) have your “day off”. How does that work?

    To be honest, I couldn’t manage without these products from time to time, if it is an orgasmic existence I would consider elimination though.

    If anyone can clear this up I would be grateful!


  10. *sigh* always getting mixed messages about these kinds of things… Wheat is good for you! No, wheat makes you sick! Coffee has been discovered to be beneficial for you! Don’t listen to that guy, coffee will kill you!

    Not sure who to believe now-a-days… but I’m starting to think somebody is trying to kill me.

  11. This might have been addressed in the comments, but I couldn’t read through all 667 of them…

    I knew of lectins and phytates in grains and legumes, but I had no idea about dairy. Are they in all dairy? I don’t consume milk or yogurt because of the sugar but I consume heavy cream and full-fat cheeses quite regularly. Should I be avoiding dairy just as I do grains?

  12. This is RIDICULOUS. I’ve switched (with the exception of some beer on weekends) to full blown paleo. I started the day I read this article. I have since dropped 8 pounds. A chronic rash that I have had on my arm for almost 9 months (probably candidiasis) has almost completely disappeared. My acne is gone and I’ve stopped using harsh cleansers at night just to ward off zits.

    I feel better than I ever have in my life. I mean really, how do you know you feel like shit if its all you’ve ever felt?! I can spring out of my bed in the morning now, where as before I would drag my bloated ass out of the covers after hitting snooze 19 times. And no more 3PM zoning out at my desk. I’m alert all day now.

    This is it, Paleo/primal for life.

  13. Hi Tim and Rob,

    I’m from the Philippines where Rice is the main grain used. I’m still trying to figure our alternatives since oats, sweet potatoes and potatoes are also not allowed. I’ll go for vegetables as an alternative for now. Do you have any suggestions for people from Asian countries?


    Kevin Olega

  14. Wheat is a grass, obviously, well not to me, I hadn’t really thought of wheat that way. But I have hay-fever, I’m allergic to grass (and other things). True not all grasses elicit the same reaction in me, but grass is grass yes.

    So why have I been eating grass for 30+ years when I’m allergic to the stuff?!?! I’ve always had IBS too and just it was one of those things, changing diet but never cutting out wheat (or other grains).

    My gut must’ve been having a horrid time with grass inside it. My skin hates grass touching it, and skin is designed as a barrier. My gut is the opposite, so even if I’m much less sensitive to wheat, it’ll still only take a little of it to irritate my gut and get into my body and play havoc!

    I’m not evolutionary geneto-food scientist, but I’m not eating wheat anymore simply because I know I’m allergic to grass!!

    I’m one week into the no-grain diet, already I feel a bit better and my bowel movements are much better.

    I reckon no-grain is a no-brainer for hayfever sufferers like me 🙂

  15. I’ll give this a go, and write about it on the blog linked to from my name.

    Ack, it’s the age old dilemma of health, vs. normal social life. When I tried veganism and macrobiotics I got sick to death of having the same old conversations, and people demanding that I justify my decision to them, trying to challenge me, cycling through different foods trying to catch me out:

    Them: Do you eat x?

    Me: No.

    Them: What about y?

    Me: No.

    Them: z?

    Me: No.

    Them: But you’re wearing a leather belt!

    Me: *yawn* zzzzzzzzzzz….. etc.

    (Note, x y and z would be replaced with real foods in the conversation, I’m not talking about alphabet soup!)

    Or there’s the meal at a friend’s house, where you’ve been invited along and they don’t know your specific dietary decisions. I once had to not eat a lasagne someone made for me, because they thought I was vegetarian, not vegan. Really felt bad that they had made it for me… I considered just eating it anyway to be polite, but by that point eating dairy gave me…umm… ‘stomach issues’ (use your imagination), and it was a question of etiquette as to whether not eating it, or eating it and dealing with the consequences that went with that was the more polite option!

    I do want to push for better levels of health, but at what expense? Good health also flows from low stress, happiness, strong social bonds. All of these are hindered to a greater or lesser extent depending on your personality and how OK you are with being the ‘awkward one’, or how accommodating or not your friends and family are. Some people will get off on being different but others will hate it.

    But if you don’t get the benefits unless you’re 100% compliant for a month, and then after that you have problems with re-integration, it seems like an either/or decision to me.

    Anyway, I’ll give it a go for a month, and see what happens. Been doing this for 4 days already and currently in that phase where I’m enjoying the novelty. And I do feel better about the things I’m eating, if not in myself. It’s hard not to be proud of yourself when you’ve only eaten real food things for a few days!

  16. Monday…I ordered the book and starting the diet (via the 7 meals listed) today. I’m tired of feeling tired. Not overweight, but high blood pressure, bad cholesterol and blood sugar. I’m tired of taking pills to solve the problem. (yes, I eat bread and pasta like it is going out of style).

  17. All kinds of goodies. A new low carb vs low fat study here:

    Researchers from of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University, Philadelphia have revealed that after a two-year comparison, a low-carb diet fares about as well as a low-fat diet with regards to weight loss, but low-carb improves cardiovascular risk factors more.

    The study, published in the peer-reviewed medical journalAnnals of Internal Medicine, explained that cardiovascular risk factors, such as blood pressure and lipid (cholesterol) levels responded better with the low-carb diet. Both diets produce identical weight loss when coupled with comprehensive behavior treatment

    Put simply – it appears that both diets are equally good for losing weight, but the low-carb diet protects you from potential coronary heart diseases more effectively.

    The findings may come as a surprise to many people who instinctively link low-carb with worsening cardiovascular risk factors.

    Three hundred and seven patients were randomly assigned to either a low-carbohydrate (n=153) or low-fat (n=154) diet with behavior treatment. Weight at two years was the primary outcome, but other effects were measured throughout the study period.

    At 3, 6 and 12 months, the participants were evaluated for:


    Serum lipid concentrations

    Blood pressure

    Urinary ketones

    Bone mineral density

    Body composition

    Among the participants in the two diet groups, the researchers found:

    Weight – no differences at any point during the study. About 7% loss of weight at two years in both groups.

    Body composition – no differences at any point during the study

    Bone mineral density – no differences at any point during the study

    Good cholesterol levels – double the increase among the low-carb group compared to the low-fat group at two years. 23% and 11% respectively.

    Gary Foster, PhD, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University, Philadelphia, said:

    I think an important outcome from a study like this is to think about which diets fit best for which people. This study would suggest that perhaps for those with low HDL-cholesterol levels to begin with, that a low-carbohydrate approach to weigh loss may have some dvantages.

    “Weight and Metabolic Outcomes After 2 Years on a Low-Carbohydrate Versus Low-Fat Diet – A Randomized Trial”

    Gary D. Foster, PhD, Holly R. Wyatt, MD, James O. Hill, PhD, Angela P. Makris, PhD, RD, Diane L. Rosenbaum, BA, Carrie Brill, BS, Richard I. Stein, PhD, B. Selma Mohammed, MD, PhD, Bernard Miller, MD, Daniel J. Rader, MD, Babette Zemel, PhD, Thomas A. Wadden, PhD, Thomas Tenhave, PhD, Craig W. Newcomb, MS, Samuel Klein, MD

    Annals of Internal Medicine August 3, 2010 vol. 153 no. 3 147-157

  18. As a fitness professional, this both frustrates me and excites me.

    On the one hand, it is nice to have a cause for so many of the problems my clients face today.

    On the other hand, if you combine this information with that found in the China Study we now have to eliminate the following foods:





    What’s left? Fruits, veggies, nuts.

    It’s probably healthiest but those are difficult to survive on – even for a fitness pro like myself.

    Thanks for the info.

  19. Pingback: Quora
  20. This is a short, well-researched NY Times Mag article that looks critically at the poor science and aggressive politics behind the low-fat, high-carb, low-cholesterol diet that’s been promoted in the US. The author, Gary Taubes, has written for Science magazine, often scrutinizes scientistic claims in his work, and provides in-depth back-up references in his book on the same topic.

    If you want to go into the research and problems with studies and logic used to promote the traditional food pyramid, check out the book — Good Calories, Bad Calories. The body of the book is more thorough than typical about examining studies (vs. simply quoting them) and includes 50+ pages of references.

    Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease, ISBN 978-1400040780 (published as The Diet Delusion in the UK, ISBN 978-0091891411).

  21. As another TF blog commenter on this thread mentioned, the Gary Taubes article I reference above received a critical response in the magazine reason.

    And, then the discussion continues further too as Taubes responds: Somewhere in the reason archives there is counter to Taubes’ counter.

    The important thing is to research, question, think, engage in thoughtful safe experimentation, and make your own informed, conscious decisions. Expose yourself to a variety of (divergent) opinions and new ideas like those on the TF blog. Check out the books, points, and counter points on health topics as complex as nutrition

    As a side note, celiac’s is a serious condition that can lead to many complications. If you think you have it, don’t be worried about being cast as a faddist. Find out. And, if you have celiac’s, you need to be strict about a GF diet.

  22. As another TF blog commenter on this thread mentioned, the Gary Taubes article (What if …) I reference above received a critical response in the magazine reason.

    And, then the discussion continues further too as Taubes responds: Somewhere in the reason archives there is counter to Taubes’ counter.

    The important thing is to research, question, think, engage in thoughtful safe experimentation, and make your own informed, conscious decisions. Expose yourself to a variety of (divergent) opinions and new ideas like those on the TF blog. Check out the books, points, and counter points on health topics as complex as nutrition

    As a side note, celiac’s is a serious condition that can lead to many complications. If you think you have it, don’t be worried about being cast as a faddist. Find out. And, if you have celiac’s, you need to be strict about a GF diet.

  23. Thanks for the advice. I’m fairly certain that it works. I used to get nausea basically everyday before I went on the Paleo diet. After about two week on the diet I gave in and ate one donut and got sick. I think that that says something.

    On an unrelated issue. I did that Freak to Geek/ Colorado Experiment and after a few weeks I looked like She-Hulk. Is that supposed to happen? Or do I have some genetic ability to gain muscle quickly even though I am female?

  24. I know I risk flaming things up a bit – and this comment is drifting ever-so-slightly off topic, but I just can’t help respond to these posts. 😉

    (I promise this will be the only one!)

    @Lukifer Aurelius (pt1)

    Yep Lukifer, meat production IS less efficient than other forms of farming, but we get SO MUCH goodness out of meat as the cow’s done all the hard work for us! Plus, crops aren’t the goodie-two-shoes they’re cracked up to be either. Do you know how devastating rice production is? Or how ludicrously labour intensive it is? Or how much of the methane in the atmosphere comes from rice fields?

    My point is that all food creation comes at a price, and rather than attack good food, we need to attack issues like overpopulation (which can be addressed by education and social mobility for poorer nations – as educated, safe, content people don’t have (or NEED) lots of kids – and more efficient farming through clever, green technology. Little farms are nice, but they’re highly wasteful and destructive. Out best hope is GOOD, well monitored large-scale farming.

    @Lukifer Aurelius (pt2)

    “…There is also a fair amount of research that is making strong claims for the harmful effects of eating dead animal flesh…”

    Is there? No, no, there isn’t, surely? Not ‘real’ research. It sounds like anthropomorphic hokum to me, but I’d love to read whatever research is out there on the subject, so point the way.

    @C.T.T. “…In disagreement with Dan’s comment, I don’t think human teeth were designed to devour meat, because my teeth look nothing like my dog’s or my cat’s extremely sharp teeth…”

    You’re welcome to disagree CTT but I’m afraid it seems a fairly well established fact that our teeth were designed for many things, including eating a fair amount of meat.

    The reason our teeth are unlike our pet’s teeth is that our pets are solely carnivorous while we’re omnivorous. No-one here has ever suggested humans are – or were – pure carnivores, but meat has always been a prominent part of our diet. Meat gave us our large brains which we wouldn’t have evolved on a pure vegetarian diet as we’re VERY inefficient vegetarians. Our intestines show that too. Even cows, who are incredibly efficient vegetarians STILL need to eat constantly. That’s why we went to the moon and the moo-cows didn’t – not that I like debunking nursery rhymes. 😉


    “…Meat is highly acidic and is a dead animal you put in your body…”

    Meat isn’t ‘highly acidic’, but apples and citrus fruit are, and they’re just fine. I’d have thought that food acidity isn’t really a great concern, (as our stomach is full of hydrochloric acid after all) except when it comes to your teeth – which is why dentists HATE fruit juice!

    As for the “…meat is a dead animal you put in your body…” line, all I can say is… So? Beans and carrots are also dead life-forms you put in your body, so I’m not really sure what your point is.

    But, whatever works for you is great by me.

    If you’re feeling well doing your thing, keep doing it, and by all means celebrate it, but it’s uncool to use fake science to guilt people out of eating good, healthy food that we’ve been consuming for eons.

  25. Thank you Tim and Robb!

    Tim, if you hadn’t sent out this post, I never would have looked into this at all. I’m now 5 days into eating Paleo and looking forward to the results.

    You’re really helping people out!

    Robb, the book is awesome and easy to read. I couldn’t put it down.

    It’s pretty hard to keep eating the unhealthy stuff when you know exactly

    what is happening when you eat it.

    Thank you for explaining it all.

    You guys are awesome!

    Crystal Loewen


  26. Tim and Robb,

    Do chickens eat grain? And if so, doesn’t that go against this glutten free diet? I’m honestly curious, can’t wait to read the book. 🙂

    @ Elizabeth A

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

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

    Fat – 30% of 2k cal = 600 cals /9 = 66.7 g

    1. @Charly:

      What are livestock and poultry fed to increase weight gain/fat? Anyone?

      Lots of grain and corn.

      Why exactly does this not have the same effect in humans?

      It seems as though many of the objections to this diet are based on opinion and suspect studies. Can anyone who thinks this diet is bad explain where the bad effects come from at the metabolic/biological level? Robb Wolf explains how diet affects various biological processes in his book. If you want to really learn more, you need to purchase the book as this article is only a very small part of what is discussed there.

  27. Tim

    Effective use of your blog. This article made me want to read your new book even more.

    I am tired of the immature framework of gluten=bad, veggies=good. I find this framework to be an oversimplification of the situation. Diet and nutrition are two of the most misunderstood and misrepresented topics. I would believe that the four hour body would be set up in a way that drives past the simplistic good/bad squawking.

    I wish I could read your book right now. If you are sending out any advance copies, I will surely send you my address. I would think you could enjoy some testimonials from real 4HWW fans.



  28. Holy crap, how is anyone going to find my comment in a pile of 600+? Anyway, I was going to point out that you are totally right on gluten and grains, but your stance on “good” fat is rather dangerous – or so I feel. You know heart disease can be cured in almost 100% of cases by keeping fat down to 10% of total calories? (Very very little fat – practically no overt fat sources). Animal fat is worse than plant fat for heart disease, though I’m not sure what you consider “good” fat.

    Just food for thought, I know there’s a lot of differing opinions on diet and all – this is what saved me from Crohn’s disease, a sickness that the doctors told me I’d have for (relatively short) life. If you want more, check out “The 80/10/10 Diet” by Douglas Graham, the best book in the universe.


  29. PS replying to the above commenter, birds eat grain but they have a special organ which causes grain to sprout, becoming less like a seed and more like a little plant. They are also adapted to grain toxins, which humans aren’t. We are adapted to eating fruit and greens primarily (which is why everyone tells you fruit is good for you, but no one tries to give fruit to a dog!).

  30. Andrew said:

    “You know heart disease can be cured in almost 100% of cases by keeping fat down to 10% of total calories? (Very very little fat – practically no overt fat sources). Animal fat is worse than plant fat for heart disease, though I’m not sure what you consider “good” fat.”

    Andrew do you have a reference for that?

    I think when Robb is talking about good fat – saturated fat, omega 3 fats and limiting omega 6 fats and eliminating trans fats.

  31. Andrew, okay you must have got the reference from the Douglas Graham book. Which wouldn’t really qualify as a sound reference.

  32. interesting for you breadlovers!!

    Ongoing research in cereal microbiology is investigating some preliminary evidence that the traditional sourdough method may also sever the bonds of the “toxic” peptides in wheat gluten responsible for the celiac reaction and neutralize them as well.8 In short, certain lactobacilli in a sourdough culture acting on wheat flour for a 24-hour period achieved nearly complete digestion of the peptides. When bread made with these species was fed to recovered celiac patients for two days, the patients showed no signs of increased intestinal permeability that were found among recovered celiac patients who consumed the same amount of regular bread over the same time period. These intriguing results suggest that wheat (or rye) flour that has undergone 24 hours of culture fermentation may render the “toxic” peptides harmless and allow the bread to be safely eaten by those with celiac disease, although studies of celiac patients consuming sourdough breads for a much longer period of time will be needed to confirm this.


  33. Tim: Thanks for the feedback! Love to see an appreciation of objective science. I’m checking out everything you’ve cited there right now. Thanks again.

    Robb: I would still love a few suggestions on great starting points for self-education on the -science- of all this stuff so I can objectively evaluate some of these things. I am looking myself, but your expert guidance and experience would certainly save me thousands of pages and hundreds of dollars in trial and error. Thanks in advance!

  34. Tim, I love ya’,man, but you’re spamming me with this piece. I read it the first time back in September. I know you’re marketing the book, don’t worry, I’ll buy it, but lighten up. Relax and read a little Seth.

    1. Hi Mike,

      No spam. It’s a problem with re-dating posts in WordPress and then how Feedburner/Google sends. I took the Random Show off the homepage by re-dating, and it sometimes does this. Not sure how to prevent it.



  35. Great post Tim and Robb, thank you.

    What would you suggest for post workout (fast carbs)?

    No more chicken pizzas after training…

  36. Hi all,

    Interesting post, and I’m a nutrition practitioner with “in the trenches” experience. Most of these types of articles and systems are useful to initially educate, but there are always a few areas that don’t get addressed, and I’ll throw these out there.

    1. There is no “one size fits all” approach to eating. Just the same as there are different body types, dominances in nervous system and psychological profiles, people respond differently to dietary approaches because we are different!

    Just as Roger Williams, in his work on Biochemical Individuality, states, that nutritional needs amongst the average person vary DRAMATICALLY.

    Thus, this one size fits all approach is “generalized”. There will be 3 likely responses. Some people get better on it, some people have no response, and the third group will have a negative reaction.

    2. Eliminating food groups for EVERYONE is not the answer. There isn’t enough research and/or data supporting that any of the food groups such as gluten is a problem for everyone in the population. Again, biochemical individuality. Additionally, we need to include the concept of Allergy vs. Intolerance vs. Sensitivity to foods. These are ALL different concepts. Not all can be lab tested either. Many people appear to tolerate natural grains like stone ground VERY well, provided they are soaked to break down natural phytates.

    3. Nutritional needs and responses to diet CHANGE. Based on the work of individuals whom pioneered the typing processes of diet, such as William Kelley, Royal Lee, Weston Price, Roger Williams, William Wolcott, and others, we have two aspects to address. We have a genetic type, and a functional type of metabolism. Where, we may need certain ways to eat to tap into our genetic potential, but the environment influences our nutrient needs strongly. Therefore, you may need the “paleo approach” or the “vegetarian approach”, etc. for a particular time while under particular circumstances, but as those environmental circumstances change, that diet may not work to balance your system any longer. Many people experience this “flip flop” when changing from vegetarian lifestyles to meat-lifestyles, etc. Neither diet works indefinitely.

    There is no research data to prove this, but plenty of empirical data that any clinician who has worked with clients for a number of years notices. (Provided he/she is not stuck in their own nutritional ‘dogma’)

    4. Underlying imbalances in the body alter normal metabolic function. Subclinical parasite infections, yeast overgrowth, leaky gut, and many other types of imbalances alter perception of what is working. For example, if someone has a candida overgrowth, and eating carbs makes them feel loopy, or in the case of low stomach acid/enzymes someone feels tired after eating meat, this does NOT mean those foods are bad for someone! Once these underlying imbalances are corrected, the foods no longer cause issues.

    My point here is that these types of nutritional generalizations simply lead to more confusion and conflict, rather than recognizing that each individual is different and will have different responses when their genetics make contact with the “terrain”, under certain influences.

  37. @Quora

    What a ridiculous thing to say. YOU should actually look at the research and the different types of vegetarian/vegan diets before putting the ridiculous argument that eating grass fed animals is more ethical. Like this grass fed utopia will ever happen anyway. You’ve looked at one biased persons article and affirmed your own beliefs without doing the proper research.


    I eat 3000 cals a day minimum, usually closer to 4000, and I only eat fruits, veggies and a very small amount (less than 30g) nuts. Read ‘The 80-10-10 Diet’ by Doug Graham. He actually works with pro athletes, and has been a low fat raw vegan for around 30 years (maybe more maybe slightly less). This diet (low fat raw vegan) also cures diabetes.


    It isn’t just Doug Graham saying these things. William C. Roberts, Caldwell Esselstyn, John McDougall, John Furhman, Dean Ornish et al all back this up, and have had the best rates for reversing heart disease within the medical establishment. I suppose you think you can’t trust any of them either? 25% of all heart attacks happen to people with a cholesterol count of 150-200. Go figure.

    How you could possibly think that Doug Graham isn’t a good reference when the man is 100% muscle and in absolutely phenomenal shape, has lectured all over the world, and has worked with a great deal of pro athletes is beyond me, and has done a great deal of testing this diet with literally 10’s of thousands of people, and is the leading authority on raw vegan diets. Quite frankly if you take the time to study his work (including his book called ‘Grain Damage’ which supports Robbs claims about grains here), and take into account how long he’s been following his own diet, you don’t have a leg to stand on argueing him as not being a qualified source of information. Do the research before making such comments please.


    Here are 10 studies which contradict your claims about low carb which you can look up via google: –


    2. “One Year Effectiveness of the Atkins, Ornish, Weight Watchers, and Zone Diets in Decreasing Body Weight and Heart Disease Risk” by Michael L. Dansinger, Joi L. Gleason, John L. Griffith, Wenjun Li, Harry P. Selker, Ernst Schaefer; Tufts University, New England Medical Center, Boston, Mass.

    3. American Journal of Cardiology 69(1992):440

    4. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 50, 1997: 1264

    5. Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders 1(2003): 227-232.

    6. Obesity and Fad Diets. U.S. Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. 12 April 1973 CIS S581-13.

    7. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine 68(2001):761.

    8. Diabetes Care 7, 1984: 465

    9. Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders 1(2003): 227-232.


    Here are 1000+ other references (not all studies of course, but enough): –

    Not to mention the China Study and all supporting peer reviewed studies held within (and no, there has not been a good debunking of The China Study by anyone).

    Here are what some of the most respected establishments have to say about low carb: –

    The Gerson and Hoxsey therapies also back up plant based diets and there incredible effectiveness on curing disease, health and longevity. The Inuits and Maasai drop dead at 60 (not taking into account child mortality which drops there time on earth down to 45 – but is not accurate) and these are very physically fit cultures – or at least the Inuits were before they began to adopt a more westernised diet.

    I really don’t understand the logic behind low carb diet (I personally follow an 85% plus high carb diet -5% protein, 10% fat). The body runs off carbs, needs very little protein and very little fat. Converting fat and protein into glucose is far from efficient. You wouldn’t put diesel in your petrol car, even if it was somehow able to convert it. The number of postings ive read about athletes falling off the wagon on low carb fads is just getting stupid.

    You wanna get the most from this diet then cut the meat out and focus on fruit and veggies. Plant based diets (or at least diets with very little meat) have been proven over and over, especially when it comes to curing pretty much every disease known to man, physical and mental performance and longevity. Not all carbs are created equal, but the body can only run off carbs, even if it has to convert the other dietary rubbish into them. Excess protein does nothing but harm.

    Humans are no more omnivores than a cat or dog is. Nothing about our physiology, anatomy or biochemistry supports this myth.

    Sorry about the rant.

  38. All of this sounds right – and I am going to get started trying it for a month – but there must be more complexity to it. I am thinking of that HL Menken quote: “For every problem there is a solution that is simple, elegant, and wrong.” What about microbes in the gut? They do a lot of digestion for us, right? Might some of those bugs break down the nasty stuff more efficiently than our own chemistry can? Might some people’s bugs do a better job on certain critical tasks than other people’s bugs?

  39. I am wondering the same thing as David. Possibly fruit and chicken? I would think according to slow carb diet any kind of bread, milk, etc. would go post-workout, but with Paleo’s no bread/gluten/dairy restriction it sounds like the only fast carbs available would be fruits with a piece of chicken for protein? Thinking of course that the ingredients in protein powder don’t fit the Paleo diet.

  40. A post I found from Robb:

    “The idea of a PWO meal containing carbs (and protein) is to take advantage of a period of time in which the muscles are particularly insulin sensitiveve. We can fly nutrients into the muscle “under the radar” via a mechanism called “non insulin mediated glucose transport”. Amino acids are also taken in during this time and may play a synergistic role in both glycogen repletion but also decreasing inflammation that accompanies hard training. Said another way, you recover from exertion faster. So, what should ya eat? We actually want a starchy carb as our primary carb. Yams and sweet potatoes are great options as they are also highly nutritious. Fruit should be used sparingly in this meal if one is focused on optimized glycogen repletion as fructose refills liver glycogen first, and once liver glycogen is full we up-regulate the lipogenic activity of the liver and start down the road towards fat gain and insulin resistance.”

  41. The body fuels whatever needs fueling, and fruit is an excellent pre and post workout meal. Fructose is metabalised in the liver, and unless your only eating like one apple (about 40 cals), you will refuel your whole body within a very short time frame, replenishing all glycogen, -whether the liver is replenished first or not is irrelevant, the sugar is already there. Also, following this diet you’ll also recover very very quickly. Experiment with both roots and fruit, but makesure you eat enough.

    There are no fat or diabetic long term low fat raw vegans. I’m 5% bodyfat and eat at least 85% carbs.

  42. Great articel. I get so many I skim through but this one I read word for word. I and my family are vegetarian and have been for the past 25 years and the recommended eating plan does provide a challenge. I am interested in 1. what Robb says about vegetarian diets (pros and cons) and if he has a vegetarian eating plan version. As ever Tim your articles are a source of inspiration for everyday living. Thanks.

  43. Hey,

    I’ve definitely noticed a change on all levels now that I’m in Korea, where wheat noodles are NOT commonplace nor is bread. I still eat a small amount of bread…

    Just coming over here I’ve lost almost 14 kg.

    “Reading Time: 1-2 hours”….

    I think I speak for those of us who liked the shorter synopsis-prone blog posts that an all encompassing 2 minute summary is always good.

  44. @Sue & Ste, thanks for the info, something for me to look into over the weekend.

    Man oh man my head is spinning. Just when you think you have your post workout shakes/meals sorted, you happen to read a blog post like this. haha.

    That’s the great thing about learning. You are never to old or young to learn something new.

    Cheers to everyone for the great comments..

  45. No worries and good luck David. But just to clarify I don’t support any low carb diet, high protein and/or high fat diets, and my above post may have come off like I do. You simply don’t need these in high amounts.

  46. @Ste

    In reply to your last 2 comments.

    The fact that you eat 85% carbs, <5% fat and <%10 fat and manage to have 5% body fat is great, but I'm sure you're not only lean, but also very thin (i.e. no muscles).

    Carbs, convert to glycogen faster than fat and protein, but it doesn't mean you should *only* fuel on carbs. When you exercise, you're consuming all your glycogen and when you don't have enough, you'll start burning fat and protein (i.e. muscle). After exercising, you'll need to replenish your glycogen stores, and that is why you eat carbs, but carbs don't build muscle.

    Now, if you eat too much of the carbs, the body doesn't know how to store glycogen over time, so it will convert the carbs eventually to fat – and this is how you gain weight (unless you exercise again straight). Protein, on the other hand, builds muscles, and assists recovery a lot faster than just carbs.

    All fruit have sugar in them, which increase the level of insulin in the body, so eating to much fruits is not good for you as you're overloading your pancreas until it fails and you get diabetes (even if you're lean as a stick, you can still get it, but as type 1, which is worse than type 2).

    The low-carbs-high-protein diets are designed to limit the amounts of food consumed, as eating more protein (with limit) will keep you full for longer, and change your metabolism to burn fat (and not carbs), so overall you eat less, burn more (you should read Tim post on how he gained 34lbs, most of it muscle, by eating all the time, and not carbs).

    What I take from this diet is not the losing weight part, which is nice but only a side effect, but the health ramifications of eating gluten, i.e., diseases, etc. Using your example of cars, if you know how cars operate and how driving effects all parts, you will change the way you drive. The same here. If you know what is happening inside, you can make a better decision on what is good for you.

    As for your list of references, Robb supplied with plenty of research (not observations) done on *human* participants (not mice and rats) to substantiate this diet. In addition, you should have a look at middle eastern countries, where they consume a high protein and fat and relatively low carbs diets, and they don't have obesity as you find in western countries.

  47. Ste, I’m not convinced that a vegan diet is the way to go. Doug Graham is looking a little worse for wear.

    Regarding the studies you can quote as many as you like but I’m sure there will be something when you delve into them that doesn’t match the abstract or conclusion. The study is set up in such a way to get the desired results etc.

  48. Wow… tons of comments here!!!

    I train for marathons and long distance trail running events. I typically run 80-110 miles per week. How does this diet fair for endurance athletes? and could I stay full on such a diet?

  49. More than anything I’m a vegan for ethical reasons. It started purely for health and this has shifted. I find it bizarre that you say Doug Graham is looking worse for wear (he’s 68 years old, on zero medication and still trains like a 20 year old), but your entitled to your opinion. I’d encourage you to google storm and Roger Haeske and see how you think they look for their age.

    When it comes to studies I can say the exact same thing about all the low carb ones, and also show that the research simply out numbers them ten fold. The cholesterol issue is just undeniable for one: People with a cholesterol count of below 150 don’t have heart attacks. The research ive looked at for high meat (and dairy) are always sponsored by the industry which has something to gain from them such as the Weston Price foundation, (who himself actually encouraged his family and friends to eat grains – not that I do). You can look at every single institute out there and they all advise against low carb diets. The numbers are 90+% against this style of eating.

    It’s true you don’t have to be a vegan to live to a ripe old age, but there are no low carb centanarians. Among the long lived cultures meat was always used as a condiment. Being vegan also takes time, and a lot of people fail for a number of silly preventable reasons. You can of course be a vegan and still have an unhealthy diet, there’s a massive amount of differing vegan diets out there, some which are also low carb.

    People need to eat more fruits and veggies and less of everything else.

  50. @matthk777

    I don’t have time to write a proper response but basically: –

    1. Human brains did not evolve because of meat consumption and no one in the field of evolution is putting this idea forward anymore. Even at the time it was only a hypothesis called the ‘Expensive tissue hypothesis’ and with a strict reading of this a vegetarian diet would still make it hold true. People forget that evolution has everything to do with natural and sexual selection and nothing else. Also ‘Catching Fire’ and ‘Left in the Dark’ (books on human evolution) contradict your dietary claims. If you really understood evolution you would understand that we have had no need to adapt to any other diet than our earliest ancestors because we can reach reproductive age eating any old rubbish.

    2. Humans are not omnivores were frugivores. Nothing about us, including our teeth suggests. During our evolution we’ve acquired a wopping 8 genes to help us more efficiently process meat. Hardly enough to call ourselves omnivores. Just because you can feed a dog a vegan diet doesn’t make it an omnivore, the same is true for humans.

    3. Meat is highly acid forming within the body and hence it leaches calcium, iodine and other alkaline minerals during digestion. All ripe fruit is alkaline forming, even citrus. Fresh juice is nothing like the store bought rubbish which isn’t healthy, and as you stated is acid forming. No we can’t survive on veg alone, but with fruit it can be done with ease. And eating LIVE fruits and veg means that you maintain all the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-oxidants etc etc. Not all food is dead when it enters the body.

    I can offer you a great deal of studies and information which contradict all your claims. You in turn have offered none in your post, so let me know and I’ll post them for you here.

  51. I switched my diet right after I read this post.

    Results after 2 weeks on this diet:

    I got off my IBS medication

    No more nausea and bloating right after eating

    No more feeling sleepy and fatigued in the afternoons

    Much better quality of sleep

    No more random attacks of abdominal pain and diarrhea

    Bowel movement reduced from 4 times a day to just one

    I am also getting tested for celiac disease.

    This article has definitely increased the quality of life for me.

    I have seen many doctors and all they have ever done was to overprescribe medication and order unnecessary and painful procedures.

    Thank you so much Tim and Robb!

  52. Hey everyone.

    So I’ve beendoing this paleo diet for 2 weeks.

    2 things I have noticed are:

    -My energy levels are not super high, but they feel more stable.

    -I’m really thirsty all the time. And it doesn’t matter how much water I drink.

    Anyone had similar stuff happen or anyone know why?



  53. Dear Tim, I have been a big fan of yours since first discovering The Four-Hour Work Week and have tried to keep up with your blog as best I can. Of course I had to pre-order your second book to get a signed copy from B&N.

    Anyhow, my comment concerns this latest post by you and Robb about grains and gluten. It’s a real eye-opener. Enough of one that I emailed at least 50 of my closest family and friends to consider the 30 day gluten-free diet trial.

    I know I’m going to give it a try even though I consume tons of gluten-loaded foods and appear to be in great health.

    I just turned 39 years old but rarely get any age guesses above 28 or twenty nine years old. Most people are shocked to hear how old I am; to my delight of course. I attribute that mostly to good genes and a really healthy dose of a well-rounded vitamin intake since I was 20 years old.

    I am never sick and never even suffer from allergy or common colds. Maybe once a year I’ll start to feel a fever coming on and even feel the accompanying muscle aches only for it to pass very quickly, usually within 24 hours.

    The main reason I was really intrigued about this post had to do with 2 things. Firstly, The restaurant chain I work for just rolled out our Alllergen Guide and Menu to identify and inform our guests about allergy ingredients in our food, gluten in particular. Secondly, are my irregular bowel movements. Irregular in that I many times can be a bit constipated and have a difficult bowel movement or I may have an inconsistent loose movement for no particular reason. I mostly usually feel like I never completely empty my bowels. I’m starting to think this definitely has to do with the various foods I consume.

    While I regularly consume a lot of raw almonds and my fair share of vegetables I definitely consume a ton of grains, bread, pasta and legumes.

    I am wondering if the cause could be the grains I consume and if I’m really not that healthy but just lucky thus far.

    These are the reasons I’m sacrificing 30 days of my life to see if the grains are the culprit and look forward to sharing my results. I hope that at least some of the 50 I emailed also feel compelled to do so as well.

    As you have helped me, i hope I can help them.

    Thanks a million Tim. Keep up the good work!

    Muchos gracias,

    Norberto Marcel Maldonado

    PS I could really relate to all your Argentinian stories in your book cause my mother and I were born in Uruguay and my Father was born in Buenos Aires.

    PS2 Tranquilo 🙂

  54. I am now almost 3 weeks into this experiment on myself. I’ve never not eaten grains before. I usually eat a lot of brown rice, quinoa, couscous, pasta, and good breads; so it has been interesting. All good quality stuff, though.

    My digestion has improved. I don’t have the gas pains and bloating in the evening that I used to always get. I poop a little bit better. The eczema on my hands is getting better with this diet too. And, I make some awesome soups now that provide 4-5 gluten free meals!

    I have always loved beer and have had a few during my experiment and now it kind of hurts my stomach, so I’m resisting. That part really sucks, though.

    The article mentioned that this diet helps depressed people. Well, I have never been as depressed as I am now on this diet. The reasons really have nothing to do with eating this way, but maybe this major change makes everything come to a head.

    I have lost almost 10 pounds, but I didn’t need to (160 to 152). I can’t afford to go to the gym now, and I think this way of eating is alot better when you work out alot. He also said you’ll be less hungry; I’m still always hungry and meat is more expensive than brown rice & quinoa.

    Sometimes I just feel weird. My eyes are drawn and they have bags sometimes. Could this be my body consuming muscle?

    Anyway, it is an interesting experiment to do on myself and I’ll compare results when I go back to a normal diet.

  55. I’d love to agree with you here Sue, I really would, but this is small picture thinking. Weve almost fished out (and thus destroyed) the oceans, the meat and dairy industry is poisoning the environment at an unfathomable rate, and if we carry on like we are we will inevitably destroy ourselves as well as the 1000’s of other species were driving to extinction.

    Eating whatever makes someone feel best may be a mcdonalds. It’s in the same category as ‘I care about myself and F everybody else’ mentality

    A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.

    —Leo Tolstoy

    Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.

    —Sri Aurobindo

    If you visit the killing floor of a slaughterhouse, it will brand your soul for life.

    —Howard Lyman

    Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.

    – Dr. Albert Schweitzer

    I have little hope for us as a race, but if we are to survive the first step requires a more moral stance on living, and this includes diet.For this change to happen people need to stand up for what is right and just, regardless of what is considered popular or ‘normal’, something the majority of our species is not good at.

  56. In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.

    —Ruth Harrison, author of Animal Machines

  57. I doubt a McDonalds will make someone feel best – I was referring to raw, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, low-fat, high-carb.

    I don’t agree with your philosophy.

  58. @ Ste,

    I can honestly say, I’ll probably never totally agree with you. But I do think this discussion between you and Sue is missing a couple of things.

    First, High protein is relative. How do you quantify it? Is it the person that eats 3000 calories per day of quality foods (veggies, fruit, and meat), or is it the typcial old rancher type diet that involved fried eggs and bacon for breakfast and a freakin 16oz Tbone for dinner? Presently I’m on a high protein diet right now and my protein sources are primarily fish. But I also only consume about 1400 to 1500 calories per day while leaning my body down. The 2000 calorie diet is an outdated concept(from before most people were office workers) and let’s face it, the average American probably gets 1500 calories in a regular meal because they’re eating fast food. 3500-4000 is probably a safe guess. Admittedly its a guestimate, but look at the number of overweight people. What do they subsist on? Junk carbs, fatty processed foods, and soft drinks.

    For the time being I’ve cut out beef and if I never see another egg again, it’ll be too soon. When I do buy beef, I get organic grass fed beef from a local supplier. Its ethically treated. One question I have though, is what’s worse, the raising of beef or the running of the chemical food manufacturing? You can’t convince there isn’t stuff being dumped that shouldn’t be. I mean they use stuff that people shouldn’t even eat. How good can the by products be for the environment?

    Second, far more important than the over-fishing and cattle production, is the De facto path of breeding. More mouths, means more consumption. That’s the ultimate problem and is well on its way to being our ultimate undoing. We are raised to go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, and raise them to repeat the process. And that is going to have to change ultimately or we’ll run out of useful land even for veggie farming.

  59. Dr Green,

    I am a registered nurse and nutritionist (degree).

    One thing about being a nutritionist is that try to find a way with diet to make your clients well. I recently got a small group of clients to try Paleo eating, they were already eating well along standard healthy pyramid guidelines and healthy food choices. I had them try paleo eating. As a nutritionist – a lot of what we learn is nutrition biochemistry – in this context paleo theory makes absolute biochemical sense, which is what drew me to it.

    However just because it worked for me and thousands of others, I wanted first hand proof amongst my own already healthy eating clients, some of whom continued to have health problems, such as joint inflammation, weight that wouldn’t shift, gut issues like bloating, skin problems like rocacea, and mildly elevated blood pressure.

    After 6 weeks, all had weight loss of 1 – 6kg, loss of abdominal fat, 1 – 8 cm, all clients who had high BP approx 135/90 returned to 110 – 120 / 70 – 80.

    Skin improved, energy levels typically went from 5-7 up to 8-9 /10.

    Gut issues disappeared, and startlingly – all those with joint problems had a huge improvement.

    Like Robb, I get daily feedback from people thrilled with the benefits of changing their diet to paleo eating. One of them my own mother who informed me her bladder spasm and urgency disappeared (weird but true).

    And all without drugs and their side effects.

  60. Hey Cameron

    ”First, High protein is relative. How do you quantify it?”

    Its proportionate to the total calories involved. Anything over 10% isn’t doing you any good (if your starving yourself then thats not healthy anyway so high or low protein is irrelevant). The time in our lives when we need to most protein is the first couple of years of life when we go through a massive growth phase, and breast milk is around 6% protein. William Rose put forward the daily recommendations by looking at the maximum a test group needed for each of the 8 essential animo acids and putting together a figure which he then doubled to offer a ‘margin of safety’.

    Bodybuilding is of course (what your average gym goer does) is a seperate issue which has no place in a health discussion in my opinion. Although there have been one or two who have adopted an 80 10 10 diet.

    ”Second, far more important than the over-fishing and cattle production, is the De facto path of breeding. More mouths, means more consumption”

    The importance is relative. People don’t make any effort to become even a little self sustaining – which is understandable because practically no one knows about these issues in detail. Those who do turn a blind eye and hope for the best – just like people who say they like animals and then eat them for dinner.

    People are already starving all over the world, and at the moment there is enough food to feed everyone plus. When we in the west start to struggle for food then perhaps we’ll start to care a little more. Sustainable farming of course has its limits – and we can’t simply keep adding to our numbers forever. For the mean time, there is plenty of land, even though a lot of its depleted.

    ”When I do buy beef, I get organic grass fed beef from a local supplier. Its ethically treated. One question I have though, is what’s worse, the raising of beef or the running of the chemical food manufacturing? You can’t convince there isn’t stuff being dumped that shouldn’t be.”

    Of course theres stuff being dumped that there shouldn’t be, and this goes for everything, every chemical people use in their home, the pharmaceuticals people use, the ridiculous amount of garbage that food packaging brings, any industry that uses chemicals etc. All the pesticides, herbicides, and anything that ends in ‘cide’ etc etc etc etc. The current factory farming situation appears to be worse – as it eats 90% of the grains, drinks 50% of the water and pollutes the other 50%. I’m not immune to this – i still use washing powder, toilet roll and soap (although I’d estimate these things all last me about 5 times the length on the average person). The point in minimising it all. The grass fed organic beef is a hell of a lot better and at least while they’re alive they have a reasonable life. There’s no ethical way to kill an animal though

    As for the average westerner yes they exist on garbage, but this doesn’t make low carb healthy.


    McDonalds etc is addictive (literally, it contains a variety of excitochemicals) and emotionally satisfying to those who are used to such foods. People don’t eat this junk because it makes them feel crap. I kind of figured you don’t agree with my philosophy. Perhaps if you watch ‘Earthlings’ or killed and butchered your own food you may


    I think most people are familiar with Denise Mingers work, and there are debunkings of this (more than one). Also bare in mind that she doesn’t advise people to change her diet based on her work, and she hasn’t submitted to peer review. Also if you at her conclusions she offers no evidence that meat is actually healthy, she just try’s to divert the blame. The other critics generally belong to the Weston Price foundation which are themselves laughable. The China Study and the various studies within are just a small piece of the overall research.

    Again people with cholesterol below 150 don’t have heart attacks. 25% occur with a count between 150-200. The numbers are quite clear.

    Also, the biochemistry issues a side – because this diet isn’t biologically sound and its unbelievable to me that people put forward that it is – the same benefits your patients recieved would be the same if not better on a low fat raw vegan diet. Pretty much anythings better than the standard american/western diet.

  61. Julianne, I am a naturopath and concerned with improving health. If people have been following a “healthy diet” and still have symptoms trying the gluten-free, grain-free is warranted. The post from Robb is about improving your health not the environment. Our health is very important too! What others think about this type of diet isn’t really important – if you see results – symptoms disappear then its working.

  62. Ste, if I had to kill my own food I would. We kept chickens and I watched mum cut their heads off. Also, my parents grew up growing their own vegetables, raising animals and then killing them for food. When on holidays to the “old country”, I watched family members kill a sheep and then skin it.

    If removing grain didn’t help with symptoms I would go a step further and cut out meat or whatever but I wouldn’t go to the extreme of low-fat vegan diet if I didn’t have to. Plus I don’t think its healthy but if others preferred this way and thrived on it then thats okay.

  63. I had to also say if people thrived on low-fat vegan diet I would in the back of my mind be thinking – maybe they are cheating and eating the occasional animal product.

  64. @ste

    Why do people with cholesterol below 150 not have heart attacks? Probably some other reason besides the cholesterol. I mean, the number of people in the population with cholesterol below 150 is tiny, of course there are not many heart attacks. You believing getting your cholesterol there prevents heart attacks has no more logic to it than saying if there are no police visible in a neighborhood then there is no crime.

    Also, people are starving all over the world because of industrial agriculture. To keep on down the road of more, and bigger agriculture probably won’t solve the problem, it will just make it bigger.

    As far as protein goes, babies don’t need to eat a lot of it because they have fat and lactose to use for energy. A lot of the protein we eat is probably converted into glucose, and done so in a way that does not spike our blood sugar. Speaking of which, making arguments from breast milk seems a little hypocritical given that a majority of the energy comes from fat. You can’t say human breast milk shows us we should eat less protein and ignore that it also ‘shows’ us we should eat more fat.

    Also, about the China Study. Is that all you have to say, she hasn’t submitted to peer review? What the hell do you think the internet is? She published it on the internet. You’re free to pick it apart as you see fit. And if you think that the critique has been seriously answered, you’re seriously deluded, and nothing I say is going to change your mind. At the least her critique conclusively showed that the China Study book that Dr. Campbell wrote is an exercise in selective number crunching. Campbell’s response was a pathetic ad hominem mixed in with an argument from authority.

    is an interesting debate between Campbell and Cordain.

  65. Perhaps you should do the research instead of just making assumptions. From your posts its clear that .

    Look at vegan athletes, look at Doug Grahams work (and who he’s worked with), look at plant based therapies and natural hygiene, and perhaps try and improve your EQ too. The reason you think people would cheat on these diets is because you can’t understand my ethical stance on living. There are a great deal of people who thrive on these diets and you can find a great many of them at

    As for meat, your talking about short term relief of immediate symptoms, not health or longevity. A placebo can relieve symptoms, it doesn’t mean your suddenly healthy. You havent done the research – there is always more to learn when it comes to nutrition, its never done. and you never know all there is to know

    Perhaps you could try and tell me what animal products actually offer for human health: What benefits would I get through eating animals?

  66. lol yeah were all really really really unhealthy over there. Really fat, unathletic unethical people. Probably all die of heart attacks in a couple of years. Your right, fruit and veg?? What am I thinking?? Lmao….

    Better meat myself up, makesure I get all that really ‘good quality’ protein and cholesterol that the body so badly needs for optimum function. All carbs are of course the same and really bad for you and its much better to eat fat and protein instead of carbohydrates even though it stimulates far greater insulin spikes, so that the body is forced to convert all this rubbish into glucose.

    Your right Jared, its obvious that cholesterol plays no role in heart disease. I’ll just forget that all the leading health authorities, and those with the best rates of reversing and curing heart disease all put it as culprit number one and cure by putting patients on a zero dietary cholesterol diet. I’ll also forget that during heart surgery they literally remove built up plaque from the arteries.

    I guarantee the majority of people on that forum are well informed. If anyone thinks this is an easy decision to make, and an easy diet to follow in today’s world your gravely mistaken. So far no has offered me any information on the health benefits of eating meat, and let me ask you this: If you were diagnosed with heart disease would you follow the eating plans of John McDougall, Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn and William C. Roberts, or would you follow the Paleo diet?

    And Jared, that study is recommending the reduction of LDL and overall cholesterol……

  67. @Miki

    Sorry I missed your reply to me

    I am indeed slim, and I don’t look like a bodybuilder, my build is much more similar to how you might picture a martial artists (I only do calistenic exercises, zero weight training, and ive only recently taken up serious training again), and if you want I can post a pic up somewhere of what I look like. Carbs don’t build muscle no, but diet alone doesn’t build muscle. I get around 50g of protein per day which is more than I need. These things are relevant, everything in the body runs off simple sugars, this is something that just occurs when exercising. When exercising, you need to eat more calories because your using more fuel. It makes zero sense to give your body more fat and protein that it needs, these are essential nutrients, not fuel.

    When it comes to building muscle, exercising is what stimulates muscle growth, you won’t become stronger without exercising, and true strength training doesn’t stimulate massive muscle growth. It is hard to gain bulky ineffective muscle on this diet, but it is indeed possible.

    I’m afraid like most you have lumped all carbohydrates into the same category and don’t really understand how the body uses them. There simply are no fat ‘low fat raw vegans’, and high carb -when fats are low, will stimulate weight loss. Fruits do not spike blood sugar and this is a proven cure for diabetes. Eating meat on the other hand has a dramatic effect on insulin production, and has been demonstrated to produce 27 more times than carbohydrates: –

    ”A study done by the dept of Biochemistry at the UNI of Sydney which has been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that beef actually raised insulin levels more than white pasta & that fish raised them more than whole-grain pasta….when compared with rises in glucose levels, beef raised insulin levels a whopping 27 times higher than brown rice…”

    Blood sugar issues arise from carbs when fat is involved, and hence you shouldn’t eat fruits and nuts together, or follow the ugenerally recommended 30% fat diet.

    Obesity isn’t the only issue here even though everyone seems to go about it like it is. The issue is longevity and there are no low carb centenarian populations. Read ‘Healthy at 100’, ‘The Blue Zones’ and other books on these populations, these are almost exclusively plant based cuisine cultures (and look at the mortality rates in those middle eastern countries). The Paleo diet will result in long term ramifications, in effect what your doing is exchanging one immediate set of problems for another. Human anatomy, physiology and biochemistry doesn’t support high meat consumption, and we have aquired 8 new genes which help us process meat slightly more efficiently from back in the days of our undoubtably frugivorous ancestor 3 million years or so ago, hardly an adaptation which can be used to classify us as an omnivore. The only long term low carb studies are Atkins based do not give the paleo eater good news.

    You can look up the Pritikin, Gerson, Hoxsey and Hippocrates therapies, and Natural Hygiene for more info.

    1. OK, guys. I”m going to cut these comments short soon. Calling people stupid, etc. is against comment rules.

      Be civil or I’ll just delete your stuff. Consider yourselves warned.


  68. @Jared

    The fact that if you remove dietary cholesterol from your diet, your body produces the optimum amount it needs and people who follow plant based diets don’t have heart attacks. Your argument and plain lack of logic is ridiculous. The number of people within the population that have this cholesterol count is indeed low, and heart disease is the number one killer. You don’t think these go hand in hand?? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Perhaps you should actually research what logic is before making such a plain ridiculous statement.

    Show me the low fat plant based cultures that are dying of heart attacks please.

    90% of industrial agriculture is fed to animals. The world is starving because of greed and for no other reason. The amount of waste in the west is just unbelieveable.

    Protein is not an effective energy source, you not seriously advocating that ketosis is good are you? Babies require higher levels of protein because this is the most rapid growth phase in our life. The argument itself was used to illustrate protein requirements. No animal consumes milk beyond infancy. You don’t see grown cows eating high fat, or any primate consuming high fat diets.

    Again her critique is pathetic, and how you can possibly suggest that ‘the internet’ is the same as peer review is just absolutely stupid. Yeah real good science there, lots of people not wanting to hear that meat is bad for them just agree with someone else who says it isn’t. Peer review is a scientific process, one she has not lived up to, and there have been scientific debunkings of Denises claims, including the fact that she only takes into account one of the two data collections from the China Study and offers no correlation for the positive effects of meat on health. Campbell has no reason to selectively crunch numbers, and the research from the China Study itself is backed up by countless other studies which you arent taking into account. You seriously need to branch out your reading. You my friend are deluded. Your in a place where you don’t challenge your own world views or look at the big picture. You think its easy being vegan? Ive come from a place where I ate animals 3 times a day. You need to seriously consider the reasons so many take plant based diets seriously – including the ethical side of this debate, and the long term implications. Show me the healthy old aged low carber, I’ll show you plently of long lived plant eaters

  69. @Ste

    Agriculture is destroying more ecosystems, draining more rivers and depleting more fish populations, displacing more animals, poisoning exponentially more soil, and destroying more forests and wetlands all over the world than “killing animals for food.” Modern agriculture also means the consumption of tons and tons of fossil fuel. Grain cartels are destroying local economies and putting small (perennial, pasture, etc.) farmers out of business.

    Yes grain-fed animals are only accelerating this destruction–that’s why its important to buy only grass-fed, organic, local animal products.

    If you want actual numbers and an explanation of the above, I highly recommend Lierre Keith’s book, The Vegetarian Myth. Here are some excerpts:

    “Rich pastures of perennial grasses died, so that some 20,000 head of cattle had to move away. Fish yields fell by 90%”

    “We are out of topsoil, out of water, out of species, and out of space in the atmosphere for the carbon we can’t seem to stop burning.”

    “Deserts and dead zones are the end point of an agriculture of annuals with no animals.”

    “Animals were taken off their native food, out of their natural life patterns, because they weren’t needed on farms anymore [to fertilize the soil ever since 1947 when fertilizer started being produced from fossil fuel]. There ability to turn cellulose into protein [something humans can’t do] wasn’t an asset when corn could be grown so densely, so cheaply out of bare land and fossil fuel.”

    “…The result has been an unending river of corn, drowning our arteries and our insulin receptors, our rural communities, and poor subsistence economies the world over.”

    “This cycle of corporate control, oversupply, and dumping leads to the destruction of local subsistence economies. It ‘undermines the livelihoods of 70% of the world’s poorest people.’ This is hardly a solution to world hunger.”

    She thoroughly explains and supports these statements if you read her book.

  70. I am very curious as to what the effects on nixtamalization on corn would be wrt zein and other nasties, and whether such processes could be used on other grains to make them safer for human consumption, assuming this research is accurate.

  71. @ste

    ste wrote: “Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage. —Sri Aurobindo”

    He’s right, but Sri Aurobindo stops short of TRUE respect for life and instead, adopts the all too common childish anthropomorphic rationale that informs (or misinforms) the positions and justifications of many

    vegatarian/vegans. i.e. “I don’t want to eat anything with a face!”.

    I choose to go further than this and would say:

    “Life is life – whether in a cat, dog, man, oak tree or apple.”

    All forms of life are incredible to me. But we are all, eventually, someone’s (or something’s) dinner.

    There was a time when most Europeans thought that indigenous peoples had no soul, and in fact were no better than animals. (and indigenous people often thought the same ridiculous notion of the Europeans).

    Then we learnt better.

    But we still thought animals had no souls, and felt no ‘true’ pain.

    Then we learnt better.

    But we still thought plants felt no pain – had no ‘life force’.

    And we learnt that even this was untrue, as plants have been shown to feel a form of pain and shock – but most – especially vegetarians and vegans – ignore this because what would we eat if we regarded the life of plants as sacred too? After all, they have a drive to survive and prosper don’t they?

    Should the hypocritical vegans not weep for the baby carrot, it’s life cut short before it even had a chance to thrive? 😉

    This greatly informs my position, which is to eat everything, as we always have, but try to do it as ethically as we can.

    Food (pun intended) for thought? 😉

  72. lectin? most plants we eat have lectin, not just grains. that avocado you recommend is one of the more heat resistant lectin producing fruits! ever wonder why carrots or avocado can make your mouth itch?

    you can’t get away from toxins, they’re in everything (i’m talking about natural toxins). focusing on a single lectin group and saying ‘stay away’ as if that will cure everything is very uninspired. robb’s recommended diet is just shifting the lectin intake to other foods. hardly revolutionary.

    perhaps actually understanding the actual problem is the answer: FOOD PREPARATION. understanding that ALL food is toxic in some form (really, they’re drugs) and that the only way to nullify those toxins is it’s correct preparation is the TRUE way to optimal health. proper soaking, fermentation, and heating of most grains/legumes will eliminate lectins, phytic acid, and anti-nutrients. cooking certain vegetables for certain periods of time does the same. the auto-immune diseases omni-present in modern times are a result of modern manufacturing ignoring the above favoring economics, not because ‘grains are bad’. ridiculous.

    our ancestors spent 10’s of thousands of years researching, testing, understanding food preparation and have left us an enormous body of knowledge to safely remove the toxicity present in ALL foods. yet somehow, we should look to some insanely speculative ideas about the dietary habits of our ancestors 100k years ago to guide us? suggestion to robb and all the ‘paleo’ followers: our very recent ‘pre-modern’ history has much more to share than your mental masturbations about the past. although, they might not sell as many books…

  73. Ste said:

    “let me ask you this: If you were diagnosed with heart disease would you follow the eating plans of John McDougall, Dean Ornish, Caldwell Esselstyn and William C. Roberts, or would you follow the Paleo diet?”

    A: The Paleo diet of course.

  74. @ste STE stated “…the leading health authorities, and those with the best rates of reversing and curing heart disease …. cure by putting patients on a zero dietary cholesterol diet”

    Someone who reads as much as you STE should be WELL aware that dietary cholesterol is not really an issue and the cholesterol scare that gave eggs a bad reputation was a farce. I first learnt in 2002 that you don’t ‘get’ high cholesterol by consuming cholesterol but suspected this for many years before.

    CAVEAT: Unless it’s OXIDISED).

    This is a great example (and we’ve all made it) of people, the media, nutritionists, dieticians (and those with dodgy, hate-mongering agendas like PETA) referring to research that has l-o-n-g been debunked. The study all this ‘eggs iz evil!’ rubbish was based on was done 60 years ago, and they used powdered egg yolks (i.e. OXIDISED cholesterol).

    Hundreds of similar tests conducted with raw and cooked eggs have given eggs the all-clear. The current scientific thinking says: If you cook eggs properly or in the shell, you’re fine. I eat almost 2 a day and my cholesterol is spot on. Were there times when my cholesterol went UP? Yep. When I ate less meat and more starch. (but that’s just me).

    (PS: The internet’s full of references)



  75. @Madeleine Fulton

    I own the Vegetarian Myth. The fact that 90% of agriculture is fed to animals means that animals and agriculture go hand in hand, and the whole ethics of the current state of the food industry is obismal as your no doubt aware. The animal pollution is causing catastrophic damage, AND 50% of the fresh water in america is given to them. Personally I don’t believe this book to be very well researched and author doesn’t really understand nutrition.

    Also, you can find different numbers for all this stuff all over the net, some vegan favourable, some pasture fed meat favorable, and I really have no idea whom to believe, but I’m more inclinded to believe the vegan statistics simply because they are generally correct and are produced by people who have nothing to gain. By the way, the diet she followed I certainly do not recommend. Not all vegan/vegetarian diets are healthy, and I wouldn’t advise the consumption of any soy whats so ever.

    If you do eat grass fed free range organic animals then at least this is a step in the right direction. This ‘grass fed’ society however is not sustainable given the current dietary trends, and the land use is still not as efficient as growing fruit and veg (and also roots, tubers and nuts). Also, bear in mind that the price of meat would sky rocket in such a society.


    Well lets look at the animal facts subjectively and actually include the EQ implications of killing animals – and bare in mind that I have heard all these arguments before.

    As humans we have the ability to empathise with animals as they express emotions, and literally scream with terror. It has a highly stimulating emotional affect. The animals you eat have a limbic system and thus experience pain, stress, fear, sadness etc just like we do. Triune Brain Theory – the mammalian/emotional brain, this is what makes them similar to us, and thus a much higher form of life, capable of much more complex feelings. Eat bugs if you simply must consume animals, they at least can’t feel pain, have a much shorter life span, and you’ll get everything meat gives you from them.

    Basically, not feeling anything when killing animals is low on the EQ totem pole, just above sociopath. It’s a heart wrenching experience taking the life of a mammal for the emotionally intelligent simply because of the highly developed levels of empathy and compassion that person feels. The people who kill animals for a living live in the highest violent crime related area’s and its simply basic psychology and is associated with a great many neurotic and egocentric tendencies. Psychology, philosophy and spirituality all support this. Most know it’s implications in children…. This isn’t something that changes as we grow older.

    “The most important part of vegetarianism is the real shift in consciousness that takes place. There is a true correlation between our food choices and violence in the world. The only person who would disagree with that is a meat-eater”

    – Peter Burwash, Davis Cup Winner.

    Try and develop your EQ while killing your own food. It’s not possible. The very nature of such an act prohibits it’s proper development. Survival circumstances are different, i.e. when your choosing between your own life or that of another creature in which case the reptilian/survival drive dominates one’s thinking. There’s no need for the eating of animals in today’s world. The research doesn’t support that it’s healthy, its a leading cause of environmental destruction and it has a negative impact on our race’s emotional intelligence. Did you read all the other quotes too? Basically your philosophy may aswell extend to eating humans, or ‘growing’ humans for slavery purposes. It disregards the psychological implications and implies that all suffering is equal and thus I better act in my own best interest. No one eats oak tree’s either! There is a plain difference between conscious emotional life that is capable of love and joy, and non-conscious life that does not rationally make its own decisions, but instead follows pre-set instructions (the consciousness debate is far too tricky to get into here, and this replies dragging on long enough). I will respond to any points you have to make which contradict my claims.

    Also, the fact that we are the only animal that can empathise with our food should also tell you something you should consider. The tiger does not feel for the deer. The deer does not feel for the grass. You cannot empathise with or get emotionally aroused (I of course don’t mean sexually) by a carrot (and I personally don’t eat em because of their high cellulose content), and to imply that they suffer just as much as an animal does is your own justification for your eating habits and is not based on science. This vegan and plant argument is in my opinion, naive. Pain is subjective, what is classed as pain for a plant is literally just a word which best attributes our own emotion on to them for a state in which we percieve as being similar to systems reaction. Life is irritable, it reacts to the environment. Cut a dogs leg off and cut a plants flowers off – there is of course a massive difference, including the fact that the plant can grow back. Currently my food stock includes banana’s, dates, papaya’s, melons, sweet potato, pineapples and pears. Not much suffering involved here my friend 😉

    You don’t actually have to kill all plants to eat them, and they aren’t equipped to feel ’emotions’ or pain. Also bear in mind that a great many plants are literally designed to eaten for aid in reproductive purposes. Out of curiosity, just how much do you think plants suffer?

    As for cholesterol, not all people are affected by high dietary cholesterol, just most. This is genetic, and you are like myself in that respect (I always had low cholesterol, even in my bodybuilding (standard gym weighlifting) days), and is also the reason why not everyone dies of heart disease – they also die of cancer and the other major killers (for the most part). You can’t rule out this I’m afraid. The research is quite clear and always has been, its not just this egg study. What do you think the plaque is made up of? Its made primarily of cholesterol and calcium, and high fat diets thicken the blood which is also a contributor (unless its high in omega 3 which is a natural blood thinner, and hence the eskimo’s arteries didn’t block up – but they still died around age 60 of debilitating diseases from there horrendously unhealthy diet). Again, the people with the most success reversing heart disease all put it down to zero cholesterol plant based diets, and they all accuse cholesterol as being culprit number one. The science outweights cholesterol not being a factor. People who eat lots of animals, die younger, and generally do not die well. People who don’t have cholesterol in their diet don’t get heart disease. Meat consumption also messes with your hormones and by itself could stimulate the liver to produce more cholesterol that it actually needs to.

    One thing I have heard about eggs is that if they’re raw then the cholesterol can’t bind and is passed out through the system. Something I haven’t verified and had forgot until now. I highly recommend that don’t consume your actual ‘meat’ raw, and if your eating raw eggs, then makesure they’re free range and organic. I’m not actually against freerange organic egg consumption providing the animals are well taken care of – and providing people don’t eat anything but minute amounts of them.


    Considering your a health practioner thats quite a frightening statement. Your rejecting a proven medical system with a truly astounding success rate, for a completely untested and unproven one which goes against these very systems and the practioners that use them. You really should think about this as from your statement I would guess that you would no doubt recommend your patients to follow a similar treatment and this is simply irresponsible. (If I’m wrong then I apologise for the accusation).


    We don’t have the correct jaw structure of teeth (our jaws are perfect for grinding plants, not in anyway are they good for eating and tearing raw meat). Our stomach acid is ph4-5, an omnivores is ph1, the digestive tract is way too long and we requires a great deal of soluble fibre for optimum function, and the reason people smell on these diets is because the food is not being fully digested or quickly removed from the system (like fibrous fruits and veg are). We don’t salivate when we see cows or pigs, and quite the opposite for animals such as deer etc that we find naturally beautiful. Unless we get exposed to killing and eating the raw insides of an animal (because muscle tissue is always last choice in the wild) we find it grotesque, and quite rightly so because eating the intestines etc is something our body is not equipped to deal with raw. Everything about us supports fruit and certain veges (not all) including our eyesight and psychology as well as our physical body, which can be eaten live and raw. Everything else should be considered a condiment. Tropical fruit is natures perfect food. Other fruits are still ok, and certain veg also provides a lot of good stuff and is easily digested. Our physiology is that of a frugivore, and is extremely similar to other frugivorous primates, who unsurprisingly thrive off fruit. The longevity statistics speak for themselves.

    The only changes our body has made with regards to our digestive system since of frugivorous ancestory are 8 genes which apparently do give us some benefit that we wouldn’t have if they were not present (i.e. we would get more sick than it already makes us), weaker jaws and a slightly smaller digestive system – the latter two believed to be for freeing up energy for our brain. Eating meat no doubt helped us survive, but no one knows how much we ate and we’ve had absolutely no reason to evolve the ability to eat meat. Just because we have been eating it a long time doesn’t mean anything, one can ‘survive’ off the SAD diet for 70-80 years, we will never adapt to it. Meat makes insulin production go haywire, its highly acidic and leaches the bodies alkaline minerals, is laden with adrenalin and contains zero fibre. Hardly a food that our body is equipped to deal with in anything but minute amounts. If people really really have to eat meat, perhaps they should do so in the amounts of primate relatives do: eat approx 2-5% animals.

    But since you have a degree in biochemistry (sorry if you said your degree was in something else here), perhaps you can convince me all this incorrect?

  76. Interesting article and the comments have been as well.

    I came across the whole “paleo” thing after reading “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes. I found the low carb thesis interesting and started reviewing the references he cites (with 50 pages of notes and close to 70 of bibliography, it’s a monster). What seems clear to me from all this is that the science of modern day nutritional advice is much less settled than the media (or my doctor, for example) make it seem. It’s also interesting that the emphasis on a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet coincides rather uncomfortably with the spike in obesity and diabetes in the general population.

    For me, paleo is more of a variant on the low-carb diet. I’ve been following it for several weeks now, emphasizing mostly vegetables and grass fed (or at least hormone-free) meats and free range eggs. I’ve lost weight but, more importantly, I feel much better. I’m seeing my Dr. in a couple of weeks. We’ll see what the blood work shows.

    The oddest thing is that I no longer feel hungry in the same way. Hunger used to be a forceful driving feeling that overrode most anything else I was doing. Now it’s a much more gentle signal that says “Oh, and by the way, think about topping off the tank, would you?”

  77. Hi Tim,

    Just wanted to say…wow way to go.

    Very good article!!!

    All doctors are always very sceptical about allergies…since they do not see it as an illness. I have two daughters who both have food allergies. And i myself are doing gluten free…which I find very hard…but when I do eat gluten…I swell up like a baloon and I know i should not have done that.

    I did not know that whole gut damage thing….but now that I do I will not ever sneak a pizza slice again!!!

    I do hope you can convince other people that not all food given to us since birth and has had the ” healthy” sticker on it really isn’t healthy at all.

    I do would like to add that chicken is not really good for you also…unless you eat organic chicken. But chickenmeat is full of diseases that once you get them in your system there is no way to cure you. Antibiotics do not work on this disease and you could die from it.( Sorry do not know the name) Here in the Netherlands a few people have actually died from eating chicken and getting sick. Supermarkets are trying to convince everybody that it is completely safe to eat chicken. How stupid…money over peoples lives

    Have some turkey instead.

    Good luck on the book and with your ordercount!


  78. Very interesting stuff, Tim. I’m a type 1 diabetic since age 11. I’ve long wondered about the connection between celiac disease and type 1 diabetes. I will be re-reading what you’ve written here and doing some research.

    I know many diabetics who say they can’t go on a paleo or similar diet because of blood sugar issues but, I can tell you that I have followed it and lost about 35 pounds with it. My twin pregnancy through me off of my routine and my daughter is very allergic to eggs so we’ve given up that truly versatile food and have been busy figuring out what other foods we can afford to eat in place of it. Anyway I’m back on and feeling so much better-and I know diabetics benefit from this diet because I do and I know my blood sugars are much more easily controlled by shunning basically…anything white.

    I have a question, have you heard about the Metabolic Typing Diet? If so, what do you think about it? I’ve had a lot of luck finding out that I’m a “carb type”. I know my husband has done much better knowing he is a “protein type”. For example, I’ll eat tilapia, he’ll have salmon. We don’t feel well switching that menu the other way around. The Metabolic Typing Diet reminds me of the Paleo diet in that it takes into consideration the way our ancestors have ate for many many years.

  79. @Ste

    Thanks for your reply.

    Did you actually read the research or did you use the same wordings by Dr. John McDougall?

    If you haven’t read the publication, I suggest you do and specifically read page 9 of that article (, where it says “Six test foods (chocolate chip cookies, eggs, cheese, beef, fish, and Honeysmacks cereal) were not included in this analysis because GI values were not available.”

    It also says there that insulin values were divided by glucose values….now, obviously, when you have some insulin values and nearly no glucose values (–> 0) the result is very high, and then you say “wow, the increase in insulin is much higher for this group of food”, which is only statistics. This is all statistics.

    You need to look at these things from an absolute point of view (to use an analogy, driving on the freeway doing 110, while all the rest are doing 55, means you’re doing 55 relative to the rest… try selling that to a policeman).

    And just to clarify a point you made on muscle growth, you’re right about exercising will stimulate growth, but without the protein, you’re actually damaging your muscles. Lifting weights generates microscopic tears in your muscles to stimulate the growth, which will happen at recovery. Without protein at recovery, your muscles are only going to repair themselves to what they were before, without the growth and without an increase in strength.

  80. I would like to make a comment to JIMMY about his attitude towards gluten and having this book be a pointless read. Ever so simply, you choose what you eat. Have all the gluten in the world, but this is just simply educating an audience of knowledgeable consumers. A LOT of people, like my mother for instance, have been seeing every kind of doctor for unsolvable digestive ailments for the past 3 years. It was not until she removed gluten from her diet that she was able to get relief in MANY WAYS.

    There are healthier versions of meats, as long as they are fed appropriately for what their body will sustain and not make them over-fat and inflamed/sick. If it is important to you to actually remove the factors that may lead to an array of health issues, it would be good to heed these warnings.

    Just saying.

  81. Sorry if I missed an answer to this BUT….


    I do not eat flour or sugar and feel really good using this


  82. Interesting article, but I’m not sure if all this is accurate, I agree that grains can contain a lot of unhealthy stuff but many thousands of years ago we discovered something called cooking. There’s an interesting documentary about that called “Did cooking make us human?”

    Another thought… these paleo diets and weekly food plans look very healthy but anybody believe that during the paleolithic humans got 4 scheduled meals a day? c’mon, in those days we ate what we found and when we found it, many times we didn’t have what to eat for some days, reagarding vegetables and fruits we could only eat them seasonally. So, if somebody want to have a real paleolithic diet should take all these into consideration, why not starve for a couple of days, eat only one kind of fruit during its season, “hunt” some meat and eat all we can till they gone bad, that would be a real paleo diet 🙂

    Let me know your thoughts.

    Sorry for my English, it isn’t my primary language.

  83. Note – *I am going to try the paleo diet*

    Do I believe it’s going to make a difference? No… not at all.. SNAKE OIL in another form… Robb… put your money where your mouth is and found thorough, arms length studies in different parts of the world that to prove your point that Paleo cures diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and everything else you claim it solves.

    The stories typically go like this… here are a bunch of people with crappy lifestyles.. let’s put them on paleo… do you fell better? Answer: Yes… of course they do…paleo is a much better diet than the std american diet… want to feel better? try P90X…. that will also make you feel better.

    Your insistence that paleo is the only way to go… no other way is good… vegetarianism is bad…… your and your followers like Jared have an facist extremism for paleo is disturbing and brings out the doubters (you are using the same tactics as any salesman) … as many people have said… we are not all the same… optimal diets will be different for us…paleo will work for many people who do have symptoms that paleo can solve… definitely not everyone…..

    i have been veg for over a year now… *and* in amazing shape at 32… I always ate healthy… so let’s see if paleo makes a difference

    I do think eating meat is selfish… you kill because you like the taste… not because you have to… and that is the bottom line…

    I will try the diet… and write back…i may eat my words… i may be right

  84. I liked the fact that there is some science behind the claims. The mechanism of lectins was explained, their biological roles as well as what happens to them in the gut. At first glance, it seemed to make sense. However, after checking the facts, the story does not make sense anymore.

    It is true that proline inhibits some proteolytic enzymes. However, WGA lectin seems hardly a proline-rich protein, as the article claims. It has 212 amino acids, 5 of those being proline. If you digest it with trypsin, an enzyme that is inhibited by proline near the cleavage site, you end up with 13 fragments instead of 14 if there were no proline. Therefore, claiming that lectins are not broken down in the normal digestive process is false. This does not leave large intact proteins in the gut. And this is just the case of trypsin. There are many other enzymes in the digestive system. It has evolved for millenia and is quite adept at digesting proteins.

    WGA lectin is not a proline rich protein.

  85. Robb Wolf’s book is amazing, as is his web site/pod cast etc…

    I look and feel better after only 16 days of Paleo (no grains, sweeteners, dairy etc) than the last 4 months of dieting.

    I eat more calories and I am not hungry all the time.

    I can’t stop telling everyone I know about this and I have sent this blog link to all my friends and clients.

    I do enjoy the grumblings of some of the doctors on here. See, my dad is actually a pretty well known doc. He saves livee everyday, but I had to tell him to lay off the fruit- as it was driving his blood sugar too high. He has Type II Diabetes, and although he had lost a lot of weight, and gone :low carb” he started adding in more an more fruit (since fruit is “healthy”).

    I think fruit is by and large a candy bar that grows on a tree. But I know many of you “vegetarians” “vegans” and “doctors” will argue that.

    There is enough information about fructose that you can google it yourself. I have nothing to prove other than to say that I am gratfeul for the information that is out there. Oh, and I LOVE my dad, but he don’t know bleep about food/nutrition…. despite being a genious in so many other realms.