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:

Bran:

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.

Endosperm:

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.

Germ:

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.

Lectins:

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.

Celiac:

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.

Achtung!

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

Monday

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

Tuesday

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

Wednesday

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!

Thursday

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

Friday

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

Saturday

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

Sunday

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.

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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 500 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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1,395 Replies to “How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)”

  1. Just be careful…

    I tried low carb diet a few months ago. Consuming around 30-40g of carbs a day only. I was eating plenty of fresh vegetables, lots of meat/fish/poultry, and drinking lots of water.

    From second day on things started getting bad.

    After about 4 days on this diet I started getting exhausted by walking even 100m. After about a week or so, I was unable to walk even 100 feet without feeling faint and started having sharp pains in both of my kidneys.

    Eventually, when the pain got too much I stopped this and went back to regular diet.

    As soon as I started eating a little bread e.g. next day pain in my kidneys totally disappeared and it never came back.

    Not sure what the problem was!

    Like I said I was drinking lots of water daily and eating fresh vegetables as well.

    Perhaps there’s no one single diet that works for everyone. We can only find out by trying it ourselves.

  2. Ste said:

    “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).”

    I would never recommend a diet that I didn’t think was healthy. The Paleo diet is extremely healthy – eggs, meat, fish, nuts and seeds, butter, olive oil, fruit and veg, no junk foods, no grains, no vegetable oils.

    I can’t recommend that someone follow Ornish or extremely low-fat, high carb diets.

  3. I’m finding it hard to stomach this idea. Grains have been staples in cultures for thousands of years. I would think we have developed many ways to digest these kinds of foods. Plus, through breeding specific strains of plants, we have created many kinds of grain that are edible and nutritious. Plants that adapted to be grown by us have an incentive to provide us with nutrition.

    I agree with some of the comments on here that this post does diminish the Tim Ferriss brand. If you were not paying close attention, it was difficult to notice that this post was not written by you, and instead by Robb.

    You are my favorite guinea pig, Tim. I eagerly await any personal case studies or data you have from trying this diet (as well as the new book!).

    Cheers, and happy living!

  4. @Miki

    @Miki

    I just quoted that off the website exactly as it was wrote. Thank you for the link, I’ll certainly get around to it, and thanks for pointing this out to me 🙂

    As for protein your no doubt correct, but who gets zero protein? I get more than enough protein and so will any fruitarian, and anyone following a high carb diet will automatically get enough (as long as their not living off pure sugar). The medical term for protein deficiency is starvation, and if this is the case, protein is the least of your worries. 5% protein is more than enough, anything more than you need has no beneficial effect and all the research says over 10% animal protein will have a negative effect. Strength training isn’t about mass, its about muscle contraction and the muscles will naturally enlarge at a normal rate (not the bulky heavy weighlifting rate) as your strength increases. No one has to worry about getting enough protein, just enough calories. Breakdancers, gymnasts, martial artists develop a natural muscular build. Bodybuilders generally develop large bulky unfunctional muscles for visual purposes only, while neglecting the rotator cuffs, joints, spinal muscles, ligaments and tendons.

    @Fred

    ”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…”

    Just out of curiosity, how do you define selfishness? I don’t want to get into this ethics debate again because its too hard to hold a proper debate over this comment system.

    Lets rephrase your logic: –

    – I don’t think rape is selfish, you rape because you want sex, not because you have too, and that is the bottom line…

    – I don’t think stealing is selfish, you steal because you want whats not rightly yours to take, not because you have to, and that is the bottom line

    – I dont think eating the neighbours dog is selfish, you kill because you like the taste, not because you have to, and that is the bottom line…

    – I don’t think beating up a child is selfish, you beat them up because it makes you feel superior and powerful, not because you have too, and that is the bottom line…

    End of the day, killing in the name of gluttony is perhaps the best way I can think of to define selfishness. This all life is equal sounds good in theory, but the reality of the situation isn’t so easily swallowed. Tomorrow for dinner I could eat a big bag of banana’s OR a bag of kittens/puppies. After all, no difference here is there?

  5. Nice, your menues are healthy and also bring to weight loss.

    I would like to hear your stance on eating animals and vegeterians.

  6. @Gym girl

    A fruitarian diet is a proven cure for both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Low fat raw vegan will ensure that your father never suffers with diabetes related issues ever again. It’s clear that you don’t understand what happens inside the body to make such claims. Do the research yourself and don’t lump fructose, or corn fructose syrup in the same category as whole fresh ripe fruit. Also look up Doug Graham, and Robby Barbaro and read ”Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes: The Scientifically Proven System for Reversing Diabetes Without Drugs”. Fruit will not spike blood sugar on a low fat diet. So, read about those who do know about food/nutrition while also walking their talk. Your claims are false.

    @Sue

    Dean Ornish: Proven medical system, peer reviewed, replicated in practice, inline with the other leaders in the medical field, and other proven therapies such as Gerson, Hoxsey, Pritikin, Hippocrates. Diet very similar to that of high centanarian cultures.

    Robb Wolf: Hyped up new atkins, no long term studies, no long term followers, massive contradictory evidence – far more so than offered, goes against human anatomy, physiology and biochemisty.

    Fruit and veg = healthy.

    1. “Robb Wolf: Hyped up new atkins, no long term studies, no long term followers, massive contradictory evidence – far more so than offered, goes against human anatomy, physiology and biochemisty.”

      1, paleo is nothing like Atkins

      2, 100,000 years of long term followers

      3, absolutely no contradictory evidence except from A-Corn and Grain growers that keep telling you, on TV of all places, that HFCS is good for you.

      4, goes 100% with human anatomy,physiology AND biochemistry

  7. @ste

    You said “Fructose is metabalised in the liver”

    The current thinking seems to be that the liver turns fructose into fat more easily (and far more often) than it turns it into glucose. I need some back-up/further-info here, but what I recall is that Fructose (just like alcohol) is treated like a toxin by the body, and routed DIRECTLY to the liver (just like alcohol) where it’s turned into fat.

    In contrast, glucose can be metabolised up by every organ in the body.

    FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Anything routed ‘directly’ to the liver, is generally a toxin right? So we should think of fructose the same way.

    Earlier in this thread you spoke of the difficulty/silliness of making the body work hard to turn one thing into another – well the same goes for fructose surely?

    Fructose is NOT glucose. To remind folk here, sugar(sucrose) is fructose AND glucose together. The glucose is the good bit, the fructose is the not-so-good-bit.

    From my old notes on my laptop:

    “…Fructose increases fat production in the liver (denovo lipogenesis) which in turn increases blood fats like cholesterol and triglyceride. It also increases uric acid which in turn increases blood pressure and causes gout…”

    I’d like your thoughts on this.

    cheers,

    matt

    PS: 5% body fat? You need a feed STE! 🙂 If we were lost together in the post-nuclear wasteland, I’d survive a LOT longer without food than you! 😉 and this brings me to another point about vegies/vegans. My last vegetarian housemate ate me out of house and home. The poor, skinny wretch was exactly like our three chickens, eating CONSTANTLY to try and get enough good stuff to fuel his body and mind. I on the other hand, had a food bill that was a third of his (and I also created less waste – both household and body waste!) as I ate meat or fish two, maybe three times a week, and eggs most days.

  8. @ste

    You wrote: ‘… What do you think the plaque is made up of? Its made primarily of cholesterol and calcium…”

    I won’t get into reminding you that the cholesterol in the plaque is MADE by our bodies and NOT a foreign object (oops, I just did!) but I would ask you this:

    What do you think the brain is made up of?

    Yep, that’s right. Cholesterol and Saturated Fat.

    So, you see, some connections aren’t as clear as they may seem.

    It’s as silly as saying “Bob’s fat – and Bob ATE some fat – so THAT’S what caused it!” We all know this is poor logic.

  9. Hey Matt

    The current thinking doesn’t include whole ripe fruit, it just includes stand alone fructose, and the two are not the same. As your no doubt aware, when we eat there is a complex chemical reaction that we can’t actually decipher and food combinations/nutrient combinations all affect each other in ways we can’t measure. There are no studies which show that fruit consumption leads to fat gain. All the evidence is in fact to the contrary (and fruitarians are living proof). The body runs off carbohydrates which are easily converted into glucose, but where is glucose found in nature? Not all fats are the same, not all amino acids are the same, and these are not efficient fuel sources, where carbohydrate is much more easily and efficiently used – without the side effects ketosis brings. Glucose is also present in fruits don’t forget. The studies that suggest ‘fructose’ is bad don’t suggest fruit is bad. Fruit has never been shown to raise cholesterol or triglycerides, it certainly does not increase uric acid lol, and fruits don’t cause high blood pressure or gout. High fat on the other hand might just do that. As for only toxic stuff being sent to the liver, thats just an assumption you’ve made and has no scientific basis. The liver has a variety of other functions other than waste removal and carbohydrate conversion, including breaking down fats (are all fats thus poisons?), making non-essential amino acids, producing cholesterol, storing vitamins A, D, K and B12 (also toxins?), and producing urea.

    Calories are the best way to measure energy intake even though its not perfect. For me to consume 3000-4000 calories per day I do indeed have to eat a larger amount of food than the meat eater. Most people have a small stomach and simply can’t eat the volume that I can. It takes time to adapt. I eat 3-4 times per day.

    I’ve heard the nuclear wasteland argument before too lol. You know, if it comes to that I’d probably be better off dead anyway, you can go on as long as you can last. I’ll take my chances 😉

    As far as longevity goes, a low body fat percentage is a must. All long lived people are very lean people. Anything over 10% (I realise these 10% figures I keep throwing out there are sounding like 10% or above = bad, anything below is good, and its of course not as clear cut as that, its just the general guideline) ain’t doing you any good. As for waste, I pretty much use zero packaging except the odd plastic bag and water box, I use practically zero toilet paper because I just don’t need it, and all the rest is biodegradable. I still do use soap and other little bits and pieces, but my impact is quite minimal.

    The brain is roughly two thirds fat, primarily made of the omega 3 fatty acids (essential nutrients) Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Alpha linolenic acid (ALA), found in plant sources can be converted into these. Now, I am contradicting myself a little here, because the body has the ability to convert ALA into both DHA and EPA and its not as efficient, but its also not a costly energy consuming process. It’s also something the body can do without issues in a healthy person. Before we were talking about the primary fuel source of the entire body (including what the brain runs off: glucose) and converting a non-fuel source into carbohydrate, here were talking about converting a longer chain fat polyunsaturated fat into shorter chain polyunsaturated fats. Yes, it also contains cholesterol, but this isn’t an essential nutrient, and also bare in mind I never said cholesterol = bad, I said high cholesterol = bad. You can have too much of a good thing.

    Low fat plant based diets cure heart disease, and the body makes all the cholesterol it needs when given the correct nutrition. Its been demonstrated over and over and over by a variety of different therapies all back by clinical studies. I highly recommend you read Caldwell Esselstyn, Dean Ornish, John McDougall, John Furhman, Neal Bernard etc, and research the Gerson, Hoxsey, Hippocrates and Pritikin therapies, along with nature cure and natural hygiene. Just look at the results. No more heart disease! Ethically sound diets.

    Were going around in circles with the cholesterol debate. Dietary cholesterol will increase blood cholesterol. Not all things that are generally accepted are incorrect and not much literature supports it doesn’t get increased by dietary cholesterol (perhaps eggs uncooked or cooked a certain way won’t, but the paleo diet without a doubt will). But lets say your correct, and this isn’t the case. Will it offer any benefits or is just another waste substance like the other mass of harmful stuff in meat? More does not equal good.

    You have given me food for thought in a few different ways Matt, and I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

  10. I’ve read nearly 1/2 the comments now 🙂 I really enjoyed the article. Enjoyed it so much that I immediately went out and bought the book and read it in less than a week (big deal for me as I’m a not so well read code jockey). Funny thing is I couldn’t put it down and even stayed up late reading the Sleeping chapter. LOL

    At any rate, thanks for the post and the book. I think some people are getting the wrong picture, here. Just wanted to add my 2 cents. If you haven’t read the whole book then you don’t know the whole diet plan. It’s important you read the entire book and try the diet. I’ve been on it for nearly a month now eating fresh fruits, veggies, grass feed animals, and doing Crossfit 🙂 I feel great, not to mention I’ve met countless people on the same diet getting excellent results. Several have even been following the diet for years.

    To me the 1000 mile view of the Paleo diet, is to be cutting out the grains along with other processed foods. To shift to more truly organic unaltered un-processed foods that are time tested and undisputed, fundamental, pillars of nutrition. As with so many things in life, when you stick with the basics, aka the fundamentals, your bound to go the right direction.

    Read the book there is plenty of scientific backing and you can easily meet your bodies nutritional requirements from the proposed diet plan.

    Thanks again Tim and Robb!

  11. I’m reading it at the moment 🙂

    But bare in mind the diet plan up there speaks for itself and is just plain ridiculous so anyone who hasn’t read it knows all they need to know. I myself don’t critique others work without good reason and without being familiar with it, but others can evaluate the diet plan above without reading this book. Basically it emphasises the wrong end of the stick and it is certainly not ‘the original human diet’..

    It amuses me reading through the comments here that people are saying that high carb diets are responsible for obesity and diabetes etc as if there are a lot of people out there on a high carb regimen. Barely anyone follows a high carb diet, they all contain a massive 20-40%+ fat and like 15-20% protein..

  12. “Barely anyone follows a high carb diet, they all contain a massive 20-40%+ fat and like 15-20% protein..”

    I beg to differ. B: cereal, toast Snack: fruit Lunch: sandwich snack: fruit, vegie sticks, cake or muesli bar Dinner: meat and veg, or pasta dish or rice dish, plus a dessert

    Definitely high carb eating going on and probably high fat with low protein. Combination of high carb eating and high fat (excess calories) responsible for obesity and diabetes.

  13. @Sue “Combination of high carb eating and high fat (excess calories) responsible for obesity and diabetes.”

    Combination of high protein and high fat (EXCESS CALORIES)

    responsible for obesity and diabetes.

    Combination of high protein and high carb (EXCESS CALORIES)

    responsible for obesity and diabetes.

    You see something? All ppl are damning the evil carbs, that’s just ridiculous…

    It’s all about calories. You don’t have to eat the desert aka cheese cake (high fat and protein) for example, it’s up to YOU and not the guilt of the desert.

    If you eat too much you HAVE TO get fat! Period.

    So don’t say it’s only the carbs, there are no innocent calories of protein and fat.

  14. @Sue

    I suppose it depends on how we define ‘high carb’. 40-60% carbs is not high carb in my opinion. 80%+ is high carb.

    The average diet is typically 50c/30f/20p and this is ‘advised’ as being healthy by the leading health institutions (greed at work). Very few follow a truly high carb regimen, and most who do experience great results. I’d agree with you that a more even number between the fat and carb ratio (60/30/10 for example) are responsible for obesity and a contributor to diabetes, especially when including the processed junk food which seems to multiply the damage.

    @Matthk777 and Miki

    I tested my bodyfat again today and I’m now at 9.1% (average of two different readings both very close to 9%, one slightly under, one slightly over) so I’ve basically being lying – sorry! The last time I tested this was a couple of months ago. This is measured using Bioeletrical Impedance Analysis (body fat scales) and bare in mind that different body fat tests, and even different scales will yield different numbers. I suppose the point is that I’m a lean person. I shouldn’t have spouted off the 5% figure as I have done here without testing myself again. The point though is that its easy to become ripped following a healthy high carb plant based diet.

    Again, my apologies for basically lying. This number will drop once I take up proper cardio training again.

  15. Does chestnut bread work as a healthy alternative to wheat bread? Anyone have a good recipe? I’ve got loads of chestnut trees ready to be picked.

    Also, how safe is it to eat raw eggs from a small family farm? I’d prefer not to cook them if I don’t have to… it’s a pain to clean up, uses unnecessary energy, and probably reduces the nutritional value. Any advice?

  16. As someone with celiac disease, I have seen enormous improvement in my health as a result of a completely gluten-free diet. I’m completely compliant and fastidious in ensuring that my food is not contaminated. (There are people who “cheat” on the diet, which makes no sense to me, but there are different levels of sensitivity.) However, there is much information touting the evils of gluten but this information is entirely lacking in rigorous scientific evidence. It disturbs and frustrates me when I see people jumping on yet another cure all bandwagon. A gluten-free lifestyle, while improving as awareness increases, is a difficult one to negotiate. It’s not just the obvious breads and pastas that must be avoided. Gluten is added to an enormous number of products including some paper coffee filters and envelope glue. But I digress. I think that it’s important that people consult a physician prior to making a radical dietary change like this. I stopped eating gluten on my own and then to get the accurate diagnosis had to start eating it again for four weeks. Celiac disease is a genetically passed autoimmune disease and needs to be overseen by a DO or MD (in my opinion and experience). Seeing a nutritionist is a good idea as well.

    As for the comment about oatmeal–oatmeal itself is gluten-free but in the US most oats are grown in close proximity to wheat fields causing some levels of cross-pollination. In other words, when you get oats grown in the US, you’re getting oats that are cross-contaminated before the manufacturing process, You can, however, get oatmeal with oats sourced from Scotland where there aren’t wheat fields to contaminate.

    On alcohol–there are several decent gluten free beers: New Grist and Bard’s Tale. (Red Bridge is terrible as are some others. You can find some gluten-free beers in the UK but they aren’t get available stateside). Also, European studies have concluded that many liquors created from gluten containing grains can still be consumed by those with celiac or gluten sensitivity/allergies because the distillation process changes the chemical make up of the gluten. As someone who is highly sensitive to gluten, I’m able to drink scotch, vodka , whiskey (though I do stay away from rye whiskey) without issue. Sadly, since beer is brewed and not distilled, it will still make you sick.

    On other gluten free cooking–millet and flax breads are excellent; rice flour is great for batter if you want to do fried chicken or something; Pamela’s Bake Mix is a great substitute for all purpose flour; most health food stores carry gluten-free soy sauce; PF Changs has a fabulous gluten-free menu; most international food stores have bulk options for getting gluten-free grains and are much cheaper than health food stores; Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have gluten-free product lines.

    Hope this is helpful for some folks. If you’d like more information, you can contact me through my website: catshuler.com

    ~Cat

    1. Cat, I don’t think excluding gluten from your diet will have any negative consequences. So even if people are not celiacs they can still decide to go gluten-free on their own without consulting a health practitioner. They won’t be missing out on any nutrients if they are eating meat, fish, vegies, fruits, nuts and seeds.

      1. Thought I’d add this too after reading it in the comments section at Denise Minger’s site:

        Denise Minger:

        “If you’re interested in the wheat/disease/mortality links, Mark Hyman recently wrote a very good article on gluten:”

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/gluten-what-you-dont-know_b_379089.html

        “A recent large study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed, and “latent” celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer.

        This study looked at almost 30,00 patients from 1969 to 2008 and examined deaths in three groups: Those with full-blown celiac disease, those with inflammation of their intestine but not full-blown celiac disease, and those with latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity (elevated gluten antibodies but negative intestinal biopsy).

        The findings were dramatic. There was a 39 percent increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72 percent increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten, and 35 percent increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no celiac disease.

        This is ground-breaking research that proves you don’t have to have full-blown celiac disease with a positive intestinal biopsy (which is what conventional thinking tells us) to have serious health problems and complications–even death–from eating gluten.”

        http://rawfoodsos.com/2010/11/01/new-interview/#comments

  17. Like the post, agree with most of it. Grains are bad, period. Grains have only been in the human diet since the agricultural revolution (approximately 10,000 years ago). This means that for roughly 99% of human existence on planet earth we have not ate any type of grain. Considering that humans of today are pretty much genetically identical to humans of 100,000 years ago I think it is fair to say that we have done just fine without a high diet of grains, and thus high insulin and gluten (I would say it is a safe bet that there were not too many obese individuals 30,000 years ago).

    As for people complaining about the high amount of antibiotics, salmonella, mercury, and hormones you do have a valid point, all of these toxins/disease can greatly damage your health. The goal however, should be to get these foods without such toxins. There are plenty of organic farms that grow fruits and vegetables without fertilizers (they use manure), without pesticides, and any other chemicals that could be thrown on crops. I do agree that Americans eat WAY to much meat and WAY too much bad meat. As meat I am referring to poultry too (basically any animal). Humans should follow a Hunter Gatherer diet or more accurately a Scavenger Gatherer diet. Pre-agricultural humans gained most of their calories from plants. This included vegetables, fruits, berries, roots, etc. They would munch on insects and such throughout the day and get an occasional small kill (ex rabbit) and would on rare occasions get a large kill such as a deer. So yes, try to limit the meat while eating as much fruits and vegetables as you can. Also, the meat people do eat today is awful. If you take one thing from this article do not eat meat from factory farms, fish farms, etc. Beef should be grass fed, free range, raised without antibiotics and hormones. Chicken should be free range (they do eat insects so when companies advertise 100% vegetarian fed this is not ideal) and also raised without antibiotics. Fish should be wild, but be careful in overconsumption, unfortunately our waters are so polluted that many do have high amounts of mercury. As for salmonella simply cook your food (eggs) well. Healthy fats are good so do enjoy these. Lard, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. NO vegetable oil, canola oil, cotton seed oil!!! Mushrooms (fungus) are great to eat, also mix in a lot of nuts. I recommend almonds and walnuts. Note that peanuts are a legume not a nut. I’m not a dietician but if I had to recommend I would say 70-80% of calories from vegetables and fruits, 10-20% from meats (include fish, poultry), and 10-20% from healthy fats (which do also come straight from healthy meats as well as oils and nuts).

    As a side not eat local when possible. A large percentage of fossil fuel in this country is from transporting food (about 1,500 miles of travel to your plate). Another side, about 70% of antibiotics in this country is used in meat, which in turn gets into your body. This kills normal flora (healthy bacteria that reside in your body, bacteria outnumber cells in our body 10:1) and increases the amount of general toxicity in your body. Happy health everyone!!!

  18. i would love to try this. only problem is is that i’m vegetarian. so where all the chicken and other meat options are on the weekly plan i would normally put in a meat substitute. but….. most meat substitutes, like morning star or boca burgers are made out of gluten!!! so what should i eat???

  19. Great Robb…its amazingly good..me to had the such a big problem how to platen my tummy. I really follow those diet you had it might really of great help. I’d love to have your books on it. So that i can ease my eating habit cramping for sausages and fatty food!……Thanks Robb

  20. Robb:

    I just noticed the comment about spicy foods. Was wondering about them just the other day. How do they fit into all of this? Good or bad? I love spicy food but am tending to lean towards bad… Yesterday I ate a spicy meal then went to do Crossfit and could feel my entire body burning from the inside.

    Do you recommend avoiding spicy foods? Or just before workouts lol Where can I learn more on this topic?

    Thanks… I really enjoyed your book! Several of my friends have bought it since. It was really well written.

    Matt

  21. Since you are the authority, in my opinion, on all things food/health related, I had a question for you and didn’t know where to ask it. I have been drinking yerba matte, green tea, and ‘regular’ Lipton fresh brewed teas for a while now and I have been getting bad heart burn from them, particularly green and regular. I don’t get heartburn from anything else I eat or drink and I have caffeine in coffee regularly without negative side effects as well. I want the anti-oxidant and other health benefits, but the heartburn is kinda bad. I’ve googled the symptoms and the probable causes with little luck. Is this some kind of ‘getting used to it’ period as my body purges ‘the crap’, or am I allergic and should quit drinking the stuff? If that’s the case, what are other good sources of anti-oxidants?

  22. sooo…. tried the paleo diet for two days…. and I was sooooo hungry… sorry guys, my body needs more energy than paleo provides… like i said before, if you eat crap now… go for it… if you eat well… dont bother… you want to feel better… go to a gym, get a trainer and do strength training… or try a workout program like P90X… you’ll feel better

    I was telling others enthusiastically about the new diet I was going to try… interestingly I did get a blasting from someone who has celiacs… they said

    1) You can digest gluten so you don’t have a reason to stop…

    2) you should feel lucky because there are so many people who cannot eat gluten and suffer and i can eat it

    For those that haven’t read the news… journalists specifically said this one might upset paleo diet fans

    http://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=news&cd=2&ved=0CDIQqQIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.reuters.com%2Farticle%2FidUSTRE69H4FT20101018&ei=wHO_TJo4zZGfB7LrrYoO&usg=AFQjCNFZRvKM4xnSwNZxTNCwmZ-jg6h-hg

    Man has been eating ground up

    ‘New evidence found for flour in stone-age diet’

    Yes it’s different than our bread… point with this article is this… we have a very insignificant amount of information when it comes to prehistory. If you have notice… dates for everything keep getting pushed back… it’s completely expected that mankind’s flour making will date back further to 50 000 years (scientist quoted) and it wouldn’t surprise me if we went back even further to 100 000 years…. knowledge was passed around very slowly…. no interweb back then 😉

    @Ste

    If I am reading your point correctly… we were saying the same thing

    1. I feel the same way. Tried this “paleo diet” and I think is just a get rick quick scheme. I was soo hungry and that was not the worse part. I was really aggressive, I don’t know if it was the hunger or the meat (I ate wild fish & veggies) but everything&everybody annoyed me during the diet. Also, my energy levels went down, I was sleepy all the time. I’m back to my oatmeal & I feel great!

      Anyone felt similar during this mickey-mouse diet?

      1. Dana, you’re full of it. You think its just a get rich quick scheme – how idiotic. You were so hungry and aggressive – goodness it must be the wild fish!! Of course your energy levels will go down you are not relying on the sugar boost from carbohydrates. You need atleast a week to adjust.

      1. Dear Sue,

        I was on the frickin’ diet for a month! Also, just because someone does not agree with you, does not make them idiots. Only an idiot would think otherwise.

  23. Anyone have a place/book/site where I can learn more about what to look for when going to get a blood test to track this?

    This was a great read and very helpful as I’ve been (finally) making some powerful changes in what I eat.

    The next step seems to be more consistent tracking than just ‘how I feel’ so it would be great if Tim/Robb/Anyone might have some thoughts on specific markers to look at. (I read several hundred comments, but never managed to piece together a complete answer to this.)

    Thanks!

    1. Currently conventional scratch test have been in use for many years and are a good indicator of environmental allergies with the presence of the antibody IgE.

      For more complex food intolerance the ‘ELISA’ tests have recently been developed which detect the presence of the antibodies IgA and IgG. The response to an allergen triggers the release of histamine and other chemicals. This is available throug hyour MD. Alternatively people have had good assessments through their ND and ‘muscle testing’.

  24. Could somebody, just once, admit that not everyone will lose weight/fat on a Paleo diet? Please?

    Fat has not “melted” off me. I am still overweight. I workout. I eat Paleo, about 85%, admittedly. But even when I did it as close to 100% as possible I still only lost a few pounds. Literally, like 7-8 pounds in 4 months. Oh yes, and I still got sick when I encounter a virus or my allergies kick in.

    Everybody does not have the same experience, and if we do not, it DOES NOT mean we are doing anything wrong or that we are secretly cheating. Everybody has a different experience because EVERY BODY is different. Please, let’s admit this so the “guilting” can stop.

    The community should stop touting Paleo as the end-all for obesity and/or disease. It’s not, and making it sound as if it is is misleading, at best, and really no better than the crap that Jillian Michael’s and her ilk spew out.

    Paleo is a wonderful, healthy way to eat and the food is delicious. Some people may experience weight/fat loss and improved overall health. For me that’s good enough, and it’s honest.

    1. Check out metabolic testing. Also, there could be other reasons why you’re not losing weight, for example, sub-clinical hypothyroid, poor sleep, medication, insulin resistance, candida overgrowth.

  25. How long does it take for a comment to show up on this thread—or, if it’s taken more than 8 hours should I assume you have decided not to post it?

    If that’s the case I have to wonder why you would not allow my opinion to be presented. At tleast I spelled all the words right.

  26. This is such an eye-opener for me. Not all healthy looking food are really healthy. They just seem so. We just have to be mindful in everything in we eat and basically do a lot of exercises in our daily routine. Self-discipline is the word.

  27. I’m (predominantly) vegan — I *sometimes* eat dairy on my cheat day– and what I took away from this post was “no grains-no gluten.” There are hundreds of fruits and vegetables in the world so I wasn’t worry about what to eat. Moving on, I decided to try it for a month and see what happened. I’m 5’4″ and went from 114 to 110 lbs, eliminated digestion problems, and noticed a huge change in my energy level. I’m a convert and this plan is here to stay. Can’t wait to see my blood work which is scheduled in a month and I will report back. The grains/gluten I cut out were quinoa, chickpeas, lentils, homemade pasta and basmati rice. Though, I will eat these on my cheat day and have a negroni.

    For those vegis still curious about what to eat, a typical day for me goes something like this: 7.5-9 hours sleep, wake-up with warm glass of water followed by fresh juice (my favs are fresh squeezed orange or apple with ginger — you will need a fruit/veg juicer and/or hand citrus juicer), green tea, more water, whole fruit if I get hungry before lunch (whatever is in season), start lunch with a whole avocado salad, followed by cooked vegetables with olive oil or coconut oil and sea salt (something like sweet potatoes, onions and red peppers), after lunch go for a walk in the sun, more water (but not with meals), afternoon snack is more whole fruit followed by a handful of almonds, before dinner exercise/workout, dinner is cooked vegetables with olive oil or coconut oil with sea salt (something like kale, garlic and carrots), one glass of water after dinner, spend time with people I love and then off to bed.

    I really appreciated and agreed with Ravi’s post.

  28. Hello,

    A little over a year ago I became sensitive to sulfites (or so I have concluded). I have become so sensitive that even natural sources of sulfur give me issues (e.g. egg yolks, avocados, non-organic milk). On top of being extremely sensitive to most foods, I have acid reflux, asthma, and a nut allergy from childhood.

    Overall, my diet consists of many starches in rotation to avoid any change in sensitivity (oats, bread, rice, and potatoes). While it seems that some people have a problem losing weight, I find it difficult to maintain/gain weight.

    Where do you suggest I get my calories?

    *Also note that I am 24 years old and cook every meal, while living in South Korea.

  29. this oen is an eye-opener. Kudos for giving suggestions in losing weight because obesity is a modern weapon of mass destruction.Imagine how many people are now trying to stave off weight and suffering from debilitating illnesses stemming from their excessive weight.

    I know people will have a great interest in reading this article and it needs to be shared of.

  30. Pretty good article, question how about fiber? For the past 2 weeks I have been eating salads, vegetables and fruits and interesting enough I don’t get sleepy after I have dinner. Starting cross-fit in a week. Thanks and best regards

  31. Hi Tim!

    Thanx a lot for your valuable information sharing.

    I will go with that trial diet cause I want to loose a lot of weight for before belly dance compatiotion.

    Tim please advise, how can I faster my weight loss?

    And before I haven’t been eating about three weeks at all except water and tea with lemon. And now I have to fix my skin) What to do? BUT Guys I’m stupid that crushed myself by this because I’m perfectly gaining these 10 kilos again!!!!

    Better to keep diet than not to aet at all!

  32. Hi Tim,

    I’ve been thinking about this information from several different viewpoints.

    1. My QiGong teacher Zhu Xilin, once reminded me the importance of “noticing how each food I consume makes me feel” and not just the in the momentary mmmm….delicious kind of feeling or the sugar rush feeling, but the sustained energy kind of feeling. “If it feels bad,” Zhu said “don’t eat it.” “If it feels good and tonifying to the whole system eat it, but pay attention before you shove it in your mouth, remember how you felt the last time” It’s challenging maintain this awareness to the sometimes subtle clues the body give regarding energy.

    2. An elements I see lacking in this article and in many of your blog posts re: nutrition is the emotional element. It’s all good and well to know the science behind food consumption and digestion, its a whole other thing to make long-term sustained habit changes.

    I’ve finally gotten honest with myself re: the how it has happened that I find myself 80lbs overweight. Repressed anger stemming from my parents separation and subsequent divorce I was 14-16 and I just started padding on weight to protect myself from all the hurt and anger I felt. My mom died of cancer at age 42 and my dad was killed in a car accident age 55. Every time I came up for air from the sea of grief and trauma I experienced some new profound shitty thing happened, and I, in my unconscious folly, exercised less (everything, my whole body hurt) and ate more comfort foods.

    I share this perspective because, I feel like I’m ready to make that sustained effort to treat my body as a temple and tend it with the care it deserves. I feel blessed that it has brought me this far in relative ease and health. It wasn’t until I was ready to confront those issues of anger and abandonment that I could really pay attention to what was happening to my body.

    My change in perspective has as much to do with curiosity, (what can this body really do, how good can I feel, what does my inner athlete want to thrive, what great things can I do if I’m not lugging around this extra weight and the shame of unworthiness that comes with it.) as it does about shedding excess physical baggage and getting healthier.

    Your blog article along with the work of Derek Sivers have inspired me to look again within myself and discover what inspires me and how I might invest my time and energy differently. I realize if I want to work in the theater all this extra weight is truly holding me back, it is exhausting to lug around this much extra weight not to mention makes me self-conscious.

    Unfortunately, it seems I needed some external desire to strive for, something bigger than my own survival to help me begin to make changes.

    I hope your new book addresses some of the emotional component as well as chemical and if not that you will consider writing about this element in a future article.

    While I realize people get so fed up with feeling crappy or health has deteriorated to the point that life hangs in the balance and these are the times when people make magnificent lifestyle changes. They simply do what must be done in order to return to better health. But what about the people who are not in such a precarious situation, people like myself who’s comfort comes in the form of a jelly doughnut or mashed potato’s or home baked bread. What do you say to those of us who know we need to make changes, but the stoic, mind over matter model will crumble if built on the weak foundation of emotional dis-ease.

    Relating directly to my experience of low carb diet: I’ve used the Zone method in the past and my Naturopath recommend either the Paleo diet for me at one point. This is the method I’ve been striving for the past few weeks. When I eat less carbs and I only eat ones that feel good and I consume clean meats; I notice my energy level improves, I actually digest food, my emotions are more stable, I can focus easier and for sustained periods of time and I simply feel better. This should be reason enough to make and maintain healthy changes. Alas, experience tells me there is more to it than sheer will; more like “reason to live”.

    Thanks again for the inspiration to begin again this journey!

    -Renee

    1. Hi Renee,

      You are REALLY BRAVE!

      Thank you for being SO!

      You will succed in your life… for sure!

      My best wishes and respect!

      Rumiya

  33. Hi Tim,

    You often refer to blood testing. I may have missed this in the post, but what are we looking to measure with these tests?

    Thanks!

  34. I made it 21 days gluten free and I felt mostly good – eczema & digestion improved – and I still don’t want to live that way because it isn’t realistic. I got too skinny, got depressed, was always hungry and spent TONS of time cooking and washing dishes. For me, moderation remains the way.

  35. I think the paleo solution and argument for and against it have one common flaw. They don’t think about general happiness derived from food. I understand a lot of fast food can make you happy in the short run by increasing blood sugar etc. But this denies that fact that some food that contains grains/wheat just taste good. If we are going back to cavemen diets, it is rejecting the culinary refinement that we as a human race has had. What is the point of life if we have to live by such strict rules? A lot of things we do is bad for our bodies. We live our lives in constant risk. Why is gluten such a big fear? Think about how much of life we will not experience by living this diet. You travel to Japan, just to eat Sashimi and not try some of the best ramen in the world? You go to New York and not try New York Pizza?

    Last point. If you are thinking about having a paleo diet, you are well off financially. Poor people don’t have this luxury. You go to a 3rd world country and tell them to go gluten free and they will think you are insane. You know how expensive going paleo can be?

    Can’t we just live a balanced life with wholesome food and lots of exercise?

  36. No doubt I will cop flack for this but here goes anyway. Nobody seems to want to discuss the esoteric component of this argument. Surely we don’t have our heads so far into science that we discount all else? My understanding is that gluten directly blocks the light of the soul from entering into the body. How can anybody be healthy when they are not functioning without the aid of their firey energetic origin? This is just wonderful to see the science and intellect catching up. No doubt that those that argue against it are those resisting being in their hearts and feeling the truth.

  37. Interesting and well written, but considering how long these grains have been in our diet it makes me wonder – how is it possible that these things make us sick? Bread and pasta have long been filling foods for entire civilizations that have certainly not died out.

    I feel compelled to echo many vegetarian’s thoughts – if you don’t want feces in your food, not eating factory farmed meat is a great start.

    I did enjoy this and am now compelled to research it more, so thanks!

    1. It works both ways. Meat has been consumed since Adam and Eve fell from grace…before bread. Yes, most meat is now processed but, so are bread/grain products. The fact is, gluten/celiac is medically documented, even in the allopathic circles.

  38. It seems that what we have here are 2 fractions: no animal products vs no grains and dairy. Both of them are right yet they fight with each other. There seems to be almost no data on these diets because the mechanisms are pretty complex and what is doing harm in one way can do good in another. Therefore you cannot prove the other party wrong.

    Personally, I only eat fruits, vegetables and fish plus B12 and D vitamins. It seems right because I feel much better then before. It is only by feeling what is going on inside you that you can say what works for you.

  39. Renee – I admire you for being so open and honest in your post. I had to respond to your words about a weak foundation because I have felt that way at times too…

    “What do you say to those of us who know we need to make changes, but the stoic, mind over matter model will crumble if built on the weak foundation of emotional dis-ease.”

    …and these words from Steven Pressfield’s “The War of Art” have always inspired me:

    “Remember, the part of us that we imagine needs healing is not the part we create from; that part is far deeper and stronger. The part we create from can’t be touched by anything our parents did, or society did. That part is unsullied, uncorrupted; soundproof, waterproof, and bulletproof. In fact, the more troubles we’ve got, the better and richer that part becomes.”

    That’s the foundation we come from. From there we can build anything we really want to.

  40. Great post! I just want to add that Mark Sisson from the site Mark’s Daily Apple made a post about fermented foods and how adding some of those to your diet can lessen the bad effects of grain/lactose. I followed the research and it’s pretty solid, like researchers in an academic setting are trying to create pro-biotics that could give us the good bacteria found in fermented foods.

    Tim, do you have any opinion on fermented foods? So many comments, if you don’t reply no big deal

  41. Anthony, “Can’t we just live a balanced life with wholesome food and lots of exercise?” Not if gluten is causing you issues – you remove it from your diet. Any other healthful behaviours you practice may lessen the impact of grains but they would still be affecting your health negatively in some way.

    Andy, fermented foods are good. One could remove the gluten, heal the gut using supplements and fermented foods and then re-introduce gluten and see if any issues. You may be okay for a while but it takes time for gluten to damage gut. Some may experience acute symptoms whilst others have chronic low-grade symptoms that cause slow damage over time.

  42. FWIW-

    I have Multiple Sclerosis. I have been tested for gluten tolerance, and surprise- it’s negative!

    Nonetheless, I thrive on a Paleo diet just because it gives me the most bang for the buck, especially because I also have to watch my caloric intake due to lessened activity. I find when I “cheat” or “fall off the wagon”, the weight comes back right away. My biggest vice, though, is wine. Anyway, the Paleo stuff works for me.

    Luckily, I still do as much Yoga as I can. I started Yoga at age 12,(I’m 52, now). In the end, I think that’s what’s going to keep me most mobile.

    I’m also a huge fan of Michael Pollan. Paleo fits in there, and, if you keep your portions reasonable, weight shouldn’t be a big issue.

    I only started reading 4HWW today, and I’m totally ready to take the plunge!

    Thanks, Tim!

  43. As a source of information (raw data), the internet is simply mind-boggling in its breadth and depth. As a source of knowledge or wisdom (pre-digested data), however, it sums to zero. There is truth and falsehood in roughly equal amounts, and no viable way to determine which is which.

    Nowhere is this unfortunate fact more visible than in health related topics. Part of the reason for this is that even peer reviewed medical “science” is wrong more than it is right. The science is deeply flawed and the opinion that follows on its heels is completely random.

    There are only two relevant things to be found here…and one of them is HUGE! One of them is an idea, the other is a tidbit of wisdom that is oh so lacking in humans in general and has been further reduced by the huge pile of free opinion called the internet.

    The idea I refer to is not a new one, but is something that has worked for some people (gluten elimination), and is thus worthy of mention. It won’t work for everyone, but it will work wonders for some…which brings me to the really HUGE thing mentioned above.

    Both here and in his 4HWW stuff, Tim advocates for personal experimentation. I believe this is the single most important thing in all of his teachings. Don’t assume that anybody has the answer you seek. Don’t assume that everything that has worked for somebody will work for you.

    But for crying out loud…FIND OUT! Try it and see. Be your own laboratory and your own scientist. Try things that seem safe, and see if they work for you. As Tim suggests, measure things that will tell you if it is working or not.

    Lemmings suffer a lot. Don’t be a lemming.

  44. The comments about our slightly pointy cuspid teeth “proving” we’re carnivorous are laughable. Check out the fangs on a gorilla, which put ours to shame. Yet gorillas are entirely vegan, unless you count the tiny amount of animal protein they consume accidentally from insects and such that happen to be clinging to their real food, leaves. How about orangutans? They’re even more vegan than gorillas, if that is possible. Yet they also sport an impressive set of fangs that puts ours to shame.

    Anybody here can Google “gorilla teeth”. Take a look at a few photos. Then come back and tell us all again how “carnivorous” our pathetic cuspids make us look.

  45. @Kevin B

    First of all, you are looking at one tree, saying, this is a pine tree, and then concluding that there are no oak trees in the whole forest. Not only are you doing that, but you are completely misclassifying the pine tree.

    One, you are relying on a very naive ‘look’ of teeth to decide whether or not gorillas have teeth more adept at eating meat. The difference is not in how ‘scary’ teeth are, the difference is in the flatness of our teeth. Gorillas, chimps, orangatans all have much flatter molars and pre-molars than us.

    Beyond that, it is a preponderance of evidence that shows we evolved as meat eaters. From the energy needs of our large brains, to our short digestive system. From our inability to synthesize B12, the amino acids found in animal products, or essential fatty acids found in animal products (which we have terrible conversion for from plant sources). Gorillas, orangatans and chips all have colons over twice as big as ours for converting plant cellulose into energy rich fats. Also, all of these animals eat their own shit, probably to get more nutrition out of their foods. Do you eat your own shit?

    Anyway, it’s pretty abundantly clear that humans have evolved eating meat. Talking about how scary gorilla teeth are will not change this.

  46. This Article has knocked the heck out of eating bread or grains for that matter. I have tried to quit cravings and lose weight and I am at a point in my life where I am not feeling too great about my self. I have Low Self-esteem, Suicidal thoughts on anti depressant drugs and with arthritis and asthma not to mention the chronic Bronchitis and spitting up constant phlegm; Oh did I mention that I have acid reflux.

    Well just from reading your article and then the diet I want to know more and I also want to get rid of 80 lbs as I would be much happier to be thin again instead of unpleasantly plump at my age. I have done the Scars Dale Diet and lost great amounts of weight on that before but now I have no ambition to do that as it seems to be ok while you stay on it but to completely change your eating to a healthier life style makes more sense to me.

    In one month I will get back to you and let you know my results. From this day forward I no longer want to have anything to do with wheat, whole grains, or dairy. I will drink filtered water, herbal teas, and stay away from sugar. I am so tired of this rollercoaster. Wish me luck.

    Casey

  47. I’ve been a pescetarian for 6+ years now, and a crossfitter for about 1 1/2 years. After reading this post, I decided to try a Paleo/Pescetarian diet for 30 days. Within the first two weeks, I blew through my max on all lifts, and I felt like I was hitting a new gear in my workouts.

    It’s very hard to be Paleo & Pescetarian at the same time, having only fish & eggs (omega 3 enriched) as your main protein sources, but I have made it work. 5 weeks in, I am feeling better than ever, and I will not be going back.

    At 36 years old, I am in better shape than I was when I was a 19 year-old Div I college athlete…

    Thanks Rob & Tim!

  48. Hmm… I’m going to have to look into if there is any way to mix this diet with the Macrobolic Nutrition diet. Looks like it might not be possible.

    1. Two+ weeks ago I commented on my two week success with Paleo/primal. Today Richard Nikoley recently posted an article on my one month success. I figured I would post this here in case anybody was interested in an n=1 experiment on the results of a paleo/primal diet and corresponding exercise.

      http://freetheanimal.com/2010/11/real-paleo-results-amazing-what-a-month-can-do.html

      I wonder if anybody else took Robb and Tim’s challenge to try it for 30 days? Maybe you should have.

  49. I must chime in about three observations.

    1: PLEASE – go to the mall , any mall, in America. You will see what grain+sugar+dairy has done.

    2: Vegetarians: I have yet to see a female vegetarian with any decent muscle mass. The ones Ive observed are ‘skinny fat’. That is, they are Skinny, but when you squeeze them, its fat, not muscle.

    3: I have been to the furthest outback possible, areas of Afghanistan where the people have not seen a ‘foreigner’ EVER. These people have no electricity, running water and are IN FACT as CLOSE to being CAVE-MEN as possible. Here is my observation:

    They live to be OLD, not 30 years. With little to no medicine!

    They EAT vegetables and meat and a little fruit when available and are on a VERY low calorie diet because that is just the way it is.

    They are VERY strong lb for lb and skinny, somewhat lean (not spartans!)

    IF they only ate meat, theyd be dead, vegetables – dead, if we fed them a Double Quarter pounder with large fry and milk shake, I dont know what would happen, but IM SURE it wouldnt be pretty!

    Eat Lean protein and veggies.

  50. So many passionate opinions. As a student I’m prone to ignoring sources, so I’m going to take the post at face value. Try it for a month, I don’t think it’ll kill you. And if you feel better, keep trying it. Your overall well-being depends on so many different variables, but what’s the harm in seeing what works for you?

    I’ve suffered with sinus infections for 5 years now, and never really committed to trying a gluten-free diet, but this post is enough for me to give it a shot. It would be nice to not be clogged up and pissed off about it for a while. Any other resources for getting rid of chronic f-ed up sinuses?

    1. Give it a go Jimmy but don’t do it for 2 days only like some previous commenters and then call the diet a failure.

      I really think going gluten-free will help with the sinus infections.

  51. Fascinating info about what gluten is and what it does to the human body. Thank you, Tim Ferriss and Robb Wolfe, for the time and hard work you’ve put into posting this information and responding to comments and questions. Like many people I’ve struggled with some health issues (especially depression and weight) for many years and have tried everything — everything except a gluten-free diet. I knew nothing about it. So this is a new beginning for me. But I have a lot of sorrow/conscience issues about eating animals — even though I absolutely love the taste of steak etc etc etc. and have done NeanderThin and other paleo/primal diets from time to time, very yummy but I can’t get over the guilt and depression. Ambivalent c’est moi 🙁 Can either of you address this matter of carnivore guilt? I’m so weary of my guilt complex. Anyway, so I’m trying the raw vegan thing in combination with gluten-free. This basically means veggies and fruits. It’s making me feel better already and I will continue the experiment for at least 2 months. In the meantime, I would seriously appreciate your opinion about “The Protein Myth” a la Tim Van Orden (which I found from a comment posted here). I’m not a nutritionist, so it’s impossible really to decide what’s what. Thank you (both, and also thanks to those who took the time to comment here).

  52. Perhaps what is known today as allergy is actually the symptoms of slow poisoning. Poison by definition is, “any substance, when ingested, inhaled or absorbed or when applied to, injected int, or developed within the body, in relatively small amounts, by its chemical action, may cause disturbance of function or damage to structure”.

    Why are Milk, egg and wheat in their current forms causing this reaction? Consider what has fundamentally been changed in each. Is allergy a symptom of an immune system imbalance or the result of being slowly poisoned?

    I question how industrial food production has fundamentlly altered traditional foods which mankind has relied on through out our history. I suspect many current health concerns are related to chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics and genetic modification.

  53. Dana said:

    “I was on the frickin’ diet for a month! Also, just because someone does not agree with you, does not make them idiots. Only an idiot would think otherwise.”

    Dana, I didn’t call you an idiot. I said that your comment that this diet is just a quick rich scheme is idiotic. I did say you were full of it because you just sounded so rude.

  54. Interesting information. Thank you for posting it all. I switched to a primarily raw diet back in June and I noticed great improvements in how I felt, energy level, and digestive ease (i.e. I experience a significant decrease in bloating and gas and just that heavy funky feeling). One thing that might also be useful in your sample diet, is to soak nuts for at least 5 hours before eating them. It helps make the nutrients more bio-available and even easier on the digestive system.

    On the other hand, I just started watching the National Geographic series, “Guns, Germs & Steel” and the whole first episode discussed how the domestication of these grains were integral in the development of agriculture and civilizations. I don’t dispute that they are damaging to the body, I just think it’s interesting that they are at the foundations of the great civilizations.

  55. I’m also a nutritionist.

    To throw a monkeywrench into the discussion, have you seen the twinkie diet? http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/11/08/twinkie.diet.professor/index.html?hpt=Sbin

    “once he added meat, his cholesterol levels went up” – CNN

    I’m not an advocate for any diet. Just healthy eating with as much food in natural state and as little processed food as humanly possible. Most do very well on that.. and there’s no need to worry about getting too much/ not enough of anything.

  56. I’ve cut out most of this still about a year ago and I’ve been feeling much better than before.

    For breakfast, a very quick meal that I make is a protein shake with Coconut milk, 2 raw organic eggs, 1/2 a banana and a scoop of protein powder (peanut butter flavoured). It’s super fast and tastes delicious.

  57. See this is one of the things that’s just bugging me about this country. Really bugging me. Americans have become these great big ‘fraidy cats. Afraid of everything. Everything’s got to be sterile and germ-free. Well everybody needs to grow up… You’ve just got to step back and look at the big picture… It’s a sad fact of life, but the truth is, we all have to eat a little sh*t from time to time.

    –Harry, in Fast Food nation

    Harry’s views are not my own. Fascinating post. Who knew?

  58. Hey Tim and All !

    My contribution to the vegetarian/vegan debate.

    Great work! As always. I am a lacto-vegetarian verging on the vegan side. So that means no meat, fish or eggs. I try to limit my dairy intake. I think there are alot of us out there who really love your work but there is no real provision for us “veggies” in your strategy, at least not a comprehensive solution so I do look forward to the 2 chapters you mentioned above.

    A awesome solution to the infinite debate on “to kill or not to kill animals for consumption” would simply to have two menu’s / daily plans. One for “meaties” and one for “veggies”.

    As far as the evolutionary argument goes though (hmm those sharp teeth). Well or conciousness is not actually subject to evolution (it has a heavy impact, but is not the be all and end all), evolution is actually subject to our consciousness and the choses we make everyday. Dont be fooled that you cannot change evolution, the very word itself tells you that you can evolve, you can change and change does not need to be something threatening, it can be amazing, fulfilling and can also make you super human. Your choice every body.

    How about a cool blog post or section where we/you can crowd source the ultimate vegan daily menu that builds, nourishes and makes you “super human” (without eating those animals, just teasing, no judgement, I used to love my animal protein once upon a time 🙂

    And then one menu with the meaty stuff and everyones happy.

    that was easy.

    Enjoy!

    ps. Sorry if some of this has been covered already I havent read through the entire site… yet!

  59. A very compelling post, right in line with what I’ve read from others (Sisson, Gegoudas, Weston Price Foundation, etc.). However, you mention the deleterious effects of corn and dairy but go into no detail on those. I, for one, consume dairy raw from grass-fed cows from my local farm; I make it into yogurt. Dairy has been used this way by cultures for thousands of years, and since it contains no gluten, I’m wondering why it’s mentioned in the context of grains. I’d love to see a follow-up to this piece.

  60. Gluten can also lead to infertility and gluten intolerance is one of the common causes of ‘unexplained infertility’. However according to the Nurse’s Health Study from Harvard, women who got their protein from vegetable sources (as opposed to animal sources) were less likely to suffer from ovulatory infertility (for ex. PCOS) then those who predominantly ate animal protein. There is a lot to be said about gluten and dairy but on the same token animal based diets are also not ideal. Not to mention the modern farming, animal suffering, environmental consequences and water pollution…I think back when our ancestors lived, killing one animal for the tribe was sustainable — modern farming is not. David Wolfe and the raw food movement may hold the key to the solution that can work for us and for the environment not to mention the animals. Iva

  61. I’m a fit 20-year-old female. As a woman, I find myself complaining about having days where I “feel fat,” which have no correlation to amount of exercise I do. I feel sluggish and bloated. After reading this article, I thought I would give it a shot: there is nothing to lose, and only knowledge to gain from trying.

    I’m on day 18. First of all, my body feels good. I thought I felt fine before, but now I feel GOOD. I had never realized there was a significant difference. Second, I am happier. I have more energy to do things and get more out of doing them. I’ve been battling depression over the last year, and thought it was due to my medications. Thank goodness I tried a change in diet before going off my pills! I’ve also lost 5 pounds… this was a surprise benefit!

    The most amazing thing is that it’s not that difficult to do. I’m on a college student’s budget, I adore bagels and pasta, and am known for baking sweet goodies regularly… I lived off grains. I thought it was going to be impossible for me to last the 30 days on this diet. The first week was both tricky and educational for learning which foods to avoid. I whined to my boyfriend about wanting dinner rolls and Luna bars. Now, something shocking has happened: I’m not craving them. I even went down the gluten-free aisle of my local Whole Foods store, stared at the variety of baked goods for a good ten minutes, waiting for something to catch my eye, and walked away. I genuinely didn’t want those things anymore. That is incredible.

    Call it a placebo effect. Call it whatever you’d like. But I’ve found something (thanks, Tim and Robb!) that makes me feel good. It’s not illegal, it’s not bad for the environment, and it doesn’t harm others… so why make a big fuss over it?

  62. Hey Tim and Robb,

    It is amazing how much negativity and resistance people with whom I share this give when suggesting the possibility that you could be on to something. I even put someone onto this article who discounted it just because of the writing style/ voice! I put it down to the fact that people generally don’t like change and the majority are pessimists (Tim – have you read Learned Optimism by Martin Seligmann? – former president of the APA). It’s like it is too good to be true. Hell, it’s not that great when you have to sacrifice so much (damn you ice cream store in Oriental Bay). Unfortunately, I’m finding and experiencing plenty of real world indicators that support this. And it isn’t like I’m not educated in the fields of exercise physiology and nutrition.

    I’ve just come across a case where a woman with endometriosis has got herself symptom free and now has two kids (obviously this predates your blog). She tried wheat-free and diary-free on seperate occasions and got slight improvements. Upon elimination of both, her health improved greatly and no longer feels pain and has normal periods. Her skin problems and blinding migraines have also disappeared.

    Personally, I’ve been attempting paleo for a couple of months. It’s bloody hard to do it 100%! So far I’ve pretty much eliminated the following niggles:

    – IBS (til diagnosis, I seriously thought blood every now and then was normal)

    – Asthma

    – Fatigue (because I’m an undisciplined dumbarse, I still get tired. But I don’t get that fatigue that never leaves you anymore)

    – Headaches several times a week

    – Losing fat at around 1kg a week

    – Maintaining FFM/ muscle mass while having a break from weight training

    On top of this, in the last few days I’ve started avoiding soy altogether and am now trying to ween myself off the typical Kiwi coffee addiction.

    My 2 and 3 year old boys are diary and wheat free. They still have rice – something I hope to deal to. Anywho, they don’t shit like sheep now (which is good cos for a bit I thought they could be Aussies) and eat around twice my daily volume (I eat a lot more protein though). They no longer have ecsema, their glue-ear is dissipating, they’ve grown three inches each (diagnosed not coeliac), sleep solidly, don’t look bloated (you know how kids do), they don’t have constant runny noses or chesty coughs and heaps more. I just have to stop them from beating the crap out of each other.

    This is inspiring me and I am going to look into doing some postgrad research into some niche area of the matter.

    Any suggestions on the exercise science/ prescription side?

    1. Hi, Tim M.

      Nice to meet you. I have a masters’ in Ex Phys from UMD. What about how people perform on the paleo diet vs regular (50% carbs) while training for short, intermediate, and long distance running events. How is muscle glycogen and performance affected.

  63. Holy guacamole! This post has stirred up a maelstrom. What all the but-I’m-not-sick’ers don’t yet understand is the simple fact that the supremely intelligent homeostatic and immuno-endocrine systems of the human body do everything possible to beat back the phytochemical onslaught of ingested grains, and for a time are surprisingly successful. But the continuous attack from a grain-rich diet over 20 or 30 years eventually overwhelms the Alamo, and the enemy gains entry into the fort in early middle age, ergo diabesity, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and other “age-related” stuff, which curiously appear almost simultaneously.

    SIDEBAR: Much of the evil wrought by ingested grain is made worse by poor toilet habits. Just as there is a paleo way to eat, there is also a paleo way to evacuate your GI tract. Most paleo dieters neglect this very crucial knowledge, and go on to report digestive problems, even after adopting their newfound lifestyle. See http://www.naturesplatform.com and redesign your toilet lifestyle.

  64. I’m in pretty good shape, but i’m a black guy who is verging on diabetes…I want to try to this diet, but it basically says you can only eat meat, vegetables, and fruit. That’s nuts…My question is, is there any allowance? Can you go cold turkey and then just eat the occasional beans, and sweets infrequently? It seems like everyone these days is trying to say everything we eat is evil…but i’ve found that everything is fine in moderation :/

    So…cut out all of it? or have a little?

    I’m on day 5 of this diet attempting to go for a month to see if there are any REAL effects…

  65. @heuristic

    There’s nothing neurotic about eating like the original homo sapiens sapiens.

    Second, you confused causation with correlation in the Nurse’s health study. Eating those nuts was correlated with health benefits, not a cause. Besides the fact that peanuts a ‘nut’ per se, there is really no reason to believe nuts are any special kind of food.

    Besides, eating a few peanuts is probably not going to make or break anyone, assuming you have good gut health and a healthy immune system. Robb Wolf would probably agree. But I think the point here is to make it easy to see what kind of problems people have by cutting them out for a month. The only neurotic thing is to refuse to try giving up peanuts for a month. It’s not that hard.

  66. My two cents:

    I am a college student and I just discovered this website. I really wish I had of known about this site/book years ago, it would have definitely helped a lot. Efficiency is a constant battle for me but one I am convinced worth fighting. Reading everything here is probably not helping that much but one battle at a time. Also when I see a post about keeping feces out of your bloodstream I am compelled to read it.

    I have tried low carb diets and they work. Plain and simple. Cutting carbs will get you ripped fast if you workout hard. When I have reintroduced carbs (read caved in and binged on cake and cookies) I feel horrible and have a huge distended belly for a day. I have found that carbs stress my system.

    As far as dairy goes though I have some questions. Paleo diets are based on natural process of our bodies as evolution has formed them. The source of nutrition for infants is milk. Mammals produce milk to feed their young. It seems that feeding your young a toxic form of nutrition would not make evolutionary sense. I realize that many people are lactose-intolerant but for the rest of us it seems that milk would be a perfect source of nutrition. How do these two sides balance out?

    Just an interesting consideration.

    Hope it was helpful

  67. @Jared Well I don’t see my comment on the blog so maybe it was deleted after you got it by RSS (and if that’s the case then we’re obviously not engaged in a fair discussion of the merits of Robb Wolf’s dietary program).

    You are the one who is confused. I wasn’t talking about dropping cereals for 30 days.

    I was responding to his claim that peanuts are “highly atherogenic” and that peanuts in the diet is comparable to taking cocaine. I pointed out that the “highly atherogenic” comment is meaningless because there are no numbers relating to human risk, just a result where a bunch of rats were overfed peanut oil. His claim is not supported by the science and therefore is not a medical opinion. It is an Internet marketing “opinion.” It discredits his claim to be a doctor and in turn it discredits Tim Ferrisss for publishing such foolishness.

    You are putting words into his mouth by saying that he wouldn’t care about small amounts of peanuts.. What he SAID is that it is like cocaine (at which point I expect someone to take the cowardly way out by saying “it was just a joke”).

    So no rational reason has been given here to refrain from eating peanuts and sadly it makes one skeptical of anything else published here.

  68. @Jared One other thing: how do you know whether “the original homo sapiens sapiens” ate groundnuts or not? It is superstitious bullshit to invoke such a “standard” in the absence of any evidence.

  69. Well there’s been a lot of comments already, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in. You see I was a vegetarian for over 20 years, and five weeks ago I started eating meat again, and have never felt better. I originally made the move to the vegetarian diet as a serious amateur triathlete around 1990, I mean Dave Scott (aka The Man), was vegan for goodness sake! After 20 years of it I have come to the conclusion that my vegetarian diet seriously damaged my health. Having recently read Robb’s book I was stunned that his story could practically have been my own – it just took me a lot longer to figure out what my problem was. I have written a fairly lengthy article on my experiences on my blog (http://www.regardsfromthebalcony.com/2010/11/the-easy-way-to-lose-fat-fast-and-dramatically-improve-your-health.html). If you are currently a vegetarian please have a read, as I am convinced you may be damaging your health severely. I’d also be interested to hear if people who switched back to eating meat experienced the same benefits I did. All the best!

  70. Robb!

    I really enjoy your books. I have read several Paleo books. I couldn’t explain myself why I didn’t pick your book up?

    Love the sign language part on bulls*it in ur book. Lol. It took me 0.5 second to recognize since American Sign Language is my native language.

    However, I got a question. Going Paleo for a week, I notice a change in my stool. It is more of pellets. Is it normal? Also, I am having difficult time get it out. I also note myself that I need to drink more water. My intake of vegetables have increase big time.

    Will it continue to change as you said it take 14 days to adapt.

    I am using my stools as my feedback mechanism.

    Thanks for taking a huge step to help us life better, Robb.

  71. Hi

    I have an enquiry about if there could be any relation between gluten and hayfever allergys.

    I’m 23 now and have suffered pretty cronic hayfever since about the age of 18. When I say cronic it is not constant, but every few days I wake up sneezing, and am absolutly stuffed with more sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, puffy face, sore sinus etc the works for the rest of the day, anti histamines dont seem to work very often, even when i switch brands, but then I can wake up the next day and be absolutly fine.

    As a kid i never, never, ever suffered at all, and for years I have blammed my hayfever on exposure to sulfur. at the age of 17 – 18 i worked as a cellar hand in a winery and was constantly exposed to sulfur in different forms, sometimes as a gas which was injected into wine tanks, sometimes as a powder bound to potassium. now i have developed an allergy to sulfur, and if i consume wine, or any other food product that contains a high sulfur count then i get the very same hayfever symptoms almost immediatley.

    so now i have a sulfur allergy, and its seams that i now suffer hayfever (probably pollens and things like that cause when im sleeping im not ingesting any sulfur) and these may be totally unrealated and may just be conincidence that i now get hayfever at the same time as i developed a sulfur allergy.

    but question is: will eating a Paleolithic diet help in reducing or even eliminating hayfever and my sulfur allergy ? also i saw something on TV a while ago about Paleolithic diets, and this nutritionist or whatever she was said that Paleolithic people also did not eat very much meat, as it wasnt farmed, only hunted so could only be eaten on the rare occasion that some kind of animal was caught, and even then probably eaten raw because fire hadnt been discovered yet. is there any truth to those statements ?

    sorry if these questions have already been answered but i couldnt sit here and trawl through the last 892 responses

    1. Hi Angela,

      My family has pinpointed, through elimination and reintroduction of various dairy products, that our asthma, hayfever and eczema appear to be triggered by A1 casein (the protein in dairy). The first clue was our boys when they repeatedly developed some light hives on their cheeks with the reintroduction of lactose free milk. They then went on to develop constant clear running noses and chesty coughs. My asthma (exercise and cold induced) seems to have disappeared in removing casein from my diet. In reading about it more, it seems that this is a common sign of casein allergy. We are yet to trial A2 casein. Still, gluten might be your issue, after all it is a protein with some similarities. Despite finding much of the speculative science behind paleo and, more to the point, evolutionary theory amusing, I have been slow-carbing on fruit, veges, nuts, meat, fish, poultry and eggs for a while now and do feel amazing.

  72. @Heuristic

    I disagree with everything you just said.

    First, the idea that you can’t have a single peanut ever again if you eat like this is your own interpretation of what was said. I hear Robb Wolf talk considerably about how sugar is correlated with all kinds of ailments. There is a lot of science to back this up. But at the same time, he would never say don’t eat a single gram of sugar again for the rest of your life. To paraphrase Robert Lustig, sugar is a dose-dependent poison. The way you are interpreting what he said is inconsistent with his actual dietary recommendations.

    The same is true of peanuts. It is a fact, inarguable, that peanuts contain lectins, and that many people in the population react unfavorably to them. Some are even allergic (as high as 1 in 100 Americans). Beyond that, their fat composition is unlike anything paleolithic humans would be able to derive most of their calories from.

    And yes, this is a good STARTING POINT for investigation as to what human beings can eat without making themselves sick.

    http://www.thepaleodiet.com/nutritional_tools/fatsnuts.shtml

    The point is probably not to get a majority of your calories from peanuts, and this 30 days of no peanuts is a test to see if you may be someone whose body reacts negatively to peanuts, something you might not even know about. The fact that millions of people are provably allergic to peanut lectins is cause enough (at least for me) to do this measly 30 day test.

    To sum up, you are completely mis-characterizing Robb Wolf’s view on peanuts. You are the one making outrageous claims as a straw man, not him. If you have no problem with peanuts, I’m sure he would have no problem telling you to keep on eating your peanuts in moderation. Second, studying what paleolithic man did is only a guide for further investigation, not a termination point.

  73. I know have another question, if I were to stick to a gluten free diet for a year or so, then fall pregnant and continue not to have any gluten, would my baby be born with an extreme allergy / sensitivity to gluten and not be able to eat bread or cereal etc ?

  74. Hi Tim,

    For the whole month of November I tried what you suggested: going gluten-free. Today, reporting the results.

    The only thing I did measure precisely was weight, and there was little change there: lost 2 lbs.

    Throughout this time I continued my daily routine of exercise and I continued my multi-year-long effort of controlling carbs (I was on Atkins for 3 years and now I’m a laid back carb counter).

    I may have noticed a little less bloating and a little bit less abdominal fat. But I think it’s probably psychological because I didn’t measure them.

    I wish I had tracked body fat, triglycerides and cholesterol.

    Overall, changes, if any, weren’t big. But to be honest I’m already in decent shape and I do watch what I eat.

    Going gluten-free helped me cut some bad carbs, especially from bread, which I like and is my weakness in the mornings.

    I’m considering extending this for another 30 days to see how it goes. Any suggestions? What would you have expected from this 30-day experiment?

  75. People like to hate. Anyway, I went to a couple traditional docs for recurring stomach pain. Their only advice was more whole foods. I already ate only whole foods… pain continued. I read this, cut gluten out (already never consumed dairy). No pain. Ate gluten over Thanksgiving without even considering it, nearly immediate pain. Thanks guys.

  76. I’ve dropped a total of 26 pounds of fat. I no longer stink. My teeth no longer build up plaque like mad; in fact, I can skip brushing for two days and feel zero skuzz (I know! I was camping). Rashes gone. Acne gone. Sluggishness gone. Low grade IBS gone. I haven’t experienced heartburn, indigestion, bloating or diarrhea since I last ate grains. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long, long time.

    What did I do? I LISTENED, and tried paleo/primal for 30 days. It went so well I’m now on my 2nd month. Don’t just cut out one thing and call yourself “paleo.” Do it for real or it won’t do much for you. In the time it took for you all to bicker and complain on comments, I got results and changed my life.

  77. I don’t understand, this diet is recommended for everyone?

    I had to go on the allergy elimination diet a while ago and there was literally no change when gluten was re-introduced. Or anything for that matter.

    More specifics on my diet: literally everything someone could possibly have an allergy to was eliminated excluding fruits and vegetables. I stayed on the strict diet for a month and a half until the suspect groups were re-introduced one by one. Each group was introduced for a week and then taken back out of the diet, I would then take a week or two (depending on the group) back on the strict diet and then introduce a different group. The “strict diet” consisted of fruits (except for fruit such as strawberries, where allergies aren’t uncommon), vegetables, lean protein (pork, chicken, etc.), and.. Actually I think that’s it. I was allowed to use almond flour and water to make a batter for anything (like pancakes) after we had cleared the nut group.

  78. If you are clever enough to figure out the secrets of the human digestive system, you ought to be clever enough to figure out how to do a double blind test of your hypothesis wih a statistically significant number of participants.

    There may be something to your arguments, though the track record for people touting radical diets is not great. However anecdotal or personal experience does not trump scientific method and rigorous research procedure. It isn’t sexy and it means you might, in the end prove yourself wrong, but it is the only honest way to investigate.

    Unless you are willing to do that, you are selling snake oil at best. It is nice that you have picked something reasonably harmless to remove from a person’s diet, no one will die of grain deficiency, but that does not absolve you of your responsibility to test your theories scientifically before you step up on your soapbox and start waving your arms around.

    The burden of proof rests with the person making the extraordinarily claim. And for an extraordinary claim you better have some extraordinary evidence.

    And that is if you honestly believe what you’re selling.

    If not, you have set up a nifty little mind trap.

    You have picked a food source that is very difficult to remove entirely from a person’s diet. Grain products and by-products are used in many different kinds of common foods and products. Dieters routinely fail to maintain even the most lenient of diets. One can assume that only the most dedicated will make it to the thirty day mark without slipping up intentionally and with the number of unusual uses for grain products growing every day, the chance for accidentally ingesting a grain is almost inevitable. Add to this that you have stated that even a tiny amount of grain in a 7-10 day period is enough to undo all a person’s hard work. Well, unless a person is living in a laboratory in a hermetically sealed plastic bag, we can see that it will always be possible to blame the dieter for unusual, unexpected or deleterious effects experienced during the dieting period.

    I also love the comment on Candida where you state that a person might experience a lot of discomfort for the first two weeks they are on your diet because they are purging fungus. Might they not simply be feeling discomfort as a result of radically changing their diet?

    I like about 75% of what Tim puts up on this blog and believe about 50%. I put on ten pounds in four weeks with his 4 hour work out which is pretty impressive given my build and age. I love TI swimming and am jumping in the pool 3-4 times a week, swimming further using less energy. But, I’m calling big BS on this one.

    If you are really sure this is the answer to so many health problems, get off your butt and put together a real double blind study with independent researchers and a statistically significant number of participants. If you get the results you claim other researchers will try to recreate your results in their own labs. If your results turn out to be true, get your speech ready for The Nobel prize awards banquet.

    My final two cents:

    Anytime someone steps up, and in the fitness community it happens a couple times daily, and claims that there is a way to completely cure everything that ails the world with a diet that will make you lose weight, gain strength, give you a twenty inch erection of solid steel, make members of the opposite sex (or the same sex) swoon at first exposure to your newly cleansed, improved, balanced, integrated and synergistically energized aura of healthfulness, keep a tight grip on your wallet and sprint for the door.

  79. @Tyler Walker

    Was the four hour workout you describe as giving you “impressive” results proven by a large-scale double-blind trial? No.

    So why did you try that but you demand so much proof before eschewing grains for a measly month?

    The studies are coming. The research is constantly being done, and a lot has been done.

    Look, no one is forcing you to give up grains. No one needs to prove anything to you. You can take all of this advice and the anecdotal evidence for what it’s worth. You do not have to act on it. No one is going to come to your door and preach to you.

    For the record, this is not that extraordinary of a claim. “Giving up grains for 30 days will make your life better.” And all you have to do is do it, and you can evaluate how biased you are and how effective it really is. That’s all the proof most of us need. It seemed to be all the proof you need for the four hour workout, but seems there is a double standard here.

    So, my advice to you is to quit making ridiculous excuses. We don’t want you to believe in Jesus or make your kids pray in schools. Just make you look, feel, perform better, at very little if any personal cost. Do what you did with the 4 hour workout and give it a try, sans mountains of scientific evidence. If you wait for all of that to get done, it will probably be too late.

    Honestly, I wish I would have learned about this stuff back in high school. Every month and every year I am on paleo I feel healthier, stronger, and my body looks better. I can barely remember the times I would sit in class in college and not be able to stay awake, knowing now it was because I was fueling on all carbs. I can’t even take a nap in the middle of the day if I want to anymore. I can barely remember in college not being able to make consistent gains in the gym. Now I am always moving forward, and even if I don’t make it to the gym consistently for whatever reason, my body maintains itself.

    1. I love and really appreciate the discussion, guys, but please try and play nice! Truly appreciate the conversation, just don’t want things to escalate and get ugly.

      Thanks!

      Tim

  80. A an absolutely terrific article, I have saved it, and it explains gluten intolerance so well.

    I first started Atkins on September 2005. I lost 29.6 kgs (from 131kgs on a 170cm frame) in 5 months and felt fantastic. I put on all my weight after an accident in 1997 to both Achilles tendons which I had surgically ‘fixed’ after 2 years (80% left ankle and about 95% right). My favoured exercise of walking (5-8 kms daily) was denied me due to the injury and after the operation, due to my weight gain, it was just as hard and painful as before! So I just got fatter and fatter. I climbed to 131 kgs and was in constant pain from ankles, knees and back. I finally decided to act. I had picked up the Atkins book and had a read, thought (idly) I could do that, and then just sat on it – the information and my fatt bum! Then, after 15 months on the dole, I got a job! I started Atkins the same day and never looked back. I no longer had pain, my blood pressure went from sky high (3 eye bleeds during coughing episodes when I had the flu) to 110/76, and I had so much energy.

    The other plus was discovering I was gluten intolerant. After suffering migraines for my whole life, since infancy, I was migraine free after 5 days on low carb and have never had one since. And I had the whole range of food intolerance symptoms: migraine and headaches; gastro-intestinal symptoms including stomach aches, irritable bowel, diarrhoea, urinary urgency; eczema and other itchy skin rashes; nasal congestion (stuffy or runny nose); depression, unexplained tiredness, impairment of memory and concentration,; tachycardia (fast heart beat);; irritability, restlessness, inattention, difficulty settling to sleep, night waking. All caused by gluten and modern high carb foods.

    In March 2006 I had a car accident which initially slowed me up and sent me right off track. While I didn’t go back to lots of refined carbs, I did go back to eating too much potatoes – and they were my big downfall. I had a bad deep tissue bruising injury to my left leg caused by the dashboard and steering wheel coming down and bouncing off it. SInce then I have languished terribly but am now really dedicated to getting back on track.

    I have been reading up on the Primal Lifestyle and I do think it is for me. Virtually what I am doing anyway. And he says listen to your body and exercise gently, not like a mad thing as modern fitness gurus suggest.

    I have about 10 people I know who have given up gluten for a fortnight at my urging and said they felt ‘heaps better’. A couple have stayed off it completely, but they all eat much less than previously.

  81. Just one comment. Great article, I agree with most everything except I find your argument that our bodies have problems with gluten because grains are out to get us a little simplistic. The buffalo, antelope and fish our ancestors ate didn’t want to be eaten either but you’d cringe if the vegans made that argument against eating meat (as would I). Also, you recommend eating almonds–the germ of the plant…wouldn’t the same reasoning hold that there would be ill-effects from eating almonds?

    The reality is that being a food source for humans is often beneficial to the species that’s being eaten–even if we do destroy the seed. Look at corn…from a lowly grass in the americas it’s genes have been spread around the world–not by winds, but by humans. The real problem is that grains have only been available as an efficient calorie source for the last 10,000 years or so (when was the last wind you saw blow some #2 corn kernels around?). Quite simply we did not evolve to eat modern grains–most people can live off of them, but they are a new food and if you want to optimize you shouldn’t eat them.