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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1,393 Replies to “How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)”

  1. Was wondering if anyone had any success with

    respect to allergies and the paleo diet? I have quite the list

    and have been strictly paleo for almost 2 weeks now. Figure I will

    find out this answer eventually, but was wondering if someone had a

    fast-track to the answer. Or thoughts. I have already lost over 5 lbs

    and feel better than ever before. Energy, sensitivity to environmental

    allergens = less too.

    Thanks!

  2. I have gone back and forth on this debate for awhile, mainly because ever since a surgery and an infection (required antibiotics) my digestion has been terrible and stomach aches are a daily issue. However, the longest I’ve gone grain free is about 10 days (didn’t notice any improvement) so maybe I didnt give it a fair shake (and it was hard as hell from a social perspective as well as economic). My celiac panel came back negative as did an intestinal sample test. I’ve heard many smart people use evidence that our ancestors ate grains thousands of years ago (recently saw an article about the discovery of a device used to grind grains from “ancient times”) and that evolution of the GI tract CAN take place in a 10,000 year span. On the flip side I still have stomach issues and bloating and the backed up feeling with no cure coming from modern medicine and this growing paleo trend claiming help.

    Regardless of the food source I tend to feel the best on a low fat diet w/ slow-carbs and lean meat as my macros. Whole grains SEEM to be good for me as opposed to refined ones anyway (and the dietician I spoke with recently told me to eat more!), but so would berries and veggies I’m sure.

    I’d love to do some comprehensive blood testing, go Paleo, and then test again after… to really set things straight once and for all…

    if only my doctors and insurance company were courageous enough lol

  3. Tim, i need help!

    I just found out about you and i ordered your last book, impressive!

    I do not eat meat, yet i eat fish and eggs, which is all good.

    Now reading this, (and i been having digestive problems all my life so i am going to do this diet and see how i feel), i realize i can not eat as well legumes and dairy.

    Your suggestions include some legumes, and eating fish many days a week worries me too, as there is too much pollution.

    So what to do? What is the main problem with the legumes, cause they are one of the main sources of proteins to me. No tofu, no seitan, just eggs! and fish…i know this is all about my health, so I will cut on gluten.

    My question is, what do you suggest.

    I know your book as chapters on being vegetarian, looking forward to read them.

    What to do, legumes or no legumes?

    Are they so invasive and aggressive to you like grains?

    Thank you so much and keep on with the inspiring work!

    nunO

  4. You should include this post as a link in your book!

    When you said to cut out grains, I honestly wasn’t happy with the lack of explanation, but after reading this post, I understand why grains are bad.

    Chris

  5. Removing carbs will make you loose weight. That’s for sure. But what if you have to run 40-50 miles a week. Where do you get your fuel from?

  6. I am 47 year old woman and about 45 lbs. overweight. My son bought this book — he is college-age avid weightlifter and watches his diet religiously — thinking it would be interesting. I read through the diet info and figured what the heck — I’ll give the diet a try (exercising and other diets didn’t work). Tim is right, we basically eat the same things over and over, and I already eat the musts for the diet, albeit with the stuff that keeps fat on women (read: milk products — turns a calf into a heifer!). Today is only Wednesday and I have already lost over 4 lbs. Simple little things like no milk in my tea, increasing protein (which I did not eat a lot of) and switching to beans instead of traditional carbs. Already a veg eater, this is really not a huge sacrifice for me to try and lose — which I am. So far, so good.

  7. First of all I would like to say great book. I know you recommend selective reading, but I can’t put it down. However, this article is extremely confusing and somewhat contradictory to your “SLOW-CARB DIET.” This article recommends cutting out all gluten products, but your diet from the book recommends 1 cheat day a week. I understand the reasoning behind the cheat day, but can you explain why this article contradicts your books recommendations?

  8. One thing that makes me leery of “palaeo” and similar diets is the certainty with which they assume that know what our palaeolithic ancestors ate. As an archaeologist I can tell you that most people who research the subject of ancient human diets are not at all certain about it, and it forms the subject of many lively bar conversations and research articles.

    Oh, and agriculture is much older than 2-5 thousand years. Up to 10,000 years old, depending on the part of the world you are looking at.

    Not that it necessarily changes the validity of what you are saying with respect to human biochemistry and digestion, but these kinds of errors irk me.

  9. Just stumbled upon this post and have had an interesting read going through the virtual cafeteria of comments here, from all walks of life! Wow – talk about a firestorm!

    As the Founder/CEO of an autism treatment center, I can tell you first hand the incredible improvement we see in patients who go gluten AND casein free. Not only do we see tremendous improvement in immune system and gastrointestinal health, the neurological and cognitive changes are incredible. Of course, you would not be surprised, as I know you are aware of the gut/brain connection!

    I am constantly under scrutiny by the medical community and other “professionals” in the field stating there is no “double blind, placebo controlled study to prove these findings”, yet I can also tell you that our patients don’t have time for those studies to be done! THEY NEED HELP NOW and can’t wait until the scientific community decides to finally get on board!

    The comment I continue to make is that at the end of the day, you can make a study say anything you want it to, depending on who funds it! There is no such thing as an unbiased study, and let’s be honest, everything starts out anecdotal! OUTCOMES are what has to be looked out. Studies can say what they will, but if we are not seeing consistent outcomes to support that, then we need to change tactics. Likewise, just because there is an absence of data, this does not disqualify many interventions that have fantastic efficacy.

    There are a few good rules of thumb I maintain:

    If there is no danger or risk, if it is not financially out of limits, if it meets the rules of common sense, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BY TRYING IT!

    If you try a diet and it doesn’t work for you, what have you lost, other than a few days with the removal of crap in your diet? On the other hand, if you find health that has been illuding you, look at what you have gained!

    Scare tactics on either side are frankly uncalled for. This is a personal decision to be made by each individual, and as I have learned, every person is as individual as their fingerprint, so there is no one-size-fits-all with any given intervention. Try it, tweak it for your individual needs, and THEN make the decision if it’s right for you.

    Some of the most misleading information I have ever received has come from MD’s and PhD’s who, as opposed to their god-like self-view, just were not fully educated on the topics at hand. It’s imperative that in this day and age, you do your OWN homework and don’t take ANYONE’S word without taking the time to follow the logic.

    Just my 2 cents!

  10. Hi Guys,

    My dog has an allergy to beef (?!?) and eats dog biscuits when not consuming her body weight in chicken…the dog biscuits contain high levels of cereal. Surely dogs have never had to live off grains in the wild (they struggle to harness the horse and plough for starters) so am I killing my wee beastie? Should she be on a meat diet only? How do dogs that live on grains only (those vegetarian dogs) cope with such a diet? Any vegetarians with veggie dogs out there? Thanks.

    1. You could Google that one Andi, but you would need the ingredients, your dog biscuits might contain chicken or even beef.

      Eskimo’s feed their dogs a whole fish, head, bones, guts an all, if that helps.. maybe set up a deal with a fishmonger for unwanted fish on the cheap.

  11. Ive been paleo for about a year or so, at first things were great but things have declined a lot. Im going in today in fact for some bloodtests and tests as I believe I have hypothyroidism among some other issues. Its not too hard to adhere to this diet I think, as long as you change it up and try different things. In fact there are several ways to go about a “paleo” or primal diet, with the ratio between fat/protein/carbs being anywhere from 80/20/0 to 30/30/30.

    I don’t have some problems anymore that I used to in the past, such as headaches, migraines and upset stomach a lot of the time. I remember when I was in college I had such a upset stomach that I vomited a couple of times, one time even on my birthday.

    I know a lot of what is in paleo or primal dieting and nutrition goes against conventional wisdom and what is commonly touted by the medical community but I’ve had a growing disdain for conventional wisdom ever since I read the four hour work week. A 30 day trial is all that Robb Wolf or Timothy Ferriss is asking and that isn’t asking much.

    If I had to do it all over again I would probably track it better and keep my diet more constant, especially with blood tests and testing. I don’t necessarily agree with Veganism/Vegetarianism either. I understand and relate to some of the moral and ethical issues, as I am a die hard hippie, im a member of the Zeitgeist community and meditate daily, but its a step in the wrong direction, protein sources need to be primarily animal.

    In fact animal protein is one of the reasons we were able to evolve to a much higher level, especially mentally, and enabled are brains to go larger and lead us to where we are today.

    From my own experience I would say to get a 2nd and third opinion, and don’t read one source or book and think you are an expert on the subject. At least read a few books on the subject and do your research. It takes some tinkering and adjustment to get the right diet, but it should be as natural as can be to get the best results. Track your progress on your own and with a doctor as well, especially if things start to go negatively or badly.

    I know this is primarily anecdotal and conjecture but people need to look outside the box, outside of local news and newspaper to get their answers. Doctors can be wrong, experts can be dis proven and studies can be biased as well. Timothy Ferris may not have a Phd or be a doctor but he did go to Princeton, which I believe is one of the best institutions of higher learning out there and helps develop some great minds as well.

    This isn’t entirely related and i know Four Hour Body just came out but do you plan on writing another book in the future?

  12. Even if some of our ancestry was adapted to grains, other ancestry is not so well adapted. Many of our enzymes necessary for detoxifying grains have been compromised by heavy metal and chemical toxins (especially mercury amalgam), and seed lectins which are often milled up with the grains and beans in the fake food we buy these days.

    Many will benefit from eliminating grains, industrial seed oils, legumes and dairy from their diet (in that order unless lactose intolerant.) Give the Paleo diet a try for a few weeks as an detox (elimination) diet – you might find it suits you!

    After that, follow an 80/20 rule – follow the diet strictly 80% of the time, and try out some of the eliminated foods one at a time for 20% of the time. This way you can work out what can be added back to your diet.

    A quick way to calculate your diet:

    1. Subtract 100 from your height in cm – this is the weight in gram of your protein ( x 5 to find weight of meat+cheese+eggs you eat.)

    2. Carbs are half of protein in grams.

    3. Fats are 2.5-3.5 x protein in grams (depending upon exercise.)

    – for someone 180cm tall 80g protein:40g carbs:200-280g fat

    Happy hunting.

  13. Hi!

    I´m newbie at Tim Low-carb diet. I start past monday (10th January) and i have several questions.

    Can i eat corn? Corn is a nut or a grain?

    Can i eat peas?

    Nuts have the domino problem. Otherwise, are nuts recommended?

    Can i eat a lot of beans?

    I still reading your book Tim.

  14. Tim: Thank you for all your great advice and research, I love both of your books.

    Q- In your research on the 4 hour body, did you come across any doctors that were familiar with adrenal burnout or chronic fatigue?

    In our overworked fast paced society this seems to be the new disease or problem. Many doctors do not even recognize the symptoms of adrenal gland disorders till people crash.

    One of the most common signs besides the unexplained fatigue for adrenal burnout is an insatiable craving for salt. Left untreated the adrenal problems can turn into what is called Addisons Disease and JFK ironically had this disorder. In fact Addisons dates back to the 1800’s

    Often chronic fatigue is so mislabeled and overused, but there seems to be a growing number of people with many of these same unexplaned issues.

    I have written some stories on this and hope that if you stumble across any research you will share your knowledge. One prescription for this malady is the 4- Hour Work Week for sure.

    Thanks for all your knowledge

  15. Is it possible to make refried broad bean? Ive seen recipes for fried broad bean but not for refried broad bean, I guess I could make it and see how it comes out. Are pinto beans or black beans better for refried beans? I know that in the book you put an asterisk next to black bean one of the best results for losing weight. Im a reformed paleo dieter and trying slow carb to see how it goes.

    Would appreciate any help. Beans are a whole new territory for me lol.

  16. Hi forum!

    Can i drink lactose free products like “lactose free milk”?

    I took 15 days to do your diet and have lost 4 kilos (about 8.80 lbs).

    Thank you.

  17. Thanks for reposting this Tim I missed it last fall. I had already cut out all wheat and dairy but it looks like I am now going to eliminate the brown rice and oatmeal.

    One question I had was; what about whey protein? Good or Bad?

  18. It seems to me that convenience led early humans, who unlike us reading this blog were struggling to produce enough food to survive, to stray away from the healthier hunter gatherer diet of meat, veges/fruits, and nuts and rely heavily on the grains that were more easily cultivated and less perishable.

  19. I’ve been using the PAGG stack for the last two weeks with excellent results. Unfortunately, my girlfriend tells me that the garlic supplement is making me smell terrible. I don’t want to stop taking the stack, because of the results, but I don’t want my girlfriend to recoil every time I go for a kiss.

    Is there another garlic supplement out there that will work and not make me stink?

  20. I have read the whole post, and I have to say that this area of study is extremely interesting and I follow it whole-heartedly.

    One thing that bothers me, is, assuming that grains are indeed as devastating as you mentioned, I highly doubt that chicken, turkey, lamb or eggs are not far worse. The China Study’s huge collection of studies are very convincing regarding the dangers of animal protein.

    Some more light should be shed upon this subject.

    Thank you very much, It’s always good to have people researching for scientific truth.

  21. I didn’t leave a comment when this first came out, but it sparked my interest. After a lot more research I’m now at the end of the first 3 weeks of doing Tim’s version of the diet (slow-carb with cheat day from 4HB, which was fantastic too), I am about over the cheat day.

    I feel great all week, then feel like crap when I eat any grains. I am still eating legumes, mostly black beans, but otherwise cut out bread/rice/pasta/pizza dough I was eating before. All kinds of problems I’d had for years are either clearing up or just plain gone after only a short time.

    I’ll get more specific once I’ve spent a few more weeks and gotten some more data. But so far, this is working very well for me, and I haven’t felt this healthy since I was about 25 (I’ll be 41 in a few days).

  22. Also has anyone else experienced problems when going off this diet? I was quite good for months and then I ate a few delicious bars made with whole wheat and feel like I ate a brick.

  23. Regarding the eggs, I eat about 1000 per year which I order from a small farm near my town. After two years of this (I eat the yolk too) I got my cholesterin tested and was at the low end of healthy. So I can’t say anything about other animal products but eggs are no problem.

    Regarding the long list of problems one might have with white rice and other carbs, I never had insomnia, chest pain, depression or any of the other named sideeffects, maybe weight gain but I’m quite light for my size. I’ve spent more time with people above 90 that are still walking upright and do gymnastics and I’ve looked more into areas where people grow very old. They all don’t eat much (opposite of Tim’s suggestion) but a large part of what they eat is whole grain. I’ve also seen documentaries on old age that named not eating a lot as one of the main points.

    Now I’ confused as these theories oppose each other so strongly.

  24. I want to say thank you to both Tim and Robb. As I have known about Robb and Norcal Crossfit for a few years, am familiar with Paleo and have been on the fence about it for a long time. Reading this post made me decide to give 30 days a shot.

    Today is my 8th day and I am thrilled with the results. I surprised not just about how much better I feel, and how my symptoms have gone away in such a short time (autoimmune disease, inflammation, thyroid, blood sugar), but also by how much FUN it is to cook paleo! I thought I would be miserable! There are great resources for recipes like everydaypaleo.com and nomnompaleo.com that make it easier.

    I was a vegetarian for 6 years, and ate a whole-grains natural diet for the past 20 years. All I can say is try it for 30 days,.

    To my vegan friends who I highly respect: When I was in Tibet I asked them why they weren’t vegetarians.They replied that if you are vegetarian, you hurt thousands of smaller animals like insects and worms when you harvest – who are we to decide that one life is better than smaller life? They loved their animals, like the yak that they took care of and raised, honored in death, and consciously consumed it gratefully. I have sought after grass fed humanely raised cows and honor them each time I eat. I am grateful for the animal’s contribution so I can help other people become more conscious reach their potential, and live a happier life.

  25. Intense read… but informative as hell. Ive been doing your slow carb diet…(lost at least ten pounds so far with no exercise yay)

    I decided to eat some rice for dinner a couple days ago… after not having it for a long time… and man it didn’t feel very good in me at all…

    I can see why

  26. Hey great article. I had one question or if you have any links to any elaborations on the point about the gallbladder. I’m 19 now and had mine out when I was 18. I changed my diet to one much healthier before and began to exercise. Now what I’m wondering is since I weight train now and am trying to put on some muscle mass, how badly will my lack of a gallbladder effect? I’m thinking in regards to digesting fats and protein. I have some fat on my but no where near what I had a few years ago. I think some of it could be excess skin however. But any and all thoughts would be appreciated,

    -Erik

  27. You are recommending eating nuts…but don’t they also have toxins to prevent their being eaten?

    Fruits are offerings. They want to be eaten.

    Green vegetables are parts of the plant. They are not offering themselves up to be eat, but they generally won’t invest a lot of energy making toxins to dissuade.

    But seeds.. they don’t want to be eaten. They want to form the next generation. So what about other seeds aside from grain seeds:

    sesame seeds

    pumpkin seeds

    sunflower seeds

    and nuts which are seeds of nut trees.. almonds, hazel nuts, etc.

    I understand nuts also have phytates?

    thanks Gina

  28. You mentioned gall bladder removal. Many have it removed due to gallstones, yet not because of low production of bile salts or acid as I refer to it. The acid is produced and enters the stomach continuously without regulation of the gall bladder. This wreaks havoc with the whole bathroom neccessity after eating. You do not address this issue or the effect on the other functions that occur in the stomach.

    1. @Enis “If you stop consuming dairy how will you get enough calcium?”

      How did we get calcium before milk bottles? Did we throw ourselves under a wild yak and latch onto a teat for dear life whenever we felt thirsty?

      No, we get calcium through food.

      Some sources that spring to mind are: kale, collard greens, tofu, shellfish, salmon, legumes, oranges, almonds, black-eyed peas, sardines etc. Oh and get lots of vitamin D, which aids calcium absorption.

      I’ve also recently read that milk isn’t such a great way to get calcium anyway, as it contains high amounts of calcium-blocking protein. Go figure. I’ll leave that one to Tim and the technical folk here.

  29. I found the part about iron deficiency in 4HB interesting… except I am one of those males that tends toward very low iron (to the point of anemia when I go without an iron-supplemented multi). I’ve almost not been able to donate blood because my iron is generally low (tho’ I don’t seem to have any issues with low physical energy).

    Now, I am considering cutting back on my grains (by changing breakfast to eggs/lentils/spinach), but I see that things like legumes also contain phytates.

    And then there is the tea (with its tannins) that I’ve been drinking… that seems to be problematic as well.

    Would the best solution be to up my Vitamin C?

    In general my diet is more ovo-lacto with the occasional red meat (i.e. about once or twice a month) and fish/poultry (4-5x a month).

  30. @Tim and Robb,

    This is the most provocative article I’ve read in a long time and the comments alone took me five hours to read through. Thanks for sharing your ideas and insight in to an area that for most of us is a black box. I’m currently doing CRON and constantly researching new studies in an effort to find a better short list for healthy foods. If anything this can explain why things like CR and intermitant fasting work in a variety of ways. Simply by eating less often you are restricting the amount of proline passed through your body which could explain some areas of CR that have yet to be explained. My own thoughts are that every food contains beneficially nutrients and destructive nutrients in varied quantities. Balancing all of these variables is precarious at best but seems to even out when you consume less and are thus forced to eat pretty much only super foods. Even still this issue exposes why, even with our best efforts, metabolism isn’t perfect and infinately complicated. I only hope that with more new theories and research like this, that we can start to explain more precisely why our diets are not perfect and to someday be able to engineer diets that a suited more precisely to our bodies and indeed their variances.

    Great read, thanks for the article,

    Tristam.

  31. My son was diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy around the time we found out he is also on the “lighter” end of the autism spectrum. A more intensive allergy blood test showed he should really only be eating meats and certain fruits and vegetables — basically, this diet, which he has been following to avoid allergic reactions to the other foods.

    Another commenter mentioned candida, and many kids on the spectrum have problems with yeast in their digestive tracts or sometimes even in the brain. Actually, the five-year-old mentioned at the beginning of this chapter sounds like he had a yeast problem with the extended belly and inability to sleep. And it’s true — when you stop feeding the yeast with these foods, the yeast die-off can be pretty awful. We are trying to keep yeast under control.

    When I read the part about dysphagia, I recognized myself. For about 10 years, I’ve had trouble swallowing, with no apparent pattern to it. I don’t have gall bladder problems or other digestive problems, but I’m always fatigued and have sinus congestion. So I think I should put myself on my son’s diet!

  32. Tim,

    Loved this article! As a (lacto-ovo) vegetarian of 10 years I’ve often said that the ‘evidence’ isn’t compelling enough to support this kind of diet on a health basis alone. If health were my only reason I would have never stayed a vegetarian. If health is your only reason, I’d look at articles like this and various others. I felt fantastic for 3 years…then all of a sudden I had fatigue issues and foggy brain that I’ve wrestled with likely from deficiencies in things like B12, Iron, Omega-3s, Vitamin D, etc. So you’ve really got to be ontop of it!

    I’ve been trying out a moderate slow-carb, high protein diet. I drink a 35g protein shake in the morning then workout then eat a breakfast with 2-3 eggs and then generally include more vegetable protein and veggies for afternoon and dinner meals.

    My question is exactly how much protein do I really need if I’m looking to increase my strength 30-50% and muscle mass 2-3% plus lose about 2-3% body fat (I’m 21.7% now).

    Some articles say 1g protein per 1 kg body weight which for me at 120lbs would be about 54g protein. Other recommendations say 1g protein for every pound of lean body mass which is more like 94g protein a day. Big difference…especially as a vegetarian. What kind of protein intake do you generally recommend both to reach my specific goals and for people in general?

    Also…I’ve got to add this in. I’m totally eating my words right now!!! I’ve just finished devouring your 4HB book cover to cover and loved every value packed page!!! I’ve been on your blog for days now reading more of your articles and am impressed not only with the sheer depth and broadness of what you cover here but also with the person behind the words who shines through in how you respond to threads.

    So I’m eating my words because I met you briefly in NYC at a dinner with Annie L, Liyana S, Michael E., and Bryan F. You might not remember – but we ended up having a short and somewhat terse discussion about vegetarians and women and true partnership….I walked away not liking you one bit! But now I’m not only a supporter of your work but I have recommended your book and the concepts you talk about repeatedly. Just wanted you to know…perhaps we’ll cross paths at Summit Series and I’ll tell you in person. Glad I gave you another chance you more than deserved it.

    Much love and support,

    Jennifer

    1. @ Jennifer Russell

      Loved your post Jennifer, esp. the last piece where you spoke of changing your attitude towards Tim. This shows just how comfortable you are in your own skin.

      Most people are loath to change their minds, even when presented with hard evidence, and this is why we get the sticky myths of fat=fat, eggs=cholesterol and caffeine=dehydration etc. that just won’t go away.

      I’ve just watched a great YouTube video of Lierre Keith (who wrote ‘The Vegetarian Myth’ after 20yrs as a vegan) where she talks of this same thing in terms of ‘Cognitive Dissonance’.

      This inability to accept new information and change our minds is – I feel – the biggest hurdle that people like Tim, Robb, Lierre etc. face. It manifests itself – to our detriment – in an even more destructive manner in government bodies and educational institutions, who, like giant, lumbering ships, are subject to a form of inertia which makes it almost impossible to implement a change of course without huge effort.

      So, without further ado, Jennifer, I salute you. 😉

      Info about The Vegetarian Myth here:

      http://www.lierrekeith.com/vegmyth.htm

  33. “The only opinion worth having, is one you’re prepared to ditch when new, better evidence comes along. If you can’t then what you have is not an ‘opinion’, but quasi-religious blind faith”. 😉

  34. Another very interesting piece of news: The oldest man on earth just died. How did he stay fit till 114? He only ate twice a day, so it’s yet another hint towards not eating high volumes, although it could be interpreted differently. In the 4HB you describe feeding a man who never ate much, he might have gained muscle while losing years. It will be interesting to read more on such cases in the near future and compare them.

  35. Even more interesting news: The new oldest man alive just turned 114 too. Jiroemon Kimura is Japanese and prefers meals with red beans and rice (grain carbs + legumes)! There seems to be a trend here.

  36. Robb and Tim,

    Thank you for this post. The information presented resonated strongly with me and I have cut most gluten out of my diet… Tinea Versicolor GONE! I won’t even list the other improvements — this one is huge. Now I’m off to swing my kettle bell. Keep up the good work!

  37. It would seem that people who alter their diet by removing gluten to protect their “guts” would also refrain from all alcohol intake that is similarly harmful to their “guts.” This is not the case, however, and therefore, it comes across as disingenuous to advocate for abstention from one but not the other. For me, I’ll take the weekly pasta dinner over the glass of wine any day…to each his own!

  38. What is your perspective on CHIA seeds?

    Surely paleo brethren ate seeds between the hunts. And what of the feast famine dynamic rather than protein daily?

  39. I wonder if there might be any sex differences in regards to diet. Maybe women are more tolerant of vegetable based diets (berries, tubers, leaves) due to foraging and men are better on marrow/meat diets due to hunting/scavenging. 80,000 years or so might be enough time to select for those adaptations. Of course, variations in modern populations could be accounted for by genetic drift.

    Interesting article!

  40. I am concern about the some of the diet choices that you posted for the article. Having to be gluten free myself, it is easy to overlook things like condiments and forget that they can hide gluten within as can sauces. I think being a bit more specific and careful of such things might be advantageous if you indeed do want/need to avoid gluten entirely. Other than that, some good information that I will be thinking about.

  41. Dose anyone know how coffee beans, cocoa, vanilla, and the like fit into Paleo? They are not legumes, but do they contain lectins or look-a-likes?

  42. I went on a low carb meat and plant based diet for a month and got really ill, low energy and lost way too much weight. I was down to 45 Kgs and I am 176 cm, while I do agree that people consume too much grain I dont think it should be completely ruled out. You can find poisons/inflammatory substances etc in every food we eat if you put them all under the microscope. I think that is why it so important to eat a variety of food, so were not eating the same poison all the time.

  43. So are you saying that Whole Grain toast is NOT good? I thought it was which was the reason I buy it and eat it with my turkey breasts! can you please be more specific in saying what exactly IS good and what exactly isn’t?!

  44. So many conflicting posts all over web about whether Sweet Potatoes are Tim Ferris approved… In your above weekly menu, Sweet Potato Hash is mentioned. Not sure what that is, but does that mean that Sweet Potatoes are indeed a slow-burning carb?

    Love Love Love this food plan, btw. Losing like I haven’t before. So thankful for some truth and real guidance FINALLY!

  45. Has anyone ever heard about “bio-individuality”? I think it’s fair to look into the fact that no one diet is right for everyone. Many people will do awesome on the Slow Carb diet and others with a very different genetic background will do thrive on fruits and veggies, I really think it varies.

  46. while this all sounds very reasonable and interesting i think there’s a lot of manipulation behind it. let’s compare it to adverts. you know the typical: buy this it’s perfect just because it does…

    my point is that this might be good for some people and that all this substances MIGHT be harmfull, but you shouldn’t overread the “can”, “possibly” etc. maybe some things mentioned happen because of stuff inside of grains but they might as well not. you can’t put this scheme on every person in earth. not everyone is becoming diabetic or the like because of grain.

    and if all you care for is the negative stuff in grain go on and support genetic engineering. nothing’s impossible.

    so i’ll be happy eating my bread with cheese in half an hour.

    P.S. i support and eariler mentioned comment: if you listen to everyone you’re only allowed water.

    wait no… the water might contain something that’s killing your cells -.-‘

  47. Tim,

    You discuss lectins (grains, legumes, including peanuts) as clogging/agglutinating our systems but in other places in your book you encourage eating black beans and other lectin containing foods. Are these foods you suggest you should eat in moderation depending on one’s intolerance or reaction? Does cooking affect the lectin levels in foods? Also, you suggest eating egg whites – what is wrong with the yolk?

    here is some good research on lectins for your info

    http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

    http://www.healthy-eating-politics.com/toxins-in-food.html

    In addition, this paper discusses the ability of lectins to bind to insulin receptors on your cells, enabling the transport of glucose into the cell, much like insulin does. The import of this is that even vegetables and nuts, which are staples in a low carb diet, can stall weight loss if they contain active lectins which mimic insulin.

  48. There are always 2 sides the every debate, and this one in particular! I would urge people to understand the alternate side of the debate, where many doctors and those specializing in the human body can explain how the body adapts to what we eat- evolution is not only for the dinosaurs.

  49. a little quote from the book “Food in History”, talking about grains being a main staple since well before 2300 BC!!! this huge fattening of america happened how long ago? the problem isn’t grains, it is PROCESSED FOODS! please look at all sides of an issue, since this author is full of shit-The raw materials of the Sumerian diet…were barley, wheat and millet; chick peas, lentils and beans; onions, garlic and leeks; cucumbers, cress, mustard and fresh green lettuce. By the time Sumer was succeeded by Babylon a special delicacy had been discovered that was dispatched to the royal palace by the basketful. Truffles. Everyday meals probably consisted of barley paste or barleycake, accompanied by onions or a handful of beans and washed down with barley ale, but the fish that swarmed in the rivers of Mesopotamia were a not-too-rare luxury. Over fifty different types are mentioned in texts dating before 2300 BC

  50. The “staple” (for lack of a better term) carbohydrate with 4HB seems to be legumes, while according to the above, it seems to be fruit on the Paleo diet. I do not want the negative results to fat loss from fruit (as detailed in the 4HB), and I do not want the negative health consequences of legumes (as detailed above). Attempting both plans in this respect, is it possible to have a sustainable, healthy diet with no regular, “substantial” carbohydrate intake (in this case, no legumes OR fruit)?

    If not, is there some sort of carbohydrate one can eat that would be permissible by both diets?

    Thanks a lot!

    Mike

    1. Hey Mike,

      I eat no staple carbohydrates in my diet at all, unless you count greens for salads (which have negligible carbs anyways), and I am doing great. If anything maybe try going Robb Wolf style and integrating yams and sweet potatoes as your carb intake (ideally post-workout)–no harmful fructose and some good nutrients to eat with those carbs. Or Kurt Harris endorses occasional servings of white–REFINED!!–rice in a paleo diet since rice has much lower levels of lectins/anti-nutrients, at least when refined and cooked. Check out both of those guys’ blogs if you’re interested! http://robbwolf.com/ and http://www.archevore.com/

      hope that helps!

  51. I agree with Karl (Sept 25, 2010, 5:50pm) completely. This article is full of fantastic claims, all of which are plausible. But the article uses correlation to imply causation, and on top of that, it uses scare tactics to try to make its point.

    For example, the bit about plants evolving survival strategies: the author presents two strategies, and implies that grains must fall into one or the other. Since we don’t eat the fruit to spread the seed, as we do with blueberries, then grain must be poisonous. It’s very scary, but it’s also not true. It’s a false dichotomy.

    As an aside, I take issue with describing evolutionary traits as a “strategies”, as this implies design. New traits emerge by chance, organisms with detrimental traits die off, and the survivors pass their traits on to the next generation. That’s evolution, not a deliberate strategy. Species may not evolve “defensive” traits at all: some have very few predators or competitors, or they have strong “offensive” traits that promote their propagation so their sheer numbers assure their survival.

    This is a trait found in most grasses… the “strategy” is to be plentiful. There is so much grass, and it grows and reproduces so quickly, that animals can eat huge quantities of it without decimating the population. Grass doesn’t have to be poisonous to rabbits and cattle to survive. It just has to replenish itself at a faster rate than it is consumed.

    Here are a couple more things about grains that aid their survival: they are appealing to humans and they are easy to cultivate. Grains sustain us, and we believe them to be good for us, so we seed, care for, and harvest them. The survival of wheat is assured, as long as humans consider it to be a nutritious and viable food source. (This could even be considered a “give a little, get a little” strategy, or perhaps more accurately “give a lot, get a lot”, if you accept that a species can strategize). In fact, if grains are proved to be bad for humans, it will put their survival at risk.

    It may well be true that grains cause harm that offset their benefits, but the dangers and doom that are so spectacularly laid out in this article actually undermine the author’s arguments. I would very much like to see the studies that back up the claims made here, and I agree with Karl that a more reasoned approach is required.

  52. Thanks for the information. It was a big surprise to learn that I was gluten-sensitive. Even bigger was my surprise at how GREAT I feel without gluten! No more unreasonable pains; fewer digestive issues; gone is the low-level depression which confused the heck out of me. It’s good to know why gluten is such an issue.

  53. I had many anti biotics last year and it caused what I feel is leaky gut. I pretty much could eat anything without a problem before that but I started to get sick. Had all the signs of Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue. Where I live it is very difficult to get diagnostic tests for stomach related issues and i could not afford to go private so I basically had to start on an elimination diet of sorts to try to get to the bottom of what the heck it was causing the problem. I removed a lot of stuff. Wheat, eggs, milk and nuts. It was only three weeks ago when I started to follow the low carb diet with clean carbs (and some veggies and fruits added in) that I began to feel better. That and stepping up my water intake which prior to the diet change was NIL. lol. I did get water…in copious cups of tea and coffee!

    This past week I decided finally to have a cheat day…I deserved it I felt. Not a good idea! My gut was like a be afran childs within half an hour and I had sinus symptoms and eyes felt like crap. Absolutel nightmare. All I had was a caramel slice and a large Mocha! Sucks to be me because I can’t cheat it seems LOL!

    Well not at least on utter crap that has no nutrition value whatsoever anyway… I was so pissed but i guess my stomach is trying to be my best friend at the moment cos if I ate half of that trash it winds up in my blood anyway and eventually would kill me. Listen to your gut!

  54. Got a copy of Cindy’s message and came back to elaborate on my experiences and to say, yes, I am gluten and lactose intolerant but it has been a case of pharmageddon that got me where I’m at not so much anything to do with a regular allergy as such that has just been there all along but masked. I feel pharmaceutical medicine (anti biotics and steriods for chest infections and other health issues) are over used, and this is causing many people to have problems similar to mine after taking various scripts for medication. One of the anti biotics that I took I later looked it up and it can cause spontaneous rupture of tendons! I was so angry because given the choice, I would have told my GP to script another anti biotic or run a test to see what the bug was before scripting one.

    These days a lot of health problems are down to what I call dumb medicine. By that I mean, the average GP thinks he is an expert and yet has no nutritional qualifications to pick up deficiences causing health related problems, and no knowledge of the drugs he is prescribing – they dont even research drug trials in some cases. They just get told about a new amazing drug and script it. When you go back and say it isnt working or there are side effects, often they’ll script you something for the side effects and tell you to keep using the other drug. Looking at the average set of side effects for most drugs these days I ask myself, why the heck do Doctors script them – some seem laced with dangerous side effects that are worse than what your presenting with in their surgery!

    I have to add that not eating too great in the first place and possibly having various deficiencies pre disposed me to anti biotic use on the other hand as I didn’t eat Paleo and I was not a purist as such, but i certainly did not eat masses or processed foods. Everything was in balance and in moderation where junk was concerned. The cart got tipped with pharmaceutical drugs IMO. The reason I have come back to point all this point all that out is, there are many people in disbeleif that grain could be unhealthy food or a problem for them, but they can get away with eating grain and drinking milk right now in their lives – no problem. So they see the issue as alarmist I guess, but at some point this may change for them health wise.

    For me at almost aged 48 yrs it was a bit of a shock to have to change my diet so drastically. The hilarious thing is my food was 70% natural and the other 30% was junk related (and when I say junk related I mean flour based and grain based with gluten and milk etc). These days I’m dead against the consumption of milk as I feel it causes more osteoporosis than it cures. Ironic that it is alkaline before drinking and highly acid and pulls calcium from bone when it’s digested. Especially homogenised and pasteurised stuff! We are our own worst enemies at times as a species. Half the deaths out there are down to pharmaceutical drug side effects because patients did not change their life style or their diet instead they relied on drugs and continued eating unhealthy food. GP’s given them an excuse to when they script durgs for high blood pressure or high cholesterol indefinitely without decent dietary advice to reverse their health problem.

    When I visited my GP with the gut related issues it only tool two years to get come to the realisation that it was a food allergy! My GP kept insisting it was “IBS” and just stress and I was scripted IBS medications which exacerbated my health problems all the more. When i went back and told him drugs were not working, i.e. causing other gut related problems, he just scripte me medications to get rid of the side effects of the drugs. e.g. I became seriously constipated because I took meds for diahorea and also cholofac which slows down the gut motlility. The GP gave me something to take for constipation instead of looking at the colofac and taking me off it. More drugs get added to that pile if you in anyway seem depressed because of your ongoing gut related issues e.g. anti depressants. GP’s have become too blaze when someone shows up in their practice with these problems and just happy to write a script out for IBS medications instead of investigating each patients symptoms and ruling other more complex and irreversible gut related issues out first that may be causing issues such as allergy, chrons disease, ulcers or colon cancer etc.

    I do not trust ANY GP now because of this. Almost every drug that I have been scripted in the last two years has hit one symptom and created ten more and practically wrecked my immune system. GP’s are all too happy to script drugs that arn’t even testd for any longer than three months…look at the mass scripting of anti depressants as an example. If your using any drug that is less than 7 yrs used in patients call yourself a guinea pig. That goes for most of the anti biotics they are creating these days which are extremely chemotherapeutic. I hate to be cynical but the reason why so many people are suffering in my situation (even when eating what I used to consider some healthy foods such as whole grains) is modern medicine is destroying what is technically 70% of a persons immune system when they script anti biotic.

    I know sometimes these drugs are necessary and save lives and there is a place for them, but they are scripted out all too easily in a lot of cases. Likewise drugs for high blood pressure or high cholesterol… which often see the patient go home and just continue eating as they did before without even looking at the cause for the high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. This is why? Because GP’s just write a script and watch numbers instead of sending the patient to a dietician as a compulsory part of their appointment to set them on the right track. Once they get to a dietician though…half of them haf different views on what should be eaten and what should not be eaten.

    Unless the average person has the brains to hit the net and research their health related issues and clean their act up, they are on their way down a slippery slope with a six foot hole at the end of it. My GP told me to “go home and eat normally and just take this and this twice a day.” Ironically I was 14 pounds over weight too at the time. Since then I have gone up to 175 lbs (5ft 1) and my health has slowly deteriorated to the point that I had what I felt was frozen shoulder (both arms) every day and I don’t even lift weights at the moment or do anything major to have such muscle problems. I have had to research and diagnose myself because the local hospital do not take referrals at the moment for gut related issues unless you are bleeding from the back passage or in excrutiating pain. When I researched I had every symptom of fibromyalgia and i started to treat myself holitically for that as well as eliminating foods from my diet. This technically should be done under a dietician here, but my GP has just not been onto this at all.

    I’m in New Zealand and here we do not have a user pays system… it is funded. You cannot get health care insurance for ongoing health problems. In other words, I was at the mercy of the crap hospital system they have here and had to literally bail myself out after beuingfed up everytime i went to see my GP. I was on three drugs for IBS and then she wanted to give me anti depressants because surprise surprise I was depressed with all my gut related issues which were being made worse due to ignoring the real problem = serious allergy to foods I was eating. I have NO faith in modern medicine anymore. I’m far more likely to research for a natural cure these days and drop by my health food store than resort to a GP visit. I do get concerned about other people like me who are not intelligent enough to figure this out or investigate their health problems and who listen to everything their damn GP says – which often is just not for your best interests at all.

    1. That article did NOT conclude that “lupus is a form of gluten sensitivity”. Having reported 3 case studies, the article, entitled “Gluten sensitivity masquerading as systemic lupus erythematosus”, concluded that:

      “The prevalence of antigliadin antibodies in patients with SLE has been reported to be 23%. None of these patients had an enteropathy on biopsy. The conclusion was that there is no association between CD and SLE, but an association between gluten sensitivity and SLE cannot be excluded. More likely, however, is the possibility of misdiagnosis of SLE in

      patients with gluten sensitivity.”

      To causally associate gluten sensitivity with an awful disease like SLE which has a 100% mortality, either due to wilful misprepresentation or a failure to properly read, but either way through sloppy research, is an absolute disgrace, brands you as a fanatic and undermines your statements.

      1. Seconded. Autoimmune disorders and their interrelationships is an interesting, but still developing subject. Autoantibodies that are principally associated with one autoimmune disorder are often found to pop up in others (e.g., Specific ANAs associated with primary Sjogren’s also found in SLE and vice-versa). The article he cites is an example of that, but he seems not to have read the article, and instead issued a baseless claim based only on the title and/or abstract.

  55. Hi Tim,

    This blog at the Paleo Diet Solution has been a real life changer for both my son and me. He reads your blog regularly, came across this last fall and checked into. When I first heard about his new way of eating I was beyond skeptical … mostly that anyone could stick to it. He printed the blog and I picked it up and started reading very quickly knowing it was information I could not ignore. I jumped in fully the very end of October and am very thankfully totally happy with all my results. Can’t imagine eating any other way again. Once you experience the results … it becomes even easier. I began to eliminate and/or head off some health issues–losing weight has been a very pleasant bonus. I began as a size 12 and am now a loosely fitting 6 and have been for over 2 months. In pounds it’s 30+ from my highest weight. I so believe in this that I have a video posted on my website in the “Food – Health Full” link called “The Paleo Strip” where “demonstrate” (“G” audience style) my dramatic results. Thanks again for sharing! My life is changed!

  56. oh nooo…so even quinoa is a no no!???

    I’m crushed… but also definitely confused…so much (conflicting) info out there!

    The raw foodists… the vegans… paleo… and everyone claiming to be right and superior to the other… and yes you can research, BUT there are studies that will convince you of either lifestyle…

    Sooooo…I guess I just have to try for myself what works best..

    The one thing I do get is that most grains are bad for you and pretty much most dairy..

    BUT even quinoa and oats!? now that is crushing!

  57. Something of interest…I’m highly allergic to moulds and was before I had problems with grains in my diet. Mould brings on asthma for me if there is enough of it around. I can walk into a room that has black mould and my nostrils start to burn within seconds they are that sensitive to it. I had hoped when I removed wheat and gluten from my diet that I’d be able to stomach oats somehow as I’ve always loved porridge oats with egg whites and some nutmeg as a high protein snack.

    Unfortunately I can’t eat those now…my stomach bloats within minutes of eating them and I get the runs. Strange thig is I noticed that all porridge oats (no matter what brand they are) smell like black mould to me when I either smell them dried or cooked. I feel generally unwell after eating them. Got to be something in that…either oats are exposed to black mould in the vats and the manufacturers are not keeping the vats clean or the oats themselves attaract mould anyway.

  58. When I gave up gluten and dairy, my cravings for junk food and sweets were reduced DRASTICALLY. I believe people are not only addicted to gluten, but to the chemical additives in all the process foods that contain gluten. If you think “omg…I could never give up bread or pasta” then you are probably addicted.

  59. Just popped back to add that I have just found out that a lot of my so called chronic fatigue was adrenal exhaustion and mild hypothydroid probs. I’m very deficient in iodine apparently (which is a common thing here) due to the fact that I had not been using iodised salt and had in fact cut my sodium levels low (supposedly good dietary advise!). The average diet these days is very high in processed foods and manufacturers do not use iodised salt, they just use normal bog standard table salt. For those who diets are not processed, often they’re advised by most nutritionists to cut sodium drstically in their diets to avoid health problems and water retention.

    I went to my GP over a year ago with the same symptoms:

    gut problems

    water retention

    puffy hands and face, neck

    severe fatigue

    aches and pains and prone to injuries

    tinitis (chronic)

    eye problems

    itchy scalp and skin

    drastic hair loss on top of scalp

    increased tendency to infections and easily in injured

    blood pressure was higher than normal

    low temperature (constant)

    irregular menses (three monthly)

    All symptoms of hypothydroidism. I could never get warm no matter what I did. I used to have an awful shivering sensation as I was dropping off to sleep at night and as my body temp dropped. It would feel like a buzz through the nerves from my extremeties to the core or me. My allergies increased and new ones cropped up. I’ve been suffering these symptoms for two years. My G[ ran thydroid checks but mine came back within the normal ranges so that idea was canned. Apparently though, if you’re deficient in iodine for any length of time, you’re body is placed under a lot of stress due to the low temperature (which only needs to be a degree or so below normal = 98.6) and the adrenal glands are over active and can become exhausted and overworked (adrenal exhaustion). Because you’re releasing stress hormones and so on you wind up gaining weight due to a slow down in metabolism.

    There is also a syndrome called Wilson Syndrome that mimics hypothydroidism and which does not crop up on thydroid tests either so it would pay people who have had similar symtpoms to get their iodine levels checked to see if they’re deficient, as just treating you for that, and bringing the body temperature back up can kick start weight loss apparently. Many people who are on extreme clean diets are susceptible to this. It’s one of the reasons I wound up deficient I feel. I removed all iodised and table salt because manufactures use aluminium salts as a free flowing agent. I switched to sea salt which is lower in iodine and used less salt and over time that occured for me. In New Zealand apparently in 2010 they raised the RDA for iodine as it is a common occurence here apparently and the Health Boards and Midwives now advise all women who are pregnant to be prescibed iodine subsidised. But the population in general is low in iodine as it is not high in the soil either.

    I highly advised anyone who has had ANY unusual fatigue with a similar story to get their iodine levels checked not just their thydroid hormones! Honestly I had such a foggy head in recent weeks I felt like the top of my skull was full of cotton wool. This problem can lead to an autoimmune disorder also if not corrected. As soon as I started to supplement with iodine I had a rush of energy. I advise to go slow though and take small doses and build up as the thydroid can be shocked when it has not had any iodine in a while. Case in point, my throat has been aching on the weekend because my thydroid is so iodine sensititive. Unbelievable!

    I honestly thought I was going nuts through it all as I was eating clean, not eating anymore than I would normally do. Yet I was gaining truck loads of weight and water. But apparently you can literally be on something ludicrous like 600 calories a day and if you’re thydroid is not working due to iodine deficiency you’re body goes into conservation mode and you’re metabolism slows right down to a grinding halt. I pulled my achilles tendon just going for a walk because my ankles were so swollen with water and the muscles had wasted. It is awful.

    If anyone has a weight loss stall and you have been cutting sodium like crazy and there is no iodine in you’re multi, get you’re iodine levels checked. The RDA here now is at least 150 mcg per day. Big jump up! My naturopath gave me adrenal and thydroid support and I’m booked in for Bowen therapy and lymphatic drainage massage to get my lymph glands cleared later this week. But my energy is fantastic since taking the supplements on the weekend! I mean I did go an buy a multi a while back to cover all my bases but it did not contain iodine, so people beware. It can lead to a big fat autoimmune disease if it isnt picked up. Worse still I had been cutting salt even further back and eating even cleaner due to the salt retention on the advice of my GP. I feel so relieved because food allergies are the first to go UP when you’re thydroid is not in check or functioning well.

  60. Valerie, iodine supplementation can be extremely dangerous. I use seaweed products (hopefully not poisoned by Fukishima) and that seems to help me immensely. Liquid chlorophyll made from seaweed, toasted seaweed treats, etc.

  61. PS: Do you’re research before supplementation. To avoid major side effects, don’t go gung ho and take whacking great doses all at once. Otherwise MAJOR detox problems are headed you’re way. I’ll keep you all posted lol!

  62. Cool. Another highly debatable topic. Iodine versus Scaremongering medical professionals who prefer we walk around deficient in the stuff, get seriously ill so they can get rich from it all. If you are one of these people who have been brain washed into thinking that iodine is poison I highly recommend doing the following:

    Research and look at these articles and web sites. You need to!

    http://www.health-science-spirit.com/lugol.htm

    Read the whole of that guys web site. You will possibly not be converted right there but go a little further:

    http://joannebrophy.com/programs/iodinetherapy.htm

    http://www.newswithviews.com/Howenstine/james37.htm

    Also research Iodine as a detoxifier of heavy metals in you’re body. Apparently those pesky side effects the medical establishments warn us all about are

    actually major detox symptoms e.g. bromide, flouride and metals such as aluminium, lead, arsenic, mercury. Probably we all know that when you’re not getting enough iodine (deficiency) the thydroid holds these toxins in you’re body? Guess not. If not check those articles out. You need to. The less iodine you have in you’re body, the sicker you get. Consider that the thydroid gland is the gatekeeper for all other organs and glands to function correctly and at full tilt in the body. Iodine is not only needed for you’re thydroid to convert T4 to T3, it is also needed by those glands for them to function and be healthy. Studies into Fibrocystic breasts revealed, women suffer less the higher their iodine intake is for example.

    Your thydroid can’t do it’s job without T3, so if you don’t get enough iodine, you’re

    thydroid is underactive by varying degrees. Consider also that the typical RDA for

    iodine was set between the 60’s and the 80’s (need to check this) when lot’s of studies were done to determine what was needed in the way of iodine for the thydroid to function adequaltely. They reckon that that magic figure back then was 150mcg. However, in countries where iodine intake is much higher, (e.g. Japan 12-50MG per day) no harmful effects are seen and in fact they have the lowest rate for cancer and sickness throughout the world. They LIVE on a high seaweed diet yes. Seaweed in itself has a detoxifcation method…it actually uses iodine to clean the toxins out of itself.

    See studies into the following and plug them into Google. Heaps will come up for study:

    Iodine deficiency causes breast cancer and other types of cancer or prevents such

    Iodine is an anti fungal, anti bacterial and tonic Iodine scare mongering In healthy people iodine is found in every gland in the body, not just in the thydroid gland and this prevents diseases. The RDA above is set for the thydroid gland function only, not for the anti cancer or disease effects to other organs in you’re body.

    The typical so called side effects of large doses of iodine supplementation are correlated with large amounts of toxins (that I mention) being excreted in the urine of those that take them and the easiest way to cut back on detox effects is to cut back the dose and then gradually buid the dose up. Start low and go slow in other words just as you would if you did a detox diet.

    If you choose to listen to the propoganda that iodine is harmful and hazardous to you’re health after looking at all the above then I take my hat off to you because no amount of clean diet will get you’re butt out of trouble health wise if you skip on iodine intake.

    I am living proof of this. Perhaps Tim there can do this little experimentation for us all (cos I am done experimenting with low iodine intake here thanks!) and cut iodine for 12 months or maybe 24 months completely and see how the heck he feels and then re introduce it. I think it is relative and important for people to be re educated because I for one am sick of friends and family telling me they have cancer. Two females now diagnosed with non genetic form of breast cancer in my family within two generations. Thousands of women and men developing “hormone” related cancers and the medical establishment will cannot get their heads around why we need iodine??? Yet in medical school they are taught that iodine will kill anything, slap it all over wounds and use it to kill bacterial or fungal infections or prevent them. Hilarious!

    PS: You need both types of iodine. Iodine and Potassium Iodide. One is used solely by

    the thydroid gland and the other is used by organs in the body or so this is believed.

    So if you’re going to be consistent and treat underactive thydroid and know what dose you’re taking you need to be able to measure this because seafood and diet is not an accurate barometer to gauge how much you need or where you need to go from one day to the next. Lugols idoine is therefore the best type to use when starting out and gradually increasing doses for accuracy. It is just as effective as organic iodines found in seaweed. Research this topic as thoroughly as you can before you decide what you’re opinion is re iodine and make sure that you read the following article to polish it all off:

    http://www.optimox.com/pics/Iodine/IOD-16/PUB_16.htm

    I think you will find that we are STILL all being conned in the 21st century into the

    mode of thinking that iodine is poisonous in quantities above a mcg dose and yet studies in the past prove that people taking between 12-50mg iodine per day achieved total saturation in the body and 99% of them showed NO toxic effects whatsoever! Whereas those low in iodine present with goiter, and other thydroid diseases such as thydroid cancer.

    Learning about what you’re body needs really doesn’t take much. But for me it took two years of hit and miss and spending thousands of dollars on natural supplements and remedies to get to one basic nutrient and within a week of taking that my chronic fatigue levels have disappeared. Also, for people like me who have high incidence of cancer in the family, it really matters that you make every effeort to educate youself and think outside of the box because the medical establishments have no incentive to educate you whatsoever Their propaganda re iodine is designed to scare you out of using the ONE thing that will improve you’re health big time. It’s my bet that iodine would probably win out over chemotherapy and all the other crap that allopathic medicical practitioners could probably throw at you, but then they don’t need you all knowing that because iodine is less costly and doesn’t make the medical profession rich does it??

    1. Er, your thyroid doesn’t “need” T3 to function, it MAKES T3 (and T4) by iodinating thyroglobulin. In peripheral tissues, T4 is converted to T3 by deiodinases, through the REMOVAL of iodine moieties from T4.

      But, back on topic.

  63. I am starting to see the benefits of this diet on paper.

    I however have been a vegetarian for 24 years. I am considering adding fish to my diet (which currently includes eggs and some cheeses). It’s going to be a very difficult road even getting my head around it, let alone my system, which has been free of flesh for so long.

    I have just started taking krill oil and that’s certainly a big step for me.

    Any suggestions on how to incorporate fish into my diet slowly?

    Also, any suggestions on fish that doesn’t taste too ‘fishy’ ?

    I’d like to stay away from meat and poultry altogether and keep things eggy and fishy.

    I would appreciate any advice from the experts on this board!

    Thanks!

    1. If you can afford it, alaskan halibut is excellent tasting.

      I just add sea salt (unprocessed) and pepper.

      Add a little organic butter to a pan and sear it about 5-6 min on each side or until its done.

      good luck

  64. Why are the so many centenarians in Sardinia? Could they be living to 120 if they gave up pasta and bread?

    What about bowel cancer? Most paleolithic people didn’t live much past 50.

    Do we have any idea how many people live with some degree of gluten-derived gut inflammation? How many people have detectable IgA levels?

    I assume that there is a spectrum from full coeliac to no problem at all with gluten, and that most people have no problem at all with gluten. And this will be determined largely by genotype, possibly HLA markers in some cases, possiby also by environment e.g. past episodes of leaky gut from whatever cause allowing systemic exposure to gliadin. There is likely to be population-based differences associated with genotypic differences. But I don’t have evidence, and I’ve not seen any from any blogger who has professed authority in this area.

    Basically I’d like to know: across the asymptomatic population as a whole, how serious an issue is this? Certainly Stephan Guyenet (http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/), who seems to take an evidence-based, non-hyperbolic approach, noticed little or no effects of a gluten challenge following several weeks exclusion. And he’s paid-up paleo.

    Comments welcome.

  65. Interesting article with a lot of good stuff in it

    But:

    Talking about the potential association between grains and Huntingdon’s as if it is established fact is just incorrect.

    If you are born with the chromosomal defect responsible for Huntingdon’s disease, unfortunately you will get this disease, irrespective of what you do or do not eat.

    It would be great if the 2 cases under investigation yield valid data concerning a link between grain and Huntingdon’s but presenting something which is still very speculative as ‘fact’ is misleading and (in my opinion) undermines what was otherwise an interesting read…

    1. Agreed. I had missed that association in my initial skim-through, but now that you mention it, I am positively shocked that made it in. Perhaps it’s not entirely fair, but it does make one consider the source a bit more skeptically when that source implies that lectins are somehow a causative factor in the development of Huntington’s. There’s no relationship; whether or not you will develop the disease is determined at the moment of conception.

      Additionally, Robb seems to be a bit fuzzy on the science of celiac disease and associated autoimmune disorders. In fact, there is substantial evidence to support the idea that celiac disease IS an autoimmune disorder (it’s not the GLUTEN that affects TTG, but rather auto-antibodies to TTG made by the patient), and a bit of study will demonstrate that autoimmune disorders have a damnable tendency to cluster together.

  66. I hope u guys really read this, your diet wont work for someone like me who stays in Africa: Nigeria precisely- if i stay away from rice, bread,corn etc what am i supposed to take? We havent got strawberries, cauliflowers and stuff, an even if we do, i don’t know what you mean by marina sauce,indian-style coleslaw,western omelet,jerky, chicken fajita salad,pot pork loin,and other stuff, here’s what we got- rice, beans, yam, garri, potato, fishes, meat(beef, u dont want to know the other types), chicken,turkey, apple,banana, water-lemon, pawpaw,grape, lime, garden egg, vegetables and various types of soup eaten with either garri or yam(pounded)- no pun intended but for the most part, u speaking GREEK- If i stay off those stuff(grains)then there’s basically nothing to stay on- we also got snacks but its egg-roll,meatpie, fishpie,sausage( dont know if it’s the same as yours ) cake,biscuits, gala or maybe beef-roll etc, way different from what u mentioning so what’s someone in my “high-heels” supposed to do? Any ways thanks for the information, it’s unbelievable but i’m guessing true- thanks

  67. The information you present is well articulated and sums up to problems with present day diets in a way that makes it fairly easy for anyone to understand. Thanks for that.

    As a reader in search of a lectin free or a lectin low diet- i get all the stuff about beans and grains. No problem. Where i am struggling is around the contradictory information i have been reading (many sources) on the foods highest in lectins. Among these are tomatoes (especially cooked), potatoes, and all nuts. yet, your menu suggestion (very helpful, BTW) includes these foods. Can you shed any light on this and help me (and other readers?) to get this right. There are some folks out there that really need this help.

    Thanks much

  68. For me I try to have several vegan days per week.

    I listen to my body and eat animal protein when I crave it.

    I try to alternate between wild caught alaskan fish and chicken or turkey.

    I do eat a lot of beans tho. Cook a pot of them every week and eat on them several days.

    What to do…

  69. Holly,

    Do you want to be Vegan but find it not practical. reasons for your current plan, just curious? Love the fact you listen to your body.

    Keep well,

    1. Hi Amit,

      I’ve been on a health plan for almost 1 year now and have lost over 100lbs. Initially it was about losing weight now its about being as healthy as I can be. I believe that vegan is very healthy but I also believe that every “body” is different and we have to listen to the clues we receive from our body on a daily basis. I have recently found myself to be Gluten intolerant and allergic to dairy and corn. It seems that once you shred your gut all of your “favorite” foods become allergens.

      Our bodies will tell us what they need if we will just listen.

      Cheers to Health!

  70. Holly,

    thanks for the response. The reason i asked why because i lost about 35 pounds and most importantly got rid of IBD experimenting with lot of diets. mixing ayurveda, primal & Ph/alkalinity principles. primal helped quite a lot but recently i just don’t feel like eating meat ( maybe spiritually)..so doing mostly lot of vegetables, some fruits, lot of flax seed oil, coconut oil, ghee, butter, olive oil with small portions of rice at times. i do need to eat 5-6 times versus 2 when i was on primal. Overall trying to burn fat for energy ( mostly following Stu Mittleman’s – Slow Burn). I don’t do great on milk but yogurt cured me and fresh made buttermilk from raw milk yogurt suits me.

    You have done awesome and made great progress. I wish you well. Cheers.

    1. What about beans? I eat them a lot. I cook a pot and eat on them during the week. Now I’m reading that they may be as bad as Gluten and Dairy? I don’t seem to have reactions to them like I do corn, wheat, etc. Any insight?

      thanks

  71. Holly,

    Couple of points that i would follow with beans:

    – i would stick to your basic essence of how your energy levels change and feels after you consume beans. Let your body and sensitivity be your guide. I used to have issues when i was going through IBD/IBS issues but now it seems fine. Any food that constantly gives you bloat, heartburn shows that your body is uncomfortable digesting it

    – How you prepare beans is very important. precooked out of a can is an issue but if you soak overnight or sprout a little before cooking. I usually add tomatoes, onions, leeks, lot f herbs, jalepenos and spices as personal preferences.

    – according to ayurveda beans are list of foods which are difficult to digest or irritants along with eggplants, okra, peppers, potatoes and should be avoided during indigestion or if you have digestive disorders.

    Hope this helps.

  72. hm… i’m sorry to be a tad boring but i think your website could look a little bit better and a little more easy on the eyes if it had more of a green vibe to it, however that is just me. good post anyhow! 🙂 Best regards, Stander

  73. Thanks for explaining some of the digestive science – that’s the kind of thing that will help me stay on track as I transition to a grain-free diet!

    I’ve been soy, corn, and dairy-free for years with great improvement but recently was forced to acknowledge that wheat/grain is also problematic. On two occasions I set out to eat “paleo” for a day and felt fine, although hungry, all morning. Both times I gave in and ate grain in the afternoon and soon felt bloated, lethargic, and get this, still hungry.

    My biggest concern as I embark on such a major dietary change is how to make it kid-friendly so the whole family can enjoy better health. I suspect malabsorption issues with my middle child, an underweight preschooler who is somewhat picky with vegetables and not a big meat-eater. He is also my stubborn one so going on a grain-free diet is sure to be an adventure! Wish me luck.

  74. So… no retractions or corrections whatsoever? Even with something so laughably absurd as the assertion that somehow any of this is associated with Huntington’s?

  75. Just curious if there is a way, other than a can that says it bpa free to tell if a can is lined with bpa…? I’ve seen the insides of an ungodly amount of cans lately(Thanks Tim!!!) and there seem to be a couple of types, at least in my area. Most are a semigloss white inside, which I’m assuming is the plastic lining, but the other predominant ones are galvanized inside. If they galvanized the inside of the can would they still coat it in bpa…? I will try to cook the dried beans when possible but with my work schedule it’s not the most convenient way to get my legumes… Thanks for any input…

  76. http://www.overcomingmultiplesclerosis.org/Resources/

    Q: “Should gluten be excluded from my diet?”

    A: … “In fact the researchers found no statistically significant association between coeliac disease and subsequent multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hereditary ataxia, the symptom ataxia, Huntington’s disease, myasthenia gravis or spinal muscular atrophy. This is very strong evidence that there is no link with gluten.” …

  77. I am have not only had my gall bladder removed when I was quite young (17) but I have also had Gastric Bypass surgery. After my bypass surgery, I lost 120lbs and felt great and kept it off for about 4 1/2 years. The past couple years though I have had issues with terrible bloating after eating and have gained about about 45lbs. At times I especially notice the bloating after I have eaten stuff like sandwiches, wraps, etc. I am suppose to already be having a high protein diet but I have re-introduced some carbs, bread and occasional sweets into my diet again. I am not sure if the bloating is from the food I am consuming or if it is an internal thing that stems from my surgery. I have gone to the surgeon to have them look to see if anything is wrong internally and the tests come up negative. I am also experiencing a lot of anaemia which has also been present the last couple years since the bloating started and other strange symptoms. Because I am a gastric bypass patient I take iron and B12 supplements regularly but still seem to end up anaemic. So I guess my question is – do you know if this sort of diet would benefit me and have you heard of people in my situation experiencing similar symptoms that this diet has benefited? I would welcome any suggestions. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Problems from eating wheat products, like bread and four tortillas, are one of the main things the Paleolithic Diet was designed to avoid.

      And here is your answer to your iron deficiency question:

      “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.”

      Give Paleo a try for 30 days, and see if you feel better.

    2. jessica, exactly what do you have to lose? your health is spotty at best and you already have mucho damage from conventional eating and conventional medicine reaction to the problems it caused you (cut it out!) –

      head over to Mark’s Daily Apple and check out the “success” stories which include a plethora of medical resolutions as well as weight loss –

      good luck

  78. Our bodies are made to be healthy. It does not have to be a struggle to get thinner, stronger and healthier. We can help you reach your goals faster than you can believe and it won’t even feel like a chore. Our diet tips are tested and proven to work for a wide range of people. Easy to follow and implement into your life. Our diets won’t require expensive food or cutting out what you love. It is nothing like any diet you’ve tried before. Pills, drugs and massive diet changes can be dangerous. Our tips and programs are all safe and also effective. Being thin isn’t worth it if you lose your health. Lose weight and be healthy the right way. Food is essential for life, don’t let it be your enemy. Our diets and programs will give you a completely new outlook on food. Food will become enjoyable and never leave you feeling guilty again.

  79. This site is de facto interesting i am searching for is there any other examples? however anyway thanks abundantly because I found that i used to be yearning for.

  80. Just came back for a catch up on my health. I could not seem to get it under control for some time after posting. I removed a lot of grains and foods from the diet, and was literally playing guessing games with my health and my body was run down to the point that I literally hobbled when I got out of bed in the morning, my achilles tendons were so tight.

    Two months ago I sent a sample of hair from the nape of my neck to a company in Auckand who run tests to detect food and environmental allergies or intolerances, and I also had the vitamin and mineral tests done. It took three weeks to get the results back and when I did, it turned out that I was highly intolerant to the following

    Wheat (highest)

    Candida (was high suggesting I had systemic candida problems)

    Potatos (Nightshade vegetable)

    Tomatoes (Nightshade vegetable)

    Oranges

    Dairy (any at all)

    Mushrooms

    Coffee was a problem but lower than the above as was sugar

    You might remember I had extreme abdominal distention following eating some foods which was so bad it gave me breathing issues and made me feel wiped out and full all the time. Those foods where the ones that were cropping up for me to remove from my diet. I was also severely deficient in the following:

    All the B Vitamins

    Vitamin D

    Omega 3’s and 6’s

    Magnesium

    I was very low in B12 so all the iron the GP was scripting me was not being absorbed as B12 is needed to absorb that. My nerves were shot at because of the low B vitamin status and I did not handle stress well. My hair was falling out in handfuls and hormones all over the place because of that. Magnesium is needed by the muscles of the gut to function properly for one as is calcium, not just the muscles of the body. But the reason I couldn’t walk properly was because of the vitamin D deficiency…

    I had started to develop osteomalacia due to that. My gut was not absorbing vitamins and minerals properly from foods because the allergies had caused gut absorbency problems. As well as this being on anti biotics and prednisone for infections also wrecked my gut lining and immune system. I was not getting enough D in diet so couldn’t absorb calcium. I do go out in the sun but wear a high factor sun block because i burn within minutes and the sun over NZ is particularly harsh…

    Vitamin D deficiency is common in the elderly, people living in Australia and NZ because of the level of sun block we use to protect from skin cancer. A deficiency in d will also cause balance problems which I had begun to have when shooting. I would look through the view finder of my dslr to shoot and would veer off to one side and fall over on some occasions with the balance problems. But basically that is why a lot of elderly have falls…and then fracture their hips…they’ve done studies to show that a lot of elderly people who lack sunlight have very low bone density in hips and balance issues exacerbate the falls. So D is very important folks and if you are not getting the sunlight daily – supplement with D3.

    More or less all the vitamins that I was lacking in for years in fact are needed for good hormone production and the B’s especially also help your gut to process sugars and foods etc, so if your deficient in those, you will have a tendency to develop diabetes eventually. In my situation I wound up being deficient in those because of allergies and candida and it caused leaky gut and all the other issues after it because of the deficiencies candida causes in itself. Your hormone levels become depleted and your immunity also.

    Candida needs vitamin B’s to thrive and will cause deficiencies in that as above. I found the hair allergy and intolerance test very useful as I was able to know more or less straight away what I can and cannot eat which was such a help. It is no fun dabbling around trying to guess which foods your intolerant to, and 9 times out of 10 you will remove stuff that isn’t even a problem and keep eating the stuff that is making you ill. So finding that much out is gold. I removed all grain apart from brown rice. I removed all nightshade veggies from my diet. I also removed caffeine and have cut sugar very low whilst I heal the gut. The protocol I’m on involved addressing the candida and getting that under control as well as bumping up to high potency B vitamins and getting plenty of D in the diet until I’m back to normal bone density wise. As an aside I did see a study where they were now treating people with high levels of d 6 mothly because it reduced pelvic pain for some women, so that does support the theory that D is more like a hormone in the body.

    Since doing all that and addressing it all I am feeling a heck of a lot better. A bit of a way to go but getting there and heading in the right drection now. I highly recommend the hair tests, as I had vit d blood tests but they only show what is happening in the blood at one time (like a snap shot0 and the hair shows vitamin and mineral deficiencies over months at a time so it a good barometer to finding out what you need to take to bring your body back into a good healing state.

    I particularly found the allergy tests good, because despite numerous allergy tests via the GP, they do NOT show you any intolerances to foods. Intolerances over time can cause more damage than an allergy because people with allergies have an instant reaction and can know what it is giving them the problems and just avoid it whereas intolerances tend to never quite have you really sick enough to know you need to remove certain foods or environmental stuff causing them. Again the hair does show more on that front as it is over a long period of time not just one vial of blood taken on one day etc.

    I highly recommend that people try the hair tests and analysis. It is not cheap, but then I had been spending to the tune of thousands on my health since it started to go down hill a few years ago trying to find out what was causing issues. Supplements, surgery, constant GP visits which all resulted in me never being treated effectively. In fact GP’s made the whole situation worse by giving me drugs and medication that exacerbated the leaky gut. Plus they are not holistic in their thinking and do NOT look at your mineral of vitamin deficiencies as closely as the hair tests do. But more or less within 3 weeks of supplementing with stuff I’m lacking in high doses, I felt my energy return enough for me to attempt a candida cleanse.