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

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

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

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

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

Enter Robb Wolf.

A Common Problem

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

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

Alex, Age Five

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

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

Sally, Age Sixty-One

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

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

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

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

Jorge, Age Forty

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

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

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

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

So, What Did We Do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grains Anatomy

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


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


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


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

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

Sidebar: Oats, Quinoa, and False Friends

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

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

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

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

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

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

One for Me and One for You

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Brother from a Different Mother—Molecular Mimicry

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

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


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

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

Really? Digestion? Again?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full of Bile

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


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

It Gets Better

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

Osteoporotic Much?

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

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

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Infertility

• Type 1 diabetes

• Multiple sclerosis

• Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Lupus

• Vitiligo

• Narcolepsy

• Schizophrenia

• Autism

• Depression

• Huntington’s

• Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

• Hypothyroidism

• Porphyria

But I’m Not Sick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But I Like Bread and Pasta!

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

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

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

Week 1


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

LUNCH: Chicken fajita salad

SNACK: 2 oz chicken, apple, few avocado slices

DINNER: Grilled salmon, roasted green beans, side salad


BREAKFAST: Leftover salmon, walnuts

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

SNACK: Jerky, macadamia nuts

DINNER: Rotisserie chicken, steamed broccoli, side salad


BREAKFAST: Leftover chicken w/salsa, ½ avocado

LUNCH: Tuna and cabbage salad

SNACK: Remainder of tuna and cabbage salad

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


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

LUNCH: Leftover pork loin

SNACK: 2 hard-boiled eggs, almonds

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


BREAKFAST: Sausage stir-fry breakfast

LUNCH: Easy ceviche

SNACK: 2 oz chicken, apple

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


BREAKFAST: Chicken apple hash

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

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

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


BREAKFAST: Western omelet, sweet potato hash

LUNCH: Lamb patties, tomato, lettuce, strawberries

SNACK: Turkey, avocado

DINNER: Halibut, roasted asparagus, berries with balsamic vinegar

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


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

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with over 400 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.

1,392 Replies to “How to Keep Feces Out of Your Bloodstream (or Lose 10 Pounds in 14 Days)”

  1. I very well written article without being too ‘demanding’. QUICK suggestion would be to put some kind of indication of the sample diet of a calorie/weight classification that could fit into. The difference between a 150lbs and 300lbs man switching over to such a diet is the difference between annoyance and homicide.

    Also, just a weird personal note. I gave up breads, pastas, dairy, soda, and alcoholic last year. Combined with some decent diet and supplements, lost 40lbs over 4 months. Odd thing…while my health got better, my allergies got WORSE. I think I ‘cleaned out’ my system to good…now my body absorption is better then it was, both for good and bad :). Tis life… Later!

    1. I have heard of people’s allergies getting worse after losing weight…a possible reason I’ve heard is that some of those harmful chemicals are stored in your body fat, and as you begin to use up that fat for energy it causes those chemicals and toxins to be released. I wonder if they would fully resolve once your BMI was totally normal and your weight stabilized?

      1. I like what I have been reading but I see no reference to potatoes in your daily eating plan. You don;t mention them in the text.

    2. The best thing you could do for yourself if you’re overweight is get over the idea that calorie intake has anything to do with it. If you’re already eating healthy–and I mean really healthy, not USDA- or PETA-healthy–then there might be a few pounds’ worth of difference with variations in caloric intake, but you’re not going to balloon up to 500 pounds on a 3000-calorie diet consisting of meat, eggs, cream, cheese, butter, a handful of nuts and a couple salads a day. Sorry.

      Eat for hormones and to avoid toxins and the rest should fall into place.

      1. That’s rubbish- and you even allude to it yourself….”…if eating really healthy…might be a few pounds”

        If you eat 3500 more calories above what you burn off, you will put on 1 pound of fat, and will continue on for every next extra calorie you consume. Doesn’t matter if you are eating finest beef steak, quinoa or candy bars.

        It’s very simple mathematics.

      2. gaz it’s not… the calorie model is based on energy realised when burning food. Seriously look it up. How much the energy released raises the temperature of water and via the specific heat capacity of water, the energy applied is calculated. If you think that’s a good model for human digestion and the endocrine system you’re nutty as a fruit bat.

  2. So hard to go without oatmeal for me. It’s the only grain I really consume on a regular basis these days, otherwise I couldn’t agree more with this. Great guest-esque blog and thanks to both Robb and Tim.

        1. Oats are still carbs which we could do without, ideally. (although heaps better than a large plate of chips followed by ice cream).

        2. if you read the article, it is clear that gluten is not the only gut irritant in grains. oats no more want you to eat them than wheat does, and they fight back. any oats are gluten-free. doesn’t make them good for you (according the article).

        3. The problem with Oat meal or using Steel Cut Oats is that we’ve become used to the “instant” microwaveable way of creating breakfast.

          However, if you look in the history of oat preparation, porridge was created by soaking oats in water or any other liquid overnight before consumption. What this does is it breaks down the oats so that it is more easily digested in the intestinal tract. The whole idea behind the Paleo diet is that wheat and many other grains inhibit the absorption of nutrients in the gut because of our inability to digest the enzymes that accompany them.

          I suggest, that if you can’t quite “oat meal,” yes go to “steel cut oats” and then begin to soak your oats in water overnight before cooking them the next morning.

    1. You could try a grain called Amaranth. It’s the highest protein grain there is and I believe it’s closely related to millet (?). In any case I eat it as a hot cereal in the morning – takes less time to cook than steal cut oats and has a nice nutty flavor. Key to these to to avoid the sugars is putting in cinnamon and nutmeg instead of syrups. Happy eating.

      1. The following links appear to contain useful info on reducing phytates in beans by fermentation (soybeans and kidney beans into tempeh):

        This is a link that makes the claim that phytates & gluten can be reduced in grains by soaking grains in buttermilk, whey, lemon juice or vinegar

      2. You can eat fatty meats too, and should. Protein needs to be backed with either carbohydrate or fat to avoid rabbit starvation. If you’re already metabolically deranged then the backing needs to be fat, as much of it from animal sources as possible, and as much of *that* from ruminants as possible. (Chicken’s way too high in omega-6s to be good as anything but an occasional treat. Unless you really, really like fish oil as a condiment on the side.)

      3. And, as his question stated, what if you’re following a vegetarian diet? Since you can not eat meat, is there anything to substitute for?

        It’s pretty straight forward english, don’t you think?

    1. Would be very difficult on a vegan diet, and just monotonous on a vegetarian diet but possible – eat lots of coconut oil for extra fats/cooking oil. Avoid soy & tofu as in addition to being a legume seed long term tofu consumption has been known to cause brain shrinkage and cognitive decline (at least in the middle-aged population that was studied by Honolulu researchers)

      For protein, eggs are your friend and so is cheese/dairy if you aren’t lactose intolerant or allergic to the proteins (Wolf is against dairy but some paleo people think it’s fine as long as you can handle the lactose & proteins)

      If you’re a vegan you’ll have to eat foods that are too inflammatory in regards to omega 3:6 ratio profile / have too many anti-nutrients.

      As long as you don’t have any disease that’s related to or worsened by chronic inflammation (i.e. heart disease, cancer, alzheimer’s, allergies), and as long as you have a ton of money to spend on Omega-3 krill oil supplementation you might have a chance at being vegan & paleo.

      You could also just eat tofu, hope it doesn’t mess up your thyroid too much, ignore the lowered sex steroid hormones in your blood caused by weaker, non-steroidal (non-cholestrol based) phytoestrogens forcing your body to lower concentrations of all sex hormones to keep equilibrium. Even then, you’d have that neurological degeneration problem but hey whatever as long as you’re doing it for the cause.

      I was a vegan for a very short time (before health issues made it clear I couldn’t do it long-term). I later realized the three main arguments for veganism are flawed. If you read enough about paleo you’ll know why the “plant-based diets are healthier” argument is false. As for the “good for the environment” argument, that’s only true when compared to industrial feedlot farming where cattle are feed subsidized (but toxic and soil-depleting) grains. Even the ehtical argument is flawed, since it’s impossible to use both a individual rights model and collective rights/harm reduction model when looking at animals* but that’s what vegans do which is hypocritical (even more so than “ethical” vegetarians who eat industrial animal by-products). If you want more info, read:

      Meat: A Benign Extravagance

      and Lierre Keith’s Vegetarian Myth (not very well written but has some good points)

      *for example: individual rights model is what is used to say Meat Is Murder, but if society followed this to the letter there would be homicide investigations every time someone saw roadkill, and a veggie farmer could be charged with negligent homicide if she accidently killed a rat when harvesting her crops. Ants invading homes could not be killed despite tresspassing since it would be the equivalent of killing a toddle who wandered into your yard. And what about situations like deer overpopulations that can threaten entire forests from starving deers eating all the baby sapling trees in desperation? (This has already happened before on some forested islands – the deer turned them into deserts).

      The other model that makes more sense is a collective rights/harm reduction model. Under this model you not only could kill and eat the over-populated deer, but doing so would be more ethical than not doing so. Unfortunately that goes against the Meat Is Murder vegan/vegetarian credo so veg*ns will pick and choose which ethical model is more convenient for them – this makes them hypocrites, though most don’t do this consciously, they just haven’t given this much thought

      1. Cardiologist William Davis has empirically confirmed much of the research presented in the above article, as documented in his book “Wheat Belly”. Admittedly, even Davis is not quite as “radical” as Robb Wolf and the Paleos. What I find most stunning about all this (the elephant in the kitchen still waiting to be recognized) is its implications for global agribusiness (Cargill, W.R. Grace, Monsanto), industrial agriculture as we have known it and even civilization itself. The implications of this science are not just a matter of diet, personal health or lifestyle. It will topple cornerstones and pillars of our entire way of life.

        1. not true Cargil, Monsanto and the like would thrive in this new system since they are heavily involved in plant grain development which is used to feed animals. Sure he says that you should eat meat that was range fed but the fact of the matter is you couldn’t produce enough meat to meet demand through range feeding and while it may be slightly better for you to eat range fed beef its still a heck of a lot better for you to eat grain fed beef (tastier too) than eat a high carbohydrate diet.

      2. I assume you kill all the animals you eat for meat, gather all the dairy and whatever else you eat from deer eating saplings and other animals that need to be “culled” for the greater good, since you couldn’t possibly be a hypocrite… And those people in Japan who have the longest & healthiest life spans eating rice and soy products, as their ancestors have for thousands of years, are not actually alive but zombies with shrunken brains?

      3. Come on! Its alright that you are not vegan. But please dont justify eating animals. May you get enough compassion and see through you open eyes that the way you love your consciousness, animals to love theirs… And only to feed your greed you are willing to take aways theirs!

    2. That’s my question too. I cannot eat meat and fish. It’s not so much an ethical thing, it’s that animal flesh has the same appeal as eating my own arm. Fleisch ist Fleisch. But who wants to eat beans all the time?

      1. But there is something I don’t understand. Beans contain lots of lecithin. How come they are good for you? This is something I would like someone to clarify.

    3. If you are a vegetarian, you should not attempt Paleo. Paleo is for people that care about their bodies and understand that meat is a neccessity.

      Vegetarianism/veganism, unless prescribed by a legitimate doctor, is an unhealthy and idiotic societal fad.

      1. Ha ha ha. Where is your evidence for that? Meat is definitely not a necessity for our bodies, and was not the primary source of food for our ancient ancestors. They could eat meat, but it was very difficult to come by. It is highly likely that our ancestors were more like scavengers. We would eat the leftovers of other animal kills and then eat plants and fruits that could be easily found. Meat was most likely a luxury, not the primary part of ancient human diet. I agree that a Vegan diet is extreme, but there is nothing wrong with it. Both being vegetarian and/or vegan is perfectly healthy. Your ignorance of this topic is painful to see.

      2. Really? Where is YOUR evidence for what our ancient ancestors ate, and what time frame is “ancient” referring to? The Homo genus, in forms very similar to ours, has been around for at least 100,000 years, so your generalization is covering a very long time span to be so certain about what they ate.

      3. It is a peculiar phenomena that many meat-eaters have to justify their dietary choice by attacking those who do not eat meat. Why not just let your choice stand on its own merit? Being on what appears to the offensive (when it probably is the defensive deep down) shows a lack of confidence and credibility.

    4. Hey Marcel,

      Paleo eating is doable as a Vegetarian. has a good article on it (linked below), but the short version is that the following can be used for your protein sources:





      Hemp Seed






      [Moderator: link removed]


    5. Have you considered a high carb fruit based diet like 80/10/10 perfectly compatible with all the science presented in the article. Plus it’s sustainable and ethical. Meat based paleo is neither of those, nor is it truly healthy it just avoids the grain problem. There are better ways

    6. This is the wrong place to ask that. Clearly, there is a group belief here in this no-grain < meat diet.

      It's like going to Vegetarian group and asking what is the best meat to eat….

      Many people thrive on vegetarian and vegan diets and it would make sense to go there for such advice.

  3. “At least 3 million Americans, or about 1 in 133 people have celiac disease, but only 1-in-4,700 is ever diagnosed.” In other words, these people just accept “feeling horrible” as the norm. If you’re running to the bathroom before you finish that slice of pizza, you might have a gluten issue.

    Eliminating gluten (and with it, almost all) honestly changed my life and health. There’s this quote (from Anthony Robbins, I think): “Nothing tastes as good, as fit and healthy feels.” Amen brother.

    Glad to see you taking this on Tim/Robb. Smart post, and the world needs to hear more of it.

  4. Great example of an earlier post you did about writing great headlines to get attention. “How to keep feces out of your bloodstream” has to be right up there. Got my attention, thats for sure.

  5. Great post Tim. I think you throwing your hat into the ring of the Paleo community is going to see the Paleo lifestyle go stratospheric. Looking forward to seeing how this pans out and what else your going to include in the new book.

  6. I am thankful to have a General Practitioner as my Primary Physician who was about to spot these issues and fully support me in improving my diet.

    It is a difficult change sometimes, but at least now I’m able to consider my trade offs with full and accurate knowledge. i.e. “Do I want to eat pizza with my friends and not feel so good for a few days or do I want to just have a salad and feel great?”

    1. If you’re vegetarian, get your starches from tubers, not from grains. If you’re starch-intolerant, though, it’s time to reconsider animal foods. You should not be vegan at all. Human beings are poor converters of beta carotene, vitamin D2 and vitamin K1; quite aside from the protein question, shortages of A, D3, and K2 are causing serious health problems in our population. You can only get A and D3 from animal sources. You can get K2 from natto, but that gets into the issue of soy consumption. You’re a guy, do you really want all that estrogen?

      (I’ve heard it said that soy doesn’t contain enough estrogen to make any difference in the body. Bullhockey. I used to drink Silk soymilk to relieve menstrual cramps.)

      1. For the soy thing specifically, you should read this:

        Also I repeatedly hear from vegans and raw foodists that they feel better than ever after going vegan. So far, none of them have had any health problems.

        I’m not advocating either side. I’m not sure which is correct, myself, but I plan on testing both sides to the best of my ability before I make any assertions.


        1. I’m totally interested in reading about your findings, Karanime. Do you have a blog you’ll be writing during this experiment? I’ve tried Vegetarianism and Veganism before, neither were positive experiences at all.

      2. Phytoestrogens work by making your body think you have too much sex hormones in you (despite the phytoestrogens being weaker forms of estrogen than human-made, cholestrol/steroid-based estrogen). Your body reacts by increasing the amount of SHBG – Sex Hormone Binding Globulin. Unfortunately this protein doesn’t discriminate between estrogen, phytoestrogen, testosterone or progesterone and grabs all of them to go to the liver for destruction. This causes hormonal imbalances and infertility (too much estrogen kills sperm cells and messes with the ovulation cycle). End result: You don’t breed. You don’t pass whatever genes allowed you to eat that soy plant’s offspring without gagging from the bitterness and toxic pesticides (YOU being a pest to the plant).

        Natural selection at work, baby!

  7. And also, meat is bad for you too, so then what does one eat if everything is bad for you? Oh wait…what we do do is not live forever like we’re supposed to. Everything has a give and take…EVERYTHING. This book is not new information and sounds like a pointless read.

    1. Hey Jimmy,

      From the research and reading I’ve been doing meat and animal fats are not bad for you, nor is cholesterol. The mainline nutritional stance that meat is bad comes out of a lot of very bad science that has been held on too since the early 60s.

      I know that people who take up a vegetarian and vegan life style do so for very personal reasons, but they are both very dangerous if you are not carefully monitoring your food and nutritional intake. In fact I would go as far as saying that vegan lifestyles are as dangerous as eating high sugar and refined food diets.

      Here are some books that changed my mind on eating and the research around nutrition:

      Good Calories, Bad Calories by Garry Taubes

      The Great Cholesterol Con by Dr. Malcom Kendrick

      The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

      1. There is a really good book “the Healing Power of Minerals, Special Nutrients, and Trace Elements” by Paul Berger that is a fascinating and very informative read. It will change what you thought you knew about nutrition more specifically the recent introduction of Vegetarianism. Chapter 27 provides an insightful and more appropriate classification for this type of diet “Therapeutic Diets”. Yes they can be beneficial for certain individuals on a short term basis but are not “sustainable diets”. Vegetarianism although can create beneficial healing in the beginning will eventually causes multiple deficiencies. I used to be in this situation, suffered from anemia, depression, anxiety, fatigue. It really opened my eyes to the importance of meat in my diet and made a substantial impact on my health. I now eat only organic, free range grass-fed animal products and feel so much better. It is well worth the read if you have the time.

      2. Marcus Riedner,

        Regarding your comment on Nov 4, 2010: While I agree that meat is not bad for you, I have to say that too much protein is bad for your kidneys. I am a kidney transplant recipient and I was warned against having a lot of protein in a day. Although I don’t know all the science behind it, I know that too much protein puts a strain on the kidneys. For example, the menu listed on this site has a meal of 1-2 burger patties. Two patties of meat is too much protein and is dangerous for your kidneys.

        While I think the idea of eliminating grains/gluten is interesting and worth considering, it can’t be substituted with a diet that hurts other systems.

        1. I have kidney issues myself. I have found though that changing to the paleo diet hasn’t been a problem. I have had issues in the past with protein shakes etc when exercising. Everyone would tell me to make sure to drink a protein shake after working out. It would never fail that I’d do this for a few weeks and end up in the ER with a kidney infection. It took me several times of this happening to make the connection–but haven’t had problems in the 3 months I’ve been doing the Paleo/primal eating. I think part of it is because I’m not eating the fast burning carbs in the grains that I don’t feel as hungry so I end up eating even less protein than I was before. It’s a strange science this paleo world–but I can tell you without a doubt that I am fuller longer on less food when I don’t eat the grains with the meal–and I don’t have the sugar drops in mid-morning and mid-afternoon. As a matter of fact, 2-3 eggs in the morning will often keep me full until well into the afternoon.

          If you have kidney disease, you will need to monitor your body very closely as you transition into the lifestyle, but ultimately, it has improved my health over all and I haven’t had any problem with the high protein diet and my kidneys.

  8. Oh, and not to get verbose, but I think it is also very important to note that having Candida can make changing over to this sort of eating much more unpleasant than normal. Most people do have some level of Candida, don’t know it, and could possibly be turned off by the “do this and you will feel better challenge,” if they spend days 5-14 feeling even worse because there body is suddenly processing the backlash and subsequent death of a massive fungal infection.

    1. @Riley Cabot Tell me about it!! My goal was to go from semi-paleo to full blown – cutting out sugars and cheese (my last hang ups). My husband decided to make beer that night and the effect was overwhelming! I was so on edge I felt as if I had to be in a room by myself. I didn’t sleep for two nights.

      I did a little research. Although I am in no way in any position to be giving out advice I will tell you what I did that seemed to work. I made a tea out of golden seal, licorice root and cinnamon (would have added kudzu root if I had had it) and I drank aloe juice every day and this seemed to treat the problem. My intense cravings for dairy and sugar are no more than the knowledge that that stuff tastes good.

      Remember when in Good Calories Bad Calories they mention the Assyrian Kings fattening their wives up with the sorghum and milk mixture? Just like a milkshake. No more!

  9. Alas, but my flatmate has the ritual of making Venezuelan Arepas every saturday and sharing them so I am unable to follow this diet as strictly as it requires.

    Nobody said being an omnivore was going to be plain sailing!

    1. So funny, I was also thinking about how to fit my weekly, Sunday arepa breakfast into this diet :). Reduce the damage, ask for a very thing arepa, and enjoy mostly the crust. Good luck!

  10. I’m always averse to the over-the top language in a lot of these type of pieces (yes, it gets attention, but it also makes the writer look less reasonable and more fanatical), and this is no exception: “killing you,” “digestive disaster,” and the concept of this reaction as intended by nature all divert from the good stuff here. Even the title kind of misrepresents things (you’ll lose weight just about any time you cut out a significant group of foods, whether they were good or bad for you).

    Also, there’s the danger that much of this is reverse-engineered from the initial premise of eating only what our Paleolithic ancestors ate. This can create false hypotheses and incorrect assumptions/diagnoses.

    That said, everyone should at least try living without grains for a reasonable length of time (give it 30-60 days) and see if they don’t feel better. I’m in total agreement that often we don’t know we’re doing something our body isn’t tolerating – and many of us just accept that we’ll feel bad – and in that spirit we should be open to making changes just like this.

    Don’t consider it a sacrifice, consider it a choice.

    1. IMHO the “over the top” language makes the articles more entertaining to read. When it’s done in a humorous way it makes the writer come off as more down to earth and normal, not a fanatic.

      1. Only if you agree with the author. This type of language is a turn-off to some “on the fence” people who are already wary of listening to polarized fanatics.


    2. You said it…

      I felt uncomfortable reading this article-

      I realized that it was because of the tactics it uses- it wants me to be paranoid about what I eat… that is not the way to go about it!

      1. I agree with Kelly’s comment. For the record, I am gluten free and I always try to suggest going gluten/grain free to others who are having digestive health issues. However, I am not pushy about it, because that turns people off.

        There is a lot of good information in this article if one sifts through the “over the top” scare tactics. Unfortunately, this is one article I will not forward to friends or family due to the disgusting and misleading title.

    3. I hate to tell you, but a lot of plants really are trying to kill you when you eat them or their offspring. Plants can’t run away but they are highly skilled at chemical warfare.* Most of them just suck at it. But some are better at it than others (especially if you’re eating neolithic plants you’ve never had a chance to adapt to).

      *Plants are just good at biochemistry, period. Trees can organize four glucose molecules in so many ways to release as pheromones for communication they have more combinations than there are words in the English language…

    4. Yes, I’m with you.

      This is a great article, with lots of useful science, and I’d like to forward it to my sceptic mother who has Rheumatoid Arthritis but doesn’t believe going gluten-free can help her because her doctor didn’t say so.

      But I can’t, because I know she’d be put off by the title and the ‘killing you’ hype and stop reading before she even got to the useful stuff.

      Less emotive language would really be more helpful for converting sceptics.

    5. I have to agree and might chime in here, by saying that we’ve been eating grains for a few thousand years, suddenly anything but meat is killing us; suddenly we’re all gluten intolerant.

      Asians have been eating rice for centuries and are not generally obese except to the degree that Western culture has crept in. Native Americans thrived with Maize… Even now, is it 7th-day adventists?? who have the highest average lifespans.

      Just maybe we romanticise ‘paleo’ as the cure-all. Maybe, we’re evolving and we 8billion people can’t all well live on steak 3 times a day. We need to also factor in the realities of the impact of this paleo lifestyle on 8 billion people on the planet and it’s animals, because we all agree, including paleo people that industrial scale animal industry is not just abhorrently cruel to the animals and dehumanising to the people that work in those places, but incredibly un-paleo and unhealthy.

  11. FAST: 2–4 poached eggs = SALMONELLA AND ANTIBIOTICS




    I’ll take the gluten thank you.

    1. I think Jimmy (the vegetarian) has some good points about the dangers of meat. Not to mention the ethical issues surrounding the abuse of animals for corporate gain and human gluttony. I think gluten poses some real dangers but meat should certainly be a more serious topic on health. Humans are now so advanced in agriculture that we really do not “need” meat. We only think we do because that’s what the “meat industry” wants you to believe. I stopped eating meat when the swine flu virus got in full swing. I have lost 20 pounds of fat and gained a lot more muscle mass. As a vegetarian I now watch my protein intake a lot closer resulting in more intake of good protein. I feel better and I haven’t been sick once. Besides, as a vegetarian, I know I am not contributing to animal abuse which I believe manifests into human disease.

      1. Its funny how people will take the time to read this whole blog and then just dismiss it over a perceived roadblock.

        You can buy meat/poultry that are “free-range” so hormones, antibiotics etc. are not an issue. Salmonella results from undercooking.

        As far as veganism, unless you’re shopping completely organic, there will always be some pesticide/gmo in your diet.

    2. Jimmy-poached eggs-not if they are from my chickens

      chicken-pesticides…not if they are my chickens

      salmon-wild caught from Alaska not farm raised…not high levels of Mercury

      point is you all have a choice and while I agree with your ability to voice your personal opinion…you sound like one of the whiny ones that is negative and not willing to look for a way to make life or nutrition work for you or one of those people that drives a really nice car but eats crappy processed food because its convenient…give me a break

      Mary, the dangers of meat exist if you aren’t willing to take the time to educate yourself and find a credible place to get the “good stuff” from…grass fed beef that is not from a “industrial supplier” for ex…the comment that humans are “now so advanced that we don’t need meat” is ludicrous…advanced not in terms of evolution…we are and will always be omnivores…by design

      1. We really still know very little about nutrition, and every day new evidence seems to come and contradict previous “discoveries”. There are strong arguments to both the Paleo and the vegetarian diets, and the raw food diets as well, if you bother to read enough about all of them and keep an open mind. What I’m seeing in all these posts is like debating the existence of God. We have to accept that a lot is still unknown, but while it’s all very well and good to recommend to eat free-range chicken and ethically raised cattle, these are hard to find, and everyone around the world wants meat, and won’t go to the trouble of finding this elusive ethically-raised meat. Not to mention that raising cattle produces more CO2 pollution than plains, trains and automobiles combined. So, if people want to be vegetarian to feel like they are doing the right thing, let them. I, for one, am happy they are. And if we were all vegetarians, there would be enough space to grow enough food to feed the world (cattle consume more food than people and use up tons of agricultural land that could be used to feed people, and when you don’t have enough to eat, what you should eat isn’t even on your radar). So until we review our policy about how many people can be on the planet at once, eating meat, as good as it might be for us (I personally love the taste), is not sustainable for a planet that will total 9 billion people by 2050. Healthy or not. So please, try to be respectful of people who are trying to eat in a way they find will solve some of the planet’s problems. The Paleo diet isn’t it, as good as it might be for us. But a bit of skepticism and open-mindedness, and acceptance that we don’t know everything might be a good thing, in many other realms than just nutrition, which is certainly one of the sciences that most constantly contradicts itself.

        1. Actually , that is incorrect. Only commercial/industrial/big Ag cattle raising produces all that CO2 and is not good for the environment.. grazing cattle on grass is proven to drastically improve soil health – if you keep growing grains and plants on the same soil year after year the soil will become depleted and useless and then you will REALLY be in trouble- this has already happened in much of the American midwest, which is why everyone dumps on the artificial fertilizer to make up for the nutrients that would be in the soil if they weren’t depleting it. See the book “Cows Save the Planet”- you cannot feed the world indefinitely only by growing plants and grains.. it disrupts the health of the environment at large and is not sustainable in any way.

      2. Yeah, I’ll just go ahead and tend my chickens from my tiny 5th floor apartment downtown…

        Not sure if you thought about this, but not everyone can afford to eat organic free-range grass-fed beef (you might be appalled as to what can qualify for that labeling, btw) as a main dietary staple. That business about being whiny and not putting forth the effort is totally insulting to those of us who legitimately can not afford to eat high-quality meat regularly.

    3. If you stick to organic, farm-raised meat that isn’t fed antibiotics, and COOK things well enough you won’t have any problems with anitibiotics or salmonella…

    4. Mercury in fish is neutralized by their own bodies if they have more selenium than mercury – most fish do, including all salmon and tuna.

      Antibiotics (and artificial hormones) in grainfed beef were found under vigorous scientific analysis to not carry over onto their meat, probably because they were detoxified. I read this from the website of a grassfed cattle rancher trying to dispell some myths, so the source is damn well credible. That being said, it costs nutrients to detox all that so CAFO meat = less nutritious, in addition to having a messed up Omega 3:6 profile from grains.

      Salmonella is already rare, but in properly raised animals (i.e. organic) is pretty much non-existant…

  12. That meal plan looks delicious! I’m curious how great the difference between gluten and non-gluten (plus non-dairy and etc) has felt for those that have done it.

    Did you have a crazy amount of energy after or did you feel more alive…?

      1. Felt so much better after eliminating gluten, dairy and caffeine from my food. ( no alcohol too. And no sugar. Was hard initially as I felt hard done by, but SO worth it years on. ( lost weight without trying too)

    1. Considering “alcohol” was on the list of things that damage the intestine and can contribute to autoimmunity, I would have to say no. If you can’t cut out all alcohol, then it would be best to go with something not sourced from grain (no beer, whiskey, grain vodka, etc.) My sister who is Celiac can drink wine and hard apple cider because they are fermented fruit and not grain. I would assume any tequila that is 100% agave would also work, but beware of the highly marketed brands that usually contain grain spirits. I hope this helps!

    2. Cider (watch sugar content), rum, dry wines (be careful of additives/sugar), vodka made from potatoes, whiskey is a maybe

  13. Great info, but between all the different nutrition guides out there, I think I’m now only allowed to drink water and chew on some celery… but I’m not allowed to swallow the celery, I have to spit it out. haha.

  14. How well would this work for someone who’s hitting the gym pretty hard? Seems pretty light on carbs and I think that low carb consumption without (cyclical) ketosis sounds like a bad idea for active lifters. It’s not like you’d be knee-deep into ketosis judging from the menu examples. I guess bumping up fruits intake would help?

    1. Increase fat intake. Ideally a low-carb, higher fat paleo diet will take you from “sugar burner” to “fat burner”. Much more efficient.

    2. Endurance athletes can wait out the 2-4 week adjustment period and burn fat for fuel as well as they would sugar. But high-intensity weightlifters do need more carbs on heavy lifting days as Type IIb muscle fibers can only ferment sugar. I recommend starchy carbs as that gets turned into glucose (fructose from fruits can’t get into the muscles) you can eat potatoes or sweet potatoes (yams) while these are technically nightshades as long as they aren’t sprouting/turning green they won’t have many natural toxins at all. One person on paleo even found them to be better than white rice (white rice is another option, unless you’re unlucky enough to be allergic or to get a bad reaction)

  15. So glad Robb is getting this exposure. The Paleo Solution is already blowing up the Amazon charts, this should really put it over the edge.


    Antibiotic+hormone-free chicken, and even free-range organic chicken, as well as eggs from such chickens is widely available at grocery stores these days. Salmonella is generally only a problem with CAFO’s that produce 100s of millions of eggs, not smaller organic farms. If you wanna be really badass, you should check out the chicken/eggs at farmer’s markets if there are any in your area. With respect to the mercury in fish, Wikipedia has a good article for you to check out: — although you are right in being concerned about catastrophic degradation/pollution of the world’s oceans, wild caught salmon still definitely worth eating.

  16. Tim, you remember my dad? The one who had the inset on the cover of Powerlifting USA (I had emailed you about an issue w/ your website at that same time) who was the first 65 year old on record to have benched over 550 pounds drug-free? He died of pancreatic cancer on May 30th this year–I believe it was due to grains. I begged him repeatedly to get tested for gluten intolerance, and he never had the chance. I am addressing this issue in my own life–this is just more validation. Thanks for posting.

  17. Eliminating all breads and pasts IS good for you, those are not nutrionally dense foods. But the meat and protein in this diet will screw you up in other ways. Raises IGF-1, and if you lookup the AGE levels in animal protein it’s unbelievably high compared to other sources.

  18. Good, it seems there’s a general consensus that grains are to be avoided. Humans didn’t evolve eating grains, so it makes perfect sense that there would be health consequences from any newly introduced substances to our diet.

  19. Great article Tim. The headline and wording are terrific 😉 I really appreciate your writing style.

    I will work to cut out grains although oatmeal will be really difficult. The bummer is that I’m becoming vegetarian and now having to cut out grains will be a lot to work on all at once. C’est la vie.

    Anyway, nice piece.

  20. Hey folks, Tim asked me to triage a few questions:


    Depends on goals but in general people need to simply “steer the boat” with protein and round things out with plenty of veggies and good fats. Eating this way lights up satiety signaling so worry about amounts (is generally) unnecessary. If people do not know the difference between a mouth and vacuum cleaner…then we need to tinker!


    Get as close to this as you can. There are a few camps of veganism that are not fans of grains/legumes. you might look to them for collaborative info. At the least I’d avoid gluten like the plague.


    sorry amigo, but meat is NOT the problem:

    to each their own but we have also thoroughly addressed the China Study:

    So, If you’d like to get blood work done, do paleo as I prescribe for 30-60 days I’ll pay for that blood work and you can then speak from a place of experience instead of opinion. Let me know.


    Spot on. Evolution should be used to formulate questions and access data. We need clinical research to validate or refute these hypotheses. What is continually fascinating however is folks have no problem applying evolutionary biology to everything except humans. Somehow we are a unique snowflake in all of biology.

    1. Hi there, interesting post. Last year I battled with shortness of breath, yawing and terrible sinus headached, eventually (after 2 months) I hyperventilated. Turned out the problem was acidity. I cut out dairy and gluten and the problem disappeared.

      My question is regarding pork, are you sure its safe? Forgive me if I am being ignorant but eating an animal that will eat anything (feces included) doesn’t seem like a good idea?

      Would be interested to know your thoughts…

      1. @Karanime Speaking anecdotally as a Canadian student who has briefly studied the state of First Nations communities in Canada, I believe it is worth noting that many First Nations communities face devastating social issues. Rates of poverty and substance abuse are significantly higher in First Nations’ communities than in other areas of Canada.

        While I am without empirical evidence to back up my suspicion, it is my opinion that a healthy traditional diet may be one step forward in this case, while the debilitating social issues are two steps back.

    2. The Inuit Paradox doesn’t seem to be a paradox at all. According to these studies – Iburg KM ; Br?nnum-Hansen H ; Bjerregaard P. Health expectancy in Greenland.

      Scand J Public Health. 2001; 29(1):5-12. Choini?re R. Mortality among the Baffin Inuit in the mid-80s.Arctic Med Res. 1992; 51(2):87-93 – the Inuit Greenlanders have pretty much always had the worst longevity statistics in North America.

      Studies on and show that Maasai warriors of 20 years ago rarely lived past 60 and their current average life expectancy is 45 for women and 42 for men.

      Most of the “science” behind the claims that meat and saturated fats are good for us seems to come from the Weston A. Price Foundation which has done no peer-reviewed studies of its own. If you take WAPF (whose major sponsors are meat and dairy farmers) out of the picture, and all the articles that use them as a source, what actual peer-reviewed studies support your claims?

    3. Your link responding to the China Study is a 404.

      I think you’d enjoy watching this too, the leading causes of death:

      There is also staggering amounts of evidence as to the destructive effects of the meat industry on fresh water, greenhouse gasses, deforestation, water pollution etc that I’m really surprised that anyone can honestly today seriously propose meat diets.

      I’m a life long vegetarian, I’d be very happy to eat meat (it would be really interesting and new) and I have searched and searched for positive information but the more I investigate the more apparent how terrible it is. So much so that U.S. meat producers lobby to make it illegal to film inside their factories.

      Anyway, watch the video above and then tell me again about healthy meat 🙂

      1. Hello Mike,

        If you are interested in trying meat I would find grass fed ethically raised meat. It’s a growing movement and you’ll be supporting local farmers instead of corporations.

        Factory farming is terrible, unethical, and causes the overuse of anti-biotics.

  21. THANK YOU for this post, Tim (and Robb)! What an amazingly thorough breakdown of a pernicious problem. My wife experienced many health issues due to gluten. These experiences – plus inspiration from Four Hour Workweek prompted us to launch a web-based gluten-free recipe service this past May. (URL omitted to respect comment rules)

    The theory behind the business is simple: the easiest way to avoid gluten is to cook at home – and too few people are doing this today!

    We make it simple to cook at home by focusing on easy-to-prepare recipes featuring easy-to-find ingredients. (Nothing exotic…very in-line with many of the Paleo principles). The universe of foods that have never had gluten in them is VAST.

    We assume that plenty of our subscribers have children, so the recipes do not require a lot of prep or cook time, and are kid-friendly. (We have a 10- and a 7-year old who always eat out of the “test kitchen.”)

    THANKS AGAIN, Tim – your work continues to inform and inspire.

    All the best,


  22. I just slid a pesto lasagna into the oven just moments before reading this but the info is real as I’ve confirmed it before in my own studies. The one-two punch of sugar & bread is really my last known enemy. Thanks for the curveball post and reminder of a goal I abandoned years ago. I expect for some, this will be like quitting smoking or heroin.

  23. Hi Tim,

    I’m defiantly waiting for Robb’s book to hit the kindle bookstore. But living 100% gluten free is tricky stuff.

    I also like lentils.. Soaking in water is common. Do you have any references for soaking in baking soda? is vinegar or any other acid enough?

  24. I’m not a Fonzie and I don’t think I am cool but I am very grateful for sharing your diet or way of life with us. You have helped us in many ways, keep up that great work.

  25. I’m sorry, but your background in nutrition is what? There is a ton of inaccurate nutritional information out there, and you can make any diet plan sound convincing if you try. I’d just caution people to talk to their doctor before taking this at face value, and to greet any nutritional advice with a lot of skepticism.

    (Plus, hello, there’s an enormous body of science showing that going meatless gets the best health results.)

    1. Yes there is some good evidence that initially going meatless can have some beneficial results but proven over and over again after 5-10 years most vegetarians begin to have health problems that can become serious because it isn’t a sustainable diet it is a therapeutic diet. I think there are positives to it and some negatives. Each person has to judge data and information and listen to his or her own body.

      1. Yes, most vegetarians become deficient in some nutrients after 5-10 years.

        It’s okay. Humans invented supplements.

        Another option I’ve heard of is eating minuscule amounts of meat (just enough to cover the deficiency) once every week or two weeks or month.

        Again, I am repeatedly told by vegans and vegetarians that they feel much, much better after kicking meat and animal products.


      2. Karanime: Your assertion about the reports from Vegans and vegetarians might be true, but they are likely self selected. That is, you aren’t hearing about those who gave it up, they don’t feel like they had anything to crow about, or they thought they were doing it wrong, and so don’t want to talk about it.

      3. @Karanime In response to the supplements comment, many of the nutrients that long-term vegetarians become deficient in can only be derived from animals. This means that even though it has been extracted and conveniently packaged into an easy-to-swallow pill form, it was still derived from an animal and is technically an animal by-product.

        It doesn’t take a genius to know that the typical meat-intake of people today is excessive, but cutting it completely may not be the answer either. I only eat meat occasionally (every couple of weeks or so), but I still eat it. However, it is important to go for humanely raised and hormone free meat.

  26. This is stuff that I know that I should do, but I don’t want to because I like the stuff that’s bad for me too much…how sad is that?! Each year for Lent I do the Daniel Fast which is basically a vegan diet and no white (flour, rice, bread, potatoes) anything. I always feel better, but I always go back to my old ways…and feel worse for it! Maybe I’ll do better this time.

  27. Vegans and vegetarians should skip the bread/pasta. I don’t see what you get in those foods that you can’t get elsewhere, like in a salad. If you really need your starch fix, eat sweet potatoes.

    1. Regarding bread/pasta, I agree with you, but it’s really difficult as a vegan (not so much as a vegetarian) to increase protein without consuming grains and/or legumes. And even if you do, it’s nearly impossible to do so without a really high carb:protein ratio–so even if you did eat enough veggies to get enough protein in absolute terms (like, enough grams), you’d still be consuming a relatively low percentage of protein in your diet and a high percentage of carbs. Most vegan athletes I know settle for relatively low protein in their diets for this reason; others supplement with vegan protein powders. Many seem to do okay like this (anecdotally, endurance athletes seem to fare a bit better than strength athletes, which makes sense to me) but others struggle with it.

      (I should note that I’m talking about getting enough protein for optimum performance, strength, and possibly body composition, not just the amount needed to stay alive–it’s pretty easy to get the minimal amount of protein needed to not die as a vegan, though obviously there are more complex health issues and deficiencies that have to be dealt with on a case by case basis.)

  28. Wow. Interesting Stuff.

    To clarify, if you cut gluten out completely, but still eat legumes and dairy, will that effect anything? Or do we have to cut those out to be 100% compliant?

    Thanks for the info!

  29. @Jimmy

    So you would rather destroy your gut and immune system? Try going to your local farmers market and getting pastured, free-range, antibiotic and hormone-free eggs, pastured 100% grass-fed beef, wild alaskan salmon(very low in heavy metals). These are among some of the healthiest foods you can eat. While you’re there, get some salad greens and some fresh vegetables and fruits. They’ll be the best you ever tasted!

    As Michael Pollan said, “Eat real food.”

    Grains are poison!

  30. Tim,

    Thank you for this post. As a cross-fitter, paleo is a huge component of the workout and so far I have resisted incorporating it because #1. I’m a vegetarian/pescatarian and #2. I found your previous post on fat loss so effective.

    How do you reconcile your previous recommendation on “slow-gi” diet that advocates legumes, beans with the paleo diet that basically states that legumes and beans are killing you? Beans/legumes, et. al are a major source of “evil” on every paleo/x-fit diet I have read on and thus, a non-starter for me because there will be very little that I can actually eat.

    As a corollary, how does this paleo research fit in with Asian and Indian diets that are very high in rice/legumes and have a very low percentage of the health ailments that are indicative of high protein western diets?

    As a point of reference, see the recent article on Tony Gonzales and how his longevity in the NFL is directly attributable to his vegan diet.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Vik,

      Thanks for the comment. Please see my note on legumes/beans, which I inserted in the post itself. There are some decent work-arounds, though I also avoid almost all grains, as you know from my previous posts.

      I’ll have two chapters on vegetarian options in the new book (coming soon, I promise), but one thing: those close to Tony Gonzalez actually say he eats chicken on occasion. Eating meat even rarely is very different from no meat at all, but you can get most of what you need from well-sourced eggs and fish.

      Good luck!


      1. I appreciate your open mindedness, forward thinking, creative approaches, myth busting and that you prefer: facts over rumors, research over hearsay, science over magical thinking…

        This seems like a great policy… “Cite sources and be constructive when possible.” Tim Ferriss

        I’m curious about your vague citing “on occasion” and even more vague and undefined response “even rarely is very different”.

        Without verifiable sources could this be considered gossip and uncontructive?

      2. Re; Tony Gonzalez – right there in the magazine he says he drinks protein shakes with Whey. I was flabbergasted that the editors would posit him as a vegan ideal.

        That said, anyone interested in a vegan diet and strength should check out Jon Hinds and Mike Mahler. 2 of the best athletes I’ve even laid eyes on and both longtime vegans. Mahler doesn’t like to describe his diet in great detail but I’ve heard him state on several occasions that he can’t tolerate grains very well.

        Spend the money on wild caught, free range and GRASS FED animal products. Every penny spent today will save you money in healthcare later in life.

        Lastly, factory farms churning out wheat are much less “green” than a pasture filled with goats eating grass. As a society we should try to reduce factory meat in our diet but replacing it with factory grain isn’t any better for the environment and it’s obviously (well, too me anyways) worse for our health.

      3. Hey Tim,

        How does this post reconcile to the cheat day in the SCD? Wouldn’t feel much like a cheat day without eating some of the bad stuff … including grains …

      4. Hi Tim,

        I have been researching and dabbling in Paleo for years now, the logic and science behind it makes a lot of sense to me. But, like Vik (above), I wonder why some traditional diets that contain grains (highlighted in the Blue Zone diet) have stood the test of time (Okinawans, for one example)?

        ALSO, if legumes are ok if you soak them (as in your added note), why not grains? What about nuts and seeds? All of these food sources have the defensive chemicals Mr. Wolf mentions. I have also read a lot about the Weston Price diet and practiced many things recommended there such as soaking all of the above…Is it then just a matter of still having a percentage of the various degenerative chemicals and minimizing that amount by eliminating those foods? Or are grains categorically worse than legumes and nuts/seeds?

        I must say, I find this all quite overwhelming and discouraging, so I am thankful for you and the others who can shed some light on it for me!


    2. I have to agree. The high protein western diet is killing us and don’t see how eating real whole foods (like beans, legumes and grains) is harmful when they have stood the test of time in human history. It’s only recently, when we are trying to find the magic diet, (ie low fat in the 80s and 90s, low carb today, etc) that we are having so many more health issues than in past cultures and in history. All these “diets” have produced is non-foods that are edible but so harmful to our bodies.

      Really thinking about what you put into your body is important and that the “slow carb” diet is good as it promotes mostly real whole foods (mainly green, leafy foods), but the danger I fear in it is that you get away from the pleasure of food. I will try it, with a few tweeks, as I am a believer in the traditional foods of my culture (which apparently fit into the “slow carb diet” quite nicely, with the exception of just a few things) and want to also go back to really enjoy cooking and to the pleasure of eating REAL WHOLE food.

  31. Great post! I have worked with Robb multiple times in Crossfit. I’m good friends with him, and thankfully so. This guy knows SO MUCH.

    One thing I have learned is there are no g’dam excuses. I know people reading this will say “Oh, i see… but I cant cut pasta!”. Well… then youll die early and never perform or feel like you want to.. case closed. People need to decide whats more important.. life or the “thrill” of pasta……

    1. cut pasta or die early??

      To say that’s oversimplifying is to understate it. It’s not even close to true.

      If it was that clear cut and obvious, then yes and we’d all be in agreement, but precisely the opposite is true; the confusion of the question of the ‘human diet’ reigns… and there is no clear cut and obvious ‘best’ diet.

      I would love to see the evidence but until you do, right now the statement rather reflects a personal emotional bias.

      Right now I see no clear cut winner when it comes do longevity by one group of people’s diet over another’s’ If anything people who belong in the so-called Blue-zone diet consistently produce the longest living humans, afaik. But, let’s call it a tie, because a few years here or there, doesn’t maybe mean much. If one group consistently outlived another by 50-100 years – wow.. we’d all wanna know about that!

      In terms of quality of life again, both vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters can provide their exemplars and champions – good AND bad.

  32. Vegan? Vegetarian? You’re missing the point. Eating paleo is all about eating the stuff we evolved to eat (meat). Those sharp incisors aint for chewing tofu.

    1. Yes, we are omnivores. Go in the opposite direction to the crowd. They are following other people and organisations with there own vested interests.

    2. Eating just the veggies is fine but not how we evolved. It’s a choice and I respect that personal option. We used to have to eat meat to survive- now we don’t, we don’t have to run after and hunt, kill an animalmto survive ( a better option than eating grass back then I’m sure)

      Now, we just go to the whole foods and eat veggies. Incisors are still good for ripping apart tofu.

    3. You can’t tell the difference between a slice of hot toasted stoneground bread spread with butter (ok, and marmalade) and a lettuce leaf? Help!

  33. @Jimmy: You clearly haven’t read the book or done any research on Robb or the paleo diet. Maybe you should try actually reading something before you start spouting off ignorant comments?

    1. Easy, guys! Ah, diet posts. Never fails to stir up the dust. Jimmy, I do agree that your “nonsense” attack is a bit too strong, though.

      Insulting and snide comments will henceforth get deleted if I catch them. Them’s the rules. Cite sources and be constructive when possible.


  34. Jeez, it seems that if you eat too much of anything it will cause cancer or some other problem…

    Interesting post, but it really targets the negative effects of eating these grains. What about the benefits?! Fiber? Energy storage?

    Tim, also, what about the effects of chewing your food for a longer period of time? I know that digestion starts in your mouth and the majority of people swallow their food too soon. Might this have any impact on the defensive effects of grains?

    You’re the man.



  35. I tried this diet for a while and while I lost weight on it, I found that it wasn’t for me and had some logical flaws:

    1. I’m vegetarian, and if you eliminate legumes and grain, my only source of complete protein is eggs. I can’t see how it’s healthy to eat 8-9 eggs a day.

    2. I think the key to this diet is limiting “bad” foods that would be eliminated anyway (cake, snacks etc…) when I was on this, I found that I ate less not because it’s such a super diet, just because it was very restrictive as to what i could eat. I also found that when I ate too much, I gained weight, just like with every other diet.

    3. The logical flaw I found here was the elimination of things like beans and corn and eating foods like pork and beef.

    Cavemen didn’t have beef or pork, those are modern domesticated animals.

    Also, native people all over the world (including the Tarahumara) live off beans and corn and live long healthy and energetic lives (e.g. running ultra marathons at the age of 80). It’s hard for me to believe they are all diseased and are missing out on a healthier life.

    I did discover some great recipes while on this diet and I also added some foods to my regular diet, but this seems to me like a new fad. I’d be interested to hear if there is any real research showing the positive effects of this or if this is just anecdotal evidence used to sell books/product.

    1. Actually, I’ve heard you can eat ONLY eggs and turn out just fine.

      I’ve heard the same thing of raisins and bananas, oddly.


    2. Weston A Price looked at many indigenous people’s health and diets and found that the healthiest people were coastal, pastoral tribes with access to seafood and milk products from their cattle… he couldn’t find one healthy tribe that ate only plant foods.

      The Tarahumara may be healthy by our own pitiful standards but they might not be that healthy compared to other tribes…

  36. Fantastic post, Tim and Robb. I had suspicions but never realised the rabbit-hole went so deep!

    Due to low IgA issues, slow growth, rashes, eczema, irritability and poor dental development I’ve been testing both my kids. My wife and I took our family off gluten for a month. We, each, were so much better! The boys’ thrived, their behaviour was amazing and they slept like babies! We reintroduced gluten in order for blood tests to be taken and both boys developed constipation issues, eczema, mood swings and rashes. Interestingly enough, neither of my sons showed signs of being coeliac, though one test came back showing allergy to wheat. As far as skin prick tests go, I’m not going to wait for the results. They’re going back off gluten.

    My wife and I lost weight quickly and effortlessly (even though we’ve been Body for Life-ing it for years). We had always suspected gluten was an issue in ourselves, even though we are apparently fit and healthy. For one, bran and wheat cereals always gave me a hell of a gut ache!

    Thanks for all the info Robb. As an ice cream addict I’m just a bit gutted that dairy presents issues! What’s the story with dairy in this context? Does it mean that I should lay off whey powder for protein supplementation?

    p.s. Tim, lay off the vino and hurry up with the new book.

  37. Great post! I can’t wait to read the whole book when it comes out. The information here will definitely help in addition to your “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise” article.

    Glad to see I can clip it in Evernote too.

  38. What a great article. The way Robb writes can really wake a person up.

    While reading it, I was thinking about how I would still have a 6in Subway sandwich 1-2 times a week, but then he said the bit about a bit of gluten every 10-15 days is all it takes to keep your intestines in terrible shape. Hmm… I may have to give this a try for 30 days and see what happens. It will be difficult, but I should be able to manage. I’ve already cut most carbs and dairy out of my diet. It’s the occasional Sub and hot chocolate that throws me off.


  39. Tim,

    The cynic in me says that, yes of course you will lose weight if you follow this diet for a month – there is barely a carb in it. I’m not sure this is good evidence that grains are toxic to humans though.

    Yur awesome…but this post felt a little less scientific, and a little more get-rich-quick than your usual excellent content.


  40. Wow, my wife has been trying to tell me about this and I honestly could not believe it. But after reading this it TOTALLY made sense and explained a ton of issues to me. Thank you so much what a life changer indeed!


    1. The John Wayne dookie thing is a myth. I suspect his 5-6 pack a day smoking habit may have more to contribute to his health status than his meat eating.

  41. My wife and I tried the Paleo diet, but had difficulties staying on it for a couple of reasons: it is expensive! As college students, we can’t afford fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat without cheap foods like pasta, bread, and rice to help fill out meals. We had a hard time finding recipes that were easy to fix on our tight schedules.

    We need help with these two problems, as we would love to test out the diet for 30 days.

  42. Robb and I were recently on the Wylde on Health show here in Canada – discussing paleo nutrition and primal fitness (a la MovNat). Great to see such recognition for his book, which is going gangbusters! I encourage everybody to order a copy…

  43. Aiii….this all makes a lot of sense, but once again I don’t know how to reconcile this with other very well made cases that contradict the Paleo diet, e.g. the China Study saying meat is killing us and that grains are just fine.

    The only foods that nobody seems to take issue with on any front are fruits and vegetables. Any downside to eating only fruits and vegetables?

  44. I can’t help but notice that this excerpt doesn’t cite any studies, research or paper. Are there such things in the book? Just the sheer amount of anecdotal evidence in the opening section of this excerpt raises some flags for me, so I’d like to know more before I can come to any conclusions.

  45. Great article, thank you for posting Tim. I am very keen to try it out as i’ve had problems with digestion and i think this makes a whole lotta sense given my experience eating gluten rich foods.

    But I also want to second the voices against eating mass quantities of meat. The major downsides of which include but are not limited to: environmental devastation; meat production is one of the sole causes of the destruction of the amazon, destroying virgin forests for soybean crops that feed cattle, mostly for europe. Along with the huge amount of energy and resources it takes to raise, kill and transport meat, making it the worst food by far in terms of carbon emissions. The totally unethical way in which factory farmed animals are raised and slaughtered (esp chicken and pork). The fact that about 5kg’s of wild fish have to be caught in order to feed 1kg of farmed salmon (not to mention the wild salmon populations which are being rapidly decimated). There is also a fair amount of research that is making strong claims for the harmful effects of eating dead animal flesh ( btw the chemical that gives meat it’s ‘meaty’ taste is uric acid, the waste fluid of the muscle cells before it is sent off to the bladder, surely we don’t replace faeces in our bloodstream with urine? 😛 )

    SO yea man, are there any vegetarian options in this book or is it just eat lot of meat and greens?

    Muchos Gracias compadre

  46. @Tim:

    First, can you provide citations backing up this post? Any studies?

    Second: “[G]rains are not a sound decision for health or longevity. For the purposes of our discussion, consider dairy … in the same category.”

    But yogurt has been shown in numerous studies to be extremely beneficial for the immune system. Please see those listed throughout and at the bottom of the following page:


    1. Yogurt is beneficial to the immune system because of the cultured bacteria (probiotics) that it contains, not because of the dairy itself. Being lactose intolerant, I know that the alternatives are scarce, but kombucha tea and non-dairy yogurt contain the same probiotic cultures and can be extremely beneficial. It does cost more, but I suppose it is a personal choice whether you would rather your money go to buying good food or paying doctor bills. I’ve also found Acidophilus in tablet form which is a little less costly than eating non-dairy yogurt every day 🙂

  47. OK looks like there was some lag time between me reading the comments and me posting my comment, most of the questions i just asked are answered. d’oh…

  48. @Jimmy, I don’t agree with your reply, the eggs and chicken are cooked so that pretty much eliminates the chances of getting salmonella. In addition, salmonella is something that a lot of people are scared of but it is actually pretty rare (my dad has been eating raw eggs his whole life and has never gotten salmonella). If you are worried about antibiotics in your food, give organic food a try where a chicken is raised on a farm without antibiotics or steroids. Out of all the fish, salmon is the one of the lowest in mercury and make sure you buy wild, not farmed. I know it is easy to put up a random reply, but getting your facts straight is a different story.

    Thanks for a great post Tim.

    1. Salmonella poisoning is rare but is only found in modern eggs where the chickens are given antibiotics and live in horrible conditions. It is not a concern in organic eggs and there is even a large body of evidence that it is safe and very healthy to even eat raw organic eggs from cage free, free range chickens. I am sure this will raise some eyebrows because it goes against the modern approach to never eat raw eggs. But there is a lot of good information out there if this is a concern of the benefits of going organic especially with eggs.

  49. Tim,

    Have a look at, the Eat Right 4 Your Type site. They go into great depth about lectins, and provide a huge chunk of research into how come eating foodstuffs that are nutritious for others can undermine your health.

    I was first put onto it by a naturopath with twenty years experience, and my health flipped! Constant colds, sinus problems (supposedly due to lactose), all kinds of things just went away.

    Have a read there, it’s fascinating and sound stuff.

  50. TIm, just curious, do you not eat grains or any gluten products on Saturday’s (your dietary “off” day) ?

    How about after workouts? No carbohydrates after workouts may be an issue for me.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Personally, I do eat whatever I want on “off” day, once per week. Robb would disagree with me on this, and I’m sure some of my health (GI, probably) would be better off without it. That said — simple enough — I *like* cheat day, and it keeps me sane. As long as my blood values aren’t out of whack, and as long as I feel great, I’ll probably continue doing this.

      Keep in mind, though, that 6 out of every 7 days are strictly no gluten and no grains for me.



  51. Much love for Robb Wolf. I’ve been Paleo for about 9 months and it has been the single biggest improvement of my life. Anyone who doesn’t give it a shot for at least 30 days is robbing themselves of something that some people spend their entire lives looking for.

    The biggest caveat is having to do so much cooking, but you definitely find quick and easy meals that work for your schedule. My go-to meal is a handful of carrots, brocolli, yellow squash, and .75lbs of grass-fed ground beef in a skillet with coconut oil. This “paleo stir-fry” is amazing and takes less than ten minutes to make.

    Aside from Robb’s book, Mark Sisson’s “The Primal Blueprint” is another holy grail of the lifestyle.

  52. I think this diet would be extremely difficult to undertake if one is a strict vegetarian or vegan. Does the book include recipes for them as well?

    I’m personally a pescatarian (I eat seafood and vegetables) so it will be easier for me to give this diet a try, though I find it hard to understand how grains are so bad for us, yet meat is supposedly fine.

    In disagreement with Dan’s comment, I don’t think human teeth were designed to devour meat, because my teeth look nothing like my dog’s or my cat’s extremely sharp teeth, or a bear’s, or a lion’s, or a vampire’s (and vampire’s don’t eat meat, they only suck blood).

    And isn’t it possible that poison ivy just has a more evolved defense mechanism for survival, and cows just failed? (Survival of the fittest theory? Anyone?)

    Either way, this article is very well written and I’m almost convinced (I’m at about 90%, so a few more points and I’m throwing all my grains out the window since they’re still compost-pile worthy).

    I will definitely read the book and the evidence/research/studies, and see what happens.

    (But deep down I hope you’re wrong because I love pasta too much!)

  53. Thank you for the info – I always appreciate new perspectives. There are lots of great facts in the information. I would like to question the large amount of meat in the diet recommended. I agree that gluten needs to be eliminated however I also believe that meat also needs to be eliminated from the diet. Meat is highly acidic and is a dead animal you put in your body – which most of the meat products people have access to have antibiotics and chemicals also. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for readers who want more variety in their daily diet but do not want to eat gluten, meat or dairy?? I find it difficult to find meal ideas so often I eat gluten or fish – and always eliminate meat and dairy – but I would love to find more options to not do that and still feel like I am giving my body enough fuel. Any thoughts???

  54. What happens if you strictly cut out all grains, and then suddenly 2 months later you begin eating them again. Wouldn’t you bloat back to the weight you had burned off?

  55. Thanks for the insight.

    I wish it were so easy.

    As a number of comments here reflect, the food supply is broken and badly. The complex chemistry of plant growth has been severely tampered with in mass-produced crops, and many resemble nothing like their relatives of even 50 years ago. Many strains of GMO crop seed are designed to produce pesticides inside the plant that wind up in your gut.

    The grains are passed on to livestock, which are also genetically modified and loaded with artificial stumulants, suppressants, antibiotics, hormones, and post-industrial waste products (DDGS, etc) for feed. The combinatory effects of all these chemical tweaks is unknown. Science has fallen far short here, and the vested interests of agribusiness is probably going to keep it that way for awhile.

    Having spent the last 3 years patiently researching the subject while surgeons reconstructed my digestive tract, I am fairly certain it is no one thing. Gluten and a hundred other susbstances are problematic. The damage being done is not directly the inability to process foods like gluten, but the massive derailment of enzyme processes within the body that ordinarily would be able to handle (protease inhibitors mentioned but- emphasize that). Naturally occuring and volatile substances like hydrogen sulfide (especially hydrogen sulfide) are mxing with the chemical base in the food chain, enzymes are flipping on and off in response to the chemical cocktails of global frankenfarming, and causing a huge range of health/digestive problems.

    Reduction of ingredients, simplification of your diet will go a long way to staying healthy, gluten or not. You list chicken as a viable alternative- what did your chicken eat? You don’t want to know.

    Some good info there. Eat local, grow your own if you can. Trust no food source. Sucks, but…otherwise you are just a lab rat in the grand experiment.

  56. This post is genius! Robb is a wealth of information and no words can really describe his contribution to the nutrition and fitness world.

    For the haters, you could be vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian or whatever else there is. Why wouldn’t you stay the same but drop the grains? What bad can come from eating vegetables, nuts, fruit, seafood and meat (remove what isn’t applicable to you). All Robb (and bunch of us others) are fighting for is to remove grains from your diet. Its funny all the haters seem to say Robb’s information is not accurate but no one seems to prove that eating grains has any benefit whatsoever!

    99% of the people don’t want to even try this because they are too lazy to do the work. Sure it’s hard to give up grains… but what you get in return is WAY more precious than the pasta you eat 3 times a week.

    I did the work. I made the change. Result? 18 years of asthma cured in 3 months. HDL from 43 to 75. LDL from 165 to 115.

  57. I have Celiac disease.

    I don’t think “most people” know about Celiac (at least I’m pretty sure most don’t, from the confused looks and hundreds of emails I get about it.)

    Gluten is insidious. It’s found in soy sauce, for instance. And there are very few restaurants that understand how to avoid cross-contamination (if you eat food that has been fried in a fryer that has oil that was used to fry wheat, you’ve just eaten gluten.) Most restaurant owners don’t have a clue. The few restaurants that do are often the big chains.

    Wheat free does not mean gluten free–I speak from experience…

    Gluten free foods are expensive.

    And gluten pops up in the weirdest things, too. I got sick from a chocolate mint candy once, and also from vitamins I was taking (some vitamin companies use gluten to make the vitamins stick together.)

    Gluten free is not an easy path, but it’s worth it if you’re sick all the time, or unreasonably exhausted after you eat.

    I wrote about my own diagnosis with Celiac disease here:


  58. Thanks for the sobering post Tim, I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and my husband passed 6 years ago due to complications of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I am taking my daughter and me off the grains today. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  59. Thanks Tim for posting such a long excerpt. I’ve been seeing quotes about Rob’s book popping up recently, and have been learning more about the paleo diet since starting Cross Fit in August.

    The best part is that their are so many paleo sites these days that have recipes that are healthy and actually taste good too.

  60. Thank you so much for this post.

    I had my gallbladder removed in my early ’20s (all the physicians were completely baffled by my sudden and acute onset of massive numbers of gallstones), so this information is particularly eye-opening for me!

  61. It’s great to see the word of Paleo spread to new communities!!! I was first turned onto this lifestyle through my Crossfit gym. I’ve eaten mostly Paleo for about 2 years now and feel absolutely excellent. I’m such a advocate that I started a food blog of delicious Paleo recipes, simple enough for the average joe. Please do check us out at Great post Tim, happy to see you supporting!

  62. Perfect timing! I’ve been making drastic adjustments to my diet and observing the results.

    A good friend of mine told me how bad grains were, but it’s another thing to have somebody EXPLAIN why and prove it. This post did a bit of that, and now I can have some good solid reasons to go grainless for 30 days.

    For me, I know that after doing it for 30 days, it will be easy and sensible to stay off.

    Thanks again, Tim & Robb. Tim, your subject matter is all over the place in a good way 😀


  63. Tim – So happy you brought this topic to light. I, myself, discovered being (extremely) gluten intolerant about 5 years ago and it completely changed my life.

    A short list of benefits from my going gluten-free include: the elimination of crushing migrane headaches I had my entire life once every week or two (huge), general lack of energy (that I didn’t even know I had until going gluten-free), foggy-headedness, canker sores, unrestful sleep and a ton of other seemingly disrelated medical symptoms (similar to the case studies above).

    But, alas, I have always been “that guy” at restaurants, harassing waiters, asking to see packaging, etc. Fortunately, in last few years I have seen an upsurge in gluten-awareness. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for example carry numerous products that are clearly labeled as gluten free. Hopefully with this (awesome) article, this subject will get more mainstream.

    As for the nay-sayers – I do know that some people are apparently unaffected by gluten, but for those that truly have a sensitivity, the results night-and-day. I don’t care what any “authority” has to say to the contrary – it totally f’ing works. Enough said.

    btw, if you are in the south sf bay area, the place I worked with (allergy tests, etc) is called HealthNOW Medical ( I was super happy with them. Just google “Gluten Doctor” and you’ll find them on the first page. They also hold forums on gluten-sensitivity, offer other advice, etc.

  64. Wow, I had no idea grains and legumes were that bad!

    I am constantly suffering from allergies, gut problems, and autoimmune issues including severe and painful IBS attacks which are pretty debilitating. I developed unexplained severe allergies to stuff I was not allergic before (such as hair bleach) I got my hair bleached countless times without any issues, but the last two times I almost died from anaphlectic shock.

    I also developed a severe allergy against cat dander, which causes terrible asthma attacks and lung infections (to the point of needing steroid shots and breathing machine) I used to be fine with cats, never had any such problems until the recent years. No good reason or logical explanation for developing such severe allergies and terrible, debilitating IBS attacks.

    Doctors were not able to help much, all they do is prescribe painkillers and immunosuppressants.

    After reading this great article, I will remove all grains from my diet and try a fruit-veggie-egg-fish diet for 30 days and see if that helps. I hope cutting out the grains, legumes etc resolves this, cause I’m sick and tired of having poor health and being miserable with horrible IBS attacks!

  65. Ummm Is nobody else concerned that this diet is based on the Paleolithic Man that had an average life span of only 30 years? Oh don’t tell me, it had nothing to do with his diet. In fact he was in excellent health when he died. I get the diet, it’s the typical smoke and mirrors marketing angle that makes this another fad for people who don’t want to do the work.

    1. Consider that the average lifespan of paleolithic humans was decreased by (i) infant mortality (ii) death at the paws of wild animals

      1. Tell me were you living in the palaeolithic time? I would suggest a more in debt research on how they came to this 30 year life span. That is what I distrust, same goes for the infant mortality rates

  66. “gluten consumption is on par with a pack-a-day smoking habit.”

    You have got to be kidding me.

    There are so many major inconsistencies and erroneous ‘facts’ in this article. Some parts of this article are highly debatable and make connections between two things that in reality are highly unlikely to be temporally related. Just because things are presented as fact by one man and his ‘expert opinion’ does not make them true. I would love to see references to the research Robb claims backs this information up.

    Don’t get me wrong I agree with trying anything that may work, but I believe it is wrong to make such sweeping and simplified comments blaming grain as the cause of so many conditions.

  67. After he got a nod from Erwan Le Corre, I started listening to Robb’s podcasts and they are top notch.

    I attended a Robb Wolf seminar in the LA area last month (Team Crossfit in Monrovia). Awesome, awesome, awesome presentation. I’ve never had a weight problem and I’ve always been fit, but after making the adjustments Robb recommends, my body just started getting massively stronger. I put on 10 lbs of lean mass under intermittent fasting, doing little more than sitting on my ass.

  68. Thanks for this post–going to have to read the book now.


    Quick question: I’m an ectomorph and have a largely vegetarian diet (with some meat mixed in) and whey protein powder seems to be the only way i can get enough protein to put on muscle weight. Is whey considered a no-no, does it depend on the type, or is it OK? If it’s a no go, what non-meat substitute would you suggest?

  69. Hi Tim,

    I am so glad to see you finally embrace the paleo trend. I am one of those “amazing health turnaround stories.” I suffered from crippling IBS-D, chronic fatigue in cyclical waves, and emotional numbness.

    However, my story comes with an important twist. Paleo alone wasn’t enough to fix me. Neither was an all meat diet. Only when I moved to a fresh fish diet was I cured.

    I’ve been on an all meat diet for a long time. Still having problems, I eventually narrowed down my diet to just frozen fish fillets. For a good while I tried to optimize fat ratios in the fillets, thinking that was the last problem.

    Just in these last few days, I switched to live-bought fish which I boil and eat the same day. I got this idea from the Stefansson Eskimo diet article. My energy and mood and physical activity all immediately shot up. Whereas before my energy was fluctuating between 3/5 (if lucky) and 2/5 (more commonly) and 1/5 (on too-frequent bad days), now I was at 4/5. For example, I started working out hard in the mornings, no problem. Before I’d be lucky if I worked out once per week. And I actually enjoyed situps for the first time in my life.

    My food consumption dropped by half even as my activity skyrocketed. And my food costs dropped by 2/3s. The live fish I was eating are just a little longer than the span of my hand, but they pack huge nutritional punch and flavor.

    I can only theorize that I was eating so much before because I was chasing micronutrients that had been destroyed by the frozen fish fillet’s age, processing and freezing process. Now I eat much less frequently yet don’t feel hungry. From 5+ meals per day down to 3-1.

    Remarkably, I’m finding that this new level of energy requires a complete redesign of my life. I’m suddenly bored by my previous low-energy, low-stimulation, low-variety lifestyle. I’m no longer content to sit in front of a computer all day and “work.” And I’m much more interested in social stimulation.

    Keep up the good work,


  70. In the excerpt, it is mentioned that eating gluten is connected to Huntington’s Disease. I am just wondering how that is possible. Does it simply lead to symptoms appearing earlier? Huntington’s is an autosomal dominant disease that affects and eventually kills everyone who possesses even one copy of the gene, correct? (i.e. it is impossible to simply be a carrier for the disease or to have any predisposition to it)

    Interesting article, though I think I’d be hard pressed to live a life without pasta…

  71. I know Robb has some good points and yes Gluten can be problematic to some. One big thing to remember though is that Low Carb dieting is NOT the solution, Robb you tend to go too low in carbohydrates with your “Paleo” recommendations. This will ultimately lead to a host of problems – Adrenal, Thyroid, and therefore psychological and physical problems all around.

    You just need to read some of Matt Stone’s work at 180 Degree Health or Stephan at Whole Health Source

    I understand you have good intentions and think Paleo is the ultimate diet, but after trying it myself and it nearly killing me after 2 years of stubbornly following it (yes properly I listened to your podcasts and read a wide range of paleo blogs) plus seeing that it has had the same effect on many others we can safely assume it is far from the optimal human diet, especially once we get over the initial low carb honeymoon fuelled by catecholamines.

    Gluten is not the best thing in the world but it is also not the demon this post and the paleo community makes it out to be. Low carb is also not the way to go especially for those of us who partake in sports, unless you want to slug down your metabolism and demolish your glucose tolerance and end up getting OCD about food.

    Anyway I am sorry about the rant and don’t mean to offend anyone, just feel that these kind of articles are misleading and will send many people who are doing the right thing already down the wrong path.

    Eat real food including plenty of whole food starch.

  72. @Robb

    Quick question: I’m an ectomorph and have a largely vegetarian diet (with some meat mixed in) and whey protein powder seems to be the only way i can get enough protein to put on muscle weight. Is whey considered a no-no, does it depend on the type, or is it OK? If it’s a no go, what non-meat substitute would you suggest?

  73. One colossal problem with the Paleo Diet: It’s based on flawed archeology. Since the Paleo diet was invented in the 1970s, archeologists have proved that grains were a major part of the Paleolithic diet:

    The bad health of neolithic farmers are clearly the result of inadequate fruits and vegetables in the diet, not the presence of grains. And our current health crisis is caused by processed industrial foods and processed, adulterated grains.

    Whole grains have been a part of the human diet for *at least* 100 millenia, and are vital for optimum health.

    The Paleo diet means well, but it’s now conspicuously out of date.

    1. I wouldn’t be so quick to jump on the “humans ate bread 100k years ago” bandwagon. Here’s a link to the response to this find by Loren Cordain, who has done much of the research on the deleterious effects of grains

      Again, I think it’s increasingly accepted that the human diet was aggressively carnivorous for most of our history, and that this increased intake of fat, protein, and calories, allowed us to grow larger brains, and is associated with greater health, as seen by stronger and longer bones, healthier teeth, and much less evidence of malnutrition. Also, carbon profiling of bones indicate a high consumption of animal flesh, not to mention the cave paintings of animals being hunted tens of thousands of years ago. Humans followed large animals through ice age Europe and into the Americas, subsisting on meat. Eskimos, Plains Indians and the Masai are a few cultures that come to mind which exhibited primarily meat intake and good health. Certainly better health than grain consuming Mayans, Europeans, or Asian populations, which struggled with vitamin deficiencies and poor bone and dental health.

      I am a believer in the paleo way of eating, but I can certainly appreciate some here who are skeptical. I can also appreciate the vegetarians here as well- I was one myself for 2 years. All I can say is you’re all obviously smart people who care about health and what you eat. So start doing your own research, and see what you think. Or just try being a meat eating paleo for a month. Would it kill you? If you read through this entire long article, you know you’re curious, right? I tried the vegetarian thing for two years- you can give this a whirl for 30 days, right? There are some studies out directly on the paleo (grain free) diet. Here’s one to get you started…

      Even short-term consumption of a paleolithic type diet improves BP and glucose tolerance, decreases insulin secretion, increases insulin sensitivity and improves lipid profiles without weight loss in healthy sedentary humans.

      I would also add that you should go into things with an open mind. I think the neo-religious zealotry about how wonderful fruits and vegetables are, and how terrible meat is, really doesn’t match the scientific data. Again, make up your own mind, but look for actual scientific, randomized, double blind studies, NOT epidemiological (observational) studies, and not just a rant on a vegan blog somewhere. I think you may be surprised to find the emperor has no clothes. Besides, admit it, meat is yummy! 🙂

      1. Frank,

        Eskimos ate fish and lots of seals, seal fat is high in omega-3. Eskimos live for a long time on this diet.

        Brains grow larger if the proceeding generation eats fish (not meat in general), I think fish is the only source of some chemical that does this for us.

        Fish does not effect your brain size but it alters your future babies brain sizes.

        Extra brain goodies…

        -Stuff in Blueberries acts as an anti-oxidant to the brain

        -Stuff in Almonds increases IQ

        The longest lived people in the world (they live on some island in Asia) eat mostly green vegetables and fish and work slowly in fields making there greens. True story.

        To live super long you probably need to eat the right combo of nutrients and probably less than you would like (to keep your body cells in a defensive state). You also have to minimize exercise to stop your body wearing out. By minimize exercise I don’t mean sitting on the couch, I mean low impact non-body building. People these days seem to do either do nothing or too much.

        p.s. (not to frank, just my take)

        I don’t follow any diet.. but I do have some quirks…

        -I minimize white bread, sugar, milk and beef

        -I avoid table salt (table salt makes you crave more because your body actually wants the sea salt trace elements). I use sea salt

        -I get the iodine (I miss from table salt) from seaweed

        -I believe researched trick to being healthy with meat is to make sure your omega-3 exceeds your omega-6

        -Nuts contain unsaturated omega-6 (and other omegas, fibre and other good stuff)

        -I believe the research that has associated eating more the 300-500g of red meat per week to bowel cancer (and some others)

        -I like (grain fed) eggs.

        -I keep my meals small.

        -I eat lots of fish from good areas.

        -I eat lots of nuts and greens and whatever.

        -I often read about whatever food I am eating for fun.

        When I replaced most beef with nuts and fish a while back and reduced my meal sizes and I became super healthy. Dropped from 96kg to 68kg over a year, all my boring little health problems disappeared in the first few weeks. I had always walked 2km 6 days a week, but still reached 96kg, cutting meat down did it for me.

      2. @Frank:

        Sorry, but Loren Cordain (the first hyperlink in your note) has turned his back on Paleo. Read the disclaimer on the page to which you linked. And then read the massive volume of ongoing posts on his new blog over the last five years.

        He has transformed his blog into an ongoing series of posts that debunk the mythology of the “Paleo” fad.

  74. I’d like to know what you think of the book “Eating right 4 your blood type” which states most of this diet for o type blood but mostly carbs for A types.

    I’d like to know if important nutrients are being lost from more beneficial grains such as Quinea and Ezekiel Bread.

    I did the body-for-life program for 3 months and lost more than half my body fat %, felt great, but still mixed carbs with proteins and veggies.

    Who really knows anymore. Seems all the diets work if done right.

  75. This is a reply for Vik:

    He writes: “As a corollary, how does this paleo research fit in with Asian and Indian diets that are very high in rice/legumes and have a very low percentage of the health ailments that are indicative of high protein western diets?…”

    I wish you were more specific about the health ailments that Asian/Indians do not have but I actually live in India (for 3 years now) and these are my observations. Indians often develop a very large gut as they get older, and the rates of obesity are quite high. The exception to this would be the laborers, villagers, and truly poor who just eat far fewer calories, but who are not opposed to getting cheap protein in whatever animal form it might appear (you don’t want to know). Rates of diabetes in India are VERY high and as income levels go up the consumption of carbohydrates and sugars increases significantly. There are many obese vegetarians here. I don’t have any scientific evidence I can quote (though I know that studies have been done) just my observations. You should also be aware that while rice is consumed quite a lot here, it is always combined with large quantities of vegetables and meats. This applies to most of Asia.

  76. According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, millet is gluten free. Oats used to be off limits for all people with celiac. From the CDC site on the subject of oats “regular, commercially available oats are frequently contaminated with wheat or barley. However, ‘pure, uncontaminated’ oats have recently become available from several companies in the US and Canada. These companies’ process oats in dedicated facilities and their oats are tested for purity. Pure, uncontaminated oats can be consumed safely in quantities < 1 cup per day."

    Be nice to see links and annotations to substantiate your claims.

  77. @Rita

    You might want to consider the possibility of a parasite, new research has shown they are often the cause of the late onset allergies and other symptoms you are describing. Just another thought in case the grain-free doesn’t work out.

  78. Hey Tim,

    I’m following (i think) your low-carb diet but now after reading this I think I might be doing something I’m not suposed to. Maybe I’m having too much beans, I don’t know.

    Breakfast: 2 Eggs + Tee;

    Lunch and dinner: 100g Beef with 100g canned kidney beans + Tee;

    Glass of wine before sleep.

    Thats every day (except cheating day). Should I change I little bit so I don’t end up eating so much beans?

    Thanks for all your help!

  79. Hi, I’m just wondering how this diet works for people who have a fructose intolerance and are limited in what fruits and vegies they can eat?

  80. Tim,

    I do not know if I am ready to swallow even half of the sensationalist claims that Robb Wolf makes in this. My personal experience tells me that the effects of can Gluten vary widely depending on the genetic makeup of the person. Also, This flies in the face of what your (Health/Food scientific expert) friend Darya Pino preaches on her blog: SummerTomato, her specific post on the issues of grains is here: summertomato[dot]com/weekday-breakfast-cereal-and-fruit/ You should read that, and follow up with her. If you 2 can come to a mutual agreement and both author a blog post together, on this subject, it could be amazing.

    That being said, I am going to try and follow this diet for 60 days and will get back to you.

  81. Tim, do you still follow/recommend the bedtime snack of low-fat yogurt per your “relax like a pro” post? (I understand this info from Robb is just another guest post, but I was still curious because yogurt has great nutritional benefits)

  82. Tim, after seeing the experience of many people around me and after reading the China study, which I know it’s full of hype but it’s still something difficult to ignore, the diet plan looks suspicious to me. There’s too much meat in there for me to even considering it. What’s your take on that? Do you recommend eating that much meat?

    1. Hi Oscar,

      I think it really depends on your sources. Eating factory-farmed stuff is definitely a good way to race to the grave.

      I’ll be putting up an extensive critique of the China Study (the book, not the original monograph) within the next few months. The short answer is, if you get your meat from good sources, ideally local or nearby, I don’t see much of an issue with it. Then again, you’re talking to someone who lives in SF, so I’m very advantaged with food access.

      Good luck, man. My basic approach: take before-and-after blood tests (30 days and 60 days later) and see what actually happens. The research papers hold up surprisingly infrequently on a person-by-person basis.

      Test smart and track yourself and you’ll be just fine.



  83. I had heard about this Paleo diet, but I thought, what could make it any better than the Atkins’ or South Beach (i.e. other fad diets). I have to sincerely thank you for sharing that information here. I am printing out the article to show my dad who it I step away from diabetes. This is truly life-altering information.

  84. That’s really interesting, thanks. The main thing putting me off this diet is the surreal amount of meat (fish, chicken, animal products) that is suggested in the meal plans. Eating meat 3-4- times a day is not healthy; it certainly might result to some short term weight loss but it’s just not sustainable in the modern age – not for your body and not for the planet.

  85. Tim, I can’t wait until your new book comes out bro!

    As for the Paelo diet, I tried this for 1 month while training MMA and Muay Thai in Thailand (thanks to the 4-hour workweek!) I felt like I had more energy, I lost tons of weight, my muscles were tight and I looked and felt great.

    I’m planning on getting back into the lots of veggies, meat, eggs, and fat diet with zero carbs next week when I go to Thailand again to train for 3 months this time.

    P.S. My Brazillian Jiu-Jitusu instructor, Nicolas from Roger Gracie Sydney has been on the Paelo diet for a few years now and he’s in the best shape out of any guy i’ve ever seen in person.

  86. @americans, @tim you already eat enough meat without boosting it to 4 times a day!

    The ultimate diet rule should be: if you dont need it, dont eat it. And you don’t need meat at all. Not even bears which are much more “evolved as carnivores” eat mostly plant food to put on their massive bulk. (polar bears excluded). And look at panda bear canines!

    The human GIT is adaptable to a variety of diets – we can eat pretty much anything and get by, but it is blatently irresposible to promote this much meat consumption considering the price to the environment

  87. But rice has been the staple diet for millions of Asians for thousands of years.

    I live in Singapore and I just took a walk outside for lunch to look for food at a coffeeshop. Every single person’s plate was filled with rice or noodles and

    topped with veggies and meat; old people, young people, everyone.

    Are they all gonna die a horrible death?

    That said, I do find that rice makes me tummy feel queasy. I’m going to try the food plan for a month and report the findings!

    1. If you must eat grains small beer is probably the best choice, it’s fermented after all, but beer is very carby.

  88. Fascinating information, thanks.

    I’m curious though, does this also hold true for ancient wheat-breeds (spelt, for instance) made into sourdough bread, i.e. dough that has fermented for 24 hours or more before baking?

    The way I understand it, fermenting changes the whole molecular structure of any foodstuff, and makes it much more suitable for human digestion.

    Also I believe modern wheat-breeds (developed with industrial processing, not health, in mind) have far more aggressive proteins than the old breeds.

  89. Interesting post on a subject that more people need to be informed about. I’ve got a friend who’s family is Italian and eats LOADS of pasta and gluten. Unfortunately, this friend suffers from irritable bowel syndrome and his older brother (25) recently had part of his intestinal tract removed in order to treat his symptoms.

    I’m sure Tim will talk about protein in his upcoming book, but for people wondering where vegetarians and vegans get their protein (especially if they cut out gluten sources or animal) please watch Tim Van Orden’s youtube video on the “Protein Myth” for a brief on the topic. Tim is a National Champion trail runner, stair climber, and snow shoe runner. He is doing this all on a raw vegan diet. Please watch, learn, and be ignited to research on your own –

  90. @Matthew Bailey and Tim

    I’m not Tim but I think there is something true in it.

    Here is my story:

    I tried the approach very strict for almost 3 months.

    The result:

    Most of the time I felt like shit (honestly maybe 2 days of the time I felt good that was just at the morning to get up).

    Fatigued and sleepy most of the time, so I thought you have to up your fat intake but it didn’t work either.

    My mood was always aggressive, everyone just annoyed me.

    After two weeks or so I got heavy constipated meaning from 5 days up to 9 days I got no bowel movement (usually it was every day 1 or 2 times) and I ate enough vegs… and when I got some bowel movement my stool was very hard and little like from a rabbit and it took a long time and effort to get even that little shit out of me. Very unpleasant… one time I thought I will die such an ache of my stomach I’ve had never experienced in my life, the next bowel movement was so terrible…first hard stool and then I pissed my ass out, man… okay enough talking of bowel movements.

    I got fattier probably due to my fat intake, from about 11,5% bf to 15%.

    My sport stint fall in the basement and had to reduce it extremely I

    felt like an old man in slow motion, actually everything was in slow motion… even 10 stairs up felt like 1000 knee bends… unbelievable shit I tell you.

    My ratio @Paleo was 60-80%Fat/ 15-25% Protein/ up to 5-10% Carbs.

    My skin was unhealthy and got some blisters on my lips.

    My sleep was prolonged instead shortened.

    At the end where I had to abort this diet I got yellow eyeballs.

    Then I switched on a high carb diet in small steps of course and reduced the other macros of course and felt almost immediately better.

    And you know what? I am type A+ and I think there have to be something true in this blood type diet, red meat makes me feel bad and bloated.

    My ratio now is 65& carbs 15% protein and 10% fat and my diet consists of fruits, vegs, grains, fish, some eggs and some poultry.

    I know the arguments of the diet sounding pretty well, I too didn’t want to believe that after a month on the paleo diet my health went down, and forced myself to keep it up and to tell myself I didn’t adapt yet.

    I talked to many people and have done some research done myslef.

    Every guy with Type O I’ve talked do very well on high meat and fat/little carbs. And A+ just the opposite. But I don’t know how it looks with Type B and AB. So I’m pretty thankful that I am at least Type A+ and finally know what I have to eat 🙂

    An the argument that mankind couldn’t adapt in such a short time (10.000 years) to grains is not holeproof in my opinion.

    I mean what is the reason that there evolved different blood types? There have to be some connection with food and blood type.

    Maybe just As adapted (or at least tolerate grains much better) than Os.

    Look at the people of bulgaria, russia and so on they eat tons of grain products compared to animal products (except of milk products) and they have the lowest mortality.

    Or read the story of Mikkel Hindhede and there are many other similar stories.

    I don’t believe there is a diet for everyone, there are vegetarian types, protein types and mixed types. See metabolic typing for more information.



    1. Well, here’s my 2 cents. I’m A+ as well, did poorly on a vegetarian diet, and great on a paleo, mostly meat diet. I’m not a big fan of fruit at all, and only like a few veges. To me it was a huge relief to not feel like I had to eat fruits and veges, which I don’t much care for. If I have some now, it’s just because I have a taste for it, not because I feel that I HAVE to eat them. My ancestry is German, and although humans have consumed grains for 10k years, that’s only in the middle east. When the Roman Tacitus related the conquest of the Germanic tribes only 2k years ago, they were meat eaters, and he went on and on about their height, strength, health and vigor compared to the wheat eating Roman troops. But what can I say, if the diet didn’t work for you, it didn’t work for you. My bowels are fine, but I don’t think you have to go twice a day to feel good. I like not having all the flatulence I did when I was a vegetarian, and the foul smelling stools. I’ve lost weight on paleo, and gained a ton of weight being a vegetarian for two years. Feel better, sleep better, etc. I am curious if you are Japanese? The blood type diet thing seems to be big there. It doesn’t seem like there’s any scientific evidence for it. Oh, also, the long lived people of the caucases eat a great deal of animal flesh. The one constant the oldest people of the world share is low blood sugar and low insulin. If you can keep your blood sugar in check while still eating grains, great, but I know I sure can’t.

    2. My thought on blood types: you know if one of your parents is blood type 0 and the other parent is A, you will be A. But on closer inspection, you will have one 0 gene and one A gene =A0. The A gene is dominant so your official blood type will be A.

      If both of your parents have A, then you will have AA.

      My question: if you have A0 blood type, wouldn’t it be then better to eat mixed diet of A blood type and 0 blood type?

  91. HOLY CATS!

    I’m loading onto a plane going home (4am wake up, 1am if you consider my west coast circadian rhythm) so I’ll do my best. Couple things before I tackle specific questions and issues:

    1-I have quite a number of resources in the book, and I’ll list a number of scientific resources here. If you are sincere in this conversation, please at least read them.

    2-Just give it a shot! Out of any/all of this “paleo” orientation I’d put gluten avoidance at the top of the list. I recommend that folks jump in, give it a shot and see how they look, feel, perform. Do some blood work before and after. Do your biomarkers of health or disease go in a favorable, or unfavorable direction? I recommend the addition of LDL particle sizes, A1c, C-reactive protein and perhaps Leptin. All these are thoroughly explained in the book, I’ve also discussed them in my podcast.

    3-Most of the kick-back to these concepts seem to come from the vegetarian camp. I’d recommend reading “The Vegetarian Myth” for some perspective on issues like sustainability:

    So, two primary sources for research include work by Professor Loren Cordain:

    And Dr. Steffan Lindberg:

    Dr. Linberg’s research is particularly interesting in that he looks at the health consequences of a hunter-gatherer people, the Kitavans (notice the 100 year old male in the opening page photo on the “Our Research” page for the guy who referenced the supposed short life span of HG’s).

    The Kitavans, like all HG’s studied were largely free of cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurological decline typical of western cultures.

    What is particularly interesting about the Kitavan’s is they saw a dramatic decrease in health upon the inclusion of grains to their diet’s. The proposed mechanism? Lectins found in grains which first damage the gut lining, then degrade insulin sensitivity:

    This was followed-up with a comparison of insulin resistant, type 2 diabetics who ate one of two ways. A grain based “Mediterranean diet” and a grain free paleo diet based on modern foods. The result? The Paleo Diet group completely reversed insulin resistant Type 2 diabetes while the grain based Mediterranean diet saw “no statistical change.”

    That is all largely observational (empirical) information but pretty damn compelling. In the book I detail the specific mechanisms behind insulin resistance and inflammation starting with an understanding of digestion and the hormonal consequences of various foods. In more clear terms, I build, from the round up, the pathophysiology of modern diseases such as cancer (breast, colon prostate…essentially endothelial derived cancers) heart disease, diabetes, autoimmunity, neurodegeneration and infertility. If you have “issue” with the paleo concept then just forget about that and look at the science starting from the molecular level. You will still have no framework from which to assess things, but It’s outside my pay grade to fix that problem!

    Ah, and lest we forget, a great comparison of a transition from HG to agriculture. I detailed this in my book in chapter 2:

    Mark E-

    This is all I’m suggesting…give it s shot. How do you look, feel, and perform? Do your biomarkers improve? Oddly enough, not so sensationalistic a proposition and if I could just get people to TRY this I’d not need all the science. let em know how it goes.


    Fructose intolerance is VERY common in folks with gluten issues:

    I’d suggest the use of yams, sweet potatoes, and squash such as acorn, spaghetti and similar items. For fruit stick with berries and mellons as they contain less fructose. Limit carbs a bit if you have insulin resistance.


    Agree with Tim. if you want to try ditching the beans for a month in preference to things like yams, give’er a shot.


    THANK YOU! Not to be a jerk but folks of Asian or Indian descent seem to think they have the market cornered on carbs! My family is from Arkansas…plenty of carbs AND the health of Asian/Indian populations is not as good as most folks assume.

    Ok, my flight is loading. More later.

  92. Okay, seriously, I apologize for having offended anyone. I’m really sorry. And I’m even more sorry that some of you took my comments literally, oh my god! I don’t know everything and don’t claim to. But the point I was trying to make is that to a certain degree, everything is bad for you. EVERY human body reacts to things differently. I’m well aware of your meat and egg suggestions of free-range, antibiotic free, etc, etc etc. There are things we will find out in the future that we don’t know right now about ourselves and our bodies so to all the people that are going to make life changing decisions based on this book…good luck. It’s just that it’s not the first time someone will say something, then in the future we may find out it’s wrong. So here’s a crazy idea, how about we enjoy our lives and not always try to make life perfect by being pawns and following whatever fad comes our way. And Tim, sorry for bringing any animosity to your site, it wasn’t my intention.

    1. Jimmy, thanks. I agree with your comment. We know very little. No matter what the changes are that you make (or, even if you don’t make any changes), it’s important to get the occasional blood test. No stress, just tracking every 3-6 months.



    2. I think some people already know that everything is bad for you, to a certain degree. But what’s to be discussed is what’s best for you and what doesn’t have certain awful effects, like gluten, mercury, etc.

      Even our breathing is killing us!

      But, like stress, we all need to get some (food, not gluten), just have it in moderation and from the right sources.

  93. Fantastic post guys, I love reading about information that challenges the status quo. I’m going to give this a try straight away. I’ve already printed this article out for various friends who suffer from allergies and constant complaints about digestive problems.

    Very excited about the forthcoming book Tim. If you are ever in London, I will happily buy you a beer… gluten free of course. 😀


  94. As with most of the paleo-related health information, I’d like to see a bit more than anecdotes and theory. Some actual decent research would be great.

    I’m a skeptic at heart, and when I see that a lot of this seems to come out of the corner of naturopaths, journalists without scientific trainign (Pollan et al.) or at most individual, practicing MDs, I’m rather relucant to accept that “this fact is”. I’m not accusing anyone of malice or peddling snake-oil (well, maybe the naturopaths), it’s just that this is a rather complicated subject and wrong conclusions or overrating certain facts is rather easy to do. You might be on the cutting edge of new discovieres, living healthy a decade before the general scientific community acknowledges it, sure, but you also might just drink some kool-aid.

    I don’t mind people trying things out, as our individual reactions (positive and adverse) vary a lot, so a lot of diets might help people out, possibly not for the reasons they were invented or the theory they’re based on…

  95. Tim, you say soaking legumes in water helps to eliminate most of the anti-nutrients – so I guess anything legumy you buy in a can is decent to eat?



  96. “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, barley, and millet, which are the gluten-containing grains, are likely the worst of the bunch with regard to health.”

    as Linda mentioned above “According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, millet is gluten free.”

    I haven’t seen that study, but I have a package of Eden Organic Millet and it says “a Gluten free food”.

    Which set of info can we rely on?

    also as Rita asked “Are sprouts ok?” I have organic quinoa that sprouts very easily but I have some I guess regular quinoa from Roland that I can’t get to sprout. I guess that’s bad news but I have a ton of it. It says it’s pre-washed so maybe that’s why it won’t sprout.

    Also, what effect would nixtamalization have on the grains? Is that what you’re doing by soaking the lentils with baking soda or what purpose does that serve?

  97. Awesome, will try this diet out

    With a blood test should I just look at getting a ‘general’ blood test with whatever they usually test for or should I be asking for specific things?

  98. Let’s say for the sake of argument that someone is a vegan purely for ethical reasons and understands the benefits of removing grains, legumes, and dairy from one’s diet.

    Aside from directing them to change their ethical beliefs, what advice would you give them?

  99. Sorry to be the skunk at the picnic, but I increased my bone density by 15 per cent in a year just by occasional work on the weight machines. In addition, sixty million French people eat French bread two or three times a day, and I haven’t heard about catastrophes like the ones you describe.

  100. While it all looks interesting, I am curious about whether (or where) his data on this diet has been published and what his qualifications are (his site mentions having worked in biochemical research, but not what his actual qualifications are). As someone else pointed out, there is a lot of bad nutritional information out there and nutritionists recommending things which seem, at first light, to make sense, but which later turn out not to have any actual scientific backing to them.

    I’m not trying to be overly critical of Robb here, it’s just that very often these kind of claims can end up being overhyped or exaggerated (intentionally or unintentionally) because of subjective bias, and the use of anecdotes as evidence and claiming to cure such wide ranging disorders are often warning flags about this kind of thing.

    Another questions I would have would be how it compares to other healthy diets and placebo (often people will show large improvements just by being in a clinical trial, and any “better” diet will improve the health of someone who isn’t eating healthily), but this would most likely be answered in any published research Robb did into this (or referenced as part of it)

    Note: To give some clarification as to where I’m coming from with the skepticism, in the UK there was someone who had their own TV show called Gillian McKeith. In the first season she was called “Dr” Gillian McKeith, which was then removed after complaints that she doesn’t actually have an accredited PHD, so isn’t entitled to the “Dr” prefix (and her BSc was in communications, not medicine). She also made claims about doing clinical research, none of which (as far as anyone has been able to find out) has actually been published. There’s been a bunch of other stuff as well (selling a herbal remedy which was banned for sale in the UK) which has left a lot of us in the UK somewhat skeptical about a lot of claims from nutritionists (as opposed to dieticians, which is a protected term similar to the “Dr” prefix and refers to someone with a relevant MD in food and diets).

    Then there’s Matthias Rath who pushes the boat out with his vitamin supplements as a replacement for anti-retrovirals when treating HIV (which, iirc, he also claimed didn’t cause AIDS)

    Again, not saying that Robb is pushing questionable nutritional recommendations like McKeith (and certainly not saying he’s anything like Rath), but the nutritional industry has had it’s credibility shaken pretty badly by people like them. Hence why some of us are wary of sweeping claims about nutritional changes curing (or treating) things like type 1 diabetese

    Oh, and there’s a third response which plants take with seeds which he has missed. Creating enough of them that, even if predators eat the vast majority, they will still be able to propagate, which is present in animals as well as in plants. I have to question his categorising wheat as being in the same category as toxins, since it would take such a long time for it to have an effect that it wouldn’t actually dissuade animals from eating the seeds, and so would have minimal effect in terms of protecting the plant’s seeds (and therefore would seem to have little influence over the evolution of the plant)

  101. You know this sounds all fancy and stuff. There’s just one problem, I look at the suggested one week worth of food and I either don’t know, or probably don’t like most of it. I’m really picky with food and usually resort to the usual meat/veggie dinner. However breakfast and lunch become a problem. I eat cereals for breakfast and bread for lunch.

  102. This makes so much sense to me, and could answer a lot of problems I’ve been having. I’ve been suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for years now whenever I eat APPLES or more recently anything with thick skins. I have also suffered with Iritis a couple of times (am suffering my second flare up right now, which is why I’m reading this!) and I get a very sore back which might be the start of Ankylosing Sponsilitis. Iritis and AS are both autoimmune diseases. I had already read that many people have seen good results with a low starch diet which I already started a few days ago, and reading this makes it all click into place. I will post back my findings in one month. Just one question, if it’s the gluten and not the starch does this mean that potatoes and rice are OK?

  103. Interesting post. In my experience food intake also depends much on what type of activity (if any) you are doing.

    For example, I’ve been involved in mountain duathlon for some time and experimenting with proper diet ever since. I tried pretty much everything from vegeterian to paleo style but neither seemed to work for me.

    Either I had a lots of energy (vegetarian) but my strength went down or other way round (paleo). Then based on the book “The Paleo Diet for Athets” I tried combination of both and for the first time I experienced both, sthrength and endurance increase.

    Here is a small exerpt from the book that pretty much sums up my view on this issue.

    “Training for endurance sports such as running, cycling, triathlon, rowing, swimming, and crosscountry skiing places great demands on the body, and the athlete is in some stage of recovery almost continuously during periods of heavy training. The keys to optimum recovery are sleep and diet.

    Even though we recommend that everyone eat a diet similar to what our Stone Age ancestors ate, we realize that nutritional concessions must be made for the athlete who is training at a high volume in the range of 10 to 35 or more hours per week of rigorous exercise.

    Rapid recovery is the biggest issue facing such an athlete. While it’s not impossible to recover from such training loads on a strict Paleo Diet, it is somewhat more difficult to recover quickly.

    By modifying the diet before, during, and immediately following challenging

    workouts, the Paleo Diet provides two benefits sought by all athletes: quick recovery for the next workout, and superior health for the rest of your life.”

  104. Tim-

    I stick for the most part to a diet of no grains, breads, or refined sugars. I do supplement with whey protein powder (pre/post workout) and casein protein powder at night. Are these two additions to my diet going to affect me in a negative way? Anybody have any info on this??

  105. I think too many people confuse gluten intolerance with the larger overall issue of macro-nutrient intake. Most people just aren’t celiacs (roughly 1% of the population). When you drop gluten, go paleo, or just reduce the industrialization in your diet, you usually reduce total calories, simple sugars, low quality fats, and increase protein. This is why Tim can eat cupcakes once a week and still feel great. His diet overall is probably super clean overall and he’s not a celiac. If he was, a weekly dose of gluten would be enough to keep his gut in disarray.

    While I agree with Robb’s recommendations, it’s important to understand all the reasons why the can work. It’s possible to go on gluten free and still eat crap. Substituting grain for other forms of sugar isn’t going to help, nor is substituting dairy and beans for factory farmed beef. This is why two people can try a given diet and get completely different results. The devil is always in the details, and the details are much harder to account for.

    My recommendation? Get at least a ballpark feel for you macro-nutrients. How much sugar, protein, carbs, fat, fiber, calories, etc. are in your average day. Is this optimal? Until you actually track your diet and get some numbers, you are flying blind, and everyone I’ve sat down with to do this is always surprised (massive amounts of sugar, no protein, and often not many calories). While Tim can follow a rough set of rules (slow carb), I’ll bet he’s done the math 12 different ways to know what his diet works averages out to.

    Next up, increase the quality of your food before you worry about anything else. Those silly vegetarians do bring up some good points. For example, while salmon, mentioned above, is actually relatively low in mercury (0.01 ppm) choosing the right salmon is pretty important. The difference between farm raised Atlantic salmon and wild caught Pacific salmon (Chinook, Sockeye, Coho, Chum, Pink) includes PCBs, omega-6 levels (fat), and arachidonic acid (trigger for inflammation). The quality of your beef, chicken, and vegetables can vary in much the same way. Get to know your food.

    Finally I recommend focusing on what you should be eating, not on what you must eliminate. It’s much easier to avoid bad foods when you’re full of good foods. The more spinach you eat the less room there is for donuts.

    Getting some of these details hashed out and the quality up, makes a specific diet, whether it’s paleo or not, much more effective. While we all may not agree on meat content or grains, we can all agree that we haven’t evolved eating ketchup and soda. Even my grandmother knows broccoli is good for you and she doesn’t read scientific journals. Start with that.

  106. Tim,

    Really interesting read, wish I new all this stuff LONG ago. I’ve had serious issues with my digestive tract for some time now, beginning with pancreatitis which the Dr’s chocked up to “unknown cause”, then leading into having to have my gallbladder removed (wish I had done more research before hand) at the GI’s suggestion due to “under functioning”. I’ve also had mild difficulty swallowing since I can remember, as well as GERD for the past 4 years. Now I’ve taken measures and quit alcohol (after the pancreas issues) and adjusted my diet to take in more and more fruits and veggies (not enough, but more mind you) and I’ve started exercising much more but I’m still having intermittent digestive and emotional issues (mild depression and anxiety mainly). I plan on buying this book and getting started to see what happens and was wondering if you had any other suggestions that might help along the way, and if being without a gallbladder will have any effect on my success and living a normal, healthy life. Thanks!

  107. How is it that Italians seem to have a healthy lifestyle. I’ve never seen statistics on their health, but it’s got to be better than Americans. Is it just an illusion?

    Nevertheless, they seem to enjoy life more!

  108. I have to know…how harmful is the malted barley used in the production of beer? Since we are not actually ingesting the grain, is their still a problem. I firmly believe that beer must be good, and if your telling me I can eat meat and vegetables, and I can still enjoy a beer, all while adhering to your diet, than your diet is awesome. Thanks

  109. Great Post, Tim! I can not tell you the number of the clients who have come to see me for IBS hypnosis, weight management hypnosis, bulima, and pain management hypnosis who’s lives have been dramatically improved by going paleo. It never ceases to amaze me. Seriously. I am so on the Paleo bandwagon and have been for a couple of years now – glad to see you are pretty much too…even with the whole bean thing 😉

    There is one HUGE mistake/miscalculation I think most everyone who looks at or does paleo makes…and even though I DO understand that the above sample menu recommendations come from a very active, weight lifting male who’s protein needs are a bit more intense than your average Joe (or Julia) I wonder if the menu is misleading to others who are less informed too as there are hardly any portion sizes listed above…

    Paleo style eating should be around 80% veggies and fruit; 20% meat, eggs, fish, nuts and insects (yup, insects. they ate insects. not that I eat insects but if you like insects then go for the insects)

    Paleo is LOADS of LEAFY GREEN veggies, some tubers (like carrots), with the occasional meat, egg, nut, and fruit tossed in – according to season. (eggs are a springtime food, nuts are in the autumn, etc) It is NOT meat-heavy like Adkins, and while it may be most suited for a Michael Pollan-esque flexitarian style of eating, because of the amount of green leafiness it can be easily adapted to a veggie/vegan’s needs too.

    The trick, like said above, is to go totally “clean” for at least 30 days and then re-introduce each food to your diet and LISTEN to your body. But you have to listen to it after you’re clean…or it will tell you that what is actually bad for you (like crack) is something that you really really need. Even though you certainly don’t.

    Hmmmm… 80/20? Wonder where I’ve heard that before? 😉

    1. Absolutely agree with every single word as it resonates with my philosophy. Primarily a blend of Robert young’s ph miracle and primal life style. So do you incorporate suggestions regarding this lifestyle while your clients are in trance with you. 🙂 ..” as you hear the sound of my voice you relax even more…yes……….go deeeper……yes…and you see yourself starting to enjoy a primal life and feel repulsive to grains….yesssssssssssssssssssss” LOL

  110. Hi Tim and Robb,

    Great post as always, looking forward to your new book too.

    I hope it will be available in iBooks, Kindle or PDF. Robb’s book is not, and that is really unfortunate as I would buy it immediately.

  111. What about all of the gluten-free bakery products we see nowadays? King Arthur Flour recently launched a whole line of gluten-free products:

    It’s still made from grains, and it’s still bread. Is it too good to be true? It would certainly make it a lot easier to gut gluten out of ones diet.

  112. I’m new to the concept of the paleo diet, but have been working on eliminating gluten. A book I found very helpful (for those of us who are resistant to giving up breads and other baked treats) is “The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook” by Elana Amsterdam. Using just almond flour and eggs to replace starch you can make a surprising number of replications of tradional wheat-flour based goods, which can really help ease the transition into a new way of eating. I made a carrot cake and a savoury kale/egg tart, complete with believable pastry crust. Both were delicious. She uses agave nectar for sweetening; not sure how that rates on the paleo, but as I said, it’s a good bridge if you want to ‘cross over’. Most of her recipes are dairy-free as well. It may just be a crutch, but hey, a crutch is sometimes necessary on the road to recovery!

  113. I cranked up my Paleo commitment level last week by switching out my morning oats and whey for an omelet. I’ve been feeling great & this weekend I actually had a dream where I ate about fifteen slices of bacon. Something Must Be Working Right…

  114. Great article. I found out I was gluten intolerant a few years ago. I cut out gluten altogether and feel so much better! Everyone should be aware that gluten is contained in many of our staple foods here in the West, and only we have the power to do something about it!

  115. Tim,

    When are you coming out with your book on health, nutrition, etc.?

    If you wanted to “cleanse” your body and colon, what would you use? (there is so much on the market right now)

    Thanks for this post, great info.


  116. Tim – I’m a huge fan but this could be a damaging post. A research bio-chemist and editor for a Nutrition magazine doesn’t warrant expertise in this field. You can be considered a nutritionist if you work at GNC. In the US a Registered Dietitian is the authority on nutrition and any deviation from this is dangerous. I know because my wife is an RD consultant for the state of NC WIC training program.

    It is important to note that Celiac disease is an inherited, autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats. What would be considered “other proteins”? Corn, as mentioned, can also have negative effects considering corn since HFCS is in everything we eat (as mentioned in Food Inc.).

    What is important about this article is the meal plan. It consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts and small amounts of lean protein. This should be the framework of any healthy diet. It didn’t appear there were any MILK products in his meal plan.

    I’d recommend reading the chapter on “Energy” in Anthony Robbins book, Unlimited Power. Anthony concludes that MILK contains proteins that also damage the lining of the small intestines. Even Gandhi’s daughter in-law, Jawaharlal Nehru, states this… Take care of the membrane of your intestines and it will take care of you.

    Everyone is looking for ONE thing to solve all our problems and as you know it takes time and the process of elimination is what will work best. As humans, we originally ate lots of fruit, nuts, vege’s and protein. Focus on those foods and you are on your way to becoming super human.

    IN regards to this article…

    Section – “Alex, Age Five” – It appears he ate YOGURT. Nothing in the article states he is no longer eating MILK products – just Robb’s recommendations. I’m guessing he doesn’t eat milk products any longer.

    1. A dear friend, pregnant with twins and having half a pancreas, was just advised by an RD to eat…bagels, triscuit, and bread to manage her insulin. Goal was blood sugars below 120. The RD’s reccommendations put her sugars above 140. Swapping out all the grains for sweet potato and a Paleo-esque diet brought sugars below 100. Tell me that an RD is a trustworthy authority? They’re only as educated as an institution receiving state (government) credentials could be. The ones that look outside their curriculum are rare.

    2. So, you knock Wolf for being a research bio-chemist and editor for a Nutrition magazine, and then you suggest that we read Anthony Robbins? I love Anthony Robbins, but I’m pretty sure he’s not a Registered Dietitian either.

    3. @Andrew: “Even Gandhi’s daughter in-law, Jawaharlal Nehru, states this…”[sic]

      please don’t blindly quote stuff, Jawaharlal Nehru was a man and the first prime minister of India! Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru were both stalwarts in Indian national struggle for independence. In my sight, you lost your entire credibility on this one thing!

      1. He got mixed-up. He is referring to Maneka Gandhi who is grand–daughter-in-law of JL Nehru. and daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi. Her column on animal-rights, vegetarianism, diet and related issues is syndicated in various Indian newspapers.


  117. Rob,

    I appreciate the insight, but I my critique is that you gave a lot of contrarian information without any citing in the blog post. As a science geek, I’d like to read some of the articles that your findings are based from. Can you please post or direct message some of your primary sources?


  118. Ok but now i am quite confused, not saying that the article doesnt make sense but it is contradictory to some dietitian that recommend to eat freshly grinded cereals as they have kept all their good nutrients (vitamins, etc). basically in a few hrs flours are just dead gluten and harmful. now are freshly grinded grains beneficial

    read :

  119. Rob/Tim, After I wrote my comment last night, I realized I had two components of my diet that I am really unsure about.

    The first one is my whey and casein powders. I drink optimum nutrition whey after workouts and their casein before bed. Are these protein isolates as harmful as eating/drinking dairy products such as milk and cheese?

    The second one is peanut butter. I know peanuts are a legume, and I usually eat natural peanut butter that doesn’t have sugar added to it, but how does it rank on the scale of things with gluten, etc?

    Thanks for your time,


    1. Hi Tim and Robb,

      I noticed some confusion in your blog about which grains actually contain gluten. Here are three sentences from your text:

      “Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye oats, and barley”

      ” [W]heat, rye, and barley, which are the gluten-containing grains…”

      “[G]luten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and millet”

      Wheat, rye, and barley contain gluten. Oats do not contain gluten, but do contain a protein similar to gluten. Oats are also often cross-contaminated with gluten-containing grains as they are shipped, processed, etc on the same equipment. “Gluten-free oats” are oats where precautions have been taken to avoid cross-contamination. Millet does not contain gluten.

      You may want to straighten this out in your blog,

      Take care,


  120. Thanks for the reply Tim.

    Quick question for you or Robb. Regarding blood values, what testing do you recommend? I have had an IGE Blood test for food allergies recently, which all came back under the positive threshold for any allergies. However, I also have heard of an IGG test that monitors the prolonged effect over several days of the potential allergens. At least this is how it was explained to me.

    What type of traditional testing do you recommend outside of food elimination from your diet? Thanks again! Great article!

  121. Tim,

    You’ve surpassed yourself once again! Thanks for the great post. I’m going to get hopping on this right away…

    All the best,


  122. I could not be happier to see the collaboration between Tim and Robb. I’ve been eating this way for about 4-5 months, and could not be more thankful to the work that Robb is doing to spread the word.

    Robb’s podcasts are also very informative as well. Make sure to check them out if you have more interest and questions.

  123. Tim is a jerk for posting this article. After reading Robb’s excellent explanation I can no longer eat grains or grain like food without feeling guilty 🙁

    Robb, why didn’t you do a seminar while you were in T.O last week?

    Lastly re people from the Indian sub continent, we have higher rates of heart disease and diabetes than other ethnic groups.

  124. first – Tim, thanks for sharing this.

    Robb – I have been a fan of yours for years in the Crossfit community and have to say congratulations on coming this far with your book and the massive attention its receiving. I have been torn between Zone and Paleo for some time, but with evidence like this its irrefutable.

  125. I just took a class on edible wild plants. One of the basic staples: grass seed. We gathered it to include with dinner. Some we ground and cooked, some we ate raw. Strip right off the stalk, pop in mouth.*

    Of course grains are just domesticated grasses.

    So it appears that humans did actually evolve eating grains, unless for some strange reason they ignored a readily available food source.

    This doesn’t mean that all that stuff about glutens isn’t true. Lots of things are tradeoffs. I just wish “paleodiet” people would actually learn something about primitive hunting and gathering before making some of their claims.

    (Others: l’ve seen claims that long-distance running isn’t “paleo,” while anthropologists are saying that humans are some of the planet’s best endurance runners and used to spend days running down wild game. And don’t get me started on “paleos” who eat bacon and dairy…I’m still waiting to see how one goes about milking a wild bison.)

    * Almost all grass seeds in the U.S. are edible, but a few in the Southwest are not. Individual seeds that are purple and two or three times bigger than normal are infected with a poisonous fungus.

  126. Most likely the cause of all the gluten intolerance that Americans are experiencing has more to do with the way our food is produced, not that our bodies aren’t designed for eating grain type products. If gluten were really the source of our ailments, then why has this only recently shown up as a medical condition in the last 20 years or so while humans have been consuming wheat, barley, rye and oats for ten thousand years or more?

    One would need to look at other environmental factors such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides used in industrial grain production, the processing of the grains before being turned into pre-packaged foods, as well as the combination of other ingredients that could cause negative reactions on the molecular level (such as process oils like corn, safflower and canola. Don’t even get me started on HFCS or other chemical flavor enhancers).

    It is a little known fact that lactobacillus, a beneficial bacteria, is missing in most industrially produced bread products. It is part of the fermentation process of the flour and yeast, breaking down the proteins and amino acids into a digestible form for humans. The main place the lactobacillus is found is on human skin. So, in the old days, when mom would bake bread, kneading it with her bare hands, she was not just getting a good workout, her hands were actually a necessary process of the culturing of the bread through the yeast and lactobacillus.

    Just like those that are lactose intolerant can usually consume yogurt or kefir without any problems, the same may be true of those who eat home baked breads.

    Those with celiac disease are suffering an autoimmune condition. It isn’t unlike an allergy to nuts or seafood or any of the more common food allergies, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. My main concern is that those that do not suffer from celiac may be restricting their dietary choices and eliminating a very healthy food and great source of folic acid and b complex vitamins from their diets.

    The jury is still out on this topic, and I think it will prove in the end to be just another diet craze like the low fat 80’s and low carb 90’s. In the meantime, I’ll keep baking bread at home. No bread machine needed.

  127. The Paleo Diet is a great Muse and wonderful niche marketing. That’s about it. It is not the answer for everyone and if you don’t want to give up pasta just limit the portion size. It is not killing you. Stress is a much better indicator of lifespan. Worrying about a cup of pasta is not healthy.

  128. Awesome. I’ve been listening to Robb’s podcast for a while now and am looking forward to picking up a copy of his new book. Most health gurus tend to have really good content for either nutrition or exercise, but rarely both. Robb’s definitely a go-to guy for it all.

  129. He seems to demonize dairy products but I wonder if he has considered the harm that pastuerization, homogenization and grain feeding cows has done to our dairy supply. If you have cows that feed on organic grass in outdoor lovely settings and then their milk is kept raw and organic it doesn’t have many of the harmful effects prescribed to dairy products over the years. I highly recommend the book “The Untold Story of Milk” to all including Tim Ferriss and Robb Wolf. See reviews here and more: and visit the author’s website. He is an MIT graduate who has learned the amazing health giving effects of raw, organic, grass-fed cow milk (other animals work well also):

  130. I wonder how sprouted grains compare to the ones that the article talks about.. Or if it doesn’t matter and “all grains are bad”

  131. Hey Tim and Robb

    I’ve just started working with Martin Berkhan’s concepts (with excellent results) and would love some input on carb intake as it relates to the 30 day test suggested by Robb. lifting/cycling 4 days per week so, obviously need some carbs. Mostly fruit? Spuds?

    I’m sure you’ll cover much of this in the book but in the mean time?



  132. Your article was really helpful. I’ve been struggling with weight loss, hypothyroidism (for years), just recently found out I have osteoporosis (at 40) and a host if other health issues. Of course, I’m addicted to rice, pasta and breads. AND I’m a vegetarian. 

    My question to you is, what if I don’t eat eggs, dairy or poultry or meat? (my diet is mostly soy, beans and plant based)

    What are my options?

    What are my other options?

  133. Hey, Tim, I train Brazilian Jiujitsu four to six days a week. I’ve been doing it for about twelve years now and I’m always battling overtraining syndrome. One of the ways I cope with it is that I watch my diet extremely carefully, but I would be terrified to go without grains. Have you been doing jiujitsu while going without grains? I only weigh 117 pounds so I always feel I’m in danger of getting crushed, injured, destroyed if I’m not in perfect condition and if my eating isn’t completely geared toward the sport. Since you do BJJ, I thought you might have some insight….but remember, I’m little (crushable) (and the guys I train with aren’t).

  134. Tim, Look forward to your book. As a biologist, in particular however, I hope that you don’t make the mistake of considering a vegetarian diet as being comprised of fish, as if they are neither produce or a byproduct of an animal. You seem too intelligent to do that but one of you comments made me worry. If people want to eat fish, that’s value-free but if their flesh are not considered animal meat, I am concerned about our basic knowledge.

    People often seem to become evangelical and even snarky with one another about diet issues. But Tim, I think your comment about Jimmy, in saying “I do agree that your “nonsense” attack is a bit too strong, though” is disrespectful in itself. What is so ‘nonsens’ical about the fact that typical meat consumption is consistent with what he is saying. Why else would you and others be advocating for other sources of meat? Jimmy deserves an apology from several others on here; I don’t agree with him but respect, people.

  135. Well, Gluten-free/Paleo sure is the current diet bandwagon. Congratulations for capitalizing on that. It seems like half of my kids’ friends at school are “gluten-free.” Is this really a problem for so many people all of a sudden? I doubt it. Nobody was “gluten-free” 20 years ago.

    This diet will work though. If you cut one of the primary sources of calories out of your diet, unless you find a way to completely substitute it with something else, you will lose weight.

    Perhaps “Paleo” humans ate very little grain, but humans were consuming some grain as early as 23,000BP, and humans in the Fertile Crescent were harvesting and consuming a wide variety of grains and lentils around 9000 BCE. I think most of us have adapted by now.

    By the way, paleolithic humans also ate insects, maybe we should start incorporating that in our diets. The supply is plentiful, and perhaps we’re missing some important health benefits.

    1. In evolutionary time 100K years is instantaneous.

      And yes, we probably should include more insects into our diet. In the mean time more shell fish as they are closely related.

  136. Oh and one more note, a company who has pasture-fed (grass) organic raw milk is Organic Pastures but they can only delivery within California due to FDA regulations… (ahem)… but as a quick response to Robb Wolf’s mention that dairy has protease inhibitors, according to Organic Pastures, their raw, organic, pasture fed cow milk is filled with protease along with many other powerful and useful enzymes that aid digestion and the body… More info here: I’m always trying to learn more so if there is a problem with this milk I’d really like to know but from my ongoing research it appears to be an amazing food.

  137. WOW! Check the fire storm about this topic.

    Tim, nice headline, how many likes will this yield!?

    I must say I’ve only really dipped my toe into the diet world (I’ve always been fit and healthy) however, one key thing I have found is the extra energy that comes from an increase in veg and a decrease in pasta/bread.

    More energy = more achieved = more fun. So, I’m down with that.

  138. Great article! Can’t wait to read the whole book. I can’t help but wonder if my mother had been told to drastically change her diet, if she’d still be alive today. She was obese, had type 2 diabetes, hypothyroidism, kidney disease and was depressed. She passed away a few years short of her 50th birthday. I’m going to blog about this today…everyone needs to read this article.

    I also can’t help but wonder…if not for CF, would I have ever learned about changing my diet? I did 30 days 100% paleo 3 months ago, and average 90% now. I had added bread back in once a day (more than that and I’d bloat up) but now I’m not doing that any more. I’m incredibly grateful to this community.

  139. Can you help me understand this?

    Why would the average life expectancy have gone up so much if our diets are now so horrible?

    Why are we so much taller now than these ancient peoples if our diet is so damaging?

    1. Hi

      Life expectancy is due to Medicine (you know antibiotics?) and life style (I dont kill wild animals twice a week).

      Regarding Height: please have a look at hunters-gatherers bones…

  140. Hi Tim & Rob,

    My diet as of today has brown rice and rolled oats, as of tomorrow they will be cut out as well. The differences I have felt since I cut out wheat and sugar have been amazing. My body fat has decreased significantly and my energy level remains constant, which, as a med student is a feat on it’s own.

    I treat myself to 85% dark chocolate (thoughts on this?) and am a coffee lover, what do you suggest I use to add to my coffee as a milk alternative?



  141. I recommend the book, the Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson over Robb Wolf’s book – same topics, but more accessible writing style. I also highly recommend I have been eating Primal/Paleo for a year and have the best energy and physique of my life.

  142. Hi there Tim (and Robb)

    First off, I appreciate you running this piece and getting more information out to everyone.

    I agree that in SOME people, grains, carbs and other “off limit” foods are an issue. My wife has some gluten intolerance and having her avoid gluten for now has resulted in massive changes.

    I do have to side with Tim on this one, that he does a whole day of “eating whatever he wants” which is great.

    The goal, as I see it, should be a very flexible metabolism (Metabolic Flexibility). Your body should be able to take any food and turn it into fuel without many “side effects” (wacky blood numbers, lack of energy, low levels of muscle, etc).

    If someone is very Metabolically Flexible, they should be able to process evil grains too.

    As Tim points out, this must be tested on an individual basis.

    I work with my athletes/clients to get them to eat a wider variety of foods with fewer issues (more metabolically flexible).

    I feel this is a great marker of health and ironically closer to the situation of early humans. If early humans found ANY food source they would eat it and eat as much of it as possible. It would not be an advantage if that food source caused them issues.

    Rock on

    Mike T Nelson PhD(c)

  143. Are dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.) gluten free?

    Additionally, as a poor college student eating meat and other gluten-free products is EXPENSIVE. If I simply reduce the amount of gluten out of my eating by 20-30% will I see an improvement?

    Thanks, and great post!

  144. earthly delights quinoa says on their site:

    Earthly Delights Quinoa is prewashed , so no further rinsing is required to remove the saponin. The coating makes the grain unappealing for birds eat while still on the plant. While our Quinoa is pre-washed you should still always place the product in a strainer prior to cooking and rinse thoroughly.

    i have emailed them for comment on the claims of this post

  145. Tim,

    Do you have any knowledge about the drink Kombucha? It is touted as a cure all miracle drink usually mentioned by people in the quinoa camp. (I was one of them)


  146. Great Stuff!!! Tim and Robb, awesome combo here! Us long islanders sure do love our carbs, but no more! Strict Paleo works like a charm guys, give it a shot! See for yourself!

  147. Hey Tim,

    I am a professional athlete that ways 270 pounds and I am wondering what I can do to avoid grains and still keep my weight. I have avoided gluten in the off-season and have had amazing results. But it’s a little harder to do doing the season when a lot of times I have to eat practically everything just to maintain weight. Thank you for your time.

    1. Hey Jeff,

      I’d suggest seeing Robb’s response here in the comments on Footballers using Paleo + dairy. I also think that adding in tubers, yams, etc. could work well. 270 lbs! Damn, that’s a big unit! I’m a wee 180 🙂

      Good luck!


    2. I’d suggest seeing Robb’s response here in the comments on Footballers using Paleo + dairy. I also think that adding in tubers, yams, etc. could work well. 270 lbs! Damn, that’s a big unit! I’m a wee 180 🙂

      Good luck!


  148. The article is very informative and I believe useful for many and specially those who are grain intolerant. Appreciate Rob and Tim for bringing it up.

    My two cents on this:

    The ideal way to eat grains and lentils is by sprouting or germinating.

    This will convert nutrients into much more absorbable form at the same time increasing the nutritional value by a ton and also potentially reducing the toxins. There is lot of research that supports this.

    Vegans: no need to get scared by reading this article. I can speak for Indians and we always soak the dried lentils before cooking and its just a little more waiting to sprout them.

    As Tim suggested some people use neutralizers(baking soda, lime/lemon juice, apple cider vinegar) while soaking the lentils which will reduce the hard to digest aspects of the lentils and thus promote their absorbability.

    Now a days you can get sprouted bread (check out the foodforlife website) which I would think gives the better of grains if not the best.

    There is another important aspect of digestion that this article does not address: Food combining. This is one of the root causes why so many people in this country have digestive issues like IBS, Chrons disease, Acid Reflux etc. Simply stated, it is the science/art of combining foods that are complimentary to each other during the digestion process and do not cancel each others out.

    you can read more than this at this site: google for Greate Taste No Pain system and follow any link. The author is a nutriitional excerpt like Rob.


  149. @Robb

    Very interesting post. I read it during breakfast today and I’ve been thinking about it all day. I’m a vegetarian, I don’t eat that much grain but I will try to cut it for at least 1 month to see how it works. It’s a bit wired because of the long time humans have been eating and cultivating grain, but your reasoning about the grain not “wanting” us to eat it does make sense.

    However, the reason I write this comment is that I checked the links you gave in the comments, especially the one to Michael Eades’ blog on the book “The Vegetarian Myth”. The author of the book talks about sustainability and avoiding suffering and how bad agriculture is. It seems to be that she wrote the book without thinking about they how animals are actually raised. If we eat more meat, we need more animals. More animals = more food = more agriculture. Her reasoning assumes that animals come out of thin air when we actually have to produce more grain to feed them, use more water to clean, etc.

  150. I just cringe every time I hear about eating ‘what we evolved to eat’. This is a not a scientific argument. We didn’t evolve to live a long time. Evolutionary arguments to PRESCRIBE diet are fallacious. Evolution is used to explain things learned from separate research, you can invoke it to explain the need for a particular vitamin for example, but it is not prescriptive.

  151. This is basically phase 1 of the South Beach diet, which was developed by a cardiologist. It does work for weight loss and general health. As a pescatarian, I find it reasonably easy. I focus on eating a lot of protein–maybe three (well-cooked) eggs daily plus a fair amount of nuts and low-fat dairy.

    The most difficult aspect of any new diet, especially if restrictive, is keeping it interesting. So I also focus on big flavor, accomplished through heavy use of fresh herbs, salsas and the like.

  152. Norman-

    Martin is s super sharp guy, you will do well using his methods. I wrote a few good pieces for the performance menu years ago on IF:

    I always like to ask “who are you, what are your goals?” before making a recommendation like you are asking for. This stuff can be made far more specific with a little more information.


    Sprouts reduce some anti-nutrients, increase some others. they are NOT indicated for autoimmunity:

    I know everyone loves Ezekial bread but I’m not really a fan.


    here is a nice perspective on Paleo Vs. Zone:

    Synopsis: High level Zone athlete ditches Zone, goes paleo and crushes previous bests…all while dropping the insanity of weighing and measuring every meal. Maybe it’s because I was a chemist but I’d shoot myself before weighing my food.


    It all depends on how deep your pockets are. We could run up thousands of dollars of blood work for you that a simple elimination diet conveys free of charge other than the time/effort invested. Allergy screening only considers one slice of the immune response…if you have not consumed gluten for a week or two you will likely be “negative” in the WGA antibody screens, so it’s recommended that you consume the offending food so you can score a positive?! Seems odd to me. I really just recommend the tests I mentioned previously for folks who are critical/suspicious of the whole concept.


    I’m not a fan of protein powders. I wish I was as I get a ton of traffic to my site and could sell the heck out of them. It is rare the instance that I see them out perform real food. If someone is on a mass gain plan eat paleo and do a gallon of whole milk each day. Cheaper, better. Check out john Welbourn and CrossFit Football for examples of big powerful athletes using paleo + dairy:

    here are some sample meal plans. you don’t need the book or your supps!!

    Peanuts, although delicious are also highly atherogenic. But if it’s a question of peanut butter or hookers & cocaine…well, just use your best judgement.


    The links to Cordain and Lindgerg’s sites are two of the richest sources for information. A pubmed search of “evolutionary medicine, paleo diet, hunter gatherer” all bear great return. Also, if you are truly geeked on this stuff you MUST read Frank Booths paper on exercise and gene expression:

    This is THE primer on Epigenetics and the influence our ancestral energy expenditure had in forming our genetics. If you have specific area of interest (autoimmunity, epigenetics, metabolism) let me know and I can throw you more specifics.


    I have to completely disagree with you. Folks are reversing autoimmunity by removing grains and eating “factory farmed beef.” Is it ideal? Absolutely not, but pulling the “everything in moderation” card does no one any favors. Meat, seafood, veggies, fruit, tubers, good fats. That’s what I’m recommending, that’s what is working.

    Dan Cugliari-

    I mentioned above the add-on blood work. I also go into nauseating detail in the book.


    Rice and corn do contain high proline protein similar to gluten but I’d put their danger much below that of gluten. That said, the Okinawans are a nice example of a diet that was historically NOT based on grain (main carb source was a nutrient dense tubber) and they were taller and healthier than the general Japanese population due to higher protein and lower anti-nutrient intake. And again, simple experimentation is quite compelling in the end.

    One more plane ride, then I’m home!!

    1. Robb Wolf writes:

      “Peanuts, although delicious are also highly atherogenic. But if it’s a question of peanut butter or hookers & cocaine…well, just use your best judgement.”

      The problem with that statement is that it is inumerate: when one looks for information about finding a percentage increase in death from heart disease in humans as a function of eating a definite quantity of peanuts then there is no such information (at least that I’ve been able to find).

      I had a look at the cited studies in which a correlation was found between peanut consumption and build-up of atherosclerotic plaque. They fed the experimental animals a diet containing a large amount of peanut oil and later dissected them and found that there was more atherosclerotic plaque in the coronory arteries than in the controls.

      There is nothing in the studies that allows a person to make a rational translation of the results to his own situation. How do the results of a rat being overfed with peanut oil translate to a person eating a tablespoon of peanut butter per day? No-one knows.

      Since there is no scientific evidence that allows one to quantify the risk then there is no scientific justification for prohibiting the consumption of peanuts. In other words, if you’re already enjoying your tablespoon of peanut butter per day there is no scientific justification to stop. To do so would be neurotic rather than scientific.

      A scientific result that was actually useful might come from a so-called longitudinal study: the tracking of a human population over time and analyzing for correlations between dietary factors and health.

      Along those lines, all I was able to find were results that found that the consumption of nuts (not just peanuts) had net health benefits. For example, The Nurses Health Study found over a twenty year period that women who consumed at least one ounce of nuts per week were 25% less likely to develop gallstones. A study published in the journal Obesity of people 8865 over a 28 month period found that the subjects who ate nuts at least twice a week were 31% less likely to gain weight. Also, peanuts are rich in niacin, and a study of 3000 men 65 years or older found that those getting 22 mg of niacin per day were 70% less likely to develop Alzheimers than those consuming 13 mg per day.

      Of course none of those studies relate directly to risk of heart disease but what they do is to give a person a scientific basis on which to evaluate the pros and cons of consuming peanuts. Robb Wolf’s hyperbole and the studies that he cites provide no basis on which to decide anything.

      Now getting away from actual the actual science I wouldn’t be surprised if a person’s mental state is a far more important risk factor in developing heart disease than a handful of peanuts per day. In other words people who are so neurotic that they go to dietary extremes on the basis of what they read on an Internet Doctor’s, and coincidentally book-selling author’s, blog, are probably going to die sooner from a heart attack than more easy going and slower to react people.

      So pass me the peanuts, thank you.

      1. I agree. While hyperbole and oversimplification garner attention, they also obscure important nuances of the big picture, namely, that net benefit is what’s most important to consider. A food Robb recommended to avoid, quinoa, is an example of this. The presence of saponins on the outer seed coat alone is not a valid reason to discard what many consider to be a superfood due to its impressive nutritional profile. If not already cleansed by the manufacturer, simply cleansing in a strong alkaline solution and rinsing are enough to remove most of the saponin residue. Even if a tiny amount should remain, it’s reasonable to conclude that due to its net health benefit, it warrants a place in a healthy diet, despite Robb’s characterization of it being a “hippy” food that should be avoided.

    2. Do NOT recommend drinking a whole gallon of milk every day.

      My friend used to drink a lot of milk (somewhere between five and eight glasses) every day and it caused calcium to build up in his salivary glands. Now he has to poke them whenever the saliva gets “stuck”.

      While milk is good, remember there can always be too much of a good thing.

  153. I would also like to hear Robb’s take on sprouted grains.

    On a side note, I am a Creationist believing everything was designed and not evolved much over a period beyond 10s of thousands of years…but I am a rational engineer with a strong background in science and I enjoyed Robb’s logic here.

    I have always been a big fan of the Ezekial 4:9 sprouted grain bread. It comes from a Bible verse and provides a complete amino acid profile. Not gluten free but it is using the grain in a different way.

    It would be cool to see this diet approach, developed from one perspective (evolution) reconcile completely with Biblical examples. Come to think of it, if you believe that the Garden of Eden was perfect then the hunter/gatherer approach does make perfect sense.

    Just not sure on the sprouted grains part…I guess I will have to research it a bit.

    Thanks for the post.

  154. I’ve read about halfway through the comments here, and want to chime in with my own results. This came out long… I hope some of you find it helpful.

    About a year ago, I quit gluten. It started with a modified low-carb diet, where I simply avoided wheat/wheat baked goods, but I continued to eat spelt, rye, oats, etc. That was horrible — I did not feel better, and I had cravings like you can’t imagine. I decided (and I’m so glad I did!) that rather than just give up, I’d switch to a gluten-free diet for 2 weeks and see what happened.

    What happened felt like a miracle.

    After about 4-5 days, cravings disappeared. My mood improved. My bowel symptoms (that I’d become so used to that I forgot they weren’t “normal”) went away. My skin looked better. I slept better. It was amazing!

    After a while, my “I’m full and don’t want to eat any more” signal started working again. And I started eating less. And less. And less. (not counting calories, just wanting less.) I went from eating about twice what most people eat, to eating a more normal amount. I kept thinking I must be losing weight, and I did lose a little, but not much. It’s just that my body had healed and was actually absorbing what I ate. It may sound backwards, being glad to be eating less, but feeling satisfied on average portions feels really good.

    And here’s the bonus — recently, now that everything’s healed, I’ve been able to really cut down the calories and eat more like 1500 calories/day to lose weight (in the past, I’d lost weight on THREE THOUSAND, and felt awful!). Sure, I’m hungry sometimes, but you’re supposed to be, right?!

    I haven’t been a saint about avoiding gluten. Every few months I’ll think, “It’s not really necessary to do this,” and have pizza or something. And every time, I regret it.

    I do eat other grains in small quantities (avg. maybe 1 serving/day), and occasionally beans/legumes. I do eat cheese (avg maybe .5 servings/day) and have milk in my coffee and cream with my berries. I don’t drink soda or juice.

    So to those who asked if going all the way is necessary, my experience is that with gluten, YES. Even a little, even a couple times a month, makes me feel bad. But with the other stuff, not so much (though I may find just as great an improvement if I did eliminate beans/dairy/other grains completely).

    Eating at home and at better restaurants (who w

  155. oops… got cut off, so I’ll finish briefly.

    Eating at home and at better restaurants isn’t hard, once you learn a new way of cooking. Eating with family and friends requires some gentle education. And eating at cheap restaurants that can’t accomodate your needs… well… I don’t really miss it.


  156. Non-vegetarian: Hey Jimmy can you come over, I need some help lifting this extremely heavy object.

    Jimmy: No, I am a vegetarian.

    ^ I’m a vegetarian weightlifter, but thanks to the anonymous whoever that wrote this, everybody loves an inaccurate stereotype. *eyeroll*

    “3-Most of the kick-back to these concepts seem to come from the vegetarian camp. I’d recommend reading “The Vegetarian Myth” for some perspective on issues like sustainability:”

    This counterargument does nothing for vegetarians like me who went vegetarian based on animal rights and/or welfare, rather than environmentalist issues (which are important as well). Regardless of how well-raised you may think your animal protein is (which is questionable, given the labelling practices in the United States) at the end of the day slaughter is slaughter, and nothing deserves to die in horrific suffering for somebody’s culinary pleasure, just like nothing deserves to be skinned alive just so some anorexic fashionista can wear its skin when they have a perfectly-working one of their own.

    Isn’t it obvious already, not from loads of skewed scientific study but from sheer weight loss results of thousands of people, that the healthiest diet is one comprised primarily of fruits, vegetables, and legumes/nuts? Just like our foraging non-carnivorous primate ancestors *really* ate?

    The formula is the same that it’s always been: Avoid processed foods and drugs; eat your fruits and veggies (many which are natural antioxidants/anti-carcinogenic); get off your *** for half an hour several times a week, and you’ll probably feel better overall. In my opinion Westerners are *seriously* overcomplicating this issue, which is why we have the highest incidence of leisure-related diseases in the world.

    Sure, there are people out there with celiac disease who should avoid grain, but to call it a “poison” to most people comes off as paranoid.

    The reason cavemen could eat that much meat and get away with it is because they had to chase it for a week first, then stab it to death with a sharpened stick while it tried to stomp the life out of them. When people start tackling their steak dinners this way, I’ll check the results then.

  157. Interesting read. This might explain what I believed to be an allergy to diary and maybe wheat/pasta. I was negative for both on allergy tests but never believe doctors 100% anyways.. or these diet articles ;-). I just know what is good for me. Wheat/pasta makes me feel nausea “sometimes” and dairy pretty much always has the gas affect 😀 I still indulge on cheese, chocolate and occasionally bread. These foods might not be good for the body but they are good for the soul. 😀 I’ll take my chances… the only thing certain in life is death. Eat what you really love and avoid food that isn’t worth it.

  158. The Paleo enthusiasts constantly site all these cross cultural studies. Please, guys, don’t use these. It’s almost impossible to generalize from these. Prospective Epidemiology is the way to go.

    Japanese smoke more than Americans, they also die less of lung cancer. That doesn’t mean smoking doesn’t cause lung cancer.

    On the Inuit:

    “Excluding infant mortality, [only] about 25% of their population lived past 60. Based on these data, the approximate life expectancy (excluding infant mortality) of this Inuit population was 43.5 years.”

    To keep a population going doesn’t require resistance to cancer and heart disease, which kill people in their 60s and beyond, but to things like, say, freezing to death in the Arctic, being mauled by polar bears, or catching the flu with no medical care, that kill you during the short lives of hunter-gatherer societies.

    All that said, I completely agree with the paleo folk’s conclusions about grain. Grain be avoided (not gluten in particular), especially on a calorie-restriction diet — just not worth the calories.

    The long-term effects of diet on us, who can expect to live for 80 years, can not be deduced from Paleolithic peoples. Proper Epidemiology. Do it.

  159. Tim

    Great post. It came at a good time. My girlfriend and I are working on cutting out things that will cause us to loose weight. The idea of not taking in cereal for two weeks and lose 10 pounds works for me personally and as a heading. Here family history has problems with gluten. We are looking at cooking without anything gluten in it and seeing what happens.


    Thanks for breaking down this difficult subject. I have been looking for information that will give me food for thought (pardon the pun)

    Looking at what I eat and being open to any way that can lose weight and give back good healthy benefits is worth a read. Thanks again both of you

  160. *slaps forehead* Not sure what I CAN eat anymore! But I love a challenge, so I’ll try this. I’ve been on a gluten-free bent lately but haven’t fully embraced it, though I will now given the nature of the beast. All or nothing, eh? Ok.

    For reference purposes, is there a list somewhere of what exactly is strictly verboten? For instance, lentils are ok if soaked in baking soda but not from a can…?

    Thank god I live in SF. It’s an easy place to experiment with food. Just please don’t tell me I have to give up Philz coffee.

  161. There are studies ongoing and testing clinical effect of Paleo diet. Hopefully they’ll deliver and give sound clinical evidence to support the diet in the long term. Then we dietitians could recommend Paleo open-heartedly. Personally, I’m a bit concerned about the recent data showing that increased protein intake is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, especially with congruent restriction on carbs. Without going into details, other issues lurk around corner as well.

    Neglected but quite important benefit of Paleo diet: it’s one of the best solutions to restrict salt intake effectively. High intake of salt is a vast problem. Thanks, for interesting post!

  162. With respect to you Tim, I think you need to find a different source of scientific method than Robb Woff. My points are to him, being you are outsourcing your information. When someone doesn’t understand simple pathology and proclaims alarmist views for profit, it isn’t only lacking of critical assessment, it it immoral.

    Already Robb is committing the 4 common sins of fad diet and alarmist behavoir. I think you will find in a few years you will look back on this fad you are propagating and face palm.

    #1 – Rare people have a disease, so we all must have it.

    #2 – Having to work hard means something must be wrong.

    #3 – If we don’t know enough about it, it must be bad.

    #4 – Cherry picking data leads to lots of groovy and scary articles.

    If you really look at the breakdown of these particular amino acids in our digestive system you will find that the majority of people have no problem – at all – digesting these substances. Since there are too many areas to attack here, I will stick to the raid on gluten.

    You Can Catch A Genetic Disease?

    The ability to not properly digest gluten (actually it’s a protein called gliadin) is due to a lack of genetic based enzyme activity. The average person has the ability and the enzymes to break down this activity. Research shows this particular enzyme set does not show to decrease or slow with age.

    The disease – if you have it – can progress with age.

    With age comes the debilitation of your digestive system if suffering from this problem. This is something that has to take place for years. Think of it much like smoking. The first few years you smoke everyday, it doesn’t affect you much. 10 years later, you could have anything from asthma to cancer. A non-functioning enzyme system in your digestion will do that very thing. It will slowly work away at the fibers of your digestions and poor absorptions will take place. You get sick based on a “fed” malnutrition. It is even more rare that holes are formed and leaking takes place in the blood stream. If this happens , you get very, very ill. It isn’t “oh, I am bloated today or feel I have some joint pain.” It does not produce a rapid histamine-type reaction. Meaning, you don’t eat gluten and then feel sick. It doesn’t work that way. That is an allergy based reaction – two separate things.

    It could take over a year to feel the effects from restoring your gut health based on gluten removal. It is not instant gratification. If you have an instant response you could be dealing with a wheat allergy or merely just overeating for your caloric needs. Eating an excess of daily calories leads to the following



    -Joint Pain

    -Dry Mouth

    -Increase in Thirst/Urination

    So on, and so forth.

    Since it is hard to overeat veggies and meat, the Paleo type solutions seems to make sense on paper and in application, but they fail in pathology and could led to more problems than they claim to solve.

    Lastly, because a small genetic based population has a disease, does not mean you have it. Are you afraid of catching autism? What about down-syndrome? You can’t “catch” celiac disease. It can progress if it already is prone in your body though and it can progress with not taking care of yourself.

    Just as we are finding out now, in the 80s/90s alarmist were wrong about animal fat. You will see the same research, time and again being brought forwards about grains.

  163. It just occurred to me that the Paleo and Raw Food movements are two sides of the same coin, which just happen to hate each other.

    Both claim to reflect the way we evolved to eat, both promise broad cure-alls, and neither lacks for heartwarming stories of miraculous recovery. But, at the end of the day, it’s really hard to tell how much of the benefit simply comes from cutting out junk food and specific allergens.

  164. Hi Tim and Robb,

    Indeed this posting created a Fire Storm of response.

    We don’t always notice how often we are eating gluten laden wheat. You may have cereal for breakfast (wheat), a sandwich for lunch (wheat again) and pasta for dinner (wheat AGAIN!) and then gluten is hidden in many other foods as part of wheat fillers.

    ORGANIC: As a closing point: purity of our food in terms of how it is grown and prepared I believe is extremely important. My family and I have eaten organic food for over ten years to support the planet and get purer food. Even when we were on social assistance (welfare) we ate organic which prompted me to help other people learn how to buy organic food inexpensively. If you don’t mind me mentioning people can learn how to buy organics inexpensively by visiting my site.

    Best of health to all,


  165. I don’t believe in eliminating pastas and grains. Eating in moderation (small quantities and less often) is the way I go. Otherwise you’ll be bored with the few options left. Pork and ham which you have in your diets are unhealthier than pastas and grains.

  166. Just a quick note. I have been doing mostly Paleo 80/20 for about 6 months now. I dropped 10 lbs in the first week and 20 overall. I think cutting the sugar, salt and grains made the biggest impact. From my overall understanding, I don’t look at this as a low carb diet. We get plenty of carbs from fruits and vegetables. Now when I eat a large carb meal – Red Robin burger w steak fries (YUMMY!) – I crash HARD!

    I have turned three people including my father onto this lifestyle and EVERYONE has lost weight and everyone has improved energy. I don’t consider this a fad, I consider this a choice. To each his own and good luck everyone!!!

  167. I just can’t buy this article. There are too many good sources that would argue against it. Dr Weil for one here..

    I think his anti-inflamatory diet would be safer and tastier. Clearly we eat too many carbs, especially the over processed kind. But total elimination seems far too extreme to me and I think it would actually cause other health issues down the road.

    I also get very tired of the anti-gluten crowd attempting to label all grains as evil and spreading fear which is sure to upset our stomachs if we think about it when we eat carbs. Not cool.

  168. Hi Tim,

    Do all the Paleo diets have meat / non-veg in them ? Can Robb or you please suggest an all veg diet? I would definitely like to try this as I am currently 220 lbs and want to go down to 180 lbs (height 5′ 11″ age 27).

  169. Tim,

    I have slowly been lowering the amount of wheat I consume and I do feel better. I have made several gluten-free substitutions and most of the stuff tastes just as good as wheat filled food, once you get used to it.

    I still drink beer which contains gluten, but lowering the amount of gluten filled foods has definitely made me feel better.

    Good Stuff,


  170. Hey Tim and Robb,

    I respect your advice and will experiment with your suggestion.

    However I can’t help but think of my years in Japan, where as you’ll know Tim people eat enormous amounts of rice, even for breakfast, and and aren’t exactly ripped but are generally thin and healthy. Given how bad rice is according to this post, are there any reasons for this that can satisfy my last doubts?



  171. I have struggled with environmental allergies since my teenage years. I speculate that my most severe allergies (cats & certain tree pollens) are do to my heavy exposure during my childhood and then complete absence for a few years.

    I can see how this diet might have similar results. Removing these “toxins” from the body completely for a long period would likely increase the negative reaction if you ever do eat them again. Basically, I dont want to make my life miserable if I ever decide to have a bowl of pasta or a beer again.

    Any thoughts on this Tim or Robb?

  172. The Japanese diet is one of the healthiest on earth. I know this through living there for a year. Never felt better in my life. And I was the thinnest I’ve ever been, without dieting on purpose.

    The Japanese also have one of the Longest Lifespans in the world, with much lower rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer than in the US.

    Another thing you notice in Japan is how much younger everyone looks comparing to their age group in western countries.

    Contrary to a popular belief – Rice is not the main food in Japan. The Traditional Japanese meal is based on fish, which is consumed at every meal (yes, breakfast too).

    Beef and chicken are served in very small portions.

    Dairy and bread ARE NOT part of the Traditional Japanese Diet!! They hardly eat any white flour. Japanese noodles are made from buckwheat flour.

    And of course Soy beans are eaten in many forms – tofu, Miso soup, Tempeh and Natto . Soy products are a great source of protein.

    One very interesting fact is that the Japanese don’t like sugary desserts.

    The Japanese desserts have a very subtle sweet taste, which comes from sweet bean paste, mashed sweet potatoes and chestnuts. These may sound a bit dull, but they actually taste great and are not just empty calories.

    Many westerners (me included) lose a lot of weight living in Japan, making no effort at all.

    Anyone else had this experience?

    1. I’ve lived in Japan for four years and I’d like to disagree with a couple things you wrote. Rice is a HUGE part of their calorie intake here in Japan. That goes for everyone from elementary kids all the way to retired folk (from what I’ve seen, and I’ve been here four years). Also, while their lifespans are among the longest and the world and the rates of some forms of cancer are low here, stomach cancer is actually quite high in comparison with other countries.

      On the other hand, the small portions, as you mentioned, are a big part of their success in longevitiy in my opinion. I don’t remember the exact wording but there is a proverb that goes something like “eat till your 80% full and you’ll live a long life”, and a lot of people follow that. They also eat a wide variety of things at every meal which covers a lot of bases nutritionally.

      Sadly consumption of Western food is on the rise, leading to chubbier children. However, many of my foreign and Japanese male friends alike have rejoiced at the increase in bust and posterior size in the ladies. Always a silver lining, as they say.

  173. I just read Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal by Datis Kharrazian, DHSc, DC, MS and he says the exact same thing as Robb. So, I dropped gluten and most alcohol, dairy, and coffee as well for a week or so and dropped 10 pounds, my joint paints is 85% down, and even though I am in a seriously precarious financial position at the moment, the depression/anxiety I’ve dealt with for years is very minor. The “Leaky Gut Syndrome” is just plain established fact. Gluten looks exactly like thyroid, so our auto-immune system overreacts and attacks both. I challenge all you grain defenders to try his challenge. Drop for 30 and let him buy your blood tests. Be ready to publicly blog a “Robb Was Right, I Was Wrong” when it happens.

    Also, regarding the finding of cereal grains that are 110,000 years old. Great, so, compared to our 3.5 million years of thriving without year-round carbs, and mostly on fat & meat, a few isolated peoples figured out barley. That means if our whole history was a day, we’ve been eating grains for about 45 minutes instead of 4 minutes. Still, not enough time to evolve to thrive on it. And…let’s not forget all the modern studies of hunter gatherers. For goodness sakes, read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. Even Weill admits it has changed the game.

    So, let’s say I grant the earlier date on grains, that means that 3,390,000 years we did just fine without them. And, in many places we did just fine with only fat & meat for a good part of the year, every year. Logic would dictate that a meat-centric diet without grains works for man or we simply would not be here, but we are year, therefore- QED

    Tim, You may be able to get away with the cheat, but Dr. K claims it’s worse than Robb says and that one instance of gluten intake can cause a reaction lasting up to 6 months in people with a leaky gut.


  174. Alma:

    While I find your post interesting, I don’t agree with the part on soy.

    Soy contains isoflavones, plant hormones that have been shown to have an estrogenic effect on the body (it mimics the actions of estrogen, which reduces test levels and inhibit muscular hypertrophy. (Nutrient Timing, 128)

    While my drinking water already contains estrogen (from birth control pills), I’d like to refrain from getting extra amounts if possible.

    This is a fairly short post about the affects soy poses on us..

  175. An amazing article and certainly “food for thought”….. but it seems like such a big step. I am amazed at what we do to ourselves…

    Thanks for all of the comments too; very informative.

  176. What? I’m not going to give up my weekly portion of quinoa!

    It ain’t gonna walk like a duck if you cut it’s feet off. Most quinoa sold commercially in North America has been processed to remove the saponin coating. Given that quinoa is such a potent source of gluten-free protein and nutrients I think that it’s reproofing should be reconsidered. Especially for paleo-vegetarians.

    1. Even if it’s not pre-treated, the saponins on quinoa are essentially harmless to the GI tract. Studies show that these saponins are only really irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract, so unless you plan on snorting lines of quinoa, you should be fine.

      Cold-blooded organisms, insects, and ruminants have a more difficult time digesting quinoa saponins, which would support the “One for me, one for you” argument.

      Interestingly, quinoa saponins are going to be used as a safe alternative to traditional pesticides:

      The only real concern with quinoa is the high starch content.

  177. Note to Jimmy (above)…

    Ever heard of organic chicken, or free range with no anti-biotics or hormones?

    Acidity is one thing often overlooked and eating lots of meat can make your pH levels plummet. However, like anything it is all about moderation. Eating red meat or chicken 3 times a week is plenty if you are getting a good dose of marine life.

    On that note, sure salmon and tuna can contain mercury. Solution? Eat them up to 3 times per week and substitute the remaining days with small fish like sardines.

    Problem solved.

    The Paleo diet makes PERFECT sense. With a son that has grown up on an Italian diet and shows all the symptoms of the first case study, Alex, I know what I will be doing today!

    Goodbye pasta!

  178. Great article (awesome title a SEO lesson in itself) and even better discussion. Some links to fuel up it (formatted to avoid WP spam blocking)

    Regarding veganism/vegetaranism and enviromental issues:



    It’s very common to hear that eating meat destroys the enviroment. Although industrialized meat production has a tremendous impact, traditional farming is quite the contrary. In Spain the Dehesas, and Cañadas both used for livestock are the most valuable enviromental areas, with a higher ecological value than any other farm field. The question would be, can we feed human population just only with this type of food? Maybe we are too many inhabitants, but that is another issue.

    Regarding meat consumption. Why eating meat made us human or the Kleibers Law:


    Regarding dairy. What are the real arguments agains fermented grass-feed dairy products? No clues whatsoever in the article. What do you think about butter (see link below)?


    Finally, I find quite interesting the point mady by Sylwester regarding different genotypes/phenotypes among human populations. Not every populations would have the same tolerance to food (eg. lactose intolerance higher in some regions).

    Regarding evolution, are we sure that the evolution in our specie is stopped? Not so sure about that: ‘The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated H…’ by Gregory Cochran, Henry Harp… Quoting from one review:

    “They initially retreat, however, to Gould’s 40,000-year benchmark to consider how H. sapiens replaced H. neanderthalensis and to argue for genetic mixing such that modern humans got from Neanderthals the innovative capacity for civilization. Later, agricultural life created problems necessitating adaptations, most importantly to disease and diet, that persist to this day among inheritors of the populations that made them.”

    One thing is for sure, we, our nature and our enviroment are way too complex to get just one right answer. Everybody needs to research and test what works best for himself. In my case moderate carbs, moderate grains, moderate sugar.

  179. Tim,

    Thanks for the great read! I’ll have to pick this up on Amazon. I would recommend you checkout “The Paleo Diet” by Loren Cordain but I assume you’ve already read it.

    Looking forward to your new book.


  180. I found this an interesting read. My background is in genetics and have done nutrition research for many years. What I have found is that there are no absolutes. And like any science, it is all theories. The only way to know if something works is to test it and test it again.

    Note: genetically some people will do well on this diet for the reason mentioned. BUT, there are others who genetically are able to digest grains and others who are able to digest dairy, these has been recently discovered when doing genetic research, particularly around dairy. Also for some this will be easy to follow and incorporate into their life but not for others. My caution there is that from my experience people who stress about food and what they can and can’t eat are no better off due to the increased stress and anxiety. Stress shuts down digestion and has the potential to create inflammation which is counter-productive to the results they expect. We can not dismiss the mind-body connection here.

    The effect of grains in the body last for about 7 days from ingestion and for dairy it is about 14 days. And with these foods a little is still some. For example you can’t have the light a little bit on, it’s either on or it’s off. So too with eating these foods you either do or you don’t. I found the inclusion of meat interesting because in the process of digesting meat, it creates lots of waste products which can have it’s own issues.

    The quality of the food we eat is important too, fresh as we can get and the least processed is the preferred option. For each person, recognise your means and work within those, see nutrition as a journey for you to discover what works for you. All these books are guides and ideas for you to test and try.

  181. Leigh-

    Great to see you! A few questions for you:

    -Is porphyria cutanea tarda a GENETIC disease or an autoimmune disease?

    -Is Huntington’s a genetic disease or autoimmune?

    -Is Multiple Sclerosis a genetic disease or autoimmune?

    -is Celiac a genetic disease or autoimmune?

    -Same for vitiligo, type 1 diabetes, and essentially every autoimmune condition known.

    So Leigh, are these diseases genetic? As you jested above should people be “afraid of catching them?” Would you like to meet the family of the two women we have worked with who have reversed early onset Huntington’s, an otherwise fatal neurological disease? These women are now being followed by UCLA and UCSD. Would you like to explain to them how silly and quaint all this is? How about the folks who have reversed Porphria?

    Leigh, this is a story of epigenetics plain and simple. Gene/environment interaction and in this case all of these diseases share antigens to the transglutaminase enzyme. Does it affect every person the same way? Absolutely not. Neither does getting a sunburn. Leigh…you are so off the track on this it’s like I need to re-teach you pathology to even begin to have a conversation. Alarmist? “Try it, see what happens.”

    Leigh, occasionally, you almost do good work.

    1. @Robb: Huntington disease is genetic. There’s no”predisposition. If you have the repeat expansion, you’re gonna get it.

  182. Things to consider:

    1. The “average” age of people in centuries past is often based on the total estimated birth rate. A generally high infant/child mortality rate skews the results. If you take into account the life span of those people who survive to reproductive age, the numbers get better. Investigate on your own the research done on the life spans and mortality rates of nomadic peoples and peoples who live on subsistence farming without access to modern medicine.

    2. While eating unprocessed dairy products might be more natural and contain more beneficial enzymes and nutrients, they can also be rife with disease. Things like bovine tuberculosis and other pathogens can be found in raw milk and raw milk products. Many people have little to no idea of the number pathogens that are transmissible to humans from animals and are unaware of the diseases that people have had to deal with until very recently in human history. This hold true even for animals raised in pristine, natural conditions.

    3. The assumption that the digestive system of all humans are the same and are affected the same is debatable. Take the recent study on how Japanese people have bacteria that aids them in the digestion of seaweed.

    It may be that people with gluten sensitivity lack the correct bacteria to successfully process it, though this is pure speculation on my part.

    If after reading this blog post people come away thinking “I need to eliminate all gluten from my life”, then I would say you missed a lot of information and I suggest reading Michal Pollan’s take on “nutritionism”.

  183. I am so utterly utterly confused.

    There is so much conflicting information on diet and health and what you can / can’t eat and at what time of day that I simply switch off and decide that it’s all to hard.

    As far as I know I’m healthy and feel ‘good’ although how ‘good’ my good is compared with Robb’s I have no idea.

    This post is a massive amount of content and I tried my best to understand it but by the 800~ word mark I gave up.

    @ Tim & Robb: For this to have impact what’s the next action that doesn’t mean throwing out my entire pantry?

      1. Tim, can we skip or cut way down on the Legumes ( breakfast only) to lose more weight faster? Will the slow carb diet still work?

        (I’m at week 6 and not losing lbs fast enough for my taste)

  184. Tim/Robb

    Great article! I’m definitely going to try this out, but I have one question around tracking progress. When you say get your blood checked, what actual tests are you referring to? Are these the types of tests you must go to a doctor for or can you do them through someone like LabCorp?

    Thanks in advance


  185. Hey Robb and Tim,

    Great stuff. I love the fact that despite the natural tendency to lean 100% Vegan or Vegetarian when first starting down a natural health path that there are other options as described here. Personally I went from a member of the SAD diet myself to 100% vegan to raw and now end up somewhere in the middle fluctuating as my body tells me what its looking for and i thought that was one of the best comments in the thread was instead of judging, try it for yourself and listen to your body. Of course this wont work 100% if your still sucking down 4 Pepsi’s and a box of ho-ho’s everyday, but you will definitely feel the difference.

    Interested to your thought on if there is a French Paradox at all when it comes to grains(i.e.- breads) as well, in addition to wine.

    Keep up the good work.


    P.S.- on a side note Tim, the 4hww inspired me to start my gig a few years back and has been the best decision I ever made, so thanks for the push.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mat! I’ll have some thoughts on the French Paradox soon. The short answer is different genetics. I don’t think it’s a paradox so much as genetic variance. More soon…


      1. I do well on spelt and don’t do well on wheat. Is this anything to do with French use some kind of older grains that are not genetically modified?

  186. Sounds great.

    But, it doesn’t apply to most people.

    The reality is that each of our metabolism is unique.

    I have been investigating eating and health for many years and have yet to find a one-size-fits-all regimen.

    Find what works for you and stick to it as best you can.

    Don’t forget drinking water, exercise and accepting your body as a body and not you.

  187. If you could revisit the comment Robb you would note I was speaking of only Celiac and your attack to gluten (though we could discuss the pathology of some of the other things you are discussing here).

    I will quote myself – “Since there are too many areas to attack here, I will stick to the raid on gluten.” The following comments were made about that of Celiac Disease.

    Celiac disease is an inherited disease. Linked to genetically transmitted histocompatibility cell antigens (HLA DR3-DQ2, DR5/7 DQ2, and DR4-DQ8) – others are still being discovered.

    Look into some of these studies which touch on the issue of genetics, progression, and curative measures.

    Immunogenetics. 2010 Jul 27. [Epub ahead of print]

    Celiac disease: how complicated can it get?

    Tjon JM, van Bergen J, Koning F.

    Department of Immunohematology and Blood Transfusion, Leiden University Medical Center, E3-Q, PO Box 9600, 2300, RC Leiden, The Netherlands,


    Gastroenterology. 2009 Dec;137(6):1912-33. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

    Celiac disease: from pathogenesis to novel therapies.

    Schuppan D, Junker Y, Barisani D.

    Division of Gastroenterology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.

    Notice this in the study

    Celiac disease has become one of the best-understood HLA-linked disorders. Although it shares many immunologic features with inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease is uniquely characterized by (1) a defined trigger (gluten proteins from wheat and related cereals), (2) the necessary presence of HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8, and (3) the generation of circulating autoantibodies to the enzyme tissue transglutaminase (TG2).

    Pay special attention to line #2.

    This is just the tip to the iceberg that makes it very clear cut that HEALTHY and NORMAL digestive systems should/will have no problem with grain digestion. However, damaged systems are a different story, but again that is taking the problems of a small population and placing it on the world.

    Now, can there be things that damage digestive systems other than having celiac disease? Yes, but the kicker is gluten is going to have little to nothing to do with it if you can breakdown the protein (which again most people can). General abuse to your digestive systems can cause all types of problems, but excess/quantity is going to be the bigger culprit versus grains.

    And technically Robb, for conversation, celiac is generally classified as a genetic autoimmune disease. As to a few women being followed that land outside the norm, I think that proves one of my points right there. Also, they weren’t the point of my original comments anyway, nor was multiple sclerosis or anything else you want to claim be be cured by the removal of bread.

    Rare doesn’t equal all. Correlation doesn’t equal causation either, for that matter.

    Your diet helps people lose weight and is a good adherence diet, there is no doubt about that. You can make your attacks at my work, I certainly earned it with a bit of snarky behavoir in my comments. However, you will find that my position is one of moderate and not being guided by fear but instead critical thinking. The research you use to push your diet is where I have a problem. To me it is flawed and filled with alarmist behavior and propaganda that is backed by cherry picking research at best and anecdotal rantings at worst. While I believe your intent and success are good, I think it will contribute to the problem of people not getting the help they really need.

    When you fill your tribe with nothing but flawed science, it will eventually be debunked by someone who has a higher following than me, and more and more frequently. In the end, it will become a punchline along with “eggs will kill you.” I think the Paleo Diet is but one option of many diets choices for lifestyle adherence. I don’t think it should keep making claims of curing genetic disorders. It’s hard to overeat meat and veggies, and allows for a lot of nutrients. Leave it at that in my book. The rest, becomes scare tactics and shock nutrition – things I am heavily against.

    You are using stories about people with obvious allergies and dealing with extreme health conditions. Stories that scare the shit out of “molly-sue-jane” that just need to realize that those M&M’s she keeps scrapping from the bowl in her office do in fact have calories. That the fact she sits 10 hours of the day might just mean she can’t eat that much.

    Lastly, where does it stop Robb? Did you know that celery is actually problematic for a high amount of people with grass allergies? Here are some more tolerance and ratings –

    Chicken Allergy – 0.6% to 5% US

    Beef Allergy – 3% and 6.5% US

    Codfish – .5 to 1% US

    There is no doubt that is dealing with an autoimmune disease like RA or MS that removing excess consumption helps first, increase of fats next, and removal of grains can be a help. But what about everyone else?

    That is my question or perhaps you can clarify. If I am wrong and you are saying that everyone should not eat grains or that everyone will not be hurt by them then I offer up my sincerest remarks about that assumption. Otherwise, my case stands.

  188. Rational: In response to your raw dairy “can also be rife with disease”, yes that was true for the urban dairies of the industrial revolution that had very poor sanitation and in many cases had sewage in and around the cattle that were being milked. But today’s organic, pastoral dairy farms that practice safe milking don’t have those issues. They stringently screen for pathogenic bacteria in their milk and have a much better safety record than the corporate, grain (and whatever else) fed, stuck in a small concrete floor stall cow dairies who’ve had their milk heated over 400 degrees and then homogenized. The good bacteria present in healthy cattle actually live and regulate the milk on their own and kill off the bad bacteria and keep them at bay. I highly recommend reading the book I mentioned in my first comment. Nomadic dairy dependent people who milk their healthy grass fed animals don’t have any problems with “pathogenic bacteria” either for the reasons cited above and are some of the healthiest people on earth (as seen in the book).

  189. Tim or Robb, I’m curious, do you know of any studies that speak to what would happen if a very large percentage of the world’s population were to switch over to non grain based diets such as the one advocated in this article? Including grass fed animals. Would there be enough food to adequately feed the earth’s population or is the planet beyond the carrying capacity for change at this point?

    If this is the case then the grains based U.S. food pyramid would make more sense. The damage grains cause to the individual are a necessary evil, in order to adequately supply enough calories and nutrition to the population in general. I’m not implying we are being deliberately misled, but trying to look at things from a broader nutritional point of view.

    Most people I talk to are shocked when I try to tell them grain based diets are bad. They are really caught up on the “whole grains” mentality. Thanks for shedding more light on the subject.

  190. Sounds like a lot of hogwash to me. Or BS, however you want to put it. All of a sudden gluten are the root of all evil. That’s not true.

    Gluten allergies can be tested for. They even have a name for the disease, celiak disease. And yes, it does hurt and bother some people.

    But making gluten the root of all evil?

  191. My wife and I have been following a mostly grain/corn free approach for almost 3 months now. We are both avid CrossFitters (5x per week). Both of us are down about 20 lbs from when we started.

    My upset stomach, which I always attributed to “greasy” foods actually seems to be due to the sugars and carbs I was eating a lot of before. I eat bacon and eggs every morning, bunless burgers, lots of coconut oil fried foods, etc (read: “greasy”) and I haven’t had an upset stomach in months.

    Now, whenever I have a soda or even fries my stomach will rebel…Thing is I don’t WANT them anymore. We went through several days of beating back the sugar withdrawals. My wife’s were more severe. But once we made it over the hump, we adjusted well.

    Both of us have energy to spare.

    In 6 weeks: My 5k time improved by almost 10 minutes, my dead lift improved by 50 lbs, and all my other OLifts improved as well.

    I’m not where I’d like to be strength or “appearance” wise, but we decided to focus more on eating REAL FOODS, not food products and that basically cut out just about any and everything in a box, jar, or bottle.

    We shop the perimeter of the store. And for those folks who think a carb restrictive diet is boring, we eat VERY good, and spend Sunday afternoons planning our weekly menu together. Lots of variety to be had.

    We try as much as possible to buy local grass-fed, free-range meat. And organic veggies and fruits. The money we save by not buying all the boxed garbage we’re actually able to move over to the meats and produce category. Overall, we’re spending less than we used to spend on the “normal” western diet.

    I have to give this approach, call it Paleo, call it Primal, call it low-carb, call it No Food Products, call it whatever you want, TWO THUMBS UP.

  192. So, why is it that the macrobiotic-eating Okinawans lived so long? Their diet was high in carbs and legumes, yet they were very healthy and often lived to 100. The new generation of Okinawans that are eating an American diet have become quite sick, so it’s not genetics at play here as much as it is the diet.

  193. Wow, looking at the comments, many people here are really confused.

    Here is a rough attempt at trying to clarify a few things.

    At least as I understand them. Robb or Tim please feel free to correct me.

    Paleolithic diet. Cave man diet. Non-grains based diet.

    The theory is that since the Garden of Eden, or since our monkey ancestors climbed down out of the tree’s (Your choice), our bodies, over great spans of time have adapted to eating certain types of meats, vegetables and fruits.

    With the invention of fire, humans discovered that previously inedible foods in their raw form, (grains, potatoes etc…) could be made edible through cooking, boiling etc.. (Processing).

    The trouble is… mankind has not had fire for a long enough period of time to adapt to the foods we now make edible through cooking.

    Thus these foods don’t react well with the human body and we get all of the associated health problems with grains that Robb mentioned above.

    Humans are not designed to eat grains in their raw form.

    We have found a way to cheat… by cooking or fermenting them first. We can now access the calories supplied by grains but at a cost to our health.

    Also, as Tim may have been alluding to earlier.

    Our ancestors were much shorter than people alive today. For example look at the doorways in old European castles or the sizes of suits of armor in both Europe and Japan. People in the middle ages were short of stature.

    But what most people don’t realize is that Paleolithic hunter gather groups in Europe had an average male height of close to 6’ 3” as confirmed from skeletal evidence. Taller even than today which I think is still around the 5’ 10” range.

    The advent of grain based diets about 5000 – 7000 years ago coincides with a huge spike in the loss of height, the advent of many diseases and dental problems as found in skeletal records.

    The cultivation of grains and the massive amounts of extra calories they provided helped give rise to civilization, but at a cost. We are paying that cost more than ever today. I believe the number one source of calories in the American diet is from high fructose corn syrup.

    Robb, I’ve not read your book. I’m going to go get a copy. So my apologies if you have already mentioned any of the above.

  194. @Dan:

    Jeez – if I see one more numptie claiming that human incisors are ‘proof’ we are meat-eaters, I will blow chunks (of red kidney bean chili, that I just had for a mid-morning snack).

    Dummies used to claim claim that our modest canines were the ‘proof’, until folks like me started pointing out that gorillas have canines larger than a lion, and are 100% vegan (not ‘pretend’ vegetarian – 100% VEGAN). Pandas, too – although they don’t appeal to meatheads as much as the gorilla example (and gorilla metabolism is much closer to humans than pandas’).

    There are any number of 100% vegan frugivores/herbivores that have similar dental arrangements to us; if you’re a 5-foot-six gym wannabe who thinks he has to have a steak to get 15-inch arms, then just say so – but keep the moronitude to a dull roar.

    That said, I am not vegan – I eat eggs (and not just ‘free range’ – they have to come from chickens who won’t be killed the moment their productivity falls 5% percent… hard to do, but morality requires it). Maybe 4, 5 eggs a week – tops – very fond of Tim’s black bean/spinach/eggs breakfast (in France it’s called ‘oeufs à la cocotte’). And I weaken from time to time, because I like cheese (I eat maybe 100g a week).

    I’m 45 years old, 6’2″, 225lb and have no ‘strength’ issues that are remotely meaningful – after the age of 25 I felt no requirement to bench 450… 300 for 6 is more than enough: I have been able to do that non-stop for 25 years (I’ve only been vegetarian for 3 years, but my strength has not changed). Even having become vegetarian, I have to exercise reasonably regularly to prevent myself from getting fat(ter).

    I still couldn’t run out of sight in a day, but could walk as far as I could ever conceivably need to, carrying 40lb.

    I confess a natural antipathy to anything ‘paleo’ – not everything old is good. Paleolithic life had plenty of rape, too – why not emulate that? It’s not clear to me why we would pick a caveman’s purported diet as a benchmark.

    Also, everybody is ignoring the fact that the purported paleo diet is almost certainly a romanticised (Americanised) version – humans just aren’t good enough hunters: most primitive diets in the places we did most of our evolving – e.g., African bushmen – are heavy on nuts, berries and grasses collected by the chicks while the men go off failing to kill things; a lot of animal intake in genuinely paleolithic man was the opportunistic scavenging of, e.g., marrow from discarded animal femurs. Using TOOLS.

    All that said, and ignoring the meat… less processed food is likely to be better for us; it’s certainly true that moving to wide-scale cereal agriculture did bad things for the health of Meso-Americans – but I prefer to see that as a (natural) outcome of central planning, since resources were diverted towards conquest rather than toward diversifying their food production system.



    1. re. your comment about bodybuilders needing steaks to get big arms… the animals with the most muscle mass…elephants, cows, horses, etc., are vegetarian. Meat eating animals in the wild…coyotes, etc., are usually kinda scrawny.

  195. Being of Italian descent, this diet is the polar opposite of what I grew up eating both in the U.S. and in Italy. I am a proponent of the so-called Mediterranean diet which I have been comfortable with, my parents, their parents, and my ancestors before me. I think the above article makes good points, but I believe the real culprit is an over-consumption of one food, not recessarily the fact it exists at all within your diet. My food plan is consuming good fats like olive oil and Omega 3s, vegetables and fruits, limiting red meat, and eating chicken and fish more often, in my mind, is a sensible diet. Couple that with red wine in moderation, no smoking, plenty of exercise, and a healthy mental outlook. Again, good points in the article, but I think I’ll stick with what works for me.

  196. I apologize for not adding hearty bread (not bleached white), risottos, and polenta, and pasta in moderation. I think quantity and quality is critically important as well. Thanks

  197. To John…thank you for asking the question most of us wanted to know. And I seriously laughed out loud at the question and Tim’s matter-of-fact answer.

  198. Tim,

    Good grief, man!

    Since I’m doing the slow-carb diet (with great results), I have been eating grains after my workout. What have you replaced your post-workout pizza with? I’m glad to hear that you still take your day off. Overconsumption Day my favorite day of the week.

    I’m also eagerly awaiting your book. I wish I had thought to ask you a few questions when you were writing it–mainly “What is the 1-2-3 for a 6’4″ 190-lb male to look like Brad Pitt from ‘Fight Club’?” Is that in there? Haha.

    Thanks, Tim.


  199. I know exactly how this feels. I did it to lose weight. I cut all bread and grain products and I cut all drinks that had sugar, including milk, from my diet. I started eating more colorful fruits and veggies as well as some lean meats. I lost 60lbs and felt great. I decided to enjoy pizza with some friends, since I had not had piece for awhile, and man I felt sick from it. I can’t say that it is better to have loved a food and lost it than to never have loved it at all. I can say that I do feel better than I did and I am dropping more weight and am sure I will feel great doing so.

  200. Tim, first of all I love your book and I’ve enjoyed a great many of your articles. A lot of the science above holds true, but this diet plan is a health nightmare. Its a carb phobic plan, that like atkins will result in dire health. All these Paleo diets look to the past and make this massive assumption that in the past we ate an incredible amount of meat and there is ZERO evidence to support this. Its a literal creationist diet. Anyone who spends just a tiny amount of time looking at our evolution couldn’t possibly believe the claims surrounding these fads. This claim is based around the ‘Expensive Tissue Hypothesis’, which isn’t even a theory, its still just a hypothesis. Meat did not cause our brains to get big, even a strict reading of the ETH means you can outrule meat completely anyway. (You can read up on this in the website link). I’m not claiming we didn’t eat meat in the past, I am claiming it offers zero benefit to our well being, and it was a fallback food, it is NOT an ideal food. We do not have the physiology of an omnivore or carnivore.

    Utlimately a 100% plant based diet or a diet with a very low animal product intake has stood the test of time, and is nutritionally, environmentally, and emotionally (for the sake of your EQ) by far the most superior diet. A look at the performance of vegan athletes – especially Michael Arnstein, and all these people who are turning to this diet for peak performance. Vegan is starting to get wide recognition for a good reason.

    Yes some people fail on these diets, but if you examine their diets you’ll find a ridiculous eating plan, usually high fat, low carbs, or based around ridiculous food such as soy etc. High fruit and veg are the way to go (low fat, high carb). Protein is a non issue – all plants contain the 8 essential amino acids, and there is no medical term for protein deficiency.

    Read ‘The China Study’, and Douglas Grahams ‘The 80-10-10 Diet’. Also see the Gerson and Hoxsey therapies, and the works of Caldwell Esselstyn, John McDougall, Dean Ornish etc. If you can cure every disease known to man with plant based nutrition, how can one possibly argue that this is not the way to go?

    Also look at all the longest lived cultures and note that they only use meat as a condiment. These Paleo Diets are fad, and no athlete could perform well on them, because you simply cannot perform well on a low carb diet.

    I agree that grains are not good foods, but the physiological affects are not as bad as high meat consumption – not even close. A look at of physiology and biochemistry rules meat out completely. Many of you will disagree, but look up the health benefits of meat, and then look and see if science agree’s. You can’t just look at one side of the argument and claim superior knowledge.

    You can note the physiological effects of such diets. A high plant diet: Your sweat doesn’t smell, your feces doesn’t smell, and you go through a toilet role about once every 2 months, your farts and breath don’t smell. You have a great deal of energy because your body is getting the only fuel source is can thrive on: Carbs (I eat 4000 cals a day, currently do little cardio and 90% of my calories are carbs. I’m 5% bodyfat and I am in superb health, bar a little need cardio improvement).

    A high meat diet: your like a walking trash bag, your fatigued, you smell, and you constantly crave carbs. You cannot perform athletic activities efficiently and your body is running via ketosis – Not a good idea.

    Sorry Tim, some good advice, but a long term following of this diet plan will mess people’s health up, the effects will be the same as Atkins. High cholesterol, high fat and high protein are not your friends. If you wish, I can provide plenty of resources for a balanced perspective (everyone should read both sides).

  201. Tim,

    I’m currently training to be part of the special operations community in the military. I essentially train similarly to a triathlete with longer cardiovascular needs. Additionally, strength training in both pure strength and muscular endurance are part of what I do daily. I’ve experimented with a “Paleo” type diet and essentially bonked due to lack of carbs (or so I think). What can I do about this? Are carbs okay before and after exercise? I really need that gel packet on three hour swim/run/pt sessions…

    Thanks so much for your insight


  202. this is a brilliant post tim and rob.

    what i’d really like to know, as mentioned by another questioner is how do south asians (indians etc) resolve going on a diet that completely exlcuded their major source of noursihment?

    i live in britain and i am definitely going to try this diet out, but dont know how i could convince the parents and rest of the family to take up a rice free, chappatti free, flour free diet.

    everyone would be like, where’s the rice? lol

    i would be most appreciative if you or rob mentioned some ethnic/asians alternatives to rice, that my family would be able to latch onto

    cheers and look forward to hearing back from you!

  203. Interesting article. About a month ago, I began to suspect something like this might be the cause of my IBS. I killed wheat products and went to fruits and vegetables, though I must admit that I have been eating some legumes and dairy. I quickly began to feel better. Well a month later I decided to introduce some breads to see how I would react. I have noticed that my stomach has been more upset and today I decided to eat my favorite dish, spaghetti. Guess what? I don’t feel good. Then I come across this article that validated my suspicions and provided some more info. Thanks for the menu plan, that will be helpful. I may not be in a position to dispute or agree with what was said in this article on a technical level, but I can definitely vouch for the results.

  204. Nick-

    Yea…it is a lot. this is why I do the best I can for providing both a rationale for these suggestions, then simply “how to.” Then it’s just up to folks to tinker (if they want to) and see how they look, feel, perform.



  206. Hey, great article. Let’s see if I can loose my belly. Also, I laughed with the direct translation from Portuguese to English that your teacher does. It was hard to understand until I translated every word back to Portuguese without context. Heh.



  207. I eliminated gluten from my diet after realizing that most members of my family including my self have celiac like symptoms.

    I wonder if the increase in gluten and other food intolerances/ allergies may be related to GMOs.

    I wonder if heirloom grains would demonstrate similar toxicities as there GMO counterparts.

  208. Loved this article Tim! My nutritionist gave a very similar diet as outlined above to me to follow, which solved my infertility at that time. I felt great and looked better than I had in years, too. Thanks for this reminder. Loved the lively discourse.

  209. @CRD I agree. Since at least 90% of the human race survives on grains, then the species is pretty well screwed. Guess we can declare that the experiment labeled humanity is over. Back to the caves all you folks, and start foraging for food. The georgia guide stones are correct. the planet could not support even 500 million people on this diet. Let alone a city of even moderate size.

  210. Something else also occurred to me. I’ll bet you have never seen a person with these gut problems who was not immunized as a child. I suspect that auto-immune diseases are triggered by immunizations. I seriously doubt if there is a case of AIDS anywhere in the world in a human that was not immunized as a child. You can bet your life that main stream medicine will never research this. There has to be horrendous consequences for injecting foreign proteins and monkey viruses into the bodies of infants, especially if they are not breast fed. Neither of my children were immunized before they were 18 years old. We’ll see how that goes. Bill Gates, in a TED talk, said that immunizations were an important part of population control. You can find the excerpt on youtube. His foundation has donated hundreds of millions for immunizations worldwide.

  211. Weird… I posted the same topic on my blog yesterday too. I didn’t know it was called Paleo diet though.

    I lost weight (it’s a great diet to do before your wedding though you may never fit into your wedding dress ever again) and my digestive system felt clean.

    When I tried to go back on it last year, I GAINED weight and broke out worse than a teenager. After reading Eat Right for Your type I lost weight by avoiding the nightshade family (peppers, tomatoes etc). Since I’m a Type A grains were recommended coupled with a vegetarian diet.

    Asians consume MASSIVE quantities of grains most of them are pretty healthy with their ageless faces (not that I’m jealous :P) So, I don’t buy into the grains are bad ideology at all. I wonder if those people in the article were Type O.

    All illnesses are a state of mind, therefore one diet could never be the right answer for everyone. We all have different issues to face in our lives including some that involve our genetics. We’re all dying anyway, so you may as well enjoy life and if for some that means giving up grains so be it.


  212. Hi Robb and Tim,

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I will give is a shot, at least with the grains.

    I don’t eat a lot of legumes generally, but I do consume dairy on a daily basis (light/skim milk, cottage/yellow cheese, yoghurt) . Are there particular dairy products I should avoid or substitute? For example, should I use rice milk, instead of skim milk (or soy milk is better)?

    One other question is regarding cancer. My father-in-law was diagnosed last week with pancreatic cancer. Do you think following this diet can help him? Can you please refer me to some literature so I can provide him with?

    Much appreciated.


  213. I’ve been Paleo for 7 months now and have never felt better, not just physically but also mentally. I feel more relaxed and better outlook on life. My stress level probably reduced to like 0-5%. If you haven’t gone off the crack (sugar and carbs), you should really try to. I got hooked after trying it for 6 weeks of logging what I eat on a support system. I’m giving back by setting up my own blog where people can log what they eat on my blog and we will help you change what you eat to become similar to what Tim posted above.

    So Tim, will you be trying CrossFit next??

  214. Man, Tim it is great to read great research and such a diverse spectrum of topics from you!

    My wife found the book “Deceptively Delicious” which is just another great way to introduce more of the good veggies into our diet without having to look at a 4 foot pile of broccoli with disdain!

    Thought it would make a great example of how to get in more of those fruits and vegetables into our diet.

  215. Great post. I’ve been following the paleo diet, not that strictly, for several years, and have experienced a number of health improvements including near total cessation of asthma symptoms. I wrote about my experience in detail here…

    One tip that makes eating paleo easier — meats don’t have to be lean, especially if they are pastured/grass-fed. Omega-3 fats are good for you, and grass-fed meats are full of them. Also — the fat keeps you full. Too much protein and not enough fat can lead to digestive problems as well.

    To those of you considering giving paleo a go, you’ll probably feel the benefits within three of four days.

  216. Robb can you address the *overwhelming evidence* based issues in this video? And if you buy his 2010 DVD (all proceeds to charity) on his website he shows how gluten is bad for bowels if celiac (, but good for gut flora (

    While not a vegan I would like the *overwhelming evidence* as well as HCAs put to rest or at least addressed. Really — How can there be such huge a discrepancy?

  217. Hi,

    I think this is amazing and I have cut grains from my diet multiple times but never lasted because it is so hard being vegan and eating gluten free. Do you have any suggestions for a vegan? A lot of the food recommendations include meat. What do I do if I don’t eat animals?

  218. Bro is talking about health reasons, then he goes on to tell you to eat chicken period, pig, and beef.

    So unhealthy.

    Honestly feel like there are so many different stances on what is the most healthy, that you just have to pick one and stick with it. No time to listen to all the different diets.

    Choose what sounds/works best for you.

  219. I can seriously appreciate all of the thought, energy, and time Robb has put into this topic. It strikes me as curious though that the purest indicator is also the most difficult to test for… namely, how would eating this way effect longevity and quality of life? A 10 year test against a placebo would be interesting but how could it be done (fake meat made out of grain??).

    Can people seriously avoid large sections of the food groups for the rest of their lives and is this really comparable to smoking? I have tested removing carbs and eating similar for several months in the past. Also tried a high carb and low fat concept as well. The similarity is funny in that when you go back to eating whatever it is you have cut out you don’t feel as well: fat, carbs, protein, etc… seems the adjustment phase is an issue, not necessarily a proof of bad foods.

    Diets that are ripe in avoidance and deprivation seem hardly beneficial and they avoid a critical component of humanity. The emotional component of eating is a huge issue and challenge for the majority. Who really wants to be the pain in the ass at all of the family gatherings that won’t touch half of the home cooked stuff? Obviously, moving to less processing and eating more veg, fruit, and lean protein is going to be healthier. Grains are a cheap source of calories and shouldn’t be a huge portion of the diet. Less processed and more natural is better – don’t need a degree or a study to see it. We could shift a diet to be more natural and I would guess we would all feel better, though right now, with the country in an epidemic of obesity that stems from sedentary lifestyles and addictive, high sugar foods the kind of physical and mental discipline required to avoid glutens is well beyond the average person.

    Fear sells though doesn’t it?

    Then again, preaching moderation, portion size, and natural eating doesn’t have the sales slant to achieve it’s own niche.

    There isn’t necessarily a harm in trying this out, but there may be a harm in assuming that it is the “way” because when you go back to carbs you don’t feel as well. The body tries to stabilize and regulate around any diet so reintroduction is always a process. Try switching out your cats food all at once. Any vet will tell you to do it slow and a little at a time. (yes I know we’re not cats…) The problem I have with it is in the inevitable fall off of the caveman wagon and the weight gain, guilt, and shame that just adds to another spin on the diet wheel.

    If you’re not eating healthy and then you start eating clean without gluten do you think your blood work will improve? If you take sugar out of kids diet will their health and behavior improve?

    One show I thought was interesting was Dr Oz’s show on people over 100 – the groups of people had several similarities: they ate natural, locally grown foods, they had strong family connections and prioritized family meal times, they had very active lifestyles with physical chores and walks every day, and they all had low stress levels with strong support groups. No mention of avoiding food groups…

    It might be preferable to go with the live group vs. the dug up one.

  220. Awesome science, thanks! Is the Paleo diet still the prescribed diet for CrossFit? A little OT: After another season of basketball league, I got frustrated being the “smallest” on the court at 6’1″ 120lb. I’ve been doing Crossfit 2-3x/wk as my only workout for the past 2 years, and haven’t gained any weight. I went with your 5×5 workout and put on 10lbs in a month. However, I’ve gotten slower on the court. Going back to Crossfit now, but I need to find a balance between the 2 workouts. Thanks for all your research, can’t wait to read the book. I’m wondering if you used the pics I submitted?

  221. Wow, where do I begin…It was shocking to learn how grains and beans are killing us in terms of how they are digested and the various chemicals and proteins are harming specific body functions. I have been cutting down on grain and meat (although I eventually want to get rid of grain, beans, and meat entirely) while exercising a lot more since 2010. I heard from a friend that he mixes white rice with brown rice, although I’m doubtful about the intake effects of gluten. What do you think?

    In addiction to the amount of meat (I don’t trust a whole lot of the meat out there as factory farmed garbage is so abundant), I also noticed a fair bit of nut in the content (i.e. danger for those who are allergic). What would you recommend modifying to ensure energy is being refilled while still sticking with the no gluten and lectin diet (or rather Paleo diet)?

    Most importantly, I’m sure there are a fair number of researchers and doctors already confirming this finding. However, people are accustomed to gluten and lectin intakes from grains and beans for ages (thousands of years). In fact, many of them believe that grain and lectin are as healthy as vegetables and fruits to eat as one of the main pillars, on top of government nutritional guides. How would you convey the message of this diet needing to be changed particular if people don’t want to die prematurely, despite ingrained into the conventional belief?

    Thanks for reading this long-winded question,


    P.S. Btw, I’m in the process to become another 4HWW. I’ll let you know when I have a video ready once I did get my first dream coming true!

  222. This all makes sense to me in theory. I’ve had lots of people in my life who say that the way they eat changes the way they feel, their energy levels and whatnot. But I’ve never noticed any difference. My body does not seem to care what i feed it, with the exception of the odd indigestion from eating too much spicy food, the way I feel and my energy levels are constant.

    My energy level is higher than most peoples and I almost never get sick. I’m willing to change the way I eat to improve my health and my quality of life, I just don’t know how I’ll know it’s making a difference? I’m 46 BTW and feel just as good as I did when I was 20. My girlfriend has been known to refer to me as the alien. While I can eat just about any kind of crap, I eat well most of the time.

    Thanks for the great post!

  223. Hi Robb/Tim,

    Other than the occasional cookie and slice of pizza, I don’t eat that much grains. However, rice (sushi, fried rice recipes, etc.) and buckwheat (great morning starter) are consumed daily. Would you say that these two grains should be eliminated also?

    It would also be tough to get rid of the yoghurt/kefir with crunchy cereal in the mornings… but then again, maybe that’s whats been giving me dreadful bloating all these years. I keep eating this cuz its fast and the dairy has some probiotics in it which is good for the intestine.

    Other than that… gimme a nice fillet mignon w/ some green and a glass of red every day, baby 🙂

  224. To complete the puzzle for those who might become interested in paleo nutrition, other than cutting grains, the next step is to cut fructose and sources of omega-6 fat like vegetable oils.

    For those wondering what to eat after cutting all that: fat, lots of it, and animal fat that is. Refer to this previous post by Tim:

    People tend to push fruits and vegetables a lot, but when it comes right down to the science, you discover that they often don’t bring much more than enjoyment, taste and variety. Most fruits are high in vitamin C, an anti-oxidant, to protect themselves from their own poison, sugar. A lot of vegetables are high in nutrients, but so are organ meat, bone marrow, bone broths, butter, eggs, fish eggs and muscle meat. Most nutrients in those are much more bio-available. Most people are doing just fine on very low or zero carb diets and some benefit from such diets greatly. I don’t want to come off as purist carnivore, but simply bring contrast to the heavy pro-vegetarianism/plant based diets shown in a lot of the comments. Some people are so sick that it takes way more than simply cutting grains to regain health, but also nuts, seeds and fruits.

    I think that any discussion on paleolithic nutrition should mention the importance of fat because otherwise people leave with the impression that they should eat lean protein and veggies. This will leave them hungry, cranky and could even lead to rabbit starvation in the worst cases.

    I understand though that telling people to cut all grains and to eat up to 70% of their calories as saturated fat will make some people’s heads explode.

    I hope though that Robb didn’t make the same mistakes/provisions professor Cordain made in his book about saturated fat just to be more universally accepted or politically correct. Simply too many people are in the know about paleolithic nutrition to accept any saturated fat or dietary cholesterol bashing anymore.

    I’ll know soon enough because I just received his book and will be devouring it tomorrow.

    It’s Tim that made me discover the paleo diet and now the paleo diet comes back to Tim, it has been full circle.

  225. Dear Tim great article but I have one question. Is the “Becoming Superhuman” book still in the works? I’m excited and I can imagine everyone else is about all of the knowledge you can bestow upon us. Thanks again Tim.

  226. Would this apply to people who are diagnosed with ‘IBS’ as well? IBS = Inflammable Bowel Syndrome or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

    I’ve done a lot of experimenting on behalf of my “illness” but have yet to find a long term solution.

  227. Everyone is so evangelical when they talk about something as precious as food! LOL

    Strangely I changed my diet about 6 months ago to something very close to this thanks to Cyndi OMeara’s “Changing Habits, Changing Lives”, and it has made an amazing difference now. I’ve never really been a foodie and tend to have an “eat for fuel” attitude, so it’s been an easy change.

    One problem I have though is this; I’m a fan of the boiled egg (easier clean up than other egg options) and I got excited when I saw your lesson on peeling boiled eggs without “peeling”. I have tried it and right now the score is “Eggs – 7, me – 0”. Lots of ridiculous moments as eggs and shells have disintegrated in my hand or sprayed across the counter! Tim, tell me it was a joke?

  228. What about people who are insulin resistant, hypoglycemic or diabetic? Total abandonment of carbs in grain form might keep the blood sugar too low and cause fainting spells and dangerous blackouts. Should people with such disorders go on an interim “tapering” diet and work their way up or is it suggested that grains are that poisonous that even a spoonful will cause scatological havoc? Your response would be much appreciated!

    1. There are other carb sources than grains and all those things you’ve listed except T1 diabetes are caused by eating way too many carbs anyways. Don’t believe me? Read Richard K Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution, or go to his website, read it for free.

      Or keep reading some paleo blogs, especially weight loss posts, since the same mechanisms that cause all those problems causes obesity.

      Go to Mark’s Daily Apple and read the Ultimate Guide to Insulin, Blood Sugar & Diabetes (I think that’s what it’s called)

  229. Brilliant article!

    I’ve been 95% paleo for the past 4 weeks now and in that time haven’t had to take one single prescription antacid – for me wheat and chronic heartburn go hand in hand…

    My tips for anyone following this diet are:

    * Get into Sous Vide cooking – and easily cook meat at restaurant grade with no skills required.

    * Buy yourself a mandoline vegetable slicer and a Benriner vegetable noodle maker. These two cheap tools have made for me eating raw, nutritious vegetables a brand new and thoroughly enjoyable experience.

    * Avoid foods in packets and those with ingredients listings on – nature makes the best food naturally and doesn’t require an interfering scientist to ruin it.

    * If you’re used to highly processed foods then be aware that your taste buds will take a few weeks to get used to fresh fruit, vegetables and meats. Stick with it though because your taste buds change and you’ll relish fresh foods over processed any time!

    Good luck and get stuck in!


  230. I’m so happy Robb’s book is out. I highly recommend his nutrution seminar. Between Robb, the Zone, and Paleo for Athletes, everything you need to understand nutrition and completely change your life.

    Tim, how much of your new book will be on nutrition verses exercise alone? Perhaps your book should be added to the list when it comes out. Looking forward to it.

  231. Tim, my girlfriend is a Pescatarian and also has Multiple Sclerosis, your / Robb’s advice should hopefully help with alleviating her condition with the appropriate modification.