A Preview of Coming Attractions

I keep getting distracted from blogging by having too many items in my to-do list. Which gave me the idea – why not blog about my to-do list?

Upcoming Blog Posts

Here are some things I intend to blog about soon:

A recap of the recent Perfect Health Retreat, which ran May 10-24 in Wilmington, NC. It was tremendous fun and I think the friendships formed among the 15 participants and 11 staff will last a long time. I’m already excited thinking about our plans for two retreats in October, and optimistic that the May participants will experience lasting health benefits.

An appreciation of Seth Roberts, who passed away just before I left for the Retreat. Seth was a devoted and productive scientist: he loved truth, sought it faithfully, and found it in innovative and original ways. Such scientists are scarce today, for the pressures of career-building can compete with the search for truth; and few dare make the search for truth their first priority. Seth did, and was rewarded for it with genuine discoveries. For this he deserves great honor.

Thoughts on the health effects of high oil consumption. All nutrients are beneficial in small doses but eventually become toxic when eaten in excess; fats are no exception. But what is the point of toxicity, and what are the first symptoms to appear?  This is certainly a salient question for the ancestral health community, where large doses of oil, as in Bulletproof Coffee, are popular. Seth Roberts consumed large amounts of oil – flaxseed oil and butter – because he found they improved biomarkers such as reaction time. Are those biomarkers a reliable guide to the healthfulness of oil intake? What if oil improves some parts of the body while damaging others? What nutrients mitigate the risks of oil consumption?

A few loose ends in the carbohydrate discussion. I published my replies to the questions of Fat Head readers on Thursday, May 8, just before we left for the Retreat early on the 9th. I was so busy with our guests that I could not read or respond to the resulting discussion, which proceeded not only on this blog and Tom’s and our associated Facebook sites, but also elsewhere – for instance, at Hyperlipid, where Peter Dobromylskyj was led to look into the “safe starches” debate (first post, second post).

An oft-promised, oft-delayed post on treating acid reflux (or GERD). I’ve promised this for a while but been too busy to fulfill my promise. It’s time to make time.

A look at fiber and the gut microbiome. This has been the hottest issue of the last year in the ancestral health community. Interest was kicked off by a number of PHDers: Jeff Leach, founder of the Human Food Project, eats a similar diet; Tim Steele (“Tatertot”) is a PHDer who pursued a Seth Roberts-like course of personal experimentation with potato starch and did more than anyone to get the ancestral health community excited; and PHD-sympathetic folks like Grace Liu of AnimalPharm, Richard Nikoley of FreetheAnimal, Shant Mesrobian of Mr Heisenbug, and others have taken the lead in popularizing resistant starch and helping to interpret the experiences of ancestral community experimenters.

This is an extremely interesting area scientifically. Four years ago when we first wrote our book, it was clear that healthful people ate lots of fiber, but it was difficult to prove that the fiber was helping them. In the last four years, an immense volume of information about our gut microbiome and the role of fiber in feeding it has accumulated. Nevertheless, it is still tricky to generalize. Clinical trials of added-fiber diets have mostly ended with mediocre results.

We can guess what “optimal fiber” is likely to be – that provided by a diverse natural whole foods diet of the type eaten in the Paleolithic. Is supplementing Bob’s Red Mill unmodified potato starch a good alternative? Or should we just put lots of vegetables in our stews and soups, eat salads and kimchi, and refrigerate our cooked potatoes and rice before eating?

A second look at alcohol. We made the decision to support moderate alcohol consumption at the Perfect Health Retreat. To make it more fun, I collected some favorite wines and provided tasting notes. This was our selection of wines:

wine - red and sparkling

wine - white and rose

I noticed that after I gave my talk on alcohol, wine consumption went up from four bottles per night to six. I started to wonder if my talk might have been too positive toward alcohol.

Then, a few days ago, Mark Sisson posted that he had stopped drinking alcohol and noticed health benefits. I posted links on social media (here and here) and these were some of the replies:

It’s a no-brainer and we are all aware of it.

No **** Sherlock (Sisson). As if extirpating alcohol would somehow be less than beneficial.

Yeah, alcohol, unless it is a very small amount consumed with a large amount of food, will wreck my sleep. Beer and red wine wreck my gut, too.

Well this is sort of a “duh” isn’t it? Of course one would experience health benefits.

Alcohol also depletes glutathione, and it has a far greater effect on women. I tell my female patients that they can tolerate less than 1/2 of what their male partners drink.

No wonder he feels better! I doubt the Paleolithic men and women drank Pinot Rouge every evening! No matter what the entire World can argue against this, but I am 100% positive that any alcohol consumed daily leads to a lot of trouble!

I am not surprised by this!

Any amount of alcohol increases your breast cancer risk as a female and many other cancers and now they find it doesn’t have the heart benefits they once thought.

Not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but in traditional Chinese medicine the liver detoxes and rebuilds between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. The 2 to 3 a.m. waking after drinking wine the evening before makes perfect sense from that perspective.

This Sunday marks my sixth month with zero alcohol. And I feel GREAT! I’m sleeping like a baby, I have incredible energy.

Going without alcohol most definitely improves physical performance. I have quit several times for a month of so and during those off months, I set all kinds if PRs.

Alcohol is taking it on the chin!

So, what is the story with alcohol? Should we remove alcohol from the Retreat? Or change the name to “Nearly Perfect Health Retreat” or “Perfect Except for Alcohol Health Retreat”? This requires careful consideration.

Upcoming Events; the Ancestral Health Symposium

We have a number of exciting events coming up:

  • A one-day education in how to be healthy, called the Perfect Health Seminar, to be held July 20 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It will be led by myself and the folks at Sweat and Butter, and will be hosted by R.A.W. Training.
  • The Ancestral Health Symposium August 7-9 at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Perfect Health Retreats in October, the first from October 4 through 11 and the second from October 11 through 18. After these, the next Retreat will be in May 2015.

I’ll blog about each of these very soon; if you’re curious about the Seminar or Retreats, feel free to write me at paul@perfecthealthretreat.com. For now, let me just give a pitch for the Ancestral Health Symposium.

AHS is a great chance to mingle with the leading figures in the movement, learn from their talks, and get to know in person friends you’ve made online. First and foremost, AHS is a social gathering – a fun, friendly meetup with an academic feel.

The talks are always interesting. In addition to my talk on weight loss, this year’s program includes:

  • Jill Escher MA JD on epigenetic effects of food, chemicals and drugs on future generations.
  • Barbara Natterson-Horowitz MD discusses what animals and veterinarians can teach us about human health.
  • Terry Wahls MD on why it’s so tough to make our diets nutritious.
  • Dan Pardi on uniting Quantified Self to Ancestral Health.
  • Sarah Ballantyne PhD will talk about autoimmunity and Stacy Toth will explain how to modify ancestral diets for hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis issues.
  • Keith Norris details how the training of in-mission astronauts can benefit the rest of us.
  • Kelly Brogan MD shares an ancestral perspective on mood and anxiety in the perinatal patient.
  • Grace Liu PharmD suggests ways to rewild and revitalize the ancestral, soil-connected gut.

To see the full AHS14 program including the schedule of movement sessions by the likes of Darryl Edwards and the topics of talks by Denise Minger, Chris Masterjohn, Stephan Guyenet, Cate Shanahan, Aaron Blaisdell, Richard Feinman, Lynda Frassetto, J. Stanton, Josh Turknett, Todd Becker, James Steele, Esther Gokhale, Skyler Tanner, and other great speakers, go here.

There are plans for a Seth Roberts tribute after the Symposium, on Sunday August 10.

Registration for AHS costs $189 for students and $279 for non-students. You can register here. You can learn more about travel, food, and lodging here.

I hope to see you there!

Leave a comment ?

116 Comments.

  1. Impressive! It’s hard to believe there aren’t at least two and probably more of you. I can’t keep up with everything you do and get tired thinking about it. 😉

    It’s hardly possible all this started only four years ago.

    Congratulations on your well-deserved success.

  2. I don’t think it’s fair to associate Bulletproof Coffee with “excessive oil consumption”. I believe the official recipe calls for 0.5 – 1 tbsp of MCT oil per cup of coffee. I’d hardly call 50-100 calories worth of oil excessive — certainly not compared to the large doses of (likely oxidized) inflammatory flax seed oil Seth Roberts consumed every day. Seth also paid little attention to the quality of his food such as eating butter from grain fed cows vs grass fed. He has also gone on record saying he ate most of his meals at restaurants when living abroad, which no doubt cooked with reused industrial seed oils.

    • I think he is adding the butter here as well, which is 2tbsp (min) upto 6tbsp, which accounts for 200 – 600 calories, and 24 – 72 gms of fat.

      http://www.bulletproofexec.com/bulletproof-coffee-recipe/

      • Yes, it’s 3-8 tbsp fat which is 300-1000 calories. That’s a lot, especially to drink at once.

        • JonMarc Grodi

          We do the occasional BPC with about 1 tbsp of butter and a little mct, usually on fasting mornings. That’s not going too far overboard is it?

        • But you say that you advocate 50-60% fat in your diet. Based on 2000 calories a day thats 1000-1200 calories from fat a day or 300-400 calories of fat per meal (3 meals a day). Is this advice still valid?

          Also I thought that fat was the safe thing to add if wanting to increase calories. But maybe starch should be increased instead?

          • Acai, that includes all the fat you get from food. We recommend pairing a fat like butter or sour cream with starches, pairing salads with a dressing that contains oil, and eating many meats and fish like liver, salmon, bones, egg yolks, etc, that contain fat. There’s room for maybe 200 calories at most in coffee.

            In general I think starch and fat should be increased proportionately when increasing calories.

      • Well the current and correct link is https://www.bulletproofexec.com/how-to-make-your-coffee-bulletproof-and-your-morning-too/ is 1-2 tbsp of each,so 100-200 calories and 28gm-56gm of fat which is well with the PHD range of required fat. So I would suggest that BP coffee not be used as an example of excessive oil consumption. This is coffee, so it not just guzzled at once it is sipped over a period of time typically 15 min to over an hour especially if you are topping it off with hot water as you go, I do.

  3. Great. The Ancestral Health Society is organized for the purpose of fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and translational efforts among scientists, healthcare professionals, and laypersons.

  4. On alcohol consumption. I’ve struggled for more than a decade with sleep apnea. About 5 years ago a pulmonologist I was seeing told me that alcohol will disrupt your sleep no matter what time of day you drink it. I stopped my daily glass of wine and almost immediately was finally able to sleep through a whole night (with the help of my cpap machine). I won’t touch it now. I like being able to sleep much more.

    • Pretty sure coffee does this in my case – I can drink it very early in the day and I’m fairly certain it still disrupts my sleep.

  5. Paul, you didn’t include in your lengthy list the ebook you had mentioned you were working on regarding weight loss. I am struggling, and have friends in the same predicament. We are consistently gaining despite trying to follow the program carefully. It’s frustrating because it feels like the program is the healthiest most nutritious but seems to promote a big belly. Intermittent fasting and reduced oil/fat cosumption don’t seem to make a dent. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    • Yes, the ebook is coming. My AHS talk is on weight loss and I have to prepare an article for the Journal of Evolution and Health on weight loss; as I work on both of those I’ll finalize the ebook.

      • Paul what about a book or ebook, as a follow up to Perfect Health Diet similar to how Mark Sisson followed up The Primal Blueprint with The Primal Blueprint – 21 Day Transformation. I as well as many others appreciate the scientific evidence included in Perfect Health Diet but I am hesitant to gift or suggest Perfect Health Diet to the many folks who desire less of the why and more of the how. What do you think?

        • Hi SC,

          It’s a good idea. Let me think about how I could fit that in. At the moment, our cookbook and video courses are top priorities, along with the Retreats and our new Seminar.

          • Well, I pondered as well. Perhaps you could kill two birds with 1 stone, as the PHD weight loss ebook is really an action plan to implement the PHD principles just as Sisson’s followup book was. Sisson’s 21 Day Transformation (transformation = weight loss) So I would say some tinkering with the title and some minor text and good to go. .

    • Interesting you bring this up. My wife and I have both been trying the PHD diet this spring. We both feel better, have more energy and certain acute symptoms (e.g. IBS) are gone. But our experiences with weight loss are very different–I have lost 25 pounds since February with limited exercise, she has lost nothing.

      I began wondering about this. There are some differences in our diets–for one she eats eggs each day and I don’t (allergy)–but from what I understand about eggs they shouldn’t have this effect on weight loss. I drink my coffee black but she adds some sugar to her tea still–that might be a factor but I think there’s more to it.

      Our bodies chemistries are just different due to genetic reasons or whatever, and while I have a healthy thyroid she has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This is one thing we hoped PHD would help with, but it will likely take more time, and it may not be enough. She may need HRT for the rest of her life. Right now it’s too early to say.

      • Yes, those experiences are interesting. Weight gain is a symptom and often the same symptom can be generated by many different causes. I think the fact that your wife has more energy and IBS is relieved are both signs that she has made progress toward losing weight – think of those as prerequisites for weight loss. A few more fixes may unlock the weight loss.

      • Hi Jeff,

        Shou-Ching wants me to tell you that it took her two years to recover from her hypothyroidism. She found that her required dose of levothyroxine steadily declined and she would cut the tablets into quarters to test different doses, finding the lowest dose that made her feel good, and got entirely off it after two years.

        Sometimes healing just takes time. Hypothyroidism is closely related to gut health so improving the gut microbiome and gut integrity will help.

        • Paul,

          Thank you, it’s always good to hear from others who have suffered with Hashimoto’s. We’re planning to stick this out and see what happens. Since there have been improvements apart from thyroid function, I don’t think we want to go back to our original diets.

          Also, we hope to make it to your retreat one of these years. Please post any upcoming dates on this site and I’ll keep an eye out. Thanks.

  6. You’ve got a tough schedule there, Paul.

    Now, regarding alcohol, specifically red wine, I am sure I’ve read (although cannot provide a citation) that the real benefit of the red fruit is unlocked by fermentation.

  7. Welcome Back! Just finished your wonderful eye-opening book (PHD newest edition) and will definitely have to re-read and refer to it often. It covers so much! I have been LC since 2009 and the addition of potato and rice I thought would make the scale increase so after 2 weeks of having small servicings of rice with lunch and dinner, and potato with lunch and dinner on some days, so far so good. The bone broth and intermittent fasting works out wonderful. I’m just now constantly busy shopping, planning, cooking, freezing , making broth, etc. It seems difficult eliminating toxins, and eating correctly! 😎 Looking forward to all your blogs!! PS: Please redeem wine’s benefits! 😀

  8. Do you think rice is essential in terms of nutrients? I understand it falls into the safe starches category because its low in toxins but if one chooses to get the 400g carb calories from sweet potatoes and white potatoes is it ok?
    I don’t like the taste of regular sweet potatoes, so I hope they’re not preferable comparing to asian sweet potatoes. I usually eat around 100g of carbs from Asian sweet potatoes everyday, that’s where I get my carbs everyday (+carrots,+onions,+greens). Any benefits on making the effort to swap them to regular sweet potatoes?

    • No, rice is not essential, its main value is as a source of starch. Other safe starches including potatoes can substitute with no loss of nutrition.

      I also prefer Asian sweet potatoes.

  9. Paul:
    While you reflect upon alcohol/wine intake and more and more it seems to me that any health benefits might be small at best when compared to possible negative impacts, you might want to look at beans and lentils again as it appears to me that some of the downside to them is far less than positive benefits as long as one is within PHD carb guidelines consistent with individual goals.
    Thanks.

    • Yes, lentils are worth a look, also omega-3 fats will need a re-look soon.

      • Great! Might what to look at chick peas if not the whole bean family. Chick peas, mainly in form of hummus with veggies, or some chick peas in lunch salad a few times a week represent about the only beans i eat with any frequency. Can’t find anything that says they are a problem.
        Glad your looking again at Omega-3 fats; they are far more important than many think at least what i can tell from studies/data.
        thanks again

        • Paul..re-look at Omega-3 fats as in to be careful not to have excessive amounts, as many are speculating that Seth Roberts consumed especially considering the amount of flax seed oil he consumed?

    • + 1

      I had chronic diarrhoea for 6 weeks or more, one serving of Mujaddarah prepared at home, and hey presto! No more diarrhoea. Just like that. I made it with white rice, and if I have leftovers, that’s a decent amount of resistant starch.

      Recipe if anyone is interested, it’s delicious: http://www.nytimes.com/recipes/1014804/one-pot-mujadara-with-leeks-and-greens.html

  10. I’m torn on the alcohol debate. On the one hand I’ve personally consumed alcohol moderately for 25 years with no serious effects. On the other I very much aware it isn’t essential to our bodies, and I’ve seen the damaging effects on our society as a whole due to alcohol dependence and related maladies.

    Moderate alcohol consumption made it easy for me to reduce sweeteners. I used to have a sweet tooth after dinner, eating ice cream or chocolate nearly every night. Since I replaced those cravings with a glass or two of wine, or the occasional mixed drink, I find I don’t miss the ice cream at all. I’ve eliminated all sugar in my coffee and tea and never use it to prepare meals.

    That said, I wonder sometimes what I’ve just replaced sweeteners with, and for that matter, how much sugar is also part of the drinks I enjoy. Sugar and alcohol are presumably both harmless in small quantities and toxic in large amounts.

    One interesting difference I noted between sugar and alcohol consumption is that sweet foods tend to make me crave more sweet foods. It isn’t easy to stop and requires conscious intervention. Alcohol, for me, is easier–after a drink or two I reach a point where I don’t want any more and don’t have to stop myself. (Those are however my experiences, and I’m very aware that they are not universal. Those with alcohol dependency find it very hard to stop.)

    I’m not necessarily adverse to giving up after-dinner drinks but I wonder what I’d replace it with, or how long I’d crave it. Part of the miracle of the PHD diet for me is that I haven’t had to crave foods and it hasn’t required any real willpower, only the effort to plan and prepare meals (which I enjoy doing anyhow). I wonder if kicking alcohol completely would be my first big challenge.

  11. Hi Paul,
    Poor Seth Roberts. I feel sure the flaxseed/oil are responsible for his untimely death. I myself was poisoned by flaxseeds. I am on a one woman campaign to stop the use of flaxseed,as it has never been used in history for food for animals or people because of its toxic nature. I am also suspicious of the effects of chocolate on health and weight loss. Does the addition of chocolate make it harder to lose weight? More women have a problem with that substance then anything else. Men seem to crave steak and potatoes but find it easier to lose weight than the woman that gives in to her chocolate cravings now and then. No chocolate and no sugar seem to be the only way to lose weight. This seems to be a brutal truth for me anyway.
    Cheers,
    Joanne

    • Hi Joanne, I noticed that when I added Lindt 90% chocolate to my morning coffee that I started to put on some additional weight but when I removed, I lost it quickly. I equate the morning chocolate to disrupting my intermittent fast/ketosis, so I don’t think it is the chocolate per se but just consuming any carbs/sugar even in these low amount of carbs and sugar during this period. As for woman and chocolate, I would say it is more of the type of chocolate, the amount and more importantly what the rest of a particular woman’s diet consists of.

      • Yes, I notice a complete stall in weight loss too and even the gaining suddenly. I have no clue as yet why this should happen to us ladies when it comes to chocolate. I am in the midst of my own experiment with this curious reaction. I have lost one pound without the chocolate in just one day. Whatever can it be doing? I will post on this experiment later.

        • Joanne, how much chocolate are you taking? I take two squares a day and was thinking of stopping for a couple of weeks too.

          • I probably have three squares of the Lindt dark in one day. Or sometimes I have cooking chocolate in powder form mixed with a nutritional shake or whatever. It is low carb and I sweeten if needed with stevia or splenda, depending. It maybe that the high level of phytates is pure kryptonite for Superwoman here. I have rarely heard of a chocolate fan that didn’t get fat. I think chocolate maybe the elephant in the room. When I was at my thinnest I ate no chocolate. I am n=1 and we will see soon. I am allowing myself pleasures of different sorts, but not chocolate. At the end of a week maybe I will look like the elephant in the room but will not be the fault of Lindt chocolate!
            The experiment ends next Sunday.
            Cheers,
            Joanne

    • My weight used to always be controllable by reducing grain and sugar. In 2012, because of chronic digestive problems, I undertook a 100% no-starch diet. I soon became my smallest size ever. BUT within several months of no starch, no sugar, I started to gain belly fat. (Also the digestive problems returned.)

      Soon I started reading PHD. Along with potato, I added chocolate as one of the first steps out of the orthorexia my no-starch commitment had induced. Many days, I eat a couple squares of Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate. I can take or leave it, no cravings.

      I’ve tried PHD now for over a year. (I also was treated for a parasite problem. Something Paul says led me to believe the pathogen could have explained why the weight had persisted.)

      But still, I CANNOT STOP putting on belly fat! I’ve had to go up two sizes in jeans. Is it perimenopause? Is it pathogens? I’d be so happy if it turns out to just be chocolate!

      I’ll join you in foregoing the chocolate gladly, to see if that will help.

      glad you mentioned it,
      stephanie

      • Hi Stephanie,
        So glad you are considering the experiment too.

        I believe today was a wonderful day without the chocolate beast. I ate sensibly and even sparingly because, the appetite and loneliness inducing affects of chocolate didn’t happen. Have you ever noticed that after you eat chocolate you sort of wait for some great effect that doesn’t happen? So, then you have some more! Well guess what? That means it is sort of a disappointing stimulant. I didn’t even drink my morning decaf and found that need for that taste was knocked out too. It always seems that coffee pushed the need for the chocolate taste. Maybe these tastes are a form of pica. Looking at it that way along with thinking of it as a pathetic, fattening, habit forming non-food helps to resist it. If sugar is the “white death” then chocolate is the “brown bane”. After all, have you noticed if you sneak in chocolate even with an artificial sweetener it still knocks you off your diet and you plateau. Considering the mold and lead levels in some chocolate who knows what its doing to us.

        The experiment pushes on till Sunday. Welcome to the lab.

        Cheers,
        Joanne

        • Joanne – I think many of us ladies are looking forward to some details of your n=1 experiment after Sunday!

          • So glad to give details after Sunday. If the experiment proves to me that chocolate was the monkey wrench in my dieting all along I will sound the word.

            I just happened to see a story on
            the news today about the stimulants in chocolate being strong enough to make a prescription like Ritalin behave much stronger, and to be careful if you eat chocolate and take medicines that stimulate. The pharmacist on the show was also saying it causes some anxiety for some. Well then I just read a bogus bunch of research saying they have isolated something about chocolate that makes mice thin. Well, if there are any fat mice out there they can have my share. Chocolate just gives me a case of unquenchable munchies. And, it mysteriously makes what fat I have, stick forever. Why do they keep writing articles about thinness and chocolate? If that were the answer the world would be populated with the most emaciated women. Every man would be pining for a fatter woman. Just more food hype. Just like this guy we know, who was of normal weight started eating nuts after listening to Dr. Oz and he put on 25 resentful pounds in short order! Nuts, full of spoiled oils, tons of phytates, a few carbs, and some mold on the side. But we love them too. How about some sugar or honey on your nuts? Don’t laugh, I am really chasing down some diet destroyers here

  12. Paul,what do you think about the studies that show fat consumption with carbs causes a severe insulin response?Something about fat causing insulin resistance and how the participants felt worlds better when eating carbs with low fat.

    • Hi wolf,

      Insulin resistance is due to an excess of energy. If people were overeating when they combined carbs with fat and undereating when eating carbs without fat, then that would account for what your studies observed. We try to show people how they can eat both carbs and fat without overeating.

      Best, Paul

  13. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for the update! I’d like to plug for the GERD post. My wife and I have been PHD since April 2013. She has struggled with GERD on and off since then. Tiny amounts of wheat, usually from restaurants even when they claim gluten free, causes inflammation which exacerbates the GERD. Trigger foods she’s had to give up are coffee, chocolate, and alcohol. We’ve also found that some fresh veggies at every meal help. On meals without fresh veggies, she’s sometimes eaten fresh cucumber afterward and avoided a bout. The enzymes on the supplements page are a great preventative, as well.

    I am fortunate not to have this problem. When she’s free of symptoms for a month or so, she can stand small amounts of coffee or chocolate, but consumption of those things tends to escalate, and the GERD comes back, so she’s wary, which is kind of a bummer because chocolate is so yummy.

    We have our yearly physicals and blood tests coming up, and will be posting our results in July. I appreciate your blog and study it and the book regularly. It seems I am always discovering something I missed all this time, that when implemented makes further improvements to health. Thanks for keeping us going!

    Joseph

  14. Wowzers. People really do want to suck the last fun out of life don’t they? The seemingly endless alcohol debate always interests me mostly because I find it hard to believe, logically, that something that we humans have been consuming for thousands of years can be that bad. And as Stabby points out in his brilliant post about drinking with impunity, the gut does make at least a little alcohol. As one of the Twitter commenters points out, any amount of alcohol raises breast cancer risk for women, but my understanding is that this is due to an excess of estrogen. However,
    if the liver is healthy it should be capable of properly detoxing the estrogen before it causes any detrimental effects on breast tissue.

    Anyhow, that was a really long way of saying that I think people would really benefit from taking a chill pill and not be so quick to remove every single enjoyable “vice”
    from their lives. But as always, I am very interested in hearing your take!

    • Hi Lindsay,
      I have always found it challenging to behave normally anyway, so me and alcohol are not to be serious friends. But historically people drank wine that was only about 2% alcohol for the longest time till they figured out how to distill it and get strong concentrations. People could get drunk on the weak stuff too but they had to be seriously trying to get the staggers. Flopping into an open fire or being overtaken by a lion or a neighboring enemy tribe because I couldn’t line up my spear would maybe make getting to that point sort of a negative. The wine of today is about 12%, that’s what makes it such a boob bummer.

      • Sure, I get that booze used to be much weaker, but I also know (and I am talking much more recently than the paleolithic) that folks used to get much of their calories from fermented things like mead and beer. So, yes, those drinks were less potent, but they drank a hell of a lot more than any “normal” drinker would today. Chris Kresser had an interesting article a while back about .. I think it was Englishmen in the 1800s… who did a lot of physical work and consumed a hell of a lot of calories, much of it from low proof beer. If I can find the article, I will link it here.

        And of course, there are all those anecdotal tales of the 100 year old woman who swears by 2 daily martinis… in fact Betty White might be the best example in recent times. But she also eats hot dogs and Twizzlers, so she might be a genetic beast of some kind.

        • Hi Lindsay,
          I know the Egyptians used to drink beer like it was going out of style. They were pretty fat people with lousy teeth on their heavy grain based diet. Funny what they find when they unwrap a mummy and find that they were not the perfect specimens painted in buildings and on papyri.

          Joanne

  15. The liver is only one factor for maintaining healthy estrogen levels. Other factors are methylation SNPs such as COMT and MTHFR, along with good digestive health to avoid the recycling of estrogen that should be excreted. Most people should be able to tolerate some alcohol, but if people choose to abstain for the benefit of their health that should be ok too. There seems to be judgement on all sides.

    • You know, I spent a lot of time and energy on thinking about and stressing myself out over the methylation cycle and I am just not sure I buy into al the hubbub. I think there are some people who truly have issues that they experience, but I think a lot of people get genetic tests, see that they are homo or compound hetero or whatever, for some of the big SNPs and then just assume they have a problem. I was one of those. And I think it was like a year ago or something I asked Paul here about his opinion on those things and if I recall correctly, he essentially said that Choline status is paramount and if one’s Choline status is good then getting other methylation nutrients like Folate and B12 becomes less of a concern. But it does seem that Glutathione status is the rate limiting factor in being able to handle alcohol (and a lot of other things) and that can be greatly reduced by the inability to metabolize sulfur. So I guess for people that have issues with sulfur, drinking might be a problem. But then, I guess my main point is that if folks are already having some kind of health problem, such as gut, or methylation or immune, or whatever, they should probably limit their drinking. But for those who do not, I don’t see the need for elimination.

      • Oh, interesting. After a year on the Specific Carbs Diet (zero grain, zero sugar), I developed an inability to drink more than one glass of wine or one beer without feeling bad. I wondered whether restricting all starches had changed something pertaining to how I process alcohol. I will have to read about glutathione. Maybe v.l.c. messed mine up?

        • Hi st,
          Weird things can happen when a person goes low carb. For one thing, people tend to eat a lot from the cruciferous plants (broccoli, cauliflower, etc., and sometimes they eat the toxic flaxseeds) and that will slow the thyroid down and even cause terrible thyroid malfunction. So maybe that additional strain makes for a lower glutathione level because that is what your body uses to fight toxins.

      • I agree there has probably been an overstating of the importance of methylation, though every “new” idea of course goes through this process of people getting excited, then the inevitable backlash. Meanwhile those that are seriously unwell probably do need to pay good attention to it.

        In my case, I had additional testing (organic acids, serum hormone, estrogen metabolites) and those results correlate perfectly with the methylation SNPs I have.

        I agree with your comment about choline, I make sure to eat eggs everyday and take a phospholipid complex which has helped my sleep very much. I don’t agree with high doses of 5MTHF that some practitioners suggest for MTHFR, so I just take a small amount of that.

  16. Unbelievable! My weight is down more than one pound today. My suspicion is that chocolate and even decaf, are appetite stimulants, mood dis–regulators, and the force behind weight gain and diet plateau. I had no chocolate, tea, or coffee of any sort yesterday and the scale is my friend today. I found it pretty profound that my appetite was not messaging for MORE the whole day. Is the reason because I am not getting the high phytates and the other odd chemicals that are part of the chocolate and coffee bean, not to mention the mold and lead in chocolate? Do those and other weird natural compounds drive the body to look for more nutrients to detox with? If I am right than the idea of a chocolate spiked diet drink is diabolical, and a mocha latte will get you looking for a fat farm.

    The lab is open and looking for participants.

    Joanne

  17. “A look at fiber and the gut microbiome”

    It all started from you, and from just a few words of your book, so the credit goes to you (even though it looks like you lean more to food itself not the PS but you still recomend it, if i remember you wrote 1 1/2 TBS. ). But they only touched on the resistant starch not on the pectin, gums, and mucilage, you wrote about, could you explain more about it and which ones. Thank You

  18. Just want to praise your kimchi recipe – tried it first time and it’s perfect. Thanks.

    Recipe here: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2013/03/shou-chings-moms-kimchi/

  19. Yesterday was another great day for the no chocolate, coffee or tea experiment. After consuming foods yesterday in abundance and even some delicious salty ham salad, and plenty of fruit my weight is not rebounding. I pushed the envelope to see if I could get that pound of loss to come back, but it did not. I have read that the chemicals in coffee can keep insulin high for hours and require more insulin to bring down blood sugar levels, could it be the same with chocolate or even worse? And does chocolate and coffee stimulate appetite? I was not hungry yesterday (not even emotionally), but actually ate more to see if the scale would show the pound come back from all the fruit, carbs and salt. No.
    I thought for sure that the way I pushed it I should see complete failure, instead, I was overjoyed. Rice in my soup (added from my refrigerated stash like PHD says) some dates, cherries, blueberries, milk, lots of cheese, these are some of the salty and sweet treats I had. I had a great nights sleep too and have been noticing dreaming more vividly. Today I will eat more normally quantity wise and sugar wise and see if the scale responds with a loss of significance. If the scale shows another whole pound loss I am thinking that for women the enemy is our favorite go to “friend” food-!!chocolate!! and possibly coffee and tea (real tea). I am thinking that females are so radically different chemistry wise that these non foods are doing something really crazy in our bodies.
    I am going to be looking up how many pounds of chocolate are consumed in the US, UK, and Australia. They have diets similar to ours and are fighting the same battles. Something is stimulating appetite, I smell a rat, and it smells like chocolate.

    • I’m not certain why, but chocolate and caffeine seem to have a bigger effect on me than I remember. I can only drink decaf now, and chocolate gives me a rush like I never got from it before, accompanied by a crash and a case of the crankies. I can only theorize that this could be related to undiagnosed hypothyroidism. My TSH is 3.something, but I have symptoms of hypothyroidism (stiff neck, skin problems, fatigue, etc.). I think my wife has the same problem, but different symptoms. That’s the way hypothyroidism works. My hypothyroid symptoms began when I went low carb years ago, and that’s when I started noticing chocolate and coffee affecting me differently. At the time, I thought it was because they were unhealthy, addictive foods. But Paul has pointed out some of the nutritional benefits, so I think that maybe people with healthier thyroid are less impacted by the mood swings and extreme high/low?

      Alcohol also affects me differently than it did pre-PHD. I used to skip the buzz and go straight to a headache when I drank. But now it can be enjoyable. Perhaps that’s because my thyroid has begun to heal somewhat over the last year on PHD? Not all the way better, yet, but my TSH has been creeping down—not fast enough, but oh well.

      If these foods do affect the thyroid, that could also explain your weight loss.

      • I am one of those people that had thyroid issues that have gone away. I quit using the flaxseeds that ruined it in the first place, after I found out about the toxins in it. The TSH had climbed to 3 or so, then went down a little. I gave up all grain last year. Now my TSH is 1.0. I now have a low arsenic rice as my starch of choice. All my labs are perfect now. If you are eating lots of cruciferous foods raw in shakes etc. you may want to back off and eat other things that are green with less thiocyanate and cooked.

        I know what you mean about the chocolate crankies. I think for women it is more of a chocolate lonelies and depressies. That is really the way that people react when a stimulant poops out, and some valuable neurotransmitter is very low after the stimulant burns it up. Then, they need some more stimulant. My chocolate experiment is going well and the need for coffee dropped off too. We will see on Sunday what the end result of a week without chocolate, coffee and tea do. So far, marvelous.

  20. My 5 year old son, diagnosed with autism, does very well with a no fructose version of the PHD. But there have been a couple foods that have been incredibly good for him, and I just had to share our experience. The first is raw egg yolks. I know from your book that having 3 yolks a day is good for many people, but I find that when my son has 2 yolks, 3 times a day (each serving about 4 to 6 hours apart)his language and eye contact is so much better. The positive effects seem to wear off in a few hours, so we find that multiple doses throughout the day works well. Sadly, cooked egg yolks have had no good results.

    The second food that has been really good for him is resistant starch. We give him 1 TB of raw potato starch with his probiotic, 3 times a day, and he is so much more social and more affectionate than ever before! I was nervous to try it because my son does not digest most carbs or fiber well, and I was worried about the potential increase in SCFA (since some very compelling research by Dr Derrick MacFabe implicates propionic acid in autistic symptoms). But so far, we have seen no negatives and only wonderful results.

    For my son, his autistic symptoms will wax and wane depending on what he eats. And trust me, I know how crazy this may sound, but we actually have days now where it seems like his autism has nearly vanished. I have no doubt that his gut plays an utterly profound role in his mental health.

    Marcia

    • Marcia, what a wonderful story. My good wishes and prayers go out to your family and with a mother like you, it looks like you will have many more good days until the bad days are only a vague memory.

    • How wonderful. May God bless you all and lead you to further health and healing. How do you eat raw egg yolk? Do you put it in a shake?

      I am thinking about adding more starch too. I get mine from the rice I cook ahead.

    • Hi Marcia,

      That is a wonderful story, thanks for sharing. I’m so happy for your son.

      You might try giving him extra choline supplements, both in simple form (choline, maybe also choline/inositol supplements) and in phospholipid forms (phosphatidylcholine, other phospholipids).

      I’m very curious to follow his case, I’ll email you offline.

      Best, Paul

  21. Hi Paul

    Love the book and website and im greatly looking forward to your cookbook. would you happen to have any ETA on it and will it be avaliable in the UK?

    I’m trying superhard to persuade my partner to join me on a lifestyle change so a meal planner would be really useful(she’s a teacher so everything has to be planned!)

    Thanks again for supporting your community with great feedback/blogs and such

    • Hi Tony,

      We expect to have the cookbook fully written by the end of this year and then given publishing timelines it would probably come out Fall 2015.

      But we are also working on a cooking video course and on a technology app for meal planning, nutrition, and recipes, and those may be ready ahead of the cookbook, we shall see.

  22. Believe it or not, I follow the PHD without cooking. I make kefir, chop stuff, open stuff, stir stuff, but don’t cook. I’m kind of afraid of my stove… I know, I have issues. Anyway, I’m happy ordering Paleo lunches from an excellent company, and eating my dinner of: can of wild salmon, sweet potato and butternut squash (bought cooked, a lot), coconut oil, raw onions, fermented garlic. All stirred into a kind of paste. So, I eat the same dinner every night and enjoy it immensely. Wondering if anything is wrong with that, and if I could be eating TOO MUCH STARCH? I also supplement now with potato starch and of course fermented vegetables. Constipation is mostly cured, but I’m not thin and wonder if my gut is really healed. How would one know? I keep hearing about the fabulous GAPS diet – I couldn’t practice it anyway, as it involves cooking – but your diet makes more sense, and, as I said, I’m loving my dinner. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to your blog on the gut and how to change ones “good bacteria” and feed them.

  23. It’s me n=1. My experiment has me flabbergasted. Guess what? I pulled the ripcord yesterday and had potato chips(!), part of a Lara bar (very sweet and fruity), lots of blueberries, strawberries, milk, liver sausage, hard salami, rice crackers, the list is enormous. I even had a wonderful, but very late salty dinner of beef with sauce and salad with dressing. Many fats, many natural sugars, lots of carbs and salt and the scale only showed a measly .2 lb gain today! This is working! The above menu, timing of food, also went to bed really late, would have put on at least 1 1/2 lbs. before with plenty of bloat too. But, I think the no chocolate, no coffee (not even decaf), no tea is speeding metabolism AND stopping emotional eating. I don’t look for “something” all the time now. As a matter of fact I had even skipped breakfast to make it in time to workout today with my trainer, and he was very impressed with my strength, speed and endurance. My mood is so up, maybe neurotransmitters are rising and there are plenty to slosh around the brain now and do the job of maintaining happiness, satisfaction, and calm, to name a few jobs they do. I am thrilled to have real energy, real food in sufficient quantities now and not see my waistband tightening.

    • PS. Just another quick note. Potato chips are not health food. And lots of starches can accumulate on anyone’s belly, so I wouldn’t advise eating the junk I tested unless you give up the chocolate, coffee (even decaf) and tea first. Then, test to see if you even want those things after the stimulants have been removed. My daughter is going to give up her morning coffee and chocolate treats to see if the rest of her appetite calms naturally as mine has. She also is one who can go up a couple pounds in one day while dieting. I have seen this with so many women. I am telling you it is the stimulants, they make us eat more and bloat more, burn less fat, want more of the stimulants, get discouraged/depressed and the whole thing starts all over.

  24. Your persistent and indefatigable inclusion/reference to Richard Nikoley in any way shape or form diminishes your and your website’s credibility. SHAME ON YOU!! Nikoley is an unrepentant misogynist, whose well-known vitriolic rants against women–and others he perceives as threats to the ‘security’ of his reputation, his suspect ‘truth-telling/knowledge/expertise,’ the “integrity” of his website, and ‘manhood’–are legendary. If he were to lob similar slurs and expletives against any other ‘protected’ group (race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation), would you EVER, EVER! quote/refer/defer to him? SHAME ON YOU! Please STOP in the name of decency!

    • It’s now fully 2 years since his most notorious misogynist rants. I ignored him for a year. He said he had changed and regretted his actions; I chose to forgive and let bygones be bygones. I think that is good practice. You should consider it.

    • Whoever that guy is I hope that his cranky mess has been taken care of with a better batch of gut bugs. I do watch out for supplements and probiotics. My husband had so much gas from both ends he was bouncing off the ceiling till he stopped the much revered “yogurt”. It didn’t even matter the brand. It took years and scopes, and tests, then he gave up eating yogurt and all gas disappeared. He still complains about slight indigestion now and then, but he is no longer the “gas man”. Be careful of the now fashionable gut bacteria. About 4 years ago we had some scientist friends from Europe warn us about yogurt and the fact that they were finding not all of the bacteria in it is good for people. The kind means everything. We had already found out the hard way years ago. I actually took a probiotic in capsule form that made my armpit perspiration smell like a cat box. No lie. I don’t know what it did but I stopped it after about week and it went away slowly. I am not believing most of the hype about foods, bacteria, supplements or herbs. I think the PHD approach is best.
      Thank you to the Jaminets.

      • Joanne, I can do without chocolate 🙁 and nuts 👿 and yogurt (now you tell me I just 10 of them yesterday 😎 — but not cheese 🙄

        What’s your take on that?

        Thanks for your reports from the front lines.

        • Joanne, one thing of value (among many others)that the experimenting with potato starch has shown is that taking potato starch can be used diagnostically.

          So, for example, if you don’t normally have problems. With belching, gas, headaches, etc but suddenly do when taking the potato starch it seems to show that your gut flora, while seemingly okay, may not be optimal. You may appear to digest food okay, but perhaps one is missing some of the other benefits of a robust gut. Such as a better mood, freedom from skin problems or seasonal allergies, or sinus problems. Maybe even long term protection from cancer.

          What exactly the next step should be will vary considerably from person to person and to a great degree will be a matter of self experimenting. But that fact that the potato starch did not produce stellar results for your husband, does not mean that this is a valueless area of personal exploration. The same for the probiotic pills and the yogurt. The very fact that so many people have good responses to these things seems to me to indicate we just need lots more study.

          If we don’t explore this ourselves, who will? glaxoSmithKline?

          Just my way of way of saying i really value what Tim, Richard and Grace and the gang at FTA are doing.

          and, by the way, Richard himself has commented on how much less combustable he is.

          • Hi Ellen,
            My hubby was never using potato starch, unless you consider he eats potatoes plenty of times in the week. And yes, I highly agree with you on using foods or other items as a diagnostic tool. I looked at a podcast with Grace and later one that had Richard on it and it was interesting. I will see how those bugs shake out for those folks. I would totally like the type of bugs nailed down by others as beneficial before I get on board with anything other than a very well tested product like Good Belly. It has a bacteria that sits well with me, and many people in Sweden I have read. The doctors there supposedly give it to patients after their stomach surgeries because it makes things heal better. From what I have read about that one bacteria that they give is that it promotes less histamine in the GI tract. But I don’t make a point of drinking that one product all the time. If I eat Activia I am ruined. Seldom does anything hit me that way so their array of bugs are bad in my case.

          • Hi Joanne,

            Yes, I see that now that you were referring to your husband getting gas from yogurt, not potato starch. But that is exactly my point: since yogurt seems to be a great food for a vast majority of people, and there are still many exceptions, for reasons not well understood at all. we are all so very different with regard to our guts, making the study of the microbiome, as s Paul said, a very interesting and promising area scientifically but one in which it is very tricky to generalize.

            So yes, basically we do agree. but I would say that the fact that your husband does get a little heartburn now and then might be one of those clues, that something could be improved. Not saying I know how, though…:-) , but here’s what happened with my husband.

            When I started experimenting with potato starch and seeing some positive benefits such as improved sleep and fasting blood sugar going from 105 to 95, I encouraged my husband to give it a try. At very small doses, compared to mine, he got heartburn after three days. He tried plantain flour and green banana flour. Same thing. Heartburn. Also when he tried beans He had not had heartburn since our days of Macrobiotics twenty years ago. Never had a problem eating PHD for the last four or five years with a fair amount of potatoes and rice, some of them cold, reheated.

            so, then he started taking all three of the recommended probiotics and for the last two months or so I have made sure that almost every meal (and we eat three times a day most days) has some resistant starch food: instead of occasionally cooked and cooled, they were always cooked and cooled, sometimes reheated, sometimes not. And after a while I added beans as one of those meals. He takes the probiotic pills only very sporadically now. And I make sure that there is some fermented drink or food at every meal instead of once a day. Plus I have upped the variety and amount of fruits and veg, which was already rather robust, and of good quality, coming mostly from our garden.

            Husband has not had heartburn once!

            AND yesterday he reported that he seems to hardly ever need to take extra magnesium for the leg cramps he gets from a hard days work in The garden, and it is Spring, so he is working hard out there! So clearly, with the improvement of his gut he is now absorbing, or utilizing minerals better. Pretty cool, heh?

        • Hey erp,

          Hope you are doing well. I started eating coconut butter last year instead of regular peanut butter when I wanted something like that. It is good, and without the mold (can’t be sure though). I think cheese is great.

          I am really, really, really happy with my no stimulant foods experiment.
          I am actually thinking that I will be taking a ridiculous “selfie” at some point to show final results from this simple experiment. I must have been burning through neurotransmitters at an alarming rate, and it made for a constant search for food. I think I was trying to EAT neurotransmitters somehow because I was so behind on them from the stimulant foods. What a crazy thing to have happened. Now that I am on the other side of this thing, it all falls perfectly into place. I have had an alarming drop in my interest in food and my pants are starting to fall off too. Doing this experiment has made me look forward to stepping on the scale.
          Weight went down again today and mood has been stellar. My thinking has been so clear and crisp. All mental and physical work feels effortless.
          Could it be that much of humanity has (in recent years)been brutally overstimulated by just a few things? Have we been breaking ourselves?
          I can hardly wait for Sunday. I can hardly wait for others to try what this too . Women may benefit from this so immensely. If eating those “foods” cause a grown person to have a brain burning day, what does it ultimately do to kids? It makes perfect sense that kids who drink stimulants or eat them, will look for more foods, sugars, and stimulant to help build more or release some of what they burned up in their heads. I postulate that it is the same for all humans. This goes beyond blood sugar issues, but also includes it, creating a the ultimate storm of suffering neurons.

          • Joanne, not sure what your issues are, but they seem similar. I gained about 20 lbs without any changes in routine or diet. I went to an endocrinologist who did a scan and blood tests. Everything normal and wanted to send me to dietician!

            Anyway to be clear here: no coffee, chocolate, nuts or yogurt. Other PHD protocols okay including cheese.

            I’ll stick to this through the end of the month and report back. 🙂

  25. I have considered it.

    As an expert in the arena of domestic/family violence, I would urge: 1) extreme caution in your ‘forgiveness’ of online penitents who have a LONG history of psychologically abusive behaviors vs women/others and 2) a review of the literature demonstrating the extraordinary difficulties in changing such behaviors in the REAL WORLD: http://www.nij.gov/topics/crime/intimate-partner-violence/interventions/Pages/batterer-intervention.aspx

    I am clearly not accusing Nicoley of abusive behavior in his personal life…but his extensive online ‘life’ should provoke extreme concern & caution, irrespective of any apologies or regrets on his part in cyberspace, regarding his behavior and any purported remediation of said behavior.

    Would you do any less (or more) for a racist, homophobe, or anti-Semite who has, to all appearances, neither agreed–to my knowledge– to extensive therapy or counseling nor to open disclosure of the results of such therapy?

    In this forum and in your professional capacity, you are neither trained as a ‘priest’ nor as a psychologist/therapist/psychiatrist who is capable of evaluating/assessing whether or not he has ACTUALLY taken steps to remediate his profane, abusive, and inexcusable conduct.

    If Nicoley actually had a professional license, he would long ago have been censured and lost it. He is, of course like all of us, not beyond redemption…but, given the evidence, he has not earned it; likewise, you are NOT the professional who has the experience or is in the position of granting him ‘public’ forgiveness and creating a ‘space,’ without clear cut evidence of rehabilitation, for exonerating him.

    • It’s Paul’s website, why shouldn’t he be allowed to make that decision, and who is this person who is allowed to grant ‘public forgiveness’ ?

    • think, I’ve said this before but it warrants repeating. When I link to someone, it is for the benefit of our readers. It is not an endorsement of the other person or of anything they have done other than what is linked to. Richard Nikoley’s resistant starch blogs, many guest-written by Tim Steele, have been a useful service to the community, and have some scientific interest, and so I have linked to them. I don’t expect the people I link to to be saints; some I know what their sins are; some I don’t. Some of them have sinned publicly in full view of the community, and Richard is one of those. Yet, if no one got second chances, if shamed once meant ostracized forever, this would be an ugly world. At some point grievances need to be released and sins forgiven.

      One doesn’t need to be a priest or psychologist to forgive. I do agree he should extend apologies and ask forgiveness from every one he has wronged, and I’ve told him that. But he is answerable to God for that, not me.

      I don’t know what professional license you speak of. A license to blog? What profession? You seem to have a very different idea of his role than I do.

      Forgiveness is not a public act, it is a letting go of grudges and grievances and ill will. It is a personal act and every one of us needs to do it. I have no power to exonerate him, and claim none. I am neither a judge nor a jury.

      “The line between good and evil cuts through every human heart.” (Solzhenitsyn) As Christians we have the obligation to support the good in people and discourage the evil. I think in Richard Nikoley’s case I’ve done that.

      In your case, you clearly see the evil, but you can’t see any good. You should consider whether the beam in your own eye is obstructing your view.

      Finally: Many people came into this community because of health problems. Physical health problems often have mental correlates. Mental health is impaired along with physical health, and recovers along with it. One should respect the human potential for healing, mental as well as physical.

    • And another point I wanted to make is that even the Perfect Health Diet needs to be used in the same diagnostic manner. Paul has written about this in various posts here. .And I hope he will do more in future because people seem to need to be told how to take attitude

      Two people who tried PHD due to my encouragement had drastically different results.

      The first agreed to start with one change only: eliminate all the grains for one month. The only reason I suggested it to him was because he told me he had astronomically high CRP and finally he and his wife seemed at a point where they might be able to try such a experiment. Two weeks later he reported that his long term GERD had drastically resolved. He had not told me that he had GERD.
      So he was a success. And both he and his wife became completely committed to the full PHD program and have reaped many more benefits and are spreading the word.

      The second person also never told me she had GERD, but she was tired, very fat an emotional mess and looking for better health in general. She bought the book. And was not in touch with me for about 8 months. At which point she had just started trying the SCD diet . this was when she told me that she had had GERD and IBS the PHD diet had exacerbated all her GI problems. That all the starch had made her problems much worse. But she continued to suffer (in silence) because she didn’t know that she had just received some valuable clues. And her gut problems affected her mental status making her very reclusive. Once she experienced some improvement with SCD and became more communicative I was able to share more information with her and she has begun to experiment on herself and improve even further

      I hope that it will be possible for the Jaminets to put some kind of guidelines in future editions for cases such as this. because otherwise those who have such negative experiences will just disregard all the rest of the book.

      Also wanting to point out how many people suffer GERD in secret….they seem to feel guilty about it. a number of others have recently disclosed to me that they have it and I was very surprised

      • I have been studying the PHD book a bit each day, because I seem to miss elements of it. For instance, recently I noticed a place where the book says, “eat it if it tastes good,” in regard to salt. But then I noticed just how many places throughout this sentiment is repeated, “according to appetite,” “depending on how you respond,” “if you notice no side-effects” etc.

        I think I had trouble seeing this before because of years of going on a “diet” and sticking to the rules. Several diets I’ve been on had me eating 5 or 6 small meals per day, even if I wasn’t hungry. I’ve been on diets where I crammed in bland food in vast amounts, steeling my will to make it so. Oddly enough, I usually lost weight on these diets, but always suffered from health issues later. Although, the last one I tried that had me shoving in the food (Schwartzbein), I both gained 40 lbs. and got sick.

        It sounds so simple, and nothing could be more natural than eating to appetite, remaining sensitive to your body’s reactions, and being more relaxed and enjoying your meals. Trouble is, I’ve trained myself to do the opposite for years, and it’s the latest thing I’ve challenged myself to overcome. If I don’t get a full pound of safe starch per day, I don’t sweat it. If I don’t get enough at one meal, I can make it up at the next one, or even the next day. It’s taking time and continual effort, but the fears of going hungry or not sleeping properly as a result of not eating “perfectly” are fading.

        I think many people drawn to PHD will come from a similar background of using diet to combat health issues, so I agree that it’s an issue worth focusing on—unless Paul has already blogged about it and I missed it…

        • Great thoughts Ellen and Joseph.

        • You are entirely right, the Jaminets are to be thanked for their work.

          Who would have ever thought so many people could make so much money on goofy diet ideas? The maligning of people to the good and wholesome foods our great grandparents ate, the quantities, the when where and how to eat, is a multi-billion dollar business that has gone on for years.
          Listening to some of this stuff is like theater of the absurd. A whole grain muffin is just cake, and a granola bar is just a big cookie without the fluff. Comedian Jim Gaffigan(sp)did a hilarious skit about cake and the various disguises to make it seem like a healthy food.

  26. Theses from the Republic:

    1. Justice in one’s life = the state of having a healthy (soul) psyche. An unjust disposition) = the state of having an unhealthy (soul) psyche).

    2. The health of the psyche (i.e., justice) consists of the three parts of the psyche performing their proper role in relation to one another. Health of the psyche (i.e., justice) consists of a proper balance or harmony between the parts.

    3. No person wants to be unhealthy either in a bodily sense or in a psychical sense.

    4. Therefore, no one knowingly wishes to lead an unjust life. Sin is ignorance; it is ignorance of what injustice is—for, injustice is sickness of the soul (psyche), and no one willingly wishes to be unhealthy, either in a physiological or a psychical sense; it is ignorance of the fact that one is in this imbalanced state; it is ignorance of how to prevent this state; and it is ignorance of how to restore balance and harmony.

  27. Going back to oil–can coconut oil itself induce ketosis, even if one is not very low carb or fasting? How much coconut oil is needed to induce it?

  28. Today was another great day with my bathroom scale. Down some more! I will be reporting weight loss or gain Sunday. I sort of dread it because of the barbeque with rice and other items I had today. Will I be grinning or grimacing after stepping on the scale?

  29. Hey Erp,
    I would love to hear how your progress is going. You are doing it right, except if you have tea that amount of caffeine may over stimulate those subtle brain neurotransmitters. This is an experiment so I intend not to add anything that is truthfully a stimulant.
    My daughter is doing my experiment since Thursday and woke up to be much lighter on the scale. She had even gone to a German restaurant for a family dinner and still has seen the scale drop. The way things had been going for me and her was so depressing. Just touching normal food would cause an increase in weight. So discouraging, after struggling to lose the smidgeons that we lose with much deprivation and working out.
    Finally, something works.

    • No tea either.

      Fasted, liquids only (unfortunately included a cup of regular coffee with heavy cream) for three days.

      Today: Probably less than an ounce of “not from concentrate prune juice,” Small bowl of chicken broth with celery, fresh parsley, carrots and chicken pieces over rice. Two pieces of cheese and a delicious ripe nectarine smothered in heavy whipping cream.

      Don’t feel a bit hungry either.

      Thanks for moving me off the dime.

  30. erp,
    You are doing great. I can hardly wait till your brain juices catch up after all the chocolate, coffee, tea and caffeinated pop(in case you drink it) wear off. You will see what I mean when the extra brain juice start coming back. For me it has been transformative. My daughter is loving this too. I think we are n=3 now. Am I missing Joseph and Hillary on this experiment? How many want to give this simple test a try for a week? Numbers help prove things, I am trying to recruit friends and relatives too. See you Sunday fellow PHD warriors.

    • No tea or soda and only one cup of coffee, but at least two squares of Lindt 90% chocolate and sometimes more a day Nuts and raisins for a snack. July 1, I hope I fit more easily 😎 into my size 8 jeans.

      • Good luck! You will get there.
        Sleepy time is coming on easier for me now that I have dumped all of the stimulants. More and more changes are happening since giving them all up.
        So happy to feel natural tiredness come on.

    • I have continued with the no-stimulant experiment. I have not noticed any additional weight loss—and still have around 10 lbs. to go. On PHD, I tend to lose about a pound/month. My mood has stabilized somewhat, though I have had a few bouts of depression that I used to cure with chocolate. I just waited them out. I have given up the stimulants for mood reasons, and to hopefully speed my thyroid healing. Also increased iodine last month and am flip-flopping between hypo and hyper symptoms at the moment, which may have caused the depression, along with stress from going back to school.

      My wife also gave up the stimulants, mostly for GERD in her case, and hasn’t noticed any difference in appetite or additional weight loss. She is also losing around a pound/month on PHD.

      Glad it’s working for you. I, however, will be glad to have chocolate again, maybe after my TSH gets under 1.0.

      • Hi Joseph,
        So glad you are giving the no stimulant experiment a go. The things you are experiencing happened to me too and to my daughter. The blues for your favorite “brown foods” hit pretty hard at week two. The need for the stimulant in those foods is so strong that you almost can’t handle it and will eat some other things to replace it that are not really good. But it will be only a small amount of other things because your brain has a fix on the thing it really wants. You will find after awhile that your brain will be so emphatic for the drug part of those missing stimulant foods that it is really quite miffed. And, when you ask it if it would like a peanut butter cookie it will say, “NO!”, or “Not unless you give me a cup of coffee, chocolate, or coke to go with it.” Then you know you have hit pay dirt. You will know that any wrong eating has been coming from the desired stimulants instead of just the sugar alone. Yes sugar will cause a craving too, but nothing like the stimulant that goes along with it. You can break things in your body with sugar too but it doesn’t break your controls when it comes to self control the way that the stimulants do. The tough part is telling your brain that the feel good chemicals will begin to be produced in abundance and regulated with precision accuracy soon (barring a person doesn’t have an actual brain problem). It is the wait that is hard. My daughter just fell off the wagon after one week of feeling ups and downs, and terrible withdraw that included insomnia, itching, blues, and a level of desperation. She is a woman that maintains good control. She battles weight issues fairly successfully with LOTS daily of exercise. But the snacking monster was always at her heals. Hence her desire to try the no stimulant approach. She lost weight initially and it stays gone even though she ate a few things not recommended and was beginning to find withdraw fairly soon into it. She had two cups of coffee early today and is flying. But now the snacking monster is rearing its ugly head so soon she is thinking that maybe a cup of coffee every other day maybe all she needs to ease her into no stimulants eventually. I hope so.
        For me, weight loss had been daily till Saturday at a local festival and lots of wheat, carbs and salt were consumed. I had several almost sleepless nights, because of disrupted sleeping arrangements. So, I am up one pound. That pound and more should be gone by tomorrow if things go the way they had been. I at times feel desperate for a stimulant but the times pass quicker and quicker. I can go for hours with a truly empty stomach that grumbles and growls. This is the answer, physical hunger is not so painful to a well nourished person as physiological addiction to stimulant foods.
        So tell your brain that it will see the light soon. Give it some other foods to feed it well. Use some MCT oil now and then and some omega-3. I drink tea made out of dried blueberries, it is pleasant and tea like. Have some cold rice pudding if things get bad or you need a snack. I would not be surprised if you and your wife start to lose weight faster than you need to. I was treating my depression that I had created by eating wheat, sugar, and chocolate, by eating wheat, sugar, and chocolate, and then drinking tea, coffee, and cola. Stimulant upon stimulant. What was I thinking!!! But no more, I have slain the snack dragon.

  31. Time for me to reveal my weight loss for one week of avoiding stimulant containing foods. In one week of not having, chocolate, coffee (both caffeinated and even decaf, tea, and caffeine containing colas) I have lost 2 1/2 pounds. This is a rate of weight loss that is not too fast and not too slow. This is without hunger in the head or body. This is without deprivation of other foods that would be considered too carby, sweet salty, or fatty. Some days I had plenty of activity, others I did not. The trick was all in the avoidance of things that would burn up neurotransmitters, meaning stimulants and leave depleted of precious feel good chemicals that God has made. Then you have to have more stimulant (chocolate, etc.) to force more release of what has been run out of. Dropping blood sugar levels play a part but not nearly what you think in appetite. I say this because, most people that are on a diet are already insulin resistant to some degree and they are also running higher than normal blood sugar levels.
    When blood sugar finally crashes for most people they have strong hunger pains and mental symptoms.
    So, I think the explanation for the picking at sweets, and snacking after a major meal comes from the other things like the beverages and chocolate using up neurotransmitters continually, because we consume them continually. This void drives longing for “something”. Myself and other women I know, find this so familiar a feeling, we all drink coffee or tea after meals and have chocolate. Normal satiety is just never felt because the brain is saying, “I got some sugar but I don’t have any of the feel good chemicals I work with. I wish I could get caught up on my dopamine, serotonin, etc.” So it just keeps messaging a signal of unhappiness, loneliness, boredom, and in some cases anxiety. Once you give up the brown meanies the brain catches up and you feel so good and appetite goes down.
    With a happy brain you eat to satisfaction and that is it. No more wandering in the kitchen or looking for a treat. And if you do have a treat the smallest amount is needed because your brain is really calling the shots very accurately and you understand it. My potato chips in the cupboard, popcorn at the movies, and hushpuppies at the barbeque were all easy to eat small amounts of because my brain was full up with its own feel good chemicals. It didn’t need tons of carbs, fats, or protein because the other chemistry was perfect.

    The diet drug Fen-Phen hit the market long ago, it was a stimulant and the other half was to. Half the drug raised serotonin so high it damaged heart valves. The stimulants other half increased metabolism and probably dopamine. With all that happy excitement who needed food? So what does chocolate, coffee, tea and colas do–stimulate and cause you to release and use up all your feel good chemistry, then you wonder why you are down. Then it all starts all over.

    The results of this experiment for me have been: very low appetite, no desire for any stimulant food, no desire to snack, better sleep, better dreams, more energy, weight loss. If you don’t eat chocolate you’ll avoid theobromine (nerve stimulant used in medicine),and caffeine. If you don’t drink coffee or tea you won’t get theophylline another stimulant used in medicine, or caffeine. Anything with caffeine should be skipped.

    I will be sticking to this wonderful way of eating for forever I think. I will post more weight loss progress at the end of another week.

    Try it. You have nothing to lose except the weight itself, and you will save dollars in expensive chocolates and beverages.

  32. Congratulations! You are an inspiration.

  33. Thanks erp. You and everyone can do this. It is just a matter of getting rid of the “foods” that we think of as safe for humans. Those stimulant foods are giving us weird brain hunger. I hope by next week to be down five pounds. I forgot to mention that my waistline is down an inch and my undergarments are loser too. What a relief, I thought I was going to have to buy all new ones for my burgeoning figure!
    When it came to diet I had given up so much but still had stalling and gaining, and a haunting dissatisfaction even after a good plentiful meal.
    Not now. I broke the spell! This stimulant food zombie is freeeeeee!

  34. Dear Paul,
    In your upcoming article on resistant starch, please cover if green bananas or green plantains might be be a good source or not. Thanks!

    • Well the experiment pushes on. I have lost 3.5 pds. in eleven days. Pretty good. So good for the brain to not have stimulant foods. My daughter is not even on it for a whole week yet and has lost two pounds. She is younger and I suppose she burns faster than me. We both are in a fabulous mood of accomplishment, clarity, and neither of us are fighting the snackies. If anything, we walk around looking for a cup of real tea or coffee and shockingly put no other food down the gullet because it just isn’t that “something” we want. With no stimulants on board you get MORE done because mental energy is not squandered on big depleting bursts of caffeine, theobormine (in chocolate), or theophaline (in tea and coffee). I would have thought these wonderful feelings would have left by now but they just keep getting better. Real physical hunger is easy to delay (no heroic willpower needed). Both my daughter and I notice flattening stomachs and better fitting cloths.
      Neither of us are thinking of food all the time or snacking. Sweet success. I will let everyone know about the weight loss Sunday again.

  35. Hi Paul! I seem to remember you promising, many moons ago, a post on how to cure Candida infection. You used Chinese medicine among other things to cure yours? I know general info can be pieced together from your blog but since I am about to start treatment (practitioner suggested 60 days of diflucan – how does that sound to you?) I wondered if the Candida post is on your to do list? Many thanks.

    • Hi Bella, I do want to discuss Candida in blog posts since there is so much misinformation out there about it. But, it is not coming imminently. For Candida I recommend PHD with extra vegetables and vegetable polyphenols (eg use extra virgin olive oil, eat more salads). Almost all traditional herbs and spices are anti-fungal. Diflucan is helpful but take care about liver and kidney health — support glutathione with NAC and other nutrients, manage electrolytes, etc.; and support fungal toxin excretion with a fiber-rich diet and support for bile production (vitamin C, taurine, collagen, egg yolks).

  36. I am still doing my no stimulant foods dieting and today I am down another 1.2 pounds. Without stimulants in your body your food seeking diminishes. Many people have brain hunger but not real stomach hunger, this was my case. Doing the PHD and no stimulant foods is so very successful I am going to get a new battery for my scale just in case it’s not working right!

  37. hi Paul,

    may be you could squeeze some thoughts/research on body temperature in to one of your upcoming posts…

    ie. things like…
    – what is ‘normal’ body temp
    – body temp circadian rhythm
    – influence of types of foods/liquids on body temp
    – & the one that is currently interesting me…the ‘theory’ of a body temp ‘set point’…
    ie. we may all start out with a similar healthy body temp, call this ‘normal’ body temp. but something like starvation* can force our body temp lower & eventually a new lower body temp set point is ‘set’.
    And once this low body temp set point is created, it is very very hard to ‘reset’ it back to the higher (normal) body temp. ie. we get ‘stuck’ with a low body temp even after the original trigger (eg. starvation) is removed/corrected.

    (* i say starvation may instigate this situation…but this could also include badly implemented ZC/VLC diets)

    • or in the meantime, perhaps you know someone who has already written/blogged on this that you could link to…?
      esp if they touched on the “body temp ‘set point’ stuck low/resetting back to normal” subject

  38. Reader Reports - Perfect Health Diet | Perfect Health Diet - pingback on September 12, 2014 at 3:27 pm

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