Around the Web; and What is the Antidote to Stress?

Here are things that caught my eye this week:

[1] Oxygen Bad, Carbon Dioxide Good?: Gary Taubes told us there were good calories, bad calories; now the New York Times tells us of good air, bad air.  The Buteyko method, a shallow-breathing technique developed in 1952 by a Russian doctor, Konstantin Buteyko, can greatly improve asthma. The explanation:

Mrs. Yakovlev-Fredricksen said: “People don’t realize that too much air can be harmful to health. Almost every asthmatic breathes through his mouth and takes deep, forceful inhalations that trigger a bronchospasm,” the hallmark of asthma.

“We teach them to inhale through the nose, even when they speak and when they sleep, so they don’t lose too much carbon dioxide,” she added.

I find it’s a challenge to keep my mouth closed, so I guess I must be deficient in carbon dioxide!

[2] Gary Taubes should use this: Yes, it is possible to be a 405-pound marathoner.

[3] Interesting posts this week: Emily Deans draws some lessons for healthy weight loss from the Ancel Keys experiments. Dennis Mangan lists a number of papers showing that the elderly live longer when their serum cholesterol is higher. (See also O Primitivo.) CarbSane sets forth her Credo. Beth Mazur comes up with a great scheme for judging the healthfulness of food: Weight Maven’s EZ Points scheme. Julianne Taylor reports that good things happen when pets eat their wild diets.

Finally, Paleo vs non-Paleo:

[4] Comment of the week: Michelle reports that Raynaud’s syndrome might be an infectious condition – and shares the good news that her arthritis is improving with antibiotic therapy:

Dr. Thomas McPherson Brown considered Raynaud’s to be in the family of rheumatoid diseases, and found it responded well to low dose pulsing tetracyclines.  Those pesky stealth infections!

Michelle, on low dose pulsing Doxy for Rheumatoid Arthritis and doing well.

[5] Don’t forget to exercise: From a recent review:

Several large cohort studies have attempted to quantify the protective effect of physical activity on cardiovascular and all cause mortality. Nocon et al. in a meta-analysis of 33 studies with 883,372 participants reported significant risk reductions for physically active participants. All-cause mortality was reduced by 33%

Reference: Golbidi S, Laher I. Molecular mechanisms in exercise-induced cardioprotection. Cardiol Res Pract. 2011 Mar 6;2011:972807.

(Via Fight Aging!)

[6] Animal photo: Are these two married?

[7] Medical Breakthrough from Bangladesh: From Foreign Policy, how a civil war ended cholera.

[8] It’s Dad’s fault: When obese, insulin-resistant, low-testosterone male mice were bred with lean, healthy females, their daughters had diabetes-like pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction. They inherited the condition from their fathers via epigenetically modified sperm.

This supports other evidence that obesity induces hard-to-reverse changes throughout the body, and that these changes can be passed on epigenetically.

In an evaluation at F1000, one of the reviewers wondered if low testosterone might be the key. It turns out that men with low testosterone are more likely to develop pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction. Perhaps low testosterone causes diabetes in men and their daughters.

Meanwhile, Sean at PaleoHacks found a psychology paper asserting that “displays of power” increase testosterone. Might this be a new, annoying cure for diabetes?


Ng SF et al. Chronic high-fat diet in fathers programs ?-cell dysfunction in female rat offspring. Nature. 2010 Oct 21;467(7318):963-6.

Stellato RK et al. Testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, and the development of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged men: prospective results from the Massachusetts male aging study. Diabetes Care. 2000 Apr;23(4):490-4.

(via The Scientist)

[9] No, it’s Mom’s fault: Mice born to obese mothers are more likely to be infertile (source).

Reference: Martin JR et al. Maternal Ghrelin Deficiency Compromises Reproduction in Female Progeny through Altered Uterine Developmental Programming. Endocrinology. 2011 Feb 15. [Epub ahead of print]

[10] Turkeys at Harvard Medical School: No, I don’t mean the doctors. These turkeys:

Via Mike the Mad Biologist.

[11] Declining health since 1998: Via J. Stanton at, lifespan isn’t correlated with health, and health may have peaked in 1998. Our lifespans are still lengthening, but our “healthspans” are shortening. Women can expect to be unable to walk up stairs for the last 10 years of their lives:

[A] 20-year-old today can expect to live one less healthy year over his or her lifespan than a 20-year-old a decade ago, even though life expectancy has grown….

A male 20-year-old today can expect to spend 5.8 years over the rest of his life without basic mobility, compared to 3.8 years a decade ago — an additional two years unable to walk up ten steps or sit for two hours. A female 20-year-old can expect 9.8 years without mobility, compared to 7.3 years a decade ago. (source)

I’m shocked at the magnitude of the health impairments people will live with, but not surprised by the trend. It’s a natural consequence of rising consumption of toxic industrially processed foods.

Our book discusses evidence from Pottenger’s Cats, famine studies, and the Flynn effect that toxicity and malnutrition have transgenerational effects. If diets don’t improve, we might expect the biological damage to be fully visible in the third generation born after toxic food consumption rose in the 1970s.

Reference: Crimmins EM, Beltrán-Sánchez H. Mortality and morbidity trends: is there compression of morbidity? J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2011 Jan;66(1):75-86.

[12] Quote of the week: Charles De Montesquieu: “Lunch kills half of Paris, supper the other half.” If they’d had sugary cereals in those days, breakfast would have gotten the third half!

[13] Elizabeth Taylor died this week at 79. Not enough fat and micronutrients in her diet (indicated by osteoporosis, five vertebral fractures, and two hip replacements); too many cigarettes and other toxins (likely contributors, along with nutrient deficiencies, to her congestive heart failure); too many husbands and, to cover up the damage, too much make-up. But there was never a more beautiful girl:

[14] Stress is Bad – Mythically Bad: Some good things on stress this week. First, Chris Kresser concludes his “9 Steps to Perfect Health” series with advice to “Practice Pleasure”. Pleasure, Chris explains, is “the antidote to chronic stress.”

What’s so bad about stress? A study of 17,000 adults in Stockholm, Sweden found that those with mild psychological stress were more likely to become disabled:

Even mild psychological distress was independently associated with the award of a disability pension … Mild psychological distress may be associated with more long-term disability than previously acknowledged and its public health importance may be underestimated. (source)

Reference: Rai D et al. Psychological distress and risk of long-term disability: population-based longitudinal study. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2011 Mar 21. [Epub ahead of print] (Via Russ Farris)

Finally, I enjoyed an excerpt from The Myth of Stress: Where Stress Really Comes From and How to Live a Happier and Healthier Life by Andrew Bernstein.

I was intrigued by the emphasis Andrew places on psychological stress, since I tend to assume that chronic stress is a symptom of some underlying physical ailment. Andrew argues that psychological stress is important in its own right, and that it is remediable:  “the more insights you have … the less you experience stress.”

Even more interesting was Andrew’s critique of stress pioneer Hans Selye, based on later experiments done by Dr. John W. Mason. Andrew concludes:

There is no such thing as a stressor. Nothing has the inherent power to cause stress in you. Things happen (divorce, layoffs, disease, etc.), and you experience stress – or you don’t – depending on what you think about those things. Stress is a function of beliefs, not circumstances.

I believe disease and infections can cause stress in even the most resilient and insightful people, but I’m also willing to believe the psychological aspects of stress are very important. Why did Viktor Frankl survive Auschwitz? Surely insight was part of it.

Reading the excerpt was both pleasurable and insight-generating, so I’m expecting the full book to be a great stress-reducer!

[15] Why the Neandertals went extinct:

French paleontologists have discovered a Neanderthal cave painting said to represent hands eagerly reaching for a Big Mac, or at least proto-Big Mac, according to the journal, Ancient Discoveries….

“What is most striking about this painting,” says Bouisquet, “is that this is precisely the time period during which Neanderthals went extinct. One naturally wonders, Could the consumption of fast food have contributed to the extinction? As yet we simply don’t know.”

From Glossy News, via John Hawks.

[16] Video of the week: The sky of the Mayas.  Tikal was the capital of one of the most powerful Mayan kingdoms. It is now part of Guatemala’s Tikal National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The soundtrack is a recording of Howler monkeys. The video was made by Stéphane Guisard. Enjoy:

Leave a comment ?


  1. Dude! The breathing and testosterone poses are great. So much for calming oneself with big breaths.

    I received the book last night and read the first chapter this morning. Excellent stuff, I think I need more space in my brain. It is also a positive sign that you have came to many of the same conclusions as I have. Although we both follow wholehealthsource so that is probably a big influence.

  2. Hi Stabby,

    Welcome! I’ve seen some of your posts on Mark’s Daily Apple forum and just assumed you’d already read the book, we think so much alike.

    You’ll see that Stephan is cited 23 times in the book, more than any other source.

    Best, Paul

  3. Thanks for the link love! I’ve spent some time learning and teaching meditative breathing techniques – and I think the diaphragmatic and huffy techniques are all a bit ridiculous. I keep it very simple now with a type of yoga breathing, in through the nose, out through the nose with a bit of a sigh. Not particularly deep, but not exceedingly shallow. Just a breath. No hyperventilation. No muss or fuss. 10 of those breaths will soothe the savage beast and relax the tense shoulders.

    Cool stuff all over the web this week. No idea how you find the time!

  4. …And 11 of those breaths will, like music, “soothe the savage breast.” –William Congreve

    Paul, [9] has a grocer’s apostrophe.

    Feel free to delete this comment!

  5. The correlation between low testosterone and diabetes is interestin: T is immunosuppressive. It’s the same reason that women are more likely than men to develop autoimmune disease, and that men generally develop it after age 40, when T levels have fallen off a cliff.

    What’s surprising is that low T is correlated with Type II diabetes. Type I is known (AFAIK) to be autoimmune, but this suggests a role for autoimmunity in Type II.

    OTOH, it may just be a correlation: the sort of diet (high-carb, high PUFA, low SFA) that leads to low T also seems to cause insulin resistance. I don’t know what’s causing what here.

    Thanks for the link! I was surprised that none of the other paleo bloggers picked up that particular story…it’s such a terrifying piece of news.


  6. Hi Emily,

    I find almost any breathing technique relaxes me, if all I do is focus on my breathing. But I’ll give the nose-only method a try for a while.

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks! I fixed it.

    Hi JS,

    Thanks for that, didn’t know T is immunosuppressive.

    Your post was very cool, great find. It was the first evidence I had seen of morbidity. I was a little surprised that lifespan was still increasing even as diets got worse, this sheds some light on what’s going on.

    Best, Paul

  7. Paul, that was a thorough linkfest. Thanks for the link!

  8. Yes, androgens are immunosuppressive just as corticosteroids are immunosuppressive. There are some interesting papers by Cutolo et. al. on androgens and rheumatic disease if you want to dive into that end of things.

    As far as morbidity: I recall some graphs showing that while heart disease deaths are decreasing, hospitalizations and operations for heart disease (stents, bypasses) are skyrocketing. So we’re getting better at treating disease, but worse at preventing it.


  9. Re Reynaud’s

    It’s a messed up, disconcerting and highly obnoxious condition. Primary Raynaud’s can be familial – my grandmother had it, my mother has it, I have it, and two of my [four] children have it – all since birth. I do wonder how it is compounded by external forces, though. As a child, mine was relatively minor – the tips of my fingers would, from time to time, turn white when I was in the cold. Vigorous rubbings would warm them right up.

    When I began very stringently LCing at less than 25 grams/day, my Reynaud’s got worse. If I got cold, all my toes would turn white/pins-and-needles and would only recirculate with a warm soak. Reynaud’s doesn’t necessarily involve just the affected area – if another area gets cold, the body can trigger the response even if the digits are nice and toasty. Because of this, I had to give up my beloved winter hikes. If my face got cold, my Reynaud’s would kick in. Another problem area is the deep freezer – I had a ninja Reynaud’s attack with my toes on a warm fall day while rooting around for a chuck roast, simply because my hands got cold.

    Hat tip and thank you: After I started reading your blog, and adding in “safe starches”, my Reynaud’s largely cleared up with temperatures over 20F. This wasn’t the intention, but a wonderful side-effect. Last month, when the sun came out and the temps got over 25, I enjoyed a successful 2-mile snow hike for the first time in three years. =)

  10. I don’t quite understand, do they recommend nose breathing during physical exertion too?
    Otherwise, during less intense activities during the day I thought nose-breathing was the default anyways. Or is this advice strictly for asmathics?

    Interestingly, the superslow guys (K.Hutchins and Dr.Darden in many of his books as well) often instruct shallow panting (but through the mouth, like a dog, minus the tongue out) during slow resistance training. Related?

  11. Hi Becky,

    That’s awesome!

    I’ve noticed my heat and cold tolerance is greatly improved. I wear shorts in January without difficulty, and don’t mind 105 degree temperatures when everyone else complains.

    Hi Franco,

    I don’t know, but surely athletes have to breath through both nose and mouth.

  12. This is an interesting discussion on Raynaud’s. My experience has been somewhat different than yours Becky. I too have had Raynaud’s all my life, as does my dad. When I started low carb four years ago, my Raynaud’s improved significantly, as measured be the decreasing number of warm water rescues required. (My version of low carb has always been meat, eggs, fat, cream and lots of non starchy vegetables). I always assumed the improvement was due to the significant increase in fat in my diet. (I remember reading an account of soldiers on the Russian front during WWII, who really appreciated when the cook found fat for the stew, because it kept them warmer.) In the past two months, I have modified my diet in line with Paul’s suggestions for Migraine. I now eat 200 calories worth of safe starch, all the recommended supplements, and as much coconut oil as I can stomach. I am also doing the 16/8 fast. My Raynaud’s has further improved, as measured by the fact I sometimes forget to turn the heat up in the morning, and cold extremities don’t always alert me to my forgetfulness! I am suspecting the Iodine, which I have never taken before. I have been on 1mg for a month now. By next winter, I will have worked my way up to a much higher dose. I’ll see if that works out to warmer hands! By the way, I always thought it is an interesting aside that people with Migraines frequently have Raynaud’s. For example However, I have no idea what the connection might be if any.

  13. Paul,

    Gosh! so much interesting finds! I will be busy. 🙂

    I too have Raynaud’s. I haven’t had an all out issue
    with it in almost 2 years. I have been attributing this to going gluten-free. I have still had issues with cold intolerance since going gluten-free. However, since adding in meat, fat, and your suggested supplements, my cold intolerance is a non-issue! 🙂

    You have blessed my life. 🙂 I had one final symptom that was chronic all my life. Constipation.
    I e-mailed you last week and you offered up some suggestions. PRAISE THE LORD! I have had NO IBS, or constipation since following your advice. I am, and will be forever grateful. 🙂

    I do have a question. Since learning of the need to supplement iodine and selenium, I have been lead to a post that claimed tea (green and black) contain fluoride and aluminum. I have long known that tea aggravated my constipation greatly. This post states that fluoride competes with iodine? It also states that over years of consuming this (fluoride 5mg per cup) you will develop disease (CFS)? Not to mention the aluminum accumulation. While I did not mark this site, it would be easy to find if you google “green tea and thyroid.” I was hopeful you might do a full post on your thoughts. I hope to be able to drink green tea once my thyroid is saturated with iodine. I have no doubt that deficiencies in iodine, vit C, and selenium were the major players in my IBS-C.

    I have also read that Bromine competes with iodine. In this particular post it talked about the bread companies replacing iodine 20 years ago with bromine?
    This is also mentioned in the tea post above. Dark Chocolate is high in bromine too? I am ending these statements with question marks because I don’t know fact from fiction when it comes to all of the above.



    Thanks so Much!

  14. Hi Kate,

    Thanks for the migraine-Raynaud’s link, that’s definitely a clue to both conditions.

    How are your migraines doing? Any improvement?

    Hi Betty,

    So glad your IBS and constipation are better!

    About tea, you might want to look at this post: and the comment thread.

    Tea, like many plants including seaweed, can pick up metals and halogens from the soil. So you want to buy tea grown in non-polluted soil. This makes us nervous about buying tea from China. Instead, we get “high mountain tea” from Taiwan or better Japanese grades.

    Shou-Ching thinks that tea alkaloids may actually help you excrete toxins – this is Chinese lore I guess – so non-polluted tea could be good for those diseases.

    I think if you supplement with enough iodine, you shouldn’t have to worry about environmental bromine.

    Best, Paul

  15. Cool, Buteyko in the New York Times.
    I think the science behind the method is very sound.
    CO2 seems to be the mediator of oxygenation (how’s that for cognitive dissonance?).

    CO2 has two main effects in our body:
    a) It relaxes smooth muscle, i.e., the muscles around the blood vessels and airways [1]. This makes sense, because this will cause local vasodilation and thus increased blood flow when CO2 levels increase locally, e.g., when a muscle is used.
    When global CO2 levels are low, smooth muscle will contract. Just hyperventilate for a while: airways become tight, hands become cold, and if you lose too much CO2 you may end up fainting (due to vasoconstriction in the brain).
    b) It affects the affinity of hemoglobin with oxygen, known as the Bohr effect [2]. High CO2 causes hemoglobin to let go of its oxygen easily, low CO2 causes it to hold on to it. Again, this makes perfect sense: in the lungs CO2 levels in the blood are relatively low (it diffuses out of the blood into the lungs), so hemoglobin will ‘grab’ the available oxygen and not let go. Then, when it passes a site where a lot of CO2 is produced, it lets go, delivering the oxygen where it is needed.

    When you combine these effects, you get an interesting paradox: if CO2 levels drops too low, one dies of hypoxia…
    If CO2 is high, e.g., due to exercise, everything in your body is properly oxygenated, your extremities are warm, your brain gets extra blood etc. In my opinion CO2 is a very important factor in the benefits of exercise, but it is hardly ever mentioned.

    Paul, in case you have a blocked nose, you might try the following: breathe out in a relaxed manner, close your mouth and pinch your nose. Start doing some activity (e.g., walking, jumping, squatting) with mouth and nose closed, until you start to feel a strong urge to breathe. Then release your nose, and breathe a little, while trying to relax as much as possible. The buildup of CO2 should have relaxed the airways in your nose enough to allow breathing through it.

    There is quite a lot of free information about Buteyko on Dr. Artour Rakhimov’s website Normal Breathing. Although it seems to be hailed as a cure-all method, I think CO2 science makes sense.



  16. Kate wrote:

    By the way, I always thought it is an interesting aside that people with Migraines frequently have Raynaud’s. For example However, I have no idea what the connection might be if any.


    Hi Kate, my guess is the connection may involve relative low progesterone.

    First, let’s say Raynaud’s is caused by a stealth infection (or chronic infection as Paul says). Let’s say Raynaud’s can be considered to be in the family of rheumatoid diseases.

    Let’s consider that women often experience a remission of their rheumatoid disease during pregnancy, when progesterone levels are high. Also, many women experience a serious rebound of the disease post-partum. Is progesterone protective? Immune modulating?

    Let’s consider that many women experience migraines in the luteal phase (second half) of their cycles when the rise and fall of progesterone levels may be perturbed, especially in middle-age when anovulatory cycles often begin.

    Just speculating!

  17. Hi John and Michelle,

    Thank you so much. It’s fun to be the student on my site!

  18. Paul,
    Thanks for asking about the Migraines. They are in fact vastly improved, which I attribute solely to your recommendations. I can say that, because I have tried virtually everything else in the past. I sent you an email detailing where I have been and why this approach is such an amazing departure.
    I too thought hormones were a likely suspect, and have tried natural progesterone creams. Alas no effect on headaches for me, or Raynaud’s for that matter.

  19. Hi Paul,

    Speaking of paleo, IBS and diet cures – On a related note, I am currently researching more about the GAPS diet since I have a son who seems to have many autistic traits (we’re awaiting an official assessment). I have heard that this really helps with healing gut issues which might be causing some behaviors.

    Plenty of similarities with your diet but they seem to be okay with fructose and not okay with other starches.

    I was wondering what your take on it was. I am a vegetarian and could do a high fat, non gluten, no dairy(except fermented)diet but some white rice would help. Also they’re not really okay with a vegetarian diet but I can’t seem to break free from one (was raised as a vegetarian for religious reasons). Sorry if I seem to be rambling but I really wanted to know your take on this.


  20. Kate said, “I’ll see if that works out to warmer hands! By the way, I always thought it is an interesting aside that people with Migraines frequently have Raynaud’s.”

    Interesting, I’ll read that link. I thought I had “migraines” for most of my life and was even “diagnosed” as such, but they were really tension headaches. I do notice an uptick in Raynaud’s phenomena goes hand in hand with the headaches.

  21. Hi Jay,

    Our diets are indeed similar.

    GAPS is very oriented toward gut issues and food-immune interactions. I think there’s a lot to be said for diets that severely restrict food toxins for those with gut / food allergy issues. As I understand it, GAPS grew out of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and therefore has ~80 years of lore behind it regarding which foods can trigger immune reactions.

    I would say that our diet is the healthy framework to implement first and then, if that doesn’t fix everything, GAPS would be a roadmap for exploring additional food sensitivities to eliminate and opportunities to re-shape gut flora.

    As we say in the book, all plants contain toxins, so if the gut is damaged and undigested proteins are entering the body, almost any plant food can cause difficulty.

    Fructose, although it is toxic and not desirable, is not a protein and does not itself trigger an immune reaction. GAPS is oriented toward food toxins / proteins. All starchy plants have some protein.

    However, fructose can trigger immune reactions indirectly, by feeding microbes which then release their own toxins such as LPS. I personally think these indirect, pathogen-mediated pathways are very important in a lot of diseases.

    In the “safe starches,” toxins are destroyed in cooking. White rice is safe if cooked, so I would certainly recommend it for vegetarians. It’s hard to get enough calories without it.

    Our book has an appendix on how to eat Perfect Health Diet style if you’re a vegetarian. It’s not easy but can be done.

    We haven’t had reader reports of autistic children trying our diet yet. I think they would do very well on it, but actual experiences will tell.

    Best, Paul

  22. Michelle said, “Let’s consider that women often experience a remission of their rheumatoid disease during pregnancy, when progesterone levels are high.”

    A little blue skying for a minute…

    Pregnancy is considered to be an immune system weakener. One theory is this is to protect the fetus from immuno-attack, but that’s neither here nor there. Since most of the “symptoms” we experience from an infection are not really the infection, but the immuno-response, it stands to reason that conditions go into “remission” because they can run freely without an immune response.

    Of course, after delivery, the immune system quickly recovers and the symptoms come back with a vengeance.

  23. Hi Paul
    Do you have any knowledge of the antibiotic Doxycycline? I’ve been given a prescription for a 3-month low-dose course as a treatment for mild blepharitis and roseacea. I haven’t needed to take antibiotics in over 30-years so I’m hesitant to start now. Also what is a good dietary strategy for those taking antibiotics (apart from following the PHD of course) – lots of probiotic foods?

  24. Hi GeeBee,

    Doxy is a good all-purpose antibiotic but it generally doesn’t work against rosacea. Blepharitis, maybe. If it’s a new condition it’s worth a try.

    Yes, probiotics and fermented foods/vegetables are good, also keep your diet fat-rich.

  25. Jay, just FWIW, have you looked at The Feingold Diet? It can be easily used in conjunction with GAPS or PHD. Basically, in addition to eliminating obvious “bad guys” like certain preservatives and artificials (which I’m sure you’re not giving your child in any case), you start out eliminating all foods that are high in salicylates, which, you may know – but I didn’t til a year ago, – are natural plant toxins that some can’t handle in significant amounts. Some fruits that children tend to favor, like grapes, apples, oranges, tomatoes, are very high in salicylates. (Pears are very low salicylate – when we started the diet, pears were our only fruit for a while!)

    Many children who are salicylate sensitive struggle with symptoms of autism, apsergers, ADHD, asthma, OCD, bedwetting, migraines, anxiety, or any combination of those.

    If and when you see improvement in behavior, mood, etc. you slowly add foods back in and watch for reactions. Sometimes it’s certain high-salicylate fruits that are the problem (say, a child may tolerate golden delicious apples but not red), or sometimes it may be dose (five grapes, OK, but 20 grapes, disaster).

    Many people on Feingold also eliminate gluten, and some go full paleo. There is a very nice online Feingold community – just search Feingold Diet if you’re interested, and it will pop right up.

    My son is not yet diagnosed (we’ve been putting it off as he’s not yet seven), but he’s been evaluated and has a lot of behaviors consistent with ADHD, and he’s also somewhat Asperger-ish. Also OCD (he gets that from his mom!). We’ve been on Feingold for a year, and he’s much, much better, and in fact we started seeing improvements right away on Feingold. He’s still symptomatic – but calmer, happier, more social, and many more good days than bad.

    I hope to see even more improvement now that the whole family is also on PHD.

    This was long-winded. Very good luck with your son!

    • Mary, if you see this comment, do you have updates about the salicylates issue? I found out recently that I am reacting to salicylates and started a diet without salicylates. But I am also trying to figure out the relation between salicylates and behavior. Why is it that someone sensitive to salicylates may also have the behavioral problems that you list like ADHD or why ashthma? Is the relation known?

      Paul, may I ask you the same question? I don’t see much information about salicylates in the blog or in your book. What is your advice on salicylates?

      • Hi Paul,

        I’d be interested in your advice on salicylates too – I have a definite reaction when I eat too many high salicylate foods. Anxiety, aches, pains, flushing etc.

        Do you believe that when the gut is healed, it will disappear? Could it also be an unbalanced microbiome/insufficient gut bacteria to deal with salicylate heavy food? Or genetics? Could some of be predisposed to be no good with certain types of ‘healthy’ foods?

        Would be great to get your thoughts on this.


  26. Paul, thanks for the link.

    Re Raynauds, that is the one thing I still have trouble with. I inherited what is probably a mild lupus from my mother (hers has been positively diagnosed, not mine, similar symptoms though, mine less) symptomless since paleo. Plus I have hashimotos which she doesn’t. So I guess my raynauds is probably secondary not primary. Interesting re the migraine link. I used to get pre-menstrual headaches, none with reduced carb, especially paleo. Despite that I still get white fingers when I leave the house and go to the supermarket in the winter. I’m fine outside at 15 degrees but as soon as I go in the supermarket with my fingers turn white. Chillers and cold food.
    I think the low carb has an effect too – moderate is better, low makes me feel cold and makes it worse. I’d love to get it sorted! Although it isn’t that severe and reverses quickly. I’m taking a tiny bit of iodine per day now and will very slowly increase – My last iodine experiment – i.e taking a lot, was a disaster for my thyroid.

  27. I kept meaning to leave a ramble on the stress thing.

    “There is no such thing as a stressor. Nothing has the inherent power to cause stress in you. Things happen (divorce, layoffs, disease, etc.), and you experience stress – or you don’t – depending on what you think about those things. Stress is a function of beliefs, not circumstances.”

    Very important advice, similar to that given by the Dalai Lama. Brilliant.

  28. @Becky,

    Here’s a little something tying together infection-arthritis-progesterone-pregnancy & the immune system.

    It’s so interesting, isn’t it?

  29. Mary, thanks so much on the info on Feingolds! Will check it out… We don’t do processed foods such as cereals, oatmeal etc. And he doesn’t eat fruit at all! LOL. Or veggies and I am hoping that will change. He does like his flour and sugar stuff (home made cookies, muffins, pancakes..) and so removing sugar, gluten and milk will be our biggest challenge for the coming month.

    Toothpaste – does have additives and all the yucky stuff. Any ideas for replacing it? Also looking for suggestions on a good multivitamin for him. Almost everything available has some of the colors, dyes and sweetners. Sigh! I was using Flora Kindervital and it doesn’t have this artificial stuff. But it has gluten and I think that’s a problem.

    I have removed gluten since a few days and already feel that my son is kind of calmer and more grounded. Starting in a few days we’ll be cutting out sugar and milk completely (except for yogurt). I have also ordered the probiotic from the GAPS website. Let’s see how that goes.

  30. Paul, thanks for your response regarding your diet versus GAPS. We will be trying a version of your diet first starting in a couple of days. Just getting recipes, ingredients etc ready before I jump into this. My son has been a flour and sugar kind of guy and I’ve been using this as a medium to get some veggies in him. Weaning him off these and his chocolate milk will be a challenge but hopefully we’ll be seeing some results! Will keep you posted.

    thanks again!

  31. Jay, hmm, if your son isn’t a fruit head (like mine) salicylates may not be an issue!

    For a multi, Kirkmans makes a GF/CF hypoallergenic children’s multi (I take it as my multi, too). For toothpaste, Toms of Maine makes a “Silly Strawberry” that is pretty clean, and comes with a “no fluoride” option, too.

    Good luck! Kids, diet, and neurological issues are a bit of an obsession for me…I have to keep reminding myself not to drop totally down the rabbit hole.


  32. Hi Jay,

    Good luck! Do keep us posted. Maybe we can come up with a non-dairy chocolate drink too.

    At some point, you might want to test dairy to see if he reacts to it. If the intestine is bad enough, he will, but usually when the gut is healthy, dairy can be tolerated. Goat’s milk is better tolerated than cow’s milk; you could make your own chocolate milk with that.

    Best, Paul

  33. Jay,

    I can imagine coconut milk with cocoa, sweetend with rice sirup (or other safe glucose) to be very tasty. I think I will actually test that in the evening!

  34. Zachariah Salazar

    Hi all!

    Love your work and the good that you do.

    I am a Master Practitioner for Z Health Performance Solutions (been involved in rehab and training for over 22 years)-a system of somto-sensory movement training that uses survival/behavior models combined with neuro-plastic theory to stop pain, improve athletic performance, improve physiques etc depending on the background of the practitioner…

    I have recommended to Dr Eric Cobb founder of ZHPS that your book become required reading for our nutrition course. just a fine bit of work. And with this blog just amazing!

    We use some of the breathing methods described above and they work very well IF you have skill in cultivating compliance.

    Using nasal breathing with athletes often requires a restart of their energy systems work-sometimes several restarts to achieve a partial or complete conversion to nasal breathing during their event. More on this later if anyone cares 🙂

    Just wanted to say hi and mention that I am very grateful for those that have done the work and to everyone else that comments your info is vital!


  35. Hi Zach,

    Thanks! We would love to be part of your nutrition course.

    I can easily believe it’s very hard to change an athlete’s breathing habits!

    What should I do as a weekend warrior? Should I focus on breathing through my nose while running? Is there a Z-Health page describing breathing methods?

    Best, Paul

  36. Hey Zach,

    Yes the Z crowd should read the PHD!

  37. Zachariah Salazar

    Hey Todd! Small world (but I’d hate to mow it:)…


    No the info is not posted as it is part of a course that we pay for to learn how to program.

    Heres where I sound like the heretic that I am: its actually not hard at all to change if you allow the change to not be difficult. The method that I use to train individuals (with Dr. Cobbs organization of neuroplasticity as the backbone) is intertwined with the notion that:

    (This is long just because every time I read abuot someone that “tried” this and it didn’t “work” the real issue is that they did it in a vacuum without a program with that goal as well as total health in mind.

    1. People are not lacking in willpower and discipline; they are repleat with marketing and not good INDIVIDUAL programming.

    2. If all thats available is built on a poor base and lazy programming the recipe and the chef are to blame, NOT the meal 🙂

    3. If you understand that its not good a good survival strategy from a biological perspective that an organism has to exhaust itself to the point that it could not immediately escape a predator to improve its fitness (survivability in a niche not 6 pack abs and all the other qualities that shallow men admire;) then you might allow oneself to both reach great fitness AND not have it be awful to do so provided you dont need to be “Healthy in 6 weeks”.

    4. Most exercise programming is flawed because 1) It is based upon multiple parameters locked into a template solely for defensibility against curmudgeonly PHDs trying to crush hopeful professionals defending their masters thesis (Ex: if you make sure to reach failure on every set of an exercise then you know if x is your goal you need x amount of wt/load and you must rest for x amount of time
    based upon local and global physiology…whew! But what if you DONT train to failure cuz failure is not necessary for progress and training to failure can cause distress vs eustress. It might not have to be awful to succeed with healthy athletic performance (the use of the vague term stress I believe is one of the roots of the errors in training and health discussions. Distress=bad. Eustress=good).

    5. Like parameters above it is lazy but easy for individuals to generate training programs that are Boot Camp Style where exhaustion is the goal. It is easy to wipe a person out. It is more difficult to train for a goal while educating individuals that exercise is not punishment; if it feels like it you are doing it wrong:)

    Now thats out of the way it comes down to your goals and your training history. Not knowing or having assessed you personally, hypothetically, I assume that you want fitness, athleticism, to be a healthy lean etc.

    Sprinting is the best type of running for cost vs benefit. Biggest cost is learning form which we can discuss. Since sprinting can impart momentary loads of 10-15x body weight this form of exercise will strength bones, muscles attachments, increase power output and therefore ability to absorb force therefore improve protection against injury and falls etc

    Another relative stat: average distance runner body-fat is %16-%18 while the average sprinters is %6-%8 while carrying more muscle.

    Sprinting is ideal for the type and volume of those on a PHDiet especially a low carb variant.

    Training for sprinting is much easier especially for people who “hate” running (I was one of those until I increase my movement mobility and precision and learned safe forefoot/mid-foot form-hated it hated it hated it!).

    I have my students generally start as easy as:
    2x a week.
    Moving up to 3x a week maybe more but not required.
    Starting with short gentle hill running.
    10-20 secs at most.
    %50 speed (yep thats it!)
    Recovery starting at a 1:16 work to rest ratio dropping to 1:5 long term during peaks.

    So if you ran 10 secs you would rest (walk back, mobility, eventually quiet jog etc) 160 secs down to 50 secs AT PEAK (not the goal just part of a up and down wave). If you ran 20 secs (not better just different) then you would rest between 320 secs (yes over 5 minutes!) down to 100 secs.

    (Warm Up before all sessions Cool Down as well-do NOT stretch as is typical-thats another post 😉

    DAY 1: Your first session would be ONE run. Go home. Yes just 10-20 secs work.
    -Notes soreness strains etc on DAY 2. Progress if all is good.
    DAY 2: If all is well run one uphill sprint rest 160-320 secs; run again. Go home.
    -Note soreness strains etc on DAY 3. Progress if all is good.
    DAY 3: Three sprints, rest etc as above. Note as above.

    Keep this up till you need a rest day. Usually 4 to 11 days BUT your body and brain are boss! Maybe its after ONE day. All good. Just remember no good reason to wipe yourself out training unless someone’s life is immediately on the line. Hardcore training builds the ego and breaks the body. If you train for the long term you will reach an amount of work that will SEEM to be hardcore with taking 1-2 years to get there. My athletes motto: Get in Shape To Get in Shape!

    After your rest day cut volume in half rounding down and restart. So if you made it to 4 sprints and needed a day or two off then restart at 2. If you made it to 7 then restart at 3 etc. Eventually your training will FEEL best at 2-3 x a week (maybe even 2x one week- 3x the next, or 3x a week with the last week of the month off every month; there are lots of comfortable ways to get fit 🙂

    Many athletes after 1-2 years of training may become super fit with a huge amount of variety such as training Mon-Fri 4 working sets of sprints a day (yes thats only 40-80 secs of work in an entire workout!) to 2x times a week with 6-16 sets in a workout.

    If you only run on weekends you can just run on Sat Sun. More preferably everyone gets 1-3 days off a week (or a weeks worth of days off at the end of the month-a GREAT way for the truly busy to train and improve but not destroy themselves) so you could sprint a couple times a week (look at how little time it takes:) and a sprint on the weekend followed by a distance run.

    If you think you NEED distance training to be fit (you dont, period) but you LIKE it then like bove or in many other ways you can blend sprint and field work for huge health benefits or just novelty.

    FINALLY: Breathing.

    With this type of program you have this nice safe start with a volume of 1 set to start. You simply use nasal breathing as you build up volume. The keep going. Lets say you get to 5 sets before you restart your cycle but you can only breathe nasally for 2 sets. Great! Continue with normal breathing for the remainder of the sets. Next time you resart you may get 6 or 7 sets but now you may get 3 sets of nasal breathing 🙂 You may also find that due to schedule etc you go from 5 sets before needing a restart to 4 sets-thats ok linear progressions are not ideal. You still might increase the number of sets you can nasal breathe while the total amount deceases cuz of life etc.

    Hope that is clear in many ways ! Enjoy!

  38. Hi Zach,

    Wow, that’s really a small volume to start!

    Thanks much for the advice. I could easily switch to something like that, it would fit easily into my schedule.

    What I do now – I probably run about 3x a week for 10-15 minutes, go to the gym 2x a week for 45 minutes (not very high intensity, but higher intensity than my running), and go for a hike in the woods on weekends. I might do some pull-ups and push-ups with a run, but not always. Might play tennis instead of the hike.

    Seems like mostly a mental adjustment to focus on brief intensity. I’m building a standing desk to get more low intensity activity while working, I think that will make it easy to shift toward more intense, but brief, training.

    Any objection to longer rests between sets – say once an hour go outside and sprint 20 seconds? Is the amount of rest important?

  39. With regards to this statement
    “There is no such thing as a stressor. Nothing has the inherent power to cause stress in you. Things happen (divorce, layoffs, disease, etc.), and you experience stress – or you don’t – depending on what you think about those things. Stress is a function of beliefs, not circumstances.”
    Many years ago I did the Landmark Forum (I know people think its a cult…) However it has a bunch of really useful ways of looking at life. One of them is really similar to this concept. I.e things/ circumstances happen (lose our job etc) Then we have a reaction (could be stress) based on our interpretation. I.e the thing happens and we act as though our interpretation is the thing that happened and our stress is caused by that.
    Anyway here is a snippet of the course explaining this. important – click on ‘See it in action’ and the woman in the top right hand of video.

  40. Zachariah Salazar

    You can break it up how ever you like depending on goals 🙂

    If you are just adding activities then do whatever you like. IF you are training to improve conditioning then you would want to do some work to rest specific training if only to allow you great improvement over time vs just doing stuff to do stuff 🙂

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