Review and Interview at PaleoDiet++

I’m still catching up after our vacation, but here is something that may be as interesting as a post: Dee of PaleoDiet++ did an email interview of me, and had some unusual questions I haven’t been asked before. The interview (and Dee’s review of our book) is here.

Leave a comment ?


  1. “My second piece of advice would be to tend to circadian rhythms – sleep, daily exercise, light exposure in daytime, dim light at night, intermittent fasting, mealtimes during daylight hours, social interactions during daylight hours.”

    Paul do you know of any ways to “shorten” the circadian rhythm? I’ve been suffering from Non-24 Sleep-Wake disorder for a couple years now and it’s utterly soul crushing. It’s such a rare disorder that people, even doctors, think I’m making it up or that its not real. This makes getting help almost impossible.

    I’ve tried so many different solutions it’s hard for me to make sense of it all anymore. I have F.lux on my laptop, a 10,000 LUX sky-lamp, orange goggles, etc. I’m at my breaking point and I don’t know what to do. Please Help, thanks.

    • Hi Sean – I so feel your pain.

      Could I perhaps offer this response I gave on paleohacks?

      The answer is a detailed write-up of the things I have tried in the last 2 years or so – mentioning melatonin, St John’s Wort, Seriphos/Phosphatidyl Serine, cortisol issues, thyroid issues, upset circadian rhythm, Vitamin D3 in the morning, and other things to help you to sleep, but never Ambien, Lunesta, Diphenhydramine Hydrobromide or Doxylamine Succinate (aka Supermarket sleeping pills). Hopefully the post gives you some ideas. I warn you that a lot of self-experimentation will be required on your part, as well as consistency, and I think I mention about 10 points that have to be keyed in and optimized. Even then, it’s not perfect, but that elusive night of good sleep is worth it.

      For immediate relief, I found success with L-Theanine, Phosphatidyl Serine, and GABA-but do not use this long term for reasons I go into in my paleohacks answer (basically you want to avoid feeding bacterial pathways that can exacerbate problems, as paul mentions in his posts on tryptophan supplementation).

      I would especially recommend the book Chronotherapy for you, by Michael terman.

      Where do you live? Could you perhaps try to find a doctor to help adjust your dose of your lamp (it’s also possible your lamp is not quite efficient for your needs or you’re doing it at the wrong time), or get microdose melatonin to take for a couple hours before bed?

      • Hi Lynh, thank you for your post! It was very well written. It’s nice to know I’m not crazy and I’m not alone.

        I’ve been experimenting and trying to find a cure for about 6 years now with no luck. Things have actually gotten worse in that time period!

        I should note that I fall asleep quickly and soundly if I’m allowed to follow my own circadian rhythm, which is like 26 hours long. When I was unemployed, and not going to school i did just that. Staying up for 17 hours, sleeping soundly for 9, and just cycling around the clock so that after a couple weeks my days became my nights and my nights became my days.

        Before this whole nightmare started I used to just have regular DSPD which was a least tolerable. I’d wake up at 8am, go to school, go home, nap soundly for 3 hours, go to sleep at 2am, rinse-repeat.

        Then sometime in the last 2 or 3 years my DSPD morphed into full blown Non-24, which is so much worse. This change happened after I started using various “hacks” to fix sleep issues. This makes me think I could have actually done some kind of long-term hormonal damage to my self via suppliment. I have also heard of Sleep-Phase Chronotherapy causing Non-24 in people with DSPD, so thats another possibility.

        The explanation could also just be a simple neurological disorder. Most of the reported cases of Non-24 in sighted individuals are related to head injuries. I my self have had 3 concussions in my lifetime, one of which was a direct kick to my left temple.

        I’ll give you a run down of some of the things I’ve tried.


        – GABA
        – Magnesium/Zinc
        – Mega doses of Benadryl(I’m talking 200mg and more, please don’t ever try this)
        – Melatonin(anywhere from 1 to 30mg)
        – Gelatin(disolved in hot water and takin before bed)
        -vitamin D3(in the morning as soon as i wake up)


        -light therapy (10,000 LUX upon waking at various dosages)
        – daily sunshine(i live in Florida)
        – Intermittent Fasting
        – various diets(paleo, ketogenic, anti-histamin, etc)
        – cold thermogenesis
        – Seths Morning Faces therapy
        – orange goggles at night
        – no tv, computer, food, etc close to bedtime.

        I’ve pretty much tried it all. But it’s hard for me to really tell what works and what doesn’t and what the correct dose is, etc. For example: Sometimes melatonin works, and sometimes it feels like it’s actually preventing me from sleeping!

        All I know is that I have to fix this or I’m done for! In the past 6 days I’ve had a total of 14 hours of sleep, 8 of which was today between 11am and 7pm! I can’t live like this.

        • Also consider nicotinamide/niacinamide in 500-1,000mg doses (500 in afternoon and 1,000 at night is good), and high dose L. rhamnosus and B. bifidus probiotics (which may improve the brain’s response to sleeplessness).

          • Hi George,

            how does the nicotinamide/niacinamide (Vit B3?) help with sleep.
            i cannot recall seeing/hearing about that before, & have never tried it.

            do you have any more info/refs/links


    • Hi Sean,

      I haven’t specifically researched that condition but I would highly recommend tending to all of the circadian rhythm influencers simultaneously. People are beginning to realize there are many zeitgebers or drivers of circadian rhythms; it is not just that light drives rhythms and other things have to be synchronized with the light rhythm, but that many factors drive different rhythms in different parts of the brain and different organs, and you need to synchronize all of them like a symphony.

      If you haven’t read our new edition I would do that. Some of the key drivers:
      – Light exposure in daytime. You need sunlight or bright blue and UV light. Outdoor light is often 100 times brighter than indoor light so go outdoors as much as possible in day time. Take time to anchor rhythms by going outdoors early morning, mid-day, and late afternoon or early evening, so that your bright light exposure spans a 12 hour period and anchors the timing in the daytime. Indoors, make light as bright and as blue as possible during the day. Turn computers to maximum brightness, turn on every light in your rooms, add a light box to your desk, open drapes and blinds as widely as possible, locate yourself in the brightest spot in the room, add lamps eg terrarium lamps for UV.

      – Dim light at night. Wear amber blue-blocking goggles, use amber or orange or yellow bulbs, dim light. Install f.lux on computers, turn down the blue on TVs. Make your bedroom totally dark at night. Consider playing some “brown noise” on an iPad or such while you sleep, eg

      – Exercise during the daytime. Afternoon is best. Get 20 minutes of fairly intense exercise (running-intensity) or 30 minutes of jogging-intensity exercise. I like to do 10 minutes outdoor brisk walking for sun exposure early morning, 10-15 minutes of running in late morning/lunchtime, and 10 minutes of bodyweight exercises and primal movements in late afternoon or early evening — all outdoors to provide sun exposure.

      – Do intermittent fasting 16 hours fasting 8 hours feeding. Time meals to occur during the daylight period. I eat between noon and eight pm. Food is a zeitgeber.

      – Social interactions. All stressful interactions and all interactions with strangers in daylight hours. But make sure to get as much of these social interactions as you can in the daytime. If you can’t interact with real people, exposure yourself to pictures of faces and human voices. Watch youtube videos or TV shows if you must. Put photos of people on your desk at work. At night, the reverse: minimize social interactions. Interact only with loved ones you know well. Avoid watching television shows or movies that have human faces and voices.

      – A few nutrients have circadian impact. Supplement lithium in the late morning which supports daytime rhythms.

      I think you have to invest quite a bit of effort to make sure all of these drivers are accentuated with a high amplitude of circadian variability and are synchronized with each other.

      • Hi Paul, thank you for your detailed post! I feel like there is some hope for me now. I do have your new book and I’m currently reading through it. I’m putting this plan into action immediatly.

        You are the ONLY person I’ve seen in the ancestral health community talk about circadian rhythm and how important it is. I would love to hear more insights from you in future posts.

        Thanks again.

      • Hi Paul,

        do you have a favourite ‘brown noise’ sample (or samples) you can link to.

        (tho i guess this is likely a personal taste thing)

  2. Paul,

    I have been noticing that that recently you suggest coconut milk rather than coconut oil. Do you think it is better than coconut oil? Or is just that you have settled on the custard for most of your lunches and thus it has become the simplest , most efficient way to get it into your own diet.

    • Hi Ellen,

      I like the emulsifying aspect for use in cooking or sauces, and we don’t do stir fries often but do a lot of curries and stews and soups, and I don’t eat oil straight as you might on a ketogenic diet, so I find coconut milk more useful than coconut oil. The coconut milk does often have guar gum and the cans may have BPA, so I wouldn’t say that it is superior health wise, but I don’t see it as a problem either.

      • I love coconut milk in curries. To me that is the magic ingredient. my husband used to crave curries and make them himself, but I didn’t
        Care for them. Then I tried a recipe that included coconut milk and now make them all the tme.

        I buy Native Harvest brand which has no BPA in the cans. But the thickness of the coconut milk can vary dramatically from can to can. I am assuming that is because they don’t control the amount of guar gum, which seems odd.

  3. Welcome back
    You wrote,
    “Some in the low-carb community assume that if carbs do cause problems, the proper response is to avoid carbs for the rest of one’s life. No, the proper response is to cure the pathology that has made one carb intolerant. There may be a few genetic conditions where no cure is possible, but commonly the problem is a bacterial overgrowth or infection in the gut and it is quite treatable or curable by natural means.”
    Please explain how
    Thank you

    • Hi Herb,

      The primary steps in overcoming gut dysbiosis or infection:

      1. Support immunity by providing vitamin A from liver and vitamin D from sun or supplements.

      2. Avoid excess nutrition, especially excess of iron by giving blood.

      3. Support gut barrier integrity by eating abundant collagen and vitamin C. Try upping vitamin C intake to 5 g or even 10 g per day; buy a powder and mix with water until it is pleasantly flavored and drink that gradually through the day. Get lots of white connective tissue, bones, chicken feet, ox hooves, beef tendon, etc, and simmer them for hours to create gelatin and make that about 30% of your protein intake.

      4. Do all the other PHD recommendations to optimize immunity and wound healing; balanced diet to support a good gut flora.

      5. Make homemade kimchi/mixed vegetable ferments and eat yogurt for probiotic flora. Look for Bifidobacterium probiotics. Experiment with mixing 1 1/2 tbsp raw potato starch (for resistant starch) with your yogurt (and a bit of water). You want beneficial flora to fight the others.

      6. Support stomach acid production with salt, iodine 225 mcg/day, water, and electrolytes — tomatoes and potatoes for potassium, bone broth for calcium, maybe 100 mg/day supplemental magnesium.

      7. Support bile production by supplementing taurine and maybe glycine.

      8. Chew food thoroughly before swallowing.

      9. Make sure meals have adequate water. The more the meal has dry foods (flour-based products, potatoes that have been baked rather than boiled), the more you need to drink along with your food.

      10. Tend to circadian rhythms as described in our book. Do intermittent fasting.

      • Thank You,

        This is a whole chapter.

        Regarding #4. which chapter in your book are you referring to?

        • Paul,

          You recommend resistant starch, which I tried, the first day 1 tbsp, 2nd and 3rd 1 tsp from potato starch. I’ve had, what I believe to be gut related, anxiety issues in the past and when I tried the resistant starch it gave me anxiety attacks, which I don’t really get anymore. Any clue why this could be happening? Should I try to push through it, starting with an even smaller dose? Or just avoid resistant starch in general?

          • Hi Alex,

            Some types of gut bacteria can cause anxiety. You still have some of the old bacteria that caused the anxiety attacks, so feeding them can bring the anxiety back. It is an open question whether continuing with the starch will help feed competing species and replace them, or continue to generate anxiety indefinitely. Some things to do: circadian rhythm entrainment, intermittent fasting, daily exercise; vitamin A from liver; vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and iodine; bone and joint soups and stews for collagen. Eat fermented foods. I would keep fiber fairly low until you’re doing all those things, then try increasing it very slowly.

          • Thanks Paul,

            It’s crazy how it took me so long to realize that my anxiety was gut related. I’ve had my anxiety ramp up for what seemed like no reason before, now I’m happy I can tie it to my gut bacteria 🙂 I was diagnosed with Sibo last year and seem to have many food intolerances. I’ve been experimenting with fermented foods and bone broths and I seem to have a love/hate relationship. Small portions will help, bigger portions seem to cause dizziness, a possible histamine intolerance? I’ve tried numerous probiotics but some of them give me anxiety attacks. Why would that be? I tried Syontix probiotic (it’s this one: about a year ago, I felt good, more energetic, at first then started feeling panicky again. I’ve tried Florastor, which is Streptomyces boulardii, and I felt panicky with that one too. I also tried this one by Pure Encapsulations which just caused extreme fatigue. My main symptoms that I’m trying to cure are fatigue, body aches (which I guess might be fibromyalgia?), anxiety, depression and brain fog. I read about histamine producing bacteria so that’s why I bought the pure encapsulations probiotic and while it didn’t cause anxiety like the other 2 it caused fatigue. I’ve been taking Megaspore for the past couple months (it’s a spore based probiotic) which has been helping some with fatigue and constipation. I’ve also been trying to add another probiotic in but am having a hard time finding one I can tolerate. This week I’m experimenting with Align (b. infantis), no negatives so far.
            Any suggestions on steps for further healing? I keep fiber fairly low; when I eat too much it causes stomach cramps. I’ve been taking enteric coated peppermint oil for the past few months which oddly enough has helped a lot with insomnia and some with all of my other issues but it doesn’t seem to be enough because I’ll get the brain fog and fatigue again when I eat carbs (I don’t want to give them up completely).

      • Paul,
        Thanks for the above. Any suggestions on how to tweak points
        1) vitamin A, if liver is avoided due to copper overload ( as per HTMA)

        3) and 5) vitamin C and fermented foods ( as well as probiotic supplements) cause major bloating, (not cured by antibiotics ( herbal or pharmaceutical ) or other efforts to cure potential SIBO ( not diagnosed))?
        Thanks so much!

  4. Amazing review as always Paul, Welcome back 🙂

  5. 7 Things to do to have Permenant Weight Loss - pingback on July 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm
  6. You mentioned that for lunch you usually make a custard- do you mind sharing your recipe?

  7. I second the motion for the custard details.

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