Category Archives: Around the Web

Around the Web: Palm Sunday Edition

The Audible edition of our book will be released tomorrow, Monday, March 25. Also, early buyers of our Kindle edition received email notice from Amazon last week of a major update: this fixes the links to notes.

This week I’ll be at PaleoFX and posting will be light. There are still a few tickets available, so if you can make it to Austin, please do!

Also, the 2013 Ancestral Health Symposium is accepting registrations. Only a limited number of rooms at the Sheraton are available at the event rate, so please consider making plans now.

[1] Music to read by: I feel a sermon coming on …

We try to follow Johnny Mercer’s prescription. The attitude of doing right is:

  • Look for goodness in others and encourage it; overlook faults.
  • Ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive, eliminate the negative.

Robert Louis Stevenson, too, had a good attitude:

  • “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”
  • “Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits.”

So let us be happy, and seek good health in good spirits!

[2] Reader results: There is much to celebrate.

Hillary reports that PHD has been life-changing:

Life changing in that it’s the first “diet” I can see being a long term lifestyle, I’ve already lost ten pounds without trying and for once I’m eating healthy because I want to be healthy, not because I want to lose weight (although that’s been a great benefit). It’s much easier to stick with something because it makes your body feel good, not for the fad of it. I’ve got my husband on it as well. We’re eating things we never thought about making before – I’ve recently made goat and oxtail stews, which was a first. I don’t crave sugar anymore, which is amazing and I love that I can still eat chocolate daily (I have a square of 90% topped with a date to sweeten it up) and a glass of wine.

Elizabeth Perez had an epiphany:

I can still remember that first night I had a PHD homecooked meal. I had been fat phobic and eating brown rice and whole wheat bread and the very first time I heard Dr Mercola and Jaminet talk I got some fatty beef with carrots celery and onions in my crockpot and 8 hours later around 11pm had my first home made stew with white rice and avocado and I felt this indescribable nourishing just ‘right’ feeling in my gut and body and that night I slept like a baby. That interview just made so much common sense and left me with this gut feeling like ‘I just knew’ it was true and got ‘permission’ to enjoy a fatty meal. Something in me ‘remembered’ all Jaminet was saying. Weird right? But anyway it was the interview and meal that changed my life forever. Lol.

Claire reports a cure of her IBS:

Hi Paul!

I recently started taking N-acetylcysteine after reading your blog posts about IBS and bowel disease. For the past two years I’ve been in pain, had irregular bowel movements, basically everything that goes with IBS. However, after starting NAC, I HAVE NO MORE IBS AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I’m stunned. I was hoping to understand why on earth this has helped so greatly? I don’t understand what it “fixed?”

The PHD book and this blog have literally saved my health and my sanity. I am eternally grateful.

Libba writes:

I have been faithfully sticking to PHD for one month and have seen drastic improvement! I am so grateful to you and your wife for the work and knowledge you have shared. I have 40 stubborn pounds to lose, scalp psoriasis, acne and other random ailments. I’m down 9 lbs, have more energy than I can remember and my scalp and skin have never looked better (if I do say so myself)!

Long-time commenter Mari writes:

Thank you, Paul, for PHD.

When I first started following the PHD diet and lifestyle recommendations two years ago, I wrote up a list of the various issues that were bothering me: frequent blackouts, cold extremities, digestive issues, hair loss, chronic sinus infections, extremely low blood pressure, low blood sugar, no sensation of hunger, migraines, muscle weakness, insomnia, etc. Without having to think too hard, I came up with 37 health issues.

On my one year anniversary of adopting PHD, I went over my list and saw that nearly all of those issues were gone. There were some new things that that I became aware of as I worked on tweaking to find what worked best for my body. Still, I had only 2 of my initial health symptoms, and a few new ones.

Now, on my second year anniversary of PHD, I have none(!) of the initial health issues. I have a few things that are new since starting PHD–such as a lot more build-up on my teeth–but I can say that following the PHD template has completely changed my health, energy, and mood. And I’m sure by year three, with some tweaking, these last few things will be scratched off the list.

Carmelite wrote:

I just started your diet last week, have not even completely implemented it yet, and am already seeing amazing benefits to my mood, energy levels, and a reduction in food cravings.

A Chinese emailer wrote:

I find that the PHD diet has worked really well. You are so right; when the nutrients are at an optimal level for peak health, I feel very well, physically and emotionally. I neither overeat nor undereat and just feel like a well oiled machine with lots of energy and my mood is on an even keel.

We’re very interested in pregnancy and nursing anecdotes. Meg reports that PHD is great for generating breast milk:

I have had amazing success on your diet after struggling for years to balance my motherly demands and lose weight. I have been breastfeeding and/or pregnant for almost 6 years, and I found that when following low-fat or low-carb diets while breastfeeding, milk supply will diminish. For years I tried cutting calories, cutting carbs, cutting fat, etc, always with the same result= no milk and a mad baby. I started PHD in December and have lost 15 pounds so far (about 10-15 more to go), I feel great, and I have TONS of milk. And the milk has changed! I can tell because the babies (ages 2 and 10 mos) don’t seem to need to nurse as often, and their bowel movements are much healthier looking. Sorry for TMI, but I know that sharing my experience will help someone else eventually.

Daniel Kitching writes:

I have been on the PHD for nearly three weeks now, and I’m seeing AMAZING results. I feel great, I’m not hungry or craving, and I’m discovering new, delicious foods. I even was able to stick to it while at Walt Disney World. Thanks A MILLION!

Laurie has done better on PHD than on low-carb or high-carb:

I’ve only been following the PHD for a less than a week, so I’m still trying to figure out just what works for me. First thing I can say is that I have never felt quite so satisfied and full on any diet as this one. Going 16 hours without eating (except for coffee and cream/coconut oil in the morning) has been an absolute breeze.

I feel full and satisfied after each meal, and that feeling sticks around for a long long time! I thought carbs made me hungry. Turns out it was wheat that gave me the cravings. I’m fine with potatoes and rice! Better than fine, really! I’m amazed at how great I feel!

I’m a person who has always struggled with hunger. I’m just not good at white knuckling through it! I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found low carb. Eating low carb was the closest I had ever come to actually controlling my appetite. Sadly, I didn’t keep it up forever, and gained all my weight back, plus some.

So did Caressa Santella Neary:

Dear Paul and Shou-Ching, I just had to tell you both how much I love the new edition of your book! I have been on a low carb and high fat diet for many years and my weight loss had stalled and my energy levels were terrible. I added some safe starches and cut back on added fat on my foods and am happy to report your approach has restarted my weight loss and improved my energy levels and mood, very excited!

Lynh writes:

My things which resolved:

1) No more cold/canker sores.

2) more energy! and a better mood.

3) I feel satiated with the rice, potatoes, or sweet potatoes

4) finally – a more normal body temperature! this has been the best part, I used to feel cold all the time and supplementing with iodine and selenium, diet, etc., my body temperature went from 97 to 98.2. I don’t need a coat anymore when it’s cold outside and I used to be freezing all the time.

I really like the explanations for everything in this book, I wish it were required reading for medical school students.

Tim Freeman tweeted:

Dropped 20 pounds in 28 days with PHD. No hunger, better mood, and better sleep.

David wrote:

Oh yes, things have definitely gotten better with PHD. I came from a gluten-free standard american diet (GFSAD ), eating out 3 times a day. I was already off gluten for two and a half years before PHD, but transitioned quickly and almost live in the kitchen now. I’ve lost over 40 pounds since starting PHD and have maintained it easily for quite a while now. Thank you guys so much for your work. Glad I found it first before going on to read books on Paleo and Primal. I’m just about finished with the 2nd edition of PHD, awesome work.

Our thanks to everyone who shares their results or writes Amazon reviews! We’re most grateful.

[3] Cute animals:

Via Yves Smith.

Bonus: A new breed of chauffeur:

[4] Interesting items:

The English of the mid-1800s had a life expectancy at age 5 similar to ours, despite a far higher incidence of infectious disease; credit belongs to their healthy diets and lifestyles. This finding is more evidence that diet and lifestyle can substantially reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Miki Ben-Dor reviewed Marlene Zuk’s Paleofantasy and Christina Warinner’s TEDx talk that I mentioned positively last week. He thinks her anthropology is wrong, and suspects her of anti-meatism.

Sally Fallon critiques Paleo.

Neely Quinn points out that if you’re craving carbs, you just might need carbs. Women’s Health Mag has further tips on what food cravings may mean (via Craig Newmark).

Seth Roberts believes in earwax transplants for ear infections.

The Atlantic looks into why published research misleads us.

Emily Deans reports that early-life malnourishment affects adult personality traits.

Via Connie Warner, “Let them eat fat.”

Another reason to avoid multivitamins: Via ProfDrAndro, manganese increases the virulence of the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia and presumably other pathogens too.

Keeping track of Paleo parodists: Hunter Gavera, who authored this Paleo manifesto, might be the same person as MatthewGreenUK who assembled this video and as Walter West, Paleo Caveman. He might be a different person than Paleo Dooche,.  Via Meredith Harbour Yetter.

The dose makes the poison.

Sarah the Healthy Home Economist shows that food reward really does promote acquisition of the healthiest foods – even in thieves!

Maybe a rice diet isn’t so great for chickens.

[5] Never lose hope: I didn’t know this: In his 30s, Alexander Solzhenitsyn was diagnosed with a late-stage malignant cancer and was not expected to live, but after converting to Christianity staged a recovery he regarded as miraculous.

He went on to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and to chronicle the evil of Soviet prison camps. One of his best passages:

If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?

[6] Not the weekly video: What an inspiration!

[7] Shou-Ching’s Photo Art:

[8] Weekly Video:

Will Harris is a zero-waste farmer, is pioneering zero-waste natural cattle raising at White Oak Pastures. Watch this terrific video (via PrimalDocs):

Around the Web: A New Podcast and Bacterial Warfare

I apologize: I’ve fallen about three weeks behind in responding to the Q&A thread, as I’ve been trying to catch up on other work. I will try to get to all the old questions.

[1] New Podcast with Jonathan Bailor: I had the pleasure of recording a conversation with Jonathan Bailor, producer of The Smarter Science of Slim. I mentioned Jonathan’s new “Slim is Simple” video in my last Around the Web, but there’s more: he’s a terrific conversation partner and his podcast looks to be a great new entry among the leading Paleo podcasts. Check it out!

[2] Help Scholars Understand the Ancestral Health Movement: Historian Hamilton Stapell, who is active in the Ancestral Health Society, is researching the composition of the ancestral health movement. We’re making history, let’s help the historians understand what we’re doing. Please spend a few minutes to fill out his survey.

[3] Music to View Los Angeles By: Via Meredith Harbour Yetter on Facebook, Wilco does “California Stars”:

[4] Interesting Items:

If you’re looking for a new tumblr blog, try WTF, Evolution?.

If you’re looking for a familiar and funny one, re-visit What Should We Call Paleo Life.

MarksDailyApple found this article on barefoot horses doing well in competition. This sentence caught my eye: “Barefoot horses also need to have the sugar levels in their diet carefully managed.” Did horses need shoes because high-carb diets made their feet tender?

Brain cancer mortality increases with Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence.

More evidence that a high-fat diet promotes longevity: Polish centenarians have high adiponectin.

Emily Deans presents more reasons to eat egg yolks, especially in pregnancy.

Via Dennis Mangan, more evidence that a high-fat diet is good for you: 41% fat is better for mood than 25% fat.

When trees die, humans do too.

Jack Peterson offers advice for undergraduate eating; and he’s interviewed a man who normally does the interviewing, Abel James.

Ray Medina approves of Bifidobacterium infantis.

The food reward idea is in the popular press; a journalist has written a new book on it, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us that is at #78 at Amazon.

Can you tell the profs from the hobos? (Via Craig Newmark)

Sustainable safe starches: Indian farmers are setting record yields growing rice and potatoes with a technique called System of Root Intensification (SRI), invented by a French Jesuit priest in Madagascar in the 1980s. However, a Chinese scientist questions the yield data.

Hitler was a vegetarian, he planned to convert Germany to vegetarianism after the war, and the Hitler Youth promoted soybeans by calling them Nazi beans. I’ll have to remember that name.

Coca-Cola – 10 liters a day of it – has been linked to a death.

Horsemeat is catching on in England.

Fish is better than fish oil: ProfDr Andro says phospholipid-borne omega-3s are better than triglyceride-borne omega-3s.

Lara Briden, N.D., suggests “gentle carbs” (similar to safe starches) for adrenal health.

Seth Roberts comments on a case in which arthritis was cured by dietary changes that successfully remodeled the gut flora.

Ned Kock wonders if testosterone levels are driven by cortisol.

Finally, orthorexia has become a hot topic on Broadway:

[5] Cute Animals:

Via Yves Smith.

[6] Bacterial Warfare: Here is an interesting video from the current issue of Cell. You may have heard that “tit-for-tat” is a successful strategy in repeated prisoner’s dilemma games – a type of game that resembles microbial competition in the human gut. Microbiologist John Mekalanos and colleagues observed the conditions under which microbes like Vibrio cholerae (whose more virulent strains cause diarrhea and cholera) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (which is pathogenic in people with cystic fibrosis) choose to fight or co-exist with one another. Listen to Dr. Mekalanos explain bacterial warfare conducted with Type VI secretion systems:

For more, see “Bacterial Battlefield.”

By the way, Shou-Ching is currently working on a video paper showing how tumor cells interact with and attempt to take control of endothelial cells when they are co-cultured. If the paper is open-access, we’ll share her videos when the paper comes out.

[7] Silly Video: If animals had an epidemic that inflated them like beach balls, the Serengeti might look something like this:

[8] S*** Paleo People Say: PaleoFX is a month away, and I’m sure it will be just as fun as this video:

[9] Video of the Week: Lee Saxby discusses how to avoid injuries when running:

Around the Web: Happy Chinese New Year!

Today is Chinese New Year, a day of celebration as we begin the “Year of the Snake” (which sounds inauspicious). Here in Boston, we prepared for the new year with a blizzard that left about 20 inches of snow. Here’s our car:

[1] Upcoming Events: We’ve scheduled two exciting events:

  • On Saturday March 9, Shou-Ching and I will be visiting downtown Philadelphia to give an afternoon of talks, discussion, and book signings at Relentless Fitness. Talks are free and open to the public, but space is limited, so if you’d like to attend sign up online. Many thanks to Grace Rollins of Bridge Acupuncture and Roger Dickerman of Relentless Fitness for organizing the event.
  • On Tuesday March 5, Paul will do an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit. Our thanks to Sol Orwell who organized it.

[2] Book News: Two bits of good news:

  • PHD Audiobook: Audiobooks start shipping March 25. You can pre-order here.
  • Kindle footnotes fix: Early buyers of the Kindle edition – those who pre-ordered or purchased on the first three days post-release – got a file in which links to the notes were faulty. The file was fixed on December 13, but for some reason the update didn’t get disseminated properly. If your Kindle version still has the erroneous links, you can update the Kindle file at “Manage Your Kindle.”

[3] Music to Read By: Patsy Cline is “Crazy”

Speaking of Crazy, I’d like to know how the Wilson sisters persuaded Luke Skywalker to play guitar for Heart:

[4] Interesting Items This Week:

The Sydney Diet Heart Study, which we discussed on page 121 of the book, has been re-analyzed based on newly recovered data. Omega-6 fats are still bad. Those who replaced animal fats with safflower oil were nearly twice as likely to die.

Most food-borne illnesses are caused by plant foods, and green leafy vegetables are the worst offenders.

Xanthan gum can be lethal to infants.

Emily Deans discusses Paleo orthorexia. Meanwhile, Dave Asprey may be pioneering a new disorder: “orthoQSia.”

Cate Shanahan is advising the Los Angeles Lakers and has inspired Kobe Bryant to eat from pastured animals.

Prof Dr Andro suggests drinking coffee with your beef.

Seth Roberts comments on a New York Times magazine story chronicling how a boy with juvenile arthritis was cured by dietary changes that remodeled his gut flora.

Peter Frost reports that boys and girls were reaching sexual maturity around age 17 in the 18th and early 19th centuries, but at ages 10 to 13 today. The progression to earlier female menarche and male voice-breaking has been steady since at least 1840, but the cause is unknown.

Beth Mazur offers a surprising candidate for “one of the biggest public health failures in the last couple of decades.”

Steven Hamley argues against the Carnivore Connection Hypothesis.

Finally, a ketogenic diet can reverse the kidney damage induced by the hyperglycemia of diabetes:

Of course, having found a successful dietary therapy, they don’t want to put people on the curative diet, they want to find a drug that replicates the diet’s effects!

[5] A few reader stories:

Catherine reports success with our circadian rhythm strategies:

I am committed [to learning how to make bone broth] because everything else about PHD has worked great for me. The early a.m. light exercise was the ticket for my borderline low thyroid and energy levels.

Greg Lutz in an Amazon review says he’s losing weight without appetite:

I have been eating according to the book for about a month now and I am certainly losing weight. I don’t believe in weighing myself, but I have lost over an inch in my waist in this short time. I have no desire to snack or eat anything sweet.

Joyjoy at Low-Carb Friends has had an interesting experience:

I keep forgetting to mention that part of the reason I love the PHD approach, or at least the wheat-free, grain-free, sugar-free part, is that I hurt way less doing it. I’m bizarrely healthy overall, but I did have wicked migraines that were spiralling a wee bit out of my control during menopause. They seem much improved. And I can easily do days of snowshoeing, skiing, etc.- stuff I haven’t done for years – and not hurt. I’m sure the anti-inflammatory effects of this diet are the reason. (One of the reasons I’m certain is that when I do eat sugar/flour, I ache post-sports.) Fascinating. And so encouraging.

[6] Cute Animals:


[7] The Ideal Weight Program from Dan’s Plan and Stephan Guyenet:  Dan’s Plan and Stephan Guyenet recently announced their “Ideal Weight Program”. For $39.99, you get an assortment of content and online tools guiding you through an eating and lifestyle program that promotes weight normalization.

Disclosure: I am an advisor to Dan’s Plan. Dan’s Plan and I considered developing a parallel program to Stephan’s, which would have been released simultaneously and called the Complete Health Program. However, as time is scarce and Shou-Ching and I wanted to focus on our cookbook, we put off the project.

An attractive part of the program is the quality of the people behind it:

  • Stephan is a neurobiologist and obesity researcher whose Whole Health Source blog has been one of the best on the Internet for as long as I have been reading diet and health blogs.
  • Dan Pardi, the leader of Dan’s Plan, is a Ph.D. candidate in neurobiology at the University of Leiden who specializes in sleep, exercise, and circadian rhythms.

Both are top-notch scholars; and both are highly motivated to help others improve their health. Dan, for example, was moved to start Dan’s Plan after his father died too young, in part because he could not motivate himself to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

A premise of Dan’s Plan is that an online support program which draws data from Quantified Self tools, such as a FitBit or Withings scale, can help motivate users to adhere to a health-improving program.

Dan and Stephan make a great team because circadian rhythms are as important as food in obesity, so Dan’s expertise complements Stephan’s. You can be confident their advice is solidly grounded in science.

You can read Stephan’s description of the Ideal Weight Program here. Diet-wise the program offers two choices:

  • A version of a protein-sparing modified fast, similar to the Dukan Diet or Atkins Induction, which Stephan has given the catchy acronym of the FLASH (Fat Loss and Sustainable Health) diet.
  • A “Simple Food Diet” based on whole, natural foods that incorporates many of the themes of Stephan’s blogging.

If you feel an online program based on Stephan’s ideas can help you, I encourage you to check out the Ideal Weight Program.

[8] Faces Therapy: (Background on faces therapy here):

Via Orrin Judd.

[9] Some AHS videos: Videos of talks from the 2012 Ancestral Health Symposium are still being released. This week saw a couple of good ones. Hamilton Stapell looks at the origins of today’s ancestral health movement in the Physical Culture movement of the late 1800s:

And Mat Lalonde spoke on nutrient density – I thought this was one of the better talks at the symposium:

Mat and I will both be serving on a panel discussion of nutrient density at PaleoFX, which looks to be a terrific meeting.

[10] Shou-Ching’s Photo Art:

[11] Slim is Simple: Jonathan Bailor is an author and Microsoft producer who is creating professionally produced multimedia videos to promulgate the low-carb Paleo message. The video production values are really impressive; the message is intended to offer a common-denominator viewpoint that Jonathan thinks most of the Paleo community can endorse. He advocates water, fiber, and protein rich foods like meat and vegetables, and singles out starches – especially, RICE (7:50) – for opprobrium. As an explanation for obesity, he offers the “clogged drain theory of obesity.” There are a mix of things I agree with (we should shop for whole foods from the perimeter of the supermarket) and things I disagree with (we should favor “inefficient” calories that our body resists utilizing). I think the title thesis – that slim is simple – has something to it, because living our ancestral lifestyle will usually normalize weight; but I don’t think it’s a simple matter to live our ancestral lifestyle in the modern world. It doesn’t follow that because slim was simple in the past, it is simple today.

I’m pleased that Jonathan lists as a resource at the end of the video. He hopes his video will get to a million views on Youtube, and I hope he gets there. Check it out!

Around the Web: Mid-Winter Edition

It’s been a long time since we’ve done an Around the Web, but we’re ready for some fun. The days are lengthening, spring is getting closer, and though there hasn’t been much time for reading, a few items caught our eye.

[1] Music to read by:

[2] Interesting Items on the Web:

SparkPeople has a PHD team. Thanks gopintos!

Low Carb Friends has a PHD thread that’s currently at eleven pages. Here’s one person’s post:

I am losing! And I am super happy. You know how people always say, “I can see myself doing XYZ way of eating forever” Well, I have NEVER been able to say that until now with absolute certainty. I LOVE the PHD and I love knowing I will eat each day.

Amy Kubal has the top 9 ‘BLOW YOUR MIND’ reasons to attend Paleo FX 2013. I can’t wait!

Even in northern Europe, Stone Age hunter-gatherers liked carbs: “The starch sources that the archaeologists have so far found include acorns and sea beet, the latter of which is the ancestor of both the beetroot and the sugar beet.” And their dogs liked carbs too.

But Paleolithic diets were lower carb than the Neolithic: Not only the onset of cavities with the Neolithic, but the evolution of cavity-causing oral bacteria, tell us that starch eating greatly increased with the invention of agriculture.

John Ioannidis has argued that most biomedical research is wrong, and he was supported by pharmaceutical company studies: Amgen reported in Nature that its oncology and hematology researchers had failed to replicate 47 out of 53 highly promising results, the German drugs giant Bayer reported that it could not replicate about two thirds of published studies identifying drug targets. Via Mike the Mad Biologist, a new statistical study finds that if published p-values are to be believed and if the number of positive and negative results published are unbiased (both big ifs), then only 14% of biomedical research is wrong.

Seth Roberts believes two things about teaching.

Kamal Patel is quantifying himself.

The flu virus doesn’t just cause the flu: it’s been implicated in ear infections and pancreatic infections leading to diabetes.

Norovirus deserves our respect, but there’s a way to reduce risk: wash your hands, and don’t eat out.

Via @cillakat, a primer in infectious disease.

A new blog: “Perfect Health Party.”

Andrew Badenoch had to abandon last summer’s fatbike-packrafting journey through the Arctic. His account.

Do restaurants in China pass off pork rectum as calamari? This is a concern because of hepatitis E in pork intestine. If you visit China, make sure your “calamari” is well cooked!

Jamie Scott embraces the economic analysis of nutrients.

Why do our fingertips wrinkle in water? So that we can better grasp wet objects.

True facts about sloths. (Via Yoni.)

A surprising therapy for digestive tract blockage: Coca Cola.

The key to a long life: Don’t fall!

[4] Cute animals:

Via Yves Smith.

[5] Not the Weekly Video: Arthur Haines discusses myths of the Paleo Diet:

[6] More Cute Animals:

Via Yves Smith.

[7] Shou-Ching’s Photo Art:

[8] Monthly Video: Via Scott Sterling, the story of Susannah Cahalan’s descent into madness from an autoimmune disease: