Category Archives: Gratitude - Page 3


PaleoFX was a terrific meeting. It’s not easy to stage such a large event. Kudos to Michelle and Keith Norris, Kevin Cottrell, and the 100 volunteers who worked so hard to make it a success. Jack Kruse in his keynote speech talked of “paying it forward,” and the volunteers and organizers certainly did that.

Jack is a better speaker than writer, and I enjoyed the talk. He recounted a story of a woman he met as a surgical resident. She had an inoperable cancer; Jack closed the incision in the operating room, and she lived for another six months. She willed her wine collection to Jack, and each day before she died she took a single bottle from each case to the beach and wrote a letter to Jack explaining its provenance and what it meant to her. The package of letters came along with the wine after her death, and in a note she mentioned the story of the Old Man and the Starfish, and told Jack, “You are my starfish.” She advised him to withdraw from the rat race and enjoy life, as she had in her final six months. Jack didn’t pay much heed to that advice until 2006. Then, after reflection and perhaps some cold thermogenesis, he realized that he ought to “pay it forward” by working “transformational change.” At this point he pulled out what he said was a stick of dynamite and a lighter:

He said that the dynamite could work transformational change on the University of Texas, and it was our obligation to go out in the world and work transformational change by converting others to Paleo.

Luckily the fire marshal was not present, or PaleoFX might have come to a premature end.

The next day began with a talk by CJ Hunt, producer of the documentary “In Search of the Perfect Human Diet.” CJ has a great personal story: he had a heart attack at age 24, but now in his 50s looks like a young and athletic man. Here is the trailer:

CJ can’t market the movie widely until after film festivals, so if you’re interested, the place to buy is through his web site.

Robb Wolf was next, and talked about how he made Norcal into such a successful gym. Robb is an outstanding businessman and his advice for gym operators was excellent.

Cooking demos were next. Check out Nom Nom Paleo for some great pictures of food and people.

Next was a panel I served on, “Ancestral Wellness Through the Decades.” I was impressed with Skyler Tanner, who came well prepared. Melissa Hartwig, Emily Talley, Dr Shilpi Mehta, and Jack Kruse all had good things to say and we covered a lot of ground.

More panels and talks by Mark Sisson and Ron Rosedale followed. The “Whole Foods vs Supplements” panel with Chris Kresser, Amy Kubal, Diana Rodgers, Liz Wolf, Diane Sanfilippo, Dr Dan Kalish, and Joe Johnson was excellent.

After the day was over we had an author book signing and then the audio-visual team recorded interviews with presenters.

The audio-visual team was really, really good: I understand it was the team that produces Anthony Johnson’s The 21 Convention. One of the A/V guys stayed up all night Thursday night putting together a video from the first day’s action, and it was played first thing Friday and was really professionally done. Quite impressive. A DVD of the conference will go on sale in about 60 days, and I’m sure it will be outstanding.

We finally got back to our hotel at 11 pm, our only food having been some chipotle chicken for lunch. Chris Kresser, Dan Pardi, and I went to a Pappadeaux restaurant for some baked potatoes.

Friday, after the video, began with an open Q&A panel: “Ask the Paleo Experts.” The biggest fireworks came with a “safe starches” question, directly specifically to Jack Kruse and myself. Jack has been arguing that one shouldn’t eat any carbs in the winter – here is Jack on the subject of eating a banana in winter:

Only humans who fail to listen to evolutions rule book of engagement die. You can eat a banana in the winter and feel fine but Mother Nature says it’s impossible………therefore we ought not to do it. I will follow her lead over a diet book guru or the opinions of a bunch of people who let their thoughts subjugate their genes. Feelings and thoughts do not trump neural biochemistry …

Jack turned to me and said something like “I’d like Paul to explain why, if Neuropeptide Y is downregulated in cold weather, it can be safe to eat starches.” My answer was that we are warm-blooded mammals and maintain a constant body temperature so that our basic biochemistry, including the ability to digest and utilize glucose, works no matter what the outside temperature. Ron Rosedale, Nora Gedgaudas, and Emily Deans added to the discussion. Here’s a photo of half the panel, from Bryan Lambeth:

From the left are Emily Deans, David Pendergrass, Keith Norris, Lane Sebring, and myself. Offcamera were Jack Kruse, Ron Rosedale, Nora Gedgaudas, Dean Dwyer, and Dallas Hartwig.

After the panel came my talk. It was my “fitness” talk and covered “Some Overlooked Factors in Fitness.” One of the topics I covered was body composition. After the talk I had a long chat with Jimmy Moore about how eating some carbs can improve body composition and facilitate weight loss. He said it was starting to make sense to him. Today he tweeted:

Wouldn’t it be funny if I actually started eating rice again? Stay tuned. @pauljaminet #safestarches

Who knows, maybe we’ll revive the PHD weight loss experiment Jimmy and I talked about last fall. Stay tuned!

While all these talks and panels were going on upstairs, there was a continuous string of Strength and Movement sessions on the first floor. I didn’t have enough time for those, but I did make time for a 15-minute mashing session from Kate Catlow of the Mindful Body Center. Great!

I spent most of Friday chatting to people. The great value of conferences like this is the opportunity to meet others in the Paleo community and to look for ways we can cooperate to achieve good things. I even got a head start on this: Nora Gedgaudas sat next to me in our flight into Austin. In her review of the conference, Emily Deans mentioned a few things under discussion:

I drove with Paul Jaminet in the car and we talked about his upcoming plans, Shou-Ching’s research, and his work with Aaron Blaisdell to help with publishing an Ancestral Health academic journal, all very exciting stuff.

Nothing is settled yet but there will probably be a few initiatives to report in coming months.

I think PaleoFX planted a few seeds that may grow into bigger things. Many thanks to the organizers and volunteers who made it all possible! I hope that a good time was had by all.

Talks and Interviews, 2011 and 2012

One of the most enjoyable aspects of 2011 was the opportunity to speak about our diet.

Meeting readers and making new friends was delightful. And preparing the talks forced me to think about what parts of our message were most important, and to find the most powerful supporting evidence and images for each point. I feel

Thank You!

I’m grateful to everyone who attended my talks this year, but most deeply grateful to:

  • Sally Fallon and the Weston A Price Foundation for inviting me to speak at Wise Traditions 2011.
  • Court Wing, Hari Singh, and Joshua Newman for the opportunity to speak at CrossFit NYC.

Wise Traditions was a tremendous conference; if you ever have a chance to go, don’t miss it.

Court Wing was a wonderful host, the audience was fantastic – we took questions for about an hour after the talk – and Shou-Ching and I had a great time. CrossFit NYC has just moved into new space, so if you’re looking for a gym in New York, be sure to check them out.

When I get a chance I’ll go through these talks, find replacements for any copyrighted images, and post the slides.

Dr Mercola Video Interview

One of the happiest outcomes of the Wise Traditions conference was my meeting with Dr. Joseph Mercola. Since the conference we’ve spoken for several hours and traded emails, and I’ve been impressed with his friendliness and his ability to get to the heart of matters and boil complex issues down to essentials.

Dr Mercola recorded a 90-minute video interview with me which will go out in his newsletter on Saturday, January 7. However, his team has already posted it on Youtube. I hope I’m not stealing any of his thunder by embedding it here:

Dr Mercola is a tremendous interviewer and I really like the content. I hope no one minds that I shift my weight back and forth. I wasn’t aware that I was doing this, I suppose it’s a habit developed from working at a standing desk.

Jimmy Moore, Encore Week

I’m appearing tomorrow, January 3, on Encore Week of Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb Show.

Jimmy hasn’t posted the interview yet (UPDATE: The interview is here), but he does have a preview. My preview segment runs from 3:00 to 5:30:

Jimmy used a photo from this site that dates from 2009, when my rosacea was bad. One more reminder that it’s time to update all our photos!

Joanne Nelson, Joanne Unleashed

Joanne Nelson of Joanne Unleashed has also posted an interview with me. It’s another excellent introduction to our diet.

Upcoming Interviews

Miriam Knight of New Consciousness Review will interview me on January 4, and will air Tuesday January 10 at 9 am on KWRM 106.9 FM in Seattle, and on and iTunes.

Sean Croxton of Underground Wellness has invited me to appear on his radio show on Thursday, January 19 at 5pm PST/8pm EST.

I’m excited about all of these opportunities, and I hope you enjoy them too!

2011 in Review: Top Posts

It’s been a great year for us, full of fun and learning. In this last post of 2011 I’ll review the year’s most interesting posts. Early next week, I’ll add a few more thoughts about 2011 and preview our plans for 2012.

But first let me give a shout out to Stabby Raccoon’s “Guide to Binge Drinking,” at the new group blog “Highbrow Paleo.” If you plan to drink alcohol on New Year’s Eve, either for pleasure or to raise your HDL, you might want to look up Stabby’s advice.

The Puzzle of High LDL on Paleo

One of the more interesting puzzles we delved into this year was the problem of high LDL on Paleo.

Reader Larry Eshelman had this problem, and gathered a large number of examples of low-carb Paleo dieters with high LDL: Low Carb Paleo, and LDL is Soaring – Help!, Mar 2, 2011. We suggested a possible remedy – repairing deficiencies in micronutrients known to be crucial to vascular function – in Answer Day: What Causes High LDL on Low-Carb Paleo?, Mar 3, 2011.

That remedy worked for Larry, and we’ll do an update on his case soon. But it wasn’t the whole story, and later in the year we looked at another cause of high LDL on Paleo – low thyroid hormone levels – in High LDL on Paleo Revisited: Low Carb & the Thyroid, Sep 1, 2011. Going too low-carb causes a reduction in T3 thyroid hormone levels, which leads to inactivation of LDL receptors and potentially large increases in LDL levels. Gregory Barton shared his case history.

Blood Lipids as Diagnostic Tools

We were also led to think about blood lipids because lipoproteins are immune molecules of considerable importance in fighting infectious diseases. We talked about the immune functions of HDL in HDL and Immunity, Apr 12, 2011, and HDL: Higher is Good, But is Highest Best?, Apr 14, 2011. We talked about the immune functions of LDL, VLDL, and Lp(a) in Blood Lipids and Infectious Disease, Part II, Jul 12, 2011.

With help from blogger O Primitivo, we looked at what serum lipid levels optimize health in Blood Lipids and Infectious Disease, Part I, Jun 21, 2011. It’s higher than most think: TC between about 200 and 240 mg/dl is optimal.

We discussed ways to improve immune function by raising HDL in How to Raise HDL, Apr 20, 2011.

Don Matesz objected that newborns have very low serum cholesterol, so we looked at Low Serum Cholesterol in Newborn Babies, Jul 14, 2011. Breast-fed babies achieve normal serum cholesterol of about 200 mg/dl at age six months, which is also when their immune function normalizes.

Another objection was based on the claim by Paleo pioneers Boyd Eaton and Loren Cordain that hunter-gatherers had low serum cholesterol. That led us to a number of posts: Did Hunter-Gatherers Have Low Serum Cholesterol?, Jun 28, 2011; Serum Cholesterol Among the Eskimos and Inuit, Jul 1, 2011; Serum Cholesterol Among African Hunter-Gatherers, Jul 5, 2011; Serum Cholesterol Among Hunter-Gatherers: Conclusion, Jul 7, 2011. The upshot: healthy hunter-gatherers had normal serum cholesterol, with TC usually over 200 mg/dl. The cases of low serum cholesterol were either in stale samples collected from remote sites in the 1930s to 1950s without use of refrigeration and delays of weeks to months in measurement, or from hunter-gatherers with high rates of infectious disease from parasitic protozoa or worms.

This literature survey led us to the belief that there are really only two common causes for low total serum cholesterol (not counting statin consumption): eating a lipid deficient diet, such as a macrobiotic diet; or having an infection with a eukaryotic pathogen.

This means that anyone eating a high-fat diet who has low serum cholesterol should get checked out for eukaryotic infections, probably protozoa or worms. We’ve encouraged half a dozen people or so to do this.

Brendan is a great example. He first left a comment in May asking for advice:

I have rosacea, puffiness in my cheeks, post-nasal drip, frequent headaches, severe constipation (IBS), hypothyroidism, extremely low cholesterol, and a variety of neuropsychiatric symptoms (depression, anxiety, insomnia, and cognitive and motor problems).

“Extremely low cholesterol” is the tell-tale clue. He reported back in December: he did indeed have whipworm and entamoeba infections, and is now seeking treatment.

I like this story because it is a great example of what we’re trying to achieve on this blog. Diet, nutrition, and infections interact to product one’s health; we want to understand how to troubleshoot any problems. I’m excited that blood lipids are turning out to be good diagnostic markers for certain types of infection that are often overlooked.

The Challenge of Obesity

Our diet was designed to help people become healthy; it was not designed as a weight loss diet. Nevertheless, Shou-Ching and I were well aware of the failure of most weight loss diets to cure obesity – rather they tend to produce temporary weight loss followed by yo-yo weight regain – and we strongly suspected that a diet designed for general health might be the best strategy for long-term weight loss. So entering 2011, we were very curious how our diet would work for people trying to lose weight.

From Atkins to the Dukan Diet, recently embraced by Kate Middleton, popular diet books generally recommend high protein consumption, which seems to be very effective at promoting short-term weight loss. A few posts explored the place of protein in a weight loss diet, and whether there are alternatives to high protein: Protein, Satiety, and Body Composition, Jan 25, 2011; Low-Protein Leanness, Melanesians, and Hara Hachi Bu, Jan 27, 2011.

A few people who transitioned to our diet from very low-carb diets noticed an immediate gain of 3 to 5 pounds. This caused us to look into the issue of water weight: Water Weight: Does It Change When Changing Diets? Does It Matter?, Jan 14, 2011.

We also did a bit to link obesity to our favorite causes of disease – malnutrition, toxins, and infections – in Why We Get Fat: Food Toxins, Jan 20, 2011. Another post along this line was Obesity: Often An Infectious Disease, Sep 20, 2010.

Losing weight is especially hard for post-menopausal women, especially if they can’t exercise. Calorie needs may be as low as 1500 calories per day, making it hard to be well nourished on a calorie-restricted diet. The case of erp, a 76-year-old women with bad knees who needed to lose weight for knee replacement surgery, led us to clarify where the calories should come from when few can be eaten: Perfect Health Diet: Weight Loss Version, Feb 1, 2011.

We were happy that erp did indeed lose weight, dropping from size 16 to size 6. Another impressive case of weight loss was recorded by Jay Wright, who started our diet in March at 250 pounds and reached his goal weight of 170 pounds in October. Jay generously shared his story: Jay Wright’s Weight Loss Journey, Dec 1, 2011.

Stephan Guyenet, one of the finest diet and nutrition bloggers, introduced us to “food reward” and to the role in obesity of the brain modules that manage appetite and energy homeostasis. He had a back-and-forth with Gary Taubes over their differing views. I chimed in on a few occasions, notably in Gary Taubes and Stephan Guyenet: Three Views on Obesity, Aug 11, 2011, and Thoughts on Obesity Inspired by Stephan, Jun 2, 2011.

The Guyenet-Taubes debate gave me an opportunity to present a figure from a classic study by Maria Rupnick and colleagues. Giving or withholding an angiogenesis inhibitor causes ob/ob (obesity prone) mice to cycle between obese and normal weight:

It is hard to see how either a brain-centric view or a carb-and-insulin-centric view can account for this. I see this data as testimony to the complexity of biology.

I’m going to be developing my own theory of obesity in 2012; I previewed this theory in my talk at CrossFit NYC on November 19. One element was the subject of a 2011 post: How Does a Cell Avoid Obesity?, Jan 18, 2011. Leptin resistance and insulin resistance – two of the hallmarks of obesity – are symptoms of the disease of obesity, not its cause.

Therapeutic Ketogenic Diets

Ketogenic diets are potentially highly beneficial to neurological function, and are an under-utilized therapy for neurological conditions.

One reason they’re under-utilized is that clinical ketogenic diets have been poorly designed and malnourishing. We discussed how to make a diet ketogenic while minimizing health risks in Ketogenic Diets, I: Ways to Make a Diet Ketogenic, Feb 24, 2011, and Ketogenic Diets 2: Preventing Muscle and Bone Loss on Ketogenic Diets, Mar 10, 2011.

But the goal is to demonstrate that ketogenic diets can be therapeutic for various conditions. We had several great stories from people trying our version of the ketogenic diet.

Kate was able to relieve migraines and anxiety: A Cure for Migraines?:, Mar 29, 2011.

In a poignant story, we learned about a genetic disorder called NBIA (Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation). Children with this disorder develop extremely painful muscle spasms and are usually in agony from around age 6, before dying in their teens. It turns out that a ketogenic diet effectively prevents the spasms and pain. Two parents of NBIA children shared photos of their kids in Ketogenic Diet for NBIA (Neurodegeneration with Brain Iron Accumulation), Feb 22, 2011. From being in constant pain, the boys had gone to “smiling and laughing all the time”:


Thanks to our resident expert on hypothyroidism, Mario Renato Iwakura, we had a number of excellent discussions of how to optimize diet and nutrition for hypothyroidism.

First, Mario defended our support of selenium and iodine supplementation in cases of hypothyroidism, including Hashimoto’s autoimmune hypothyroidism, with a thorough review of the literature: see Iodine and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Part I, May 24, 2011, and Iodine and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Part 2, May 26, 2011. It is crucial to get selenium in the range 200 to 400 mcg per day, and to avoid an iodine deficiency. With optimal selenium, a wide range of iodine intakes are healthy, including quite high iodine intakes.

Later in the year, readers asked us to address claims by Anthony Colpo that low-carb diets would lead to “euthyroid sick syndrome,” a condition of low T3 thyroid hormone. We found support for that idea, but only for “very low-carb” diets, ie those with carbs below 200 calories per day (more in athletes or those with inadequate protein intake). Thyroid problems were also exacerbated when omega-6 fat intake was high. A literature search was unable to find instances of thyroid problems on low omega-6 and adequate carb diets. The main posts: Low Carb High Fat Diets and the Thyroid, Aug 18, 2011; Carbohydrates and the Thyroid, Aug 24, 2011; Mario Replies: Low Carb Diets and the Thyroid, II, Aug 30, 2011.

This was a useful discussion, as it led us back to the problem of high LDL on Paleo due to low T3 thyroid hormone levels caused by very low carb consumption.

The Place of Starches in a Paleo Diet

Given that some carbs should be eaten, what form should they take? There are two main food types of carbohydrate, sugars and starches.

I was surprised by the vehement opposition to starch consumption displayed by many low-carb advocates polled by Jimmy Moore in October. Most low-carb diets support the eating of sugary fruits and vegetables, and I would have thought that opposition to starches would be no greater than opposition to sugars. How wrong I was!

My original reply to the many low-carb gurus polled by Jimmy can be found here: Jimmy Moore’s seminar on “safe starches”: My reply, Oct 12, 2011. A week later I added a discussion of why the glycemic index or starches doesn’t matter when they are eaten the way we advise eating them: How to Minimize Hyperglycemic Toxicity, Oct 20, 2011. Dr Ron Rosedale enthusiastically continued the conversation, and I replied to Ron: Safe Starches Symposium: Dr Ron Rosedale, Nov 1, 2011.

Shortly afterward I spoke at the Wise Traditions conference of the Weston A Price Foundation – a great meeting! – and was asked about the GAPS diet of Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. It is an excellent diet which embodies a lot of clinical lore about how to heal gut dysbiosis, but its recommendation to avoid starches, while usually helpful, is not always the best course. There are pathogens capable of exploiting every human ecological niche and diet, including very low-carb or fructose-containing diets, and so there is no one diet that is perfect for every patient. Some cases of gut dysbiosis actually benefit from added starch. There seemed to be a bit of controversy about what I said, and I clarified my off-the-cuff comments here: Around the Web; Revisiting Green Meadows Farm, Dec 3, 2011.

Infectious Diseases

I thought I was going to blog a lot more about infectious diseases in 2011, but didn’t get around to it. Still, I got started in February with a few posts: They’ve Got Us Surrounded, Feb 8, 2011; Jaminet’s Corollary to the Ewald Hypothesis, Feb 11, 2011; and Evidence for Jaminet’s Corollary, Feb 15, 2011.

Circadian Rhythm Therapies

I’ve known for a long time that circadian rhythms were important for health. Disruption of circadian rhythms, for instance, by night shift work, is associated with higher rates of disease.

What I didn’t know, until I began to read Seth Roberts, is that simple dietary and lifestyle tactics can have a big impact on circadian rhythms. Seth Roberts and Circadian Therapy, Mar 22, 2011, looks at Seth’s work; “Intermittent Fasting as a Therapy for Hypothyroidism,” Dec 1, 2010, applies circadian rhythm therapies to hypothyroidism.


We made a start toward discussing how to eat if you have cancer in two posts: Toward an Anti-Cancer Diet, Sep 15, 2011, and An Anti-Cancer Diet, Sep 28, 2011. Cancer is another disease in which circadian rhythm therapies seem to be important.

However, there’s much more to be said about cancer. We’ll probably discuss HDAC inhibition and anti-viral dieting in 2012.

Miscellaneous Disorders

Check out the “Diseases” categories in our Categories list for other disorders we’ve blogged about. A few items from 2011: Causes and Cures for Constipation, Apr 4, 2011; An Osteoarthritis Recovery Story, May 17, 2011; Around the Web; and Menstrual Cramp Remedy, Mar 5, 2011.

A Year of Food

In 2011, we decided to write a cookbook, and made an earnest start by posting a recipe once a week. Some of our favorite food posts:

Ox Feet Broth, Miso Soup, and Other Soups, Jan 2, 2011

Homemade Seasoned Seaweed, Jan 9, 2011

About Green Tea, Jan 30, 2011

Dong Po’s Pork, Feb 13, 2011

Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup), Feb 27, 2011

Pacific Sweet and Sour Salmon, Apr 10, 2011

Crème Brûlée, May 29, 2011

French Fried Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes, Jul 17, 2011

Chicken Wings, Sep 19, 2011

Sarah Atshan’s Lovely Food, Sep 11, 2011

Bi Bim Bap, Oct 16, 2011

Fermented Mixed Vegetables, Nov 27, 2011

Bengali Fish Curry (Machher Jhal), 2: The Recipe, Dec 27, 2011


Shou-Ching wanted to be an artist but settled for being a scientist. This year she began to share some of her art work. We showed some of her paintings in Thank You From Shou-Ching, April 24, 2011, and her Photo Art appears weekly in our Around the Web posts. A complete compilation can be found on the Photo Art page.

Cute Animals

There were too many cute animals in the Around the Web posts to pick a favorite; but here’s one of my favorite places – Logan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana:


It was a delightful year for us. We made a lot of new friends. Best of all, our diet seems to have improved the health of hundreds, maybe thousands, of people – often dramatically.

We wish all of our readers a very happy New Year! May all of us enjoy improved health in the year to come.

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

May a blessed and joyful Christmas be yours!

P.S. — Jimmy Moore is soliciting questions for his Encore Week interview with Paul. And friend-of-the-blog and grass-fed beef producer Allan Balliet is starting a podcast on investigative farming and soliciting questions for his upcoming interview with Joel Salatin.