Saturday, March 7, 2015

Coming Full Circle

"Coming Full Circle—From Endless Complexity to Simplicity and Back Again.", discusses how cancer research is once again back in the "incredibly complex" stage of its evolution:

"In the mid-1970s, ...the mechanisms by which cancer started and spread were a total mystery. Half a century of cancer research had generated an enormous body of observations about the behavior of the disease, but there were essentially no insights into how the disease begins and progresses to its life-threatening conclusions. As a result, the field of cancer research was held in ill-disguised contempt by the growing crowd of molecular biologists, geneticists, and biochemists. Even the cancer researchers had become rather disillusioned with the vast body of essentially incoherent phenomena that constituted ‘‘cancer research’’: as one particularly jaundiced cancer researcher told me at the time ‘‘one should never, ever confuse cancer research with science!’’

Then, everything got "simple". Cancer was seen as a tissue disorder in which cells just 'went crazy.' 

"From the point of view of the reductionist hoping that a small number of molecular events might explain cancer, things went downhill from there for the next 30 years."

Later, after decades of massive spending on a cure for cancer with very little to show for the efforts, cancer is once again seen as much more complex that before imagined.

"Beyond these complex, currently intractable large data sets, there are problems that cancer researchers haven’t even begun to confront. How do the transcriptomes of cancer cells interact with their mutant genomes to orchestrate cancer cell behavior? How do the differentiation programs of the normal cells-of-origin influence the behavior of their neoplastic descendants that have sustained large numbers of genetic and epigenetic changes? How do the multiple distinct cell types that form the tumor microenvironment (composed of inflammatory and immune cells and cells forming the microvessels) intercommunicate with one another and influence the behavior of nearby neoplastic cells? Physicists have wrestled unsuccessfully with the threebody problem. What will become of us who try to deal with eight or ten distinct independent agents, each a distinct stromal cell type that is recruited into a tumor and interacts bidirectionally with the other recent recruits?"

But, I think in all this complexity, simplicity is emerging for those of us who simply want to avoid ending up in the cancer ward: The immune system. While none of us living today may ever fully understand our immune system (and if anyone says they do, they are lying!), we can learn what keeps our immune system healthy.

Maybe even more "full circle" is the surprising new research that looks eerily like descriptions of cancer from the 1800's and before when cancer was seen as a living creature, living and traveling throughout its host at will. The 2014 research paper, "Tumor and the Microenvironment: A Chance to Reframe the Paradigm of Carcinogenesis?" looks closely at cancer as more than the random mutations we've been chasing for decades:

"Within that perspective, the tumor microenvironment cannot be merely considered akin to new “factor” to be added to an already long list of “signaling factors”; microenvironment represents the physical-biochemical support of the morphogenetic field which drives epithelial cells towards differentiation and phenotype transformation, according to rules understandable only by means of a systems biology approach."

In other words, they are once again seeing cancer as "alive" and not just "cells gone crazy." But what could be driving this cancerous life?

Horizontal Gene Transfer...also Full Circle

This talk of "Horizontal Gene transfer" we've been doing in the last several posts is maybe a clue. Cancer tumors are often found to contain genes that shouldn't be there. This paper describes bacterial genes found in cancer cells:  "Bacteria-Human Somatic Cell Lateral Gene Transfer Is Enriched in Cancer Samples"

"There are 10× more bacterial cells in our bodies from the microbiome than human cells. Viral DNA is known to integrate in the human genome, but the integration of bacterial DNA has not been described. Using publicly available sequence data from the human genome project, the 1000 Genomes Project, and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), we examined bacterial DNA integration into the human somatic genome."

These researchers go on to make a fantastic claim, that bacteria can inject their "code" into animal cells, turning them cancerous, yet go unnoticed:

"We sought to establish if bacterial cells insert their own DNA into the human genome. Such random mutations could cause disease in the same manner that mutagens like UV rays from the sun or chemicals in cigarettes induce mutations. We detected the integration of bacterial DNA in the human genome more readily in tumors than normal samples. In particular, extensive amounts of DNA with similarity to Acinetobacter DNA were fused to human mitochondrial DNA in acute myeloid leukemia samples. We also identified specific integrations of DNA with similarity to Pseudomonas DNA near the untranslated regulatory regions of four proto-oncogenes. This supports our hypothesis that bacterial integrations occur in the human somatic genome that may potentially play a role in carcinogenesis. Further study in this area may provide new avenues for cancer prevention."

Sounds incredible, no?  And what if other microbes could do the same thing?  There is another likely denizen of the cancer underworld: Fungi.

Fungal Full Circle

While most people aren't familiar with the "Tree of Life", it's a well-known feature of biology and anyone who studies biology will know that on the Tree of Life, humans share some branches with a organisms known as "fungi."  Certain fungi have become reliant on humans to complete their lifecycles. The Candida family of yeasts, for instance, inhabit every human. When the human host has a robust immune system, Candida is our friend--keeping bacteria, viruses and other yeasts at bay. When the immune system falters, Candida can cause problems that are nearly impossible to clear up, especially with the modern arsenal of anti-fungal drugs commonly prescribed. 

Too Long/Didn't Read Summary:

Fungi and cancer share some amazing similarities, and I hope to get into this more in the future here on Vegetable Pharm. But just so you know, I'm not holding anything out on you! I don't have a secret potion I'm going to try to sell you once I have you hooked. The answer, in fact, may be very simple: your immune system.

But maybe the "take-away" of this post should be that no one, from the leading cancer researcher to the latest cancer guru, really understands what causes cancer and how to best treat it! sure, they can blast it with radiation, flood it with chemicals, or cut it out, but it's all guess-work. 

One of the most striking similarities between cancer and fungus is that neither can overpower a strong immune system. A well-working immune system should lead to a life free from fungal infections, and cancer. As a bonus, you'll also be not likely to have inflammation and auto-immune disorders. If it's all tied together, the immune system is the core.

More to come later, thanks "Gemma" for the push and papers.


Addendum by Gemma, March 11, 2015: 

The pure irony is that the "Coming Full circle" paper is authored by one of the most prominent cancer researcher of the last decades, Dr. Robert Weinberg, author of two seminal papers on cancer, among others:

The hallmarks of cancer. (2000), cited by some 3764 other papers

Hallmarks of cancer: the next generation. (2011), cited by 3106 papers

That means the cancer research has never really found out what cancer really is and why it behaves as it behaves, and Dr. Weinberg is forced to admit he doesn't know what to do with the vast amount of data the research generated, and says (emphasis mine):

"We lack the conceptual paradigms and computational strategies for dealing with this complexity. And equally painful, we don’t know how to integrate individual data sets, such as those deriving from cancer genome analyses, with other, equally important data sets, such as proteomics. This is most frustrating, since it is becoming increasingly apparent that a precise and truly useful understanding of the behavior of individual cancer cells and the tumors that they form will only come once we are able to integrate and then distill these data.
So, perhaps ironically, we have come full circle, beginning in a period when vast amounts of cancer research data yielded little insight into underlying mechanisms to a period (1980–2000) when a flurry of molecular and genetic research gave hope that cancer really could be understood through simple and logical reductionist thinking, and finally to our current dilemma. Once again, we can’t really assimilate and interpret most of the data that we accumulate. How will all this play out? I wouldn’t pretend to know. It’s a job, as one says on these occasions, for the next generation. Passing the buck like this is an enormously liberating experience, and so I’ll keep on doing it!

Or, as summarized in the above mentioned paper "Tumor and the Microenvironment: A Chance to Reframe the Paradigm of Carcinogenesis?":

"The core message of Weinberg's admissions is that current SMT-based cancer research provided no meaningful results to solve the cancer puzzle because it lacks a well-founded and robust theory of biological phenomena."  

(SMT = somatic mutation theory of carcinogenesis)


  1. I am suddenly even more thankful to this fresh batch of goat kefir than I was just a moment ago. THANK you, kefir! You are helping dig me out of an immune system train wreck :)

    ...actually, that's a really interesting question - surely someone has looked into this. Do people (or populations) who rely heavily on fermented foods in their daily intake, have a lower incidence of cancer?

  2. Tim, you are one of the nicest fellows on the planet. You appear to be the only major contradiction (that I've found so far) of 'its all about the money'.
    You have helped me and my family immensely - the fibre supplements have drastically improved my symptoms to the point where I'm not worrying about how much longer I'll be able to continue working.
    God bless you.

    1. I 2nd Rob's comments. With so many wanting to prosper from the suffering of the masses, Tim is giving hope and not selling it. I very much appreciate that!

    2. @Gabrielle Kadar I wondered about a comment you made to an earlier post. You had said supplemental fiber powders sped up transit time and that was not good especially for women (or something close to that). But doesn't eating fiber from whole foods do the same thing? Isn't that what fiber is supposed to do? Thanks. SL

    3. Hear hear! Me 3rd!

    4. I wrote up a reply and it vanished! Damn. Okay, the thing is men's transit times are faster than womens'. This was discussed on Heisenbug's blog and also the fact that Hadza women eat more fibrous vegetation than the men. There must be some need here due to higher progesterone levels which slow down gut mobility.

      I can't recall saying that fibres will increase transit time to the point of adverse consequences. They can make transit time faster if a low fibre diet slows it down. Not adverse though.

      I think it's better to eat whole foods that contain fibre because they also contain electrolytes, minerals, sugars, and phytonutrients. Purified fibres don't have any of this. Part of eating total real foods is to benefit from all of this.

    5. Thank you GK.


  3. excellent. You know up untill couple months ago I was on the other side of the fence regarding cancer-fungus link, but no so much anymore.

    as happens alot with such awesome posts I coincidentally (before i found your post)) found this article talking about cancer fungus immune system link (at the end there's a link to other article equally interesting).

    I personally found out it is indeed very much to do with the immunesystem (have been learning much about it too). If you find ways to boost and bring order to the immune system (aside from getting your gut flora healthy, which is ofcourse hugely important) and kill fungus, you can get out of the fungushole (though still far from easy in severe cases). I have found one such unbelievable way.. In fear of being arrested and nobody ever earning money again I won't tell you directly what it is, but if you look into the article there will be one special plant that is mentioned. maybe go google around and you'll find out amazing things about it, it sure opened another big rabbithole for me

    look forward to more of that

    1. Why are people afraid of speaking about Cannabis in treatment (yes in cancer too, it can causes cell cycle arrest) and why its use is criminalized in certain states is beyond me. This plant has like 1044 active compounds or more, not only THC.

    2. "kill fungus"

      You do not want to kill all the fungi, you only want them to behave. It is not the same.

    3. Gemma - agreed! Declaring war on microbes never works out as planned. They're not the enemy.

    4. Thanks, Gemma! Yep...we just all need to learn to get along.

      Wildcucumber - I was hoping you'd stop by. I keep thinking back to our convo a couple weeks ago about "ramping up the immune system" and you indicated you think it's best to have a less active immune system. I think that is exactly correct. When I talk about a strong immune system, I'm talking about the overall health of the individual components, ie. Peyer's Patches, T-Cells, Mast Cells, Lymph glands, etc... Lots (maybe all) of these components rely on communication with gut microbes to be as healthy as they can be. A weakened immune system may have to be "overactive" in order to work, sort of like an old Ford Pinto trying to climb an icy hill.

      MR. MEAT - I think the US is coming around slowly on the benefits of marijuana. They have legalized it for recreational use in Alaska where I live. Everyone wants really powerful pot that will get you cross-eyed stoned, but I hope they will also have some low potency pot high in CBD. I guess I will have to grow my own!

      GabKad - Ah, yes...viruses. Those, too!

    5. 'Why can't we all just get along??' The guy who said this after being beaten by LA cops has died of drowning in his swimming pool. But still and all, his question of valid. Of microbes, people and other people.

    6. Mister Meat (levi)March 12, 2015 at 4:32 AM

      Gemma, ofcourse not "kill fungus", but kill/get rid of excess fungus and achieve symphony

      it is unbelieveable gemma, with all that I've learned (about everything) I've come to the realisation that much of misery in the world is really an illusion and an 'ideal world' is actually way more attainable than we've been led to believe (and it might as well have been already). It all comes back to core principles that influence everything (everything). We could really all get along (now i see why the hippies were so hippy, sorry if this comes across insulting towards hippies).

  4. There is CBD/cannabidiol..perfectly legal seems to help many conditions

    1. There is also a gut-brain connection that relies on CBD receptors found in the gut. Thanks for the links! Interesting stuff.

    2. LOL! Tim, is that causing the munchies?

    3. CBD receptors in the gut?? Well that could explain why .. oh never mind.

    4. I know, it sounds like a joke, but it's not.Check this out:

      The endocannabinoid system links gut microbiota to adipogenesis.

      Loads of similar studies. There is a whole 'thing' called the endocannabinoid (eCB) system that lies within the gut and interfaces the gut bugs with other parts of your body, controlling things like pleasure, hunger, inflammation, fatness, and gut leakiness.

      I think it is no doubt why pot makes us feel good, it mimics some natural processes that are supposed to be occurring in a highly functioning gut.

      I don't think this is a reason to smoke pot, on its own, more a reason to treat your gut right and eat the food IT wants.

    5. It is really difficult to find anything about the eCB system **in layman's terms** that isn't just extolling cannabis. If anyone has a link I'd appreciate it. I blush to admit it but Tim, that link is greek to me.

    6. So funny. I never realized the pot legalization brigade has been using the eCB system as their 'proof' that pot needs to be legal.

      If you search for "endocannabinoid system NIH" you'll get thousands of hits from scholarly journals that never even use the term marijuana or discuss smoking anything. The eCB system does not rely on pot and pot probably does not really count when discussing the eCB system, it just shares a name and some chemical structures.

      Here's a good one, but really long, scroll through and you'll get the gist:

      Care and Feeding of the eCB System

      Effects of exercise stress on the endocannabinoid system in humans under field conditions. (abstract only, sorry)

      The endocannabinoid system and cancer: therapeutic implication

      The last one actually says that smoking marijuana activates many of the eCB pathways involved in cancer.

      "The available literature suggests that the endocannabinoid system may be targeted to suppress the evolution and progression of breast, prostate and bone cancer as well as the accompanying pain syndromes. Although this review focuses on these three types of cancer, activation of the endocannabinoid signalling system produces anti-cancer effects in other types of cancer including skin, brain (gliomas) and lung. Interestingly, cannabis trials in population-based studies failed to show any evidence for increased risk of respiratory symptoms/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or lung cancer associated with smoking cannabis. Moreover, synthetic cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system play a role in inhibiting cancer cell proliferation and angiogenesis, reducing tumour growth and metastases and inducing apoptosis in all three types of cancers reviewed here."

      Isn't that a hoot?

    7. Mister Meat (levi)March 12, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      Tim, I have to be honest I even thought at times that weed could be all you need. Like that what your gut flora supposed to achieve for you, now the cannabis does it for you (and way better when your gut flora is a mess). I've been been healing with a good rate during my SAD 5 weeks (Those same 5 sad weeks would have killed be wasn't it for the cannabis).
      also cbd on its own, magical (I have itching all over my body when taking couple of drops under tongue)
      But as with many new exciting things, after some time the conclusion arises that it all matters and I have yet another awesome thing implemented in my life and knowledge about (that I am happy to gather as that will benefit me in my life on many fronts, and clients will learn about things they don't hear anywhere else).

      But it is huge.. So many thoughts i could communicate about this.. But instead of rambling on, I too have links with cannabis/cbd research to share (nothing fancy):

      this topic is something along the lines that I have been thinking

      a thought that pops up: every ailment i see (like in that first link) and even little signs of suboptimal health, i see the link to fungus (and gut flora in general, but i've come to believe fungus is huge) and how it is not a coincidence that cannabis 'magically' affects all sorts of ailments. Fungus is huge in that, everytime i see mentioned cancer I tend to think fungus as well (and immune system not handling the 'cancer' => fungus?).
      Not to sound magnaminous, but in this way I have alot of unique views and gained insights on alot of stuff (in this topic being why it is that a specific ailment improves/dissapears with cannabis rather than that it 'somehow' does that). By that i mean that a typical cancer or cannabis researcher won't get that, as they often only know their domain. same goes for practitioners or people in healthfield not knowing what there is to know. its like gemma says in addendum: researchers don't know what cancer is.

    8. @Mister M - I used to feel the same way about one plant being able to cover nearly every health base I was in need of covering - for me it was the lowly stinging nettle. And if you ever did a comprehensive study on it, you'd see why I felt that way (and kind of still do). To me that is the exciting thing about the plant medicines, so many of them have multiple benefits for us. I'm glad to see cannabis being so fully researched - but I'm wary of how it's becoming Big Business. Here in Canada they're making home growing & processing for private medical use illegal, which is going to price it out of the range of many who might have seen some benefit. They'd better keep their hands off my nettles.

    9. Stinging nettles and marijuana? Nah...Chaga!

    10. Tim - right! Anyone else want to chime in with their go-to plant or fungus?

  5. Interesting about the fungal/cancer connection, its something Dave Asprey has been talking about a lot and is even doing a documentary on. Just last week in a podcast with the head dude at MAPS (non-profit on psychedelic drugs for therapeutic purposes) it was discussed that weed doesn't cause lung cancer like tobacco, but they argued a bit about moldy weed having the potential to cause cancer.

    1. Thanks. Yes, quite some compelling connections! And the answer to it all is within us...our immune system!

      I love this article:

      Immune system is key ally in cyberwar against cancer

      I hope everyone reads it.

      Summary: Scientists who are fighting a cyberwar against cancer find that the immune system may be a clinician's most powerful ally. "Recent research has found that cancer is already adept at using cyberwarfare against the immune system, and we studied the interplay between cancer and the immune system to see how we might turn the tables on cancer,"

      Take-home: "...there is a growing body of clinical evidence that suggests it is very difficult to force cancer directly from the strong to the weak position, in part because radiation and chemotherapeutic treatments also weaken the immune system as they weaken cancer."


    2. Just thinking about Dave Asprey and fungus...

      I have a feeling he will get it mostly wrong as he so far has been doing nothing but hiding from fungus and avoiding it at every turn.

      It is impossible to hide from, or avoid the fungal "pathogens" that Dave fears. In fact, hiding from it and trying to kill it may be the absolute worst thing one could do. Better, focus on the immune system and eat foods that may exert some antifungal effects.

      While I agree that a house full of stachybotris (black slime mold) is unhealthy and should be avoided, to only eat foods certified "mycotoxin free" and to avoid mushrooms because they are a fungus is just plain silly

    3. Dave is hypothyroid. This can cause anxiety. I think he just channels his hypo anxiety towards mycotoxins. Most of his podcasts are about himself to the point of ennui. There's a few good ones but please, it would be a good idea if dude would stop talking about himself all the time.

    4. Moldy weed will make you crazy long before it gives you cancer. (do not ask me how I know). The really heavy paranoia that some people get from pot use is due to mold, I'd wager.

      The interesting thing about mold is that one of the first symptoms is some degree of craziness. I don't know how this works, but I've known many (including me) who become highly agitated if exposed to stachybotris. Back when I was a cleaning lady I cured a kid of bed wetting by ridding the family's bathroom of mold. Long term exposure can really mess you up - depression, anxiety etc. Not everyone has respiratory symptoms. In fact, I'd love to get inside the house of anyone who believes they have candida but it doesn't show up in their tests. They might have it, but they might also have mold in their living or work spaces. The symptoms can be similar.

      So I understand why people get panicky at the mere thought of fungi. But to declare war on them all, no I don't think that's wise either. Our minds play a big role in our immunity too, and among the other issues that come with avoidance fear might set us up for an over-reaction too. IMHO.

    5. @Wildcucumber
      How did you rid the mold in the bathroom? We have a bathroom that seems to attract mildew(mold) no matter what I use to clean it. I am about to call in a contractor to revamp the bathroom!
      Also what is your take on CBD oil?

    6. @navillus - Ok, first off let me say it likely came back because the ventilation was lousy and the window frame rotting. I scrubbed that sucker down with GSE (grapefruit seed extract) and a toothbrush. If you dilute about 30 drops in a small spray bottle of water that stuff is an excellent cleaning product. I tossed the suction cup mat in the tub, and the shower curtain, well everything that wasn't tied down, really. Plastics and fabrics, if you can't get them into the sun once a week, are problematic no matter how clean they look. Took off the cover off the vent and cleaned in there as best I could too. Afterward, weekly upkeep with vinegar to keep the soap scum and hard water residue at a minimum.
      Mildew resistant grout is great. Keep the room dust free, dry and aired out - no wet towels in there, ever. But if the stuff is in the walls, yeah you need to call the contractor.

      I have no experience with cbd oil, sorry.

    7. Mister Meat (levi)March 12, 2015 at 4:27 AM

      I too am more aware and knowledgeable of the mycotoxin deal. I acknowledge the value/importance of it. again it is the concept of discrepancy between present and primal days. (seemingly) all the things we're nowadays doing/having/living 'wrong' or suboptimal that is different than what primal man did/have/lived. eg grains being stored for too long and thereby contained with mycotoxins, or moisty indoor(and outdoor) environments(I have had my huge share of brain fogs because of that). Definitely not to be ignored (i used to be ignorant of that).

      But I don’t follow dave asprey's reasonings to the letter, I too have my thoughts about him and his approach. If you have a healthy gut flora/body then I don’t think it is necessary to go all out of eliminating mycotoxins (you know, as always, find your balance in that, don’t (over)stress the stuff), no need to scaremonger people (or make believe) like I feel dave does. And like tim says it might be a good thing to be exposed to mycotoxins (a la primal times? i mean not mycotoxins from grains but miniscule amounts of alcohol is ok like that from fermenting fruits?)

      Its just like fodmaps, scd, etc temporarily avoiding the things that make stuff worse for you. But important is to not make the mistake of focusing on that solely and long term. I believe there's a trend of people catching on to that more and more (instead of all just keep on low carbing), among the people to thank for that is tim.
      Its usefull to reduce exposure to moisty places when under fungal load. But you don't need to run away from every iffy place your whole life, because what you focus on is good gut flora and healing (thus being able to handle mycotoxins in 'normal' amounts. normal being probably more than in primal days but doable for good functioning immune system)

  6. I have made a small edit at this post, to show some context. See bellow Tim's text.

    1. 'Bout time you take your role as editor serious! lol

  7. Long time lurker here and 3 year cancer survivor hoping to prevent recurrence. There, now I'm on topic! I'm hoping for some advice/feedback on my fiber experience. In February, I started various forms including, partially hydrolyzed guar gum, inulin, acacia, Amazing Grass green superfood, chia, psyllium, amla, digestion resistant maltodextrin, potato starch ( very little due to past negative experience) in various combos, approximately 25-35 grams per day.

    I've also been drinking a green smoothie (kale, spinach, cucumber, parsley, celery plus a quarter GrannySmith apple, and a quarter lemon; skin, seeds and all) and then adding spinach to my morning fiber smootie too. I get some other fiber in my diet, fruit or starch as potato or black rice. I've been eating within an 8 hour window and intermittently fasting following the protocol of Dr. Jason Fung for Type II diabetes and insulin resistance.

    At first, I felt more cheerful, had a slight uptick in energy, was sleeping better, losing weight on schedule and even felt warmer, suggesting more production from my wonky thyroid, but then things started to change. First it was itching in my ears and then not just itchy, but pain and crackling like there's fluid too; pain in sinus area, teeth, Eustachian tube area, swelling in my mouth, all mostly on one side. General headache, itchy, painful skin in other skin-on-skin areas, a little weight gain, coldness, joint pain, and depression. Yeast? ( I don't eat sugar or wheat.)

    So I quit the fibers, but not the Amazing Grass and have been having even more green vegetables and those symptoms have subsided somewhat.

    Last year, during the discussion on FTA and Animal Pharm I tried the potato starch with a similar result. First I had better mood, better sleep, better blood sugar -- then worse. So, I tried the SBOs which made things worse yet. PA was awful for mood and increased sugar cravings; it didn't feel healthy to me. Following Garden Of Life probiotic, I got a UTI --first time in decades. Coincidence? (Cured the UTI myself, btw, without antibiotics!) I was undecided about the AOR-3 but was sick of experimenting then anyway.

    What's going on here? I'm not sure what to do next but I don't want to give up on the fibers.

    I'm 60 years old, female. Losing weight is my priority right now. It is the umpteenth time doing it. I'd really like to be healthier over all and make this time the last. And yes, prevent cancer!

    All ideas appreciated.


    1. Hi JL - Thanks for de-lurking! Wish I had a complete answer for you and promises I could keep, but all I can say is "keep trying".

      I'm personally not a huge fan of probiotics. I would much rather see people eating/drinking yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kvass, etc.. and getting some dirt on their hands regularly. Probiotics seem so simple and their packaging makes them sound promising, but I think nothing is a effective as the natural probiotics that want to be inside you, and found close to home.

      As far as losing weight and keeping it off, I have to give a big plug for some strength training and not calorie restriction. Keep eating your good foods, play around with the fibers until you feel good about them, stay away from processed foods, eat lots and lots of fresh fruits and veggies however you like them, ie. cooked, raw, juiced, blended, or a combo. If you've been lurking here, you know what I mean!

      But maybe sign up for some exercise classes, get into a program with others of similar background and goals, learn to do some muscle building exercises...I'm not talking about becoming a body-builder, just increasing strength which will help your bones and immune system be stronger.

      Calorie restricted diets are never good long term, you could try some variation of the potato diet, I know another great lady who has fallen in love with potatoes after a many-year hiatus and says she is losing weight and feeling great...maybe she'll even read this and chime in!

      Hope that helps!

    2. JL at least 15% of women post menopausally become hypothyroid. All of your symptoms indicate this including plugged ears. Get your TSH, fT3 and fT4 checked. Not just TSH.

    3. JL, I know very well what it's like to 'try everything' and still not come up with results... as well as want to prevent cancer recurrence. As all of us come with our own specific histories and microbiome composition, perhaps you could try focussing on food for your gut-enriching fibre sources (and the probiotic sources Tim mentioned) and only add one powdered fibre at a time to your regimen. I know that some of the Amazing Grass products have fungi-derived ingredients in them and that could be interacting poorly with you, for example. In the meantime, I'd step up the raw garlic and onions you eat (try to eat them daily, leaving them 10 minutes after cutting before consuming). Given Tim's recent post on cancer, the anti-fungal foods seem like a must to me.

      You don't say what else is in your diet, but like Gab said, it could be a thyroid issue - one thing to do immediately is make sure you're eating sufficient carbohydrate (from good sources like sweet potato, potato - see Paul Jaminet's chart on safe starches). Don't believe the BS that VLC is the way to lose weight. And you may want to read what Stephani Ruper says about IF and women. It doesn't suit us all and for some women, it makes weight loss and blood sugar control even harder.

      Lastly, I'll give you the advice I have to give myself a lot. Health first, weight second. If our bodies are nutrient deprived and/or deficient, especially after a long history of poor diet or poor health, we need to get them healthy before we ask them to lose weight. That doesn't mean eat whatever and be happy with too many kilos on board. But I think change comes - often slowly for those of us women over 45 - once other things are in order.

      Oh, and just one more thing - I'd add a big AMEN to Tim's suggestion for muscle-building fitness. I have had huge body comp changes through a program of weight lifting and HIIT. Find a personal trainer or gym that knows what they're talking about and makes you feel like a star for showing up (as opposed to one of those places with only broomstick-sized 20 year old's in spandex) and have at it. Best thing I ever did.

      Hang in there.

    4. @JL

      You said: I've been eating ... following the protocol of Dr. Jason Fung."

      I don't know who is Jason Fung, so I looked him up. Here it is:

      LCHF Summit of Hope
      "I just returned from Cape Town, South Africa speaking at the world’s first Low Carb, High Fat (LCHF) Summit organized by Prof Tim Noakes and Karen Thompson. It was truly the best conference I have attended by far. There are several reasons for this.

      First, the lineup of speakers was terrific. Everybody approached the issue from a slightly different angle and we all learned from it. For instance, I approached the issue of obesity and diabetes mostly from an insulin resistance standpoint. Dr. Gary Fettke approached it from a metabolic standpoint, with emphasis on cancer. Jimmy Moore approached it from a patient’s perspective. Dr. Aseem Malhotra approached it from a public policy standpoint. Dr. Andreas Eenfeld from an insulin standpoint. Dr. Jeffry Gerber and Zoe Harcombe from a cholesterol standpoint. Dr. Ann Childers from a mental health standpoint. Drs. Steve Phinney and Tim Noakes looking at the high performance athlete. Dr. Eric Westerman from a clinical standpoint. Dr. Jay Wortman from a native population standpoint. Christine Cronau from a practical management view. Dr. Robert Marwan from a bariatric physician standpoint. Dr. Michael Eades from a protein standpoint.

      These were absolutely riveting talks and it was terrifically interesting to me to learn how all these different viewpoints all merged into the concept of proper human nutrition."

      So, I am afraid I don't feel like reading on and deciphering what the dietary guidelines by Dr. Jason Fung are.

      Instead, would you be so nice to specify what your usual menu is?

      I think it is no good if someone on LCHF diet adds "fibers" hoping to have some magic. No, it doesn't work.

      Yes to exercise!

    5. @JL

      You might want to think about soups rather than smoothies for your kale & spinach - they're less stressful on the thyroid when cooked, and we absorb nutrients better from cooked foods than raw, especially when we're not in peak health. As well, there's an old Chinese saying "let the stove do the cooking, not your stomach."

      The swelling & pain especially on one side of the mouth could be a slight allergic response or at least irritation from something - the lemon maybe? Citrus skins are usually waxed or treated with antifungal sprays.

      I'm not a fan of smoothies, because I think it is important that we chew our food. As Tim would say, the mouth is part of the gut. Saliva mixed with food starts the digestive process, and the exercise of chewing is good for the sinuses and the ear canal.

      I second (third?) what everyone else is saying - real food, exercise and for sure health first, weight later.

      And if I may quote my 87 yr old Dad's 3 keys to health (he still shovels his own snow and that of his neighbours):

      "Work hard, eat soup every day and don't take pills!"

      And congrats on avoiding antibiotics for that UTI :-)

    6. Wild, that was excellent. We think totally alike here. I can't recall where, but I mentioned recently about how my father also used to say that if you start your meals with soup, you'll never get fat. He didn't mean garbage like Campbell's Chunky soup. He also said that the soybean is not a valid source of nutrition for the human body. We always had a bowl of fruit on the table. He'd tell us, if you are hungry before supper, eat an apple or grapes or an orange. If that doesn't have enough appeal, then you are not really hungry.

      Totally agree about the stupid smoothies. This thing has gone entirely out of control and sensibility. Another nail in the coffin of food culture.

    7. Wild, expanding on the Chinese medical/diet advice is to never eat anything raw for breakfast. It is anathema to eat raw fruit or vegetables because in the morning the body needs heat not cooling.

    8. Gabriella, I have a feeling we could talk for hours.

      I tried to "do" smoothies for a while. It wasn't just that they gave me bloat from the chilliness that made me stop, but that I found them so complicated! I can toss a handful of leftover rice in a pan, season it with turmeric & pepper and maybe some dulse flakes, crack in an egg, done in a minute flat. Smoothies, especially with veggies are work!

      Another tradition this makes me think of is the two breakfasts my grandad used to have. A scone with jam and a cup of tea at the crack of dawn and then (after milking the cows and mucking out the byre), a full "sit down" of bacon and eggs etc. I, too, like to have just a little something warm and sweet, do some work and then have something more substantial and salty. I think we're missing something when we don't match our food/nutrition needs with our circadian rhythms and body temps, as you say.

    9. Gab/WC - Uh-oh, you two are going to start ganging up on us...great! As I know both of you pretty well, I'd say you two may possibly be long-lost sisters.

      As to the smoothie talk, I have no problem with people making smoothies at home and adding all kinds of really great things. I do, however, not like the trend in seeing smoothies everwhere (Starbucks, McDonalds, etc...) filled with sugar and marketed as health food.

      I make smoothies more in the summer when I want a cold treat. I like to make them with a coconut milk/ice base and just add in whatever is at hand...berries, kale, raw egg, dandelions, carrots, etc...

      I also get my Jack Lalanne juicer out every summer and use it to juice carrots, rhubarb, cucumbers, beets, etc... that would normally not get eaten.

      I don;t think juicing and smoothies are a suitable replacement for eating real food most of the time, but they are a good way to get some real food in ya.

    10. Wild, exactly. Eat when hungry. I just drink very milky tea for breakfast. Then eat at 11 a.m. And supper at 7 p.m. Historically people at two meals per day. All this three square meals and three snacks..... recipe for obesity. Ridiculous people eating constantly never giving the digestive tract a break. If someone feels the need to eat like this, they are eating wrong. We are not sheep. We are not supposed to be grazing.

      Tim, smoothies remind me of thickened hospital drinks for patients who can't chew food or have Parkinson's and choke on liquids. It's for sick people. Like the milk shakes and the soda fountains in drug stores. Swallowing thick slurries is gross.

    11. "Never giving the digestive tract a break" is my biggest concern with smoothies for breakfast. They're too much dumped all at once on an empty stomach. Add to this the powdered fibres and no chewing so no saliva in the mix, I think we have a recipe for disaster for anyone who already has digestive issues - which of course is the people reaching for them.

      We have taste buds for a reason. They tell our stomachs what to prepare for. The taste of bitter things, especially, is great for our digestion. Hide it and you're just confusing your body. Remember the old addage not to mix fruits and vegetables? I'm not saying it should be a hard and fast rule but there is something to it.

      One last thing - creamed soups can offer something easy to eat that you can hide less enjoyed vegetables in but 1) you're not mixing sweet with bitter and therefore not confusing the body as much 2) they're cooked and warm 3) you eat them with a spoon rather than chugging them down standing at the kitchen counter first thing in the morning.

      //end rant

    12. Well, put me in the no smoothies camp. I'd have never known all the reasons you ladies have come up with. I just prefer to chew my food. The thought drinking a cold mish mash of stuff is just a total turn off to me.

    13. Wild, the oldsters knew what they were talking about. Food culture. Problem is though, a lot of people have lost theirs. So they get sucked into the stupid stuff like smoothies. Gives me heartburn to even think about. Ground up raw spinach for breakfast? Totally inappropriate. Raw spinach anyhow? Inappropriate. Bitter stuff for breakfast is a no go.

    14. I really became confused as to why smoothies where undesirable. I thought smoothies where dairy based ie kefir with fruit but not with veggies. I guess putting Amazing Grass or some such is as close as I would get to adding veggies.

      Juicing, on the other hand, to me is blending veggies until it's drinkable. Like cold soup.

      I would never juice but I have used kefir smoothies to get rid of orange colouration on my toenail (I assumed it was fungus).

      From what I been understanding recently is that a high protein breakfast is the way to go.


    15. Maybe it's the terminology that is getting us mixed up.

      To me, a smoothie is a catch-all term for a blended drink. Could be dairy based, water based, or even plant based if there is enough liquid to keep it drinkable.

      Juicing is more specific. It requires a commercial juicer of some sort that separates the juice from the rest of the plant, I guess it could be as simple as squeezing an orange really hard, but a good juicer will even extract juice from kale, spinach and other plants that you'd be trying pretty hard to squeeze by hand.

      I'd say between these two methods, 'smoothies' are preferable because there is more fiber. BUT, when I make a glass of carrot juice, it might require 10-12 carrots, no way you'd get that many in a smoothie. But I look at juicing carrots and such as a treat, not my way of eating veggies.

      I do agree that veggies should be eaten and drank. Fruits and veggies should make up a big part of what is on our plates and what we chew each day. However, if someone wants to start the day with a smoothie containing a handful of fruit and some greenery, I see absolutely no harm in that--only good. It's also a great place to stick any supplemental fibers you may be taking.

      Another great place I see smoothies is as snacks for the kids or as a way to get them to eat more veggies.

      So, while I don't see smoothies or juicing replacing the fruits and veggies we eat daily, I think they are both fine and not harmful in any way.

    16. Correction: "I do agree that veggies should be eaten and NOT drank"

    17. Ok that clarifies it for me.

      I would think that juicing veggies would make it sugary and less fibrous. I also see my kefir smoothie (usually with fruit to sweeten it) as a snack/treat not a meal in of itself.


    18. And I'm not totally convinced that traditional juicing removes all of the good fiber. It removes almost all of the big chunky fiber, but leaves the inulin/resistant starch and probably other fermentable fibers. As proof, see this post:

      Look at how much starch was passed to the juice...all of it. Even when I juice carrots, I get a thick layer of starch, and carrots have hardly any starch!

    19. That's very interesting. I would not assumed that. I wonder if juicing also make the carrots nutrients more bio available like when you cook them.


    20. I've been thinking about kindness.

      It recently has come to my attention that Mark Sisson has a series of free exercise videos where he has instructions for various levels of fitness, standing pushups, for instance. Whether it's influential bloggers, gurus with credentials and books or ordinary people, we live in a world were so much of dietary and fitness advice comes down to "(you should) eat like me" or "exercise like me". My doctor once told me about my weight to "do what you can do" and it stuck with me because it felt so kind. Instead of Sisson's saying "exercise like me" he's saying "do what you can do, and here's how".

      In my thirties I read a book about cognitive distortions that I wish I'd read when I was 12. One of the distortions was "should statements", what the doctor called "the Shouldy Way of Life" or "musterbation". It struck me that IF feels like kindness to me because not eating means being able to avoid the minefield of dietary Shoulds in my mind as to What To Eat at every meal.

      I was a within-normal-weight teenager who wanted to be as thin as Twiggy when I went on my first diet. I starved myself down to thinner, if not yet thin enough, received a lot of approval and disconcerting attention from boys and men and then, bounced right back up. And up. And so it began. I have not had a days peace from food ever since. There's always some "Should" that's not being met no matter my choices or result.

      I was feeling rather victorious, for instance, in conquering the Vegetable Should by drinking the green smoothies, only to encounter a new Cooked/Chewed not Raw/Drank Should. I was taken aback and feeling a little disgruntled. Then I remembered that to musterbate or not to musterbate is my choice. ;)

      I decided to be keep drinking the cold slimey green smoothies and the Amazing Grass because they are making me feel better and pat myself on the back for not letting "the perfect be the enemy of the good". I'm going to also try to find other ways to be kind to myself, to let "doing what I can do" be enough.

  8. I'm feeling embarrassed now by that first post. TMI apparently.

    Probably what I should have just said is -- what might be happening when fermentable fibers first elicit a tantalizingly positive response and then just as quickly a more negative one? Are firstly, "good" gut bugs perked up with the extra food, and then secondly, equally fed "bad" bugs strengthened and overpowering the other? Or is the problem with the mix of fibers with either one or another being a "wrong" one, or synergistically, the whole mix not being quite right? Or something altogether different?

    I know there are no answers and I'm not looking for promises, I'm just intrigued by it all and trying to decide which way to go next.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback. If I came off as a clueless, try-anything basketcase, I'd like to think I'm not. This fiber/gut experiment is a puzzle I'm trying to figure out, a tool I want to utilize in my goal to better health and maintained weight loss. I try to be judicious and prudent in my experimenting. I've had some good results with probioics in the past which is why I tried the SBOs, for instance.

    And I'm not a VLC nut, and neither is Dr. Fung, despite the recent company he's keeping. HIs message is aimed a diabetics (I'm Type II) and his fellow physicians who make their patients' disease worse with standard practices. Diabetes is a disease of insulin toxicity, he says, not high bood sugar, which is a symptom. This leads to a different dietary emphasis -- no carb counts -- with IF being a tool to decrease insulin resistance. IFing for me is eating within an 8 hour window as a general rule and extending this time period to dinner-to- dinner fasting which is not true fasting, but with some allowables such as bone broth and coconut oil/cream/lemon in tea or coffee. So far I like it.

    I realize my description may have sounded like hypothyroid, but I've been hypothyroid and I don't think I'm there. Unlikely to become so in a week's time too, isn't it?

    This is getting too long to get into my vegetable taste aversion (hence the green drinks) but raw garlic and onion daily? Oh, my.

    1. "I know there are no answers and I'm not looking for promises, I'm just intrigued by it all and trying to decide which way to go next."

      You've come to the right place! We all feel the same one-size-fits-all around here. I do think we are finding that one must often get out of their comfort zone when looking for healthier ways to live. We get stuck in a loop revolving around convenience and a busy life. Little tweaks can go a long way.

      I'm not sure how to answer your more defined question about what is happening when fiber stops working, it could be there are populations feeding on the fibers that are not so great to keep feeding. This is where the real-food approach is probably best, and yes, that includes some foods you may not normally use or particularly enjoy.

      Hope to hear more from you as you find what works, lots of lurkers looking for comments exactly like yours!

  9. @wildcucumber
    I know you're probably right about the soups over smoothies. The raw smoothies are a compromise, and I thought, a step in the right direction. Better than nothing, or maybe not?

    I know it sounds childish, but I just can't stand the taste of green vegetables. And it's not that I wasn't raised on fresh from the garden. I don't mind green beans so much, but the others taste bitter and not-like-food to me. I gag when I eat them, whereas I can chug down the smoothie and get it over with. There's a lot of other food I don't like too.

    I recall some people here saying that their fermentable fiber usage was changing what they wanted to eat and even their sense of taste and smell. What if I could do that, I thought. It could change my life.

    I use only organic lemons, btw. One quarter per smoothie.Still not a good idea?

  10. Tim, I hear you on the whole foods and also the comfort zone. I've been pretty proud of myself for gulping down my green smoothies and now here you all are harshing my vibe! ;)

    I've tried the green smoothies before years back and had terrible gas. This time, no gas. Progress, right?

    I tried fermenting some cherry tomatoes last summer. Yuck. I haven't tried the beet kvass yet, and I should because that's something I could chug down too. I do make fruit kvass, per Rebecca Wood, usually raspberry as we have a lot in the freezer from my brother's garden. I used to eat lightly washed carrots of his garden last summer too.

    I've been paying attention, you see. :)

    1. @JL, you didn't write anything embarrassing. It's very hard to describe the complexity of our situations in a blog post comment! FWIW I wholeheartedly agree with elliebelly about listening to your body as a guide to what to eat/not eat/include/not include - it will likely change over time. And your summarised question about what might be going on in terms of what fibres are feeding in your gut is why I suggested you try one fibre supplement at a time - given that the Amazing Grass includes a mould-based derivative, I'd try that separately until you're sure it doesn't cause a change in reaction in the long run; then repeat the process with other things.

      Beet kvass is decidedly NOT green and tastes nothing of green veggies. It's super easy to make and is ready in a few days. You can also easily make sauerkraut which doesn't taste at all like green veggies (and you can use red cabbage too ). Just some options. And, yes, a big amen to daily raw garlic and onion. Add a clove a garlic to your green smoothie. You may even find you start to crave them. Yes, soup might be better but there's nothing wrong with green smoothies in my opinion.... whether cooked or raw, your preference.

    2. PS

      This is only tangential, but I've been reading a bit of Anthony Colpo's blog lately and he has this to say about IF (as well as some research re: improving insulin sensitivity):

      "The one trump card that IF proponents seem to hold – improved insulin sensitivity – is merely a short-term finding and is certainly not a unanimous one (refer to the study I discuss here about females who experienced worsening glycemic control as a result of IF. The IF shills, for some reason, never mention this finding. Yep, same old carry on: Out of sight, out of mind, baby!)

      Furthermore, exercise and sensible, non-extremist dietary habits have been repeatedly shown to impart improved insulin sensitivity and other health benefits – without all the “don’t eat anything during the day/for a whole day/every second day/etc” bollockery.

      Oh, and bodily iron reduction also reliably improves insulin sensitivity and glycemic control in both diabetic and non-diabetics, as has been repeatedly shown in controlled RCTs. And it involves a mere 5-10 minutes of blood withdrawal every few weeks until you hit your target serum ferritin reading. Yep, no fucktarded dietary schedules that turn you into a social pariah."

      Just metaphorical food for thought. Sifting through the contradictions and complex info is no easy task, but seems worth doing.

    3. I like, and practice, IFing, but only in the sense of 'skipping breakfast'. I tried the 36+hr fasts once a week for about a year, and never really took a liking to it. Skipping breakfast seems fine to me, but we are each different. Here's a great article on this topic from this week, have a read, but it ends:

      "Bottom line: If you have been eating breakfast forever, you may actually run the risk of being hungrier at lunch. If you haven't been eating breakfast for the past years, though, the opposite is not the case, i.e. starting to have breakfast will not make you feel more satiated at lunch. This does also imply that changing your habits, i.e. stopping to have breakfast or starting to have breakfast is likely to have a negative effect on your metabolism and - in the longer term - body weight and health.

      Practically speaking, it does appear to be best to stick to what works for you. If you are a breakfast skipper, skip it. If you are a breakfast eater, like myself, enjoy it; and please: Stop thinking dogmatically! There is no definitive "right" and "wrong" in nutrition sciences."

    4. @Lauren

      Thanks for the Anthony Colpo link. I have to admit that I hate his sophomoric style, but I'll certainly look into the objections to IF.

      I suspect that Dr. Fung's IF information is buried in a lecture rather than in one of his blog posts, but I'll see if I can dig it up to refresh my memory.

  11. Aakkk, long comment lost in the ether!

    JL, perhaps Paul Jaminets ideas that too much fiber will generate more endotoxins than the system can handle fits with your experience. At first you get the feel good response from more bacteria, but then the endotoxin level gets too high and you feel like crap

    So you have to find your own goldilocks level.

    You seem to be very tuned on to your response, so just keep tweaking with what makes you feel good. FWIW, I completely disagree with what Richard N at FTA said about pushing through discomfort when trying the fibers. We know so little about what is going on. The main guidance we have is our own body

    1. @ elliebelly,
      There is a kind of feel good wisdom about 'listening to your body'. But if this fiber adventure has taught me anything it's that a disordered microbiome will hijack both your health and your judgement in food choices. So although you kid yourself that you're responding to 'your' body's signals, it actually hasn't been 'your' body for a very long time,
      I don't have to look far to find things to disagree with Richard Nikoley about , but in regard to 'pushing through discomfort to get your microbiome back in high fermentable fiber intake shape', he does seem to be right.
      That's certainly been my experience at any rate.
      Yeast overgrowths particularly seem to be so clever at sending signals to stop doing things they don't like, but your body actually needs. Your potentially healthy body I mean, not the one dancing to the tune of a disordered microbiome.
      And it really does seem to often take many people a VERY long time - as in many months of discomfort. Humans do so like the concept of the quick fix without discomfort. And months of discomfort as you gradually ramp up your intake of fermentable fiber was always going to be a hard sell.
      And elliebelly, it is so much easier to sell that feel good 'listen to your body' message, I must admit.
      Of course you have to tailor the 'ramping up' process to suit how much discomfort you can take.
      But avoiding discomfort in some attempt to listen to what you would like to think is actually 'your' body seems to forever consign your gut to dysbiosis.
      - and after all, that's what the yeasts ( or fungi, or just plain disordered gut bacteria) want don't they?
      The gut/brain axis is so powerful. But we have to be careful that we don't fall into the trap of thinking that because it's 'my' gut it will send me the right signals- including discomfort.
      Discomfort might actually be exactly what you need.
      Isn't it interesting, we celebrate the concept of 'no pain, no gain' in other avenues of life experience, but when it applies to dragging your gut into shape, we're prone to feel good aphorisms instead.

      Wilbur's experience has always struck me as instructive. The time to start 'listening to your body' is AFTER you've ramped up your fermentable fiber intake. Before that, whatever your body tells you is probably just lies - told by something or things you really shouldn't be giving the time of day.
      And if the lie you're hearing is 'stop that (consuming fermentable fiber in this instance), you're hurting me, it might be exactly the message you need to welcome.

    2. Mister Meat (levi)March 13, 2015 at 8:33 AM

      +for the many lurkers (i feel) who would + this but don't bother (not saying this in a judging way) ;)

    3. Mister Meat (levi)March 13, 2015 at 10:10 AM

      And like to add to elliebelly's comment that i've been thinking the same thing. I bought pauls book for 50 cents couple weeks ago and i learned nothing! (is that sad or funny?) except what elliebelly quoted. next to diversity and proper proportions (example rs2 and rs3 balanced amounts and supplemental rs2 best not empty stomach) that are important, also not taking in too much prebiotics is probably to be kept in mind (endotoxins, but i suspect not only that). I consider 'too much' above high (because high still gives you benefits, and after that no more and possible downsides. i believe.)

      .. In a way i am now partly counterargumenting what stuart said. going out of your comfort zone might not be a good thing in some cases.
      A good example for why going out of your comfort zone isn't necessarely good is my case (lol surprised this isn't black and white? sometimes yes sometimes no). I also do the 2 meals thing and dealing with fungal over growth my fiber intake is rather normal normal than high normal (or high) due practicality of the 2 meals, but at the moment also becuause of 'fodmap liberalisation'. prebiotics consists of starches(usually beans+potatoes) which i count half veggies (both meals) + low(not no) fodmap sauerkrautmix (noon) + no other veggies (evening) + bones + supps in small-moderate amounts in morning (glucomannan, triphala, gos, xos, ..). I'm going to gradually implement all sorts of (fodmapy) veggies (and soups here and there) soon to eat with dinner, but for the moment small amounts of high fodmap veggies causes troubles. This gives direct and downstream negative effects and benefitting the overgrowing fungus. I experienced and researched this enough to be certain of that.

      And even still when i'm healthy, the total plant matter I will eat in those 2 meals won't be much higher than 'normal'. I feel that not eating more veggies than what fits in those 2 meals is not of harm or missing out on too much. as Paul jaminet discusses the 2 meal thing (or not eating when you wake up) is most in line with ancestral eating (modern practicality also kept in mind for why 2 meals instead of 3). So when you think further in ancestral terms maybe the average paleoman ate high normal amounts of prebiotics (rather than the superhigh + 135grams you hear about) (might be wrong, maybe they ate multiple meals or much plant matter in between). And concluding out of that when you're already eating a good diet that it isn't necessary to eat much higher amounts of prebiotics than what you are comfortable with (for people who's body are to be trusted and are consuming a variety of prebiotics), rather than feeling you have to aim for the high end (like i have sometimes, but i'm not good example in this, not healthy yet) to your reluctance or impracticality. allthough going for the higher end will probably give you additional benefits if this eating pattern (of, you know, eating more plants) suits you or smart supplementation ofcourse. anyway I cant imagine eating hoops of veggies on top of what i already eat in my 2 meals and in my opnion(and troughout experience) probably don't have to.

      anyway just additional pile of thoughts (don't take what i said here as 100% certainly true)

    4. Mister Meat (levi)March 13, 2015 at 10:10 AM

      (lol now the internet tells me my talks are too long)

      edit: I think I'm having second thoughts on fodmap and yeast. Allthough experience and research/thinking thought me that i best liberalise fodmaps. But maybe best approach is to hammer the yeast with ('normal' amounts of) fodmaps.. I can't explain all of the things that led me to think I should not (for me) overdo the fodmapy veggies, but my thinking is now that doing that is of no benefit. I don't get gerd but alot of bloating and obstruction of food passing trough (because of osmosis by fodmaps) and messing it all up that way (bile acid and enzymes compromise in their work and yeast gets to feast with lingering food). Anyway, I reconsider that maybe the very unpleasant (and what i feel to be detrimental, and believe i've experienced detrimental effects of having done that) effects are to be ignored and eat brocolli to what i can tolerate (tolerate means here what i can survive without too much suffering)?

      Maybe someone has knowledge/experience to share on this?

    5. Try dandelion root tincture, 6 drops in a little water, before every meal. Give it two weeks and you'll see a real difference. Actually, you'll see a difference before that but stick with it for the long haul and you'll see what I mean. No more bloat, better digestion, less of a feeling that the yeast is feasting on lingering food.

    6. Great discussion, Levi. My only real agenda from the start was to make people see that the normal diet, even one full of plants, is generally still not as high in fermentable fiber as we like to think.

      Modern salad bar type veggies look and taste great, but are all pretty low fiber. Branching out into the onion/garlic/asparagus/sunchoke type foods or eating seeds/cores/roots etc... is a great way to increase fiber intake.

      And everyone is gong to be different in how much they can tolerate or eat. But 20-50g/day is not out of the ballpark for a good target.

    7. Stuart,

      I had written a much longer comment before i wrote the one to which you responded, which did not fully convey my thoughts. Suffice it to say I did not mean listen to your body in the feel good sense of avoiding anything that is uncomfortable and following every craving when you know your gut is not healthy, and thus not to be trusted the way Wilbur can now trust his, but rather that discomfort is a signal to which attention must be paid and that the way to proceed is not the same for everybody. It is not always straight forward, but sometimes roundabout. Sometimes you need to do other things first before you can start carefully ramping up the fibers. I do not see the wisdom in barging full speed ahead and risking making the situation worse.

      I was just trying to point out what we have seen people post all the time: there is no one size fits all solution, so don't be discouraged and keep tweaking/ experimenting.

    8. Lots of good thoughts here. When I started this, I had no clue that anything wrong with me might be connected to increasing fibers. I powered through with no thought of a connection. I remember flu symptoms. Also a weird increase in acne. A little lightheadedness. It wasn't until Gemma mentioned Herx symptoms several months later that I realized there MIGHT be a connection. That's all gone now.

      I personally think a big distinction between a healthy gut you can trust and one that is fooling you is the nature of the craving. Tonight, for instance, I had a massive craving for kale. It didn't matter what else we had for dinner (up to a point) but I needed kale. My kid is sick and wanted pasta. Fine, but we're having lots of kale too. I did not overeat on the pasta, skipped dessert, etc. but I ate a lot of kale.

      But what seems different between my cravings and others' is that other people are hungry. Starving. Many are overweight and have no reason to be starving. They have plenty of fuel on board (as do I, even at 17% bodyfat). They are desperate to eat anything. Or they can't pass up stuff that they know is bad for them. I never get that hungry anymore. For me, hunger is less urgent, more cerebral.

      I first noticed this at a restaurant. A very good fish place, with excellent bread. I turned down the bread. My wife asked, "Who are you?" I was hungry - our appetizers had not yet arrived - but the bread held no appeal. The grilled sardines, however,... I've been like this for almost a year now.

      I have no ideas on broken guts. But I think if you are craving stuff that you know is bad (chips, sugar, processed food) then I would not trust your gut. One of my earliest cravings was raw honey, which I hadn't eaten in decades. I'd associate that with a good gut!

    9. @Tim and Levi

      I'm A guy who gets every day about 150 g/day of fermentable fibers. Both from foods and supplements. My health has changed dramatically since doing this, and yet I felt well before starting.

      Anyway, one of the early influences on my current diet was a silly TED-talk critique of the paleo diet. The gist, iirc, was that we can't eat paleo because all of the plants our ancestors ate had way more fiber. There were pictures of wild broccoli that were stringy, skinny versions of today's (really, today's are 100's of times thicker?). At the same time, I was growing cultivated purslane right next to an area with wild purslane. One stalk of cultivated probably had as many calories as several wild plants, with obviously less fiber. And Jeff Leach was preaching about diversifying plant species.

      This all coalesced into my philosophy of lots of plants and lots of types of supplemental fiber. What Tim says is right. People aren't eating as much fermentable fiber as they think. I see it in the people around me who are trying. It's hard to do. I

    10. Mister Meat (levi)March 14, 2015 at 12:16 AM

      thanks wild cucumber, wil definitely try

      tim, elliebelly, wilbur: agreed (and 'updated' my view, some things i already knew but was good to hear again)

      @wilbur, On the subject of cravings.
      my 5weeks SAD-style diet i had the hungry feeling (especially when i didn't bother to eat basic real food), and craved all the bad stuff. 2 days in the potato diet i started only looking at real food items as yummy (and was even yet perfectly satisfied with potatoes). So even this is not black and white. you could be (appearingly) healthy but crave bad stuff due to addictive, hyperpalatable, nutrientpoor, .. foods, or you could be unhealthy and eating 99% good things and have not much (but not as little as when healthy) trouble sustaining this eating pattern (not much cravings). The last being my case last 2,5 years. hmm, probably the good food results to body functioning better, thus also more in control of cravings and yeast not so much, even though it overgrows.
      But because i'm still all messed up, once I touch the stuff there's the craving I have to conquer this and next day, then after that i'm fine (i think a good percentage of people have that), creating the potential to fall in that pit again (have had this addiction fase 3 times this year, never again!). anyway, complicated stuff. and perhaps unnecessary that i further elaborated on this, but figured i'd share.

    11. Thank you all for your input which has helped me to decide to carry on with the fibers and strive for more diverse food.

      I finally remembered that I have had these same symptoms before and now I'm wondering if it was when I was trying Brenda Watson's Fiber 35 Diet back some years. In fact, some of the fibers I've been taking were left over from that time. Maybe I freaked out and that's why I quit.

      I can deal with the itchy ears and such but I admit I was very dismayed by the depression. I lost years of my life to depression back in the day, and once I found my magical elixir, so to speak, in high dose magnesium, it still took me a long time to get on an even keel.

      I think I might focus on generous amounts of one or two fibers at a time to start with again and see how it goes.

    12. @ The people getting discomfort from ramping up their fermentable fiber intake.
      Get some Orafti HP long chain inulin before you decide to slow things down.
      Reading through the massive number of comments on FTA about getting your gut to the stage where it is happy consuming at least 100 gm of fermentable fiber, it strikes me that the people with the most dysbiotic guts - and the ones who most need the huge amounts of fermentable fiber- are also the ones who are going to 'go slow' because they feel the most discomfort.
      And one of the reasons a dysbiotic gut is going to cause the most discomfort during that process is that the fermentation from the woefully inadequate family of gut bacteria you have isn't happening all the way to the distal end of your colon.
      And spreading the fermentation the length of your colon, while ALSO producing a great deal of fermentation (which any inulin does) seems to be what LONG CHAIN inulin does spectacularly well.
      In short, it's worth the expense. In fact it's so good, and there's so many of you potential fiber hounds ( but yet still so many dealing with your own personal discomfort demons - or the many like Levi that are worried they'll exacerbate some form of SIBO) I think you should all share a 25 kg sack of ORAFTI HP. Normal postage in the continental U.S. isn't that expensive . And when you buy it like that from Beneo it's about U.S. $10/kg. Almost as cheap as PS bought from an Asian Supermarket.
      But if you buy it like Wilbur is buying it... well you have to be as convinced as Wilbur and me are that getting to at least 100 g fermentable fiber is so important to long term ( and by clear extension total body health).
      ORAFTI HP really is that special. In fact if I had to pick one fiber to get the job done as quickly as possible. this would be it. Throughout primate evolution, inulin has been a powerful constant in microbiome health.
      And my guess is that long chain inulin will prove to be THE most effective way to drag a dysbiotic gut back to vigorous SFCA health in the shortest time possible.
      Once you accept that gas and bloating are a sign that you are moving in the right direction, minimize them both - without losing the gut transformation they signal - with ORAFTI HP. And once your gut is back in shape, most of the heavy lifting can probably be done by PS anyway. I don't think Wilbur uses it as a large percentage of his mix. I still do, because I don't think my gut is the stellar shape Wilbur's is.

      Tim's often commented that the people who get the most discomfort are the ones who most need the fermentable fiber. But he's too nice a guy to
      incontrovertibly connect the dots - as Richard Nikoley obviously has - to clearly say ' just take a deep breath and push through the discomfort.
      I'm not actually sure that you even can just gently 'ease' a dysbiotic gut into the health you (and let me stress I mean the REAL you - the bacteria in your dysbiotic microbiome couldn't care less if your gut stays dysbiotic [and by obvious extension, your general health, particularly your mental health] till your DYING DAY).
      And unfortunately, that day is going to happen a lot sooner the longer you avoid the issue, because enduring gas and bloating puts you off.

    13. I also want to make a brief comment about fecal transplants. Most people here, and an increasing number of the medical profession think they're a good idea. The caveat seems to be that you have to be sure the donor is 'healthy'. And whenever I think of F T's, I think of my poor Mum who was a remarkably healthy woman, and who innoculated me at birth with her bloodline's peculiar mix of yeast and fungal overgrowths. The lifelong effects of which I have only recently recovered from by consuming an evolutionarily appropriate amount of both fermentable fiber and SBO's - the real deal , not pills.
      So I'd no more consider my mother a suitable fecal donor than probably most 'healthy' people, because she, like most outwardly healthy humans in advanced countries, is plagued by the same yeast and fungal problems people just seem to think are 'normal'.

      So it's really interesting to hear that cancer research is finally swinging back to realizing that a fully functioning immune system is designed to deal with cancer.
      I just don't think your immune system can be fully functional unless you do feed your microbiome at least 100g day of fermentable fiber.
      It all does seem to look pretty grim for Big Pharma's bottom line, doesn't it? PS and even ORAFTI HP are just so much cheaper than chemotherapy.

    14. @Stuart

      All nice with long chain inulin etc. but if I'm not wrong, if I am recalling right, you made the initial big progress eating a RAW potato. Which I think started the magic in YOU. It was not about PS or RS or whatever other fancy magic fiber but the synergy of all those anti compounds in a humble potato tuber.

    15. @Gemma,
      It's true that I was using raw potato and three tbs of psyllium husk as my early source of fermentable fiber. I have an unlimited supply of raw potatoes and psyllium husk is very cheap. At that stage I hadn't found a local source of PS. And I've always realized that I was a very early responder to the fermentable fiber because I'd completely cut all fruit (I haven't eaten any other form of sugar for decades) and even higher sugar vegetables like tomatoes a year previously after a lifetime of fructose addiction.That was already working with the yeast and fungal overgrowth. But it did mean that a substantial intake of pectin from all that fruit - I used to eat SUCH a lot of fruit was being denied to the gut bacteria. So the resistant starch in the raw potato and the mildly fermentable fiber in the psyllium husk must have got the fermentation happening again.
      And there clearly are compounds in the raw potato that exert an antifungal effect systemically. But I think we have to be careful that we keep our eyes on the main game - which is restoring the microbiome to health by consuming enough fermentable fiber. If you do that, I get the feeling that it produces plenty of its own antifungal, anti yeast ( or more accurately FUNGUS and YEAST 'managers'. Eating a raw potato for its medicinal antifungal effect strikes me as the same mentality as taking chemotherapy drugs to try to arrest the spread of cancer. That's why this whole immume system focus on healing (cancer, the common cold - the whole kit and caboodle) seems so refreshing . Isn't promoting health really about not needing to take 'medicines' - whether naturopathic or allopathic and just get your microbiome humming with enough (and a big enough range of - from dirt) SBO's, and sufficient fermentable fiber that they can get your body working like the well oiled machine it was designed to be - with that myriad of complex signalling pathways we are as yet probably hundreds of years away from fully understanding.
      Gemma, you've been instrumental in opening my very inexpert eyes to the likes of 'exosomes' and 'horizontal gene transfer' and similar astonishing facets of biological complexity.
      Humans' attempts to come up with 'medicines' (folk, modern - they all seem pretty limited to me) to make up for a dysbiotic gut just seems rather puny in comparison with the extraordinary power of a healthy well fermentable fiber fed gut to deal with whatever threats come up.

    16. ....I used to notice wholesome appeals to 'let food be thy medicine', but then realize that even this noble notion rather misses the point. If you feed your microbiome properly, get enough sleep, secure enough calories to keep active, manage not to get eaten, and constantly replenish your bacterial garden with enough soil based organisms, you won't need 'medicine'
      So the antifungal properties of the raw potato probably didn't do me any harm. But the various other antifungal compounds I'd taken over the years probably didn't do me any harm either. But did any of them, including the raw potato, rid me of the yeast overgrowth I'd been grievously afflicted with for my whole life? Of course not. How could they? I had a dysbiotic gut. And the only way out of that hole ( I think for anyone, not just me) was getting my microbiome up to evolutionary speed with at least 100gm of fermentable fiber.
      As always, those figures Tim mentioned for the amount of fiber babies routinely consume in breast milk are really the touchstone of why a shitload (doing a Wilbur) of fermentable fiber is so important if you ever hope to be as healthy as you can be. 100gms starts to look like a bare minimum. And gas and bloating, to me, just seems like a very loud message that you have been , quite literally, actually STARVING your microbiome for an awfully long time.
      And for what its worth, ORAFTI HP strikes me as the quickest, least uncomfortable way of getting there. Theres no starch (unlike RS) or free sugars (unlike other forms of inulin) in it, so it can't feed SIBO.
      It's basically inert, until it gets to your colon, where it cooks up a storm, right to the distal end.

    17. @Stuart

      lol, I should have been more clear: the synergy of all the pro- and anti-

      I love being instrumental...

    18. @Stuart

      It's no surprise that I agree wholeheartedly with you. Orafti HP is magic. But like you said, I don't need much. A couple of teaspoons per day.

      I also agree on large amounts of fiber. I recently experimented with getting about 200. I didn't like it. That feeling you get after stuffing yourself on a holiday was how I felt. I dropped back to 150 and felt perfect again after a day or so.

      My new thing is mushrooms. Again, diversifying to get a bunch of types. I was reading a Jared Diamond book in which he and a New Guinea tribe are stuck without food. The tribe started collecting mushrooms to eat. I realized (as I am sure many others have) that mushrooms were likely an important part of our ancestral diet. Since starting this, I haven't caught a single cold despite many opportunities to do so. My kid is at home with a flu that is spreading through her class, so I'm intrigued if it will protect me.

    19. Oh yeah, I got over my issue with dandelion root giving me gas. It took about three days, but I powered my way through. I like it a lot too, so I'm glad I did.

    20. @Stuart - You comments about pushing through/body feedback that is lies from imbalance/ and your speculation that it might not be possible to ease one's way into good gut health all resonate really strongly for me. Orafti is a fiber I have yet to try - specifically because the various fibers are all pretty tough on me other than PS and so I hadn't purchased it yet. Sounds like I've got that one backwards :D I'll have to pick some up! (especially with Wilbur's endorsement that if he could only have 2 fermentables, it would be PS and Orafti. damn!)

      Interestingly, including the homemade (goat) kefir has also reduced the transitional/die off/etc. issues of the many fermentable fibers - wonder what those @40 bacteria/fungi are doing down there?

    21. [the idea of a 'fermentable fiber buyer's co-op' is a really cool one. I'd be a member!]

    22. I don't suppose orafti HP is available in the UK? I think the Jarrow inulin contains 50% and I can get that, but I'd prefer the 100%!

    23. Rob Hill,

      The label is a little confusing, but it looks to me like the Jarrow is100% Orafti

    24. Not an expert, but Jarrow Inulin seems to be Orwfti Synergy1, which is 50:50 mix of short-chain (P95?) and long-chain (HP). Stuart and I have pure HP. But I combine with regular inulin, so it might be similar.

    25. Not an expert either, but I would agree on the distinction between Orafti Synergy 1 (Jarrow) and Orafti HP. There are some studies that show how each work. Depends on what you're trying to promote, but I think the Synergy 1 was better fermented over the length of the colon rather than targeting distal like HP. There are good papers available from the manufacturer describing the differences, but I think the mix you use would be similar to Synergy 1. I like that mix too.


    26. @ Rob Hill,
      Beneo is a Belgian company. Apparently the Belgians lead the world in research and expertise about inulin. There must be a lot of chicory in those Belgian fields. So if you are in the U.K I'd be surprised if you couldn't get it. I'd google Beneo (or even just ORAFTI HP) and email them directly.
      The reason I think the distal prowess of the long chain inulin is so important is that all the other fermentable fibers seem to ferment mostly at the proximal end of the colon. And maybe that's why (particularly RS and normal inulin seems to give people so much bloating and gas discomfort.

      Do get some, I'd love to hear how a 'hard case' fares with it. Maybe it will turn out to be a kind of magical transitional fiber. I fear the need to 'go slow' because of discomfort' (and I'm the first to admit that severe discomfort will be an absolutely compelling reason to prevent opening the door to lasting microbiome health)
      In fact I actually think discomfort and gas are a kind of PLOT by the inhabitants of a dysbiotic gut to dissuade people from making the transition to a well fed microbiome.
      And I'm only half kidding too! Anthropomorphism is a hoot.LoL

      I meant to ask you how the dandelion root wars were going. So glad to hear you won. Btw,, what colour is your dandelion root powder? Mine is a sort of dirty dark grey. So I'm wondering if it's a bad batch.

    27. It is hard not to think of the little guys as living, thinking beings. I always think about Horton Hears a Who when pondering the goings-on in our gut.

    28. Thanks for the distinction between the Jarrow Inulin and the Orafti HP.
      I already have the Jarrow Inulin, for those who have the Syontix Inulin is it worth getting some tubs of just that? Or do you think the blend in Jarrow's is ok?

    29. @Stuart - I'm with ya the slightly anthropomorphic "Make the host miserable, and she'll stop trying to kill us, heh heh heh!" take on things :D In truth, I've seen enough evidence of the dysbiosis-balance of bugs making me crave things that made me sick that I'm totally willing to believe the discomfort is in part an adaptation to warn us off of foods that will harm them and benefit a good balance.

      @Tim - I feel a sense of comradeship with the gut bugs :) We're all in this together! The healthier the whole community, the better off we all are. (and if this means the dysfunctional room-mates have to be kicked to the curb, that's the reality of being the wrong bug in the wrong place/concentration!)

    30. @Stuart
      Where/how are you sourcing Orafti HP in Australia?

    31. Andrea,

      How are you tolerating the Jarrow product? My understanding is that some develop painful gas because of the short-chain part. If you are having no problems, I'd say the Jarrow is great. I already had a mountain of regular inulin, and wanted to add long-chain to it.

    32. I started taking one scoop, 3 grams, of the ORAFTI HP, Syontix brand yesterday and today. I have some extra gas but not too bad. It's the headache and what's going on with my ears and such that's bothering me more. I also have a feeling of being kind of full even when I'm not. I've been reading about inulin today and wonder if that is the "suppressed ghrelin and enhanced PYY" referenced here:

      I also took:

      partially hydrolyzed guar gum 5 grams
      other inulin 7 grams
      amla 3 grams
      larch 1.5
      XOS 1.4
      glucomannan 2 gm
      Amazing Grass Greens drink 2 gm

      With food, 50some grams of fiber including some chicory root fiber as sweetener (Just Like Sugar) in muffins I made. This counts, doesn't it?

      I'd like to come up with a mix, and am wondering about other such as acacia, psyllium, chia. I don't remember why I bought it, but I actually have chia fiber too.

      Re insoluble fiber, I realize we're supposed to get it in food but if we don't always is it advisable to throw something like cellulose in?

      I recently read what Sarah Ballantyne says:

      "Early on, the benefits of soluble fiber seemed greater or the same as insoluble fiber. At the ten week mark, insoluble fiber started to take over as the clear winner and the effects just kept magnifying over time. This might also explain why some studies show that soluble fiber is better… over the short term, it is (probably due to supporting growth of good bacteria). And it explains why prospective studies that look at long term effects of diet show insoluble fiber to be more beneficial."

    33. @Stuart

      Mine is also gray. It has a strong, but not unpleasant, smell and taste. Or rather I've grown to like the taste. I ate dandelion roots from my garden over the summer, and the color and taste are similar.

    34. Hi Wilbur, I'm not having any major problems as I've been taking it for a while and have adjusted. But then again I'm one of the ones with a broken gut. When I first started this whole thing my symptoms were a lot worse than bloating and gas! My face would swell up the lymph was so activated.
      Ok, so I think I've answered my own question, I should just get this to work as much as possible on the distal part of the colon.
      Thanks for the prompt!

      Lauren, I'm about to get it from Amazon, as nothing else seems to be coming up. But maybe Stuart has a secret source.

    35. @JL

      I had forgotten until thinking about your post that when I first started high fiber that I used to get headaches a lot too. Other stuff too that might have involved my ears (I've always had ear issues though). A while back, several of us commented on this, and 100% had their tonsils removed. How about you?

      If I understand correctly, you are near a threshold that several people say that they feel full. I don't know the exact mechanism. My best guess is that you've finally gotten the gut bugs to quit screaming for food. i don't know you, but I guess that you are probably not in a situation where you are truly starving. Your body can use its stored energy to feed itself. Hunger is no longer a desperate feeling, and it shouldn't be for well-nourished humans.

      I feed my dogs lots of fiber too. They are food motivated hounds. People cannot believe I free feed them (leave food out all day). Most days they don't eat it all. Every day they eat calmly and one at a time. Both are muscular and solid.

      For me, it took a little while to relearn the signals of hunger. I enjoy food more than ever. But choosing what I eat is a more thoughtful, cerebral affair, rather than desperation to acquire energy. It's freedom.

      Yes on the cellulose IMO. I use it. I believe Stuart does too. There is some suggestion that it helps in spreading out the fermentable stuff or something.

      Good luck!

    36. @Wilbur,
      Good O , that's reassuring. Mine has a strong but not unpleasant smell too. It has an interesting 'potent' quality to it unlike so many other fiber supplements that just seem like white powder. Also, I was a bit concerned about your cautions about buying from animal feed merchants, but apparently animal feed grade in Australia means that it's suitable for human consumption too. The only higher grade is 'pharmaceutical' which is far higher than practically all foodstuffs you buy in supermarkets.

      And I confess I occasionally eat dry dog and cat food - just to check what I'm missing out on. Although a bit boring, they're both actually pretty good as a snack. The thing I like about dog and cat food is that they contain the full spectrum of offal, which we in the West have developed a strong cultural aversion to, apart, perhaps, from liver pate. Ever since I saw a documentary about the stomach and intestines of slain animals being considered a delicacy until very recently in human history, I've realized that fermentable fiber isn't the only thing we have been missing out on to our detriment.I'm never going to be able to tuck into intestines, but dry dog and cat biscuits are easy.

    37. @ JL
      That's interesting. If it was me, and the ear stuff was really uncomfortable, I'd cut everything but the ORAFTI HP for a couple of days (don't forget to drop that inulin sweetener you use as well). See if the ear symptoms persist. But if it's bearable , I doubt whether it means 'stop'. But then I'm no doctor.
      Maybe the distal part of your colon has been largely unaffected by the other fibers and the introduction of the long chain inulin is shaking things up in distinctive ways.
      I'm really intrigued to hear what you decide and how it pans out though.

    38. @ Lauren and Andrea,
      No secret source I'm asfraid. The distributor for Beneo in Australia is a Sydney based outfit called Invita. Their minimum order quantity is 25 kg, So I had to masquerade as a serious potential buyer of commercial quantities to wrangle a 2kg sample. I'm afraid that sample size is rather unusually large, and the whole exercise is pretty shameful, not to mention scary in execution. But I do intend to buy from them in future, and hey, I'm doing it for science as well as my own gut. But I do seriously doubt if they'd be as willing to part with such a large sample again even if you were tempted to try the ruse. And be warned , these people aren't fools, so get your story straight. It does help to know what you are talking about, and you both do. But I'm afraid it just isn't for the faint hearted.

      But what I can suggest is that I would happily take 10 kg of a 25 kg sack, It's AU $14 kg. So I'm not sure whether you and Andrea would want to split the rest. We really need another 2 Australian fiber hounds. Then it would be really doable. Eventually I'll probably put things like it and Actistar (the Cargill RS 3) on ebay by the kg.
      In even 2 years I think both will be readily available here in smaller quantities. But at the moment we seem to be pioneers.
      Kept dry (recharge the silica gel sachets in the sun a couple of times a year), it will last at least 20 years. Without silica gel, in an airtight container, about 5.
      Otherwise you can buy it on Amazon the same way the others do. It's expensive, and with shipping to Australia, prohibitive. But if IHerb or Vitacost start selling it, the shipping will be much more reasonable.

    39. @ Andrea,
      That's it, you are in my hall of fame . Swollen face , and you persevered.
      Absolutely amazing.

    40. @ Lauren,
      You do need to find out whether you even like the long chain inulin. So Amazon seems like the only way to go.

    41. Yeah... shows you how much of a mess my gut was! I had to persevere, I knew something had to be seriously wrong to get such a strong reaction. And to be honest I was relieved that I'd finally figured out what was wrong after years of not really knowing what was going on.

      Tried to order the product at Amazon, but it was coming up as not shipping internationally. Have emailed them, so will see. Might have to get 7+ kilos from you! Though may just stick to the Jarrows as postage within Aust is pretty crazy too!

    42. @Andrea,
      Did you ever get hold of some of the unflouridated GC Tooth Mousse (Recaldent).? If you are trying to re - mineraize your tooth enamel, it really is pretty remarkable stuff. Even if you are getting results from the teas, I urge you to try the Recaldent as well.

    43. Nope I never did, but just placed an order! So thanks for the nudge. I've been doing the teas, but probably need everything I can get my hands on.

      Thanks again Stuart. Might be bugging you for 7kilos of inulin, (!) but hopefully the Amazon seller will figure something out!

    44. Hope so. Isn't it odd that Amazon won't ship inulin internationally? It's powerful stuff though. It pays to be careful after all.In about ten years time, you'll be able to 3d print your own long chain inulin in the kitchen. They can 3d print some kinds of food now.

    45. @Wilbur

      I still have my tonsils.

      "My best guess is that you've finally gotten the gut bugs to quit screaming for food. "

      That has been my intent, based in part on your inspiration, so I hope you're right. I have the food addiction thing going on, and suspect I'm just the sort of person all those crafty food additive and taste creators have in mind when they make something like "cheese flavored potato chips", which along with Diet Coke was my latest "why can't I quit this?" weight gain problem. Of course, it didn't escape me that potato chips have their share of resistant starch.

      I've always, always had a sweet tooth, as well, though the desire for actual sugar is tamed by avoiding actual sugar. My desire for sweet tastes has been a constant, however, through lower carb eating and sometimes quite excessive. Now, since all the fibers, practically nonexistent! So far, anyway.

      What fibers do you feed your dogs? I have a golden retriever who might benefit, but I don't think I can afford much besides PS. And what is the "wild" equivalent of something like that?I have a holistic vet book that has kind of taught me to consider some things in terms of what would those wolfy ancestors eat. Of course, I compromise repeatedly with such things as rice containing dog food.

      At some point, I'm going to have to consider "the most bang for my buck" fibers if I plan to continue a high volume. Right now, I'm throwing the variety in there and yes, so far, the Syontix seems the most impactful in a noticeable way so presumably it's a keeper. What others of yours if you were forced to choose, would you consider a "keeper" if you were forced to? I'm a little leery of PS based on my past experimenting but plan to try it again.

      I really appreciate having people to talk to about this. I usually hang out on a low carb board where most there look askance at fiber. I've always been something of a "believer" and was really taken aback by their attitude.

    46. @Stuart Mather

      I'm committed and will continue the ORAFTI HP as well as some combination of the others. I can deal with the various head pains and ear itching. The depression worried me but was primarily just that one week.

      I had discontinued the fibers altogether for at least a week (or 2?) with no change. I also slacked off on the Amazing Grass for a 2-3 days with no change, so onward I go.

      I'm encouraged that the itching itself is not as bad as it was after the first week of fibers. I also happened to have a doctor's app't last week, and she said it just looked in there like an allergic reaction, so I'm reassured it's not a coincidental infection.

      The benefit with how I am feeling better (more sane) with food so far, suggests I'm on the right track overall and convinces me to keep on keeping on.

      Which fibers would you consider "most bang for the buck"? And is there any kind of trade off, quality vs quantity, possible or is quantity the priority? And yes, I realize food is always optimal but I just don't see it happening for me without some added fibers.

    47. Thanks for the replies - I've contacted Beneo so we'll see if I get any joy!

    48. Update on the Syontix sold on Amazon for those not in the US. The order is 'fulfilled by Amazon', which means that it comes from their warehouse and they won't ship internationally.

      The seller has a separate website:
      and the actual product is cheaper, however the shipping is fairly pricey.

      I didn't realise it at first, but you need to actually click to the paypal site and then you can put in the destination country for a shipping estimate.
      The postage is 26.23US for 4 bottles / 17.91 for 2 to Aust.
      Darn Aust dollar. It has dropped so much. Nearly equal at one point. No more. :-(

    49. @Stuart (and Andrea) I'd definitely be interested in a couple of kilos or more. I'll need to have a think re: taking a full 7kg! If you want my email address, just email Tim and he'll give it to you.

    50. @ Lauren.
      Would you take 5kg? Because knowing now that it keeps indefinitely with silica gel and oxygen absorbing sachets, 15 ok for me. It will only get more expensive.
      The other distally active fiber is simple wheat dextrin. This is probably the reason the 'Benefiber" people chose it as their prebiotic.
      It's available quite cheaply in bulk from discount chemists.
      Not as good as the Orafti HP mind you, but probably not far behind.

    51. Oh great Lauren. Yes I'll take whatever you are happy parting with Stuart. I'm going to be taking these fibers for a long time so may as well.
      I'll pass my email onto Tim.

    52. Well, day 2 on Orafti HP (Syonix), and I must say I'm with you Wilbur on the sense of 'just plain happy.' Very odd!

      It only took about 12 hours for the bloom in good distal colon critters to begin the slaughter of bad distal colon critters, however, so the die off effect is in full swing (headache, brain fog, feeling sludged-up) :P Fermentation being instigated at the distal end of the large intestine is a very strange experience though, isn't it? LOL!

    53. OK. I officially hate you guys now. Where did you get your Orafti HP, Terra? I will order some and take for a month while doing weekly stool tests.

    54. ROFL Tim :D I just got mine through Amazon - we have prime, so I default to getting everything that way cause free shipping usually offsets savings elsewhere....which is to say it could be cheaper elsewhere. Only 10 bucks though :)

    55. @Wilbur - (I meant to add above) I want to EAT THIS STUFF. Is this what you meant about your other (mixed?) inulin powder, that it just tastes like THE BEST DUSTY POWDER MONEY CAN BUY or something? I mean, I'm LICKING MY FINGERS after handling the little scooper. I was cracking myself up but it's totally true - if I didn't know I'd be very uncomfortable suddenly slamming my system with a ton of new fermentable, I'd be sooo tempted to have more.

      mmmmm earthy dusty complex-flavored powwwderrrrr /Homer Simpson

    56. @Terra

      It's good stuff! I felt like nobody believed me when I said that certain fibers make me feel good at the time I take them.

      The brain might know in real time what one eats

      If the brain knows, the bugs do too.

      I have similar feelings about baobab, PHGG, PS, and others. It guides my mix. Some don't do anything for me. I love the taste of mesquite powder, but it doesn't make me happy. So I've been skipping it to make room for others.

    57. Stuart, Lauren and Andrea, I'm also in Australia and keen to get hold of some Orafti HP. If not too late, can I join you to get some of your 25kg order?? Katie

    58. @Katie,
      That's wonderful. We were hoping someone else would show up. Just email Tim and he'll give you my email address. How much would you like?

    59. Hey you Orafti people,,
      I'm up to 120 g fermentable fiber (and probably about 80 non fermentable and since I upped the Orafti HP to 2 tbs a few days ago, I haven't had any gas whatsoever. Honestly. It's so weird. I'm also taking 2 tbs of PS just before I go to bed because the dreams I have are so much fun. I've never had good dreams until now.
      And I'm doing a lot of gagging (sticking my fingers down my throat). There's this amazing all over pleasant glow about 5 seconds after the actual gag which lasts about a minute. Did anyone else notice that Datis Kharazzian refers to singing and gargling like making the vagus nerve do sprints, while gagging is like making it do 'pushups'
      So maybe the vagus nerve exercise is synergizing with the fiber free for all that the gut bugs are having.

      I always used to notice that just after vomiting (sorry TMI) there was the same all over body glow for about the same time. I always thought it was because my body was just relieved to be rid of whatever I'd just thrown up. But now knowing about the vagus nerve and gagging, it makes perfect sense. And I don't actually vomit when I gag. I am a hopeless (painful actually) singer, and I found that the gargling (even the 'dry' gargling) was such a business, and I couldn't feel any effect. But the results with the gagging are immediate and strong - not to mention great fun.
      I guess my vagus nerve just isn't a sprinter. Sigh

    60. Hey Stuart

      Is that just from supplementation or from food too? I got up almost that high with supplements, and I started feeling sluggish. Like I would feel after eating a large holiday meal. Too much digestion I guess.

      It's funny that you mentioned no gas. I had that too for about a week, but it was right after I conquered dandelion root powder. It was odd going from massive gas to no gas. I'm now back to my usual gas levels, but I've been mixing things up lately.

    61. @Wilbur,
      The fermentable fiber is from supplements and the non fermentable is half and half. I can't be bothered counting the small amounts of fermentable fiber I get from food when I'm shooting for such a big number.Although I do dry a lot of citrus/passionfruit peels for the pectin. Does that count as food? I find I'm less and less hungry for food generally. I think my main fuel is SFCA's now. Always eat an egg though.
      I can just feel that rising tide of endotoxins LOL

      Didn't you mention that you were on 150 g fermentable, or is that the total ? .

  12. Oh! And about smoothie vs soup, I definitely agree that soup would be best. With a bone broth base, or at least the powdered collagen. since you tried tomatoes as your ferment, I am guessing you like them. so use them or whatever veg or seasonings you like to mask the ones that you don't care for...there are a kazillion possibilities for soup.
    Have you tried long sauteeing onions till very carmelized, then adding greens and pureeing? maybe with some cream or potato to smooth it out and mellow even more?
    As i said, a kazillion...

  13. Wondering if anyone has seen this and/or their opinions of it?

    It involves injecting cancer patients with altered viruses(hiv, measles, common flu etc).
    It'd be great to hear your and your readers' opinions on it, Tim.
    I've only started to learn about the role of t-cells, from yourself and Dr. Ayers, and their role(or that in some they have gone for a chain-smoking break or have taken paid leave due to some sort of a mental breakdown) in auto-immunity. Is it feasible that a similar approach could be used to eventually treat auto immune issues?

    1. I will see if the series in on NetFlix, we don't get HBO. Looks fascinating! From the link:

      "The third season of our Emmy-winning HBO show doesn't start until March 6, but VICE Special Report: Killing Cancer will air at 10 PM EST/PST and 9 PM UTC on Friday, February 27. It's an hour-long in-depth documentary that focuses on therapies that go far, far beyond chemo. We'll be taking a look at how doctors use HIV, measles, and genetically-engineered cold viruses to strengthen patients' immune systems and wipe out cancer cells without damaging their bodies the way chemo normally does. "

      Immunotherapy is gaining ground, still lots of mysteries to unlock. What I hate, though, is how most research in this area goes to developing pharmaceuticals to trick the immune system. We need to stop looking for easy "there's an app for that!" answers and really dive into the immune system!


    2. I see the newest addition to your link list, Sarah the Healthy Home Economist is weighing on this:

  14. @ JL

    I too suffer from the vegetable taste aversion. Same gag reaction too. If you get your greens down in a smoothie, so much the better. Just don't let that aversion to veggie taste limit you to smoothies. Sometimes it takes consistent exposure and different cooking technique to find what veggies you like.

    I personally have found roasting my root veggies in coconut oil is far more flavourful (makes them sweeter) than steaming them.

    And for the record I can't stand anything from the Brassica family or cruciferous veggies (raw or cooked) so consequently, I don't buy them.

    That being said, I eat other types as my budget allows it and if it is not a favourite but doesn't induce the gag reaction, I keep reintroducing those veggies until it become palatable. My kids have no choice on this adventure. They must eat a very small portion.


    1. There may be another explanation.

      Have you guys seen that " is it blue/black or gold/white dress?" thing? There is also genetic differences in tastes! It seems to particularly involve several families of plant.

      Melissa McEwan wrote about it last summer:

      But apparently this extends beyond cilantro, others have strange taste aversions to celery, coriander. And "supertasters" may be averse to any bitter food in the brassica family (broc, cabbage, Brussel sprouts).

      So, maybe you all aren't completely weird...

    2. (Hopefully I clicked the correct reply button....)

      @ Tim

      "So, maybe you all aren't completely weird..."

      LOL. I've always known I was special.....

      My sister introduced that concept to me many years ago (maybe from Mark's Daily Apple) so I never felt bad about not eating them. And with my hypothyroidism, more of an excuse not to eat them. LOL

      Although I do want to benefit from eating bitter veggies. Maybe when these bitter veggies are fermented, it's might not be so bad. I wonder if fermenting goitorgen veggies would decrease those compounds as if they were cooked?

      For now, I'll just focus on increasing and learning to enjoy the ones that are not goitorgens.


    3. I've wondered if I was a "supertaster" or in some way different from other people. As a kid I remember my mother trying to convince me that iceberg lettuce "had no taste" when I knew darn well it was bitter!

      There's some difference of opinion about goitrogens these days:

      I'm not sure what to think. I have Hashimoto's and will probably just stick with avoiding soy, which I heard from my conservative doctor.

    4. @JL

      I guess when growing up my mother just boiled to death all veggies but the salad, which had plenty of onions and raw garlic. As a child, this was disgusting.

      When I gave up wheat and several months passed, veggies had an interesting flavour. Not as disgusting as I remembered. Peas, which my kids find disagreeable actually taste sweet to me.

      Goitrogen veggies are ok IF you cook them. With thyroid issues, I will not eat them raw. Apparently, you need to watch how much you eat in a day as well. And ya, it can get confusing and hard to know what to believe. Anybody can cut and paste when doing a blog and do not necessarily check their facts or provide links to papers.

      If you are not overwhelmed with info, you might want to check out Stop the Madness and the Thyroid Diet Revolution to glean what you can.

      Thanks for the links. I am checking those out.

      I totally agree with soy but you also must read the labels. Soy lectins is commonly used as an emulsifier ie commercially made mayo.


    5. @JL

      Love those links! I do not have Hashimoto according to my doctor. It seems to me, regarding eating goitrogen veggies, just depends on WHY your thyroid is not working optimally.

      And to figure out why your thyroid is behaving the way it does, requires a lot of testing that rules things out. Not this, not that type of approach which most health care system (Canadian or American) do not like since it requires spending money.

      Education and good communication with your doctor is important.


    6. @Nicole

      I have read those book and a good one on Hashimoto's too. I know my thyroid is not normal from ultrasounds and a biopsy. There's nodules and all kinds of gobbledy gook "stuff" there, that even my internist said he'd have consult with the reporting pathologist one and then ultimately reassured me it wasn't cancerous. Cause for concern though and I will have another ultrasound to look for changes soon.

      As far as function, he told me it was ok, and when I asked him about the other tests gave me a very intelligent sounding response to the effect that it wasn't warranted. I didn't feel able to press the point.

      I did go through a bout of what I knew was "hypothyroidism" for a time, despite an equally reassuring other doctor saying I was "fine" per lab tests. I carefully chose a supplement and had good luck with it, i.e. no more super coldness, no more gray skin on my elbows (weird symptom that one!), no more low body temp.

      The only reason I have sometimes wondered about my thyroid is how shockingly easy it is for me to gain weight. I have tried Nutrimeds "natural thyroid" supplements from time to time, however, and I only felt worse so concluded it's not my thyroid.

      Still my doctor said I was justified at getting it taken out, and the ins would pay for it, but that was shortly after my cancer surgery and I didn't feel inclined. I also knew I would be losing my insurance and didn't want to be dependent on a doctor prescribing hormones when my own seemed to suffice. I was prescribed Synthyroid by a psychiatrist trying to help me with depression and felt terrible on it, but ok on Armour. I didn't relish having to fight that battle with every subsequent doctor, however.

      My previous doctor told me to avoid soy and added iodine. I know that is the latest controversy for Hashi's but I only have so much energy to try to sort these things out! I use iodized salt but avoid kelp and whatever.

    7. JL - one thing to check out if you haven't already, is supplementing your adrenals (freeze dried whole-organ adrenal replacement is available, kind of the adrenal version of Armour thyroid & other freeze dried thyroid replacements. Obviously supplementing without guidance is not a good idea! - just mentioning it so you aren't worried you'll suddenly have to take cortisol or similar.)

      If you have known thyroid issues, but taking thyroid supps. makes you worse - that's a huge red flag for adrenal fatigue. If your thyroid has been low for years, your adrenals have been picking up the slack. Treating the adrenals for a few months then makes thyroid meds effective.

      Any naturopathic or holistic MD can look at your adrenal/thyroid situation and help you figure out whether the adrenals are part of the issue.

      I was in this boat during pregnancy - supplementing my thyroid was a disaster until my ND put me on adrenal supplements for a month, and then everything fell into place. It's worth looking into!

      (I was able to discontinue thyroid supplementation after several years, but I still supplement adrenals using DHEA - if I run out they let me know it! :)

    8. @Terra

      I did try the adrenal supp and felt awful. I think my adrenals are only a little challenged. I try to do the things I have learned to be supportive, such as going to bed early, which was really hard at first for this previous night owl, to maximize the normal cortisol circadian rhythm. I avoid eating VLC as well because, although great for my blood sugar, it feels very physically stressful to me otherwise. It's my understanding that cortisol is necessary for gluconeogenesis and I suspect that's one reason why I start quickly feeling out of whack.

      Low energy in general and gaining weight easily are the only reasons why I get suspicious about my thyroid, but then I also lose weight when I try so I can't complain there. And low energy might be first just subjective, and otherwise, well, who knows.

    9. Ach - negative datapoint is still a datapoint I suppose! More self experimentation and research :)

      I would encourage you to consider that 'subjective' evidence to be the single most important evidence though. If you're low energy, you're low energy. It's real. Respect the evidence of your senses :)

    10. @JL

      Thanks for responding. I look forward to seeing how you do with your fibre supplements in the weeks to come.


  15. I want to thank Rick Simpson and the entire management of Ricksimpsoncurefoundation and their life saving cannabis oil that cured my breast cancer, so many doctors told me that there was no hope for me since i was not responding to treatment despite all the chemo and radiation. So a friend of mine came to my rescue by making me ordering this cannabis oil from Rick Simpson cure foundation which she said Rick has been helping patients to fight against cancer of various types so i decided to give it a try, and i ordered for the good cannabis oil for that of 60 grams which cost me $1500 usd. So far i have really improved and now i am very okay like never before. I felt it's necessary i let others know this good news especially those suffering from this ugly disease that once you have a good cannabis oil, from Rick Simpson Cure Foundation, it can really give a second chance in life. If it happen that you are among those suffering and dying of this disease and you really need this cannabis oil, you can contact the foundation and you can order and purchase this good cannabis oil from the foundation on their email on

  16. I want to thank Rick Simpson and the entire management of Ricksimpsoncurefoundation and their life saving cannabis oil that cured my breast cancer, so many doctors told me that there was no hope for me since i was not responding to treatment despite all the chemo and radiation. So a friend of mine came to my rescue by making me ordering this cannabis oil from Rick Simpson cure foundation which she said Rick has been helping patients to fight against cancer of various types so i decided to give it a try, and i ordered for the good cannabis oil for that of 60 grams which cost me $1500 usd. So far i have really improved and now i am very okay like never before. I felt it's necessary i let others know this good news especially those suffering from this ugly disease that once you have a good cannabis oil, from Rick Simpson Cure Foundation, it can really give a second chance in life. If it happen that you are among those suffering and dying of this disease and you really need this cannabis oil, you can contact the foundation and you can order and purchase this good cannabis oil from the foundation on their email on

    1. Not sure if this is spam or not, but sounds great if it's true!

    2. "good cannabis oil for that of 60 grams which cost me $1500 usd."

      Of course it is a spam. To hell with regulation and criminalisation that makes this possible.

    3. Mister Meat (levi)March 15, 2015 at 8:43 AM

      I would believe its not, because rick simpson Is a known name in the cannabis community (or call it what you want). How I know? what you think I been doing in my SAD 5 weeks, watch documentaries. Run from the cure by rick simpson.

    4. Interesting discussion (3 parts so far) on Science Based Medicine:

      I'm "alt med" inclined but when it came to having Stage III endometrial cancer, I considered and then accepted the conventional treatment options of sugery, radiation and chemotherapy. There's no question the surgery was necessary as I was bleeding profusely but based on the cytology class I of my type of cancer per biopsy, I was hoping that that would be all that was required. The surgery revealed metastasis to one Fallopian tube however, and this made me Stage III. Stats indicated my chances for survival went from 90% to 40-50%. That was devastating until I heard from other survivors on Hyster Sisters that those stats were at least 10 years old and before they started treating endo cancer so aggressively, which my oncologist confirmed. I have no regrets and hope for the best, especially as my kind of cancer recurrence is most likely in the first 2 years and I have survived 3 already.

      I never like the chirpy yet creepy way some of these alt med survivors often talk about their cancer experience such as this woman and the previous discussed on SBM, "The Wellness Warrior". It's just a little too much woo for me with phrases like "since I invited cancer into my life...".

      I think there are risk factors that come into play, but there's also "shit happens". I have a cousin who's going through treatment that has been terrible for her so far, also for endometrial cancer, and I look at her lifestyle and mine and we had nothing in common.

      I think some of people's beliefs about what causes cancer and how they are going to prevent, or how they will hypothetically react if they get it is mostly whistling past the graveyard.

  17. Just shared this post on Facebook. :)

  18. Mister Meat (levi)March 16, 2015 at 1:48 AM

    @ + 100g fibers. I probably don't know some things that you do, But I'm not yet convinced more than 100g is needed. i think more like 80g provides maximum benefit and after that very little benefits

    anyhow i'm doing a thesis on prebiotics (official title that i'm submitting today to school: the place of RS within the spectrum of prebiotics).

    Though I haven't done much yet for my last chapter (seriously gotta speed things up next weeks), In my research haven't come across studies that clearly said how many SCFA (thus how many prebiotics) that intestines are designed to handle (and we thus need for optimal health), as to provide 'proof' for how many grams of prebiotics to consume. And for amount of prebiotics up to where benefits are achieved I don't have much more than this (snippet of my thesis): it is known that up to 80g of prebiotics can be utilised and starting from 20g substantial effects happen (Stephen, 1991) (Cummings, 1997).
    sidenote: maybe you guys can check/expirement to see if you get equal effects with 80g of prebiotics (or maybe it could be so that your 100+ gram is in reality closer to 80g), or if anything to add on this don't hesitate to reply
    You remember the couple of emails we had on that tim?

    In any case i'll adjust my recommendations. I will state that even with effort(following my recommendations) prebiotic intake is lower than what has been for thousands of years (for 2 main reasons tim said) and what is needed for optimal health, thus making it harder to achieve optimal amounts without supplementation.
    So although you can get great benefits from 20-50g, going for amounts in the ballpark of 50 - 100g is very much worthy of consideration if optimal health is desired. And that then implies we have more room(or rather necessity) for supplementation. I hope i'm correct on this (as far as being correct can be, given the lack of official knowledge on this)

    Perhaps you guys have resources for me on that? (already have this: explanation on infants and breastmilk and why it is that we don't yet know the needed amount of SCFA in scientific research).

    @ orafti inulin. fantastic to hear about that. I have 2 bottles of jarrow laying in my closet (very coincidentally), now gonna make use of it (small amounts because experience tells me that a little bit gives me brain fog 10times slower and frustrating productivity, which is the last thing i can use now).
    I can tell you GOS is one that has done very nice things for me. and in near future (when money allows) i'll make work of orafti. maybe supplementing extra prebiotics everyday might be a good idea. I estimate in my 'optimal' diet, that i get 50g of prebiotics from all sources and that i would make up for it with bananaflour/gos when falling short. but given my updated view on this perhaps i'll pull a wilbur everyday as to get close to 100g of prebiotics (since 100g is probably better for optimal health than 50g).

    Am i (for the rare occasions) to be lucky to live in belgium! I think I'd be stupid not to affiliate with this company (if it is/represents what i now believe it is) when working with clients (maybe i'm stupid for saying this, but i like the honestyy vibe going on here and paleocommunity in general)

    1. please help out a fellow paleo traveller = GOS stands for? thanks

    2. G alacto O ligo S accharides. Breast milk contains a very special form of it.

    3. Levi! Man, you are getting good. It really makes me happy to see you studying this stuff. Lots of RS papers coming out of the University of Iowa, but all focusing on the Food Industry and using RS as fillers, extenders, and 9 ways to reclassify and cross-link. The real money is going to be in using the raw, natural RS sources for gut health, not in making shelf-stable, tasty muffins.

      As to a 'perfect amount' of fiber, well, it is a trick question, no?

      Fiber is fermented by gut bugs. Each person has a different set. It would be cool if someone could define the perfect amount of SCFAs we need to keep our gut/immune system in perfect shape, but then we'd have to figure out how much SCFA each individual person can manufacture with a certain amount of fiber based on their present set of gut bacteria.

      To me, it's all about bet-hedging. I think that probably 30- 50g of fermentable fiber, plus another 20-30g of non-fermentable fibers is going to be really, really close to an optimal amount. This is "do-able" with real food, but hard.

      My long-term strategy, long after this blog is forgotten about, will be to take a couple spoonfuls of a supplemental fiber daily.

      I have been two full weeks on a low fiber diet now, collecting stool samples for the Stanford study, and I can really feel it. Going to the bathroom is no longer any fun, I get intense food cravings, I feel much hungrier overall. And, I noticed a dry, itchy patch appearing on my arm...who is that? Some little friends to speed up decaying my body? Hmmm.

      Speaking of dead people, lol, did I send you this paper? It's pretty old, but they measured the SCFA content in the colons of "recent cadavers". Quite enlightening.


    4. Levi - Also meant to show you this:

      A "pill" you can swallow to measure the gasses produced by gut bacteria. Maybe be quite useful! (Thanks, Barn)

    5. Mister Meat (levi)March 19, 2015 at 4:39 AM

      Thank you so much for the encouraging words. appreciate it all, and the papers also. It stimulates me to work further on the paper already!

      On the fermentable vs non-fermentable fibers. During research and writing the chapters I changed my stance couple of times regarding this concept. Now I believe (and is written so in my paper) that all prebiotics are fermentable (in my subchapter 'classic prebiotics' I list all the fibers except RS, because they are all fermentable). some more than other, and each uniquely stimulating growth of bacteria, and only 2 are partly fermentable and more to be considered roughage = cellulose and hemicellulose. I have learned that it isn't soluble vs insoluble and that they all serve us well, only the ones that are ubiquitous in SAD diet are not so needed (as for fermentation and stimulating bacteria, it has its use in overal balanced fiber intake), and especially not when that is main source of 'fiber'.
      I don't tend to think of .. g of real prebiotics and .. g of 'insoluble fiber or non-fermentable fiber' (in parantheses because that term is outdated really, all fibers have prebiotic potential and coining the term 'insoluble' makes us think they don't have prebiotic potential). In paper I discuss only recommended amounts of prebiotics (and seperately for RS that is part of prebiotic total), and mention that cellulose is not so advisable, but don't include the topic of needing roughage.

      With that saying it seems to me that if you eat ancestral diet and follow recommendations, then the large bulk of percentage of fibers will be fermentable. and not an almost 50% non-fermentable fiber. If i'm off, im happy to know. it is how i've come to see it. (and perhaps you already know most of that tim, and you just want to keep it simple ;))

      I sure do hope your blog/work won't be forgotten about, it can't be!

    6. Levi -

      I am not sure what you've discussed with Tim, so I am not sure of everything you are saying. I think it is mostly consistent with how I think. On the cellulose, though, my recollection is that "roughage" helps to spread out the fermentable stuff through the colon or something. My recollection is that fermentables have better effects when combined. I take cellulose for this reason.

      Also, percentages might be a bit tricky when comparing diets. The SAD diet might be 100% (exaggeration) roughage, but it's only a few grams. Mine might be 20% roughage, but that's 30 grams! (I consume about 150g/day.). Opposite ends of the spectrum, but you see what I mean. It's not the wrong percentage, per se, just a reflection of too little overall fiber.

      I'd love to see your thesis if you care to share it.

    7. Great thinking, Levi - Always keep looking. What we need are some good, long-term studies in humans. Your thoughts on a mixture being needed are very good. No doubt we need all types of fiber.

    8. Levi - I just have to share this...stolen from an intercepted email between two crazy people I know:

      How Good Gut Bacteria Could Transform Your Health (2014)


      Fibers are like pearl necklaces of varying bead-length. Most fibers we eat are so short, they get chomped long before they make it to where bacteria are concentrated, the beginning of the large intestine, aka the colon.

      Two fiber types long enough to survive the length of our GI tract are fructan and cellulose fibers—part of a group of foods known as prebiotics, foods that encourage the growth of good bacteria. Cellulose fibers are in the tough parts of veggies and fruit we tend to toss—like the stalks of broccoli and bottoms of asparagus—and the stringy bits of celery. Fructan fibers are found in many fruits and vegetables—from artichokes to onions.

      But how you prepare these foods also matters. That’s because heat breaks down fibers. Consider the onion—a good source of fructan: the ­average chain length of fructan in an onion is 26. A little bit of cooking breaks the onion fibers down to 8 or 10 beads. The shorter the chain, the sweeter the food—which is why deliciously sweet caramelized onions retain little fructan fiber benefit.

      Leach does a little show-and-tell at Terlingua’s only grocery, the Cottonwood General Store. “This is probably the healthiest thing in the store for your gut microbiome,” he says, holding a leek almost as long as his arm.

      He points to the white part: “These store fructans. I’d say this probably does more good for you than a wheelbarrow full of yogurt.” Then, he points to the green top of the leek: “That’s the cellulose, which has a chain length of a couple thousand ‘beads.’”

      A few onlookers stare at the leek in awe. Silence. “You could eat this whole leek and change your micro­biome in 48 hours,” Leach proclaims. In other words, if you eat this, the good guys will come. "

    9. I just had to share this

      It's a great summary. It suggests that cellulose is 20-80% fermentable in the gut, and hemicellulose is 60-90%. That surprised me.

      I wish I could remember the study I read that cellulose plus fermentable fiber had more effect (?) than fermentable alone. Every study I've found uses cellulose as a control, as if it has no effect. My suspicion is that the mechanism is related to transit time, which is reduced by cellulose. I can verify this as I have been eating large amounts of barely cooked cabbage from St. Patrick's day. Mainly the stem parts. My normal bathroom visit is now a few hours early...

    10. After reading some of these articles and comments, it really got me thinking how important transit time could be. If I understand it correctly, something like the long chain inulin doesn't know to magically become available when it reaches a physical location. It's just that it takes more work to break it down. With varying transit times, this could be at varying locations in the GIT. In other words, super high quantities of primarily shorter chain fermentable fibers without something like cellulose pushing things along might not be what you want and lead to overgrowth in the wrong area. Or maybe I'm just going cross eyed from all the reading and making crazy connections:) Yet another data point for these studies to track.


    11. I wonder what is different about fructans fermenting at the distal end of your colon and hemicellulose (or even cellulose) fermenting there. Presumably transit time is not the only critical variable?
      Maybe types (or type 'strains') of gut bacteria promoted by a particular fermentable fiber at that particular point in the colon?

      That's really interesting about the fermentability of cellulose and hemicellulose Wilbur.

      We have a love affair with our tastebuds don't we? So much of our lives are spent fiddling food to stimulate our taste receptors - eg caramellizing (and thus ruining its prebioic effect) alliums. And spending thousands of years selectively breeding edible plants to boost their sugar content or reduce the annoying fiber. Children particularly are so at the mercy of their sweet , not difficult to chew , taste receptors.

      So much of our lives are spent preparing food to make it more delicious - usually at the expense of our health, particularly the downstream effects on our microbiomes. I know which kind of onion -caramellized or raw - I would rather eat . And trying to get children to eat a salad that doesn't have sweet/acid ingredients/dressing is an uphill battle.

    12. Also , isn't stuff moved through your colon by peristaltic contractions of the colon wall? . What's in your colon can't speed up or slow down on its own, can it?
      But the particular fiber will be fermented by gut bugs at a particular rate, so perhaps the long chain inulin ( and others like dextrin which are well documented to produce more fermentation in the transverse and distal colon - though not as spectacularly as long chain inulin) just doesn't get up to fermentation speed until the 'normal' transit rate has taken it to the distal colon.
      So it's not a 'deliberate' positional decision , but its fermentation characteristics produce the same effect as if it was.

      Long chain inulin is essentially a frankenfood, humans have taken a well fermenting fiber (regular inulin) and engineered it to do a specific task --light up the distal colon - very well. Actually I think distal fermentation rates were probably pretty well down Beneo's R&D priorities - it was a food functionality project.Something to do with yoghurt 'mouthfeel'.
      But who cares if it was an accident.

    13. Mister Meat (levi)March 20, 2015 at 1:41 AM

      Wilbur, I would love to share my thesis. I hope my last chapter, which I've been so slow to work on last months (as opposed to all the other chapters that I put many hours in weeks of november, in the state of flow), will be as good as i want it to (multiple reasons for this)

      Somwehere around june it will be finished and i'll then make work of it to translate it to english (its written in flemish/dutch). And for my part post it here on this blog. I graduate (dietitian) in january, and have plans to launch a website etc by that time and will put up the thesis there as well.
      Must mention that allthough I know/think I discuss prebiotics and RS too a good degree, completely finished it will never be, so many studies and subtopics to talk about and could keep me busy forever (for example i learned about beta-glucan but refrained myself of going to add it in my already finished chapters. or i could keep on doing that and never begin chapter RS). So don't expect a complete bible on that, leave that for tim and richard's book ;)

      I think you grasped my thinking quiete well, I completely agree. Left that thinking out in my mind for a minute: the cellulose needed to spread prebiotcs in gut. you're totally right. I do mention in my paper psyllium being capable of that, and will add to that that also other non-fermentables like cellulose do this. Thanks for the awesome studies, and I'll incorporate it in paper.

      Don't know much about transit time (and don't discuss it in paper)

    14. Stuart - re peristaltic contractions, have a look at this video

    15. Thanks Tim for that insert on Mar 19 about leeks. Leeks are so expensive and I thought that cutting off the greens and throwing them away was such a waste. Same with asparagus but sometimes they are just too 'woody' to chew.

      Because of this article, I'm going to change my cooking habits/style a bit to increase my fibre content through food.

      Psyllium causes so much bloat and pain (right now) that I avoid it. I had a yummy potatoe salad lately and it caused a little bloat which resolved when passed gas. But not painful and definitely yummy (2 out of 3 of my kids loved it too).


    16. @ wildcucumber,
      Fascinating, Datis Karrazian is doing some amazing work That stuff about the link between traumatic brain injury, the gut brain axis, and autoimmune disease was particularly intriguing. But I kept waiting to hear mention of microbiome health as a kind of prerequisite for gut/brain axis health, and it never came. He struck me as an incredibly smart guy who was nevertheless missing such an important part of the puzzle completely,
      I feel like someone should send him a leek as long as your arm with a card bearing Jeff Leach's unforgettable words : ' If you eat this, the good guys will come'.

      Interesting about the gut motiliy factor. Didn't you love his sound effects?

    17. Yes I did love the sound effects!

      I was truly impressed to hear about how the vagus nerve can be so easily stimulated and the gut/brain axis reset just by gargling or singing - agreed alongside leeks of course! I doubt he's missing that piece, I thought the interviewer was a bit, well annoying, actually and someone else could have coaxed that out of him.

      Hey Tim, have you seen it yet? Maybe YOU could interview Karrazian for us!

    18. Watching now.

      Anyone still think that "oil pulling" is crazy?

    19. Love the sound effects! Reminds me of a joke...

      Two new members of an Alaskan hunting lodge got introduced to Sourdough Sam, the oldest member. They asked him to tell some of his favorite hunting stories.

      “Well, back in 1944,” says Sam, “we went grizzly bear hunting. Didn’t have much luck at first and while I was sitting by this tree I heard this noise. All of a sudden this big BEAR jumps out and roars at me ‘RAWRRRRRRRRRRRRR!’ Well I just shit my pants.”

      The young men are amazed. One of them says “I don’t blame you. I’d shit in my pants too if a bear jumped at me like that.

      The old man shakes his head and says, “No, no no, not then. Just now when I said RAWRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”

    20. It's tempting to try this in the morning. Just I think it will scare the shit out of my cats first. LOL! Hilarious.

    21. Fascinating. The gargling to stimulate the vagus made me wonder if those who have a well-formed wide, flat palate might not really have to do this. Thinking here of the beautiful heads that Weston Price found on those who ate a traditional diet. They possibly already have a good gut-brain connection simply because their palate isn't all jammed up and narrow, and therefore a bit 'stuck', unlike those with narrow arches from a modern diet. It seems a well-formed skull brings all kinds of benefits, from lack of back and spine issues, to a good gut-brain connection and natural peristalsis.

    22. My sister took up singing lessons several years ago and coincidentally (?) came out of her 15 yr long depression. Gotta wonder.

    23. Yes, it is interesting. Also makes me think of all those spiritual traditions where they emphasize chanting. Gotta be something in it.

    24. At the time I was thinking it was that she'd opened her throat chakra, "letting it all out" so to speak that was helping so much - but you know, her appetite improved too, and now I've got her eating fermented foods and she's falling in love with kefir.

      It's fascinating how many ways there are to regain health.

    25. I find I make a terrible mess when I gargle water, so I'm getting quite good at gargling 'dry'. And keeping it well down my throat so it's the same place reverberating as when water is used. Do you think the water does something special? Singing is dry after all.
      I find it quite stressful listening to myself singing.. It's just so awful. Maybe I should take lessons. I believe the right teacher can get any voice reasonably tuneful.

  19. thank you, I confuse that one with glucommanan

  20. Any suggestions for a brand or source for the GOS?

    1. I have not found any yet, either. I keep hearing about Bimuno, not sure it's even available in the US.

      The trouble I have with GOS, is that anything you can buy is going to be a man-made simulation of the stuff found in human breast milk, but chemically, it looks nothing the same. However, it does hold up well in the studies that look at it's use in baby formula.

      Personally, I look at it as a potentially great fiber, but I'm not scrambling to buy it.

      If anyone wants a bit more info on its chemical structure, one of these slides shows how GOS is structured and compared to breast milk (HMO) and lactose.

    2. It's available on Amazon, brand name: Seeking Health - product name: Probiota Immune. Mix of GOS and Beta Glucans. Product claims the GOS is derived from bovine milk.

    3. Mister Meat (levi)March 19, 2015 at 4:18 AM

      I bought it from UK (live in belgium). Reason I'm excited about that fiber is when you're in times of having alot of trouble with other fibers (or when you don't take in much prebiotics for whatever reasons), then this is a sure way to get things in the right direction (and doesn't give fodmap issues). I have had very good experience with it. And it is a unique fiber, but they all are, right?
      we only get it from breast milk and beans i believe. I was never breastfed and i do eat beans but extra gos proved very welcome.
      however, and it doesn't come as a surprise anymore to me, i also don't see it as a panacea (and especially since learning that pushing trough with all fibers might be advised). I also ordered some XOS from amazon, also for the extra needed prebiotics that I didn't take in trough food.
      But as mentioned in previous posts I'm working on pusing trough with inulin (in balance with all the rest, that includes 1 sachet of gos per day still for me)

  21. Does anyone know how I can find out which prebiotics best feed (or even if there are any that do feed - lactobacillus reuteri? thank you.

    1. "which prebiotics best feed (or even if there are any that do feed - lactobacillus reuteri?"

      What a lovely, but meaningless question. I don't know, I don't care and I will personally curse anyone who tries to compose an answer.

      "Le germe n'est rien, c'est le terrain qui est tout."

      L. Pasteur (a bit too late, on his deathbed)

    2. YAAY! for your subtitle change!!

    3. Ha! +2 (one each Gemma and Tim)

    4. A question for the French speakers among us - is the translation (and connotative intention) more accurately 'soil' or more conceptual, like 'medium' - as in 'the local environment'? I've seen several translations around, but I do not know the language :)

    5. @Terra

      The linguist in me suggests... environment :-)

      The story of Pasteur vs. Bernard summarized for instance here:

      The Causes of Disease: The Great Debate

    6. thanks Gemma - I was wondering if there were layers here... lots apparently! :D

    7. LMAO!!! Beware the curse of Gemma!! And she can do it in several languages too!!! LOL!!!

      But I agree, it's the environment.


    8. I'll be sure to mention this to the other members of the IBS/ulcerative colitis forum, lol. PS: glutatione

  22. Even seeing articles in Salon now. This one is on a study on emulsifiers and damage to the microbiome:

    "The team found that the bacterial diversity of the mice microbiomes were altered. They also discovered the mucous membrane of the gut was thinner in mice who were fed emulsifiers. The thinner mucous membrane allowed the microbes closer to the gut wall than they would normally get, they wrote, which could cause the observed inflammation of the gut wall, and diseases like irritable bowel syndrome.
    Coupland noted that Polysorbate 80 and CMC are very different molecules. While Polysorbate 80 is small, and doesn’t carry an electrical charge, CMC is large, and charged. These molecules are not only built differently, but they behave differently, he said, pointing out that CMC is technically not even an emulsifier, but a thickener that makes emulsions more stable. That they both cause similar microbial disruptions, mucous reductions and associated health problems is a striking discovery.

    In an email interview, the study’s co-author, Benoit Chassaing, acknowledged that CMC is more of a thickener than an emulsifier, but noted that it does have emulsification properties, due to its charge. He suspects the resulting emulsifying activity is to blame.
    The team is currently investigating other common emulsifiers, aiming to identify any others that might cause microbial disturbances, or inflammation of the gut. Carrageenan, Chassaing noted, has already been found to cause inflammatory bowel disease in rats. Extracted from seaweed, carrageenan is widely used in processed “natural” foods. Like CMC, carrageenan is more of a thickener than an emulsifier, but is, like CMC, on the spectrum of additives that exhibit emulsifying properties."

    Ever since saturated fat was demonized, emulsifier use has skyrocketed even more (gotta get that mouth-feel somehow!).

    1. but I thought low carb was the way to go (AM satire ;)

    2. LOL Anon :D *snort*

      One of my kids and I do really poorly with emulsifiers, and I've struggled to pin down a cause for YEARS. Since we all have varying degrees of dysbiosis, it's a reasonable speculation that it probably doesn't take much to feel ick from emulsifiers upsetting the situation even more. (several are also a source of free glutamates, which is definitely a problem for one boy - took forever to figure that one out!)

      Since gluten-free baking is well neigh impossible without emulsifiers/gums OR eggs, cutting them out was a frustrating loss - but stabilized the mood issues of the youngest considerably. As we've worked on his gut bugs, he has started tolerating occasional exposure again. Nice!