Friday, April 3, 2015

Humans are Not Broken...Plant Paleo.

I've been talking to Angelo Coppola recently about his thoughts on diet.  Angelo is an awesome dude, has one of the best "radio" voices I've ever heard.  He does a podcast, Latest in Paleo, and puts out a quality show a couple times a month, interviewing all manner of people to discuss health issues.

Angelo also blogs a bit at Humans are not Broken. I've always liked that Angelo doesn't get stuck in the "24 hour newscycle" that a lot of blogs get caught in, jumping from headline to headline trying to keep ahead of the competition, but struggling to remain relevant.

Angelo's latest brainchild is a series he's putting together to focus on a high-fiber, gut healthy diet that does not use meat and fat as the backbone. He's calling this "Plant Paleo," (click link for an intro), and also wrote a blog, part 1 of a series, to explain his thoughts: Plant Paleo Part 1: The Gatherer-Hunter Diet.

And here you can check him out 'up close and personal' in a very brave photo-shoot.

Angelo would probably be mad if I just cut and pasted the whole plan, so let me just show you the first couple steps from the Plant Paleo link:

 The Plant Paleo approach is dominated by whole foods. It is informed by the evolutionary clues left for us by our ancestors, and it is in harmony with much of the scientific evidence we have about diet and health. By design, it is an omnivorous, nutrient-dense diet that is considerably higher in plant foods than animal foods (like the diets of many hunter-gatherers and healthy populations around the world). It contains an abundance of natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber.

He goes on to give some guidelines, which are, as he stressed several times, nowhere near finalized and still evolving:
  • Eat mostly organic plant-based foods as your staples.
  • Eat small servings of naturally and ethically raised or (sustainable) wild animal-based foods and broths.
  • Consume foods (and overall meals) that are nutrient dense and calorically sparse.
  • Get your nutrients from whole foods instead of supplements, unless you have been diagnosed with a deficiency and are working with a health professional to correct it.
  • Choose a variety of foods that are naturally high in fiber.
    • This will help you feel full, while also feeding beneficial bacteria living in your body. Even mother’s milk contains sugars that can’t be metabolized by their babies but feed their babies’ gut flora, instead.
 Sorry, you'll have to visit his blog to read more...but it is not a long read and not a highly commercial site.

If any of you have known me for a long time, you'll remember I used to always say that I thought the best diet would be somewhere in between hardcore vegan and hardcore paleo.  Neither of which are very good diets on their own...too much dogma.  I won't go on to slam either diet, but I'm not a fan of them, though I think both have redeeming qualities.  A vegan diet, when executed successfully, contains lots of good fiber and is not too low in carbs.  A paleo diet, does a good job avoiding modern processed foods, but is generally too low in carbs and fiber. And both end up being commercialized and twisted, ie. "Paleo snack bars."  Or Vegan "cheese." Why do these diets need to mimic what they try to avoid?

A Test!

I'm going to give Angelo's Plant Paleo a try for the whole month of April.  I'm still involved in the Stanford Study and doing weekly stool tests, so this will be a good alternative diet plan to see in a microbiome report when completed later this year.

Basically, my normal eating pattern has been to "IF" until noon, then eat a very small lunch, usually a can of sardines, oysters, or a piece of wild-caught salmon.  Some days a piece of fruit, too, or some light veggies. Then dinner is always a full-on meal featuring a slab of meat, a boat-load of veggies, starches, fruit, nuts, cheese, chocolate, etc...

For April, I will keep skipping breakfast, have a veggie-only lunch, and keep the meat portion of dinner very, very low and maybe even none on some days.  I will try to focus on the better quality meats and organ meats when I do have meat.  And we'll see how it goes. I need to read the plan a couple more times...

What is our actual requirement for "meat?" I know I have been kind of brainwashed by paleo, shooting for 100-150g of protein daily based on some calculation I heard once...usually meaning about a pound or more of meat, which is also what is called for in the Perfect Health Diet.

Mark Sisson said in 2013:

A significant-enough portion of the strength training community swears by 1-2 g protein/lb bodyweight that it couldn’t hurt to try if lower amounts aren’t working for you.
 I love nearly everything Mark Sisson writes, but maybe he's had me chasing too much protein over the last 5 years. At his upper end of 2g per pound of bodyweight, I should be eating 360g of protein...with roughly 125g of protein per pound of beef, that would mean eating nearly 3 pounds of meat daily!  I'd say the last couple years I've eaten probably 1 - 1.5 lbs of meat daily.  I'm going to be cutting it back to about that amount per week for a while and just see what happens with my energy levels, digestion, weight, and muscles.  It's nearly warm enough here to start jogging and working in the garden, so this should be a good test of a lower meat-based diet.

Notice I did not say 'Low Protein' diet, I have a feeling that if I added up what protein I am getting from plants, it will be higher than you'd think...but I just hate measuring, weighing, and counting things...especially in food!  So, not going there unless I get bored some day.

Battle Lines Drawn!

I think that Angelo unintentionally landed in the middle of a really crazy battlefield.

Have you been seeing the headlines?  Dr. Dean Ornish, renown Vegan, wrote a NYTimes piece:  The Myth of High-Protein Diets, in which he lambastes the world's new love of "bacon and eggs."

Animal protein increases IGF-1, an insulin-like growth hormone, and chronic inflammation, an underlying factor in many chronic diseases. Also, red meat is high in Neu5Gc, a tumor-forming sugar that is linked to chronic inflammation and an increased risk of cancer.


But for reversing disease, a whole-foods, plant-based diet seems to be necessary.

Then, Dr. Michael Eades, author of Protein Power, stepped up and skewered all of the points made by Ornish, to high acclaim across the "Paleosphere" with  Dr. Dean Ornish blasts high-protein diets:

As per usual for him, he is relying on observational or epidemiological studies to try to imply causation, and as every decent scientist knows, they do no such thing.

And later:

The message Ornish wants the reader to take away from this is that excess meat and fat consumption are driving the health problems we’re facing as a nation.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  But this is typical vintage Ornish: citing statistics and even giving the reference to find those statistics and assuming no one will bother to actually look them up.

Dr. Eades recommends a diet very high in protein and very low in fiber-rich, starchy or sugary plants. Basically, a "Low Carb High Fat" diet that has been very popular in Paleo circles.

At any rate, Angelo has landed smack-dab in the middle between these two polar-opposite approaches to healthy eating.  In one of our conversations, we were discussing supplements. Angelo, quite rightly, quipped something like, "Yeah, but have studies been done on people eating high fiber, non-modern diets?"  And, I have to agree there. A good diet should not require mega supplements.

Even Wheat Belly has now taken an "anti-all-grain" and a LCHF approach, and recommends quite a few supplements. I was actually quite taken aback by Dr. Davis' new approach to his wheat-free diet, turning it into another low carb diet. At least he is highlighting the need for fermentable fibers and gut health by adding in some RS, but his approach is that of a daily "low carb fiber smoothie." 

OK, this is probably getting too long, don't need a multi-part series!  Have a read of Angelo's new idea and let me know what you it something you'd try?  Any changes you'd recommend?



  1. Striking, Tim, that you come up with this post. I have been reading a couple of books lately that recommends lowering your protein intake to max 0.80 gr of body weight per kilo. I have calculated that I was eatting far too much protein and not nearly enough vegetables fibrous and otherwise. In the Thrive Diet (not yet read) there is a food pyramid that states

    5% starches/grains (brown rice, potatoes, squash) at the top.
    10% fats (nuts, avocados, oils)
    20% protein and 20% fruit
    45% fibrous vegetables at the bottom (chard, carrots, greens, zucchini)

    Obviously they get their protein from pseudo-grains lik Quinoa, Amaranth, Hemp, etc, but we could get our protein from animal and fish sources.

    I am drawn to this idea, because I have come realise that on paleo I'm eating way too much animal protein and not nearly enought fibrous/starchy vegetables.

    I will definitely join you in this experiment, and see how it effects me. I will have a look at Angelo Coppola's site.

    Jo tB

  2. It's funny that so many long-term paleo dieters are coming to similar conclusions. People seem to naturally fall into camps based on the carbs or the fats, but rarely does anyone question the protein.

    This, in an email from a friend just this morning, that was on a completely different subject, not even mentioning this "Plant Paleo" approach:

    " Increasing carbs has saved my life...more energy, more mental alacrity, etc.

    I'm learning so many ways to prepare carbs via Raw Till 4, Starch Solution, and 801010 vegans' instagrams/blogs/etc.! I'm about to make baked samosas with rice paper this weekend."

    1. I'd like to 2nd that sentiment about having fun in the kitchen with whole plant foods. There are some seriously delicious ways to prepare whole plant foods. It can also be quite a challenge, because honestly, Inuit Paleo is easier than Plant Paleo. With the former, you can just grill a hunk of meat and sauté the veggie side dish of your choice in coconut oil, add a sprinkle of salt and you're good to go.

      Over the past few months, I've really learned a lot about using peppers, pepper sauces, herbs, spices, etc. for flavoring. It's also pretty important to remember to use tubers and/or grains and/or legumes in these dishes, otherwise they will not be filling enough.

      I also use non-fortified nutritional yeast frequently when whipping something up in the kitchen. It has a nice umami flavor, almost cheesy.

    2. "I'm learning so many ways to prepare carbs via Raw Till 4, Starch Solution, and 801010 vegans' instagrams/blogs/etc.! I'm about to make baked samosas with rice paper this weekend." Hi Tim - I do not recognize these references - do you mind sharing links or more info? thank you.

    3. Those references were from a smart lady who posts as "TQP" on Mark's Daily Apple. I see she just posted some pictures of the rice paper samosas here.

      The other references are all vegan-inspired diet tricks, easily Googled. I have no experience with any of them.

  3. This is wonderful, easy to understand, and very useful. I'm thinking about this eating regimen as: if a person could come across it in the wild, it's OK to eat it. That answered my first does Angelo feel about coffee/tea.
    I played around with protein and fiber totals, and they're reasonable if I include chia and flax daily. I couldn't see any other way to get both in range.

    1. Hi, Madeleine! It's interesting that you should ask about coffee.

      In February, I decided to give up coffee for 30 days to see how it felt. I had been drinking it daily for years, and for some reason after shifting to a more plant-based diet, it was becoming less appealing. I am also no fan of the Bulletproof Coffee fad:

      So, in February, I replaced my morning 1-2 cups of coffee with a morning cup of Dandy Blend. It's an interesting beverage made from the extracts of dandelion root, chicory root, roasted barley, beets, and rye. It's a gluten free product, and I would say it has an earthy flavor that I enjoy a lot. Some say they can't tell the difference between it and coffee...but to me they're not similar.

      During the day I also drank one cup of black tea and a cup of green tea. The result was that I was able to give up the coffee without those nasty caffeine headaches.

      After February, I decided to give up coffee permanently and to use it more like a drug, as needed. Since then, I've had one occasion where I only got 3 hours of sleep and had a busy day to deal with. I drank two large Americanos and it worked BRILLIANTLY. :) The coffee really did it's thing, since I didn't have that daily tolerance built up. I was alert and active-minded until around 9pm when I crashed and subsequently slept for 9+ hours (I typically get 7).

      Currently, I drink one or two cups of tea per day: one black and one green, or two green. I think the dose makes the poison, and I doubt I have to worry much about renal failure, but I will be looking at this new study more closely:

      Oh and one other thing. On the SAD diet, where coffee is the primary source of plant-based antioxidants...maybe it makes sense to keep the habit. On my diet, where I get plenty of natural antioxidants from whole-food plants...I can't imagine the coffee or tea is necessary at all.

    2. Hey Angelo! I saw that study, and imagine he didn't drink anything else. I think a gallon of anything except maybe water, daily, long term, would be harmful.

      My idea of 'only what could be found foraging or hunting' was just a shorthand for myself. I can quickly negotiate myself out of the healthier parts of a new eating plan if I leave loopholes. This way, coffee and tea go into the 'think about it' part of my plan. I'm drinking a locally roasted organic coffee 1st a.m., and mate sometimes in the afternoon.
      I love the clarity and simplicity of what you're doing. And calling it Plant Paleo works really well for me; that's what I've been trying to construct on my own.

    3. Hi Angelo,

      I'm just curious as to how your coffee substitute could be gluten free since, as I understand it, barley and rye contain gluten? Or am I reading your post wrong.


    4. Hi, Nicole. That's the first question on their FAQ, here: -- short answer: "It meets the FDA standards for gluten-free, registering less than 5 parts per million for both gliadin and gluten, which is far below the limit of 20 parts per million allowed for gluten-free classification."

    5. @ Angelo,

      Thank you for clarifying that. I've had chicory coffee before and enjoyed it. I'm going to try it again.


  4. Last year I was eating about 12 ounces of animal protein per day. I don't like red meat in general, so not much of it was that. My blood work at that time showed sky high B12 levels, which didn't particularly worry anyone, but it bothered me. Also, I was noticing a revulsion towards eating animal protein - very bizarre for me, as I'm an eater and will eat almost anything in large amounts. I can eat several heads of broccoli, for example. I used to be obese.

    Anyway, I read somewhere that the body cannot overeat on protein. I think my body was telling me I was overeating. So I cut way back, and may have gone too far in the other direction; I eat under 8 ounces per day of fish, chicken or sometimes red meat.

    So, I don't know. I hate measuring too. I eat a lot of starchy carbs now and a little sweet potato daily.

    1. Hi, Anonymous. I can't imagine a half pound of meat per day is going to far in the other direction. Veganism is going too far. The USDA recommends around 4 oz of meat per day, IIRC —and not that the USDA is the final arbiter on these matters, but to a lot of people 8 oz would still be considered adequate or even excessive.

    2. I've been trying to stick to 4oz of meat a day the last 6 or 7 days, it feels so strange to eat so little meat! But I feel fine.

      I do feel I was reaching for more meat out of habit rather than need.

    3. I usually eat this amount of meat too. So are you just reducing calories, or replacing with carbs / fats? Legumes daily? I've read that reducing animal proteins like this can lead to a sizable shift in your microbiome. May be advantages to this shift as we age.


    4. Years ago, I used to poke fun at the concept of Meatless Monday. Nowadays, I am meatless at least a couple of times a week. More, if I don't count broth.

      For the Standard Western Diet, Meatless Monday is probably a fail. That's because the meat is being replaced by bread, fake meat products, cheese pizza and what not.

      But on this diet, going meatless a couple of days a week is no big deal and feels rather good. But on those days, I definitely eat more starch and end up snacking a bit more—mostly carrots, fennel seeds, fruit, etc.

    5. I am probably the least scientific person following Vegetable Pharm etc. I have limited myself to some food groups to help myself with RA but have within the last 1 1/2 years brought a lot back. Mainly starches and legumes and milk to make kefir. I do try and go meatleass once a week (exception being bone broth every day). My meat protein has never and never will measure up to what is paleo standard. I can't physically eat that much! And then nor do I eat the weight of vegetables suggested by PHD! I know what will make me feel satisfied and not have to snack between meals.

      @Angelo - why is oil taken out of the plant paleo diet? I have basically gone over to tallow as I make so much bone broth. And I do use olive oil for salads. I don't use a great deal but do use it.

    6. Hi, Navillus — oil is removed for a few reasons.

      1) I want to design a whole foods diet that is nutritionally complete without supplementation. So, for example, instead of eating olive oil, I am eating the olives. Just as the diet encourages eliminating or reducing refined sugars (white sugar, powdered sugar, corn syrup, etc.), it also encourages the same for refined proteins and fats.

      2) prior to Plant Paleo, oil was the biggest source of energy-dense, nutrient sparse calories in my diet. 3 to 7 tablespoons per day equals about 360 to 840 calories. Eating almost any combination of whole foods in place of that will yield more nutrition, fiber, phytochemicals, and even satiety.

      3) I also find the evidence that oil may damage endothelial cells convincing, and heart disease runs in my family. Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn talks about this frequently. Here's a pretty good blog article (not too science-y) explaining this point of view:

      --- I would say tallow and olive oil are among the better oils, though, if I had to choose. We have a few jars of tallow that we made many months ago. Instead of eating it ourselves, we now use it to supplement our dogs' food.

    7. @ navillus

      You're not the only one who is scientifically challenged. LOL


  5. If anyone has any questions or comments, Angelo will be checking it on this thread. He told me it's nowhere near "written in stone" so if you see room for improvement, let's hear it!

    Back in my SAD days, when breakfast was donuts, lunch burgers and fries, and dinner was fried chicken, I doubt I was eating much more than 4-8 oz of meat daily.

    The docs treating me for high BP, high chol, high trigs, gout, and pre-diabetes told me to limit my meat to 4oz a day...the size of a deck of cards is the usual meme.

    Then, when I 'went feral' I started eating 1-3 POUNDS of meat daily on the advice of everyone. But it worked. Or something did. So I have kept up a very high meat intake, but probably closer to a pound a day for the last couple years.

    I would say that I eat very intuitively, but that I do intentionally over eat on protein, and was even going down the "Whey Protein Powder Path" last summer just to get my protein numbers up to some target.

    I guess I really do need to count up and see how many grams of protein I'm eating right now. For science. I'd guess 50-60g, which is right on USDA RDA's target.

    Not that I care what the USDA says!

    1. And by "right now" I mean on a near-Vegan diet.

      I just looked at this Wiki article on protein contents:

      I eating lots of beans, nuts, and starchy tubers. Probably 2-3 pounds a day. All totaled. Just scanning the list, it looks like "plants" average about 5g per 100g, or 50g per kg.

      So I think 50-60g is on target with NO meat or cheese. Add in some scraps of meat, bit of cheese, yogurt, or bone broth and I'll bet you're looking at 75g easily.

      I even mentioned to Angelo a "meat reefed" to simulate a successful kill. Seems intuitive.

    2. Tim, the problem with pulses and nuts is analytically they contain certain amounts of protein. But absorbable in the human body, the percentages can be quite low. You can't rely on data for how much protein you are consuming when it comes to pulses and nuts.

      I'm not 100% sure here but as lentils are concerned, only 27% of the protein in lentils is absorbed. Hence the farting. I have a 'feeling' that the farting from pulses has more to do with undigestible protein that the other stuff.

    3. FWIW, A large serving of lentils or other beans no longer causes me to fart since I've been consuming more RS.

    4. Within a matter of a week, maybe 1-1/2 weeks, all gas and odor issues passed. In fact, one of the unique benefits of Plant Paleo that my wife and I have noticed is a general lack of odor.

      - body odor: this was never an issue for either of us, but it's still noticeably better now...I can wear my workout clothes several times before washing.

      - morning breath: this might have as much to do with giving up coffee as it does Plant Paleo, but both of us find our morning breath to be not bad at all. It's now more similar to our 3-1/2 year old's.

  6. I looked at his website a few days ago. I think he is about right. The only thing that I probably won't try is adding in whole grains. It is probably better than the flour versions of the grains, but probably still problematic. There are plenty of less troublesome ways to get starches and fermentable fibers. In regards to protein.... PHD actually recommends a pretty low level of protein. However, I have done a lot of reading on protein and not all protein is created equal. In regards to animal studies, animals will keep eating food until they meet certain minimum requirements of specific Amino Acids or get so full they can't possibility eat more (mainly with pigs). Perhaps you would need less protein if you focused on a more balanced approach to AA intake? For example, the protein in bone broth and offal is SIGNIFCANTLY different than muscle protein. Also, beans and other high protein plants are a significantly different AA profile. I have even played around with some AA isolates with some success. (I will probably stop with most of the AA isolates as you can get them cheaper with a little effort from food, in addition to other beneficial things you get from real food.) I suspect if you rotate your protein sources frequently, you will need less protein. I think I remember Angelo eating a fair amount of high protein plants and liver.

    1. Hey Tate!
      Just checked. PHD seems to have changed a bit since I bought the book a couple years ago, but this is from the PHD website. It is really, really close to Angelo's Plant Paleo, just more meat and a lot more fat. Eating three pounds of plant food is a lot, I really don't know if I'm eating 3 pounds now while trying to do Plant Paleo, and I can guarantee I was not even close trying to eat PHD style.

      PHD Says:

      About 3 pounds [1.4 kg] of plant foods per day, including:
      About 1 pound [0.45 kg] of safe starches, such as white rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and taro;
      About 1 pound [0.45 kg] of sugary in-ground vegetables (such as beets or carrots), fruits, and berries;
      Low-calorie vegetables to taste, including fermented vegetables and green leafy vegetables.
      One-half to one pound [0.25 to 0.5 kg] per day of meat or fish, which should include organ meats, and should be drawn primarily from:
      ruminants (beef, lamb, goat);
      birds (especially duck and wild or naturally raised birds);
      Shellfish and freshwater and marine fish.
      Low omega-6 fats and oils from animal or tropical plant sources, to taste. Good sources include:
      butter, sour cream, beef tallow, duck fat;
      coconut milk or oil
      palm oil, palm kernel oil, olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut butter, almond butter, cashew butter
      Acids to taste, especially citric acid (lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice), lactic acid from fermented or pickled vegetables, vinegars, tannic acids from wine, and tomatoes.
      Broths or stocks made from animal bones and joints.
      Snacks or desserts from our pleasure foods: fruits and berries, nuts, alcohol, chocolate, cream, and fructose-free sweeteners like dextrose or rice syrup.

      By weight, the diet works out to about 3/4 plant foods, 1/4 animal foods. By calories, it works out to about 600 carb calories, primarily from starches; around 300 protein calories; and fats supply a majority (50-60%) of daily calories.

    2. I have made several comments at different websites, but I am not sure why the different Amino Acid profiles of diets are largely ignored. I know we aren't animals being raised for slaughter, but there are a lot of animal studies on varying AA profiles for various desired effects. For example, raising lysine in a pig's diet maximizes low fat growth for a given quantity of food.... and reduces feed consumption. BCAA's are big in body building, but lysine is actually normally the limiting AA. Guess what food source is highest in lysine? From animals, gelatin containing products (bone, skin, and connective tissue) and, from plants, beans. PHD is big on eating the minimum amount of calories to get the required nutrients to be healthy, but they mostly ignore any of the micro break downs of the macro diet components. And, not to belabor the point, but minimum salt intake is a big one in which ALL animals (including humans) will keep eating whatever is provided until they get a minimum amount. Maybe this is part of the reason fermented foods are so popular in the community? This has been COMPLETELY ignored by the same people who have made the discovery that fat and dietary cholesterol is benign.

    3. @ Tate - Interesting points there. I'm not well versed on the science behind this, but I can say that a properly salted bone broth is something my body just adores, as well as the ferments I make. Starting on the those two things made me feel brighter, more fully present. Apparently, never being one for packaged foods, I'd been borderline salt deficient for years.

    4. I have always been amazed at the amino acid profile of potatoes. Considered a 'complete protein'.

      Wikipedia has a great page on amino acids in foods, ie:

      "Nearly all foods contain all twenty amino acids in some quantity, and nearly all of them contain the essential amino acids in sufficient quantity. Proportions vary, however, and some foods are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids. Though some vegetable sources of protein contain sufficient values of all essential amino acids, many are lower in one or more essential amino acids than animal sources, especially lysine, and to a lesser extent methionine and threonine.[8] However, as shown in the example of potatoes, above, nearly all foods provide sufficient amino acids to satisfy human requirements for sustaining life.

      Consuming a mixture of plant-based protein sources can increase the biological value of food. For example, to obtain 25 grams of complete protein from canned pinto beans requires consuming 492 grams (423 kcal); however, only 364 g of pinto beans (391 kcal) are required if they are combined with 12 grams of Brazil nuts.[9] Complementary proteins need not be eaten at the same meal for your body to use them together. Studies now show that your body can combine complementary proteins that are eaten over the course of the day."

    5. Like seriously? Burp. PHD with 3 pounds of vegetation?

      What I don't agree with is the long list of supplements appended to PHD. You'd think maybe if the diet were so nutriitionally excellent, why take anything except vitamin D3?

      .... steaming octopus tentacles.... making a marinated salad. Nutrient bomb. 70% protein. Okay people, do not go out and buy octopi. I want them for myself. I do not want a rush of people buying up octopi. Or squid either. Stay away!

    6. I think that if you have a diverse diet, you probably will cover all the bases. However, and I think this is the point made by PHD, if you are looking for weight loss, you probably try to lower the amount of total calories required to meet the minimum amounts of nutrients required for health. I think a majority people who get involved in making themselves more healthy get started because of weight gain and the inability to get rid of the weight. In that context, this makes sense. Also, if you look at unhealthy people, regardless of the symptoms, almost all of them are low in something required to be fully healthy. That isn't really controversial. What is controversial is what has caused that deficiency, and is the deficiency causing the health problems or it is just correlation? The body is pretty amazing at keeping things in fairly narrow band, so there is a good chance something foreign is causing the body to be out of whack.... which led me to this website. I think if you got all your systems right, you would not need any supplements outside of food. However, if you have some unwanted guests, you can end up with deficiencies. Short term supplementation can help deal with this issue. That being said.... ideally you would fix the system (which is why we all here) and not need supplementation, and would have more room to eat extra calories, going forward.

    7. Tate - I am also a true believer that with a healthy set of gut bugs your nutrient conversion is much better, is it possible they even pump out some amino acids lacking in the diet?

    8. Certainly. Bacteria farming is how companies get amino acid isolates. But that assumes you have a healthy gut. Let's assume you have a h. Pylori infection in the upper small intestine. How do you fix that without prescription antibiotics? Most of what we focus on in this site is the large intestine, but if you have a small intestine overgrowth, that exasperated nutritional deficiencies in the diet.

    9. Tate, the H. pylori is being debated because so many people have it with no symptoms (although, imo does that mean no adverse effects???) There's those who claim it is a 'natural inhabitant'.

      The prescription antibiotics don't always get rid of it either. It's persistent that's for sure. The combo has been changed up this way and that since it was first introduced.

      Also, depending on how a person lives, what they are exposing themselves to in contaminate food etc. re-infection can be very easy.

      Makes me wonder if some people are resistant to getting the infection as well. My grandmother died of stomach cancer and my father was treated for H. pylori. I decided to get antibody testing done just for peace of mind. It came back negative.

  7. I'm going to try this keeping close to the outline on Angelo's page, using the lower amounts of everything as I'm smaller than Angelo. I don't tolerate eggs or dairy, so I'll start with alternate days of animal protein.

    This should give me about 40 grams of plant protein alternating with about 60 grams of mixed protein, if I'm eating an ounce each of chia and flax. If I can double the grains and beans, I'll lower the chia and flax. Either way my fiber intake should be about 45-50 grams.

    1. I think that sounds great. I know quite a few vegans in real life, and they all seem unhealthy to me. They never want to hear about animal products. Some of these folks have been doing vegan for decades, so obviously a person can live on plants-only.

      I think doing a really good vegan diet, and then adding in some meat, sounds very promising.

      If it starts to feel wrong, just eat more meat if you like. That's an option vegans refuse to consider.

    2. Survive or thrive? There so much work involved with making vegan food correctly, a lot of vegans don't bother because they don't have the time or energy. Result = disability.

      The problem is even if they get enough amino acids, what about zinc, iron and B12? (I've probably left something out here.) A good vegan diet will provide a lot more magnesium than a stupid paleo diet but what about calcium? The calcium in vegetation is very low and poorly absorbed.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. "Survive or thrive?"
      Exactly! I can't imagine how hard it would be to pull off a perfect vegan diet.
      Bone broth, liver, and eggs cover a lot of bases.

    5. Tim, I think your summary there nails it on the head. Plant Paleo is a whole-foods omnivorous approach that is plant-heavy, but certainly one can add more meat if it seems necessary.

      Madeleine, I'd love to hear how it goes for you. I think it can be difficult to transition to this approach, depending on how big of a departure it is from one's existing diet.

      Just a couple of tips: check out the Forks Over Knives website for oil-free recipes. They are quite excellent. My wife and I have even purchased the cookbook and we both love it. (That's rare for us, since we tend to use and tweak recipes from America's Test Kitchen and whatever we can find online).

      Also, oil-free dressings for salads will seem strange to most, at first. Here's an easy recipe for a sweet, citrusy dressing: 1 navel orange (or 3-4 clementines); 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar; 1 TBSP Italian seasoning; 1 tsp seeds (flax + sesame is a good mix); pinch of salt and pepper; pinch of red pepper flakes. We put it all into a jar and use an immersion blender, but any blender will do. It can be made savory by substituting artichokes and a squeeze of lemon for the oranges.

      Good luck!

    6. Angelo, thanks for the tip about Forks over Knives for oil free recipes. It has been really hard to increase vegetables and cut down on fat at the same time, since so many of the recipes for vegetables that I have used for years all include some kind of oil or fat.

    7. i have converted to ceramic frying pans, too. They last a long time and seem pretty safe as far as non-stick goes.

      I also find that just steaming veggies in a covered pan, then salting a bit is just as good as drowned in butter.

    8. "just as good as drowned in butter."

      After eating this way for several months, I now prefer the taste of lightly salted vegetables over vegetables + fat + salt. Our palates adjust. When I do eat the occasional "celebration" foods prepared with added, refined fats...they feel greasy in my mouth.

      I'm not sure how long this transition takes. It appears to be commonly reported in the oil-free vegan world, fwiw.

    9. Mamma Mia! Angelo! not liking a nice olive oil because 'it feels greasy' is like not enjoying sex because it's 'too juicy and messy'.......

      People haven't been squishing olives for thousands of years because olive oil is bad.

    10. Olive oil has multiple purposes. In fact, it can be used to make sex squishier and juicier, too. :-) BUT...of course the dose makes the poison.

      Currently, it has the reputation of being heart healthy, so people do seem to pour it into and onto just about everything. But is it heart healthy or just better than SAD oils? Switching from transfats and seed oils to olive oil is likely very beneficial, but I wonder if it's ideal...thousands of years of getting bits of olives stuck between human toes, notwithstanding. Is Caldwell Esselstyn, et. al. getting worked up over nothing, or does minimizing oil consumption help protect against and even reverse atherosclorosis and angina?

      Those questions aside, it's been interesting to see how quickly taste and mouthfeel preferences can change.

    11. Angelo, I agree with you in that excess oil is just empty calories.

      What about vitamin K2 and arteries?

      Major blood vessels are constructed in utero. I think when mothers have poor nutrition, then the major blood vessels are not good quality. It starts earlier, manifests later. Same deal as with folate deficiency resulting in AV septal defects. Or B12 and folate deficiency resulting in spinal issues, cleft palate, cleft lip. Could be inadequate vitamin K2 in utero that is resulting in poor blood vessel construction. Don't know but an awful lot of women in the USA are not getting optimal K1 much less K2.

      People are not eating offal. Women especially go 'ewwww' when I mention that liver, kidneys, heart even brain is good for health. Maybe this is also part of the French Paradox. Over there, traditionally people ate various forms of offal several times per week. Now there's your nutrient dense food.

    12. Good question re: K2. Part of Esselstyin's approach is to eliminate oil, but he also greatly increases K1 foods in his patients' diets, with enough excess to likely convert a good deal to K2.

  8. Tate, you make some very interesting points regarding lysine and amino acids in general.
    Reading back my notes I have found that Amaranth is particularly rich in lysine.
    Quinoa is about 20% protein, and high in lysine.
    Yellow split peas have an exceptional amino acid profile. Vitamin B rich.
    I didn't note it for flaxseed, chia seeds, and hemp seeds but I'm sure they have high AA profiles as well.
    I have been eating them on a regular basis lately because they are great for the co-inhabitants of my body. And they are liking the new diet very much.
    So I will pay much more attention to amino acids and lycine in particular. Thanks Tate for sharing this information.

    Jo tB

    1. Jo, you are not vegan are you? Agreed that amaranth and quinoa are excellent sources of amino acids and other stuff as well. But what about zinc?

      Jains eat vegetables, no root vegetables, they do eat dairy products, no eggs. Very high incidence of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Excess vitamin K1 appears to be metabolized into vitamin K2 but the exact data is not available yet.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. No Gabriella, I am not vegan. I am just cutting down on (animal) protein and joining Tim in his more plant based food experiment. I thought it a good idea to take into account plant protein when adding more vegetables to my diet. As Tate stated we have to pay more attention to amino acids and then you come to the pseudo grains like Quinoa and Amaranth (pushed as superfoods).

      Jo tB

  9. Hi Angelo! Long time fan, I ddn't know you and Tim were friends. Makes sense, I guess, the only two people I like. haha.

    My only concern with this diet is that it looks difficult to plan, keep on hand, and expensive. I could never get on-board with the Paleo Versions that demand I use grass-fed meat only. I've used Wal-Mart meat and vegetables for years with no problems. I have started seeing frozen organic vegetables recently and they are not any more expensive than the others. I guess it makes sense to ensure the bulk of your diet is as safe as possible. And I can see a trade-off in costs between less grass-fed meat and more organic vegetables.

    We're getting ready to go shopping now for the week. The plan is to buy no meat and lots of fresh produce, I'm curious how the bill will change. I love fresh portobello and oyster mushrooms, but usually pass because they cost as much as beef! I will load up today, I've always thought mushrooms were a good meat substitute.

    I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest of your series.

    1. Hey, Joseph - I just got back from Sam's. With $50 worth of pinto beans, oranges, pears, pineapple, and an industrial sized bag of chia seeds. I think if you make beans, rice, and potatoes into the basics of every meal and then also eat lots of leafy and colorful veggies you will probably come out cheaper in the long-run. Of course those giant rotisserie chickens for $4 looked mighty tempting.

      Oh, and they had fresh oyster and shiitake mushrooms, too! Haven't seen those in a long while here.

      I do feel for people without much money, I was watching what people were buying, I'll tell you, our carts looked totally different. Potato chips seem to be a favorite food of most people.

    2. Hi, Joseph!

      I hope you got a chance to listen to Tim on Latest in Paleo (Episodes 97 & 103). We've kept in touch a bit via email. After publishing the Plant Paleo diet, I thought to run it by Tim since the diet was influenced, in part, by my desire to create a diet that keeps my gut bugs happy. Tim's work on the gut microbiome of the last couple of years has been great.

      As to cost, I haven't done a complete analysis yet, but it has certainly resulted in big savings for our family's food budget. In the upcoming months, when farmers markets get into full swing, it should be even easier and less expensive to get ahold of fresh, organic produce.

      That being said, I think it's more important to eat a whole-food diet than it is to eat organic vegetables or grass-fed and wild animals—with regards to health.

      Repeated exposure to the same pesticides and/or GMOs is probably not health promoting, so as an additional tweak toward better health, I recommend organics.

      Ethically, choosing grass-fed and/or sustainably caught wild animals is the preferred practice. Environmentally speaking, there is no question that this is the way to go.

      For us, our plant foods are not 100% organic, but we keep the dirty dozen ( and clean 15 ( in mind. But it's very important to me to support ethically raised / caught meat (and on Plant Paleo, it's a lot cheaper just because we eat so much less of it).

      Like Tim, I do some of my shopping at a discount warehouse, ours is Costco. There we get 25-lb bags of pinto beans, huge bags of mixed organic vegetables, organic steel cut oats for pennies an ounce, etc.

      Thanks for bringing this up. I will eventually address the budget issue in more details.

  10. I think this is a very sane approach. I tried the vegan route and it controls blood glucose very well, but left me hollow. Fiber is key to any diet.

    1. Was Wilson a vegan, too? He looked pretty hollow. This is really Tom Hanks, isn't it?

    2. Nice to see you here Tom, I'm a big fan.

    3. Keep up the good work here!

  11. If you check out
    I think you will find that it is the ratio of Lysine to Arginine which is the important factor and its not very good in:
    Amaranth, uncooked Lysine: 403mg Arginine: 571mg
    Quinoa, uncooked Lysine: 416mg Arginine: 593mg
    Meats have much better ratios.

    1. The ratio is only important in regards to hherpes suppression. Otherwise it comes down to protein synthesis and the limiting amino acid. That is the problem with the vegan diet unless you are really careful. Of course, you could always buy isolated amino acids produced by bacteria to fill the holes without animal protein.

    2. Hi Tate, Did you read ? Seems to be a lot more important than 'The ratio is only important in regards to herpes suppression'

    3. My goodness, that is an informative site. Lots of reading to do. And maybe supplement. In the past I have supplemented with arginine, which might not have been a smart thing to do. I live and learn.
      Jo tB

  12. I am currently on my phone, but look forward to reading it later. Luckily, I already supplement with lysine!

  13. I had a long, epic comment written (promise!) and then it was gone! Poof. Disappeared.

    OK. A couple of thoughts...

    I agree with you: measuring food intake is no fun. But looking at food intakes measured by others certainly is! Here's a pretty straightforward study on the protein intake of Americans that may be of interest:

    On the guidelines by Angelo Coppola: they're totally refreshing compared to all the other omnivorous whole-food approaches described out there. I really like how to the point they are and how focused they are on getting good food in, as much as desired. Simple, followable, implementable. Nice.

    Minor point: I'm not sure I entirely understand Coppola, in full nuance, on whole grains and legumes vs. 'processed' ones. In my mind a lot of great foods are made with processed whole grains or processed legumes, or both together.

    ...such as tortillas made with nixtamalized corn, idli or dosa made with lentils and rice, savory pancakes made with buckwheat (à la Guyenet), injera made with teff. The common trend with these being they're first 1) soaked, then 2) ground. (Potentially left to ferment.)

    Where does the line get drawn with grinding (or blending, or whatever else) being undesirable because lots of products made with flour are undesirable? For example, those buckwheat pancakes seem mighty fine to me, so do refried beans. Isn't grinding, blending, mashing, and the like, as far as home cooking is concerned, OK?

    Grinding an ingredient and subsequently leaving it to ferment, as you'd do with idlis and dosas, or sourdough, seems like a good practice. And if you blend something into a liquid and eat it right away...that's just soup. No problemo there, right?

    What I'd add to the guidelines, perhaps at the bottom of the page, are some (optional / discretionary) extras for those willing, such as; preparing fermented vegetables, or fermented drinks like beet kvass; other stuff I can't think of right now; so forth.

    Cool... Later, folks

    1. Tyler, I don't think it is the grinding so much, but the grain being used. We all know that wheat has been greatly GM'd and when it is commercially milled all the nutrients get taken out (and some put back in) that is the problem.

      If you grind (or pound as happens in africa) the grains yourself, it is a rougher texture with most nutrients left in. And if you chose grains that have not been GM'd over the centuries, I think we could use them sparingly. Most (ancient) cultures grind and ferment their grains, so I would agree with you that that shouldn't do you much harm.

      Jo tB

    2. Jo, at this time there are no GM wheats, barley, rye or oats available on the market. The IS a GM wheat but it is not being grown agriculturally. The only GM grain is corn. The sweetcorn available seasonally is not GM. There are GM sweetcorns but analysis of what is available for consumers indicates very few farmers grow this due to pressure from consumers. Even the Green Giant canned corn is not GMO.

      I did some reading on this not so long ago because someone was going on about GM this and GM that. People need to check the facts before making assumptions.

    3. I think that what has been done to wheat with plant breeding science is worse than if it had been GM'd. And then the way we eat it...polished and milled until it is even finer than its starch granules, bleached white, and fortified. Crazy.

      I don't think most of the GMO techniques to say, increase frost resistance, are harmful to the consumer, but the GMO plants that allow certain weedkillers to be used are bad because it means more weed killer is used.

      Still, I prefer non-GMO plants and animals when I have a choice. And heirloom varieties at that.

    4. Tyler - sorry you lost the long comment. I always copy a long comment to the clipboard before hitting post, just in case! Glad you took the time to type it out again.

      Great paper you linked. I was somewhat surprised the protein intakes were so high:

      "As shown in Figure 1, protein intake averaged 55 ± 14 g/d in young children, increased to a high of ≈91 ± 22 g/d in adults aged 19–30 y, and then decreased to ≈66 ± 17 g/d in older adults (71+ years).

      Median intakes for the groups were 53, 89, and 63 g/d, respectively."

      I'm eager to see what protein level Angelo finds he has been eating at with his plant-based paleo diet.

    5. Like Tim, I have a disdain for tracking, measuring, weighing, and recording food intake. But, since there is interest in this, I should do it and will definitely share. I suspect the protein levels will be more than sufficient, but I'm very curious about other nutrients myself. Fiber, too.

      Tyler, good question regarding the processed grains and beans. When you look at the pictures on the Plant Paleo diet page, you'll see that some of them include mashed chickpeas and Ezekiel 4:9 tortillas.

      Some of our earliest evidence of grain consumption is inferred from grain processing. And it would seem we have been doing this for a long, long time — at the *very least* 20,000 years. And personally, I'd rather eat a slice of Ezekiel bread than a Paleo brownie.

      The preference for the whole grain, whole bean, and whole nut has to do with calorie consumption and satiety signals. I can eat a helluva lot more almonds if they're ground into a Paleo muffin, than I can if I sit there and crack each shell and eat them one by one.

      So the main reason behind the recommendation to prefer whole foods over even minimally processed foods is that we are more likely to consume proper quantities that way, allowing us to be more mindful of our food intake. And with that said, there is a spectrum of processing, and minimal processing is obviously preferred over highly processed foods. The rule of thumb is to stay on the whole-food side of the spectrum.

      For people who want to eat Plant Paleo and who want to gain weight (this is something I honestly have not put too much thought into), more minimally processed foods are probably a great idea. I would still recommend a variety (this way we get a good variety of the benefits and not too much of any one set of negatives). I would also suspect that more avocados, olives, and coconut would be helpful here.

      I'll try to explain this better on the diet's page. Thank you for bringing it up!

    6. RE: Fiber & Protein Numbers

      I just responded to a comment from Madeleine over on the Part 1 post on my blog. And in the comment, I broke down the fiber and protein content of my breakfast meal + my snack...I'll paste the information here, since it's relevant to this thread:

      Today, for breakfast—well, my first meal, which was at about noon—I made a bowl of food from leftovers. Let's see what it works out to for fiber and protein. Measurements are approximate, since I don't weigh and measure in the kitchen. In parenthesis I have, in grams (fiber, protein):

      - 1 cup of steel cut oats (4, 5.3)

      - 1/2 cup of chickpeas (6, 7.5)

      - 1 cup of shitake mushrooms (3, 2)

      - 6 cups of Organic Power Greens, Costco (6, 6)

      - 1 T nutritional yeast (2, 4)

      - 1 t ground up flax seeds (0.7, 0.5)

      - 1 t ground up sesame seeds (1.1, 1.6)

      - 1/4 cup of green onion (.65, .45)

      - 3 T pepper sauce (0,0)

      - salt and pepper (0,0)

      ...and since lunch I had a snack consisting of 5 carrots (7, 2.5).

      That adds up to 30.45 g of fiber and 29.85 g of protein. And for dinner, Amy is making some kind of Thai peanut dish with wild rice, potatoes, veggies, mushrooms and I'm not sure what else, but it's delicious! :) Plus, I'll have a good sized salad with it, too. If I'm still hungry, I might snack on some pecans or something afterward, maybe even popcorn if we watch a movie.

      So, all in all, I'm guessing I'll more than double those fiber and protein numbers for the day.

      One of the biggest things that has helped me to succeed on this approach is to always cook extra grains, beans, and potatoes—and to have them on hand in the refrigerator at all times. That's what enabled me to throw together that (mighty tasty) breakfast.

      Please feel free to double check my numbers, and/or analyze further—but that's a pretty common meal for me. Sometimes I'll include potatoes and/or throw it all into an Ezekiel wrap, and/or play with the seasoning.

      Even a bean burrito with mashed pinto beans, mixed veggies, cubed potatoes, cumin & other seasonings in a whole-grain tortilla would give you great numbers.

      Plus, keep in mind that occasionally meals like these include some meat, an egg, or fish, etc. And the oats, in this case, were boiled in 50/50 water / chicken stock when we cooked them.

      I have never eaten this well. ;-)

    7. I almost had to delete this entire blog post and all comments when I read Angelo's breakfast meal. 6 cups of "Power Greens"? What is that? Some kind of crazy powdered supplement?

      Nope, you will laugh as I did when you see exactly what "Power Greens"
      are. I don't know, looks suspicious to me. Do these come in pill form?

      POWER GREENS! Miracle supplement

    8. I thought he mis-typed. Or exaggerated just a little bit.

      And I'm sorry, but I wouldn't want to have to use the bathroom right after someone who eats like that. It just ain't right.

    9. What? His first meal? I don't think it looks bad at all, actually similar to what I have for breakfast/lunch on the weekends, except mine would have had 8 slices of bacon, eggs, and cheese.

      Yesterday, trying to adhere to Angelo's plan,

      I had for breakfast:

      1 cup (cooked) steel cut oats plus 1/2 cup cooked buckwheat with 1TBS chia seeds, 1/2 cup blueberries, and 2TBS of molasses.

      1 slice (2-3oz) ham (Hey, it was Easter!), a big bowl of broad beans, a sweet potato, 1/2 cup of rice, 1 cup of sauerkraut, 1 cup of cooked morel mushrooms, and a slice of cheese.

      Snacks: 4-5 little mandarin oranges, cherry tomatoes, one banana, 100% dark chocolate.

    10. Ah, don't mind me. I just thought the 6 cups of greens and all those seeds looked, I don't know, like overkill. Especially with 5 carrots. Is this a gender thing?

      Ladies, how many of you could eat Angelo style?

    11. I gave up on Terry Wahls' diet because of the huge quantity of greens. I got TMJ from all the chewing, and never managed to eat more than half of the recommended amounts.

      Luckily, Angelo's diet just says greens are unlimited. So I can do the diet, but not the way Angelo eats.

    12. Maybe Terry Wahl's had a Nutribullet? But she doesn't want to say? And given she has MS, she had a housekeeper and someone to do her shopping for her. A friend of mine gave me her copy of the book and my conclusion is, if you have a chronic debilitating illness 'ya can't do it unless you have lots of help'. And even then, it's a shot in the dark. There's no guarantees that a chronic illness will go into remission just because the person is consuming loads and loads of vegetables.

      BTW, it's TMD. ;)

    13. That breakfast meal was cooked. So the 6 cups of greens wither down to almost nothing—no crazy amount of chewing required. I do, however, eat some giant salads that take a good 15 minutes or so to eat.

      I throw greens of some kind into almost anything. For example, I made some bean burritos the other day....

      can of drained diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, garlic, jalapeño, several handfuls of greens. When it was done, I added a small amount of cooked barley.

      Kids loved it.

  14. Well wha'da know!! Just read on the High Lysine Diet website:

    Milk products from goats and sheep are higher in lysine than cow's milk, plus they may be easier to digest for some people.

    I recently started making milk kefir with goat's milk.....

    Jo tB

  15. So... I read the high lysine diet website. I didn't read the studies cited but these are my thoughts:
    1. The diet is ultimately very similar to the diet described above, so I think the diet would work. But not because of the lysine/arginine ratio. Happily the foods with a high ratio are good for other reasons and a low ratio foods (grains) are bad for a whole host of reasons.
    2. As said above, I am already sold on the positives of lysine. And i already knew amino acids compete for absorbtion, so i supplement lysine on a empty stomach. I take the recommend dose (for my size) of around two grams.
    3. I think the website goes off the rails with the concerns with arginine. The body needs it so much that it can make it. It is required for a lot of processes. The negative effects are largely found in people with health that has been compromised. In fact, some of the negatives listed are actually desirable for athletes (positives nitrogen balance for one). That being said, people get more than enough with the SAD and the food high in arginine aren't particularly healthy.

    1. Thanks for that Tate. As you seem to know a decent amount amino acids would you know the amino acid and total protein profile of bone broth (fat removed) and possibly the caloric content? All I have been able to garner is a very rough estimate. Do you supplement any other amino acids? I will start taking my lysine on an empty stomach as well. Didn't realize the competition was about absorption as well as in the cells? I developed a spreadsheet calculating lysine and arginine (and fat, protein, and carb calories, and vit a and potassium) in my daily diet. At the moment, including supplementing 2 grams, I am getting about a 2:1 ration of Lysine to arginine.
      Cheers, Adrian

    2. I don't remember where I read it, but the majority of the health benefits of bond broth is in the protein. The protein is mostly gelatin, which is a mixture of different proteins, but it is easy to look up. That is why bone broth will set up (if there isn't too much water and you don't over cook It).The minerals are pretty low unless you eat the grit on the bottom of the pan. Also, the bone fat was highly valued in some traditional cultures, but that may have been just because it was another source of fat. Bone broth is hard to nail down a specific profile because of confounding variables. What is the bone source? How many times has it been used to make broth? How reduced is the broth? Etc... I think you best bet is to look at commercial gelatin for the amino acid profile.

      I also supplement glutamine. Mainly for gut health, but, turns out, it also provides a little boost when my blood sugar is low. I take one teaspoon one to three times a day, depending on how my day is going. It tastes good and I don't think there is a upper limit on the amount you can take. I used to supplement with other proteins, but these are the only two in which I feel as if they are doing anything or they are easy to get from food.

  16. Mister Meat (levi)April 5, 2015 at 7:30 AM

    my thoughts on protein and macro's (rather random and not implying many of you don't know this. and keep in mind im only talking macro's).
    early on as i started on the phd i factored in the beans/rice/potato proteins already. I feel that once one comes to the 'optimal' diet (as i have in mind and is discussed here), the diet seems ultimately the most logical it can be. Its only hard to find out what that is when you hear everything except the stuff you should hear.

    All sorts of diets have been tried (in both perspectives: quality and quantity of the macro's), except the one that makes most sense (for optimal health). But you have to have know it ofcourse (in hindsight its simple). All sorts of rambling on low carb, high fat, eat enough protein 2g/kg lol, .... It always strikes me how 99% of what i hear doesn't have that nailed, while it shouldn't be that difficult. and alot of the times when something 'new' is discovered we go to the (sometimes extreme) other end. while it is almost always (and now i'm talking about almost everything) about balance and moderation (and believe me i used to hate those terms as much as the next guy, but conventional clichéy stuff can sometimes be right, even if it is for the wrong reasons)
    how about medium carb, medium protein, medium fat. carb, protein, fat to your needs, and that of the gut bugs (i presume a small portion of all macro's are utilized by gut bugs, but i'm talking now mainly the prebiotics adding to fat total)? (yes i know the term low and high are relative to what SAD is about, but nonetheless people are trapped in this)

    here's my (now) simple macro breakdown that can serve as a template for everyone: protein around 1,4g/kg, carbs around 150g, fats the rest and big portion of that fat being delivered by prebiotics (in my case with my 1/3). with ofcourse that being the median/.. in a certain range (protein i feel 1,0-1,8kg, carbs 100-200g for the large percentage of people), and adjustments to be made up or down
    regarding fat in paleo community: should be lower than the recommended 60-70%, more like 50%. Which seems (and was to me) inconceivable, isn't that almost low fat (and against what paleo stand for etc)? Its easy to get lured into 'eating enough fat' which then the average person thinks is the recommended 60-70% from foodfat only, so too much fat and +90% foodfat (not saying this is everyone, just a typical case).
    regarding protein it doesn't need to be more complicated than to include a variety of sources (instead of being meat purist or vegan with only those sorts of protein) in the amount your body needs (and goals etc), which play out just nicely when you eat them (I haven't extensively read comments on this and haven't overly delved into this matter beyond that plant proteins can be combined to or can sometimes be complete protein)
    the 3 macro's are played with in all sorts of ways (and least often the 'perfect' way). people can write books about macronutrients and the intricacies of them (so I better won't here, its getting long enough)

    1. Hi Levi, How do calculate how much of the prebiotic driven butyrate/fat is used up by intestinal cells and how much gets into/affects fat energy for general body use?
      Cheers, Adrian

    2. Mister Meat (levi)April 6, 2015 at 3:28 AM

      i always go by dividing prebiotic g by 2 (10g prebiotics = 5g fat).
      So when i have my prebiotics at 80g, estimating it at 40g won't be far off (and another neutralizing variable, some 'insoluble fiber' do have prebiotic potential so with this factored in it shouldn't be lots of g lower than half)

  17. Mister Meat (levi)April 5, 2015 at 7:31 AM

    It seems we're in the camp that gets it right the most, especially since (re)discovering the forgotten macronutrient: prebiotics which result in fat. Its no wonder that, on top of all the other factors at play, the average person either finds the ideal macro composition illusive(which i now 'know' it isn't) or thinks he's nailed the perfect macro breakdown(which is for the average person very rarely the case in reality, and if they do then there's the quality that often sucks).

    I have to admit that i'm typing this as if i have it all(or the 95% that is relevant) figured out macro wise, because well, i feel i do. I mean is there a fifth macro? Will i five years from now laugh at what i just rambled about, I tend to think not (and i have learned my lessons in the past as not to feel too sure about anything. and, tough sometimes hard, i always try to stay humble. as thats also a 'balanced' attitude ;))

    I guess I have to stop rambling at some point.

    But i would like to add this off-topic thingy:

    I want to thank the guy who advised me the dandelion root tincture (i think it was in post coming full circle). The fungus doesn't like it, very rarely does a supplement give such noticeable effects.

    Along with (as of yesterday) hovering at 80g of prebiotics (and all the other stuff) I've managed to really displease the fungus. And this afternoon has been (good) strange..

    I would also like to shout out that finally I'm healing (at a good rate) from lifelong fungal misery (but not there yet). pretty big deal here! Just on time I'd say, as within 2 months i'll be finding myself in many positive evolutions/changes in my life (that being made possible by being able to thrive).

    1. @ Mr M. I think I was probably "that guy" pushing the dandelion root tincture. Glad to hear it's helping.

      PS I'm a lady.

    2. Levi - Wow, your English is getting really good! As you say, there is no one-size-fits-all diet, and I don't think there ever will be.

      BUT, there is a "human" diet that we all must adhere to. In it, plants should be eaten very frequently, chemicals and additives should be avoided as if they were toxins, and we should eat our food as close to its natural state as possible. This feeds us and our microbiome.

      Finely milled flours, oils, and added sweetening agents should never make up the bulk of one's calories.

      And also body type, age, sex, and a hundred other things factor in to how much and what types of foods we should eat, but all with that "human diet" framework.

      I always have to think of a cow when you talk about our gut bacteria making fat. There is not much "fat" in grass, but yet, somehow, they produce full-fat milk and fatty steaks. They must be getting fat somewhere!

    3. Mister Meat (levi)April 6, 2015 at 5:13 AM

      thanks for the complement on my english, tim. My english is perhaps even too good, sometimes I know words in english but not in dutch or my self talk happens in english. But the properly formulated english doesn't just happen like that, i do the effort to translate to proper english words sometimes and am still(i feel i am getting more loose as my brainchemicals get more balanced as my healing progresses) too much a perfectionist in my writing/talking (some of it can be good and i will always have, but too much is too much). These characteristics are typical for people with aspergers (higher functioning autism), of which i discovered past christmas that i actually have had a light form of it my whole life (or just call it the so maniest set of symptoms i have linked to fungus).

      I feel embarrased mis/ms(i looked that up) wild cucumber. Anyway, this guy 100% recommends people with issues give it a try (I know there will be people reading this, just like i read your post).

      Nice point on the cows btw

  18. Angelo's weight loss is impressive but I think he's too thin now. 165lbs is not optimal IMO for someone 6' tall. And I think he looked better at around 180lbs. Now he looks like a marathon runner or your average vegetarian to me. Kinda a weak and frail look. Sorry, I'm just giving an honest, if critical, opinion. And without any doubt it's light years improvement over where he started. That said, maybe this is really the way everyone should look if longevity is your prime goal? There is a resemblance to the average African tribesman physique to me. I don't know the answer to this. And I've yet to read all the details of Angelo's diet and exercise regimen. Perhaps with his very same diet and the addition of intense strength training one could retain or add muscle mass on top of the impressive low levels of body fat?

    1. I'm also wondering if his recommendation to eat "calorically sparse" and combined with a very high fiber content just means it is a form of calorie limited diet. His physique seems to be evidence of that. I question if it's possible to retain or grow muscle mass this way - it that happens to be one of your goals, as it is for me.

    2. OK, read his diet page. Looks like a 90% veggie diet and seriously low calorie. I don't think it would sustain even my sedentary lifestyle with 2-3 intense weight lifting sessions per week.

      Angelo said..."For context: I am in my early 40s, in good health, an active walker & hiker, and my goals are to maintain 80+ lbs of weight loss, to build on my existing strength and endurance, to maintain (and perhaps build a little) muscle mass, and to maximize health & longevity. "

      Yes, building muscle mass would be a good objective for you I think. Gotta bank some while you can, before your sarcopenia ramps up over the next 3 or more decades. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is.

    3. Brad - Some really good points. Sometimes I think there needs to be a special diet called: "Middle-aged Men Who Were Once Fat and Have Lost Weight and Want to Keep it Off."

      This diet is definitely not for everyone, especially those trying to gain weight, or those on a muscle-building program.

      Last summer, I went crazy with heavy lifting. Got really strong, ate lots, gained weight. But didn't get fat. Then, over Winter, laid off the heavy weights in favor of bodyweight exercise. Stayed strong, don't think I lost much muscle, but gained 5-6 pounds of fat.

      I'm one of "those guys". I guarantee that if I were to start laying around and stop exercising and eating whatever I wanted, I'd balloon back up to 250 pounds and be back in "the system" of healthcare.

      So, yes, as shown in Angelo's Part 1 and description, this is more of a long-term weight-loss and maintenance diet, I'd say.

      But, I think for most people who are just trying to maintain a massive weight loss, eating this way may just be the ticket. It dispels some myth surrounding a need for massive meat and fat intake, provides great fiber for the gut, but doesn't specifically ban any one food group.

      In fact, it dawned on me last night...

      This diet that Angelo is putting together, is closer to the natural eating patterns displayed in the world's "Blue Zones" that any I've seen yet.

      I recently read the book, "The Blue Zones" (Buettner, 2009). The author traveled the world interviewing people in these areas where folks live unusually long lives. A very common theme was very high plant intake and very low meat intake. Lots of nuts, legumes, and local plants. No fear of any food groups.

      Alas, not many six-packs and massive biceps in the blue zones, but lots and lots of healthy, happy, horny hundred-year-olds.

      In fact, Angelo, I'd suggest in one of your parts in the series, you take a close look at how Plant Paleo compares to the foods of the Blue Zones.

      Thanks, Brad - always good hearing from you!

    4. Brad,

      Thank you for your honest input; greatly appreciated! Tim's response is very similar to what my own would have been if I had gotten to it first. :) So, I won't repeat that and I'll add a bit:

      You mentioned that my body type is starting to look more like an African tribesman. There is a lot of variance there, but I think I know what you mean, and that is actually my preferred body-type; maybe something like the San of the Kalahari but with just a tad bit more fat and muscle to accommodate for climate differences (I'm in the temperate rainforest).

      My health goals are definitely longevity driven along with retaining the ability to be physically active throughout my entire life. Experiencing this body-type has been fantastic so far. I feel light, agile, strong, and endurance levels are sky high (for me). I do resistance work (without lifting heavy) 3 times a week at the Y (about 20 minutes worth of kettle bells & some upper body machines + I do random bodyweight stuff when I get the urge throughout the day / week).

      ...but I can totally understand that other people are looking for different results and prefer a different look. Bodybuilders really seem to have their stuff together when it comes to building muscle (obviously, right?) :) -- so it might make sense to take a look at the diets they suggest on the various sites, aggregate the information, and convert the suggestions to whole-food substitutes. It would probably end up looking a lot like low-carb Paleo. And obviously the fitness routine would be dissimilar to my approach, too.

    5. Tim — re: comparing Plant Paleo to Blue Zone foods...excellent idea! It might be fun to compare it to several diets, too: Plant Paleo vs Paleo, low-carb, vegan (McDougall, Ornish), DASH, etc.

      I'm fairly certain it would stack up really well, and it would line up nicely with the Blue Zone observations, except for their olive oil recommendations.

    6. re: Blue Zones, there have been 5 or 6 identified, only the one in Greece had olive oil. And in that particular Blue Zone, the people ate "fish once or twice a week and meat five times a month." And 2-4 glasses of wine daily!

      I can only imagine the difference between olive oil pressed and consumed on a Greek island compared to what's in a gallon of Wal-Mart olive oil.

    7. But, Tim, the Orthodox calendar involves many fast days and during those, no oil. They do eat cheese though and fermented diary products as well.

      The Roman Catholic calendar of fast days = 1/2 of the year. I don't know how much of the Orthodox calendar are fast days but probably similar.

    8. I meant with the cheese comment, that even if they don't eat fish and meat that often (don't know about seafood) they eat dairy products. And unlike Plant Paleo, they eat a lot of flat bread.

    9. Lots of other similarities in the Blue Zones besides food as, fun, sun, well water, hard work, and a simple life.

      i was just looking at the Costa Rica Blue Zone...they ate beans, rice, corn, and eggs mainly, and "Sometimes we kill a chicken." said a 100+ year old lady.

      They also eat tons of the oranges that grow wild there.

      A 60 year old "kid" said, when asked what he eats, "beans, tortillas, fruit, and once a year beef when I butcher a cow."

      And it turns out the well-water in Costa Rica has some of the highest calcium content of drinking water anywhere.

      So, really, who knows? But there is no Blue Zone where the people eat sticks of butter, BulletProof coffee, or 3 pounds of meat every day.

    10. I would agree with Brad, that Angelo looks a little too thin now.

      The other thing that stands out is the amount of gray hair. Obviously hard to tell seeing as he has shaved it off, but the beard is very gray. I noticed the same thing in Tim's photos, when he had more weight he had his natural hair color and looks substantially more gray now. It might due to the natural aging process, or perhaps all the dieting has had other consequences.

    11. Anon, I totally disagree with you about Angelo. Americans are just used to people being big. He's perfect. But yes, I have noticed, in general, that middle aged people losing weight appear to age even if they feel much better. Maybe it's the rate of weight loss that is the cause and not the actual weight loss.

      Moral of the story: don't get fat in the first place. Or lose it early. Skin pops back with weight loss but not when someone is over about 40 years of age. (I guess it depends. I mean if someone loses 20 to 30 pounds, not 100s. Then it's permanently stretched out.)

      I think that Angelo will need to make a bit of a tweak to the diet eventually: add a couple hundred calories of fat. But time will tell. Possibly if he's physically active, the amount of protein won't be enough and some of it will be used for energy instead of muscle maintenance.

    12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    13. Tim: 'But there is no Blue Zone where the people eat sticks of butter, BulletProof coffee, or 3 pounds of meat every day.'

      True true!

    14. re Blue Zones - As I watched my sons tossing/splitting firewood yesterday I was struck again that there's a difference between fitness from exercise and fitness from physical labour. I really do think the satisfaction of labour is a big part of longevity. Blue Zone people don't think about macros and micros or body hacks, they eat, work and love. (And pray too! gasp!) If we can't reproduce some of that, we're never going to get there.

    15. Agreed. Hanging out shooting the breeze is probably a big ingredient in Blue Zone lifestyles. Blue Zones seem to have climates suitable for this. Plus what about siesta?

    16. Exactly Gabriella. Long, slow meals, everyone talking and helping themselves to what they feel like eating - kids too. Babies eating off their parents' plates. A natural human life.

      And yes, naps! And that whole circadian factor. Or as they used to say "early to bed & early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise". Crazy Jack Kruse has been spending a lot of time talking about that - or at least I think that's what he's talking about, it's kinda hard to say. I think he may be onto something when he says that it may be less about what we eat than when and how.

    17. I always thought the saying was 'early to bed, early to rise, makes a family a hell of a size'. ;)

      I can't read Kruze's productions. He's on a spaceship several light years away.

    18. Anon, Re: Gray Hair

      In that first pic from 2008, you can see some gray stubble. I was 35 at the time. The biggest factor at play between the brown beard pics and the gray beard pics is not diet or weight loss. Rather, I stopped coloring my beard in 2013 when I exited the corporate scene. As you can see, I also stopped trimming it for a good while. :-) Genetically, my father also went gray at an early age.

      Gabriella, thanks! And I think you are right. Just as many Americans suffer from Body Dysmorphia disorders with regards to their own bodies, we collectively have come to see bigger as normal.

      According to many formulas I am at my ideal weight. And, totally subjectively speaking, this *feels* like my ideal size & weight.

      Re: Adding More Fat

      It is certainly possible that I will add more fat later on down the line. Last night, for 'dessert' I had a good handful of pecans covered in a tablespoon or so of honey. We had some avocado with our dinner, too. I suspect that on average 20% or so of my diet comes from fat, already. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

    19. Thanks Angelo. Can't see anyone from the blue zone going totally gray at 40. Even out of the blue zone that is fairly young.
      Any thoughts as to what might be going on?

    20. Anon, it's hard to tell. Most sources say it's largely genetic. My father was from a small town in southern Italy, not a blue zone per se, but they lived healthy lifestyles, not unlike what's being talked about in the Blue Zones thread here.

      He grayed early, here in America, but so did his brothers and sisters back in Italy. I wouldn't be surprised if there is an inverse relationship between early graying and longevity, so I may never join the ranks of super-centenarians. Hopefully, I can flip enough epigenetic triggers in the positive direction to help offset any genetic disadvantage there. My wife digs it, so that works, too. ;-)

    21. Gee Angelo, Italian yet you're not digging the olive oil? My husband is Italian, if I took his olive oil or his wine away from him he'd fade away to nothing. He's wiry, can't get him to gain an ounce.


    22. Southern Italy endured a lot of hardships in the food department back during the second world war. They also had malaria until DDT. It was a tough life. Lots of kids at my school came from Calabria, Abruzzi, and everywhere in between.

    23. I was stationed in Naples for a couple of years, and it really was incredible. If you back through their history; they were starving to death during WWII and short thereafter. And there were plenty of people still around that remembered the time period.

    24. I've often been curious about the analysis of the Blue Zones. Specifically what were the activity level of the people in addition to their diets? Do they, or did they in general, walk a lot compared to non Blue Zone people? Did they have more active jobs versus sitting/sedentary jobs when they were younger?

      Tim and Angelo, when it comes to lifting and "bodybuilding" people generally think it's all about lifting (heavy). That's not always the case. I'm a big fan and follower of the teachings of Vince Gironda who recommended not only increasing resistance (weight) over time but also lowering inter-exercise rest. For example going down to as little as 30 seconds or less. This both increases muscle growth and provides an aerobic workout and increases positive metabolic adaptations - and burns more calories. Thus keep the workouts intense but short - no more than 45 minutes.

      Something else I've wondered about wrt high plant food (and high fiber) diets and/or diets low in calorie dense foods such as animal meats, animal fats, dairy, and eggs is if the results are merely a result of less calories metabolized/absorbed (by you, versus your gut flora). In short, a high fiber diet is a low calorie diet. And this is just one way, neither better nor worse, than other effective means of limiting calories. Many know and agree that VLC or Keto diets may in fact be calorie limited diets (arguable) due to the satiety factor of high fat foods. Similarly the "spud hack" diet is a calorie limited diet because it's difficult to over-consume an all potato diet. I myself eat a diet which combines both daily psued-intermittent fasting (very low daytime calories followed by a large night time feed window) and carb cycling via steady low carb eating with carb refeeds every 2-5 days (largely post workout carb loads). It may very well be that my eating pattern is another form of calorie deficit, or low/limited, diet.

    25. I meant to say "psuedo intermittent fasting" but sometimes it's real intermittent fasting too. Some days I might not eat any breakfast or lunch. Other days, most days really, I would eat a small breakfast of say 400 calories (guess) and then nothing until dinner, post-workout if it's gym day. I can do this easily because I usually don't get hungry, maybe because my diet (when I do eat) is so high in protein, fat, and calories? Or because I'm "fat adapted" (or metabolically flexible as I like to call it)? Dunno. But carb cycling (eg. once per week carb refeed) and a high animal food diet is common and effective for many strength trainers and "physical culturists" (I hate the word bodybuilder because that has negative connotations).

    26. I've also pondered if the "ideal diet" for humans is really a (macro cycle) diet, for lack of a decent description right now... meaning... cycling from a high animal based diet to high plant based ... from high fat to high carb and fiber... then cycle back again. Humans are highly adaptable diet-wise and seem to get into trouble when our diet is steady state - either high carb, high fat, constant calorie surplus, etc. We seem to do better when changes (and challenges) are made, and we force our bodies to adapt, and in doing so maintain a higher level of metabolic flexibility (eg., better insulin sensitivity blood markers, etc.). Take intermittent fasting and carb cycling for examples. They are beneficial but only to a limit. Low carb long term is bad. Calorie restricted long term is bad. This very much parallels what happens in the gym and with muscles. Once your muscles have adapted to those exercises you do regularly you often hit a performance plateau and have to change exercises to break that and begin improving/growing again. At least that is the theory.
      Gironda who was big on carb cycling and high animal fat foods - steak, eggs, raw milk, etc. also recommended "cleansing" phases of diet where you ate only plant food (though I think for only one day) to re-alkalize and cleanse yourself. Keep in mind that Gironda's goal was just for training movie stars and bodybuilder, not longevity.

    27. Has anyone found if Blue Zone diets are mostly low calorie diets? It begs the question if the longevity is due to WHAT they eat or HOW MUCH?

    28. @ Brad, re cycling. I've always wondered about that. If one reads about the Hazda, or imagines a hunter gatherer existence, they obviously weren't eating the same ratios everyday. Seasonality in what they gathered, the availability of fish and game etc, would have guaranteed wide swings in what they ate over the course of a year. Is this "cycling" important to the health of the gut biome? If so, how and why?

    29. More importantly I think is the question if it's important to the health of the host. Lots of other important effects come into play than just those related to digestion and gut biome. Hormone production varies a lot depending on diet and volume/frequency of consumption and hormones are the master levers of body composition and possibly longevity as well.

    30. wildcucumber, I just eat whole olives instead. I think giving up pasta & bread when I went Paleo was more difficult.

      Gabriella, Tate, My parents were born near the beginning of the war, and indeed I've heard many stories of their poverty while they were growing up in the Campania. It's interesting though, because they always made a point to say that they had no idea they were poor, although they slept in a one-room home my grandfather built out of stone (on my mom's side, dad's side were a little better off). They were farmers (more like sharecroppers), and almost always had fresh food.

    31. Brad, you might enjoy the 2012 BBC documentary "Eat, Fast, and Live Longer."

      I would say yes, the Plant Paleo approach provides a framework for eating less, and certain benefits do come from that, especially weight loss. But I would also argue that what we eat is very important, which is why I've attempted to put something together which maximizes the nutrients per calories in a whole-food context.

      But according to the documentary I linked to above, and studies wrt the 5:2 diet...I may be wrong. Essentially, they advocate for an approach that calls for eating whatever one wants for 5 days, followed by a 2-day "fast" that consists of 500-600 calories per day. They claim weight loss, improved health markers, and longevity are the benefits.

      I do work in intermittent fasting with my own approach. And one could argue, intermittent meat eating, too.

      According to the book "Healthy at 100," yes reduced calorie intake is a hallmark of the diets in Blue Zone and other longevity hotspots. Of course, they also have more people of normal weight than we do in, say, Yakima, WA.

      Thanks for the info on Gironda. Sounds interesting, and I'll look it up.

    32. Angelo, when everyone else is poor, there's nothing to compare. One of the great evils of modern society is all this 'Jonesing'.

      It's entirely bizarre that the greatest growth rates in any service/industry are storage facilities. My goodness, people own a house but they have so much crap they need to rent a storage unit. Old houses have small closets. Nowadays, closets are being built as large as rooms. Where does it end? What are people afraid of that they feel the need to insulate themselves with so much stuff?

    33. Angelo,

      Campania is probably the most amazing place I have ever been when it comes to food. Between the climate, mountains, and the rich, volcanic soil, everything grows there. I don't think I ever ate at a place that wasn't at least very good. All the preserved vegetables, meats, and cheese..... I am drooling just thinking about it. There are a lot of people there that still farm the small plots, and one of my favorite things about living there was all the fresh produce and the preserved foods everyone made from scratch. Sadly, the younger generation didn't seem to be following the traditions of their parents.... but that also meant my wife and I got a lot of homemade wine because no one else was drinking it!

    34. Tate, I've definitely heard the same. Although I was born and raised here in the US, I was surrounded by a love and appreciation for good food. Family members' eyes would light up over a beautiful orange or tomato the way my young eyes would light up over a brownie or candy bar. My mom spent more time in the kitchen than any of my friends' parents, and the food we ate was pretty amazing. She definitely pulled it off on a relatively tight budget, too. Ahhh, memories.

      Speaking of homemade wine. My grandparents lived in Massachusetts and they had quite the wine-making operation going on in their cellar (as it's called in the northeast, basement for most of the rest of the US). I'm hoping to try my hand at some winemaking once we start harvesting the plums and berries around here.

    35. The rest of Naples/Campania isn't much of a tourist destination, but it is way cheaper than the rest of Europe and you can't go wrong with choosing a place to eat. It is worth it just for that.

  19. Fascinating discussion.

    High time to bring attention to a recent wonderful research done on Drosophila which explains how they are able to cover their protein needs.

    Ever since I read this paper I am wondering if the same applies to people.

    Full text:

    Microbes Promote Amino Acid Harvest to Rescue Undernutrition in Drosophila (2015)

    TLDR: some gut bugs were identified to be digested continuously by the fruit fly. These bugs help harvesting and extracting protein from the diet, and store it in their bodies. When the diet was low in protein, these bugs died and fed the host by released protein, and by doing so prolonged the fly's life.

    The researchers tried to identify the bug, it was not L. plantarum, but a yeast, and it was not S. cerevisiae, but Candida krusei.

    1. Welcome back! And with a twist I did not see coming!

  20. Mister Meat (levi)April 6, 2015 at 5:14 AM

    It seems that angelo's diet is like the one I have in mind (and described a bit), but then 'adjusting down' the protein and 'adjusting' up the fiber for satiation/effortlessweightloss/maintance (ok i guess im working with backslashes on top of backslashes..). I've always heard it in his podcasts he's got that same prudent mindset.

    My personal optimal diet has taken a turn from one week to the other. Instead of working on my thesis i went back to "putting time and effort in these sorts of 'minutia' in order to have stuff optimized (on all fronts) for the rest of my life" mode (like, i've really come to the point now that I have set myself up for a great life with minimal fuss).
    it went from what i described in the coming full circle post (people who are interested enough will find their way there) to going about it in this way: at noon i have my mealshake instead of sit down table plate fork and knife meal. It contains the following (calculated it once, don't ever have to think about it again and its as optimal as i could want)
    I consume around 2250 kcal (2000kcal rest day, 2500kcal workout day) and am pretty average in every marker for which you'd need more/ess calories of up/down adjustment

    here, i'll give away energy and macro breakdown of my daily eating pattern:
    kcal: 800 (of which i myself digest 600). for daily total it averages: 35% kcal, 40% prot, 45% fat, 33% carbs. goes nice in line with more fat during day and more carbs evening.
    carbs 50g: oats (10g), tigernuts(now a staple!) (20g), rice (10g), berries and amazing grass (10g)
    prot 35g: whey (25g), other (gelatinesuppl & the plant proteins ;)) (10g)
    fat 50g: 1/4 avocado(3,5g) coconut milk (11,5g), tigernuts (15g), preb from realfood (10g), preb from powders (10g) (so this mealshake gives me 40g of prebiotics)
    to add something more relevant to angelo's diet: this shake I consume as one meal (that has all i need untill evening) instead of snacking prebioticsources (several reasons for why i find that better in modern times, at least for me)

    Then i have my dinner: 1200kcal, of which i digest 1000kcal myself)
    carbs 80g: beans 50g (180g) and aardappelen 30g (180g) or rice (125g)
    prot 55g: vlees/vis 30g (150g, and when growing more muscle upping to 200g. that is all that i find needed to adjust for when gaining muscle), egg yolk 10g, bone broth 5g, beans&potatoes 10g
    fat 70g: realfoodprebiotics 20g, eigeel 20g, meat/fish(incl scoop of coconut oil 10g) 30g (so this evening meal gives me 40g of prebiotics, in here is the bulk of rs and ogs)

    pwo (i exercise before dinner, used to do it before lunch) is on top of my regular dinner (that i eat before and/or after dinner): half of the mealshake + banana/fruit and honey (some 25g carbs) = 500kcal (incl 50g carbs) surplus on workout day

  21. Mister Meat (levi)April 6, 2015 at 5:17 AM

    I make my mealshake during dinner for 3-4 days. One 15mins of work worth for optimal food intake for couple days. The opportunist/optimizer in me sees alot of other benefits/advantages for doing mealshake instead of middag meal (for example i can have all my supps in powder form, not having to pop pills anymore. I spend less time eating and prepping, ..). And if you're out and about and can't have your shake => big ass salad (or whatever you can do, a cheatish meal once in a while when healthy is not to be stressed about either, now that you have it really as dialed as dialed can be (as in not 'thinking' i have it the best it can be). and factor in that i have extra 10g of prebiotics on workout day i average at around 80g. Also, skipping a day of shake is a good thing, as with the rest of stuff that cycles automatically because of the way i've set it all up.

    So from now on(april 2015 I want engraved in my memory) i'm on (this time for real, no more stuff that skews my progress!) that journey of eating and living optimally, healing and starting to really live for once (and for all).

    hmm I could practically put out a diet of my own too (when i say diet = template). But thinking further on that for a second i know that that 'diet' (like you could sell/recommend to people) will be what i advise my clients (and sorta give away here ;)) and maybe later bringing it to the broader public in whatever way i will then decide to.

  22. Mister Meat (levi)April 6, 2015 at 5:20 AM

    an interesting personal experience on the topic of greek diet: last year we had a guest professor of dietitics from greece (she made a trip to belgium for our project). Her presentation was about how should better revert back to a more meditteranean/greek style diet. She illustrated this (partly) on the basis of how greeks are now overweight and more diseased (funnily she's heavily overweight herself). You can imagine i was the only one asking multiple questions on 'unusual things'. I've even pushed a bit on how it is that that the greek (mysterically) aren't enjoying health they used to do. I was almost pointing it to her what the reasons are and i talked openly about how paleo is similar (to the point of slight annoyance of classmates. it was also one of the first times i spoke openly in class about paleo). She called it a fad diet (and ofcourse all classmates think she called it 'fat' diet, boy did i feel everyone is stupid xd) but was nonetheless intrigued. So after class I approached her on the topic of paleo and she was interested in having me send her some links. So i did, but never had a response (and was 100% positive correct email).

    PS: can i now have a title like that of wilburs (pulling a wilbur) for my mealshake (unless there's been something around very similar to my mealshake)? :D

    1. Sure, but hopefully it turns into "pulling a Levi" and not "Pulling a Mr. Meat", that just sounds wrong. lol

      You know, another direction you could take all of your research when you get finished with the academic part of your career is "Feed Tube Solutions."

      People in intensive care in hospital are fed through feeding tubes for a variety of reasons, there are several commercial mixtures of "meals" for this purpose, but the complications are endless: fungal infections, diarrhea, constipation, malnourishment, etc... I think the biggest piece that they are missing is pre and probiotics. Just a thought!

      Read more:

    2. Mister Meat (levi)April 6, 2015 at 10:15 PM

      I have told myself I don't want to overload myself with projects, as i have a balanced life in mind (that entails a bit of justified selfishness). The plans and ideas that i have now will keep me busy enough. But yeah its a wonderfull thought and its things like that can maybe get me hooked as well.

      I've seen those commercial mixture meals enough times in class, its so sad in so many ways. I had sometimes thought that those meals are what makes them stuck in their situation (and how noone sees that, no we just happily talk further on how much fat is in the mixture meal), and to think of all the elderly drinking those energy enriched empty sh*tshakes

      dang it tim, after absorbing some more of what you said and during writiting I've come to add this genius idea to my list of idea's

      Pulling a levi, hadn't even thought of that. sounds good (mister meat meal doesn't lol)

      anyway, thanks for reading

    3. Probably these 'diets' are designed to minimize what needs to be changed in re: diapers. These patients are usually getting catheterization and shitting in place means ascending infection. Just a thought.

    4. Apparently our local (very small town) hospital has just opened a hospice area. They refuse to feed patients who are near the end. No doubt that is for the benefit of the staff, not the patients.

  23. Well, a health promoting diet is hard to nail down. My first reaction when I read this post is "Well, that's the way I ate for years back in the day when I developed my health issues." Seriously, I ate very low fat, lots of vegetables, whole grains, beans, and modest amounts of meat and eggs. And I felt so awful. I remember saying to myself, how could I eat any healthier? That's when I did my 180 and got on the meat train. Now it's true that besides oatmeal and brown rice my major whole grain was wheat. Maybe wheat was always the main villain in my diet. I know I'm a lot healthier now eating a PHD type diet. It's interesting though, since I've been supplementing fermentable fibers, my diet is trending more toward a "plant Paleo" profile. I find myself craving raw dandelion salads and eating a little less meat and added fat.

    1. Just so everyone is clear, I'm not promoting Angelo's Plant Paleo as the way for everyone to eat, or the 'next big thing' or anything really.

      I just thought it was an interesting take to combine the best of vegan, paleo, and fiber. I'm giving it a try for the month, mainly because I am getting free gut biome samples and also just to do something different.

      I'm on about day 9 of Plant Paleo, maybe down a pound or two, not really weighing, but feeling just great.

      I'm very fortunate, the hospital I work in has a massive salad bar and also hot, cooked veggies every day. I only need to worry about dinner, which has always been very meat-centric, now focusing on starches and veggies.

      I've yet to do a meatless day...maybe today! Just had lunch: cooked okra, cauliflower, and potatoes...raw salad that weighed 1 pound consisting of mushrooms, black olives, bell peppers and leafy stuff.

      One big observation. I remember when I was in the Air Force and would sometimes have to lose a few pounds for an annual physical, I'd do a "rabbit food" diet and end up feeling miserable and hungry. This, on the other hand, is quite enjoyable and I feel very full.

    2. I'd like to chime in to echo Tim's sentiment: I'm not trying to design or promote the 'next big thing' in the diet world. I posted the diet, because I talk about the way I eat and why on Latest in Paleo. That results in lots of emails and questions, and I really needed a page on the web site that I could point people to for reference. I do believe it's a healthy diet for just about anyone, but I encourage people to tweak it as they see fit. Similar to what I said on the Plant Paleo page, there are a number of whole-food diets to choose from—with the exception of a few extremes (fruitarian, meat-only, etc.)—they are all far better than SAD.

    3. Angelo, I don't know about that "just about anyone" comment. I'd have trouble eating so much plant food... salads and such. I just can't digest it very well. Now maybe that's something that I (and my gut flora) could adapt to over time. But as of now, I know based on my frequency and composition of stool that high plant and fiber intake just does not work well for me. Raw potato starch (RS) is an exception. For some odd reason too much of that has the opposite effect - binds me up.

  24. "A plant-based diet, atherogenesis, and coronary artery disease prevention." (full paper) — Just saw this posted on Twitter.

    Atherosclerosis associated with high dietary intake of meat, fat, and carbohydrates remains the leading cause of mortality in the US. This condition results from progressive damage to the endothelial cells lining the vascular system, including the heart, leading to endothelial dysfunction. In addition to genetic factors associated with endothelial dysfunction, many dietary and other lifestyle factors, such as tobacco use, high meat and fat intake, and oxidative stress, are implicated in atherogenesis. Polyphenols derived from dietary plant intake have protective effects on vascular endothelial cells, possibly as antioxidants that prevent the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein. Recently, metabolites of L-carnitine, such as trimethylamine-N-oxide, that result from ingestion of red meat have been identified as a potential predictive marker of coronary artery disease (CAD). Metabolism of L-carnitine by the intestinal microbiome is associated with atherosclerosis in omnivores but not in vegetarians, supporting CAD benefits of a plant-based diet. Trimethylamine-N-oxide may cause atherosclerosis via macrophage activation. We suggest that a shift toward a plant-based diet may confer protective effects against atherosclerotic CAD by increasing endothelial protective factors in the circulation while reducing factors that are injurious to endothelial cells. The relative ratio of protective factors to injurious endothelial exposure may be a novel approach to assessing an objective dietary benefit from a plant-based diet. This review provides a mechanistic perspective of the evidence for protection by a plant-based diet against atherosclerotic CAD.


    1. Haha, you know how to push my buttons, don't you, Angelo? I love these games!

      So, I read the paper you presented, all of it, and all the way through, I'm thinking, "Written by a Vegan."

      The paper is OK, but never says how much meat is too much, leading one to believe ANY meat is too much.

      I clicked the author's name, and found he is an MD with a nutritional background who works for Kaiser Permanente, the largest HMO in the US.

      He wrote another paper last year: Nutritional update for physicians: plant-based diets. In this paper, he recommends,

      "Physicians should consider recommending a plant-based diet to all their patients, especially those with high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or obesity."

      However, there was link pointing to an editorial comment about this article, and those are usually pretty good, so I went there: Plant-Based Diets in Crohn’s Disease. This paper was written as a 'letter to the editor of the journal that posts most of Dr. Tuso's papers, oddly enough, the The Permanente Journal. Here we have researchers recommending a slightly different version of Dr. Tuso's Vegan diet:

      "Namely, the greatest environmental factor in CD is diet-associated gut microflora. A design for increasing beneficial bacteria led us to a semivegetarian diet (SVD): lactoovo-vegetarian with fish once a week and meat once every two weeks.

      Anyhoo...back to Dr. Tuso.

      A quick Google led me to The Plantrician Project where Dr. Tuso is on the board of directors. This project looks to me as fishy as anything I have seen.

      The board looks like a bunch of salesmen. Dr. William Li, who is the co-author of the paper Angelo originally posted, Brian Wendel, president of Forks over Knives (A Vegan Diet Plan), Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, and was founded by Susan Benigas, the Executive Director of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. Her bio says:

      "She and her husband, Jon, and furry family member, veggie-eating dog Bailey Blue, reside in Town & Country, MO, where Jon serves on the Board of Aldermen and is chairman of the Green Commission."

      So, to me, the paper that Angelo posted, while it has some merit and facts, is just a paper trail created by Dr. Tuso to lead doctors to push Veganism on a wide scale.

      I'm still wondering about the connection with Kaiser Permanente, though. You'd think they would not want their lead doctor to go around telling people to eat this great diet that will keep them healthy, it would cost them lots of money if everyone were healthy, wouldn't it?

    2. And here a great primer on Veganese:

      Vegan (or total vegetarian): Excludes all animal products, especially meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Does not require consumption of whole foods or restrict fat or refined sugar.

      Raw food, vegan: Same exclusions as veganism as well as the exclusion of all foods cooked at temperatures greater than 118°F.

      Lacto-vegetarian: Excludes eggs, meat, seafood, and poultry and includes milk products.

      Ovo-vegetarian: Excludes meat, seafood, poultry, and dairy products and includes eggs.

      Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Excludes meat, seafood, and poultry and includes eggs and dairy products.

      Mediterranean: Similar to whole-foods, plant-based diet but allows small amounts of chicken, dairy products, eggs, and red meat once or twice per month. Fish and olive oil are encouraged. Fat is not restricted.

      Whole-foods, plant-based, low-fat: Encourages plant foods in their whole form, especially vegetables, fruits, legumes, and seeds and nuts (in smaller amounts). For maximal health benefits this diet limits animal products. Total fat is generally restricted.

    3. I guess we need a new category:

      Plant Paleo: Lacto-ovo-carni vegetarian. lol

    4. Love it, Tim! Great stuff. And gotta love this, too, from the paper:

      Disclosure Statement
      The author(s) have no conflicts of interest to disclose. LOL

      The veggie docs are the main ones talking about endothelial health, so I suppose what you've dug up should come as no surprise. I'd still like to know how much there really is to this.

      Oh, and I've found that you're absolutely right about these guys never talking about how much meat is ideal. I think it's because they mostly believe it's zero, and they're OK with popping B12 pills. I think I've got it about right for me with Plant Paleo, especially by specifying one serving of liver/wk. Most of the vegan docs, on the other hand, specifically warn people to stay away from organ meats because of the sat. fat.

    5. Angelo, I think that these things are partly determined through multigenerational situations and also exposure to pathogens, toxins and it's complicated. Besides which, how does one define anything?

      I think Americans like to believe in their individualism and self determination, their independence from a philosophical and political perspective, but the bottom line is we are attached to what happened to those who came before us.

      Just one example: The Barker Hypothesis.

      Also, there are a number of very good studies indicating that malnourishment in the grandmother will have an impact on her grandchildren.

      I also think that PTSD in one generation will adversely affect the next and probably the next and who knows how far it goes. (I know, everything is all about PTSD these days and I think it's going overboard.)

      To belabour the point, take a look at the British royal family. These are multigenerationally well fed, well housed, well taken care of people. The Queen's mother died at over age 100. She was a boozer. The Queen is in her mid 80s. Her, pardon me, dingbat husband is over 90. He's on anti-coagulants. The Queen's sister died young. She worked very hard at it. Party girl, smoking, bad lifestyle choices. Look at the rest of them in that family. They are not saintly eaters or whatever. They do not possess supergenetics. They just live in big houses, have lots of air around them (i.e. not living in crowded, stifling conditions), they don't have to worry about where their next meal is coming, they can ride their horses or not ride their horses. Not likely they are eating a 'plant based diet' as in mostly vegetables. They go pheasant shooting. Deer hunting.

      Even that goofball Prince Charles has made it to age 66 without experiencing even a moment of angina. His siblings are all fine. At least physically.

      If any of these people 'feel stressed out' it's because they choose it. They are not imposed upon, unlike a lot of regular folk who experience all sorts of life stressors which wear down the organism. There's people who do heavy duty manual labour, people who sit on their bums all day in cubicles, there's people who live lives of insecurity or frustration or 'quiet desperation'.

      You can serve yourself to the rest of the aristocratic families of Europe. Take a look at how healthy they are and how long they live. There's enough of them out there. The ones who don't need to worry about the roof over their heads or the food on their plates, they do very well.

      What they have in common is they don't live in fear. Fear kills. All those catecholamines flooding the system.....

      I would like to see a definition of what these people suggest as 'a shift toward a plant-based diet' MAY confer protective blah blahs. MAY.

      Take that up with Genghis Khan when you meet him in the next world. That dude lived on meat and he created the biggest empire the world has ever seen. Just the fact he lived at all was a testament to toughness, resiliency, intelligence and damn, he did not eat a plant based diet. Neither did the rest of the horde. But boy, did they know how to ride horses and shoot arrows. (I'm sure climate change issues were at play as well.)

      So that's my unscientific, highly observational contribution of 'thoughts'.

    6. I think it is very easy to scare or persuade people to eat a vegan diet, and sell them lots of books and products, but I think it is very, very hard to eat a vegan diet that is healthful.

      People end up saying, "OK, I can eat anything as long as it's not MEAT." Just skipping the meat does not make a diet "great."

      In fact, I see one hurdle you are going to have to overcome is ex-Vegans who ruined their health by passing on the meat.

      An optimal amount of meat...there's the question! My guess is that as long as the plants are plentiful and varied, and the gut is happy, and the person is healthy and happy, then one could probably get by with a very small amount of actual meat, especially if the meat the eat is accompanied by organs and broths made of the bones and cartilage.

    7. OMG, I took it seriously. This is like falling for an April Fool's Joke.

      Okay, I'll just have to confess: I eat people. Wash them down with vodka smoothies. Ahhhhh.

    8. Gabriella,

      Very insightful comments. It's probably impossible to factor in things like transgenerational epigenetics and such when designing a healthful diet for oneself, but it's always a good idea to stay grounded and to realize that we simply can't cover *all* of the bases. Perhaps more importantly is to actually be OK with that and relax a little.

      I'm reading a book right now called "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" that I think you would greatly enjoy. I'm on Ch. 10 (of 21) and so far it's shaping up to becoming and all-time favorite.

      Tim, I think it's easy to scare people into eating almost any kind of diet. You should see some of the emails I receive from people who agonize over adding potatoes or legumes into their diets, because they have been so entrenched in low-carb dogma for so long (perhaps you've had similar communications along the way).

      When I hit publish on The Plant Paleo page, I wasn't sure if I should expect a lynch mob at my door, since it encourages small amounts of whole grain consumption. The fear mongering over carbs and gluten is out of hand.

      Although I disagree with the Vegans, it's interesting how close we actually are when it comes to diet. After all, what I am proposing is similar to Forks Over Knives or McDougall with the addition of small animal-based foods. In fact, it's a lot like Pritikin, too, without the fear of fat.

    9. Saying: "A vegan diet with meat" sounds like a you are making a joke, but I think it is absolutely brilliant.

      Most vegan diets are based on ideology that it is wrong to kill animals, not many people "go vegan" because they think it is the best health option, but they "go vegan" because they don't want to eat animals, then they find the Vegan propaganda sites and start to think that it is very healthy. My dentist (sorry, Gab), is a scrawny guy with bad skin. A Vegan. Who tells me that meat rots in your stomach and overloads the kidneys. And he is one of the few Alaskans that don't hunt.

    10. Woot what an interesting discussion -

      Thankyou Tim for pointing out " one could probably get by with a very small amount of actual meat, especially if the meat the eat is accompanied by organs and broths made of the bones and cartilage." This, at least, makes eating well affordable. As Gabi points out, when you're wealthy and safe, you're healthy, period. (Unless you try really hard not to be.)

      But when you're not wealthy, or you're even downright poor, you're stressed like crazy. How you eat is even *more* important, yet you can't afford to eat well. Around and around goes the vicious little circle.

      That's what sticks in my craw about these "healthy diet plans". With their oysters and local, grass fed organic this and that, just how affordable are they? Or even accessible? If you do have the money, do we all have a cow share or room for laying hens? No.The people who create these diets may not be elitist on purpose, but these ways of eating are elitist in practise.

      I want to see delicious, affordable *realistic* ideas coming out of this community. I want to see us start to discuss differing needs based on gender, on age, and on seasonal availability, too. We're all smart. We can figure this out.

      And vodka smoothies for all.

    11. Eat fish and seafood instead of meat. That's one of the gradual changes I've done over the past number of months. I hadn't even realized at one point in March that I had not eaten red meat since Christmas. A burger craving hit me. I couldn't figure it out until I thought back to how I'd been eating.

      The most amazing thing about living in this part of the world is the fact that we have choices. So we make a big flippin' deal out of everything. If we only got to eat whatever we got to eat and there were no choices, we'd be arguing about something else.

    12. Oh dear wildcucumber, we tagged teamed it.

    13. Rich equals healthy because less stress? I'm sure there are plenty of rich folks out there with CVD, diabetes, etc. Possibly they get better medical care but that is debatable. Doubt they live longer either. Whenever you read a story about someone living past 100, they are usually from very modest backgrounds.

    14. Inherited wealth? Trust fund kids? Or people who became rich through their own efforts? I think there is a difference.

    15. Kate, it means you can at least afford to eat well to somewhat mitigate the stresses you have *if you care to*. Everyone has stress - not being able to afford food = even more stress. The diet plans of paleo and plant paleo (etc) are needlessly expensive and could use some tweaking to bring them into the range of say, a young family just finding their feet.

      When you read a story about someone living past 100, they weren't living on the SAD diet most have now. Maybe those are the diets we should all be looking to. Depression era diet plan anyone?

    16. "I think it's easy to scare people into eating almost any kind of diet."

      This is 100% true and important to be conscious of, both from diet proponents and within oneself. Once you're basing your decisions on something other than fear, you are more able to take in good information, including the paradoxical truths.

      Some of us will likely need more protein or good fats than suggested by Angelo but that doesn't mean we still can't be plant-based. Like Kresser's personal-paleo, we can have personal plant-based paleo.

    17. Beans, rice, bones, organs, and cheap cuts of meat are not expensive.... That is what most of the world (minus the first world countries) eats because they can't afford anything else. They don't get first world issues until they start eating a first world diet. The rest of the stuff would be nice to have, but the above staples are all you really NEED. Growing up, my father worked in agriculture. The Mexican crews lived in Mexico for most of the year, and then would come up during harvest season for a couple of months. They always arrived in good shape and left fat... despite 8-12 hours a day of physical labor.

    18. @wildcucumber, if you have the room, raise your own chickens. There is nothing as healthy for you as quality eggs. Those are nature's feathered nutrient factories. Ok, maybe ruminant liver and some oily fish (sardines and mackerel). Those are the top 3 and none are super expensive. I would do eggs daily and liver and fish twice per week is enough.

    19. @ Brad - We're fortunate to get wonderful eggs and veggies from a friend, as well as having access to good meat/bones from a nearby farmer. I'm not speaking for myself having difficulty accessing the foods I need, I'm remembering others who do.

      We have room for chickens but even in our tiny village a backyard flock is prohibited, which is the case in most parts of Canada. As we have brutal winters, keeping hens warm would be a major undertaking.

    20. FWIW at Dr. Mercola (ya I know), the health bang for your buck are sprouted seeds (baby plants), bone broth and fermented veggies.


    21. Tate, one of the problems with urban poverty is food deserts. These people not only have low paying jobs that exhaust them due to long hours, but they have nowhere close by to do their grocery shopping AND they must take transit or at least take a taxi home once they've got their shopping done.

      After working 12 hour shifts at shit jobs, they don't have the energy to prep all the things you are suggesting.

      Now I'll confess that I live in a neighbourhood populated by recent immigrants to Canada. We have a grocery store in the neighbourhood which is WHY so many people have moved here. Reasonable rents and great cheap groceries. In fact, for whatever reason, several fabulous ethnic supermarkets have opened over the past number of years.

      Want to buy pork bung? Goat tripe? Beef skin? Chicken feet? Duck gizzards? Come on over. LOL! There's the 'usual stuff' too but seems there is a market for the bits as well. Just not well aged T bone steaks.

    22. I think the problem may be more that there are food deserts because the urban poor don't buy such staples. My family was on food stamps growing up. The above staples can be bought with the food stamps, but most people you see with SNAP cards are buying anything but those staples; even if available. The recent immigrants you mentioned, are they not poor? Are the ethnic stores expensive? Is it difficult to carry six months worth of beans if you have to shop far away from home? I am not attempting to be derogatory towards the poor. I know what it is like to live like that, and it is difficult and terrifying. Luckily, things have turned out differently for me. However, I still work at least sixty hours a week, and have time to cook healthy food. It just takes planning. I think it is more market driven than a nefarious plot to deprive the poor of beans.

    23. Woah, Tate, that was cold. There's a lot more to feeding a family well than 6 months worth of beans. "It just takes planning"? Nefarious plot to deprive the poor of beans? Wow. Just wow.

    24. On further reflection, you are correct. I sure there are circumstances in which it is very difficult to feed your family in a healthy manner. And the way our food system in the US is setup doesn't make it any easier.

    25. Thank you Tate, I figured you for a nicer guy than the above implied.

      Canada is much the same as the U.S, except we don't have food stamps, just inadequate welfare payments.

      Gabriella's neighbourhood is the perfect place to be poor, and there are pockets of the same in all the major cities. For the most part I think it might be the suburban/rural poor and middle class who have it the toughest. You need a car to shop, and the grocery stores all have the same packaged choices that really are "cheaper" for anyone on a budget. It's actually hard to find the likes of bones for broths, or organ meats. I can't get a decent bunch of greens most of the year to save my life in this rural area, even though the nearest 'big towns' have the major chain stores. Sure it's market driven, but that's still not good enough. Even with knowing how to eat properly and all the planning in the world a lot of people still can't eat the way they'd like to or the diet gurus say they should.

      As to beans - I've been buying them dry so I can cook big batches to have on hand in the freezer (RS don't ya know!) Yet I can't get them to ferment when I soak them, they're so old and dry. It ticks me off (as I guess you can tell).

    26. Cukey, there must not be much turnover on the beans in your neck of the woods then. But there's worse: rotten dried split peas.

      Gee, say it ain't that bad. I'll send you beans for heaven's sake. Trade you moose meat for beans. ;)

    27. Not gonna happen my friend. Oh wait, you send the beans first, then I'll send you the moose meat. Yeah, that's the ticket...

    28. Hey, speaking of beans...I'm developing a new GMO bean. A magic bean! I will sell or trade them, anyone have a cow they'd like to get rid of?

      Coming soon: Tatertot's Magic Beans!

  25. I thought fats (good fats) helped one absorb vitamins and nutrients from food?

    1. Which correlates to why some of the healthiest foods (olives, salmon, nuts, etc...) have lots of oil in them, and why gut-healthy fibers will create their own fat from the bacterial byproducts.

      I fell for the "adding heaps of fat" line early in, and used to pile on coconut oil, olive oil, etc... 'just because it's healthy.' Now I only use oils when needed for cooking or because I like the taste/texture, ie. a hunk of butter in my oatmeal. But that was well before "Plant Paleo" came along.

      It just never made sense to me that there was a minimum daily requirement for an added oil.

    2. Tim, I could never get into eating coconut oil. And jars that state 'extra virgin' .... what a joke. There is no such thing. It's either unprocessed or processed. No virgins in the jar at all.

      I have cut back on olive oil although didn't think it was excessive. Maybe it was. I just put fish in the oven to bake. Naked. With skin on. Most fish have enough oil in them naturally. No need to 'guild the lily'. Some fish are very oily, surprisingly so, if a person leaves the skin on. I think a lot of oil is under the skin.

  26. Gabriella, I liked your stance on the royal family. But I think it is a little one sided. First of all the Queen Mother was a commoner (from Scotland) who came into the royal family, bringing with her her good genes. Queen Victoria who married her full cousin Prince Albert and married her children off to other extended family memebers created a lot of inbreading, which resulted in lots problems (like haemophelia). And in Queen Victoria's era it were the rich who were getting gout, other physical ailments, and mental issues (George III). So the royal family is/was not as healthy as it appears to us.

    And the rich people of today, are they healthier that we are? I don't think so. They are buying the same franken foods from the supermarket we are (the only difference is they may be buying from top notch delicatesse shops, or their servants are buying it at the supermarket). They will be eating the SAD diet of the majority. The only difference (I think) is that have more money to spend on plastic surgery.....

    Jo tB

    1. Jo, the Queen Mother was from the nobility. She didn't come from a 'middle class' family like Kate Middleton whose parents became financially successful due to their business. Middleton is a commoner.

      It is true about the inbreeding. But it is also true about the excellent habitations, the servants, the no need to do physical labour, the tiime for socializing, the reassuring sense of privilege.... I agree that the children of Victoria had their own stresses but worrying about having a roof over their heads wasn't one of them. And that's existential stress.

      I suppose the extreme form of existential stress is happening today in places like Syria and the refugee camps. There are other places in the world as well. And when these people may finally at last find themselves a stable home, the horror of everything will not be extinguished. It will be passed on from one generation to the next. It will be manifest in various ways some of them dysfunctional.

      You are in the Netherlands. Babies born during the war have, as adults, a higher rate of heart disease. But so interesting that the next generation is the tallest in Europe. Must be the dairy products and potatoes. :) Meantime, historically, the people of Holland were quite short.

  27. I read an article a few years ago about the changing average height of humans and how the Dutch had shot ahead in the last couple decades and the average US height had declined in that same period. Why Netherlands? Couldn't find the article, but here is a blog post with a nice graph: All sorts of speculations in the comments. I think it is interesting that they outpaced neighboring countries.

  28. Gabriella and Kate, I find it extroardinary that the Dutch are the tallest in Europe. I would have sworn that it were the Scandinavians. I was born during the war and I am 1.70 meter (or 5 ft 6). Quite short by today's standards. And I know that I was taller than my mother and as tall as my father (who was a twin and shorter than his twin brother, long story) And knowing a bit about Dutch history. We haven't been an affluent nation for the last 200 years. Yes we were rich during the Dutch East India Company time, but that ended with its dissolvement around 1790.

    My grandparents were as poor as church mice, my parents had to go through the great depression and the occupation of the Second World War. It was not before 1955 that things started to pick up financially for the general population. Besides Holland has always been a great import country. Amsterdam grew 6 fold in size between 1600 and 1700. The East India Company had over 600 ships sailing and the crews had to come from somewhere and not from Holland itself. I read that the company had on average 55.000 people on the books. Which modern multinational can meet that?? Where did they come from? Mostly from Germany, but from all European countries. We had a large influx of jews around that time, we had a great influx from the south around 1580 (Hugonaughts - protestants). So the Dutch has always been a great mish mash op people.

    So diet would have played a great role in the development of a nation, and yes we have been a nation of potato eaters (as depicted by Vincent Gogh) and rough rye bread. I can remeber that after the war we had meat only twice a week and the rest was filled with sju (gravy made from butter).

    So how the Dutch became such tall people, isn't a purely Dutch trait, many won't be of true Dutch decent. I have researched my family tree and there is not one true dutch in my ancestry, they have all come from somewhere else. It only goes to prove that statistics don't really prove anything.

    Jo tB

    1. Jo, I don't think the data is concerned with ethnic origins. It's country stats.

      Just as, for example, the average height of Hungarians is lower now than it was and while the rest of Europe were getting taller, the Hungarians were getting shorter.

    2. Jo and Gabriella,

      "A nation of potato eaters"--I had to laugh about that. My own background is German, and in my mother's family you were either potato eaters or wheat eaters. My grandmother, who lived to 103, was from Prussia, and always ate potatoes. Even if noodles were being served she fixed herself potatoes. My grandfather's family was from Swabia via Moldava, and they were dry land wheat farmers. Noodles, speazle, big cheese ravioli things, strudels, etc. Of course as a child I loved the wheat! Finally have been coming around to my grandmother's ways.

    3. Kate and Jo, historians now: wasn't there a war that ended because the potatoes ran out? The Franco-Prussian Seven Years War.

      Growing up we ate both. But my father would be happy as a pig in ... if he never saw rice or pasta. My grandmother used to make a dish with home made egg noodles AND potatoes! Carb bomb on a plate! A true farm labourer's meal if there ever was one. (She was ethnic German ... )

    4. Correction:
      In 1778, Prussia, still under Frederick the Great, was again at war, this time with Austria (War of the Bavarian Succession, 1778 to 1779, also known as the Potato War). The opposing generals limited their strategic measures to preventing the enemy from access to their food supply. The war ended when all the locally available potatoes had been consumed

    5. Ha, well an army marches on its stomach. Or in this case its salz kartoffeln.

    6. If you count by region, not by country, then the tallest men in Europe are from Dinaric Alps.

  29. Interesting rant by Dr. Garth Davis:

    "Meat consumption is a major cause of diabetes, carbs are not."

    1. I just read the entire rant. I think a similar rant could easily be made with the thesis, "All-vegetable-diets lead to vitamin deficiencies" or something similar. He also allows no room for ANY meat.

      I did not click any of his links, no doubt many were to abstracts or vegan-written papers, but some probably have good points.

      I did click his name, and Googled Dr. Davis. He runs a weight loss surgery center in Houston and also recommends a vegan lifestyle.

      Is 'vegan' better than SAD? No doubt. Is it the best diet plan? Doubtful.

      Why is there never any middle ground? I notice in the rant, Davis resorts to the "meat is nasty" tactic...full of salmonella and toxins, says you need a Bio-Haz suit just to touch chicken! My God Man!

      I found this in his website:

      "A friend of mine argued with me that a vegetarian diet is deficient in certain vitamins so cannot possibly be natural.

      First of all, I cannot even begin to tell you how vitamin deficient a standard meat heavy diet is. My patients are deficient in a whole range of vitamins when they come to see me. My friend says a vegetarian diet is deficient in Vitamin D, and yet, I have yet to see a meat eater with a normal vitamin D level. Meanwhile, the reality is the meat eaters lack phytonutrients, antioxidants, and a host of B vitamins and carotenoids.

      A favorite argument of the meat industry is that a vegan diet is low in B12 but meat is heavy in B12. This is true. B12 comes from bacteria. B12 was not a problem when we had normal bowel bacteria and organic soil filled with bacteria. Now our soil is high in nitrates and pesticides and low in bacteria. We also drink chlorinated water, eat foods with antibiotics, and take antibiotics all the time. This has wiped out our good B12 bacteria. I think if you eat truly organic root veggies you should get B12, but a small supplement should be more than adequate.

      I recently had my complete blood and urine analysis done and 4 yrs after going vegetarian, I have the best vitamin levels I have seen, with only minimal supplementation.

      It is easy to be an unhealthy vegetarian, just eat French fries. However, if you eat a plant strong diet rich in various vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains you will have health that few people in our society have ever known."

    2. "I recently had my complete blood and urine analysis done and 4 yrs after going vegetarian, I have the best vitamin levels I have seen, with only minimal supplementation."

      Oh the irony!

      If he thinks all meat is gross, I guess it's a good thing he wasn't in my kitchen the other day. I was nibbling on raw moose.

    3. Yes, they do tend to go too far, don't they? The way I see it, obviously, is just add a small quantity but wide variety of meat, some liver, some bone broth, cook with stocks, etc. and all of the bases are covered.

      I find it interesting, though, that meat spikes insulin more than most carb-based foods. Dr. Michael Gregor, M.D. (also a Vegan) did one of his videos on this. His opinions on the Paleo study in that same video are way off, IMO. I offered my take on Latest in Paleo, btw. But here's the video which describes the insulin effects of eating meat in the first part:

    4. I guess most Paleos supplement Vitamin D and Omega-3s.

      Of course, Sisson, Wolf, and Kresser all sell supplements, too. The founders of the Paleo(fx) Conference have even started an MLM supplement company. Of course there's all that Bulletproof crap, too.

      Unfortunately, the Vegans don't have a monopoly on pushing vitamin pills. They all have their hands in supplement-as-insurance coffers.

    5. I am not defending VLC paleo, but diet such as PHD which recommends supplements... they are addressing sick people for the most part. Of course I am leery of anyone pushing their own products, but is the diet making them deficient, or is it general lifestyle and because there is already something wrong with them? In particular, various infections will result in various deficiencies.

    6. I do like that Paul offers some explanation for the supplements he recommends, often including who may or may not need them. And by not selling his own line, there is much less conflict of interest. I've always been struck by the rather long list, though, considering this is on top of eating 'perfectly.'

  30. Huh? 'My friend says a vegetarian diet is deficient in Vitamin D, and yet, I have yet to see a meat eater with a normal vitamin D level. '

    Given that over 73% of Americans are either insufficient or deficient in vitamin D, this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Bah.

  31. I tend to dislike these "Top 5 Foods Blah Blah Blah" articles...but speaking of Blue Zones, this one was published today and it's by Dan Buetner.

    Lessons from Costa Rica: 6 Foods that Could Help You Live to be 100

    1. Nice article. I have been meaning to add 'corn' to my list of foods to stick in the face of Paleo. GMO-issues aside, corn is just good food. Sweet corn, I love, but probably not the healthiest way to eat corn.

      I have been using lots of Bob's Red Mill Masa Harina, which is nixtamalized, and makes amazing tortillas, though quite a pain in the butt. It also makes wonderful "corn dodgers" or fritters when cooked like a pancake. Served with honey...oh, man!

      I thought it was funny, in the Blue Zone book, Buettner talks about everyone eating oranges, but doesn't mention it in this article. Maybe they confused oranges with papayas or peach palms initially.

      Make this a link

    2. I remeber reading an article, which I can't find, that compared an Indian tribe in America with their counter part still living in Mexico. The high rate of diabetes on the American side was compared with the low rate on the Mexican side, to dispel the theory of a gene component for the cause of diabetes.
      The difference between the two was, that the Mexican side ate the the not so highly hybridized Maize flour. That flour has less impact on sugar levels. And it was recommended that the American Indians also revert to this flour.
      I found this article though, and it also goes into reverting back to your original diet.

      I think Masa Harina would fit into this catefory.

      Jo tB

      Jo tB

    3. Jo, I saw a program about this group. The Pima were heavy duty eating fried dough products. It wasn't so much that they were encouraged to go back to any particular corn product, but to stop eating all that high fat garbage and go back to traditional foods, like a particular type of bean.

    4. Oh btw: Are you guys familiar with Rancho Gordo?

      If not, I think they’re worth checking out. They’re a company based out of Napa, CA, that has an impressive bean varieties on stock (though not certified organic). :

      Also just saw they sell hominy, or whole nixtamalized corn kernels, too:

      Totally not affiliated with them. (2nd disclaimer: Beans may sometimes look more exciting than they taste…as might well be expected.)

    5. Gabriella / Jo: it sounds like a comparison of the Pima in Arizona to the Tarahuma in Mexico. Their diets are quite a bit different, and Taubes wrote about it some in Why We Gat Fat. The Tarahumara were recently made famous in Born to Run, but people have been talking about them for decades. It's claimed that these endurance runners eat an 80% carb diet, I believe.

  32. So what do you (anyone) think of Mister Meat (Levi)'s calculating a fat input into total intake via prebiotic fibres?
    i.e. "hi,
    i always go by dividing prebiotic g by 2 (10g prebiotics = 5g fat).
    So when i have my prebiotics at 80g, estimating it at 40g won't be far off (and another neutralizing variable, some 'insoluble fiber' do have prebiotic potential so with this factored in it shouldn't be lots of g lower than half)"
    That's a large input of fat creation.

  33. 193 comments. Who needs a forum?

  34. I think I'm definitely going to need that corn pancake recipe!!!