Monday, August 31, 2015

How to Eat

I love the discussions going on in the "wheat" post, but when there gets to be over 100 comments, it gets confusing and the comment system starts to crash, so I just wanted to put this up to expand on the conversation.

Whenever we all get to talking about different dietary approaches for helping us fix certain problems, whether they be skin, emotions, or poor digestion, it always starts to occur to me that we have simply forgotten how to eat.

Picture borrowed from Cornell University

Just off the top of my head, here's a quick list of things to remember when re-learning how to eat a human diet:

1. Eat whole, recognizable foods.
2. Cook your own food most of the time.
3. Don't buy food that is already prepared, buy ingredients.
4. Use spices, including salt.
5. Eat a mixture of raw, cooked, and fermented foods daily.
6. Eat fish, organs, and bones (broth/gelatin) often.
7. Don't eat to satisfy numbers of carbs, fat, protein, or to satisfy YOU.
8. Give into your cravings for real, wholesome foods.
9. Grain is OK.
10. These things are NOT human food:
  • Vegetable oil 
  • Artificial coloring
  • Artificial flavoring, 
  • White/enriched flour
  • White/enriched rice
  • White table sugar
  • High fructose corn syrup
We are omnivores. And our bodies need real food. Where it gets difficult is at the supermarket or in a restaurant...everything is designed to trick you into eating things that are not real food.

You want a donut?  Eat a donut. But not every day, and not five. Take a bite, taste it, and throw the rest in the trash where it belongs. Offered a piece of Granny's 95th birthday cake?  Take a small piece, eat a couple bites, and leave most on your need to make a big production of it.

In a restaurant and can't find anything healthy?  Order a salad. Dressing on the side. It's acceptable. 

There is no formula, just eat human food! Don't eat too much, and get hungry before eating again.

I know I am ignoring a large group of people that cannot trust their eating instincts and have trouble controlling their hunger.  There are also lots of people who have to limit what they eat due to unruly intestines or other conditions. But, if you follow those 10 rules, and the ones I've probably forgotten that comments will reveal, you will be better off.  All I am saying is eat foods humans are meant to eat, not foods made for humans to put in their mouth and say "yummmmmm."   

What did I miss?  Let's have your lists!


Edited to add:

Gah!  After I hit 'post' I must have thought of 10 more 'rules.' 

Eat seasonally, locally, and dirty.

Eat leftovers.

Grow your own.

I love lists!  We should all try to come up with a good list of "rules" that we can put on our refrigerators for everyone to see.  When I started this journey, I had several such lists printed out...none of them really impressed me, but they all had merit.

I liked Paul Jaminet's PHD apple, but damn, he had BEANS in the NEVER EAT shadow...sorry, Paul.  I eats me some beans.

Dave Asprey had a cool "roadmap" I liked, but damn, I just couldn't do the entire low carb and butter in coffee thing for long.

Mark Sisson's Carb Curve is cool, but I think it leads people to believe 'carbs' are the enemy.

Dr. Weil has a nice anti-inflammatory pyramid, but he loves his supplements and hates chocolate(!)

So, challenge!  Let's make a list of rules that we can live with and I'll put them into a printable format, maybe even make it a highlight of the blog.  You know, "Get your free infographic!"



  1. Where does alcohol fall as a human food?

    1. 5. Eat a mixture of raw, cooked, and fermented foods daily.

      Unless you are referring to the isopropyl type, nothing wrong with a food that has been fermented by a yeast into a tasty beverage.

  2. No preservatives! Sort of covered under #3 except that there are times when one simply cannot make everything from scratch. For instance, I'm an aficionado of very hot hot sauces. Every day I eat a Trinidad Scorpion sauce on my omelette, and I have others made from naga jolokia and Carolina reaper that I love. They go with different foods. I can't source the ingredients to make them all myself, but be sure the ones I buy have no preservatives.

    It seems one needs to check continually. A couple of thinI gs I used to buy had no preservatives until one day they did.

    1. Wilbur, I would be VERY wary of products that say on the front of the box "without artificial colourings and flavourings" and then read the ingredient list on the back. A veritable what's what on artificial additives.

      On a commercially produced pie pack it states: modified maize flour.and E464 thickening agent (that's about as artificial as you can get). It may not be a colouring, or a flavouring, but it is definitely artificial.

      If you want to avoid all that, you HAVE to make it yourself from fresh ingredients. Or if you want to make a pizza crust buy the grains, mill it yourself, and use the whole lot and not just the white stuff to make your pizza crust. In ancient times they would have laid it on a smoldering fire to cook.

      Jo tB

    2. Re- preservatives - this article may be interesting to the readership - renaming of preservatives to give the appearance of a natural substance - .... What your food label really means .........The pace of food engineering innovation means that more complex creations with ever more opaque modes of production are streaming on to the market every day. even the most guarded shopper might relax when they see rosemary extract on the ingredients list – but rosemary extracts are actually “clean-label” substitutes for the old guard of techie-sounding antioxidants (E300-21), such as butylhydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylhydroxytoluene (BHT). Food manufacturers use them to slow down the rate at which foods go rancid, so extending their shelf life.

    3. Newbie - That sucks. My fear is that it will get worse.

    4. If I ever have a nervous breakdown, it will be in a grocery store.

      I have a pretty strict policy of "if it has an ingredient label, don't buy it" because I long ago stopped believing them. But even the produce aisle is frightening. How *do* they get those organic carrots so ramrod straight? Why are they pre-seasoning all the #@&%ing meats?? And people wonder why I prefer my food wild ..

    5. I've always wondered are there really that many naive people that would buy the pre-seasoned meat and fish? I would hate to hear the answer because it is probably a high number otherwise why would they do it! And all those cut up vegetables in plastic containers?

    6. We're all about convenience and the appearance of healthiness. Am I right?

      It's pretty sad when a raw chicken in a bag has an ingredient list.

      Maybe we don't need a confusing infographic, but I just think everyone has been lulled into a false sense of security that if it's in our food, it's safe to eat all you want.

      Just about everyone I work with, my extended family, and many people that I know don't even prepare meals at home. They eat from a box or go to a restaurant. Preparing a meal "from scratch" still involves many boxes, but usually involves handling raw meat and slicing up a carrot. Who has time for that!?

  3. Great post Tim, I especially like #4. Salt is so important!

    I would add try to eat with the seasons. Our metabolisms change with the shortening or lengthening of the days, so should our foods.

    Oh and chew your food!

  4. I would add not eat on the fly. Sit down and enjoy your proper grub, cooked on an open fire i.e. barbie.

    Jo tB

  5. Perhaps something about the size of potions. I think portion control is important though it very much depends on weight issues, if any, and the amount of physical activity one is doing. We are currently eating from bread and butter plates as we attempt to get back to pre-north American visit weights.

    Something relevant to us was about having to deal with over-enthusiastic hospitable hosts who became upset at our small portion size preferences. We ended up eating more than we wanted because of their responses with predictable responses.


  6. Following on from all the suggestions and help being offered up, I thought I'd try an experiment today. I was going to try Gemma's suggestion of black molasses as I thought we had some in the house, but unfortunately not.

    So I thought I'd try Wilburs suggestion of listening to your gut. I have to be honest - I didn't think it would make much difference. I wasn't going to try new foods, just take my time eating and listening to the signals.

    Bit of boring background - usually I would eat for breakfast my fiber shake, 200g of blueberries, 100g of peas, 2tbsp of almond butter and quite a lot of 100% chocolate - all done by 8.30 tops.

    I had the fiber shake and then waited. I then fancied the peas, so ate slowly and listened - I fancied more - luckily I had more at work. Ate I'm guessing 300-350g then waited. I fancied the blueberries and ate the 200g. Didin't really fancy anything else so I left it (this is new for me - listening and responding that is).
    it was 2 hours later - I noted the time - 10.15 - I fancied almond butter, so ate 2.5 tbsp. I only fancied a little chocolate, so that's all I ate.
    A little later I got thirst pangs. I never get thirst pangs - I always drink because I know I need to.

    I am really surprised by the result. Bloating feels much less 'pressurised', head feels clearer and toilet while still far from perfect, showed a marked improvement. I would usually get spells at work of feeling tired and sometimes struggle to keep my eyes open - though it usually passes. I have felt fine and very good energy.

    I'm sorry if this was a little too un-depth or boring, I suppose I laboured it because I would never had thought that listening to your gut like this would have had much if any impact. Previously I was always aware of trying to consume enough food to maintain muscle mass.

    I shall be listening in future!

    1. Rob, not too boring at all. Very helpful in fact. I have been noticing more of a gut sense of what to eat and paying attention. But wondering if i would get better at it ,and how to do it. And what jumps out at me from what you said is the stopping, and waiting. Very helpful.

  7. If you do have to give up wheat/glutinous grains, don't fall into the trap of needing nut based replacements/low carb replacements all the time. It's expensive and time consuming. I did for a while.

  8. couple of adds:

    -don't forget to NOT eat, ie, intermittent fasting is really valuable.
    -I gave up the grains, the Wheat Belly doc has done me a LOT of good.
    -thank you for not saying we should go buy starch in a bag and eat it. REAL food!
    -cravings are another word for food addiction; anti-cravings = minimal sugar, be careful.

    It's harvest in the Eastern Shore of Virginia; oyster roasts and veggies in abundance!


    1. John, maybe we need a new word for the type of cravings that Tim and some of the rest of us experience for healthy foods. ie right now I'd really love a nice mouth-puckeringly tart wild plum. Is that a craving? Sure feels like one. Should we call this a hankering maybe?

      Also, if we explore our cravings for, say potato chips (crunchy, salty) maybe we can see there's something else our body is actually asking for that we interpret as potato chips. Maybe carbs. Maybe starch. Maybe salt. Maybe we're just bored and looking for food as entertainment. It's not the cravings that are wrong, it's just we need to understand them a little better.

  9. Doing whatever it takes so you don't find yourself starving with bad food your only option.

    So of course having potatoes, rice, beans already cooked and in the fridge or freezer.

    But could also include doing things like writing out your meals for the day. Since we grow so many of our own veggies, I always have things in fridge that get lost and forgotton, so I hav started keeping list of those things too. Doing so not only helps keep them from going to waste, but the act making the list just sets things going in my brain, so that later on I am more able to come up with creative ways of incorporating them into a recipe or menu. That's if I'm lucky. Recently some of our meals have been very odd conglomerations of little dishes of this and that. i just call them tapas.

    So your list can include making mire lists!

  10. You know I meant more lists...but perhaps that was a sign to say some lists, but don't get mired down

  11. Vegetable oil is a very generic term.

    In the UK vegetable oil is generally made from rapeseed which is GOOD so please clarify what you mean by vegetable oil.

    1. Is rapeseed oil cold pressed, or is it commercially produced like the other oils?
      Do you know what processes the seeds go through to become an oil for use in cooking?
      I would recommend you read "The Oiling of America"

      Jo tB

    2. I used to live in Saskatchewan where rapeseed fields were as common as wheat. The billboard outside one town unabashedly proclaimed "Humboldt, the land of Rape and Honey".

      Two things about rapeseed. First, "good" is a matter of opinion, and it sure isn't good for the land (monocrops and all that jazz). Second, are you sure you're using rapeseed or is it canola?

    3. When it comes to oil, my philosophy has always been that if you can make the oil at home, or with very primitive methods, it's better than if it takes a massive factory and many industrial processes to procure the oil.

      Olives are simply crushed and strained...the oil is in the flesh, not the seed. You can get a couple spoonfuls from a handful of olives. See here:

      Coconut oil. Easily made at home:

      I'm told that oil can also be obtained at home from many seeds, like corn, rape, grapes, but requires the use of presses and takes lots of starting material. The industrial methods of extraction used for oil production from seeds is along the lines of:

      - Steeping, clean corn grains at 50°C water for 30-40 hours in big steel tanks called steep tanks. During this process the grains swell and soften. After steeping, the corn is coarsely ground to break the germ loose from other components.

      - The ground corn, in water slurry, flows to the germ separators. In this process of germ separation, cyclone separators spin the low density corn germ out of the slurry.

      - The germs are pumped into a screen and washed separately to remove stray amount of starch in the mixture.

      - Oil is recovered from corn germ by expelling, solvent extraction or a combination of expelling and solvent extraction. Wet milled germ is preferably expelled from an oil content of 50-60% down to 20-25% and finally extracted with hexane to a residual oil content of 1-2% in the spent corn germ flakes.

      - The oil is then refined and filtered into finished corn oil.

      - Crude corn oil contains 95% triglycerides besides containing minor compounds like free fatty acids, waxes, phospholipids, pigments, and odourous compounds. Before making the corn oil acceptable to the consumers these components are removed from the crude oil through a refining process.

      - This process involves several steps: (i) formation of sodium soaps of the free fatty acids, (ii) removal of the emulsion containing the soaps and phospholipids by centrifugation, (iii) removal of waxes by chilling, (iv) removal of pigments by contact with bleaching clays, (iv) removal of odours by high-vacuum distillation at 225°C to 260°C.

      (adapted from

  12. Hey Tim,

    As much as I like your blog, I have to disagree with your post here: I don't think there should be rules, especially so many (I don't like rules very much in the first place). If I am to describe my own approach to foods, it would be like this:
    - I sort of know what's good and what's not. There aren't that many bad things to be honest but after many years confronted to all kinds of foods, some truly excellent, some barely looking like something edible, I developed a preference for foods that are nutritious and cheap at the same time. So I base my diet on those foods first, and the king or queen in this diet is ... drum roll ... the potato of course :D
    The rest follows the same principle. I know that one does not need animal based foods every day, and so why waste too much money on these foods ? I know that super processed foods that are artificial combinations of "macro nutrients" + added vitamins and minerals to the mix are pretty bad on a daily basis, so if I can avoid those, I do, but I won't refuse some if that's the only option. I know as well that portion control is not a bad thing, it makes you think about what you eat (some call it mindful eating, why not). So no rules, just preferences based on experience, health effect and budget.

    1. We'll see what we can come up with. I don't ever want to create something that causes new levels of stress or anxiety.

      Farmers have easy handouts for how to feed pigs and cows and chickens...I want one for humans! I think maybe it's more important to follow some "rules" on what not to eat rather what to eat.

    2. Yeah, more stress from a well intended approach would suck :)
      If you want something like a rule, I should say a single one suffices: eat real foods and learn when to stop. Tweak that rule according to preferences and results.

  13. I've thought about this question a lot as it relates to constructing a diet for the obese or very overweight struggling to lose weight. These are people for whom all the advice from experts isn't working, and telling them even to "just eat Paleo" won't really work because there are many different versions of Paleo out there now, not to mention the concept behind most Paleo diets of eating to satiety. (I'm getting sick of Gary Taubes.) So, I have ideas about this - I am a formerly obese person - but haven't finalized my ideal beginners diet for the metabolically deranged yet. Thanks for bringing this up, Tim!


  14. Just take a bite of a doughnut and throw the rest away.....yeah, right!! :-)

    Give up pizza? Can't do, I wish I could. But once and a while I'm gonna kill me a pizza!!

    1. Why would you give up pizza?

      I understand what you are saying. I had weight issues, overeating, insatiable cravings for certain foods. I used to wish I could give up pizza.

      Now, with a fixed gut, I believe it is completely wrong. It puts one at war with their food. I eat pizza. I eat the whole thing in one sitting.

      And I believe it is healthy.

      I break with Tim on the white flour. I agree on the perils of enrichment, but I eat white flour. This is the first restriction. Finding a pizza place that uses no enriched flour is tricky. My joint makes Neopolitan pizzas from Italian 00 flour, which is not enriched. A pizza from Pizza Hut or the frozen section is going to likely be enriched and loaded with chemicals.

      From there, you want real ingredients. Good cheese, preferably from happy cows munching on grass. I like white pizza, but there are lots of antioxidants in tomato sauce. I load my pizzas up with garlic (at least a bulb, sliced - not kidding) and raw red onion. Some sautéed mushrooms are nice. I match with an arugula-fennel-orange salad. And red wine.

      What's unhealthy about that? No guilt. No worries about saturated fat, carbs, whatever. I enjoy it, and it makes me feel good. As far as the calories go, well that depends on so many factors that I couldn't begin to guess. But because I haven't set myself up for guilt or punishment, I don't fight my body's natural tendencies toward equilibrium. This is key for me. I have to trust the gut.

      I like Tim's rules. I think that if you can make food within their framework, then it is probably ok. Plus adding the rule of no preservatives, IMO.

    2. The iron enrichment is a big prob......but wouldn't all of the cheese on the pizza (calcium) help mitigate some of that problem?

    3. E. Dudley

      Make the pizza a once in a while treat (like max once a week maybe). Don't sweat it. If you eat in the same spirit as Wilbur does, then no prob.

      My own diet is mostly potatoes, whole grains (not flour, but groats and rice), beans, fruits, veggies and condiments, seeds and nuts here and there. Once a week, I will have a decent chunk of meat / fish / seafood (usually a meal that is meat centered during the week-end). Occasionally I will have eggs / cheese / yogurt but not at every meal or even every day. This gives me a controlled food budget and the bulk of my calories are from foods that are highly statiating for not so much volume. They are also packed with nutrients and vitamins.

      A pizza or some ice-cream or chocolate will sneak in sometimes but considering the type of foods I eat every day, I don't crave these treats AT ALL :)

    4. Pizza.

      It has the potential to be a very healthy meal, but care must be taken in every layer. To me, a perfect pizza would contain:

      Crust - Organic, whole-grain flour, made from scratch.

      Sauce - Organic tomato sauce, spiced with fresh herbs, made from scratch

      Toppings - Venison burger, black olives, onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, green and hot peppers

      Cheese - Fresh mozzarella and a bit of Gruyere

      But pizza, being a convenience type food, gets scrimped on at every level. Pre-made crust, sauce from a can with HFCS, greasy pepperoni and cheap cheese.

      Great. Now I'm hungry. Thanks, Wilbur!

    5. Theoretically, there is nothing wrong with real sifted white flour if you should happen to replace what is lost in other ways. Much like the wheat plant itself evolved to utilize certain fibers/glycans, antioxidants, minerals and phytonutrients to manage its own sugars and oxidative stress signals, we too evolved to utilize those compounds to manage the same consumed sugars and oxidative stress signals.

      Manganese and copper are two good examples. They are both required for the creation of extremely important enzymes—they create our very powerful SOD antioxidants. These minerals help balance and manage our iron. The phytonutrients and antioxidants clean up the mess left behind from free iron and the oxidative stress signals from sugars too. Much of the benefits of grains are believed to come from the phenolics and other phytonutrients.

      When we eat white flour, we lose those crucial nutrients. But all is not lost as we now live in a world where we can make up the difference with other real foods.

      For instance, both chocolate and raw hemp seeds are extremely rich in the same kinds of minerals that are refined out of whole wheat. Paradoxically, a chocolate croissant is not all that different from a whole wheat croissant—you are basically trading wheat bran/germ for cacao paste.

      The Japanese can enjoy white rice as a staple, in their traditional diet, *if* they make up for what is lost from the refining process with other foods, like seaweed which is rich in minerals and phytonutrients.

      Whole wheat is the ideal way to eat wheat (i.e. it's a "whole" food), but you can still enjoy real sifted white flour from time to time should you have a way to make up the difference of what is lost in the refining process. If needed, just eating a few bites of dark chocolate or a tablespoon of hemp seeds can swing the balance back in the right direction.


  15. Holy moly. I finally broke down and clicked on the link to Dave Asprey's site you've got there Tim. (no comment on that, just a bit of a cringe). 5 minutes later I went to my hotmail and boom, an ad on the side for Bulletproof products. No flies on them!

    1. That Dave. He's a marketer, that's for sure! I agree...cringeworthy!

    2. I did the cringeworthy thing too. The comments section is populated by bigmouth misinformed people. It's so bad, there's no point in commenting. Doesn't matter that better informed people provide correct information, the blathering of fools continues unabated.

  16. I was one of those people who could not trust their eating instincts and could not control my hunger or cravings. I also got fat because of this. Wasn't born fat, but in early middle age ballooned up because of stress and out of control eating.

    I fixed all that with methylation therapy and then gut therapy based on what I learned from Richard and Tim. :-) I've lost a crapload of weight, although I still have some more to go. Great thing is I know I'll lose it instead of despairing that I'll ever get control of my cravings or portions.

    It's a wonderful thing to not be ruled by food. I still get cravings occasionally but they're normal and resistible, not overwhelming and utterly compelling. Plus, if I do indulge in a craving that is maybe not so great for me, much, much less of whatever it is will satisfy me. I'm good with a couple bites instead of plowing through 1/4 or 1/2 of the cake or pie or pot of pasta or whatever. But it's also worth noting is that most of the things I craved and would get out of control on I can eat, anyway. Even occasional french fries (cooked in tallow or duck fat), bread, etc.

    Life is good when the guilt is removed from food. :-)

    1. That is so wonderful, Amy. It's freedom!

    2. I agree, Amy, it's great that you can satisfy what are now normal cravings and not be unable to stop. Congratulations!


    3. Amy, congratulations! Liberated from out of control food cravings is a great feeling. You go girl!

      Jo tB

    4. Amy (or anybody) - If you want a taste of what true satiety feels like, try the Potato Diet for a couple of days. In many studies, boiled potatoes have the highest satiety index of any food, meaning that people eating them felt 'full' after a simple meal of them. Things like white bread and candy made people hungrier, go figure!

      I know what those cravings are like. Back in the day when I just ate whatever I felt like, after dinner was always a constant battle: Need something sweet (cookies). Need something salty (Potato chips). Need a drink (orange juice). Need something salty again...repeat.

      Since eating real food now, I've broken this vicious cycle that kept me eating right up until bedtime. Now, I rarely eat after dinner, and if I do, it's something like blueberries, chocolate, or a potato.

    5. Amy, can you tell me more about your methylation therapy? I have a MTHFR genetic mutation and am wondering if it's the cause of many of my health issues. I also have compulsive eating issues that I would love to get rid of once and for all! I was really fascinated by your story and literally can't imagine a life not controlled by food and thoughts of it. Just starting out here but looking forward to learning all I can.

  17. Hello – I have been reading this site for a while and have thought about posting lots of times. I like that you have mentioned food additives and preservatives here. (Me in a nutshell: I helped my mild eczema after starting probiotics (thanks to Mr. Heisenbug’s site) and have ended life-long constipation by tweaking my diet and adding probiotics. I always ate “healthy” but stress and a desk job helped me to slide into the typical mid 30s to 40s weight gain and inflammation issues. Too much packaged “healthy”. Paleo helped a little, but it was too extreme for me and I had an innate sense that it wasn’t the bread/grains/beans that was the problem for me.)
    About a year or more ago, my husband and daughter came home from the grocery with a pre-made cake. I didn’t usually buy the things and was thinking I would probably eat some of it since it was in the house. I was looking at the label and realized there were about 50 ingredients! For a cake! I wrote some of them down and started googling them. The one that always stands out, and that I have since learned is a big problem for me is sodium benzoate. It is used as an anti-caking agent in fireworks, and also in “food.” There was another one that was used in the iron smelting process. All of these items being added as “additives” and called safe! I have cut them almost entirely out and wow! Can’t tell you how much better I feel. I really think that a lot of people who have issues with wheat probably have issues with these industrial items. If you look even at plain old kosher salt (mortons) you will see anti caking agents added. You really have to look to find salt that only has one ingredient on the list! When I eat too much processed food now, I get itchy ears and/or the eczema will flare up.
    So, I do make my own bread and don’t let the family buy those cakes anymore if I can help it! I do make sourdough. I bought the starter and treat it like another pet to take care of! (It really doesn’t take that much effort) I also have instructions on how to capture “wild” yeast from wild grapes that I want to try this fall to make my own starter (local yeast!). When I bake I use a mix of white, white whole wheat, and wheat. I’ve also tried whole rye. Not my favorite but I think I just don’t have the right recipe yet. Sometimes I add seeds etc. I have some wheat berries that I would like to try to sprout.
    My mantra when my daughter wants something unnatural like stuffed crust “pizza” is “Not Food!” I pretty much eat everything and follow almost all of the list and feel a lot better. I have a little way to go and have enjoyed adding more fermented items to my life and adding more natural fiber. More little critters = more energy for me. Also, while I haven’t done a potato “diet” I have had roasted and cooled potatoes and ate for breakfast and lunch and it seems to give me a burst of energy – makes me feel like I want to hike a mountain.
    Anyway, sorry for a long post that doesn’t add too much. I just feel really strongly that we have to be careful of the additives and that they are hiding in so many things and probably cause a whole host of issues. I love the info available on this site and the conversations. They have made me realize that I’m not crazy (or at least that I’m not alone!) Thanks,
    --Kate F.

    1. I just went to look in horror at my box of Morton's. Yellow prussiate of soda? I usually use 100% sea salt, but use Mortons for beans and such. This stuff is hiding everywhere! Thanks for telling us about this!

    2. Yes - that's the stuff "anti caking agent." I have limited research ability -I stick with google and Wikipedia, but it will scare you! We would rather let our salt get clumpy in our humid New England summer!

    3. Kate, great story. My thoughts exactly, that too many additives are a bad thing.

      Under E-number law every additive is extensively tested before being allowed for use in food. But they never mention what the negative effects can be when more than one additive is clumped together. And as you say it can be up to 50 being used. It's like with medications, the more you get prescribed the more you have to watch for negative effects. If you get prescribed one thing, they often have to give you a another to block out the effects of the first one. Just compounding the negative issues.

      On a Dutch site it is stated (translated into English) :

      Natrium Benzonate (E-211) can cause histamine release and therefor induce pseudo-allergic reactions in a small group of people.

      Now, that is interesting for me with my Histamine intolerance. The other week I bought a commercial pie that was on offer. My Glucose levels went through the roof, which indicated to me that my histamine levels had flared up again. On the front it said no artificial colours, flavorings, so you get lulled into thinking everything is OK, but on the back there was a long list of "ingredients" , but I didn't go through them thoroughly enough. Will do in future.

      I'm sure there are additives added to plain flour you buy for your pizza dough so that it has a long shelf life.

      As we all keep saying: if you want to eat it make it yourself from scratch. I'm thinking of buying a grain mill and making my own flour. As far as I know they don't add preservatives to the grains themselves to increase shelf life. But you never know these days.

      Jo tB

    4. Kate, my ears itch as well, when my histamines get too high and the bucket overflows.

      Jo tB

    5. Wilbur, to my horror, not only does my Windsor salt contain an anti-caking agent ( calcium silicate), it also has sugar. I always thought boxed salt would be plain sodium chloride, no need to add anything. I'm off to Costco today to get sea salt!!!

    6. And so big deal: sea salt contains radioactive stuff due to all the bomb testing etc.

      What to do? Hold one's breath when walking on the sidewalk when there's cars going by? Seriously? Just think of all the crap a person breathes in much less swallows. I'd rather use salt that is from a prehistoric sea than the stuff they are getting now from the ocean. There weren't nuclear bombs in those days.

      Right now Toronto is like living in a giant's armpit. Humidex 38C. I guess I'm tough or something.

    7. At the local grocer ( that's Fortinos for you Gabe) - I found Windsor coarse salt - for canning and pickling - no additives (and no radiation) - for $2.00! I'm in! Costco's fancier sea salt was an option at 5 times the price per gram - but maybe Gabe has a point about our contaminated waters???

    8. Just make sure you check your dietary iodine intake. This is the goitre belt, my friend. The groundwater does not contain enough iodine. The soil does not contain enough iodine or selenium. Now I can't remember without looking it up (again) the percentage of school children in Toronto who had goitre before the introduction of iodized salt... it was very high.

      However, on a brighter note: milk contains 300 micrograms iodine per litre. 'Organic' milk does not. If you check the Stats Can study on iodine status of Canadians, you'll see that as people get older they are more likely to be deficient in iodine. (thyroid, yanno.... ) After about age 18, a lot of people stop consuming dairy.

      Plants don't need selenium, but we do. So all this 'eat local' b.s. means a locavore vegan will be low in iodine and selenium.

      It really makes me wonder why it is, these days, pedestrians move so slowly. There's something adverse going on. The slower a person normally walks, the greater the likelihood of early mortality.

    9. Actually, organic milk just has less iodine(by a third?), not none.
      Good review, which even suggests that organic mile is changing too.

    10. Trying this again: I didn't mean organic milk contains zero, just that it does not contain 300 micrograms. But I'm not a fluid milk fan anyway. If you go to someplace like Highland Farms on Dufferin, you can get kefir, huslanka and maslanka (real buttermilk, not the low fat stuff.)

      There was a study done in the UK on teenaged girls' iodine status and it was low. The milk program in schools was canceled and parents don't bother buying dairy for their children. Who knows where this will lead.

      Weirdest thing though, sheep milk can contain up to 2,000 micrograms of iodine per liter. It's also 7% fat. A little goes a long way. :) Tastes great just I can't drink it. Maybe if I buy those lactase tablets from Costco.

    11. One interesting thing I've noticed: at Galleria, the Korean supermarket, they don't sell iodized salt. It's all various types of sea salt from Korea. I suppose since traditional Korean cooking contains seaweed and seafoods, the are getting enough iodine.

      I use iodized salt. I take thyroid hormone but I think iodine is good for other tissues as well. Based on what I've read, higher iodine levels are 'associated' with lower incidence of breast diseases. And ovarian problems. Plus for years, unknowingly, I gradually reduced my salt intake to the point where people were forever adding salt to the food. I thought they were salt addicts, but realized that I just wasn't getting enough salt. I thought it would cause oedema. That was the hypothyroid not the salt. Now I can add salt liberally to my food and no oedema.

    12. Hey, now you are on with the Kosher salt, for the first time in my life I made fermented cuckes. Went out in the evening to get wild grape leaves and bought dill plants at Longo's. Garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander, mustard seeds........ The cukes were a bit big so their skin is a bit bitter (given a bag of gift cukes) but they are crunchy and just about sour enough now. Used a small kimchi jar. It's actually a brilliant jar for fermenting stuff.

      Apparently cucumbers are difficult to ferment without them ending up mushy. Beginner's luck!

    13. You'll find this interesting...
      35 years ago, there was a breast specialist at Mt Sinai Hosp who recommended Iodine for fibrocystic breast disease! I can't remember the dose :(
      Also, for pregnant patients with leg edema, the treatment is to increase salt intake, not decrease it.
      Tried fermenting cukes for the fist time myself last month - great outcome too. Used an old cuke jar, left them on the counter for 10 days. Not mushy.

    14. Brownstein has his iodine protocol as well. Kind of alarming how much iodine he recommends. I think Jaminet, initially, was influenced by the milligrams per day stuff but has backed off.

      Probably the 150 mcg per day RDI is low. But it's a sobering fact that human beings have managed to populated areas of the planet where iodine levels in the groundwater are inadequate. I mentioned to Cukey yesterday in email that chokers became fashionable for the wealthy women (most especially in places like Lima, Peru) in an effort to hide goitres.

    15. Susun Weed strongly recommends daily seaweed in her (excellent) book "Breast Cancer? Breast Health!" I'm more comfortable with that approach as all the other minerals are there, just iodine seems, I don't know, easy to overdo and that can be as bad as too little. Some seaweeds are higher, some are lower in iodine (don't remember which is which) but all seemingly have breast supportive nutrients.

    16. True. Here in Canada the easiest to obtain is dulse. Harvested here.

      Those wafer crunchy things are made from laver or nori. No iodine.

      It's a bit of a mystery to me, at least, how it is that some seaweeds concentrate iodine. Why? Iodine is very low in sea water so there's something very active going on. Plants don't usually require iodine or selenium. What's the seaweed doing with it? Must be something important.

    17. Gab

      "Plants don't usually require iodine or selenium. What's the seaweed doing with it?"

      Defence etc.

      Halogenated Compounds from Marine Algae (2010)

      "Marine algae produce a wide variety of remarkable natural compounds, usually referred to as secondary metabolites because they are not involved in the basic machinery of life [1]. Although these molecules often contribute to only a very small fraction of the organism total biomass [2], the contribution of these compounds to survival may sometimes be comparable to metabolites resulting from the primary metabolism [3]. In that sense, the use of the term “secondary metabolite” seems less appropriate since these compounds also contribute to growth, reproduction and defense and thus play a primary role for the organism integrity.

      Biological properties of halogenated compounds have been researched for the past decades, with results showing antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, antifouling, antifeedant, cytotoxic, ichthyotoxic, and insecticidal activity [9].

      The prevalence of halogens is not similar in marine algae: chlorine and bromine appear to be the main halogens used to increase biological activity of secondary metabolites, whereas iodine and fluorine remain quite unusual within the chemical structures [5]. However, some orders of brown algae such as Laminariales accumulate and use iodine for halogenation processes. For example, the kelp Laminaria digitata accumulates iodine to more than 30,000-times the concentration found in seawater, representing an average content of 1% of dry weight [6]. In fact, iodination is more frequent in brown algae than in red and green algae metabolites [6]. As a result, only less than 1% of secondary metabolites from of brown algae contain bromine or chlorine in contrast with as much as 90 and 7% of red and green algal compounds, respectively [7]."

    18. Thanks Gemma. I went through the seaweed list a while ago and how some contain a lot of iodine and some contain none. So this explains it. I think dulse is probably 'safest' for iodine level ingested. Kale is extremely high.

      So this means that eating sea urchin gonads (Uni) would be an iodine powerhouse since these critters are fed on kelp.

      And btw, this is what 'gets to me' when people say things like Celtic sea salt is some sort of 'miracle cure'. Sea salt contains orders of magnitude more bromine than it does iodine. We need iodine. Bromine is not good for the thyroid gland.

  18. How about try to eat your food - not drink it? I'm talking about the current 'shake' fad and calorie laden drinks that people chug down all day long.

    1. Yeah, agreed. I started using a Nutribullet because my daughter talked me into it. But the raw vegetables like spinach..... I'm not so sure this is a good way to consume them. Plus with the fruits most people add in to make the smoothies palatable.... I'm going to be interested to see, longterm, the effects of this on the enamel of people's teeth. All that bathing the dentition in acidic fluids, it's not good. Better to eat the fruits because at least the chewing of them increases salivary flow. Just drinking a smoothie does not. The saliva production helps to protect the teeth since it contains buffers.

      I'm using the Nutribullet to make pureed soup from the vegetables I put in the beef or pork stock. Add a bit of 30% real sour cream and this tastes great. But it got obvious real fast that the acidic smoothies are not a good idea if I want to preserve my tooth enamel.

      Just my take on things.

    2. I'm not against some juicing or blending, but total meal replacement shakes are just ridiculous. Maybe one meal every now and then, OK, but not every meal or every day.

      Did you guys see that stuff called "Soylent"? It is a total food replacement.

      Looks terrible!

  19. guys be careful not to make this mistake
    first i encountered on the ingerdients Guar Gum Xanathan Gum, i thought what crap gum went into this,
    Dont ya'll laugh now, what do i know milk comes from the grocery

    1. Guar and Xanthan gums actually are shown to have prebiotic properties, so I never worry too much when I see them on a food label. But it is strange that to find them in so many places. These type gums are added, I believe, to make the food last longer and taste 'fattier' without adding fat calories.

      I got your emails, too. Sorry, I have been swamped. You asked about organic bread: Yes! I think it is worth it to go all-organic if you are going to add wheat back into your diet. Wheat is a huge commodity crop, and grown on an industrial scale, using industrial chemicals. Going to organic should hopefully avoid some undue chemicals in your life.

      re: digestive enzymes - I have no real thoughts, some people seem to need them and do better when adding, maybe worth a try? I'm not sure how you know if you really need them. Trial and error or a doctor's test of some sort.

    2. Another reason for the gums, which I also do not worry about, is to keep some foods suspended. Hot sauce, for example. Some people apparently object of shaking before serving, and gums help. Sometimes also foods will separate and look pretty gross even though they are just fine when stirred or shaken. Hot sauce again can be an example.

  20. In his FB group, Paul Jaminet has clarified that he thinks legumes are probably fine. So for me, it's still the PHD apple but with legumes and some oats.

    1. Good to hear! I like the diet portion of the PHD, but still think it is way to heavy on added supplements. But maybe he is changing on that as well?

  21. I'm realizing it's time for more fiber in my diet. Mainly I'm getting it from PS. Has anyone tried any of Tim's suggestions (listed on this site)?

  22. I wish I could be like Amy and retrain my brain to find satiety somewhere. Having a macro prolactinoma means the little me writing here who wishes to be a normal weight and is fascinated with healthy eating has to fight this other me, filled to the brim with prolactin, the nursing hormone that helps new moms want to "eat a horse" and save up enough fat to keep that helpless baby growing through the cold winter or dry summer. It's tough. It causes obesity and it doesn't let you feel really full.

    So since surgery did not help me, I am hoping my gut bugs can. I have done Tim's inulin / oat bran / dark berries (blue or black, whichever organic I could find) for a month, and I ran out of inulin, and I started up with potato starch, which I could not tolerate before. I am able to handle a rounded tbsp of it now without problems.

    I love lists of healthy food to choose from, and also how to eat it, but being stuck (maybe forever? I can't face that) in the overweight mode, I know that any "diet" to stick to will fail. Last week it was all in the superficial press, how 98% of people fail on diets, clearly because it's a Diet With Rules. And it's your Pleasure (eating) that these Rules are trying to take away. So I can't look at portion sizes or mustn'ts. I already know what is good and I will just be trying to reach true satiety and listen more to any good things I'm wanting.

    I love this site and Tim is such a good guy. I don't have much to add but boy do I learn.

    1. Yaelle, Throw the word "diet" out the window!! I agree diets never work, they make people more frustrated than ever. As you say, just think of eating healthy. You are already on your way, as you say you can now tolerate potato starch. Me, I love cold potatoes, always have. So I cook some and let them go cold before I eat them. I think, if you eat a salad, your cravings would go balistic. Do you eat root vegetables? I always avoided them in the past because I thought they made me fat. I now know that this isn't true for me at least. You might want to try eating root vegetables if you are not already doing so. I find they give a better feeling of satiety than a healthy salad. And I'm getting more fiber as well.

      I'm with you on boy do I learn.....

      Jo tB

    2. Yaelle - Nice to hear from you. Sorry to hear that the surgery did not help you, were they not able to remove the prolactinoma? Is anything else planned or are you officially "on your own" now?

      This thing about 98% of people failing on diets has a couple of components I believe:

      1. People never learn to eat (the point of this blog post!)
      2. The "diets" are designed to keep you hooked on them
      3. Most diets suck
      4. Most diets neglect the gut

      The current rage where I work is Shake-ology. People skip one meal and replace it with an expensive shake that is filled with 'superfoods', emulsifiers, preservatives, and almost no fiber. All it takes is one success story, and quickly all the overweight people around jump on it. I suspect this will last a few months, most will fail, and then there will be a new 'diet' in town.

      I'm sure you must be sick and tired of people giving you advice, so I will not. I'm glad you can get some inspiration from this blog, hang in there and do the best you can. Please check in often!

    3. Tim, the tumor (benign) grew around the carotid so all they can do surgically is "debulk" it. So the prolactin levels are still high.

      Since I love eating and cooking, and feel great after nutritious foods, following along IS my "diet," and I allow myself the better tasting versions. I tried your dried green plantain chips and I don't enjoy them. They are chokey-dry and even with sea salt all I taste is sea salt, as if it were on a chip of wood. However, I love the platanos - chunked green plantains fried really fast, then squashed (fun for the kids to do) and again deep fried super fast. In palm oil. Probably a lot less resistant starch, but maybe some is left. And maybe more after they are cooled. And they have a taste. Mmm.

      I'm very happy about my daily little Tim concoction with the berries and PS and oat bran.

      Last night I tried modern wheat for the first time in 5 years. FTA spurred my experiment. When the zwetchgen plums are out at farmers' markets, I have to make my grandmother's special "pie" with them. It's a rudimentary dough spread by hand almost paper thin onto a flat baking tray, and then the plums all sliced, lined up neatly stop the very thin crust. Like a pizza with thin crust. I've done it every year gluten free, but the rice based doughs never allowed for easy eating. Gluten free means no holding a shape, without adding all the gums.

      So I bought organic soft white whole grain wheat flour. Not enriched and from a smaller company. It was much easier to work with than my last experiment with einkorn - einkorn DOESN'T BEHAVE like you want dough to behave. Einkorn, though, digested just fine for me. I ate four flat squares of the zwetchgenkuchen last night and felt fine at the time. Woke up today with a raging migraine. I wonder if I still can't eat real wheat. Will try again another day to separate any confounding variable as I do get a few migraines a week.

  23. Some of my important discoveries over the years regarding losing and maintaining a lot of weight are: 1) no sugar & grains 2) eat sufficient animal protein including the fat/skin. Try not to binge, but if you stick to 1 & 2, how badly can you binge? Salad, vegetables, some potatoes, even legumes - I'd say don't try to limit at first. If I were you, this is what I'd do. Take good care - being overweight is very hard... I know....

    1. It sounds like we are on a similar journey. I used to read Dr. Harris' PaNu blog, but it has been deleted from the internet. He came up with a 12 step plan, and simply recommended people work their way down from the top. His points reflected current Paleo Dogma, and while I think they helped me to recover, I also think many of the points deserve a fresh look.

      I no longer think grains are all bad, and red meat maybe should not be the centerpiece of your meat choices. I don't think fruit is bad, and I eat legumes daily.

      Here are Dr. Harris' points he made (from )
      1. Eliminate sugar (including fruit juices and sports drinks that contain HFCS) and all foods that contain flour.

      2. Start eating proper fats – Use healthy animal fats to substitute fat calories for calories that formerly came from sugar and flour.

      3. Eliminate gluten grains. Limit grains like corn and rice, which are nutritionally poor.

      4. Eliminate grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Cook with Ghee, butter, animal fats, or coconut oil. Use no temperate plant oils like corn, soy, canola, flax, walnut, etc.

      5. Favor ruminants like beef, lamb and bison for your red meat. Eat eggs and fish.

      6. Make sure you are Vitamin D replete. Get daily midday sun or consider supplementation.

      7. 2 or 3 meals a day is best. Don’t graze like a herbivore.

      8. Attend to your 6s and 3s. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison has a more optimal 6:3 ratio, more vitamins and CLA. If you can’t eat enough pastured products, eat plenty of fish.

      9. Get proper exercise – emphasizing resistance and interval training over long aerobic sessions.

      10. Most modern fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Go easy on bags of sugar like apples. Stick with berries and avoid watermelon which is pure fructose. Eat in moderation. If you are not trying to lose fat, a few pieces of fruit a day are fine.

      11. Eliminate legumes

      12. If you are allergic to milk protein or concerned about theoretical risks of casein, you can stick to butter and cream and avoid milk and soft cheeses.

    2. Yeah, I think the key word is "journey." For instance, #2 on the list, while absolutely correct, is a lot to ask of someone just starting out, who may be exhausted and feeling defeated, who isn't ready to cook everything at home. But #1, no sugar, I feel is a must. And I'm not anti-grains, but they are just too easy to binge on for most metabolically damaged people; I believe they are a trigger.

      I think there is a psychological component to obesity once someone is an overeater. But what we eat is crucial, and can make it possible to achieve a measure a satiety and health. The thing is, people have to be self-aware and honest about their food - Tim may have no problem with those plantain chips, but I would devour every chip I made. They are healthy, but wouldn't work for me, because I'd binge on them. Which wouldn't be so bad, but that might make me feel I failed, so why not eat some other stuff.....that was how it went in the old days when I couldn't stay on a diet. Anyway, sorry for rambling.

      Yaelle, hang in there. I love this site too, and learning about RS and the gut has given me a new area to explore, one that is so hopeful! Good luck!


    3. "For instance, #2 on the list, while absolutely correct, is a lot to ask of someone just starting out, who may be exhausted and feeling defeated, who isn't ready to cook everything at home. "


      Why is it a lot? Where is the problem?

    4. For someone who has never cooked and on top of that is exhausted and probably not thinking too well it IS overwhelming. However if taken slowly they can do it eventually. But they need a completey different list. Ha! More lists.

    5. ellie? Thyroid? When mine was low, coming home after work I was exhausted. Had no energy to cook until I rested for a few hours. Then ate too much. Nowadays, with much better energy (albeit disgusting back pain at times) I cook on the week-end and put it into containers. Mind you, it's just me. I don't know how well that would work if someone is cooking for a family. And if the family were here, they'd have to help.

    6. Gab, was just responding to Gemma about people who have never cooked. For me now, With Lyme, although the pain is gone I do sometimes get very tired, but also have more andmore days when not so tired. On those days I cook up a bunch of stuff to have on hand for the tired days. And I do think learning strategies like that can work for any size family. But that is a pretty steep learning curve for a sick tired person who,has never cooked

  24. Tim - I noticed that some are down on smoothies/juicing. I drink a smoothie every morning, about a 1/2 hour after eating bacon & eggs (w/ onions/peppers). It is not a meal replacement, but rather an accompaniment... 3 tbsp ground flaxseed/2-3 tbsp coconut oil, strawberries, whole banana & 3 tbsp potato starch. Any comments about this daily ritual? Thanks... Ron

    1. I do the same thing, usually after dinner. No problem. Recently, mine has contained blueberries, banana, oat bran, Hi-Maize, and cocoa powder.

      I also have a juicer and drink tons of fresh carrot/beet/potato juice in the summer when I have a glut of fresh veggies.

    2. Ron

      "It is not a meal replacement, but rather an accompaniment..."

      Why 2-3 tbsp coconut oil, then? Sounds like a lot.

    3. My comment above was referring more to the issue of the sheer amount of calories one can take in by drinking instead of eating….eating takes a lot longer and gives your body’s satiety signals time to kick in. Also the pure volume of juice and sugar/milk laden coffees that I see those around me drinking. Kids walking around with buckets of juice and drinking soft drink out of litre containers or chocolate milk cartons.

      I have no issues with the drinks you’re referring to here – in fact I do the exact same thing myself to boost my RS starch intake. This advice would not be for most of the people on this blog that have reached the point that they are pretty much in control or aware of their diet.

    4. We use frozen bananas and blueberries ( and some yogurt and oat bran) and call it ice cream. A great dessert.

    5. Gemma - I used to add 4-5 tbsp on coconut oil, & I cut it down to 2-3. Why? I seem to get good results from this stuff... digestion, weight control, energy, etc. I doubt it's entirely from coconut oil, but my HDL went from 66 to 109... trigs are 40. BTW, I consider myself a moderate carb eater... I don't shy away from potatoes & white rice. Thanks... Ron

  25. I wonder in what way genes affect what you eat.I have always had fast track digestion.I recently had a dna ancestry test.and found I have a variant of the CYP2C19 gene which metabolises PPIs like Omeprazole really fast.I have to take this due to serious reflux and before learning this I tried to cut the dose but it was too painful.I know now that it was due to the fast metabolism I have using up the drug too fast.I was recently put on a low dose Ramipril for blood pressure and when I cut the Omeprazole I collapsed two days running before realising I was metabolising the BP meds too fast too got a huge drop in BP.Upped the Omeprazole and split the BPmeds into two doses and am fine.
    When people get side effects with some drugs I wonder how much may be due to fast metabolism giving too big a dose too fast.Also, how does this affect our nutrition from the food we eat.It may not be sluggish digestion that is the problem for some maybe its too fast.The PPIs probably gave me SIBO too as lower stomache acid not killing off the bad guys.After eating carbs I swell up like a balloon.

  26. Tim, please remind me where it was that you wrote that if you completely lack the bugs to ferment a food, that it will go right through you without any effect??

  27. Hey Tim, I think I misremembered (I don't mean to sound like a politician!).
    From -
    At the end of the post, you're referring to Daily Requirement and you wrote "....any excess starch consumed will simply pass through the entire digestive system undigested and harmlessly be eliminated".
    My thought at the time was - for any fermentable fiber, if you don't have the appropriate bugs (whether in quality or quantity) to utilize it, would that fiber just pass through undetectably, since nothing fermented it, there wouldn't even be gas or cramps. Your thoughts? I think this idea was floated around FTA for folks who didn't have any symptoms from the addition of RS.

  28. Hi Tim

    I came across the snippet below in a ‘health’ magazine the other day and was wondering if you had heard of this concept before? (I wanted to send you the graphic but couldn’t find an email link): -

    Want an even healthier way to enjoy white rice? New
    research from Sri Lanka has found that adding coconut
    oil to the pot when cooking rice, then cooling it in the fridge
    after, can cut calorie intake by as much as 60 per cent.
    Coconut oil is believed to bind to the starches in the rice,
    converting them to resistant starch – which is not absorbed
    by the body and turned into energy or fat, and has no calories.

    1. This idea has been around for a while. I found this link

      Which, if correct, suggests that the research is mostly sensationalized (no!). First off, the research uses the Sri Lankan technique of boiling rice for 40 minutes then drying 2.5 hours in an oven (perhaps after refrigerating). What is interesting, though, is that the coconut oil is linking to a Type 5 of resistant starch, which is new to me. Second, the calorie reduction seemed to be 10% or so for the variety of rice tested. The researcher conjectured it might be 60% for other varieties.

    2. Oops, I meant the popular press versions of the research are sensationalized.

    3. BUT, there are a couple more things I thought about.

      I've never figured out how prebiotics like resistant starch figure into calorie counting. Suppose the calorie refuction is 10% from the increase in resistant starches that you absorb directly in the stomach or small intestine. However, the gut bugs do ferment the RS into short-chain fatty acids, which do supply calories. Even on a typical SAD diet, according to the Sonnenburgs, SCAFs provide about 10% of our caloric needs. This increases as fiber intake increases. So if we reduce the direct caloric intake and yet increase the indirect caloric intake, what's the net? I think worrying about calories might be a folly in this context.

      More importantly, I've discovered (but others have known for a long time) that cooking rice using full fat coconut milk in place of water is really good. I used this as a base for pork butt cooked in soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, and carrots. Cilantro would've been good, but I had none. I should try drying the rice just to see the difference.

      Rick Bayless, a great chef of Mexican food, has a recipe for cooking rice in an oven, freezing it on a baking sheet, and then reheating on a baking sheet in an oven. I'd bet that has a decent load of RS. It is also an easy way to make rice for a party. I can try to locate it if anyone has an interest.

    4. When I want to make fried rice, I cook a batch of rice in my rice cooker then spread it over a baking sheet and refrigerate it - uncovered - overnight. I haven't made it for a long time, but now that I know about the RS benefits I will have to do it more often. I will also try cooking some rice in coconut milk instead of water......sounds delicious!

    5. Jeeze Wilbur, that pork butt sounds absolutely delicious. I'm coming over next time! ;)

      A person can make rice salad and get the benefit of both the fat and vinegar on the rice. Slow down digestion (vinegar) and do whatever the coconut oil does except probably you don't absolutely have to use coconut oil. Coconut milk rice is delicious for sure too.

    6. Gabriella, the pork but was fantastic. It was modeled after a Thai Khao Kha Moo recipe I found. The rice was nice because it gave subtle tastes of coconut. I'd love to make it for you!

    7. Wilbur, coming over.......

      You marinated the pork in those ingredients and slow roasted and ramped up the heat at the end? It's got all the good flavour ingredients.

      My daughter always emails me when gigantic pork loins are going at 99 cents a pound. Just, you know, they weigh 12 pounds or more. I slow roast them, slice them fine, freeze in zippies and dry fry when I want to eat some. It's great value for money, stays moist and what with browning the slices, tastes good. But I have to try this what you made. Butt is good because it's fatty. Do you think the same combo flavour would work with loin? Just what do you do with the carrots?

      Okay, so do you cover it up for a few hours and then expose to more heat at the end? Get it crispy or what? I HAVE to make this. Damn. Now I'm getting ideas on what to do with those gigantic hunks of meat. Cut into three pieces, marinate each differently and apply heat.

      We should all have a visit at Tim's parents place in Ohio.... it's kind of central to some of us, right Tim? I'll bring my hammock. Camping out at Tim's parents.....woohoo! His parents can get a 'dose' of the sort of people their son hangs with 'on line'. LOL!

      I made the fermented cucumbers but they are big. I think they grew in the brine. Their skin pimple things have flattened down. I'm not even into this but now since they came out so crunchy, I'm willing to do another batch with 'normal sized' cukes that would work better. Great garlic and dill flavour, just thick skinned.

    8. I shredded the carrots and put them raw over the top at the end.

      I wish I had tried some of those things! I use the techniques sometimes, but this was dead simple. I woke up thinking about how good coconut rice sounded (the gut bugs?). But what to have with it? Thai'ish sounded good. I knew I had the butt in the freezer. Too late to thaw and marinate. So I wanted until a bit later, and defrosted it in a huge bowl of water. I cubed it, and browned it. Then I put it in a pot with the ingredients and braised it for a few hours covered.

      From here putting it under the broiler might have been nice, but my daughter doesn't like that technique (also make sure the honey doesn't burn). I should've experimented with tossing the meat in ground toasted rice, something that just occurred to me. It was just nice the way it was.

      I pretty much eat only pork butts, chops, and feet. I tend to avoid tenderloins and loins because they aren't fatty enough for me. Oh yeah, ground pork and sausage too.

      I love fermented cucumbers! I ferment lots of stuff, but my first attempts were disasters and this left me hesitant to try again. I ferment okra and hot sauce with great success, but pickles scare me.

    9. Top secret for fermented cukes: wild grape leaves. The tannins prevent mushy pickles. I put a dozen leaves in the bottom of the jar on top of the spices in the bottom of the kimchi jar. loaded in the cukes and dill and garlic. Filled it up with brine. Locked the pickles down below the 'curve' of the jar and put a bunch of grape leaves on top so the stems were caught under the curve to keep them in place.

      I ate another one today and decided it needs to be more sour. Keeping it out of the fridge for two days because the weather is super hot. Then put it back in the fridge.

      I need to get small cukes. Now I'm brave. I'll do it again. These cukes were a gift and they have tough skin.

      For a good pork sauerkraut stew, try pork side belly. You can remove or keep the fat. It's a leaner cut than belly. If you like pork skin, this one's for you. Just sautee onion, garlic, sweet red pepper, caraway seed, peppercorns (if you don't mind chawing on them and given your taste for heat, it's probably nothing), bay leaf, add the cut up pork, sprinkle with lots of good paprika. Add a bit of water and all the kraut. Bubble until pork is tender. Serve with real sour cream and whatever else you enjoy. I like the kraut that has carrot in it.

      Side belly is totally awesome for you recipe if you slow roast.

    10. Oh my, I can't believe I forgot pork belly in the list of pork I eat. Yes! That recipe sounds really interesting. Especially the sour cream at the end. I've never thought of sauerkraut and dour cream together, but it seem like good match.

      At a fancy restaurant, I had a dish of pasta with sauerkraut and pork sausage. I bet sour cream would be great too. Sauerkraut and pasta are unexpectedly good matches.

    11. Oh my god will you guys cut it out with the food porn! I'm salivating here, sheesh. You two are the designated chefs when we all party at Tim's parents, 'k?.

      Gabi, it's true this hot weather is great for fermenting. I just made kraut that was fantastic, sour in just a few days. Btw, a teeny tiny sprinkle of shredded nettle leaves between layers seems to do wonders for both fermentation and crunch.

    12. Cucumbers fermented for longer periods seem to do better with a stronger brine too.


    13. Just for that Cukey, I'm going to punish you.

      Yesterday I baked fish that had been marinated overnight. It's Moonfish, the big silver coloured fish with the low mouth and long face. Cut into steaks. Lime juice, lots of chopped green onion, chopped up Chinese celery leaves, cilantro, thyme, fresh red chili peppers, salt. Put it all in the glass baking pan, drizzle with olive oil. 400 F for 60 minutes (two fish, lots of meat.) Much less time for much less fish. DEEEELIousnessness.

      Even though this is a flat fish, there is surprising amount of meat, bones are easy to deal with and flesh is firm.

      Now don't all you people go out and buy them all up, y'hear?

      Right now I just finished orange lentils with yummy spices and herbs. Will spare everyone especially Cukey. LOL (shh, I sent it to her in an email so she can't duck and hide.)

    14. This summer I am mostly about simple. It's a national holiday here, and I am doing cowboy cut ribeye with baked potatoes. The ribeye was dry aged three weeks and looks like something Fred Flinstone would eat. The baked potatoes have goat butter and green onions from the garden. We have some leftover Dinosaur kale that I'll add.

      It seems to be winter when I start thinking ahead and marinating. But honestly, I'm not sure I've marinated fish. That is interesting.

    15. Wilbur, some fish like Mediteranean sea bass and sea bream, I don't do anything. Salt and bake. The fish have enough fat under the skin, especially the bream that the meat is moist. But some fish benefit from some decent seasoning especially if not baked whole. These guys were cut up into steaks.

      Recently I've baked Pompano and Pomfret, both excellent. But I bake them whole (except cleaned). It's more fun to dissect the fish. Filets are meh and a wasteful process. 1 Pomfret = 2 meals. Lots of meat.

      What's Dinosaur kale?

    16. I love pompano!

      Dinosaur=lacinato= Tuscan kale. Love the dark green.

    17. Please stop talking about meat! My meat-o-meter is on FULL.

      Just got back from a successful moose hunt, last night we dined on fresh heart and liver, today on rare tenderloin, all cooked simply over a fire with just some salt. Side dishes: raw carrots, fresh berries, wild rice and washed down with Labrador tea and honey.

      I almost tend to think that periodic meat gorgings are a more normal scenario with smaller amounts daily than large amounts of meat every day.

      If anyone has an opportunity, but just putting it off, make it a point to go and harvest some wild game this year if you can. Nothing like it!

    18. Show off! Around here about the only things I could harvest are raccoons and squirrels. There's deer but that would need shooting.

    19. Ha, ha Tim, Catch me a moose in Amsterdam!! About the only thing I could catch or "kill" is a rat. We've got lots of them.

      But get out in nature is definitely something that we should all be doing more.

      Jo tB

    20. Oh yeah, right Jo, we have rats too. Big ones.

    21. The moonfish sounds great, the moose is kosher so I would LOVE to try that, but I am sorry. I draw the line at Labrador tea. I love those dogs and I just couldn't. ;)

    22. The Glycemic Potential of White and Red Rice Affected by Oil Type and Time of Addition.

      Limited research exists on how different oil types and time of addition affect starch digestibility of rice. This study aimed to assess the starch digestibility of white and red rice prepared with 2 oil types: vegetable oil (unsaturated fat) and ghee (clarified butter, saturated fat) added at 3 different time points during the cooking process ("before": frying raw rice in oil before boiling, "during": adding oil during boiling, and "after": stir-frying cooked rice in oil). Red rice produced a slower digestion rate than white rice. White rice digestibility was not affected by oil type, but was affected by addition time of oil. Adding oil "after" (stir-frying) to white or red rice resulted in higher slowly digestible starch. Red rice cooked using ghee showed the lowest amount of glucose release during in vitro digestion. The addition of ghee "during" (that is boiling with ghee) or "before" (that is frying rice raw with ghee then boiling) cooking showed potential for attenuating the postprandial glycemic response and increasing resistant starch content. This is the first report to show healthier ways of preparing rice. White rice with oil added "after" (stir-fried) may provide a source of sustained glucose and stabilize blood glucose levels. Boiling red rice with ghee or cooking red rice with ghee pilaf-style may provide beneficial effects on postprandial blood glucose and insulin concentrations, and improve colonic health. The encouraging results of the present study justify extending it to an in vivo investigation to conclusively determine the effect of time of addition of fat when rice is cooked on blood glucose homeostasis.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Oh that was just cruel. You know we're fish deprived here!

    1. Cukey, you are right by the Ottawa river. Get out that rod and reel. There's gotta be something worth cooking in that river. You need a license I suppose.

  31. Another great article and I fully agree, but the food porn...? If you guys are going to slip in all of your carnal gustatory depravity, I feel compelled to admit some guilty pleasures myself, as a biochemist. I find those food labels irresistible. They are very dark medical pornography, displaying a wide array of sophisticated manipulations of food and taste. It is difficult for me to stifle giggles at revealed sneaky ways of overtly cheating customers; giving very little for high prices. The labels yell "sucker," with every entry. It is all so cruelly predatory, yet no one would listen, if I explained all of the obvious abuses. It is all there in the fine print. People want to be deceived. It is easy to avoid the craziness, as you guys suggest, just by eating whole foods.

    Your lists and added suggestions address fully 40% of what I think is the health equation. That's a healthy diet. Less than 5% of it is personal genetics. I think it is silly for most people to worry about the couple of percent due to environmental toxins, food additives, pesticides, radioactivity, etc. That just leaves sleep, meditation, relationships and exercise that add up to another 10%. But you have barely mentioned one of your major topics, the other 40%, the gut microbiome.

    I am perplexed at why diet and microbiota are ever separated in discussion. When I hear people talk about their past problems and those that persist, they all seem to be based on damaged gut microbiota, yet the solutions are always explained as dietary. But the actual cure was at least partial repair of gut microbiota or at least a temporary fix with dairy probiotics/ferments.

    Diets are not healthy without corresponding adapted gut bacteria, and a robust gut microbiome can tolerate an otherwise unhealthy diet. So, the crux of health is adapted gut bacteria, and the rest is small potatoes. Personal genetics is unimportant, but gut microbiome is paramount. A basic generalization is that people are fundamentally identical, but their gut microbiomes make them unique. Most of the individual variation in test studies comes from differences in the gut microbiomes of the subjects. Microbiomes cause celiac, which leads to autoimmunity, which leads to Hashimoto's/Graves, which leads to thyroid dysfunction, etc. I think that a dominant component of the set point of appetite/hunger/fat deposition in obesity is determined by the gut microbiome shifting calories from prebiotic fiber to fecal bacterial bulk vs. body fat.

    So, my main point is, where is the list for repairing damaged gut microbiota? Adding prebiotic fiber can change the numbers of particular species of bacteria that are already present in the gut, but cannot provide species that are missing. Commercial probiotics, even soil-based, cannot substitute for dozens of missing bacteria resulting in autoimmunity, allergies, food intolerances, inflammatory bowel diseases, etc. So where is your list for fixing damaged gut microbiota?

    Tim has already fixed half of the health problem. What about the other half?

    1. I think a focus on eating a diet that humans have adapted to over the eons is enough to create a healthy gut flora, assuming, of course, that the food is not overly sterilized and preferably local/organic with some ferments added in.

      Purina makes dog, cat, horse, even goat chow. It doesn't take farmers long to realize that animals won't be healthy unless they eat a species-specific diet. I think people get too wrapped up in macro ratios and calories and forget that we are designed to run on a wide variety of foods and that we should also eat a mandatory contribution of fiber for our gut bugs.

      Foods fried in oils, foods stripped of all nutrition (ie. modern wheat flour and white rice), fiberless diets, or non-stop sugary treats are not going to produce healthy humans.

      Recovering from gut dysbiosis is the biggest challenge I see, but it has to start with eating a human-appropriate diet, and of course exercise, stress reduction, sleep, etc...

      My theory is that once lost, those same bacteria we need to thrive are continually looking to regain a foothold. Running your hand down the banister at the shopping mall, visiting the restroom, and then a trip to the food court will probably present you with nearly every bacteria known to man. Will you have a place for it to call home is the big question!

      And, really, I'm living proof it can work. 6 months of twice weekly, high-dose ciprofloxacin, a broad-spectrum antibiotic, in 2003, should have left my guts a sterile wasteland, yet repeated gut testing shows I have a full complement of bacteria considered to be very healthy. And I used no poop pills or probiotics.

    2. Art, you said, "I think that a dominant component of the set point of appetite/hunger/fat deposition in obesity is determined by the gut microbiome shifting calories from prebiotic fiber to fecal bacterial bulk vs. body fat."

      I've mentioned a few times that I do not understand the calorie implications of prebiotics. The gut converts them to SCFAs which can provide energy to the host. That with my own experience of not needing to count calories (in the 1.5 years since starting my gut experiment) yet my weight hardly changes. This is with big swings in activity and types of food, such as going on vacations.

      I am intrigued by your conjecture. It seems to fit me perfectly. Do you have further insight or suggested reading? Thanks.

    3. "Adding prebiotic fiber can change the numbers of particular species of bacteria that are already present in the gut, but cannot provide species that are missing."

      Eat plants, they are full of microbes.

      The Hidden World within Plants: Ecological and Evolutionary Considerations for Defining Functioning of Microbial Endophytes (2015)

      "All plants are inhabited internally by diverse microbial communities comprising bacterial, archaeal, fungal, and protistic taxa. These microorganisms showing endophytic lifestyles play crucial roles in plant development, growth, fitness, and diversification. The increasing awareness of and information on endophytes provide insight into the complexity of the plant microbiome. The nature of plant-endophyte interactions ranges from mutualism to pathogenicity. This depends on a set of abiotic and biotic factors, including the genotypes of plants and microbes, environmental conditions, and the dynamic network of interactions within the plant biome. "

    4. "My theory is that once lost, those same bacteria we need to thrive are continually looking to regain a foothold."

      Such deep and important points. Tiny nano world full of tiny microbes. How do they even feel? Are they happy, or are they sad, in their special, tiny tiny ways? Or, are they angry? Will they ever find a way back to the broken guts, will they feel at home there?

      What a tension over here. High time for a song.

    5. Gemma - That was the point of the post about "irradiated foods." Certainly in the grand scheme of things, eating sterile foods is not desirable, and probably even less desirable than eating some chemical preservatives or colors from time to time.

      People always seem to want permission to eat 'fake' foods, foods that have been adulterated or refined past recognition, yet tasty. I should think that for most people, eating foods that are highly processed once in a while is OK, but for those with the gut dysbiosis we see all the time, these folks should embark on a near-religious journey to eat only whole, natural, microbe-filled foods. Even going raw vegan for a bit if they like. A gut continually packed with fresh plant matter seems to be the trick to overcoming lots of problems, ie. obesity, AI disease, but a complete diet is needed to sustain the whole person.

      Thanks for the song!

    6. Tim - I think that you are an atypical example of cure by diet. I think that your gut flora survived antibiotic Armageddon,because they were protected in robust biofilms. All you needed to do was feed them properly and the abundant SCFAs produced set your gut straight. Not everyone starts out as an Alaskan hunter-gatherer.

      The point is that many people start from more severe gut dysbiosis and eating your diet leaves them with the same symptoms, i.e. their gut flora does not respond or responds with inflammatory symptoms. It seems like when their fragmented flora responds it is very unbalanced and produces metabolic products that trigger symptoms. Other essential bacterial species are still missing. Eating more potato starch just produces more symptoms. They need a source of new bacteria. Dairy probiotics/ferments are temporary.

      Fecal microbial transplants or ?

    7. Just an interesting idea from -
      "..appendix safe-guards a population of the normal bacteria that can then repopulate the large intestine ..."
      also -

    8. Wilbur,
      Cattle will gain weight if treated with antibiotics and fed corn. I see that as a model for obesity, shifting fat deposition.

      People gain weight because of gut dysbiosis and shifted fat deposition.

      Normal gut microbiota converts fiber into SCFAs and the bacteria in the colon replicate rapidly. A small fraction of the SCFAs is absorbed by the colon cells, because most is converted by colon bacteria into more bacteria, i.e. the hydrated bulk of normal feces. Without colon bacteria, the fiber would have a very small volume of dehydrated, constipated stools. Antibiotics can produce profound gut dysbiosis and constipated stools. Antibiotics can alternatively produce only partial dysbiosis that permits conversion of fiber into SCFAs, but does not permit conversion of the SCFAs into more bacteria and normal stools. The result is conversion of the SCFAs into body fat with or without constipation. Feeding a healthy, fiber-rich diet to a crippled gut flora can contribute to rapid obesity.

      A fecal transplant using bacteria from an obese donor will produce a tendency for the recipient to become obese with the same eating habits that previously did not produce weight gain.

      I think that weight regulation at the same level results from communication between the gut and gut flora to control growth of bacteria that can use SCFAs to produce fecal volume. More bacteria are produced with high caloric load and fewer are produced with low calories. Tim's microbiome will change quantitatively after several days of excess calories vs. several days of restricted calories. His microbiome will control his fat deposition by dumping calories from SCFAs into bacteria vs. body fat. With further excess SCFAs, the result will be a reduction of conversion of fiber into SCFAs. This predicts that a high calorie diet will wipe out fermentation of fiber in the colon. Metabolic syndrome will cause predictable changes in gut microbiome. Reduction of serum SCFAs will help to spare body tissues from excess glucose and fatty acids that would kill cells by excess high energy electrons from NADH on mitochondrial inner membranes that leak as superoxides and oxidation damage.

      This model predicts that obese gut microbiota cannot readily reverse to become normo-regulatory without an infusion of new bacteria to control SCFA production and utilization from dietary fiber. By causing dysbiosis, antibiotics, processed foods, poverty and extreme diets, produce obesity. It is easy to regulate weight with a healthy gut microbiome. Obesity is inevitable for most with obese gut dysbiosis.

    9. Some very thought-provoking comments, thanks, Art!

      I've seen lots of research that suggests weight gain with shifting microbiota is a function of harvesting more calories from food, ie. as SCFA. I think this view is very short-sighted.

      Just as a body tries to regulate blood pressure and blood glucose levels, it should also attempt to regulate weight and fat deposition. I think we are now learning that the gut flora plays a big role in the regulation of several key metabolic processes, including weight regulation.

      So, basically, two ways a human can regulate their weight: they can consciously eat less calories and increase activity to manually control their weight OR they can hope to have a gut flora that does it for them.

      Gut bacteria have been shown to manipulate things like basal metabolic rate, body temperature, and hunger. Similar to us using calorie restriction, exercise, and a CoolFatBurner ice vest.

      This all points to the fact that we still have lots of learnin' left to do, but diet is a key factor in all of this.

    10. "Feeding a healthy, fiber-rich diet to a crippled gut flora can contribute to rapid obesity."
      I really think that's what is going on with me. After experimenting with higher doses of various probiotics and doing a 12 day course of Elixa, I'm finally starting to lose weight again, though slowly. And I'm able to handle RPS without packing on the pounds. I think I need more good critters in me, so I'm going to keep on working on that. And I definitely need to get back on the fermented foods wagon.


    11. Art,
      Thanks for your comments.
      I have a huge dysbiosis and would very much like a fecal transplant, however, I have lots of Candida (10^6 cfu/g) and I understood that a fecal transplant cannot be successful in this case. Nystatin doesn't help, nor herbal remedies.
      Do you have any ideas to get rid of Candida, so I can have a fecal transplant?


    12. Louise - I hope some of the more knowledgeable guys will be around to offer advice, but my 2 cents worth:
      1. Candida can mutate into many forms, with the 2 extremes being the nice yeast and the very nasty hyphal hole punching form.
      2. Once it turns hyphal (lack of nutrients, alkaline environment) - it becomes almost impossible to kill.
      I think best chance of recovering to normality is to live in harmony with the yeast.
      My approach has been:
      1. Slowly increase fibers and fibrous foods as recommended on this site (though I had to avoid pretty much all starches). This should increase good bacteria and acidify the intestines due to SCFAs.
      2. Give it some nutrients it needs (without going overboard obviously) - Gemma recommended black strap molasses - I've been taking up to 3 tsp per day with no adverse effects.
      3. I read on here a while ago about a lady who was helped by her (French I think) husband who recommended she ate good cheese and red wine. I've been having a glass of red wine and very recently (i.e. 3 days!) Good blue cheese. Apparently it contains another yeast which fights the candida. Its the only thing that's really helped with bloating in a long time, but be careful - dairy was always devils food for me.
      I hope that gives some starting point to which others may chime in.

    13. Rob - nothing to add to your advice, but it sounds like you're doing better. Glad to hear it.

      - says the lady of the wine cure

    14. Rob - I think that yeast vs. hyphal forms are alternatives of the same genotype and not the result of mutation. My prejudice is that humans have no problem handling fungal infections, unless their immune system is compromised, i.e. classic cases of HIV infection leading to thrush, diabetes leading to peripheral infections, biologicals leading to TB. So, just fixing the immune system should eliminate infections. Probiotics and ferments in large doses, should return eventually provide enough stimulation for immune system development, even without repair of the gut microbiome. That temporary return of immune function may provide the foundation for successful fecal transplant.

      So, I think it is hard to fight yeast infections simultaneously with gut dysbiosis and compromised immunity. Also, yeast infections are symptomatic of gut dysbiosis and compromised immunity. Of course, all of these circumstances coexist with inflammation, which compromises solar skin production of vitamin D. So monitoring serum vitamin D and supplementing until the test result show normal/high levels is also important.

    15. Tim - Just a note on your comments about two ways of controlling obesity. I think that one of the symptoms of homeostatic control of SCFA utilization by gut flora vs. body fat, is stable body weight. Thus, if someone has difficulty controlling body weight by regulating amount eaten, then they likely have gut dysbiosis. People with and without obese gut dysbiosis experience eating differently.

    16. Wildcucumber - I'm doing much better thanks. My food tolerances have gone through the roof. Only negatives I've noticed is some starches (white rice mainly) - cause more bloating - so I still need to be a little careful there. I'd forgot you were 'that' lady! I don't suppose you can recommend any high tannin wines?

      Dr Art - thanks for clarifying. I intend to start fermenting again shortly.

    17. Rob

      try cooking your rice with turmeric, and other spices.


      I would be very interested to see what would "potato hack" do with a person diagnosed with a yeast overgrowth. Have you tried?

    18. Rob - sorry, you'll have to ask your wine merchant. I like wine less tannin-y.

      I agree with Gemma about the rice, spices make a difference in digestibility to me as well. Ginger, turmeric and black pepper in the stir fry served on top of the rice is how I do it - does cooked/cooled/reheated rice to the same thing to you? We've always only eaten basmati rice and have never had issues with it, have you tried it?

      Louise - Just curious, can you recall which herbal remedies you've tried?

    19. Art, what to do if you cannot have too much histamine? I can't have very much fermented food.
      I'm in a complete mess (Parkinson, IBS, constant pain in upper abdomen, possibly SIBO).
      Might it be an option to retrain the immune system by having many FMT's, e.g. 10 days at a row and then a few times a week?

      Gemma, I don't think the potato diet is a good idea. Too much fuel for the yeast. And I am afraid my messed up gut will becomoe even more messed up. About a month ago I tried a ketogenic diet - good or neurological diseases, but not for me. My vision got worse and I became more rigid. Vision is still worse than before.

      Wildcucumber, I tried a lot of remedies, a.o. oil of oregano, horopito, pau d'arco, etc.


    20. "Too much fuel for the yeast."

      That's exactly what you have to do, Louise. Feed the yeast otherwise it starts eating you (already hapenning). Ketogenic diet has no chance to help here, it makes the fungus even more virulent.

    21. Gemma/ wildcucumber - thanks for the suggestions. I'm travelling back to the UK over next couple of days - I'll try the spices/ other rice once back.

      Louise - I had real problems with histamines - 1 small cube of green and blacks 85% choc would give me a pounding headache. I can't remember the precise probiotics but they were by natren and were bifidobacterium based. Many probiotics are good for degrading histamine, but quite a few add histamines so be wary.
      At the same time I started inulin 1/2 tsp. I will always remember taking it the 1st time (sorry TMI alert!) - I got a mucous fart and feeling unsettled. I kept with it though and built it up very slowly along with other fibres (as long as symptoms weren't horrendous) within a couple of months I had no more histamine issues.
      Hopefully this gives you some ideas for getting over histamine intolerance.

    22. Gemma, how do you know?

      Rob, inulin might be a good idea. However, it is not recommended for SIBO/SIFO. Maybe I should take long chain inuline, to get most of it fermented in my colon instead of my small intestines. Does anyone know a good source of long chain inulin?

      I came across an article about SIBO in dogs, and what helped was adding FOS to their diet, see (funded by the dog food company)
      Just opposite of what is recommended for humans!
      I wonder if dog guts are very different from human guts? I don't think so.
      Maybe the Low FODMAP diet is not the best idea after all?


    23. Gemma, you said:
      " "Too much fuel for the yeast."

      That's exactly what you have to do, Louise. Feed the yeast otherwise it starts eating you (already hapenning). Ketogenic diet has no chance to help here, it makes the fungus even more virulent. "

      How do you know that the potato diet will do what you suggest? Any literature? Experiences?


    24. I said: ketogenic diet makes the fungi even more virulent (true).

      Your warlike approach (starve it, attack it with oregano oil etc.) did not exactly work, right?

      You are not the first one being horribly misled by such "advice".

      There are interesting experiences by people trying potato diet.

      There are some witnessing their "yeast overgrowth" symptoms gone by eating a raw potato. That is why I asked if you tried potato diet.

      I might suggest you to eat some honey, as well. Afraid?

      I have of course no idea what it would do with you, I do know know you at all. You are on your own here, it is your n=1.

    25. Do not overlook the role of iron in all chronic conditions. Whether it be diabetes, cancer, obesity or candida, the disruption of iron homeostasis should always be considered.

      Having high iron levels promotes Candida growth (see p 46):

      See also:

      • Candida albicans iron acquisition within the host

      Yet another reason to avoid iron fortified foods. And perhaps another reason to consider donating blood, if one's iron levels are elevated.

    26. Gemma - to add further support to your claims (not that you need any I'm sure), I've had issues as you know with rice (and not had chance to try with spices as yet), so today just as as a trial - only starch I've had has been 3 raw potatoes. Bloating feels better than normal - no issues whatsoever. I've also eaten more molasses if I fancy (3 tbsp today with fibres) - no issues.
      My skin looks the best it has in a long time (you'd now have to look close to notice any redness) and BMs are near perfect too.

      Louise - I fully understand you wanting a tried and tested approach before possibly experiencing more discomfort, but unfortunately not only does 1 size not fit all, but a lot of the info on guts doesn't seem to fit any size at all. You only have to read a little on curezone re candida. To say next to no one cures it is a gross understatement. People on there will avoid carrots because there's too much sugar. I could understand the keep attacking mentality if slow improvements could be seen, but when I went down this route - it seemed to be drastic worsening of symptoms at start of taking anti fungal (which people interpret as die off) followed by a gradual worsening over time.

      This is just my own thoughts now (others may not agree) - but while trying to figure things out it might be beneficial to have a fairly limited diet, at least shorter term. If you can stick to a fairly limited diet that limits your negative reactions to food, as long as you're systematic and leave adequate time between experiments - you can much more easily gauge your reaction and with much more confidence.
      Hope this helps

  32. @ Art, I thought the answer to your question was your anti inflammatory diet is what fixes the gut microbiota?

  33. nav - for some reason all of your comments go to my spam folder. I will rescue them when I see.

  34. Posted on wrong thread (sorry for dup)

    Anyone here eat citrus peels? Loaded with fiber and vitamins..I'm going to give them a shot. Not a staple of course but if I'm eating an orange the next time I may take a few bites of the peel!


    1. You can make a really nice "marmalade" just by mixing thinly sliced peels with honey. It's more pleasant to get take that way. Makes a nice glaze for meats.

      Don't forget, even 'organic' citrus fruit can be waxed, so clean 'em good.

    2. Don't forget that concentrated essential oils in citrus peels are used as paint strippers. They are as toxic as common artificial additives.

    3. Art, doesn't the dose make the poison? Just like most things, like water. Drink too much and die of shock.

      And what I'd like to know is if the Syrian refugees (and others crossing via boat to the Greek Islands and then somehow making their way to Germany) how come they are not obese or even overweight? I mean for sure they are not eating a healthy diet by the parameters discussed. Many are carrying packages of Amoxy-Clav and various other meds for emergency use. If eating crappy food is what causes the microbiome to shift metabolism to fat storage, these people ought to be little balloons by the time they get on the train to Munich and other destinations in Germany. I have yet to see a picture of an obese refugee. And maybe there's the odd one here and there carrying excess weight. The vast majority are slender to thin.

    4. Gabe, these people have deficient calorie intake. There were no obese Concentration Camp prisoners. Calories do count. At some point it is not up to the microbiota - they're starving too.

    5. I think that you guys are on track. We should be able to figure out how the gut microbiome changes to go from healthy homeostatic to obese ( fiber to SCFA to body fat) just by looking at historical cases. Some antibiotics lead to obesity, but others do not. Some diets lead to obesity, but others don't. There is clearly a sex difference. Personal genetics doesn't seem to me to be nearly as important as shared diet/gut flora. Obesity/oral and gut dysbiosis has traditionally been associated with affluence. Starving children increase colon bacteria processing of fiber, i.e. belly expansion. These are all clues of diet modulation of gut microbiome, and gut microbiome modulation of body fat.

      Citrus peel is usually limited to squeezing out sprays of oil or zest. We can enjoy the flavor diluted, but oils applied to tissue kill cells. Phytoalexins (e.g. chemotherapy agents) readily kill weakened or damaged cells, e.g. cancer cells, in culture, and only healthy cells with intact defenses can survive.

      It is a concentration game, but phytochemicals are adapted for action against biological systems, so they may be toxic like similar soaps/detergents/amphipathics, but they are evolutionarily selected for toxicity. They are a thousand times more toxic than random organic molecules. Fortunately humans have defense mechanisms for protection specifically against phytochemicals, so healthy people can enjoy a spritz of lemon.

    6. Well, OF COURSE, Newbie, whatever your name is...... would be nice to stick your name in here yanno... pOlite and all. Anyway, that's my freaking point. People eat too much and have no idea that they are doing so. And they don't DO anything. I mean, pffft, going to the gym? What a joke.

      There are ways to weigh foods and more or less figure out how many calories a person is consuming... it's arduous and takes a lot of obsessive attention. But I can bloody well guarantee that if someone is walking 12 hours per day and eating 1000 kcal per day and does it for 6 or 7 weeks, they sure as heck will lose some serious amount of weight. Is it healthy to do it like this? Well, to be honest with you, those refugees are looking pretty good and active. They are resilient and tough. Paul Jaminet should have 'refugee retreats'... Ha ha! Get those porkie people carrying backpacks and walking and running and sleeping on the ground for a couple of months, meantime, of course, lecture them along the way about all the good things people should do to be healthy.....Make a little campfire at the end of the day (if possible but mostly not possible).....

      For a year and a half I spent my Saturdays mucking out a barn with a barn scraper. I did not alter my diet at all but my trousers were falling off and needed a belt after a relatively short number of months. By the time I quit, I was gaunt. And that was only physical labour one day per week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Must have burned about 5,000 kcal per Saturday. Now that's a workout. I dare anyone to do something like that and NOT lose weight.

    7. Hi Gabe,
      So I guess I'm missing your point. I never write comments to be argumentative. I'm veritably trying to figure out your angle. Dr. Ayers said "...poverty and extreme diets, produce obesity." and you are wondering why these refuges are not obese (" come they are not obese or even overweight?")? I just said they must have quite the calorie deficit to be so lean. I do apologize if I misunderstood the point you were trying to make.

    8. No, you got my point. Which my point happens to be, it doesn't matter about the poverty, it's excess calories that result in overweight and obesity. If excess calorie ingestion somehow alters the gut microbiome because of factors involved with hormones etc. then okay. But obesity does not happen in a caloric vacuum.

      An average 70kg human being who spends 24 hours in a comfy bed and does absolutely nothing burns about 1500 kcal. Walking 1 kilometer burns 70 kcal. The average office worker who drives to work and does nothing but sit on their bum all day burns about 100 kcal more than if they would have spent the day in bed.

      So what does 1500 kcal look like? Well, there's the rub. I bet my bottom dollar that most people who claim that they are eating less than 1500 kcal and can't lose weight are eating substantially more and doing very little.

      This is why those expensive meal plans provided by the diet industry (not sure if there are any of these companies left these days) work until the person is living off of them.

    9. This reminds me of my last doctor's visit. My weight was 5 pounds more than the previous year, and the doctor, who is obese, tells me I need to start "being careful" with what I eat and goes on to say how 100 extra calories per day are 36,500 extra calories per year which equals 10 pounds of fat gain.

      He went on to say that since I had only gained 5 pounds, I was only 50 calories "off-target" and if I just eat one or two bites less at dinner, I will lose those 5 pounds over the next year.

      GOD, Why didn't I think of that?????

      I'm so glad there are medical doctors to explain these things!

      But, I also have to agree with Gabs, we are in a calorie-surplussed world, surrounded by tasty food choices and not having to move much in our daily lives.

      I am always amazed when I see people doing very heavy, manual labor, like the guy that recently delivered a truckload of firewood. He was very obese but had strong arms. The cab of his truck was littered with Mt. Dew bottles and candy wrappers. He looked terrible, but worked his ass off all day long. What could he look like if he drank water and snacked on raw carrots?

      I just cannot feel sorry or worry too much about anyone who continues to eat a SAD diet. I do get perplexed when people seemingly do everything, exercise, sleep, even crazy blue sunglasses, and still have to watch every bite and have health issues.

    10. That's right Tim. We don't actually know what people truly eat (and I bet they don't either) so who really knows what the truth is. Quite frankly, I don't believe most of it that people are being careful blah blah. Put the plate on the kitchen scales and weigh everything first. Write it down, add up the calories, if there's fat or oil added, add another 100 to 200 kcal to the total and that's reality.

      If a person goes out for a stroll, don't even bother to count it as calories burned. Swim for an hour and if it's slow swimming, take a look at the chart for calories burned depending on speed. Or anything else for that matter. If activity doesn't result in some serious increase in heart rate and sweating and whatnot, it doesn't count for diddley.

      We are most dishonest with ourselves when we want to justify and excuse.

    11. Tim - it's pretty clear what's going on here, isn't it?

      The wood guy works hard, outdoors in real sunlight and probably when goes to bed soon after sundown he sleeps like a log (possibly after a few brewskies). He can work his ass off all day long because what he is doing is *necessary*. It's meaningful.

      The ones "doing everything right" are faking it. That's why they're still sick. You can't fool the body, guys.

      I don't see this as perplexing at all. If wood guy lays off the Mountain Dew, he'll do better, granted, but he is already tougher and stronger than the ones 'doing everything right'.

      In my not so humble opinion what most folks need is chores! World of difference between work and exercise.

    12. I come to Tim's blog because it delivers health information with real intelligence. That is to say intelligence intertwined with complexity and the realisation that there is much we do not know. Please don't ruin that with arrogance and certainty, or by implying that those who remain unhealthy or overweight are this way because of dishonesty, self-deception or lack of physical movement. There will always be unknowns and there will always be people who do actually do things right and still don't get the results most others might. Spare a thought for what it might be like to be in their shoes.

    13. Elle, no need to take offence, none is intended. Of course anyone who is in genuine difficulty has my sympathy; I'm not nearly as crusty in real life as I might seem here.

      But Elle, there are folks out there who really are still stuck because of self-deception. Lots of them. And it frustrates the hell out of me.

    14. Also Elle, for some of us "right" turned out to be exactly wrong. If Tim listened to his doctors, where would he be? There's a lot of bad info out there, and not just from MD's. Like Tim, I had to find my own 'right' way. Until I did, my shoes were pretty uncomfortable, to put it mildly. I hope you find the right way for yourself. That's what we all trade information here, in hopes that nuggets will end up where they belong.

    15. When a person's weight trends outside of a healthy norm for humans, something is wrong. Sometimes the problem is simple gluttony and sloth, but I think that's rare. Most likely the cause is either genetics, eating disorders, or metabolic dysfunction such as hormones, adrenals, or a massive combination. I doubt the cause of most people's weight problems can be attributed directly to them simply eating too much. If a human overeats, it signifies broken hunger signals, a function of a healthy gut-brain connection. Hormonal disruptions can cause strange adipose deposition patterns.

      I see many obese people daily, I notice most are eating SAD and have given up on portion control and just eat what they like because they are so tired of diets. I see others who are eating unhealthy 'protein' diets or Weight Watcher type diets, most of these fail to realize lasting weight loss. I know a very few people who were formerly obese and have maintained the weight loss more than a year or two. I'm going on 5 years.

      I think truly obese, unhealthy people would all benefit by giving up the SAD staples of sugar, oil, and wheat--especially in combination. They would all benefit from an exercise program, even if its just walking. they would all benefit from adding fermented foods to their diet. They would all benefit from adding fiber to their diet. They would all benefit from de-stressing their life and getting a good night's sleep. If they all did this, many would find hunger signals returning to normal and many would trend towards a normal weight. Or not.

      And "education" does little because mainstream advice is to eat healthy whole grain (ie. Wonder Wheat bread), lean meat, and margarine over butter. Then they tell you to exercise some ungodly length of time every day. This pattern seems to do nothing for the obese except make them hungrier and more depressed.

      I do not have all the answers, but I like to keep harping on fiber, whole foods, and the science behind metabolic derangement. Maybe some people will find something they can use.

    16. My 12 year old daughter is one of those people who does just about everything right yet is overweight (not obese but carries much more body fat than her peers). I make 95% of her meals with real whole foods (the kind being advocated for here). Her brother eats the same foods yet is very lean. P.E. every day for an hour, soccer practice after school, games on weekends. We hike, swim, etc. think she's quite active. She does have the occasional treat - birthday parties, a weekend visit to a restaurant or friends house, but nothing more than that. Her friends eat packaged crap daily, lunch boxes filled with cookies, chips, gatorades and so on and they are lean. She can't understand it, she asks me all the time why they can eat what they do and she's the one who is overweight. Her thyroid has been checked, all normal. There's definitely more going on here than a lack of willpower, exercise and/or poor food choices.

    17. Karen, when you mention that her brother eats the same foods and is very lean, it's because boys have a higher metabolic rate than girls.

      Way back in time, when I was in grade 9, I'd go home for lunch and eat a TV dinner. Swanson's. I don't know if TV dinners are bigger today than they were then but at 5 feet 9 inches I weighed 120 pounds. In grade 10 I ate lunch at school. If I would have stuck with the sandwich and fruit I had in my packed lunch, everything would have gone fine. But I bought a 'cream filled' donut every day for lunch as well. It was there, it was sold at the school and it was hard to resist. This was the only significant difference in my eating habits. I went up to 135 pounds in one school year thanks to that doughnut. Following year, no doughnuts. Weight went back to 120 pounds.

      There was no difference in other caloric intake or activity level. If anything, since I started playing on the school basketball and volleyball teams, I was more active during after school times.

      Doesn't take much and it's insidious.

      As arduous and painstaking as it is, checking the calorie count based on weights of foods being ingested is really the only way to determine if what a person is eating is going to maintain a lower weight or not. I realize that it can induce an eating disorder and that is something we are really wanting to avoid. But double checking periodically and adjusting portion sizes does work. I think the fear of inducing an eating disorder is what prevents a lot of people from doing things in a more scientific manner. These days, caloric content of foods is easier to determine because there's so much information available on the internet.

      If there's a food that let's say contains 80 kcal per 100 grams, weigh it and find out what 100 grams looks like. It can be real shocker. Same with stuff like fruit...... who eats 5 cm diameter apples? The 'real' apples we buy at the grocery store are at least 3 times the weight of apples in calorie charts. Or bananas. Big time for bananas. You'd never buy a banana the size of the banana on a calorie chart.

      Willpower doesn't work. These days obesity experts are happy if the patient doesn't gain more weight. Diets don't work because they impose an artificial parameter on meal planning.

    18. Maybe it was the potato starch, but I swear I was even dreaming about this topic last night!

      What found a tribe of 100 hunter-gatherers who were all lean and muscular and had no access to modern food. You secretly give 10 of them 1/4 cup of honey per day. An extra 250 calories.

      At the end of a year, these 10 should weigh an extra 26 pounds from the extra 91,000 calories. But, I have a feeling they would not be 26 pounds overweight, they would probably not gain any weight.

      Our bodies should be able to self-adjust to account for extra calories, just like our pancreas should be able to self-adjust for extra blood glucose.

      In its natural state, the body wants to be lean and healthy. If it is not, there is a problem somewhere. The body has several tricks to account for extra calories; uncoupling proteins (UCP) are supposed to burn any extra calories as free heat outside the Krebs cycle of ATP production. (For review: )

      Just as in Tom's fancy-schmancy 2015 car, his automatic transmission shifts all by itself and does a better job than he can. Gab, on the other hand, with her manual shift "hoopty" must be continually alert and watch the RPMs and listen to the sound of the engine to know when to shift.

      If Tom tries to use his car in "manual mode", he does not do a good job, possibly because he is "out-of-tune" with the sound of his engine and the signs that say "shift!".

      Similarly, many of us have broken automatic transmissions in our bodies. We are out-of-tune with our hunger signals and possibly even have broken more than just the transmission in the process.

      My question, and everyone's, should be "Why do our bodies no longer self-regulate in weight?" It should be a rare occurrence, like high blood pressure and diabetes, but all of the automatic body functions are being lost.

      Is it simply the food we eat? Poor gut flora? A problem that starts in childhood? Evolution? Is there a cure?

      People should not have to control food intake to a certain amount of calories, we should be able to overeat and our body should simply ramp up metabolism and burn those extra calories.

      But obviously this does not happen for everyone, and so they must watch every single calorie...and still some gain weight. This indicates something is broken.

  35. i know this is off topic, question, i was went to the health food store for my first fiber buy
    i asked for Inulin, but they only had Acacia, would it be as good?

    1. Tim will be able to give you lots of details. They are different. In particular, the acacia is a gum. Follow directions and make sure that you get adequate water with the acacia. I don't think I'd, say, mix it in yogurt (unless the directions say you can).

    2. I think that for a supplementation protocol, inulin or RS should form the backbone of your efforts. 1-3TBS of inulin, 1-4TBS of potato starch or Hi-Maize. Then add whatever else strikes your fancy, ie. acacia.

    3. just fro curiosity whats the difference between inulin and acacia?
      acacia is all soluble
      thanks Tim

    4. just fro curiosity whats the difference between inulin and acacia?
      acacia is all soluble
      thanks Tim

    5. As Wilbur pointed out, "acacia" is a gum-type fiber. It is often called 'gum arabica" and used by food processors to give a feel of eating fat. These gums are good prebiotics, no doubt, but they have some undesireable qualities if you were to try to mix 1-4TBS in a glass of water (try it, lol, you'll see).

      To me, the gums are an important aspect of the effectiveness of fibers, but are not normally found in large amounts in any real, whole food we can eat. Inulin and RS are found, in nature, in the 1-4TBS per serving range in lots of food sources. With a gum such as acacia, if using it as a supplement, I'd use it in just a small amount, like 1/2-1tsp to complement some other fibers, or, just eat some real foods that have gums in their fiber component, ie. green bananas, okra, legumes, seaweed.

    6. Acacia gum is discussed in several entries in Wikipedia, because it is very important culturally as a food thickener and adhesive, as well as a major part (arabinogalactan) of all plant cell walls. It is not surprising that gut bacteria produce enzymes that can digest gum arabic. In fact, one of the sugars, arabinose, was first isolated and gets its name from gum arabic. It is unusual to find a concentrated form of arabinogalactan, since it is normally found in plant walls mixed with cellulose, pectin and other polysaccharides. Dozens of different enzymes are needed to digest all of the different wall polysaccharides and those enzymes are provided by dozens of different bacteria. Still more enzymes are needed to metabolize each of the numerous different sugars that result. Resistant starch, in contrast, can be digested by a couple of enzymes and the result is glucose that is used by all bacteria. Cellulose, because of its crystalline form, is never significantly digested by human gut bacteria.


    Not sure where to post this but I think some of you will be interested in the information shared in this video....

  37. Just on the topic of additives in food (mentioned in Art’s post) - My husband came home yesterday with a marinated beef roasting piece that was half price. I never buy pre-marinated meat so I looked up the ingredients in the marinade to see what was lurking. The 3% consisted mostly of sugar, maltodextrin, MSG, colour, canola oil, vegetable gum, food acids and anti-caking agent. Without question, it was the tastiest, most tender piece of beef that we’d both EVER eaten.

    My husband asked me whether I thought it was the cut of beef or the marinade that made the difference. I said the marinade – probably the MSG or food acids? – not the cut. Any knowledgeable folks out there who can comment on the effectiveness of those ingredients and the dangers of MSG etc. – I’ve read that it has an undeserved bad reputation. I know he’ll be looking to buy it again and I don’t want to head down that ‘value-added-meat’ rabbit hole. I would consider marinating my own using basic ingredients if I thought it would give a similar result.

    1. Okay, I'll bite -

      I figure food additives once in a while are no big deal to a *healthy* adult. I don't know what they do to our gut bugs but I suspect if the population is robust, not much. If MSG bothers you, you'll know pretty quick. Headaches or unexplained mood swings soon after the meal are two possible signs of trouble. But unless we've been eating nothing but home cooked meals all our lives, we've all been eating LOTS of MSG. It's often simply under the catch-all of "spices" or "natural flavouring".

      Willow, marinating meat is a breeze, and it was likely the acids that made your meat so tender. You need acid and time, is all. So wine or a good vinegar, some olive oil, garlic and spices will give you the results you want. You can use good commercial salad dressing in a pinch. The only hassle involved is the timing, the longer it can marinate, the better.

    2. Yogurt is a fantastic acidic marinade. I love chicken thighs marinaded in yogurt, lots of garlic, olive oil, and lemon. Grill those suckers over high heat. Also thighs with yogurt and a good jerk sauce.

      Salt is also a great tenderizer and with time pulls other flavors to the interior of the meat. I make the juiciest, tenderest whole roasted chicken just by dry brining for 3 days with nothing but salt. I let the chicken air dry in the fridge for 24 hours, cook at 600dF or so in a cast iron pan. That gives super crispy skin a and the best seasoned pan in the world.

      While patience is a virtue with marinating, too long can be bad. The meat gets mushy. Or begins to taste cured with dry brining.

    3. To add, having salt in the marinade or as a dry brine gets salt and the flavoring so to the interior. Meat that is salted shortly before cooking has the salt mostly on thoutside. Salt is an important component of flavor and makes things taste more vibrant. Thus marinaded meat tends to be more flavorful since the salt has penetrated the meat.

      AND, since marinating tenderizes, one can use muscles that are more flavorful but tougher. Legs, thighs, butts, and shoulders.

    4. "Any knowledgeable folks out there who can comment on the effectiveness of those ingredients and the dangers of MSG etc. – I’ve read that it has an undeserved bad reputation."

      One of the first things I took out of my food supply was MSG. I could not believe how many processed foods contain MSG. Lots of research to show it is not a desirable additive, but also many show it is not quite as harmful as it shows in a lab setting.

      I won't buy any food that has MSG, but I expect to get some on the instances I eat out or at a friends house. MSG can be hidden in foods with lots of trade names, such as:

      o Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
      o Textured Vegetable Protein
      o Yeast Extract

      There are some people VERY sensitive to MSG. That, I believe, is a whole 'nother issue. I am just trying to avoid foods that have been purposely packed with an MSG flavor enhancer. At the very least, avoiding MSG-laden foods will also help you avoid other compounds used by the food industry to get us to keep eating their unnatural concoctions.

    5. I have to avoid MSG at all costs. It's quite the little neurotoxin. Within seconds my mouth then head starts buzzing and I will end up feeling very unwell and out of it and will have a very bad migraine. It earns its bad rep fairly.

      And it is in just about everything. For instance, it is in every soup or broth in any store, except some organic vegetable broths that are as insipid as water. EVERY chicken broth no matter how "organic" contains it. It hides under so many euphemisms including "flavors" or "natural flavor." It even hide in those cans of cheap broth that SAY "no msg" on them.

      Most chips, crackers, and all boxed rice mixes etc. It is in pickled pink ginger slices for sushi. It is in the cooked roasted chickens for sale at every store (though not mentioned on the ingredients because they inject the raw birds with flavored water before putting them on the spit). It is in Every Chicken nugget, finger, bites. Yes, which are fed to children.

      It has its own flavor, called umami, which makes you think it tastes good and really want another bite of it. But when you know it is poison and you never eat it, the taste to me is so one note and phony. I roast organic chickens so juicy that they taste deliciously of CHICKEN.

    6. Lots of good input here – just what I was hoping for.
      I’ll be asking him not to buy any more, forget the additives - just the colour and texture of the marinade is enough to turn me off! I’m happy to spend the time on marinating my own cuts occasionally. I already cure my own ham and make my own yoghurt and kimchi so it’s only about the planning, not so much time in the kitchen. I’ve already found a few recipes to try.

      My husband has the best working gut of anyone I know but I lucked out and am doing everything I can to improve it – hence reading everything written here and at FTA and eating my food as unadulterated as possible (along with probiotics and RS starch).

      Wilbur – I marinate chicken thighs in yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and tandoori spices and grill (broil) and it is one of my favourite dishes – as good as any I’ve had in a restaurant.

      When I make my ham I inject a percentage of the brine, pour the remaining over the meat and seal in a zip lock bag. I suck as much of the air out as I can through a gap before sealing and then turn several times a day until it’s done.

    7. Willow, I have always understood that MSG is added to food as it has an addictive character: it makes you want to eat more, which is not a good thing as it makes you gain weight.

      Chinese restaurants used a lot of MSG (they call it Ve Tsin). Most people complain of hunger about an hour later after having eaten a chinese meal. That is due to MSG.

      Jo tB

  38. It seems to me that MSG should be no big deal, because it is just one of the 20 amino acids, sodium glutamate. One of our taste sensors, umami, binds it and gives the sense of meatiness, e.g. soy sauce of hydrolyzed bean curd. Some people overreact, probably because one type of nerves also responds to MSG as a neurotransmitter. You gut naturally produces MSG as proteins are digested into amino acids. MSG is all natural.

    BTW, why don't people just mix potassium chloride, KCl, in with their table salt to produce a potassium/sodium balance. The balance is more important than the amount of salt in the diet and the potassium/sodium mix is indistinguishable from typical salt. I just mix iodized salt, Nu-Salt (KCl, salt substitute) and sea salt. [Note that the action potential for cells is produced by pumping sodium and potassium in opposite directions across the cell membrane.] With balanced potassium in the diet, then the sodium salt of MSG should be no big deal.

  39. Hi I'll jump in with a bit of meat processing info. A great way to get lots of flavor and tenderinzation in a mediocre cut of meat is the use of a Vacuum Tumbler. There is even a home version. It is used quite a bit in the meat industry. Basically the marinade and cuts of meat go into the machine and air is removed the vacuum pulls the meat fibers open and allows for quick saturation of the marinade into the fibers. It is spun much like you clothes dryer. Once the vacuum is released the meat fibers close, locking in marinade. The only unhealthy part COULD be in the marinade.
    Sharon (the rancher ' ) )

    1. does this technique have the potential to draw pathogens to the interior of the meat where they might survive cooking to, say, MR? What about regular marinating? I know the needles often used to inject water into the meat and tenderize is an issue for sure!

    2. Maybe the amount of glutamate is the issue. My daughter brined a turkey over here and added Vegeta to the brine. She left the Vegeta behind. I thought, what the hay, add some to the pork bone broth.... I ate a big bowl of this and got an absolutely splitting headache for about half an hour afterwards. At the time I had no idea what on earth was going on. I had another big bowl of broth for supper, same thing happened. But I still didn't figure it out. I thought maybe I'd overdosed on soup.

      Next week-end I made chicken soup with added Vegeta. Splitting headaches again. I'm probably slow on the uptake but eventually I made a pot of beef soup with Vegeta and once again, headache. Then I finally realized it must be the Vegeta. I threw it out. I'd never gotten headaches from soup before and haven't since.

      Vegeta is Croatian made MSG plus dried vegetables.

      And yes, I have used soy sauce but probably not enough MSG in it or not enough soy sauce.

      It's really bizarre because, yes, glutamine is an amino acid so why should it cause a problem? Dose related probably.

    3. Also, microglia produce glutamine which is a pain amplifier. Sudden headache response to ingestion of MSG is relatively short lived because the glutamic acid is metabolized quickly. 1/2 hour of splitting headache makes sense.

  40. Some people are just more sensitive to it. Leaky brain similar to leaky gut.

  41. As much as I hate to do this, I'd like to throw out a car analogy.

    My car is a 2015 model. I can drive it by manually shifting the gears and pressing the gas pedal, or, I can set the transmission to auto and hit the cruise control button.

    If I use the high octane gas, I can get 30mpg cruising down the highway in cruise control. On the exact same trip, not using cruise control and manually shifting between gears, the best I can get is 28mpg.

    If I put the low octane gas in, my mileage drops to 28 and 25 respectively. I can only imagine what would happen if I put in some really bad gas contaminated with water or oil.

    The bodies feedback mechanisms cannot be trusted when our fuel is suboptimal. However, if we have broken parts, those also need to be addressed. The human body is umpteen times more complicated than a car, yet my car uses a computer to run optimally and needs an even bigger computer to fix it.

    If my mechanic worked on my car the way we work on our bodies, it would not operate. Unfortunately, we are forced to use guesswork and "weird little tricks" to tease those extra mpg out of our body. I think, like Tim says, focus first on eating whole foods with few additives. Then work on fixing the broken parts.

    THanx, Tim!

    Happy motoring!

    1. Weird. I drive a manual transmission vehicle. None of this fancy cruise control stuff. This is how I get better fuel consumption than if I were driving an automatic. I'm not braking against the engine, for starters. So it's kind of weird that your vehicle uses more fuel when you are shifting gears manually.

    2. Not anymore Gabriela. The computers have taken over. They optimize speeding up, gear selection, coasting and all that to optimize fuel consumption. My past few cars even learn my driving habits and optimize the transmission for that. I mainly drive slow so the car is very gentle on response to the throttle and downshifting. I have had my cars' computers reset a few times for software upgrades, and the things are like bucking Broncos for a few days until they relearn my style.

      Even the old adage that manuals made better racing is gone. For many high-tech cars, it's almost to the point that you can bury the throttle and the car will handle the details.

    3. "I have had my cars' computers reset a few times for software upgrades, and the things are like bucking Broncos for a few days until they relearn my style."

      This kind of fits in with Tom's observations and parallels the gut. When you change diets, your body rebels a bit until gut bugs readjust to the new food and re-program energy partitioning, peristalsis, and SCFA uptake.

      What happens if the computer in your car fails? You will be forced to shift manually and can expect more trips to the mechanic. Eventually you will figure a way to live without the computer and might even get just as good gas mileage. But what else does the computer control? How will you know when to change your oil, if you are overheating, or if your gas tank is about empty? You'll be forced to rely on observations and have to carefully consider the things that were previously controlled behind the scenes.

      That's where modern life has left us, eh? We have to carefully consider if we are getting enough Vit D, too many calories, or enough fiber. Do we even know what hunger and fullness are?

  42. Gabriella - I think that your point about tissue specific metabolism of MSG to glutamine is what makes the difference in MSG sensitivity. [We should be talking just about glutamate/glutamic acid, once the MSG is dissolved. The monosodium is just the salt form and is irrelevant.] It seems to me that the generalization is that all people would handle glutamate the same way, i.e. no personal genetic differences of relevance, except for shifts in physiology due to current disease/chronic inflammation/immune system dysfunction, etc. So, sensitivity to MSG is a disease symptom, just as allergies or autoimmune disease are symptoms of gut dysbiosis.

    Leaky brain, seems to me to be more similar to leaky kidneys. Leaky gut results from two different mechanisms. Gluten triggers, via zonulin, a defensive loss of electrolytes to flush out toxic phytochemicals from the gut. Most drugs trigger the same response. The gut can also be leaky because of inflammation that blocks heparan sulfate (HS) synthesis. HS coats most cells and provides part of the barrier of the brain, kidney and gut. HS is also chopped up into heparin that is secreted along with histamine by mast cells onto the surface of the intestines. [Heparin, the anti-clotting/"blood thinning" drug, is produced from the intestines of pigs and cattle.] Pathogens stick to intestines via the HS on the surface, so HS acts as a decoy to prevent that sticking. Heparin taken by injection can seal up the leaky brains of people with MS or leaky kidneys. Oral heparin can seal some types of leaky gut. Heparin is rapidly bound to the surface of cells and recycled into more cell surface HS, so oral heparin does not impact blood clotting.

    I doubt that leaky brain has an impact on MSG sensitivity. The question should be, why do serum levels of glutamate change with dietary MSG, since the glutamate should be readily assimilated by intestinal epithelial cells? I would be surprised if serum/brain glutamate spikes after eating MSG. I would expect that there is some communication of the signal of high gut glutamate, via nerves or hormones, to the brain, altering the vascular dilation and producing the headaches.

    1. Agreed about vasodilatation effects of bolus dosing of glutamate in the gut. And this is why, since it is rapidly metabolized, the brain piercing headache last only a short period of time. However, I think that when there is a bolus dose like this, the intestinal cells won't metabolize it all and it does get to the brain.

    2. So what is the consensus? MSG: Tasty treat or something to boycott?

      I doubt you find any food with MSG that is not also highly processed and has a laundry list of other junk in it. Maybe this umami taste is signalling for something to come, but all we get is the taste and a body ramped up for with artificial sweeteners.

    3. I don't think there can be a consensus on MSG. Bazillions of people eat added MSG in their food every day of the year and they are fine. Maybe, once again, dose makes the poison or maybe some people are more sensitive for whatever reason (and Art can hypothesize but no body knows for sure).

      As Art says, and I agree, it's just a darn amino acid. However, gabapentin is also an amino acid combo thing and it's used pharmaceutically. And other amino acids in higher doses are also used therapeutically.

      To each their own.

  43. Final note on dietary MSG/glutamate. It doesn't have much of an effect on the gut, because the needed neuroreceptors are absent: