Friday, September 22, 2017

High Carb vs. High Fat vs. High Protein Diets

Ketogenic diets are all the rage right now. Even Mark Sisson who has routinely advised against ketogenic diets, is releasing a new book, The Keto Reset Diet.

Alternatively, high carb diets are also making a comeback. Rusty Moore is offering his High Carb Fat Loss course for just $17 if you'd like the lowdown on a high carb diet with many real-world examples, meal plans, etc.

Steve Cooksey, the Diabetes Warrior, is advocating a nearly all-meat diet using intermittent fasting a la The Snake Diet and seeing great results.

If I had to recommend one of these three approaches, it would be Rusty's High Carb Fat Loss. Here's why.

Many people struggle to lose weight and need a more structured diet. My Potato Hack has helped thousands of people lose weight over the past couple years...I know it works if you can stick to the protocol. But for a long-term weight loss or maintenance diet many people need more than the Potato Hack.

Simply cutting calories on whatever diet you are currently eating can have mixed results. SAD dieters are not eating quality foods, so just eating less crap (processed snack foods, fast food, etc...) does not have the desired effect. It makes you grumpy and hungry and unlikely to succeed.

Keto Diets

A high fat diet, sometimes called a "keto" or "ketogenic" diet is, in my opinion, the worst diet plan ever devised. By all accounts, and even the keto-gurus agree, ketogenic diets take several weeks to implement to become a fat-adapted. During the phase-in period, you will get brain-fog, flu-like symptoms, and you will very likely develop breath that smells of ketones, often compared to cat urine.

The biggest drawback of the keto diet is that it's all-or-nothing. If you cheat, you lose your ability to burn fat and must spend several more weeks becoming fat-adapted, a time which make you extremely vulnerable to incipient weight regain. Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint is a low carb, fairly sane way of eating that allows 20% "off-plan" eating...thousands and thousands of people have benefited from the Primal Blueprint over the past decade. Why Mark would abandon this tried-and-true whole food approach is beyond me.

Additionally, the keto diet is not guaranteed to show results. Jimmy Moore, the original keto guru, struggles with body fat and poor metabolic markers. Richard Nikoley at Free the Animal writes about Jimmy frequently, and even has a Facebook page devoted to the lunacy of keto dieting.

High Protein Diet

Steve Cooksey has been eating a carnivorous diet for much of the past year and reporting normal blood glucose readings despite his Type 2 Diabetes. He eats most of his meat cooked simply, very rare, and over a fire. He exercises like a mad-man, possibly even surpassing me in daily pull-ups!

There are no diet books for an all-meat diet. There are no studies describing the effects of meat-only. You just have to take a leap of faith like Steve did.  Down deep I believe this diet will lead to kidney problems and gut issues, but secretly I'm rooting for Steve to succeed. His target audience is diabetics, and he's teaching them that the American Diabetes Association guidelines are not the best way to beat diabetes.

I don't know if an all-meat diet is "all-or-nothing" like the keto diet, but I assume that if one at very high levels of meat and cheated with SAD staples like French fries, cookies, and ice cream, then the results would be a disaster. And I have no idea what all-meat does to the gut...perhaps we can develop a gut flora that is protective of inflammation and produces a health immune system when eating lots of rare meat.  Raw meat is full of glycogen, a form of animal fiber.

High Carb/Low Fat

The Potato Hack is a perfect example of a high carb/low fat diet. This type of diet can also be achieved using any starchy veggie as the base of your meals and augmenting with non-fatty fruit and veggies. You don't even need to shun meat, leaner cuts like chicken, turkey, and fish are complementary to High Carb/Low Fat.

The drawback is that many foods are off-the-table.  Most dairy, fatty meat, oils, nuts, nut butters, and avocados for instance. The plus-side is that HC/LF is not all-or-nothing.  One could cycle meals or days of HF/LC into their normal diet and see results. We are all adapted to burning carbs by reprogramming needed, no cat-pee breath, and no keto-flu or brain-fog.  Where one could get in trouble with HC/LF is when they are not truly LF.  "L" in this instance means very under 30g of fat per day...a handful of peanuts will blow it for you. Most of the foods you eat must have under 2-3g per serving, but preferably 0g.

I've spent the past week eating a HC/LF diet and I am surprised how easy it is. I absolutely love eating beans, rice, or potatoes at every meal and I haven't minded giving up the big servings of meat I've become accustomed to over the past several years. It's made me realize that I eat far too few fruits and veggies and way too much fat. Fat has been about 50% of my daily calories over the past several years. I think it would be easier to maintain a lower weight with less fat in my diet.

What I really love about HC/LF is the effects it has on the gut flora. A diet filled with grains, plants, and fruit is the gold-standard for developing a healthy gut.

If you are looking to shake things up in your life with a new diet...give High Carb/Low Fat a try for a couple weeks.


There are lots of diets out there.  A whole food, wide variety is good, especially if you watch calories and exercise daily. But if you still struggle with weight loss, you are confronted with a plethora of diet strategies that make your head spin.

I would avoid the keto diet like the plague...despite it's selling power, it's a loser of a diet.  If you want to emulate Steve Cooksey and eat nothing but meat, I cannot guarantee the results.  If you are looking for a tried-and-true diet with lots of populations that ate exactly this way (and still do), then look no further than a diet filled with veggies, fruit, and lean meat.

In the end, just about ANY diet is better than the sugar, oil, and processed-grain-filled SAD diet. And bonus points go to those who have a good exercise routine as well!


  1. The problem with very low fat diets is gallbladder issues. I remember somewhere you mentioned that poatatoes activate the gallbladder, but most low fat foods will not. It is one of the dangers of high carb diets.

    1. Good point...this is why I like to limit the potato hack to 3-5 days. However, the connection with low fat and gallstones is when the diet is also very low in overall calories.

      In this study, 54% of a low fat arm developed gallstones in the first months of a low fat diet while those on higher fat did not. Both arms of the study provided about 550 calories/day. The low fat arm had just 3g/day of fat, and the higher fat arm provided 12g/day. (

      I cannot recall any other studies showing a low fat vegan type diet causes gallstones, nor have I heard this as a common complaint.

      I developed gallstones a couple years back. I attribute mine to triglyceride lowering meds I was on at the time I first had pain attacks.

    2. Well, the healthiest, longest lived people on the planet, live in Loma Linda, CA. As far as diet goes, they happen to have the highest density of Vegan and vegetarians of any other population on earth. Maybe they all have gall stones!!!

    3. The Loma Lindans eat lots of nuts, so should be OK, lol. Did you ever read Blue Zones ( Great book, looks at diet and lifestyle of all BZs. Common themes: Not much meat, very active, walk lots, lots of friends.

      I saw an interview once of a Blue Zone 100 year old...they asked, "do you eat meat?" He said something like, "Yes! I love meat. In fact, last Christmas we killed a chicken and ate it, it was delicious!"

      And my hero, Jack LaLanne, claimed to be Vegan. When asked about diet, he'd say he eats "fruits, vegetables, chicken, and fish."

      I think it pays to be a very clean-eating Vegan who cheats nearly every day with some meat. I am especially a fan of high-quality seafood and organ meat a couple times a week.

    4. I did a little search and found that yes gallbladder issues are more prevalent in very very low fat diets (1-5%) eg

      However this may not be relevant to your potato hack. I did learn that the gallbladder is activated through the activation of the gut hormone cholecystokinin, the other job of this hormone is to produce satiety. I think that you have mentioned before that potatoes activate cholecystokinin.

      Also on this search I found this - I think they are trying to turn your potato diet into a pill!

    5. Tim
      Perhaps you should tune in to Rhonda Patricks latest interview of Satchin Panda ,, at Salk Institute. He is a fabulous scientist although a really squishy man of the Left.... Getting past that is easy given his knowledge of the "when " of eating and synchronizing circadian clocks, central and peripheral. My point is that they conducted a project in rats who ate horrible diets and good diets , when high fat/carb diet rats put on modest time restricted feeding, their biomarkers resembled that of rats on healthy diets. Basically they limited rats to 10 hours or so of feeding (as much as they wanted) and the rest fasting.

    6. No doubt interesting research, but I have found over the years that rodent/animal studies rarely scale to human experience. Even human studies usually do not match with what people see due to the stringent wash-out criteria, poor diet design, or unique variables that people have.

      That said, eating from the time we wake up until the time we go to bed is never a good plan, I'm a big fan of a limited feeding window, and it certainly has to do with circadian cycles.

    7. Well...there is human research and I understand the limits of rodent models, but that is what we use to a great degree.

      A UCSD associate of Dr Panda is head of their cancer prevention program. They did a RCT on women post breast group control and another group time restricted feeding.....result...34% decrease in cancer recurrence.

  2. Can you post a video of the pull-ups?

    If a person is interested in keto, I usually tell them let's use it for a jump-start, and then let's transition you to another long-term plan you'll enjoy and can tweak the rest of your life. I've found the person's motivation for success determines so much of their success. So if that's what they want, I try to use it as a tool to lead them somewhere I feel is known to be more well-rounded for the body.

    I liked The Primal Blueprint too.

    1. "Can you post a video of the pull-ups?"

      I second this. We need evidence!

    2. Haha, we'll see. Maybe my drone can spy on me while doing pullups.

    3. Tim, while Keto is probably not the long-term panacea some proclaim, it is nonsense to say "If you cheat, you lose your ability to burn fat and must spend several more weeks becoming fat-adapted." In fact short cheat periods were the basis of Kiefer's Carb Night protocol (and lots of body building regimens such as Berkhan's Leangains, carb backloading, etc.), afterwards the body switches straight back to fat burning when the keto diet is resumed. In fact these cheat periods help to maintain the efficacy of the keto diet.

  3. Back in the 60s, when I was 16 or so, and a fat kid, I put myself on a whole milk and meat diet for a summer, cut out all bread and carbs. I lost 35 lbs., and was no longer a fat kid. A decade or so later I did Atkins, and that was good for a while. But when I've tried it lately, it definitely isn't good--total brain fog. So I've been experimenting with a lower fat higher carb diet, which I never thought would work well, but it is.

    Life without avocados would hardly be worth living though.

    1. "Life without avocados would hardly be worth living though."

      I would hate to give up avocados too. And I thought that recent studies show that walnuts are good for the gut bugs. Recently I've been making a bread that has no flours in it and it mostly nuts, psyllium, chia, flax, and some oats. I thought I was doing a good thing for my gut health... But since I do struggle to lose weight, perhaps I need to cut that out too.

    2. I could never advocate a diet that forever bans real, whole foods like nuts, avocados, cheese, beer, etc... My problem with most of the popular diets is that they want you to give up certain foods, or even entire macronutrients (ie. carbs) for the rest of your life.

      No way! I think we all should look hard at how much processed crap we eat...enriched white bread, donuts, candy, pop, breaded/fried foods, fast-food, etc... But for a "forever diet" we need not fear any whole food as long as we achieve balance and can restrain from overeating.

    3. I think High Fat/Low Carb should only be used as a way to regain health and get weight under control. Seeds, nuts, grains, and avocados are among the healthiest foods on the planet! If you cut them out for a short time, be sure to replace them with other equally high fiber, healthy foods. This is what irks me about keto diets. They cut out most sources of fiber and replace them with BACON.

  4. Tim,

    taking the cue from what you wrote here: << I absolutely love eating beans, rice, or potatoes at every meal and I haven't minded giving up the big servings of meat I've become accustomed to over the past several years. >>, what's your stance on proteins? How much and how often do you suggest to consume animal based products?

    In my everlasting quest to solve my stomach ailments, I've tried basically every diet under the sun, but proteins are always been a staple in every meal. Not as much as I used to eat, since my digestion is cumbersome, but a staple nonetheless.
    I come from a bodybuilding background, and I've always been pretty active.

    But in light of the latest advances in gut health and microbiome science, I'm starting to wonder if I should reconsider my thoughts and behaviours.

    Thank you!

    1. I am not dogmatic about meat and think that we are meant to eat everything edible, plants, fish, fowl, insect, fungi. As to how much protein we need, I have no idea, but probably the minimum is about 40g/day from any source and the maximum amount of meat we should eat is about a pound of meat. But if eating lots of high protein plants, then don't need so much meat.

      Most Vegan athletes use pea protein powder to get enough protein, but if you are not an athlete, it's not so big of a worry.

      Frank - What's up with your digestion?

    2. Thanks for the answer Tim!

      Just to clarify, I'm not vegan at all, nor I'm considering becoming one :). I was just wondering if maybe in all these years I've gone too far in proteins consumption, since I eat a source of animal products at every meal, every day; that's of course including dairy, eggs, fish and organ meat.

      I've been suffering for chronic gastritis and acid reflux for more than five years now. To the point that I lost almost 25 kg (55 pounds), while being very lean to begin with, just because eating has became a pain. Literally.

      Just in case anyone is wondering: I've been to four different gastroenterologists, I've done four endoscopies, and in general I've tried any possible common therapy and suggestion.

  5. I bought rusty's book - the synchronous nature of life never stops amazing me - i accidentally found myself not eating meat the past few months and was already shifting into more carbs less fat...then two books landed in my lap...

    rusty's/mark k's book which confirms a slew of other books i've read like green living on the nature of plants basically which should be categorized much better to understand how to incorporate them into diets...(a calorie is a rather ignorant way to measure gross energy for human consumption IMRO, thus is why we're all dying by our 70's and we should be so proud /sarcasm)

    the second book which actually came (way)before and is free - namely the essene gospel of peace - its a manual for a long long you remember jesus talking about sticking a reed up the hinterland i think it was (an ancient enema?) we didnt, they snipped sections from this into the published bibles...he talks of seven years of unclean living can be undone by a STRICT regime of seven days of rituals in the woods - that enema being ONE of them...

    its basically an optimal blueprint and its wildly simple living...through purification of the temple-bodies which is my basic goal for the past 4 years - to tune up the body in a such way to receive higher frequency messages for living one's purpose in this incarnation...

    simply stated and i believe everyone will have a hard time arguing the other side - eat living foods, not dead foods...and live long and prosper :)

    one love and peace!


    ps - in those two months i lost four lbs of pure body fat w/o trying and i lost .3 lbs of muscle which was probably water weight (water is muscle on the body fat scales)...

  6. Tim,
    Tell me again why, when eating potatoes and seeing a major glucose spike in an hour or two, is okay? I feel great when eating potatoes and rice, and will loose weight, but the glucose spikes concern me....

    1. What is "major?" All people experience a rise in glucose after eating a large amount of carbs. If your BG remains above 200 after two hours, you should see a doctor about diabetes.

    2. I'm in the pre-diabetes category. Last time I ate all potatoes, my blood sugar tested 170 two hrs later. This is the only reason I am reluctant to get on board. I agree with you on keto. Doesn't make sense to me.

    3. I've talked to several fully T2D folks who successfully use the potato hack by eating a maximum of 1/3 - 1/2 pound at a time. They report that after a day or two they see the lowest FBGs they've ever seen and lose weight rapidly.

      Are you truly pre-diabetic, or just believe you are? What is your A1C?

      If you are pre-D, and not willing to try the PH, there are still lots of good, healthy ways to lose weight, if that's your goal.

  7. Thanks for the feedback, Tim. I have FBG in the 110-116 range over several years. My HbA1c is considered normal. Averages about 5.5 or so (as low as 4.9 & as high as 5.7) tested twice per year. I am on Metformin, because my GP considers me pre-diabetic based upon the FBG #'s. We have debated this for years. Other doctors tell me they think it's silly, since the A1c is the gold standard. I obviously have "dawn phenomena". By the way, I'm about 5'10" and weigh on average 182 lbs. Never been very overweight. Just trying to be healthy. I have read your book, and I have lost weight on the potato hack, just concerned about the glucose spikes.

    1. So who knows what your A1C and FBG would be if not on Metformin? How long you been on it? A1C of 4.9 - 5.7 is not bad at all.

    2. Tim Sciacqua, I've been a T2 diabetic since 2001, and my blood sugar levels ALWAYS respond the exact opposite of what is expected. I was put on Metformin and other sulphonylureus but they never helped very much. I think it is all diet related. I have struggled with my weight and dieting over 50 years now, and that it has had its effect on my gut biome. Am now taking lots of fibers and it has steadied my blood sugars quite a lot. I even tested potato starch and a potato and my glucose levels only increased by 2 points mmol/L. It stayed quite steady. In previous years the spike could go up 7 points mmol/L. So the fibers are having a steading effect. My problem was that the immune system was over reacting.

      Jo tB

    3. 5.7 HBA1c is considered pre-diabetes in the US - if that level of glycation is when you are on metformin, then it is a very clear indication of insulin resistance. 5.7 HBA1c converts to 117 fasting blood glucose, so those figures are probably reliable too. Easy way to test if the elevated fbg is a result of "dawn phenomena" - have your blood drawn late morning by which time it would have passed (if it exists)

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. I agree, and does come down a bit later in the morning.

  8. I've been on Metformin 10 years. You're right, I don't know what it would be off of the medication, but 10 yrs ago it was 126 (and only one time) prior to the minimum dose I'm taking. I might try the potatoe thing again for a few days just to see what it does to my fasting blood glucose levels.

    1. Were you obese or have other symptoms of metabolic syndrome at the time? Now?

      Metformin is a life-saver, and not a bad drug to be on. Some people take it just for it's life-extension properties.

    2. Well, I got up to 208 lbs at the high a few years ago. Decided to lose weight by adding fiber and low carb. Never had long term obesity, and my weight came down to 175 in a few months from the high. Since then, stable at around 182. I've studied Metformin and don't believe it has hurt me in any way. May be helpful in other ways, as you suggest. I don't know, but it's cheap and easy, so I continue.

    3. Jo, you've got it together. Thanks.

  9. Hi Tim,
    I've done the PH several times with good results. Did try keto and ended up gaining what little I lost back, bad idea.
    A couple months ago I went Starchaterian, a la Dr McDoudall's program. I love it! I'm eating all the veggies, beans and starch I want. Fruit also. This made sense to me after doing the PH and getting good results. Thus far I've dropped 31 lbs and feeling pretty good! Arthritis so much improved.

    Whole Foods is the way to go in mho. I do not consider myself vegan or vegetarian. I do not eat meat or dairy now and who knows, maybe I never will again. But for now, and the foreseeable future, I'm going to stick with what is working for me; real food from plants.

    In Starch! The



    1. That's great to hear, Suz - I think most people's lives would be improved if every meal was based on a staple starch (potatoes, beans, rice, plantains, etc..), veggies, fruit, and then some meat. I also think that "some meat" should be included in any diet. Especially some liver, oysters, seafood, gelatin, from time to time. But stick with what's working!

    2. Suz,

      Are you peri-menopausal/menopausal? I've been going crazy with peri-menopausal weight gain, and I can't figure out what to do to get it to come off. I eat really good (real food, high fiber, etc.), but I have been thinking recently that possibly I need to focus on having a heavier starch component. I did a potato hack, lost 3 lbs., but then regained it. But, I at least had a loss.

      Any ladies here lose weight being peri-menopausal/menopausal? How did you go about it?


    3. Kit, just might just want to wait it out. Look after yourself now, and once everything settles down post-menopause, it will come off again, easily. That was my experience, as I gained some 25 lbs over a few years (I was slim going in, mind you) and then it all just slid off a few years later with just some tweaks of my diet. Some weight gain is not necessarily a bad thing in midlife. Women who gain a little during the Change have better bone density and heart health afterward.

    4. That was not what I wanted to hear. :) I was hoping I was just missing a piece of the puzzle. I won't diet though, because it's unhealthy to do so, so I will stick with a high starch/high fiber diet filled with whole foods and let it be what it is. I have been slim most of my life, except for the post baby weight struggles, so it has been frustrating suddenly feeling like my body has been hijacked, and nothing I do seems to make any difference. I don't like the feeling of my body suddenly feeling foreign, and uncomfortable, to me. Thanks for your response. It gives me hope.


    5. Kit - Susun Weed has an excellent book "Menopause the Wise Woman Way" that you might want to read. She's got some pretty helpful advice in there, especially when she's addressing that feeling of being hijacked.

    6. Kit, are you taking hormone replacement? That can help with weight. Also I recommend Dr. Mache Seibel's book The Estrogen Window.


    7. Lex - LOL Just checked out your recommendation - great site IF women want to have menopause "mansplained" to them!!

  10. Hi Kit,

    I'm menopausal. What helps me too is eating according to caloric density. I make a big salad with all the good veggies and then have starch, grains, beans etc. This works well for me because I love whole grains, beans, veggies, fruit. I have tried so many things in the past; Weston price, paleo, keto, Atkins and on and on ad nausea my.
    Eating whole food plant based right now is the ticket for me. I do not use oil, sugar, meat or dairy. I honestly have no cravings and do not feel deprived in any way. I get lot and lots of fiber and I feel my gut is sooo happy,

    1. Thank you! It's encouraging to know that the weight can come off again.


  11. New Diet Taps into Revolutionary Plan to Help Dieters Lose 15 Pounds in Just 21 Days!

  12. I am wondering if any of the people following here have access to Metaflor probiotic or have used it.


  13. Tim, you have a typo of LC/HF when you meant HC/LF. It's right before the Conclusion.

  14. I'm not sure where to post this so...

    I thought it was very promising to hear that a gastroenterologist in little old Rapid City, SD is recommending Bob's Red Mill potato starch to her patients. Way to go, Tim! You are making a difference. Thanks!


  15. I have benefited from your blog posts, as well as from the information shared in the comments. I have especially enjoyed the comments from Wilbur as he has given us information on his experiences with fiber. Sometimes I read a piece of information, then have trouble finding it again. Just an idea - any way you might consider getting him to chronicle his experience in one blog post? What his health challenges were, how he got started, what he is currently doing, and the changes he has experienced in his health? Would love to read it in one place rather than trying to hunt for it through several years of comments. Just a thought. If he has already done this, would love to be told where to look for it. Thanks

    1. Great idea! Wilbur? Any designs on a blog of your own?

    2. I'm so busy now! Plus I think I know more now than then, and it's kind of hard to go backward and remember it all as I did at the time. But if you have specific questions I can answer when I can.

    3. Wilbur,
      I remember you reading that you eat lots of garlic everyday. Did you do the garlic first, or right as you were starting with the fiber? Just wondering if you focused on antimicrobial foods, herbs, or spices before starting with the fiber. You mentioned berberine before, and some of the items in your fiber blend have antimicrobial benefits. Thinking that it might be helpful to knock down some dysbiosis on the front end.

    4. The fiber definitely came first. I remember being frustrated with diets, bouncing from low-fat to vegan and others with no real results. I then read Pollan's article about the gut microbiome and decided to feed it. But I didn't know how. I ran into Jeff Leach's stuff, which advised inulin. That's what I started with. Then I ran into Tim's (aka Tatertot's) stuff on resistant starch via raw potato starch.

      At some point, I had massive cravings. For things like raw onions, garlic, and other stuff. Also liverwurst. That was strange because I hadn't eaten it for nearly 30 years. The berberine came later. I still sometimes use it, but stop after a month or so.

      i focused on my normal diet plus fibers and veggies, not antimicrobials and such. Eat normally, plus stuff that should be good for me. Eventually my "eat normally" changed. It brought in more fiber and antimicrobials, but as a consequence rather than a goal.

      To this day (more than 4 years later), most important f my foods are high antioxidant and antimicrobial, Not by choice. Just the way it is.

      I think you might need to fight dysbiosis. Pick a time when you can suffer the consequences. I know it's hard. I did it myself. The freedom is worth it.

    5. Wilbur, what do you mean by 'berberine'? There are several plant sources, and they differ slightly in action, not something that most people seem to be aware of. All can cause side effects (and even long term damage) if not used judiciously.

    6. Hi wildcucumber!

      The one I sometimes take is Indian barberry root extract. I don't take it very often. You know that I let my gut tell me what I need, and just every once in a while I get the urge to use it. Then after a couple of weeks, my gut tells me to stop. I only take 1/4 of the recommended dosage to boot. I'll go months without using it.

      It seems that studies suggest berberine is safe. But I find my gut reaction curious because I can't think of anything else that it treats that way. Because of that, I agree with you that it should be used judiciously!

      In contrast, some things, like marshmallow root, black seed, and black peppercorn are demanded daily by my gut.

    7. Yep, you have a smart gut Wilbur. Remember the "gut goddess"? She had people taking crazy stupid amounts of berberine. Frightening. Antibiotics would be safer.

      To anyone interested - The berberine-containing plants (Barberry, Oregon Grape and Golden Seal are the big 3) should be taken in liquid form so they can be *tasted*. That way our innate senses will be able to regulate the correct amount. They're very bitter, and it's a bitterness that tastes good when we need it, but wretched when we don't.

      I'm a big fan of marshmallow (and its cousin muskmallow) too, and it's very pretty in a garden so I grow lots of it. Probably one of the best candidates for soothing and sealing a troubled gut, I'd think. Hibiscus and okra are in the same family and have similar properties.

    8. Interesting! Even the capsules are very bitter, and I did notice what you said about the bitterness tasting good early and bad later.

      I've been drinking lots of herbal teas, and hibiscus is one of my favorites. I usually brew my teas double-strength (except nettle!) and I have hibiscus 3-4 times per week. Others include gree tea, black tea, white tea, and oolong. Sometimes sea buckthorne or honeybush. Sometimes I save onion and garlic peels and combine with dried sliced turmeric and ginger. Sometimes I add a really strong(!) celery I got at a farmers market. I'm convinced these things matter as much as the fiber I eat.

      I've been doing a LOT of reading lately, from ancient religions, shamanism, neuroscience, brain disorders, philosophy, Buddhism, and so on and so on. But a book on neuroplasticity really struck me. There are the ideas of "neurons that fire together wire together" and "use it or lose it." The gut is the second brain, with millions of neurons. I think a lifetime of SAD has caused many to lose the true functionality of the gut. Maybe through sheer luck, or through recovering the lost gut functionality through neuroplasticity, I've recovered most if not all of what I need.

      I know this sounds really weird, but I had to back away from shamanism. I had a couple of good experiences, but then had a really bad "trip." I'm not talking psychedelics - just drumming, whistling, and chanting. I'm afraid to go back! You're probably the only person I know who might understand what I mean!

    9. Taking herbs in liquid form like teas always strikes me as more effective and efficient. We're watery creatures on the inside, so it seems to me that taking anything 'in solution' would just be more readily absorbed. Maybe that's one of the reasons soups are traditional healing foods all over the world? Your onion/garlic/turmeric/ginger combo sounds .. kinda good. More a broth than a tea? I certainly use them all liberally in my soups. I'm on a yogi tea kick right now as the weather changes. Love those spices. Another favourite is monarda, also known as bergamot mint. It tastes somewhat reminiscent of earl grey but with a kick like oregano. It's native to North America, and was used as a sort of polycrest (cure-all) by the First Nations peoples. It has antimicrobial properties, I suppose, so might be a good choice for anyone who might be reading this who is looking to fix their gut issues. It's also just plain delicious, you should seek it out.

      Wilbur, when you come up with stuff like neurons that fire together wire together in relation to our second brain it really makes me wish you'd start your own blog. Ideas like that need to get out to a wider audience, man!

      And yes, I certainly understand what can happen with drumming and the like. I'm as cynical about 'modern shamanism' as I am about commercial herbalism. Without generations of traditional knowledge to guide us, what makes anyone think it's safe to go willy nilly into realms we're only now rediscovering? There be dragons!

    10. I don't start a blog because I always feel true knowledge is just beyond my grasp. I can see glimmers, but can't make out its shape. Very frustrating!

      I am really excited about neuroplasticity and the gut. There are only a few studies, which I Googled by "neuroplasticity and gut neurons." There might be better search terms.

      Articles like this one

      suggest to me that a to of gut problems might be similar to brain diseases or disorder, inactivity or hyperactivity in the gut nervous system.

      Books like the following

      suggest that functionality can be lost if not used or functionality can be regained with proper brain exercises. I think all of the gut functions noted do far, such as proper digestion, motility, mood, sleep, anti-inflammation, and so on , might be viewed as (second) brain functions. To the extent that we can improve the neuronal function through diet or whatever is a great improvement.

      And the longer we pursue that improvement, the more it incorporates into our being. "Neurons that fire together wire together."

      I forgot to say that I think that, based on my reading and experience, that the body has a lot to say. Sort of we should shut up and get out off the way.

      I am deeply impressed by Shamanism. Like I said, I had a couple of good experiences. But suddenly I had a very bad one. I'm not sure what happened.

    11. It sure is an interesting topic Wilbur. We call it the second brain, when in reality it is the older of the two, in evolutionary terms .. anyway, I understand about glimmers.

      Question re burdock root, which if I remember correctly is one of your fibres. Have you ever tried it in liquid form? It's one of my favourites. Burdock root decoction "speaks body". It reaches deep. I could say a lot more but this isn't the place.

      I don't like the word Shamanism, it's too non-specific for my liking and too often bandied about by fakes. I sense, though, that the way you used it might mean the same thing as I do by "the Medicine Path". Which brings me back to burdock root, lol ..

    12. Come on WC

      No need to be so vague. You are clearly longing to tell us something about burdock root. Please do.

    13. Or you could just try it out for yourself and see, Gemma :-)

      Kidding .. it's an odd thing, along the lines of potato starch making people dream. I found, and have had this confirmed independently by many others, that burdock root brings things up psychologically. This can be good or it can be difficult, depending on the person, but it generally starts out as difficult. So, fears first, then strengths. I've known people to make some pretty significant changes to their lives because of the clarity that burdock brought to their thinking. It's long been known as a gut healer, liver helper etc., so this is clearly somehow tied in. I've never taken it as a fibre supplement the way Wilbur does (nor do I know anyone else who has). I thought it would be interesting for Wilbur to try it in the more traditional forms of tea or tincture and see if he noticed this effect.

      So we could look at this in the light of what Wilbur calls "Shamanism" and I call the "Medicine Path" because it certainly has that element to it of deep personal transformation. Or we can look at in light of gut/brain connectivity. Or both.

    14. wildcucumber,this sounds like fun. Thank you. I'll try and report back. (Need to find my drum too).

    15. Gemma - nice!

      "They" say that burdock root works slowly. I think that's true if it's being used to settle liver issues, but in the terms we're discussing I've found the process starts pretty darn quick.

    16. "pretty darn quick"

      Meaning hours, or a few days?

      And you meant decoction, or tincture, right?

    17. Yes, hours or a few days, it depends on the person.

      Yes, decoction or tincture. Less = more, so say no more than a cup of decoction taken in sips throughout the day, or just a few drops of tincture in water maybe 3x per day. I prefer decoction, but I'm not sure it matters much.

    18. Burdock ctd. For those following this conversation, here's a nice extensive monograph on medicinal and nutritional properties of burdock, psychological effects mentioned at the end.

    19. I haven't had burdock root in a while. I use dandelion root. I ordered some burdock today, and I am looking forward to using it in a decoction. That's a new word for me! I'll let you know if anything happens.

      Is it important to drink it slowly and throughout the day? Just asking because I usually have teas in the afternoon and finish in a half hour or so.

    20. Thank you so much for the advice, I'm going to try.

    21. Wilbur - I think it might be important, yes. Give the body a little at a time to assimilate as it sees fit. Follow your inner bell/gut of course.

      Fun thing about burdock root decoction. I usually make a few cups' worth and refrigerate the extra. It turns a lovely emerald green in the fridge, which is a neat trick for a pure white root with jet black skin. I dry my own so it's in slices, not sure if powder would do the same thing.

    22. wildcucumber

      A quick question: do you recommnend that I go and dig some roots (Arctium lappa) at this time of the year, or is it better to buy pharma grade dried roots, or a tincture? Thanks!

    23. Pharma grade dried roots would likely be okay, especially if you can get them as whole as possible. They should have a sweet, earthy smell. If they smell 'off' or like nothing at all, they're too old, no good.

      If you opt for buying tincture, you want to see that it has some white sediment at the bottom. That's the inulin, and if it's been strained out I don't much see the point of using it.

      Of course I'm going to tell you digging your own is the best! :-)This is the best time of year to do it, too. Just know that they are sometimes bastards. The stem seems to go down pretty far into the ground before it turns into root and they invariably snap off as you try to pull/dig the root. Then you'll slice and dry them. You can use them fresh as a veg (you can even buy them in stores, called 'gobo'.). Another (good) option is to try making your own tincture - soak chopped fresh roots 6 weeks in a jar of vodka.

    24. Wilbur,

      You said above "I think you might need to fight dysbiosis. Pick a time when you can suffer the consequences. I know it's hard. I did it myself. The freedom is worth it."

      Do mind to explain what you meant by this? Thanks

    25. I got cut and sifted organic from Starwest Botanicals (Amazon). I've always been happy with their stuff. We usually have to recalibrate our recipes to account for the strength and taste of ingredients when switching to Starwest. It hasn't arrived yet.

    26. wildcucumber

      Thanks for the answer... I thought late November might be too late to go digging, it kinda is because of the f..... snow, but I'll try to find it.

    27. Gemma - if you have f .. snow it's likely too late. You're looking for first year plants growing in a sort of rosette, not the tall ones with the burrs on them.

    28. wildcucumber - I'm drinking the burdock tea. It's a great tea! I am grateful to you for suggesting it. I'm not sure I notice anything psychological yet, but we'll see!

    29. Wilbur

      I'm drinking the right now as well, plus I have the tincture for later on. Everybody be nice to me, the effects are profound.

    30. Gemma, what effects are you experiencing?

    31. Gemma & Wilbur - wow, this is so cool. Feel free to email me any and all impressions you may have for my case notes okay?

    32. Oh, nothing really earth-shattering. Only markedly increased sensitivity to lies and deceptions.

    33. That certainly has its advantages and disadvantages.

    34. Now that is very interesting! A day or so ago, I had someone do some work for me, and something was broken. While he might have directly broken it, there was probably something already wrong that enabled him to break it. I wanted if he knew it had been broken. When I asked, it was like feeling him lie in slow motion. The false affectation, the lame attempt at humor, the relief when he got to the part he had practiced, and then the stress when he realized some parts of his lie conflicted. I could somehow sense these. I never called him on it, but we are now in agreement that he knew. So I know it was a lie.

      It was a very unusual feeling, but I never thought to attribute it to burdock. It would be cool if I have that superpower too. I'll have to pay more attention.

    35. How do you guys make and take the tea/decoction? I found anything from 1t to 1T burdock rootper cup of water and from 1 to 4 cups a day.


    36. Teddy, I just fired off a piece over at my blog about the various water-based ways to use herbs, including burdock. Check "garbling the dandelion" on the side bar.

  16. Wow wow wow

    Tim, did you know that Chris Kresser talked about you and the potato hack when he was on Joe Rogan's podcast???

    You are famous now!

    1. Cool! I like Chris Kresser. It was great how he said "Vegan, Paleo, whatever...just eat real food."

  17. Question

    How many carbs/fat protein per day is optimal?


  18. Thanks.Basically vegan it looks like..will try it out...

    1. You realize that I just gave the carb/fat/protein breakdown of a potato, right? This is the optimal macro ratio for the potato hack, only. If you are looking for how to eat "normally" then the macro ratios will change drastically. I do not think there is an "optimal" that applies to everyone, all the time. Paul Jaminet's Perfect Health Diet uses something like 20/60/20 (C/F/P). The High Carb approach uses 80/1/20, Keto Dieters use 1/80/20. So, all over the place..impossible to give an "optimal."

    2. Awww, Tim! I was trying to think of something funny to say. Best I could do was "That's a loaded question but obviously Tim's answer isn't loaded." Humor isn't something I'm good at.

      Best decision I ever made was to quit trying to find a correct macro ratio, quit taking other people's advice as gospel, and ate any type of non processed food I wanted with lots of plants. You eat what you want with every meal, but you eat your veggies like a big kid. No sacrifice. Soon your body might make it pretty clear what your best diet is. And it changes nearly every day.

  19. I guess many of us are still looking for answers. I have been following Tim’s recommendations for over a year but when my skin problem flares up unbearably I get discouraged and angry and start reading around the web and try switching things around. I bounced between high carb, vegan and high fat only in the last 5 months. If what I am doing is not working, the search and self-experiment continues. I know after time passes and we learn more it is difficult to trace back the exact steps. But if a certain approach has worked for someone, it would be very helpful to share sort of a “recipe”. Not exactly what you did but if you had to start today and with everything you know now, what would you do. I am curious to read Tim’s and Wilbur’s “recipe”. Or anyone else who has been successful, especially with getting rid of skin problems.


  20. You could look into Dr Morse's Diet...I have a friend about to start it after her coaching secession...Just a thought..radical diet...guy has a boat load of YT videos

  21. The recommended daily intake for protein is 10% -35% of daily calories, or about 0.8 grams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of healthy adult weight. Usually a diet high in protein at least 35% of daily calories. This diet may also be based only on the amount of protein intake, usually in grams per day. Protein contains about 4 calories per gram. A high-protein diet for weight loss has been popular since the 60s. High-protein diets are also applied by bodybuilders and for certain medical conditions.

  22. Two summers ago, I worked with a great gal from Hollywood, Rachel Nichols.
    Rachel did some TT workouts while filming a movie up here in Toronto.

    That's about it for me in terms of training Hollywood actors or
    actresses in person, but recently I was asked, "Imagine you're
    working with a major film star who has eight weeks to lose 30
    pounds of fat and build some muscle in preparation for the lead
    role in the latest Hollywood blockbuster. What do you do with them?"

    Here's my answer...

    I would have control over every single thing that they eat. That's
    the biggest ticket to success here. No booze, no excess sugar, and
    just giving them enough reward to stick with the program.

    If this "star" is a typical overweight, sedentary individual, we'll have
    no problem getting rid of 20 pounds of fat through nutrition.

    As for exercise, we need to be consistent, and stick with our intensity
    principles. We would do 3 hard workouts per week using strength
    training followed by interval training with the program being centered
    around basic movement patterns done with free weights.

    Everything is done in supersets in the workout to get more done in
    less time. For example, we might do a squat supersetted with a
    pressing exercise. I also like to pair free weight exercises and
    bodyweight exercises in supersets, for example, a dumbbell split
    squat paired with a decline pushup.

    We'll do 3 superset pairs, each for 1-3 sets, and stick to 8
    repetitions per set. Then we'll finish the workout with 6 hard
    intervals of 30-60 seconds (with 60-120 seconds rest between each).
    This way, we are in and out of the gym in 45 minutes.

    On "off days", we'd still get at least 30 minutes, if not 60
    minutes, of low-intensity exercise. But it wouldn't just be slow
    cardio. Instead, we'd focus on low-intensity bodyweight training.
    For example, if the actor can do a maximum of 25 bodyweight squats,
    15 pushups, and 5 chinups, we would use easier versions of those
    exercises in circuits.

    Here's a sample 6 exercise bodyweight circuit that we'd do at least
    3 times, doing 10 reps per exercise.

    Wall Squat
    Kneeling Pushup
    Beginner Inverted Bodyweight Row
    Stability Ball Leg Curl
    Mountain Climber

    After that, we might cross train with a variety of cardio exercises
    to avoid overuse injuries that occur when you repeatedly do the
    same activity and nothing else.

    So that's pretty much it. If he (or she) sticks to their nutrition,
    we're as good as gold and the actor will be ready just in time.

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    the weights...the combination of elements always varied and, therefore,
    I never got bored or felt like I was in a workout rut. And my co-stars
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