Saturday, December 8, 2018

Good-bye to VeggiePharm blog...and an update from Wilbur!

This is going to be my last regularly scheduled post here at VeggiePharm. I've been having too many complaints about posting comments, too many spammers, and still the strange issue of 100's of fake subscriptions every month. I still don't know what that's all about.

Anyway, I've decided that since I'll be blogging a lot more as I work on my next book, I'll just do it all over at the Potato Hack blog ( I've just recently gotten the rights to the website, and will redirect the url to the potato hack blog, as well. So that will be my home for the foreseeable future. Already I've begun to remodel.

I'll leave VeggiePharm here in case anyone wants to read...there is a ton of good info to be found in the old posts and especially the comments. One of my favorite commenters through the years has been "Wibur." If he wouldn't have popped up when he did, I would have had to invent him. His journey in healing his gut has been remarkable. Unfortunately, Wilbur has been unable to post here and someone recently asked about his status. Wilbur and I email each other now and then and are Facebook friends. Wilbur sent me an email and asked if I could post it in his name. Instead, I decided to put it here for everyone to see.

See you at the Hacker's Lounge! It's been great. I'm going to miss this place.

From Wilbur:

I’m now at least 5 years in, gauging from old photos. I initially lost 40 lbs, but over the last two years I have acquired 8-10 back. I don’t think that’s bad. In my old photos, I look emaciated. My weight has been stable for at least six months. 

More importantly, I have no inflammation or autoimmunity issues. I have none of the conditions people my age typically complain about. Perfect bathroom habits. Sleep is great. Energy is great. I walk several miles each day. I feel like a teenager. 

I’ve ditched all the purified fibers for natural sources. Sunchoke instead of inulin and green banana instead of potato starch, for instance. It’s been good for me. 

I have a lot of thoughts about diets, and maybe sometime I’ll work them out. But having experienced helplessness and the illusion of willpower, I have some ideas. 

There is no willpower. Our desires are at the mercy of hormones, and our hormones are at the mercy of myriad influences, many outside our control. People often comment on my self control. What keeps you from licking the sidewalk?  Is it self control?  No. Whatever it is, it’s the same thing that would stop me from eating a Snickers bar.  It’s not self control. 

Without getting too far into it, I think Tim is right that perhaps diets should be avoided. Diet in the sense of sacrificing. Remember “don’t think of an elephant?”  You have to think of one to not think of one. Don’t cheat on your diet!  You have to think of cheating first. And thinking of not cheating triggers the same hormones as actually cheating would. So obsessing over not cheating reinforces the rewards of actual cheating. 

It’s a paradox, unless you can’t cheat. How to not cheat? Eat whatever you want. But you have to change what you want. 

I want to point out that what I’m saying relies on my interpretation of two books, “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky, a neuroendocrinologist, and “Deviate” by Beau Lotto, a neuroscientist. Awesome books. 

My thinking, and my experience, is almost anti-diet. Eat what you want. Add to that what you know is good. Vegetables. Mushrooms. Whole Foods of many types. Offal. You are satisfying your immediate desires by eating stuff that currently appeals to you. But you are changing future habits by imagining what the good stuff will do. Both your neurocircuitry and your gut produced hormones will reinforce the idea that good foods will change your wants. I’m eating broccoli and that will be good for me turns into eating broccoli was good for me. It’s the future that matters, not today. 

That’s how I started. I got frustrated at all the conflicting diets, and decided to quit avoiding foods and instead eat good foods. No worries. Soon what I wanted to eat changed. I never have a cheat day. There’s no such thing. 


  1. Well said. I agree, although I had to exclude foods to achieve the ultimate goal of being able to eat "anything" I wanted without breaking open craving wounds which would bleed (and be heeded) for days/weeks. However, the concept still seems similar to yours. I ate whatever I wanted in whole foods and excluded things that triggered me (grains, dairy, any processed foods). Over the years (the last six years), I would excessively eat nuts and peanut butter at times, or even "Paleo" cookies (which never gave me the buzz, although I'd eat tons of them trying to get it), but my health felt better on these indulgences than overdoing it on pizza and pasta and "normal" cookies. And the horrible cravings were not busted open. Now, 6 years into this, I really can easily eat no cookies---or even more impressive, stop at just one! I can't tell you how amazing and reassuring that feels in my mind! And each year eating this real, whole way, I feel more and more distant from the former eating patterns which locked me in. Love the sidewalk licking analogy! Thanks, Wilbur and Tim!

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  3. Hi Wilbur - I don't knock or disagree w/ your switch to sunchokes & green banana flour at all, but interested in knowing why you ditched the potato starch. Personally, I like simplicity & have been using potato starch (3 tbsp maintenance level) in my morning smoothie for 5 1/2 years. Also, I eat cooked/cooled potatoes pretty much every day. Digestion has remained perfect.

  4. Wilbur says (via email): "I have no issue with potato starch. I certainly don’t think it’s a processed food since it can be made at home. I just wanted all my fibers to be bound together with all the other fibers, vitamins, minerals, and such that are part of the original source. I could very easily switch to raw potato, for instance."

  5. Hello Tim!

    Thank you for all your good work - both here and elsewhere! Big fan of your writing and thoughts.

    Looking forward to follow you in the future

    Greetings from Iceland Björn