How To Lose Weight

Adam's first-hand experience
Friday, January 1, 2016, 12:15 PM

Happy New Year's Day!

If you're like most people around the world, you're spending time today planning your resolutions for 2016.

And if you're like most people, 'losing weight' is probably on your list.

Most of us carry more inches around the middle than we'd ideally like. And, as Charles Hugh Smith recently laid out in his latest report, we worry about the long-term health risks that can come with being overweight.

Yet most New Year's weight loss attempts meet with failure, usually after only a few weeks. The truth is: dropping unwanted pounds and keeping them off is hard's doable. In fact, the pathway to achieve a healthy bodyweight is surprisingly straightforward. It just requires disciplined commitment. Weight loss programs overwhelmingly fail because of psychological reasons or misinformation. If you pick a program based on good science -- and keep your mind right while pursuing it -- positive results are inevitable.

In this article, I'm going to recount my own experience from 2015 (with evidence for you to judge) with finally losing the pounds that had for years stubbornly refused to leave my middle. The keys to my success weren't complicated nor expensive. And I firmly believe that anyone, regardless of age or situation, can deploy them to similar results.

It's All About Nutrition

As the title of this section states, losing weight has everything to do with diet. 

Yes, following an active fitness regime is a very important complement (and essential for general health). But as I'll soon show, exercise alone is not effective for material weight loss.

The hard truth is that if you want to lose weight, especially to the point where it will be visibly noticeable, diet is going to be 80% to 90% of the work involved.

Now, that may sound like a downer. No one likes the idea of being on a "diet plan". But I encourage you to look at it from another point of view. This is actually really good news. There are few things you have more control over than what and how much you put in your mouth. You have the agency here. You don't have to rely on anyone else; you don't have to wait to be chosen; you don't have to pass any test to participate -- you have full power to chart your own destiny here.

And you'll find that a weight-loss diet doesn't equate to deprivation and suffering. I'll talk more about this in a moment, but eating healthier often means eating tastier, more satisfying meals. And it can frequently -- and non-intuitively -- mean eating more, not less.

The point here is: Try to put aside your dread. It's not going to help you, and much of what you're fearing is likely wrong.

What To Eat

An important note: I'm going to explain here the kind of diet that I followed in 2015, because it worked. It worked for me, and I've seen it work for nearly a dozen other folks I know who have followed it along with me. I've personally witnessed the transforming results.

What I'm not saying is that this is the only diet for losing weight effectively. Or the best one. There are a number of other plans that are worth consideration. But I know for sure this one works, which gives me the confidence to share it with you.

So, do you have to follow some complicated program made up of pricey powdered shakes or arcane ingredients like panda spleen? No. Not at all.

The simple mnemonic to keep in mind is: the closer to its natural state, the better the food likely is for you.

As gross as this may sound, if it can go rancid within a few days = good. If it can live in your pantry for months (because it's filled with preservatives) = not so good.

You want to eat foods that supply the natural building blocks your body needs to function well: notably protein, saturated fats, fiber, quality carbohydrates, and anti-oxidants.

And you want to minimize the intake of processed foods that trigger your body's insulin response. The worst offenders are refined flours (found in most processed carbohydrates) and refined sugars (found in almost everything).

It's the insulin response that sabotages the efficacy of most diets. When we eat sugars or foods that easily break down into sugars (most carbohydrates), our bodies use these sugars for immediate energy and store any excess sugar along with everything else we've eaten into our muscle and fat cells for use later. Not only that, but as our insulin levels begin to normalize after a sugary meal, a craving for additional sugar occurs which often leads to overeating of unhealthy foods. To add insult to injury, eating sugars/carbs encourages your body to retain water -- leading to additional weight gain.

So, what to eat? I find the guidance offered by Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint diet (quite similar to the Paleo and Zone diets) very useful. I highly recommend using his book The Primal Blueprint Cookbook for meal planning, but the chart below offers an easy-to-understand framework for where to place your focus:

(click on the image for an expanded view)

Animal protein plays a big role in the Primal/Paleo/Zone diets, especially for those engaged in concurrent strength-training. Note the focus on pasture-raised, grass-fed, organic, wild-catch and local sources. Similar to humans, the animals we eat are as healthy as their diets. If animals we eat were not nourished well, how can expect their meat to nourish us any better?

This focus on meat does not mean that vegetarianism and veganism are to be eschewed. There is much evidence for the benefits of plant-based diets -- though those on them do need to pay more attention to ensuring they consume enough protein during the day for healthy body function.

How Much To Eat?

It's tempting to view losing weight as simple math: that to lose weight you just need to eat fewer calories than you burn off.

While that is not necessarily untrue, it can lead to unhealthy decision-making. 

It's important to realize that all calories are not created equal. Intake of "good" calories can actually catalyze weight loss, and conversely, "bad" calories will trigger weight gain.

As for bad calories, the big baddy to watch out for is processed carbs (sugars, grains, etc). Anything that spikes insulin production. The Primal Blueprint program encourages us to consume less than 150 grams of *any* kind of carbs per day:

(click on the image for an expanded view)

Now, if you're like me, you're challenged to think of your food serving sizes in terms of grams. Not to worry.

There are apps out there now that do all the thinking for us. I use MyFitnessPal. You simply type in the food you're about to eat, and it offers you a selection of serving sizes to choose from. Pick one, and all of a sudden the app can tell you how many grams of carbs/fat/protein/etc it has. The app will help you set targets for your daily food intake and track your progress during the day to let you know how little (or how much) you have left in your eating budget. It's a great way to quickly and easily get an exact answer to the question: How much should I eat today?

And there are days where I find it challenging to consume all the app tells me I'm supposed to, especially protein. If anything, there are more days where I feel like I'm eating more than I'd rather vs days where I want to eat more. And this is coming from a guy who really enjoys food.

On top of that, eating such a well-balanced, low-insulin-producing diet is much more sating. Without the swings in blood sugar, hunger cravings nearly disappear. Whereas my eating schedule used to be dictated by how aggressively my stomach demanded to be filled (which I would often try to appease through snacking between meals), now I eat by the clock. It's not uncommon for me to forget about a meal if I get busy with a project, because my stomach rarely reminds me the way it used to.

Key Success Factors

So, I've mentioned several times that this eating approach worked for me. Where's the proof?

The photos below show the before and after.

The "before" photo at left was taken earlier in 2015. At this point, I'd been doing CrossFit for about 6 months -- nearly every day. Leading up to that, I had an active regimen of running, tennis and daily push-ups/sit-ups. In the years prior, I'd run marathons and even a half-Ironman triathlon. The point is, my activity level was quite high and I would claim my fitness level (strength, endurance, etc) was well above average. Yet despite that, I had about 15 pounds I could never seem to fully shake. Exercise alone was simply not enough.

The "after" picture at right was taken approximately 6 months later. My fitness regimen intensity remained the same throughout, as did my general physical performance. But you'll see how the diet plan allowed me to shed those stubborn pounds. It's not that my body became any more defined during that period, it's that the weight hiding it melted off enough to show what was underneath:

So if you're looking to lose weight in 2016 -- in a healthy way -- here are the top steps I would advise taking, based on my own experience:

  • Stop eating refined sugars and processed carbs -- This is the single biggest step to take. Ridding your diet of sugary foods is challenging (because sugar is added to nearly everything), but most of us can live without the worst offenders like sodas and desserts. It's the grains that were the hardest for me to give up. Breads, pastas, cereals -- they taste good, have great mouth feel, and are everywhere in the American diet. But as we've discussed on this site in numerous podcasts, they not only promote weight gain, but they trigger inflammation which fosters joint degradation and cardiovascular disease. If you have yet to rid your diet of sugars/grains and you start doing so now, you'll likely see notable weight loss within 2 weeks from this one step alone.
  • Cut down your dairy and alcohol intake -- You don't have to go to zero, but consume these sparingly. Most of us realize the dangers of too much alcohol, but here's a quick summary of why dairy should be limited in a human adult diet.
  • Eat whole foods -- In a nutshell, that's meats and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruits, little starch and no sugar. The literature on nutrition these days is vast, and can be a little overwhelming for the uninitiated -- but the Primal Blueprint infographics shared above tell you most of what you need to know. Good resources for expanding your nutritional knowledge are our diet-related podcasts with Robb WolfMark Sisson and David Seaman. Nutritional programs worth investigating are the PaleoPrimal and Zone diets. It sure won't hurt to consult with a professional nutritionist to discuss your personal health situation and goals.
  • Track everything you eat during the day -- This is called 'keeping a food diary'. The logic is that recording what you eat makes you much more mindful of what you decide to put in your mouth. This actually works. It forces you to ask yourself: Do I really need/want that? Tracking also helps you monitor how much you've consumed through the day, so that you're in much less danger of mindlessly overeating. You can use a standard notebook as a journal, but I prefer using an app like MyFitnessPal, which I mentioned earlier. It makes it dead easy to not only track your food intake, but to know what type of food (protein, fat, carbs, etc) you have left still to eat in the day vs what you've already hit your daily limit on.
  • Prepare your own meals whenever possible -- Making your own meals has many benefits. First off, it's cheaper than buying prepared food. It also helps you develop a sense for "building a meal" based on its nutrients -- you're choosing foods that will complement each other not just by taste, but also by fuel type. I highly recommend preparing multiple meals at once to eat later in the week, which will minimize the risk of making bad food choices in the moment, because you have smart options at the ready.
  • Eat a light, early dinner -- Willpower acts very much as a muscle does. It gets stronger the more it gets exercised. But it also tires throughout the day, which is why most "bad" eating happens at night, when our mental resolve is sapped. Americans often eat 50% or more of their calories late in the day, going to bed on a full stomach that spends all night figuring out how to store the mass of food just ingested. You should aspire to the opposite. Eat the majority of your calories in the first half of the day while you're active and need energy, and let your digestive system shut down at bedtime without burden. Personally, I found that switching to a light dinner, or sometimes skipping dinner entirely, had one of the biggest impacts on dropping my weight.
  • Recruit a support system -- This is a big one. Studies show that the #1 success factor most correlated with weight loss, particularly weight loss that is maintained once achieved, is the presence of a good support system. If possible, find a few friends who are willing to commit to losing weight along with you. Having people who can commiserate during the tough days, who encourage you when your willpower is wavering and praise you as you make progress, is a HUGE advantage in remaining committed to your diet plan. MyFitnessPal helps with this, allowing you and your friends to track each others' eating habits and offer encouragement. In addition to friends, make sure your family is aware of your goals and has your back. You not only want their emotional support, but you want to make sure that the food choices at your dining table won't be working against your interests.
  • Stop using food as a reward or a social centerpiece -- For many of us, food is more than simply fuel; it's an emotional crutch. We turn to certain meals to reward ourselves, or make us feel better when we're depressed. Food is often used as the reason for gathering together socially. This kind of non-essential eating is so wired into our psyches that it's hard to escape. But it doesn't have to be that way -- we can replace food's non-nutritive role with other substitutes. Oftentimes, eating can be replaced by another activity without any loss of social enjoyment or self-soothing. Instead of that big group Sunday brunch, why not invite everyone on a hike? Bring along a picnic of sensible foods and leave the Belgian waffles behind. With a little practice, you'll find plenty of ways to exchange unneeded calories for memory-making experiences.
  • Weigh yourself/take measurements regularly -- As they say in business, "if it doesn't get measured, it doesn't get moved". Take a before photo. Record your weight each week. As you begin to see results, you'll be inspired to commit further to the program to protect the progress you've made. And if you're not seeing progress after a few weeks, there's likely a flaw in your approach. Take an honest hard look at your behavior -- are you following all of the steps above, without sabotaging yourself anywhere? If you really believe you are, then consult a nutritionist or a physician -- they can help assess the situation, or determine if a larger health issue may be at play.
  • Replace your clothes as you lose weight -- As you lose inches around your waist, invest in new clothes. Not only will they make your progress more visible, but they'll serve as an "early detection system" to warn you if you start lapsing in your eating behavior. Myself, I've dropped from a size 36 waist to a 33. If my new pants ever start feeling tight, it's an immediate signal to me to pay more attention to my food habits. Usually within a day or two of mindful focus, the tightness recedes. If I were wearing my old pants, I'm sure I'd mindlessly loosen my belt one more notch and not notice the reversion until I'd packed on several more pounds.
  • Don't let perfect be the enemy of 'good enough' -- Keep in mind that Rome wasn't built in a day. Nor will your new body. The process you're undertaking needs to be sustainable. It shouldn't feel like a death-march, nor an "all or nothing" venture. You will make mistakes. You will have set-backs. You will be at birthday parties where it's expected you'll have a bite of cake, or raise a glass in toast. Build in an expectation of and tolerance for these eventualities and don't let them derail your commitment to progress. The objective is to move forward more than you move back. If you do, you'll lose the weight over time, in a natural-feeling procession that will be manageable to maintain.

That's it. If you can follow the steps above with discipline, the weight will come off.

Of course, your progress will be materially helped by concurrently engaging in:

  • a fitness regime (especially focused on constantly varied functional movement at relatively high intensity)
  • stress management
  • practicing good sleep hygene

all topics we've discussed previously here at Peak Prosperity, and plan to bring you further insights on in 2016.

For those of you with New Year's weight loss resolutions: good luck! Please consider us and the readership as part of your support community -- let us know how you're doing and lean on us for any insights and encouragement you may need in your journey.

Happy 2016!!

~ Adam Taggart

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Uncletommy's picture
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Posts: 306
Grow what you eat

If you live in a house with central heat and have a window that faces somewhat south, you can start small and work your way up to a local, healthy diet with a minimum of work. Not only will you save money and achieve the results that Adam has, you will begin the journey to understanding what it means to be connected to your food. 

You know those green onions that you tend to discard after you've removed the tops? Get yourself a flower pot and stick the bottom portion in a bit of potting soil and place them on the window still. Voila, instant garden. How about a few lettuce seeds in a pot in another window spot? Yup, that works too.

While I don't presume to think I will provide all the food my wife and I will need over the course of the winter, I do believe that if everyone of you reading this, began starting something on this scale, you would discover that "Resilience" isn't just a web page at PP. If you're worried about the floods in Britain, tornadoes in Texas, floods in Paraguay and general climate change, this might be the kick in the pants we all need to actually start doing something about it. You might just discover a passion you never knew you had. Bon appetite and Happy New Year.

pinecarr's picture
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Re beans and legumes

Adam or others-

   Why are beans and legumes not included in the Paleo diet (if I have that right)?  Is it because they are higher in carbs?  And/or because they were not part of earlier mans' diet?  I guess the fact that they are not included kind of bums me out from a sustainability perspective; one of the few things I have been very successful at growing, and that has the potential to provide a good source of calories in case we need to become self-sufficient, have been several varieties of beans that  can be dried/saved.  Of course, if TSHTF to the point where we need to subsist off of our gardens, I guess stretching the rules on the Paleo diet will be the least of my worries.  But I'd be curious to hear yours and others thoughts on this, as it does speak to one potential supporting-beam in our framework for sustainable food sources.


Edit: Here's one reference I just found that is relevant to this discussion:

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Auto-immune response triggers

Pinecarr --

Legumes and beans are generally avoided largely for two reasons:

  • Their protein structure is somewhat toxic and triggers the body's autoimmune response. Over prolonged consumption this can lead to inflammation, leaky gut issues, protease inhibition, and autoimmune disease.
  • Their nutrient content is not as high as the other foods contained in the Primal Blueprint pyramid above (in fact, beans and legumes contain so-called 'anti-nutrients'). So the benefits from eating legumes are usually overwhelmed by their shortcomings.

Here's an in-depth article on the topic by Loren Cordain, developer of the Paleo Diet. And another that explains the same in more layman terms.

The Cordain piece includes his rebuttal to Chris Kresser's 'softer' stance on legumes, which is based on a "if your body can tolerate them, they're not too bad for you" outlook. The Cordain/Kresser debate shows that there is room in the paleo framework for "grey areas" for science to argue over. But even Kresser himself takes care to point out that he is "not a big advocate" of legumes. 

Sorry to bear the news that one of the easier foods to store/grow isn't as nutritious as we'd like. That said, I wouldn't treat beans/legumes as poison. Given their storability, I'd continue to include them in emergency rations. If it came down to eating beans or not during a crisis, I'd for sure eat the beans! 

jandeligans's picture
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Beans are good for longevity study shows

With all due respect Adam, I applaud your weight loss and attention to nutrition. However, I find the Paleo Diet to be not very scientific. Personally, although it works for weight loss since you are cutting out the refined sugars, I think it is mainly a fad that won't last long. And the world cannot really supply meat to everyone as the bulk of your calories without completely destroying the ecosystem. The essay by Loren Cordain contains lots of big buzz words but not much that convinces me that he has proven what he is saying scientifically. For example, calling any food that contains phytates as "toxic" is popular these days in some groups but is not accurate.

Here is a quote from Andrew Weil:  "Phytates (and phytic acid) are antioxidant compounds found in whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The chief concern about phytates is that they can bind to certain dietary minerals including iron, zinc, manganese and, to a lesser extent calcium, and slow their absorption. However, the presence of phytates in foods really isn't the worry that some individuals believe it to be. (I've been asked in the past about the phytates in soy and whether they hinder mineral absorption. There is no scientific data suggesting that eating whole soy foods leads to mineral deficiencies in humans)

You also should be aware that phytates themselves have some health benefits, including anti-inflammatory effects. In laboratory research, phytates have helped normalize cell growth and stopped the proliferation of cancer cells. They also may help prevent cardiovascular disease and lower a food's glycemic load." -Andrew Weil

And here's a recent study of multiple cultures and people who achieve extreme longevity. They studied what were the common factors and guess what? Bean eating was one of the constants. The longest lived people of all the various world's diets includes daily consumption of beans and always low amounts of meat - the opposite of the Paleo Diet. Hmmm....

pinecarr's picture
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Thanks for your response, Adam!

I appreciate the reference to Loren Cordain's article discussing legumes and beans (in relation to the Paleo Diet), and his rebuttal to Chris Kresser's softer stance on them.  I gave them a quick read, but will need to read them more thoroughly when I have a few more neurons firing. 

From a practical standpoint, I will probably have to retain beans as a renewable aspect of my food sustainability, for now; at least until I am able to establish a viable alternative, like raising livestock and poultry.

Thanks again for your quick and informative response, Adam! 

Edit: Jandeligans, thanks also for your contribution to this discussion.  Interesting!

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Beans are central to my plans of gaining my freedom by decreasing my consumption. To that end I have Rose Elliott's Bean Book. Beans, Sauerkraut and protein. However they do not agree with me. 

So I sprout them first. This changes them from a seed into a plant. It also decreases certain sugars that the seed has available for energy when it germinates which ferment in your gut. However they still don't agree with me.

So I only make up a batch once a week which lasts two days. The rest of the time I rely on protein and sauerkraut and oats. The oats is in the whole berry, groats. There is a 1200% markup between the groat and the oat. Just for milling it. Nice work if you can get it. I use a Messerschmit grinder as it works well with the boat.

I attack any salad bowl that comes within range. 

The oats porridge is not your standard bowl of gruel. It has a large mound of linseed, sunflower and almond meal on top (LSA). You've got to learn to love your liver. (Sandra Cabot's book.)

I read the ingredients of every food item I buy. Sugar and transfats are put back on the shelves. 

Curcurmin has a hallowed place in the ship's stores.

It still does not agree with me. 

Michael_Rudmin's picture
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Couple additions

Couple of additional comments:

1) if you lose significant stomach fat, work your stomach muscles but watch out for hernias.
2) Don't lose more than a pound a week. Losing too much too fast can be dangerous. I like to set a weight target each week, and when I hit it, bounce off it slightly.
3) raw veggies, and especially pumpkin seeds, are really useful to weight loss.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Intelligence gain.

Naturally as you lose weight your brain to bodyweight ratio will change in your favor. You will become more intelligent.

Ask any anthropologist. 

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Posts: 2479
You are welcome to your opinion

Jandeligans -

You are very welcome to have your own opinion. I'm not looking to change it.

Just know that for every pro-legume quote you can find, I can match you with those from the anti- side, whether from "alternative" sources like the Paleo enthusiasts, or establishment voices like the FDA.

From the FDA Poisonous Plant Database:

TITLE: Significance for humans of biologically active factors in soybeans and other food legumes. 
FDA #: F19803 
ABSTRACT: Among the many biologically active factors present in the soybean, only protease inhibitors (PI) have been shown to exert significant adverse effects on animals consuming diets containing soybean protein. Evidence is presented to suggest that (a) PI are only partially responsible for the poor nutritive value of inadequately processed soybeans, (b) low levels of PI are relatively harmless to animals, (c) human trypsin is only weakly inhibited by PI, and (d) the human pancreas is probably insensitive to the hypertrophic effects of PI. Parelleling the wide spread distribution of PI in the plant kingdom are the so called phytohemagglutinins or lectins. Unlike the lectin present in soybeans which appears to have only a marginal effect on the nutritional quality of the protein, the lectin of the common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) is quite toxic. Moreover, the major storage protein of such beans is quite resistant to digestion unless denatured by heat, thus emphasizing the importance of adequate processing of those legumes when used in the human diet. Although goiter inducing compounds are present in most cruciferous plants and cyanide producing substances may be found in cassava and lima beans, traditional methods of preparation and present technology have served to minimize any harmful effects that may accompany the ingestion of these foods by man. Brief mention will also be made of two human diseases, lathyrism and favism, associated with the consumption of Lathynrs sativus and Vicia faba, respectively, their causative agents and mechanism of action. Although there are numerous examples of so called toxic constituents in legumes, they nevertheless have provided a valuable source of protein to man over the centuries. This can be attributed, in part, to the fact that man has learned how to detoxify them by suitable preparative measures. The varied nature of our diet also minimizes the contribution of a toxicant from any one foodstuff. Nevertheless, there is the ever present possibility that the prolonged consumption of a particular legume that may be improperly processed could bring to the surface toxic effects that otherwise would not be apparent. As the shortage of protein becomes more acute, it is not unlikely that much of the population of the world will be faced, in the future, with a more limited selection of protein foods, most of which will be of plant origin and, hence, potential carriers of toxic constituents. The food scientist should at least be cognizant of such a possibility and be prepared to apply his knowledge and skill to meeting this challenge.


While I recognize that the FDA abstract above does say that we can largely detoxify legumes via "suitable preparative measures", it begs the question: Why bother? If there are other forms of protein readily available to us with higher nutritive value and without the toxicity concerns, what are the big selling points of beans/legumes for a healthy diet?

But I didn't write this article to convince folks to swear off legumes. In fact, I didn't mention them at all in the original post. If you or anyone else who enjoys eating them want to make them a component of your diet, go for it. As I wrote to Pinecarr "I wouldn't treat beans/legumes as poison".

Same thing for those who want to pursue a plant-based only diet: go for it. I already mentioned that I agree there are compelling reasons to consider doing so. As I wrote in the original post, I'm not saying the diet outlined above is the only one to pursue to lose weight, or even the best one. I'm simply stating it's one that I know for sure works. And, in my personal assessment, it's well-grounded by scientific evidence (which you can choose to accept or not) as well as healthy living. Of course, you are more than welcome to follow a different path. 

jtwalsh's picture
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Posts: 254
Happy New Year

Arthur:  Sometimes your posts drive me crazy, then you post something that stretches my brain or something that is just completely witty or brilliant..

Don't ever stop. 

Happy New Year!


Kim L. Law's picture
Kim L. Law
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jandeligans wrote: With all

jandeligans wrote:

With all due respect Adam, I applaud your weight loss and attention to nutrition. However, I find the Paleo Diet to be not very scientific. Personally, although it works for weight loss since you are cutting out the refined sugars, I think it is mainly a fad that won't last long.

It works but it's not scientific. Hmm, I guess it's between something that is known to work versus the faith of "science"; I think I'll take the former.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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I was of cause addressing the morality of eating eating Sperm Whales. I knew you would get it.

msnyc's picture
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How to REALLY lose weight.

If you care about pollution and how your diet effects the planet you should try a plant-based vegan lifestyle, not eat MORE meat.

Animal production is destroying the planet. Rainforests are being bulldozed to create grazing land. Methane from factory farms releases far more C02 into the environment than cars and wastes thousands of gallons of water per pound of finished meat.

And thanks to the Trans-Pacific-Partnership we now will be exporting meat created with our scarce natural resources overseas to enrich agriculture conglomerates while polluting our environment. 

If you eat meat because you believe you need protein to be fit, check out the 'World fittest man" Rich Roll, ultra-marathon-runner Scott Jerek or most other vegans who are slimmer and healthier than most meat eaters. 

Why support an industry that deceives consumers, pollutes the environment, exploits workers and is horribly cruel to animals?

Here is a documentary on YouTube that will explain the environmental consequences of eating meat for FREE. And some other links of interest if you're interested.

Yoxa's picture
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Posts: 229
Quote: Naturally as you lose

 Naturally as you lose weight your brain to bodyweight ratio will change in your favor. You will become more intelligent.

That's a cheery thought, but it assumes that your brain manages not to lose anything. ;-)

Kim L. Law's picture
Kim L. Law
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Posts: 19
The elephant in the room...

The elephant in the room is overpopulation. Blaming meat consumption for environmental problems just don't make sense. Carnivores have been living on earth far before humans did and no environmental damage happened. The problem is the unnatural production of meat (thanks to oil) needed to feed these many people.

Assuming that you were somehow successful with your go vegan campaign and half the non-vegans switch to vegan diets but you continue to allow human population to grow. When population doubles in about 50 years. then what? You are back to square one.


msnyc wrote:

If you eat meat because you believe you need protein to be fit, check out the 'World fittest man" Rich Roll, ultra-marathon-runner Scott Jerek or most other vegans who are slimmer and healthier than most meat eaters.

I'm most certain that I need protein to be fit. I am extremely skeptical that Scott Jerek did it without any protein consumption.

Jokes aside, I want to discuss the health benefits of vegan vs. non-vegan diets. Considering the fact that humans cannot derive all our nutritional needs from plants like herbivores can. I am seriously doubtful that vegan diets are the OPTIMAL diet for humans.

Vitamin B12 is only produced by microbes. As such all vegans have to obtain this nutrient from non-vegan sources. Plants also often do not have essential amino acids that are in proportion to what humans need, and vegans have to carefully stagger vegetables to avoid nutritional deficiency.

These facts alone should be enough to suggest that vegan diets are not the best diet for humans. However we are only considering the nutritional sciences that we know about now. There may be vitamins and nutrients that we have yet to discover. Omnivorous diet may confer additional health benefits that we do not know about. I can assure you that a vegan diet will not be superior to omnivorous diet simply because humans are not herbivores and cannot derive all nutritional need from plants.

I have not heard of any disease or nutritional problems caused by moderate meat consumption, like B12 deficiency, essential amino acid deficiencies, gluten intolerance or leaky gut for that matter. It will take more than a few scare videos about environmental impact of meat consumption and success stories on vegan diets to prove to me that vegan diet is superior to an omnivorous diet that match human physiology.

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Too much dairy

Hmmm.  Maybe I'm eating too much dairy?

Here is what I eat on average each day:

  • 12 oz: whole milk yogurt (I make it myself with [unfortunately] pasteurized milk from a small local dairy that sells the yellowest butter I've ever seen.  I generally make it without repasteurizing within 48 hours of that batch's first appearance in my food coop's fridge.
  • 2 oz creme fraiche (again made myself, but the source isn't quite a pure as the yogurt - probably significant grain feeding).
  • 2 oz cheese - mostly raw made with milk from good sources.
  • 1/2 oz butter - that good yellow butter mentioned above.

That adds up to:

  • 57g milk fat (500 calories, 25% of my daily calories - wow!).
  • 32g protein - a significant portion of my daily protein.
  • hard to tell about carbs, lactose - probably not much lactose (it's all either fermented or it's butter/cream), but somewhat more carbs.

I read the article Adam linked to.  It mentioned acne as a potential sign of dairy issues.  I do seem to have a mild case of persistent acne on my butt.  It could be from too much sitting at my desk job, but it could also be a symptom of too much dairy consumption.  Hmmm.

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Just sharing what worked for me and what I learned.

"The elephant in the room is overpopulation. Blaming meat consumption for environmental problems just don't make sense. Carnivores have been living on earth far before humans did and no environmental damage happened."

Of course, animal farming caused less pollution when people raised and killed their own animals but It's a proven fact, and there is no doubt, that animal consumption and specifically factory farming causes serious environmental damage. Have you ever drove past a cow or pig farm?

I forget the exact stat in the Cowspracy clip I posted that I'm sure you didn't watch but most of the farm land in this country is used to grow feed for livestock, not people. 

And of course vegans eat protein! Its a popular misconception that vegans don't get enough B12 or protein. I I've never heard of a vegan with a protein deficiency but I do know meat eaters that have high cholesterol, are overweight or have diabetes. These aren't problems faced by vegans. I do add nutritional yeast to savory dishes and according to my latest blood work with an integrative medicine doctor my blood work was excellent.

If you look around the world you can clearly see that countries that eat the least animal products weight less and live longer. Google the China Study.

If you look at animals that do eat meat, they have sharp teeth to kill and tear animals apart. They eat the guts, lick up the warm blood and can digest raw meat, eating all parts of the animal. Most humans would be repulsed seeing this, not salivating. Humans need to properly cook animals to avoid getting sick. Put a starving child in a crib with an apple and a bunny and I bet it will play with the bunny and eat the apple.

Here's some more links, not to scare you but just to share. As a runner, I went vegan to improve my athletic performance and honestly I have never had more energy, been fitter and felt more alert and alive than I feel now. Believe me, I loved steak and burgers but these books convinced me to at least try a plant-based diet and decide for myself. I'm not saying it was easy but it totally transformed my life!

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Dairy: 6 Reasons You Should Avoid It at all Costs

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Arthur Robey wrote: It still

Arthur Robey wrote:

It still does not agree with me. 

Try digestive enzyme.   Regarding inflammation and beans: my Dad and my friend both stopped eating legumes/beans/peanuts then inflammatory hand aches went away.

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Fat Calories Ratio?

Adam, what is your diet's total calories per day and what ratio of those calories come from fat?  Thanks!

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Depends on the day

Kugs -

Total calories depends on the day, but usually ranges between 2,000-3,000 calories. I eat on the high end if it's been a strength training (i.e. heavy lifting) day.

Total % from fat varies, too, but I'd say it ranges between 40-55%

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Fat Loss narratives, science and experience

Thought I'd wade into the fray on the subject of diet and weight loss.   I think I should be able piss off just about everybody!  

A bit of background to start with.  I am a vegetarian and have been for 45 years,  I spent several years as a vegan about the time I was initially exposed to the China study proponents, forks over knives documentary  etc.   I had however become fat and unhealthy by eating too much sugar and grains and the processed food typical in the SAD or standard American Diet.     This last year I finally got serious about my health, and modified my diet and exercise.

  I successfully lost 50 lbs of Fat and gained 6 pounds of lean body mass.  In a relatively short time frame ( 5 mos)   In doing this I spent an inordinate amount of time researching diets, human metabolism, exercise etc.From low carb, to low fat, to Paleo, to ketogenic, cyclical ketogenic, to vegan, vegetarian, etc.   

Here are my takeaways,  Bear in mind.  As Adam pointed out,  I am not trying to change anyones belief system  you are welcome to disagree with me.

First,  multiple disparate approaches will work even if not necessarily working for the assumed underlying cause.   This is why both heavy meat (paleo) and whole food (vegan) diets can have fat loss/ health benefits.

The standard trope its Calories in vs Calories out.  or a "calorie is a calorie" is a false premise.  While the overarching balance of calories ingested vs. burned  needs to be in some deficit for weight loss. the type and quality of calories will have a significant effect on hormonal process involved in fat mobilization, efficiency of  fat burning, and probably most significantly satiety and control of hunger.  This is why it is easier to lose and maintain weight on  low carb high fat diet than a low fat high carb diet. even though it is possible to lose fat on both given a caloric deficit.

The body of existing nutritional science is not currently very well developed.  Most, (not all) studies that exist and are quoted endlessly to support opposing viewpoints are flawed, not well controlled, small samples etc. 

This unfortunate circumstance coupled with the incredible complexity of humans including variables between, genetics, epigenetics, individual variations and adaptations hereditary influences etc etc.  make it extremely difficult to offer singular prescriptive advise.   Case in point what works for a moderately overweight individual will be different than the dynamics for a metabolically deranged severely obese individual or why people of Japanese ancestry process, white rice differently than Europeans

This is why it is important to treat your own fat loss regime as a controlled experiment and track, monitor and adjust as you proceed.   It is extremely useful to start with an accurate body composition analysis.  the gold standard  is  a Dexa scan but a  water tank or less intrusively an "Inbody" bio impedance scale available at some health clubs and Dr's offices can give you similarly accurate level information.

Diets as Narratives. 

Humans tend to process and transmit information as narratives.   Narratives tend to take on religious dimensions and become infused with faith and even morality  Veganisim and Paleo being prime examples.   In my opinion they both contain elements of truth, but neither are  complete or definitive.

I am a vegetarian, and believe in many of the associated moral principles as well as the practical environmental ones but despite that I have come to believe that animal protein is a superior form of protein.  I agree that the primary issue we face as a species is population overshoot as a function of excessive (oil ) energy supply.  I believe humans are naturally omnivorous. Yet I'm still a vegetarian.

That said,  there are some universal principles that fall under the heading of common sense and are effective regardless of the 'Narrative' of diet you select. 

Eat at a calorie deficit.   Tracking caloric and macro nutrients using tool like my fitness pal which Adam mentioned is very useful.  You don't need to do this for ever, a couple weeks to a month will calibrate your sense of proportion and knowledge of caloric content and density of foods you eat and allow you to do transition to a natural intuitive control.

As everybody notes.  Eat whole foods,  the further away from processing the better.

Eat a significantly lower ratio of carbs, to fat

Don't eat processed vegetable oils corn safflower soybean etc.  Instead,  Coconut oil, olive oil, avacado

Trans Fats are very bad

Saturated fat is not unhealthy despite that being an article of faith in our culture. The science behind that was wrong.   Vegans pointing out that meat eaters have clogged arteries and vegans don't, confuses causality. 

The primary issue behind heart disease, strokes and a host of other diseases such as Alzheimers, is inflammation, due to the repeated roller coaster of hormonal insult due to consumption of sugar and sugar like ( processed grain) foods.

Some thoughts on exercise for weight loss and health.

While cardio vascular or aerobic fitness is an important component of health.  As it is practiced for weight loss it is often counter productive.

Intense cardio  increases appetite and makes dietary control difficult.

Running. especially long distance running is counterintuitively  unhealthy if you factor the aggregate effects of inflammation and joint damage over time. ( Btw I know this will piss off runners but look at the body composition of heavy duty long distance  runners, like Rich Roll they are skinny but not in a good way.) If you have to run consider short burst high intensity  interval hill sprints. 

For fat loss,  brisk walking or hiking up hill is much more conducive.  Try to hit 45 minutes per session and 3- 4 days per week alternating with resistance training.

Resistance training is truly the fountain of youth.  But here also moderation is the key.  3 days per week,  30 to 40 minutes is  enough to preserve lean body mass while losing fat.  Concentrate on proper form and slow movement.  Both your muscles and your central nervous system needs adequate recovery between sessions

When you've hit your body fat goals, you can increase the volume of resistance training but maintain the adequate amount of rest. Go for continutiy and balance over the long term.

Intense often competitive regimes like crossfit can be counterproductive in the long run with potential for injury and over training. This is less obvious to younger people whose capacity for recovery from abuse is much higher. 

That said the benefit of sustained resistance training as a component of lifestyle  can not be overstated.  to the extent that you find a social support network(like crossfit does  that supports that objective it can be a net positive. 

Finally,  not mentioned here so far in the fat loss game is the concept of intermittent fasting which has a variety of modalities,  but at it's simplest is the concept of not eating breakfast and extending the natural nighttime fast until sometime in the early afternoon or even evening.  This has the effect of increasing the effective presence of human growth hormone for longer periods which is conducive to fat mobilization.  It also helps with issue of satiety and psychological fulfillment by allowing one to consume the same amount of calories but in larger portions by concentrating them into fewer meals.  Humans surprising adapt well, to this regime and people will often not experience hunger until the delayed meal time arrives.  Note that woman do not adapt as well to this type of eating, although many are able to at least move breakfast until lunch time.


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Sucking the marrow from the bone.

When you get to my age, you look around you for examples of people who are immortal so that you can follow their example. They are in thin supply. 

The question then becomes,  OK, I've made it this far,  now what? If I am to be denied quantity then I must concentrate on quality. Work really lowers the quality of life. Therefore I eat cheap most of the time. But when I eat out I suck the marrow the bone.

The reason why diet wars rage, my profound ignorance informs me, is that assumptions are leapt to.

You are not what you think you are. That is your ego leading you astray.  You are an ever changing walking swamp.  Change your gut biome and voila, you are a completely different walking swamp. 

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Quote: the type and quality

 the type and quality of calories will have a significant effect on hormonal process involved in fat mobilization, efficiency of  fat burning, and probably most significantly satiety and control of hunger.

This matches my experience. I finally started losing excess weight when I stopped trying to eat low-fat. Influenced by the Wheat Belly diet, I focused instead on eliminating wheat from my diet, and that  was the first approach that ever worked for me.

I'm down over eighty pounds from what I weighed three years ago.

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80 lbs!

Strewth! 80 lbs!
Congratulations Yoxa.
You are half the man you used to be.

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Eat what your ancesters ate...the

"blues zones" ave been eating and living the same for centuries...Ain't changing  mares diet. She's from Suffolk England.

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Out on a limb here...

Setting aside the many elements of diet and the lively debates (important) for a moment, I just want to point out that I recently posted photos of my relatively trim 62-year old frame because Adam posted his (much younger) fit frame, and now he's posted new photos, so now I need an excuse to post more of mine... (all in fun, forgive the light tone...)

On a serious note, it seems the "blue zone" active-elderly tend home gardens, so they're eating a lot of fresh vegetables and those veggies probably have a lot of micro-nutrients.

Another point: the protein content of many veggies is often overlooked.

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Cage match!

charleshughsmith wrote:

Setting aside the many elements of diet and the lively debates (important) for a moment, I just want to point out that I recently posted photos of my relatively trim 62-year old frame because Adam posted his (much younger) fit frame, and now he's posted new photos, so now I need an excuse to post more of mine... (all in fun, forgive the light tone...)

forget the pics  l want to see a cage match between you and Adam,  For what it's worth I've got my money on you Charles due to the cunning that comes with age!


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I Agree

mememonkey wrote:

For what it's worth I've got my money on you Charles due to the cunning that comes with age!

I agree! Can I bet against myself??


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Thanks, Adam

And the rest of you working with this topic. Really good and timely reminders.

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I was on a Paleo diet for a

I was on a Paleo diet for a while and have since switched based on further research into the subject and other insights as you've noted above. It would be great if Peak Prosperity would interview "experts" on other diets or approaches. Losing weight is one thing but being healthy is another.

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if cunning means knowing one's limits...

I'm afraid my cunning boils down to knowing one's limits...

I would gladly engage in a "how fast can you eat an organic lamb burger topped with local cheese" contest with Adam... everyone wins!

Actually i did ask Adam to be my sparring partner for some slow-mo martial arts moves I've been working on. His fencing experience turned out to be more useful than I'd anticipated. This reinforced the core truth of martial arts and indeed life itself: There are no perfect attacks or defenses, everything has a trade-off, a risk and an opening for an opponent--just like any investment, career move, etc. Flexibility, adaptability and fast learning are what counts in the real-life cage match--us against the world.

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Elimination of Wheat

Thank you for the discussion of diet, exercise, and health.  I will reiterate here that, based on my own research and personal experience, the single most powerful change that most folks can make in their diet is the total elimination of wheat.  Simply stated, in many of us wheat can set off a cascade of effects, starting in the gut, that can lead to many of the afflictions talked about herein of an inflammatory or inflammatory/autoimmune nature.  The best route, as advocated by the author of the book,  "WheatBelly", cardiologist William Davis, is to eliminate wheat and reduce all grains as much as possible.

For me, all joint problems (most significant knee related) have receded after three years gluten free.  Not a twinge.

While some people can reach excellent health while moderating wheat intake, I could not.  This is because, for many of us, wheat is also addictive in nature (I am not kidding);

what reversal of facial inflammation looks like

January 3,
Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 10.17.20 AM

Michelle shared her photos of her 7-month Wheat Belly journey reflecting the loss of 52 pounds and oodles of inflammation.

I just want to say how thankful I am for Wheat Belly!

“I’ve struggled with my weight all my life. In June, I decided to give Wheat Belly a try, and I’ve never looked back. The first couple of weeks were hard, but now I find it so easy. The amazing thing to me is that my sweet cravings are gone.

“I’ve lost 52 pounds so far and plan to keep going. Thanks so much!

Look at the change in Michelle’s face: thinner, yes, but look around the eyes and the size of the eyes themselves—less edema, larger eyes. These are the signature facial changes we see in people following the Wheat Belly lifestyle who reject the inflammation and water retention of wheat and grains.

This, of course, happens as a body-wide process. Besides the wonderful facial changes, Michelle has also likely experienced relief from edema in the ankles and calves, reversal of joint inflammation, reversal of brain inflammation (that leads over time to dementia), and reversal of gastrointestinal inflammation/irritation. And she’s no longer a victim of the cravings for sweets that we call a “wheat tooth” because it is caused by exposure to the opiates that develop with partial digestion of the gliadin protein of wheat and related (“prolamin”) proteins of other grains, now banished from her diet.

Many physicians advise high-dose Crestor, a statin drug, for inflammation’s contribution to cardiovascular risk, or non=steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for joint inflammation, or any number of other drugs, many quite toxic, all to “treat” the consequences of eating wheat and grains, the most inflammatory components of the modern diet. But YOU have the real solution to body inflammation right in your own hands.

I thought that I lacked willpower before going gluten free, but I was in fact subject to a craving set off in the opiate receptors of my brain.  This is not true for everyone, but it sure was for me.  The fact is, most doctors still believe that the only folks who need to avoid wheat are those who test positive for celiac.  This is simply untrue and a great disservice to many.  

Read through the personal experiences of people who have gone gluten and grain free here;

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Corporate sponsored Food religion kills humanity

Well done Adam. 

Clearly food like every other religion is another fomenter of societal killers. 

From my own personal experience (very much like Adams) I managed to add muscle while reducing fat percentage significantly just by eating the right foods and NEVER feeling hungry.  When you experience such profound changes and results, you absolutely know you've found the right diet, at which point you can't help but be angry at the BS the world has been selling you while encouraging you to poison yourself for most of your life.

Sadly the "RIGHT diet" is going to piss off the vegans. sugar junkies and most of the commercial food industry.  Worse the "RIGHT diet"  probably isn't sustainable in a world of 9 billion people or even a third of that number.

For those that have first hand experience the simple facts become obvious: The human metabolism is ONLY designed to process fat and protein. The body simply does NOT regulate carbohydrates very well.  That's because the humans we evolved from didn't need to; fruit and carbohydrates were seasonal and sporadic,  It was the fish, meat and animal fats from hunting that kept our ancestors alive - insects as well in a pinch.  When you understand biology and eat right the truth becomes blindingly obvious.  Fruit trees evolved NOT to make us healthy but to make us HUNGRY.  So we would eat more of their offerings and serendipitously spread their seeds in our feces far and wide - look it up that's how fruit trees work symbiotically with a lot of animal life.

So the revelation is:  grains, potatoes fruit sugars, confuse the bodies ability to balance calories.  In addition a lot of grains (and some vegetables) contain glutens, phytic acids and lectins that harm the gut, affect absorption or lead to auto-immune disease because of their inflammatory effects on the body's connective and other tissue.  I know this to be true "hands on" so this is NOT another example of an applied belief system or conviction by denial.

It is only tradition or religion that tells us to eat grains like horses.  Grains/agriculture made the first farmers rich and allowed large cities to survive (until the water ran out).  But the end result of agriculture is subjugation, wealth disparity and mediocre health.  All the things the human race has come to know and love today more than ever.

The irony is that as humans discover how to eat properly they will quickly find there isn't actually enough food for everyone.  Fresh water is on the decline, pastures are polluted, food practices (like feeder lots) make food toxic, oceans are ruined, the fish are contaminated so our essential source of omega 3 (which has *profoundly* beneficial effects in a high fat/protein, zero carb diet) is becoming unsustainable.  That latter fact alone spells doom for humanity.

Its all just more evidence demonstrating that the human species has lost its way, has been lost for a while.... There is no hope except maybe for a few pockets of lucky communities.  The cruel truth is that we can't all be lucky someone has to suffer - that means billions and its disgusting but then humans put themselves in this position because of under utilization of higher brain function. 

Humans are just gorillas in the mist, animals first, sentients second.

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something lighthearted before we all bear down...

cheeky Jan

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uummmm, bacon

I'll stop sharing this someday.....Aloha, Steve.

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Could not agree more If you

Could not agree more

If you think about it, humans have been on this planet for some time. Their diet has changed dramatically especially in the last fifty years. Their ancestors are an interesting (and relevant) thing to look at. Many of them can recognize and eat HUNDREDS of edible plants. Above everything else, DIVERSITY, is the key to nutrition, health and survival. It not only makes common sense but is part of most natural structures...including economic ones. Notice that permaculture may be our only way out of this and that is simply mimicking the diversity and resilience of the natural systems.

There are plenty of studies out there that follow folks with above average longevity and low meat, diverse plant diets are indeed the overwhelming, recurring factor. I recommend an older documentary called "Food Matters" for starters. I think there is a BBC documentary out there called How to Live to 101

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Cows Save the Planet

To the "meat murders the planet" meme, let me add:

"Annuals murder the planet, perennials and grazing  animals save the planet".  Vegans and other annualholics should consider themselves unindicted co-conspirators.   OK, just kidding..

Mark Shepard promotes a model of permaculture that could replace current agrobiz , while rebuilding soil, sequestering carbon, managing water, and improving human health.  Here he makes his pitch:

Why should Vegans should care about annuals vs perennials?

Shepard bangs on about the evils of annual plant agriculture.  Briefly, annuals role in nature is rapid colonization of disturbed soil, so they grow fast and produce a lot of seed. Unlike perennials they ultimately damage the soil.  An annual based culture eventually (he argues) destroys the soil.  In our partnership with annuals, we've come to regard routinely damaging the soil (plowing) as normal and necessary.

Once our soil is gone,  we have to move on, maybe invade Australia and drive Arthur off his land :).  Or substitute expensive, petroleum based inputs to our own damaged soil. 

The alternative is a mostly perennial based system, integrating insights of Yeoman for water, J.Russel Smith for tree crops,  Savory for grazing, and Morrison for Permaculture integration.  He argues this can outproduce the current system, acre for acre, input for input and is more resilient in every way as it just mimicks nature.  Annuals are grown as the soil tolerates.  Soil gets better and better, not worse and worse.

Of course, the worst is probably oil-based annual production shipped cross-country to feed-lots, to produce meat shipped back cross country to land, attractively shrink-wrapped in my grocery cart.  Vegans and others are absolutely correct how awful this system is, but the same system to produce tofu is pretty bad too. 

I'm basically a suburban professional who loves his shrink-wrapped meat, so......  

You PP farmers out there, do these ideas pass the smell test?  Inquiring minds want to know. 

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too busy to type

but, in a short answer, yes, it passes the smell test. there is alot of research that red meat has bad rap secondary to the CAFO model. The american bison did much to sequester th carbon being burnt by annual grains farmers to put weight on the CAFO product.

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I am on a LCHF diet...

and it works for me.

It is a bit different as the Paleo but the main features are still to eat less carbohydrates. I live in Thailand and rice is a staple food. I slowly gained weight over the years. Getting rid of that weight was as good as impossible on other kinds of diets, mostly low fat, low sugar. But carbohydrates especially the ones found in refined food like white rice, bread, pasta convert to sugars right away, preventing me from loosing weight. Those carbohydrates came mainly from fruit! My glucose levels where a bit high, not pre diabetic but also not far away from it. LCHF allows very little fruit but lots of vegetables, especially the leafy (dark)green ones.

After reading a lot and finally having a friend writing me about his success of loosing weight i got on the LCHF diet. The trick in that diet is to get into 'ketosis', which means your body is starting to use ketones as an energy source instead of glucose. Basically you stop eating carbs and sugars and replace that with fat. Vegetables are added for their nutrients and vitamins. Some potassium deficiency can occur, so having some potassium supplements might be needed. Also little extra salt is needed.

Your body will switch to the other (ketones) energy source and by lower your calorie intake the fat cells are being processed into ketones to fulfill your energy needs and are burned for energy. Glucose in your blood stops that process so as long as you have too much glucose in your blood insulin is produced to save you from glucose poisoning. The way it does that is converting the glucose into fat and store it. It is basic body chemistry and know for many decades. :)

Keep the sugar/carbs out of your food and it will not end up in your blood. No insulin is needed to regulate your glucose levels and the path for converting fat into ketones is free. I am not very active and i still loose weight. Add some exercise and the weight will fly off.

Eating more fat, moderate protein and very little carbs will also prevent you from feeling hungry. There is no sugar addiction anymore so there is no craving for it.

One thing that is uncomfortable is the period that your body adjust to using ketones instead of glucose. It is called the 'keto flu' and the symptoms are just like having a flu. It happens somewhere between 1-3 weeks after you start the diet depending on how many sugars and carbs are in your food. It takes about a week to adjust. Knowing this beforehand helps to not quit. Once this 'flu' is over you will feel much more energetic and focused as before.

Googling LCHF will give many results.'s picture
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Great job!

Adam thank you for putting this out there, inspiring!  Here is a interesting talk about grazing animals.  If managed correctly they are good for the planet and the grasslands.  Seems to me, even if the carbon aspect is overstated, managed grazing is a very sustainable way to produce food.  Tilling and plowing is very destructive for the soil and the microorganisms that live there.  

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Thanks so much, Adam, and I'm

Thanks so much, Adam, and I'm so happy for your success! 

I used to spend an obscene amount of time researching diets, food plans, weight loss tricks, workout routines etc in order to keep my weight under control, but nothing worked. I had the knowledge but couldn't put it into action for the life of me. I eventually reached 240lbs and was miserable. 

I then found a free, 12-step program for food addiction ( and my life completely changed. The structure, discipline and support the program gave me was exactly what I needed--not to mention a relationship with a power greater than myself since I could NOT stop eating on my own. I've maintained a healthy 125lbs for over 7 years and my obsession with food, my weight and my body have all disappeared. I am so grateful!!

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N = 1

I applaud Adam for his commitment to health and wonderful success. As a naturopathic doctor, I think he accidentally left these words off his comment " I'm simply stating it's one that I know for sure works."  And those would be: FOR ME.  

What Adam so well outlined here is called in medical research a case report of a single individual. (or n =1.) 

Anyone can cherry pick the research and find studies that support their theory of what is a superior diet (I am not saying that Adam is doing that here). Research on nutrition is notoriously difficult to do well, and mostly looks at the short term results of weeks to months, not what happens 10 years down the road. And even in those studies that show a statistical benefit of a particular diet, there are always people in the treatment group who did not benefit (or even got worse).

There is no doubt a diet that eschews grains, beans, dairy is helping many people regain their health and lose weight (or gain if that is needed). However, it can also be a disaster for some people who are APOE4, or have a genotype that makes it harder for them to metabolize fat, or just too sedentary and eat too many fat calories.

I cringe when I see this topic come up because it always seems to devolve into a shouting match (at respectful levels) between the Paleo and Whole foods Plant based Diet folk.

The truth is both camps share a lot in common: eating lots of nutrient dense food in form of roots, tubers and green leafy veggies, nuts and seeds. They also face challenges eating outside of the home in restaurants. But I do not think there is one diet that rules all. Weston Price DDS found isolated communities eating ancestral diets all over the world: from Swiss eating cold weather grains like oats /barley and dairy to tropical islanders eating fish and lots of starches and coconut. And all had good health (and more importantly to him...excellent teeth!)

As a clinician recommending diets to patients, I run out of time explaining the nuances of all the possible ways to feed oneself in a healthy manner. I often give them homework, to read this article I stumbled on a while back that I think does a good job explaining my position. I have no affiliation with that website nor do I recommend their just happens to be a thoughtful piece.

In many ways Michael Pollan said it best “Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants.” The problem is to find a sustainable diet (for the person, their budget and the planet) that is enjoyable and actionable….meaning folks can learn how to prepare/purchase those foods without too much trouble and stick with it. And be flexible as time passes and their needs change. How a 30 year old male who crossfits and a frail 75 year old woman will look very, very different.

I was fortunate to study with the great Tori Hudson, ND who always said “Your life is an experiment, and you live in your laboratory”. So if you are feeling confused about what to eat, try experimenting and do your on case study of 1. Buy a glucometer, keep a diet diary, make a commitment to eat more vegetables. Start with baby steps. Or go big and make a radical departure on a new journey of nourishing yourself like Adam. If at first you don't succeed, try , try again. Ultimately you (and your lab values and waistline) are the best judge of what diet is right for you.



pinecarr's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Apr 13 2008
Posts: 2169
Wonderful post, Clare

I love the quote you shared from Tori Hudson, ND:

Your life is an experiment, and you live in your laboratory

-Great concept!

VeganDB12's picture
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jul 18 2008
Posts: 699
Every step makes sense to me

Adam-a belated response. Excellent and digestible!laugh

Diet is so personal. You were kind to give a hat tip to the veggie crowd. Just FYI I fit Claire's profile of the person for whom paleo would be a disaster-this I know following extensive testing, and personal experience. The funny thing is I went veggie 2 decades before I knew any of that. Intuition? don't know.

Refined carbs seem to be a universal problem. I like to remind people that sugar water is used as a reinforcer in rat studies to get them to do anything. It hits the reward centers of the brain like any other addictive substance. A vegan who eats chips and candy all day without adequate b12, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids in big big trouble and at risk for all kinds of metabolic and cardiac issues. 

Your guidelines make perfect sense. I find tracking food intake and weighing myself daily makes a huge difference re; weight gain. That and eating beans every day (sorry to my near and dear but it is true) mostly lentils.

Many thanks.

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