• Your life and health are your own responsibility.
• Your decisions to act (or not act) based on information or advice anyone provides you—including me—are your own responsibility.


What Was Your Wakeup Call? And A Review Of Jeff O’Connell’s “Sugar Nation”

“Why Are We Hungry?” will return next week.

Note that if you’re new to my ongoing blockbuster series “Why Are We Hungry?”, it’s best to start at Part I. Otherwise, if you haven’t already, you should read the latest installment, "When Satiation Fails"—because like the previous article "When Satiety Fails", it both presents important information and ties together a lot of issues that are currently vexing the community. And we’re not done yet!

Finally, I note with pleasure that several readers and regular commenters are already starting to pull together the Big Picture on their own. This is great! If I’ve explained the science correctly, the consequences and conclusions should follow logically and be non-controversial.

Ever since I was little, my mother used an analogy that, for me, is still the mental equivalent of worn-out disc brakes squealing in metal-to-metal contact—or the incessant, high-pitched, yelping bark of an obsessively manicured lapdog suffocating in a cloud of its owner’s perfume.

She called it the “pain thermometer”, and it goes something like this:

It doesn’t matter how much you don’t like something or how much it hurts. Until your pain thermometer reaches the top, you won’t do anything about it.

Typing that still makes me wince, so I’ll say it my way:

We don’t get what we want: we get what we are just barely willing to tolerate.

This is a powerful concept, and it explains so much about the world and our lives. We want honest politicians, but we’re willing to tolerate corrupt, venal liars. We want privacy, but we’re willing to tolerate a surveillance state. And we want to be healthy and fit, but we’re willing to tolerate being sick, obese, and diabetic.

Stated more explicitly, it doesn’t matter how crummy your life is or how much pain you’re in—unless you get so fed up that you finally do something about it.

“Network” was released in 1976—35 years ago—and that speech could have been made yesterday. Think about that for a minute.

Unfortunately, yelling out your window won’t solve anything, which is where Howard Beale’s ideas ran out. But until you’ve decided that you’re no longer willing to tolerate your situation, nothing will change. The change is up to you.

How Did We Get Here?

Based on the paleo eaters I’ve talked to, including the authors of more than one well-known paleo diet book, very few of us came to the concept of ancestral health from a position of strength. Most of us tried a paleo diet because of medical problems that the medical establishment was (and is) remarkably powerless to treat, or because the side effects of the medications were just as bad as the disease. GERD, IBS, arthritis, innumerable autoimmune syndromes, poor sleep and digestion, or just long-term malaise…and, of course, anywhere from 15 to 200 extra pounds of fat and its associated metabolic syndromes that both “heart-healthy whole grains” and “eat less, move more” were powerless to shed.

In other words, we had to become so broken that we were no longer willing to tolerate being broken.

This leads naturally into my review of “Sugar Nation”.

Congratulations, You’re Prediabetic: Jeff O’Connell’s Wakeup Call

Synopsis: Jeff O’Connell, despite being tall, slim, and apparently in decent physical shape (he’s been the editor of everything from Muscle & Fitness to Men’s Health to Bodybuilding.com), finds out that he’s not just stressed out from work: he’s inherited his father’s Type II diabetes. He doesn’t want to end up like his father, dying bedridden with amputations and on dialysis, and the advice he was given upon diagnosis seems remarkably inadequate:

    Dr. H, having told me that I was prediabetic, mumbled something about switching from white rice to brown. He also instructed me to come back in six months for another round of blood work. Wow, that’s it? I thought. I didn’t know much about disease, but managing it seemed like it should require more than tweaking my order at the local Chinese restaurant.

    What I didn’t receive, and what most patients don’t receive, is any advice that would address, let alone fix, the problem…”

Currently $14.36 at Amazon.com (price may change)

The rest of “Sugar Nation” recounts Jeff’s effort to understand what Type II diabetes is, and what he can do about it—with an additional twist that I’ll leave readers to discover. Though Jeff’s prescription will be shocking to anyone in the mainstream, its two pillars shouldn’t be a great surprise to most of my readers, or anyone in the paleosphere: T2D is a defect of glucose metabolism, it is treatable by diet and exercise, and you should therefore 1) stop eating so much friggin’ glucose, i.e. eat a low-carb diet, and 2) perform short, intense, glycogen-depleting exercise to help restore your insulin sensitivity.

Furthermore, he repeatedly hammers home that the progression from insulin resistance to T2D to numbness, dialysis, amputations, and blindness is a direct consequence of diabetes “treatment” that advises patients who cannot properly metabolize carbohydrates to eat lots of carbohydrates—and, with them, an ever-expanding pharmacopoiea of drugs that fail to mitigate their poisonous effects.

Where I find the book to be most interesting, and most valuable, is in two areas: the history of diabetes treatment (as with obesity, past treatment programs were often more effective) and the demographics of its relentless spread, and in the dysfunctionality and outright corruption of the medical industry. He lays bare the deep, incestuous financial relationships between the American Diabetic Association and the pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers who profit so handsomely from diabetics—as well as the profoundly malicious cluelessness of the mainstream medical community, including the NIH and AAFP:

    During a 2007 interview with the American Association of Family Physicians’ then-president James King, M.D., a family physician in Selmer, Tennessee, I asked him how to eat properly as a prediabetic so that I could inform others in the pages of Men’s Health.
    “I tell diabetic patients to consume more carbohydrates—mainly from fruits and vegetables, not from simple sugars and starches—while decreasing the amount of meat and fat in their diet,” he said.

    I e-mailed the lead author, Philip E. Cryer, M.D., professor of endocrinology and metabolism at Washington University School of Medicine … “A glucose-tolerance test is never indicated in the evaluation of a patient for hypoglycemia,” he wrote back.

    “I’m sorry, but that item’s not recommended for your diet,” said the pleasant woman on the other end of the line. I had told the doctors that I was prediabetic. I was impressed that this information had been conveyed to the cafeteria.
    But I was also confused. “What, the peaches?” I asked.
    “No, the sausage.”

O’Connell is an experienced writer and journalist, and it shows: he exposes the rampant corruption and cluelessness in a remarkably neutral tone, without coming across as either paranoid or a crusader.

His understanding of the science is reasonably sound, too: he understands the role of glycogen depletion and how it improves metabolic flexibility, and even touches on the known issue of mitochondrial dysfunction in the obese. My only quibble is a whiff of saturated fat phobia here and there—but on the whole he does a solid job of understanding and communicating that low-carb necessarily means high-fat as well as high-protein, and that this is not a problem. And despite the title “Sugar Nation”, he is clear on the fact that “heart-healthy whole grains” are just as carb-heavy—and, therefore, unhealthy—as refined grains and refined sugars. However, I wish Jeff had summarized his hard-won knowledge at some point in the book: a short chapter, or even just a bullet list of “Here’s how I manage my Type II diabetes”, would have been welcome.

In conclusion, “Sugar Nation” is a hard-hitting exposé that reads more like a biography. While its basic prescription won’t be news to you, my readers, it’s a shocking accounting of the cluelessness and corruption of the mainstream medical establishment, and the extent of the suffering its terrible advice causes. It’s also a solid source of information for people in your life who can’t swallow “paleo” or “primal” but are still in danger of ruining their health. And it’s full of scary facts and trenchant observations, so I’ll close with one:

…The standard recommendation of consuming 50 percent of your calories from carbohydrates translates to 250 to 300 grams’ worth a day. Split over three squares a day…means consuming more than a glucose tolerance test’s worth of carbs at each meal. “We use glucose tolerance as a metabolic stress test and yet prescribe a diet that produces that at every meal,” says Raab. “It highlights just how ridiculous this advice is.”

Wrapping It Up: What Was Your Wakeup Call?

“Sugar Nation” is Jeff O’Connell’s story.
What was YOUR wakeup call?
What finally made you say “I’ve got to do something about this” and motivated you to start eating like a predator?
Leave a comment, even if it’s just a link to the bio on your own blog…it’s always fascinating to hear others’ stories.

Live in freedom, live in beauty.


Are you new to gnolls.org? Welcome! There’s a lot of good information here for you to read and discover: the index is a great place to start. My FAQ should answer many of your questions, and I do my best to respond to comments on my articles and questions in the forums.


Permalink: What Was Your Wakeup Call? And A Review Of Jeff O’Connell’s “Sugar Nation”
  • Tomas

    Well I started leaning towards v*an-type of diet and tried to find some kind of scientific justification beyond claims such as “meat is rotting is your intestines”. Obviously, I haven’t found one, but started reading the top “paleo” blogs instead.

    In retrospect I think I might have ended up just like Jeff, being very tall, lean and sugarholic, and becoming prediabetic before I knew how and why. I did have any problems, except a kind of permanent lower energy during the day. All my father’s sisters and his parents are T2D, he himself being prediabetic, but exercising a lot. What is sad is that I must admit that we are a family of sugarholics and breadholics, except for me, that is. Now I am often met with blank looks when I say I don’t eat the stuff anymore and neither want my kids to eat it. Sigh

    A nice quote from your mom, I’ll remember it.

  • Tomas

    edit 2nd paragraph
    “I did NOT have any problems”

  • Adrian

    My wakeup call was of a slightly different nature. It took me a long time in my life to realise what you’re saying – that people will put up with a hell of a lot if it means they can stay in their comfort zone.

    I’m 35 and only just discovered this in the last 12 months, ironically as I started reading about paleo diets & health. For me, making changes has always been easy (maybe too easy at times, as it resulted in me going vegan for a few months), so to see the total resistance to change in others was quite an eye opener.

    I’ve always been relatively healthy and slim, but once I discovered the whole “paleo scene”, I saw a chance to improve my health even further. Well didn’t that set the cat among the pigeons! “But you’re already skinny, you don’t need to worry about what you eat” was the most common response when I told friends of the changes I’d made to my diet.

    “I’d love to try it, but that sounds way too hard, I could never give up bread” was probably the second most common, and usually from people trying to lose weight.

    And therein lies the rub. If you keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result, doesn’t that make you insane?

  • I didn’t really have a wake-up call – I found paleo quite by accident through finding barefoot running, again quite by accident.

    I’ve always eaten well – good, real food – just too much of it and/or not enough activity. I set a date to do something about it by increasing activity and when that date came, I started. I did exactly the same giving up smoking ten years previous.

    I guess that date came about when we were away on a little holiday in the Welsh hills and I said to my wife that if we lived down here I’d go up the nearest mountain every week. She laughed. Recalling that I live at the top of the highest point in our part of the world, going anywhere would mean going back up, home. Like climbing a mountain in reverse.

    I knew I was fat, but didn’t have any real ill side-effects; just as when I stopped smoking, I didn’t have any problems – I just knew I’d have to do something about it sometime and to me, there’s no time like the present. No point procrastinating – just get on with it!

    My first walks hurt like hell, a combination of getting used to activity, the wrong footwear and a misguided belief that pushing through the pain barrier was a good thing. Looking for sensible footwear, I was attracted to minimalist shoes and really, I just needed a little tweak in the footwear department to make that transition.

    Likewise, paleo. The transition was easy. Without finding paleo, I would have had no idea whatsoever that the amount of carbohydrate I was eating was keeping me fat – I had always thought that was sugar and fat, and had all manner of other misguided beliefs. Good God! I even tried tofu … once!

    Paleo has been a real eye opener.

    I now know that I was tolerating all manner of foods which do not agree with me and while I was managing to tolerate by masking the problems with medication. For me, it was gastric reflux.

    Paleo has fixed me – again, I didn’t know it would. I am thrilled that it has and I am now understanding exactly which foods caused me that grief in the first place – grain, essentially.

    Luckily, I hadn’t gone that far down the line that I broke through my highest level of tolerance. I say lucky because often things have gone too far by that point. I also say lucky because as I said at the top – I found paleo quite by accident.

    You are right – people often do not do anything about their issues so long as they are tolerable. Another way of looking at it is if you put your hand in a container of water and heat it up, you can tolerate much higher temperatures than if you simply put your hand into an already hot pan.

    I wonder how people can be made to take that look at themselves before it breeches their threshold? More importantly, how to get them to take action.

  • Asclepius

    My wake up call came from the hunger shakes. Around the same time I had been thinking about why my body composition was so poor given the amount of exercise I did and the low fat/complex carb nature of my diet. I questioned my health because I couldn’t understand how I was exhibiting a crash when I was doing EVERYTHING we are advised to do to be healthy.

    I occured to me that the way I was eating was VERY different to how I would eat if I was stranded out in the wilds – a concept I eventually stumbled across in print on Tamir Katz’ website (whilst looking for info on bodyweight exercises). Something ‘clicked’ with me about this paleo approach and it was reassuring that others had already trodden this path. I started trawling the internet and quickly found Art Devany’s paper on Evolutionary Fitness (which to me was the most pivotal paleo article of my life). Five years in and I am pretty happy with how things have panned out!

    ‘Paleo’ has given me more than health. It has awoken my political anger and led me in to the fields of medicine, biology and also issues of sustainability and agriculture/farming. What really pisses me off is the vested interests that maintain the status quo; doctors paid to sell medical products, medical products geared towards managing rather than curing illness, research controlled by big business, governments financed by agri-business, well paid NGOs failing to offer robust health advice….


  • Chandra

    Oh, this is juicy. Reminds me of what a late dear friend of mine would repeatedly tell me whenever I kvetched about anything, “You deserve what you tolerate.” So much wisdom in those five words.

  • Anon


    May, 2009: I was visiting the city I used to live in and was at my (attractive and, um, well built) ex-neighbor’s for dinner. And drinks. As a neighbor, I never put the moves on her….which I found out much later I should have. So there we are on her couch, me have gone years w/o sex, and before long, the Holy Grails of much previous admiration were before me.

    Instead of pushing for consummation, I let her playful resistance stop the fun. Why? BECAUSE I WAS FAT AND VERY EMBARRASSED! Once trim and fit, I was horrified by the thought of taking my shirt off. And so what should have been joyful was, instead, my wakeup call. I weighed 285 pounds on a light 6’3″ frame.

    When I returned home I decided to do something about my self-loathing. I came across Mark Sisson, bought his book, became wrapped up in my Paleo lifestyle, and by late summer I was at 210 pounds.

    I’ve regained and relost some of that weight several times since (and need to relose a bit again), but I’ve never forgotten what “woke me up.”

    And if I ever get back to Denver…………

  • anand srivastava

    For me it was when I found a logical way to lose weight.
    Before it was always eat less exercise more. It did not make sense to me. Eventually I started swimming, because that is what I did enjoy, but it caused no reduction in fat, and frankly I wasn’t surprised by it. It was sort of intuitive.
    Then I read a cheesy website truth about six pack abs. Behind that cheesy site there was some core truth that made sense. Eat less, but occasionally eat more. Eat healthy fats, but reduce sugar. Do weight lifting and give adequate rest. It all made sense.
    Later I found Paleo, and then losing weight was much more easy.

  • James Schipper

    It’s truly disgusting and I would go so far as to say criminal, what the medical establishment is doing. There isn’t even anything secret about the ADA and their drug and factory foodlike company involvement. They’ve got the general public so stupefied, that it’s listed right there on their website: http://www.diabetes.org/donate/sponsor/our-corporate-supporters.html

  • eddie watts

    i found it by mistake. i had been doing the whole get fit thing, typical BB splits and cardio sessions that were basically jogging for a set distance and aiming to improve my time.

    got bored of doing it; hypertrophy work gets repetitive and takes a long time to get any visible benefit.
    i found crossfit and started doing that, from there i learned a lot about nutrition and eventually learned of rob wolf and from there paleo.
    i started reading rob wolf and later marks daily apple, did not implement it for a long time. but i quite wheat and found a massive difference in weight loss and body composition, i’d always been stable around 15 stone (6’4″) but suddenly i managed to drop lower than that.
    then i played with rob wolf’s skinning the zone and dropped carbs almost entirely (breakfast and pwo only) and upped my fat and lost another half stone within 6 weeks. all while maintaining and improving my wod times.
    my sister and mother found they were wheat and dairy intolerant too, solving my sisters crippling IBS and other stuff including skin conditions. i am less affected than they but still feel better with no wheat.

    the thing is i felt fine anyway, it was just an interest in weight loss and fitness that caused me to experiment with myself that led to all this stuff.

    i’ve been doing more mass building work recently and enjoying it again as i’m doing other stuff on the side. getting others to listen though is hard, sometimes i just give up. my facebook is mostly posts about nutrition and how evil sugar is, some get comments which reveal that many people do read my posts. some of which direct people here, i know my brother has read eat like a predator and started being interested in what he eats.
    he read the ingredients on sausages the other day and has since stopped buying them: 40% meat!!

  • William

    At age 35 I accepted that my body would look increasingly terrible as a consequence of aging. But I wanted to get back into playing soccer. So I turned up for the company soccer team’s practice. I tripped on the ball and promptly broke my collarbone. In six places. That was the last straw for me…my collection of bizarre symptoms (ataxia, rash, fatigue, etc., including what appears to have been osteoporosis that led to the broken bones)ultimately led me to a self-diagnosis of celiac. While I realize doctors miss things, it’s criminal to my mind that half a dozen doctors missed this. (At least half a dozen…I started picking up hypochondriac diagnoses starting back in ’97.) Genetic testing confirmed my diagnosis and I started various elimination diets. Now I look pretty good, having lost 80 pounds. And I play soccer 5 times a week. So I thank celiac disease every day for giving me the gift on “inability to tolerate.”

  • Jan's Sushi Bar

    My wakeup call? Good gawd – where to start…

    My mother, who was a lifelong smoker and yo-yo dieter, jumped on the low-fat bandwagon in the late 70s, and was riding it with a vengeance by the early 80s. Her joy that she could eat all the sugar she wanted as long as she avoided evil fats was only exacerbated by her six-pack of Coke-a-day habit. She would bemoan the fact that she had to eat almonds in order to enjoy sickeningly sweet shredded coconut bathed in milk chocolate.

    Mom developed an aeortal aneurysm at 46 and died of a massive heart attack 2 months after her 51st birthday.

    I’m the oldest of her four children and each and every one of us was following in her footsteps – all overweight smokers. By the time I reached my mid-40s I was terrified I was going to go the way Mom went; it actually became a major source of stress for me. So I quit smoking the day after I turned 45, nearly 4 years ago.

    However, I still felt like complete crap every damn day. I was always tired and had absolutely no energy; the prospect of walking a quarter mile was not only daunting but simply un-doable. I suffered from headaches and odd stabbing pains in my back, shoulders and chest. The arthritis at the base of my thumbs was so bad I literally could not touch my thumbs to my small fingers. My hair was dry and listless and I suffered horribly from insomnia. Still, it took me another year-and-a-half to decide that I needed to do something about my diet.

    I finally sat my husband down and said, “Look – I’m going on a low carb diet and the rest of the house is going on it with me. No more chili-cheese Fritos and Heath bars. No more potato chips and oatmeal cookies. No more Ben and Jerry’s and Little Debbie snack cakes. I can’t live like this anymore and YOU and the boy don’t need that crap, either.” Surprisingly, he agreed. And since I am the way I am – I don’t do *anything* without researching it to death – I started reading, and found myself with a copy of Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions.

    The idea that not only was industrially farmed meat was so incredibly bad but fat actually good for us was an incredible eye-opener, and it gave me the impetus to find a source for locally farmed, pastured animals. From there it was just a natural progression from WAPF to paleo, since I had already decided to give up wheat and sugar. Within six months I’d lost 25 pounds, but as badly as I need to lose weight, that wasn’t the best thing. The best thing was how much BETTER I felt. I had energy, and could easily walk for miles! Once I have up wheat, the stabbing pains disappeared – giving up MSG and artificial sweeteners made the headaches a thing of the past. I banned industrial seed oils from the house and my arthritis disappeared. When I stopped consuming cow’s dairy, my lifelong sinus problems suddenly began to clear up.

    I’ll never go back to the Standard American Diet and conventional wisdom. NEVER.

  • neal matheson

    I really love this Blog, the posts just get better and better.
    Sadly, though I lost my university beer chub from crash diet of rice and tomaotes and standard boring cardio and weights. It might not work for most people but I never saw it as a lifestyle. I did it for three Iron willed months and then started adding real food back into my diet. I never really ate badly anyway.
    It was mountain climbing that kept it off. I’ve always been into anthropology but only really “connected”when I read a Robert Ardrey book at university the diet slowly followed years later. I recognise alot of what has already been written, crossfit and devaney etc. I decided to go 100 percent (ish) a few months ago. I felt I was carrying too much weight for the amount of exercise I was doing and realised the wholegrain concessions to my wife were the cause.
    I feel the anger too I can’t really believe the ADA guidelines but I find it hard to convince people to give the diet a go. Demonic sat fat and angelic low fat has just too much sway and quite frankly, why would anyone listen to me over their doctor and government guidelines (pretty much the same here in the UK a in the US despite France being next door)? I don;t give a toss about convincing vegetarians but wouldn’t have minded and AHS talk on how to convince your friends and loved ones.

  • Phil Steele

    My wakeup call came in my late 20’s, when I was working in an office, and I wondered why I always felt like I was starving between breakfast and lunch. At 9:30 I would have a bagel (healthy whole grains!) for a snack. An hour later I’d be starving again, so I’d have a banana. A half hour later I’m starving again, so I down a Coke full of sugar to get me over the sugar crash from all the carbs I’d already eaten. I had no idea that you can’t just eat carbs, I sort of thought “Calories are calories” and of course I had been brainwashed to avoid fat.

    Somehow at this time I discovered The Zone, and it was a revelation to learn about macronutrient ratios and the need for protein, fat, and carbs in certain proportions. I changed my snacking habits, changed my diet, and felt much better. No more constant sugar crash, no more constant brain fog between snacks, I could actually go hours without eating!

    From the Zone, I discovered paleo via “The Paleolithic Prescription” and “Neanderthin” (although I was not trying to lose weight, just avoid the fog of sugar crash). The paleo theory made sense. Why not eat what we evolved eating? What could be simpler? I’ve stuck with some variant of paleo-ish diet in the decades since then, and I’m astonished that the mainstream still hasn’t caught up with this most basic wisdom.

  • tess

    i’m a 56-year-old woman who’s been hypothyroid all her life — never been obese, but keeping weight acceptable has always been work! a year or two ago, my source of natural thyroid medication mysteriously dried up, and i was facing the necessity of diving back into the allopathic-medicine swamp…. i hurriedly began to learn all i could via the internet (may the gods bless it forevermore), to arm myself against the ignorance i was bound to (re)encounter, when LO — could be i can improve my own condition, nutritionally! i strictly cut the wheat, sugar and omega6s, and added selenium, magnesium, coconut oil and t-100 to the iodoral i was already taking (Dr. Alyson proved not all doctors have tunnel vision). magically, the symptoms disappeared. i’m still tweaking, and would like to lose 20 pounds, but i KNOW it can be done in my case.

    thinking of making a bumper-sticker that reads “laughing with the gnolls”….


  • skitterling

    You might think that being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes would have been the wake up call, but nope. I was so happy when my then-doctor told me that I wouldn’t have to change my diet, just take enough insulin to cover the meals. Oh, and actually eat MORE carbohydrates, just make them complex. Whew, what a relief, right?

    Fast forward almost 10 years, another 50 pounds heavier, blood sugars out of control, arthritis, crushing depression, high blood pressure…this time an insulin pump was going to be my savior. To nobody’s surprise: FAIL. An additional 20 pounds or so, triple the amount of insulin I was taking before, still no improvement in blood sugars…

    My realization? I was going to die early and of any number of hideous complications.

    I looked into Atkins toward the end of 2010, since I’d heard rumors that diabetics got improvements with blood sugars. From there, I went online and discovered Paleo. It was a tremendous slap in the face at first – the simplicity of the equation:

    carbs equals high blood sugar therefore lower carbs equals lower blood sugar…


    Starting in October of 2010, I went Paleo (well, Primal, anyway – thanks Mark). Within 6 months, I was off the blood pressure medications, the antidepressants, etc. I was using a quarter of the insulin I had been. My blood sugars were under control. Weight has been (very slowly) dropping off. It hasn’t been a picnic. I have times when I go off the diet and my blood sugars skyrocket. I eat for comfort and that has been the hardest part. But I persevere. I make progress.

    And now I’m looking for another endocrinologist after mine refused to treat me any more, BECAUSE I WENT PALEO. My blood pressure is normal, my depression is all but gone, my weight is dropping, and my A1c is lower than it has ever been, but none of that matters because my diet is dangerous.

    Tell me, how do we win this?

  • Chandra

    Great tales! I arrived here promptly six weeks ago by way of a long winding journey through sustainability. I’ve been an off-and-on-again vegetarian most of my adult life. When I did eat meat, it was usually with guilt and self loathing because I was well versed in the social and environmental injustices caused by industrial agriculture. As a permaculturist, I knew there had to be another way and this led me to experiment with edible perennials and foraging. I also have a keen interest in creating resilient communities in the event of the collapse of industrial civilization. I spend a lot of time pondering water, food, and shelter and knew a diet based on whole grains, somehow didn’t make anymore sense than eating factory farmed meat.

    Earlier this summer, I found Lierre Keith’s book, The Vegetarian Myth and it all clicked from an environmental perspective. I still wasn’t completely sure what to do with the information and I had no idea there was a whole above ground paleo/primal community, yet to be discovered. I attempted to get some of my veg*n friends to read her book, but I might as well have asked them to slaughter their own pet.

    Meanwhile, I’m living life, but I wasn’t finding it all that fulfilling anymore. I’ve been told enough times that I “look good for my age”, so, I figured I was doing better than most. For being better than average at 42, I didn’t feel so great. I was tired all day, adult acne, migraines, 15 extra pounds that wouldn’t go away, depression, feeling like I was constantly in a fog, and generally all around feeling defeated. I thought I ate well enough.

    About six weeks ago, a friend posted a paleo video on facebook and that’s when I realized there were real examples of other humans (and a whole community!) who for whatever their reasons, were embracing what Lierre Keith had written. From there I read The Evolution Diet, The Paleo Solution, and The Primal Blueprint, and fully embraced the lifestyle. In only six weeks my skin has completely cleared up, I’ve effortlessly lost a few pounds and I can feel my body getting stronger. I’m thinking about getting back into rock climbing, something I had resigned myself to never doing again because I felt too old and too weak. I never want to go back and I’m so happy to have found y’all! If anyone’s inclined to read further, here’s a link to a post I recently wrote. http://moonlightmicrofarm.com/2011/08/28/no-more-grains/

  • Anonymous

    […] […]

  • What Was Your Wakeup

    […] What Was Your Wakeup Call? And A Review Of Jeff O’Connell’s “Sugar Nation” September 7, 2011By: J. Stanton Read the Full Post at: GNOLLS.ORG […]

  • Beth

    I just don’t want to be fat and finally figured out that there is something metabolically wrong that is happening to people (not gluttony and sloth, like the CW claims). Then I read Taubes, and finally seem to have dropped the bad stuff (sugar, wheat, high carb — don’t know for sure what the problem is, but I seem to have cut it out).

    Thank you very much for your blog. It is full of really great info.


  • Everybody:

    I'm amazingly behind on replying to other comments to other stories, so I have to dig myself out of that hole first.  However, I've read and appreciated all your stories so far, and I will reply here soon, once I'm caught up. 

    Thank you for your patience and understanding.


  • Jacquie

    I was approaching my 48th birthday in March this year, with continual stomach pains, insomnia, low mood and bloating that was so bad I couldn’t wear the same clothes all day because what I’d put on in the morning would cut off my circulation by lunchtime. I was miserable and weighed 101kg. I went for tests and everything came back ‘normal’, so I started researching what ‘normal’ should look like. Mark’s Daily Apple was the first site I found, but it was too liberal so I ended up doing Robb’s auto-immune protocol.

    Now, looking back, I can’t believe the level of physical and emotional pain I tolerated for so many years. Your mother was a wise woman!

  • Timothy

    I never gave a hoot about healthy living until I was in my thirties. I ate whatever I pleased in large quantities, mostly processed crap. Played lots of computer games, too. Had done for life. I was a junkie for supernormal stimulus of the gustatory and digital variety.

    This caught up to me in the form of irritable bowel syndrome, overweight, hypertension, migraines, depression, sun allergy, etc… the list is too long and familiar to name. I was aging fast, when suddenly my wife became pregnant for the first time after many years of trying. I was going to be the father to a little boy.

    Naturally that increased my resolve to take better care of myself, and I tried to exercise my way out of the pit I had dug: the usual method with the usual poor results. But by a crucial stroke of luck, I discovered Mark’s Daily Apple and the Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. It was the first time I’d ever heard of a paleo approach to health, and I was profoundly inspired by the success stories I read there. Man, I still can’t believe I never internalized that our bodies are adapted to the world of our ancestors. And I was an anthro student, for Pete’s sake! Apparently malnutrition had stupefied my brain.

    Overnight, I stopped eating and drinking crap, and started eating real, ancestral foods. I scaled back the cardio and picked up a sledgehammer. The various health complaints that had dogged me for years went away within weeks and 50 pounds or more flew off my frame. My energy levels and mood went through the roof.

    This much success was addictive, and ever since then I’ve been pushing my genetic potential, to see how muscular, lean, and healthy I can get. And now I’ve got a second boy on the way — this time without hardly trying at all. That is the most paleo thing of all.

    Although the paleo lifestyle is not always easy or popular in our world, I’ve never been tempted to go back to my old ways. I don’t want to risk losing the incredible gift of health, something I never had before and will never take for granted again.

  • lynn

    Same old story… Age 56 just like the person above. At age 30 I was fine. I ate a decent higher protein diet.I was very active, built a house with my husband , had a horse, raised 2 sons and 22 foster children. Camped hiked, canoed. I was tested by my doctor during a routine check up with a cholesterol level of 202. He put me on a low fat diet. I was scared so….I ate a vegan no fat diet and ended up on antidepressants…I began to gain weight around my stomach for the first time in my life. I also got an auto immune disease called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy after breaking my leg and foot playing softball at age 40. I gained 50 pounds from the neurontin and sleeping pills. I was on crutches, I could not walk with out extreme pain. I began to force my leg to work out on a bike. I began to eat a weight lifter diet of 6 small meals a day including protein. I worked out like crazy.I threw the neurontin away that was stopping the spasms in my leg after learning it was the culprit to my weight gain. I worked out hard and kept gaining a pound a month. I became a very strong fat person. I can leg press 500 pounds. I bench 150. I do 100 push ups. I was 5 foot five and weighed 184. I was on blood pressure meds. Iwoke up at 3 am every day with horrific headaches. I had hives for over a month at one point. I had sleep apnea and slpt with a CPAP. I am the grandma of 6 grandkids. I was used to back packing and going on boundary water canoe trips. It was so frustrating to think that all the fun in my life was over. I wanted to take my grandkids on some of these excursions.
    I kept searching for answers. A friend told me to get the book, “GENOCIDE, How your doctors dietary advice will kill you” by Dr James Carlson. Then, when I began to research him, I found Dr’s Eades Protien Power books. I began to tweak my diet. I next bought Good Calories, Bad Calories. Once I understood about insulin I decided to go very low carb. I was still really sick and everything in my body hurt. My joints especially. I next bought Mark Sissons books and dropped all grains. I found and began to listen to LATEST IN PALEO broad casts and heard the podcast with YOUR interview and bought your book.
    Memorial weekend I went totally paleo, bought a part of a hormone free grass fed cow. I began to eat range free chicken and eggs. I got venison from a friend, and began to eat Amish grown organic vegetables. I have no pain, no RSD symptoms,normal blood pressure,(no meds)and I have lost 25 pounds so far. I plan to lose 25 more.
    The most remarkable thing I feel is the lack of hunger. Hunger no longer drives the bus. I remember constantly feeling like I was starving. I lost all of my hot flashes. No mood swings. I feel HAPPY!!!!> I have my life back. The internet rocks. You all rock, I learn something new every day from everyone who posts about Paleo stuff.
    . I hiked a volcano a this spring,I bought two kayaks this summer. I went paddle boarding last week. In two weeks I am hiking and zip lining in the Smokey Mountains. My life is an adventure again!

  • Deb

    I found at almost 50, I was sick and getting more sick everyday..after several prescriptions from my Doctor I finally asked..why, why am I so sick?, her reply was interesting ..”compared to many other older women I wasn’t that sick,” (only on five meds)I wondered when we were going to talk about how I got sick and how she was going to make me well/healthy.. Unfortunately that conversation never happened, I had to take matters into my hands and take responsibility for my own life and health..
    That lead me to a place call Clackamas Physical Conditioning where I met Jason Seib, EVERYTHING changed, nutrition, sleep, exercise, etc…I have never looked back,and am at my most healthy ever, ALL my medical stats are that of someone in their early twenties,(I will be 52 in a month) I can handle things in my life I never thought I could do, going back to school, changing careers and fearless of what the future holds. I love reading so much of what you write, when I read it, it is personal to me because I feel like I have experienced so much of it first hand, I’ll catch myself saying I knew it, I knew it… (Jason is the one that pointed me to you/Gnolls) thank you so much!.. deb

  • Laura

    I’m a teacher. During the stress of my first year of teaching, my body completely self-destructed. I had horrible cramps every night, and other issues every morning. I think I had problems for a while, but it took the meltdown that first year to make me decide to do something. OF course, that meant going to the Dr. No help there, they left it at “maybe lactose intolerance.” So I lived that way for another year, and went to a gastroenterologist. I said “so what should I not eat so that I don’t feel like this?” And she said “do you want the prescriptioni or not?” and I said NO and that was the end of that. Finally I figured out gluten free on my own, and the worst of the pains went away almost over night. I’ve been mostly pain-free for several years now, and I’m just ironing out the final bits – I want to feel as good as I possibly can! If only I could get over my wicked sweet tooth, I think I would.

    Thanks for a great site JS, I love you blog!!

  • Another Anon

    Instead of pushing for consummation, I let her playful resistance stop the fun. Why? BECAUSE I WAS FAT AND VERY EMBARRASSED!

    Dear anon,

    In this case, I’m glad your embarrassment stopped you, because that sounds like you were wading into non-consensual waters there. I’m really quite disturbed by this.

  • Ash

    Thank you J for another excellent article!

  • Phil

    Good post, but I must confess that reading the comments was even more interesting.

    In my case, I was health conscious because of familial heart disease; a staunch follower of Dean Ornish and constantly struggling with weight issues that were kept moderate by obsessive exercise. One day I was sitting in my office listening to two animal husbandry scientists from the local university explain their method of fattening cattle. They were interested in pursuing a patent and I am a patent attorney. As I was mulling over their method, I glanced at the bag of Low Fat carmel popcorn (“Heart Healthy”) under my desk and slowly realized that I was feeding myself exactly what these scientists came up with to fatten cattle, quickly and cheaply. Since I was also mostly confined to an office chair, all the factors required to turn me into Kobe beef were there. That started me thinking and you know where that leads! Still the “What can I eat?” question bothered me awhile since everyone knows that fat is such an unhealthy option. The epiphany on that issue came with the realization that excess glucose gets converted to fat,mostly saturated, for storage and later use. Since suicidal bodily functions need extraordinary circumstances to survive evolution, I finally understood that there must not be much wrong with saturated fat.
    Thanks for the nice blog.

  • Starshine

    My mother was diagnosed type 2 diabetes last year. The medical advice she’s gotten truly is criminal. 6 meals a day, each loaded with carbs and almost no fat. And whose logo is at the bottom of her diet handout? The manufacturer of her insulin control drugs. This makes me so angry I can’t even say, but she refuses to try paleo eating. My father did Atkins a while ago and, despite great weight loss and cholesterol numbers, went back to a high sugar and bread diet. Of course when he had a heart attack 3 years later “it was all that bacon and eggs he ate on Atkins”. No amount of persuasion will get her to look past her drug pusher’s (sorry, doctor’s) advice.

  • OK, everyone, I'm mostly caught up with my other comments.

    First, let me say that it's been a privilege to read everyone's stories, and I'm glad you're choosing to share them.  I can write all the articles I want — but humans are social animals, and it makes life much more pleasant to have some degree of social proof that we're not all just wandering alone in the wilderness.



    Paleo definitely wins from the science end.  The moral argument for veg*anism, while simplistic and wrong in the big picture, is at least coherent…the “scientific” arguments ignore our biochemistry and evolutionary history, and are usually trivially false (“meat rots in your colon“).


    I'm glad change is easier for you than for most.  And it's not like you damaged yourself irreparably from a few months of going vegan.

    The problem with the conventional wisdom (“eat less, move more”) is that it depends entirely on willpower, which we've already established is a bad idea.  And the fact that people can easily give up most foods, but freak out when you tell them to drop bread, tells me that the addictiveness of gluten exorphins is most likely real.

    No, being skinny isn't the same thing as being healthy.  But most people can't even manage to be skinny.


    So many people have the same reaction you do: they didn't know how many problems they were having before that they simply defined as “normal”.

    “I wonder how people can be made to take that look at themselves before it breeches their threshold? More importantly, how to get them to take action.”

    I'm doing my best by writing these articles.  You, and my readers, can do your best by spreading them around to people who aren't already paleo: I purposely write them to be understandable outside the community.

    There's a lot more to it — but there's no point getting depressed about not being able to solve all the world's problems.


    That's a good rule of thumb…Any diet that leaves you unable to fast is a bad diet.  There's a good reason for this: if you're unable to fast, that's a good diagnostic for poor metabolic flexibility, and possibly mitochondrial dysfunction.

    I'll probably write an article about that at some point…thanks for kick-starting the creative process!

    And you're correct: once you start trying to stay healthy by eating real food, you realize how many huge, powerful forces are dedicated towards maintaining their profit margins by keeping us sick and dependent.  (Cue the article “Paleo Reaches The Ominous 'Stage 3'”.)


    It's been said many different ways, and they're all basically correct.


    That's a classic wakeup moment!


    Absolutely…exercise makes us hungry.  Like I referred to here, if champion ultra-runners have 17% bodyfat, it's pretty clear that aerobic exercise alone isn't going to get us the body composition we want.

    James Schipper:

    Absolutely.  The death toll of the ADA's advice is in the millions, and rising daily.  They're criminals.


    The fact that you came to Paleo while basically healthy is a sign that we're becoming more mainstream: maybe as we continue to grow our knowledge and our community, people won't have to reach the point of desperation before having the energy to find us.

    Keep experimenting: that's how we gain knowledge.


    There are some genuine hypochondriacs — but they're mostly people on Medical or disability who can go to the ER for every little complaint and never pay a dime.

    What I've learned over the years is that we're all responsible for our own health.  The doctor isn't like an auto mechanic, and you're not an automobile…you can't just haul your carcass in every year for an oil change and lube and have them fix any broken parts.  If something isn't right, it is YOUR responsibility to figure it out, because the doctor is seeing hundreds of patients a week and can only afford to spend a couple minutes thinking about what might be the trouble.  Use your head, use Google Scholar, and stay the hell away from WebMD and Livestrong on one end (useless) and Mercola (fearmongering, supplement/magic food hawking) on the other.

    Congratulations on finally figuring it out!  Do you still have metal in your collarbone?


    Like I said to James, it's criminal what the government, AMA, and ADA have done and are doing.  They're killing people every day.

    And you touch on a very important point: weight loss isn't the endpoint.  The objective is to feel healthy, happy, and fit, and weight loss is just one part of that.  We could all starve ourselves down to supermodel thinness…but that leaves us miserable, osteoporotic, and fainting, just like them.

    Congratulations on your new life!


    More replies to come…but I'll split them up as this post is getting long.


  • neal:

    All diets work if you can stay on them: the problem is compliance.

    “I felt I was carrying too much weight for the amount of exercise I was doing”…I see this all the time.  I know several people who exercise much harder than I do, but who still carry around noticeable flab.  

    “I don;t give a toss about convincing vegetarians but wouldn't have minded and AHS talk on how to convince your friends and loved ones.”

    I'm doing my best with these articles.  The problem is that, at the end of the day, people have to want to change.  They might want to be healthy and fit, but they're willing to tolerate their current state.  I haven't figured out a solution besides continuing to be obviously happy and healthy, and showing them a way out.


    “I had no idea that you can't just eat carbs.”  Ha!  That's a common one, and it's crazy that our schools don't teach enough basic nutrition for people to understand what our bodies need to maintain themselves.

    “Decades” is a long time, especially since you're name-checking “Neanderthin”…that probably makes you the longest term paleo eater here!  I'm a bit jealous, but glad you've been able to enjoy so many years of good health.


    Thyroid problems are so widespread and so not understood by most doctors…I'm glad you found a good one!  Have you read the recent Perfect Health Diet articles about thyroid?  They're excellent, and definitely worth anyone's time.

    That's a great idea for a bumper sticker!  Anyone else want one?



    Because a lot of people make a lot of money off of you being sick.  

    When you're sick, Big Pharma can sell you drugs, syringes, pumps, test strips, and all the other diabetic paraphernalia.  (Mainly drugs.)  A healthy person doesn't need all that junk.

    Furthermore, think about this: a sick person is dependent.  “FREEDOM NOW!  Oh, and give me my insulin and metformin and metoprolol and Januvia and Prilosec or I'm going to die.”

    We win it by saving ourselves first.  Then we can put forth ourselves as an example for others, and point them to the sources of information that helped us.  You can't save anyone else: you can only be there to help when they decide to save themselves.


    Acne, migraines, depression…ouch.  It's sad that most doctors simply dismiss those things as “part of aging”…no, they're not.  People are not fundamentally broken animals that should need medication to survive once they hit 40.  And having previously been vegetarian and then a guilty meat-eater, I absolutely understand your situation.

    Rock climbing is great, isn't it?  I'm not very good, but I enjoy it.  Paleo isn't about losing weight, it's about having a functional body and mind that can do great things.

    Re: the article you linked, I think about those same issues quite a bit.  I'm sure you'll find The Gnoll Credo extremely relevant…and perhaps a bit scary, as it goes far beyond where most of us have comfortably agreed to stop.


    “I just don't want to be fat.”  Eloquent in its brevity.  Most importantly, we shouldn't have to starve ourselves in order not to be fat.

    Thank you for the vote of confidence!  Please spread my articles wherever you can.  


    It's amazing how dysfunctional our bodies can be and still be alive.

    And having dealt myself with a long round of “the tests came back normal”, I understand where you're coming from: you're saying to yourself “This is NOT normal, I look and feel like crap.”  The problem with things that get worse very slowly is that our definition of “normal” can slide imperceptibly downward with them.

    Did you figure out exactly what is causing your problems, or have you just stuck with Robb's protocol all this time?


    “And I was an anthro student, for Pete's sake!”

    We do an excellent job of rigorously separating “education” from “any knowledge you can possibly put to use in daily life”, starting very early.  I remember in high school that I wanted to take classes in electronics and auto repair, but was told in no uncertain terms that they were for dumb kids who weren't going to college.  Can't have people actually learning useful skills!  You'll learn how to rigorously analyze made-up stories of no modern relevance written by dead authors in stilted language, and you'll like it.

    As a result of that separation, we don't think to apply anything we learn in school to how we actually live day to day.  It's not your fault for not noticing.

    And health isn't a gift, it's your birthright.  It's always been yours: you've just taken it back from an establishment that profits from your sickness.


    To be continued!


  • lynn:

    Your doctor was a criminal.  Telling you a TC of 202 is unhealthy?  That's at the very bottom of the healthy range: see this article from Dr. Jaminet.  It's tragic that you were suckered into years of bad health, and I'm glad to hear you've found your way out of the swamp.

    That's why I do this: in hopes that others won't have to go through the same misery you have.

    “The most remarkable thing I feel is the lack of hunger. … I lost all of my hot flashes. No mood swings. I feel HAPPY!!!!> I have my life back … My life is an adventure again!”

    I'm so glad to hear that you're healthy again, and I'm honored to have been a small part of your transformation.


    “compared to many other older women I wasn't that sick,” (only on five meds)

    In other words, “what we're doing is a colossal failure, so we'll define down 'success' to mean 'a lesser degree of failure'.”  And you're absolutely right: you've got to take responsibility for your own health — because you're the only one whose interests are completely genuine and uncorrupted.  

    I'm glad my articles speak to you and help you!


    I said “so what should I not eat so that I don't feel like this?” And she said “do you want the prescription or not?”

    …and that's what's wrong with medicine, in a nutshell.  Health problems have causes, and “drug deficiency” is not one of them!  People don't just suddenly self-destruct for no reason.

    I'm glad you enjoy my work, and I hope it helps you stay healthy.


    I think my commenters are the best part of this one.


    I agree!  That's why I asked to hear others' stories.

    “Since I was also mostly confined to an office chair, all the factors required to turn me into Kobe beef were there.”

    That's a great Aha! experience.  Was it Dilbert that first referred to cubicles as “veal fattening pens”?  I've often thought the same thing: we feed grains to cattle in order to make them obese as quickly as possible.

    Another one: gavaging corn into geese in order to produce foie gras is no different than gavaging corn syrup into humans in order to produce NAFLD.

    That's interesting that you came to paleo through the logical path.  As I said to Timothy, we're so conditioned by the “education” system to reject any application of knowledge to our daily lives that we're simply not used to thinking logically about the choices of our daily life.


    I'm sorry to hear about your parents.  As I've said many times above, I view the ADA as criminals, guilty of premeditated mass murder for profit.  I wish I knew what to do.

    The mainstream diet advice ties into our nations residual Puritan cultural heritage, too: “if I enjoy it it must be bad for me”.  Ironically, this makes it easy to sell people on eating food that is both unappetizing and unhealthy (“whole grains”).  I talk about that at length in this article.

    Fortunately my parents have been more willing to examine the evidence, and they've both “gone paleo” with spectacular results: weight loss, lower triglycerides and LDL, and most importantly, eating delicious food and not being hungry.  (They do love their omelets!)  Frankly, they can't stop talking about it.



  • Since I appear to be caught up, for now:

    Thank you all for sharing your stories!

    It's been educational, illuminating, sad, powerful, and inspiring to hear the misery some of you have gone through, and the challenges all of you have overcome.  I hope your stories will inspire others to overcome their own challenges, and I'll continue to point others here.

    We're not done, either: please continue to share your own journeys, and I'll do my best to acknowledge and respond to them.

    Live in freedom, live in beauty.



    PS: As a final note, I greatly appreciate the compliments and votes of confidence.  If you want to thank me for writing these articles and keeping gnolls.org updated, the best way to is to buy a copy of The Gnoll Credo (read reviews) (read the first 20 pages), and to make your Amazon.com purchases through this referral link.  Doing either or both helps keep gnolls.org free of advertisements and Paypal donation buttons.

  • JulieGeorgiana

    My wake up call is different from many on here… My mum put me on my first low fat diet at 12, and for years I yo-yoed and to her despair I kept gaining (it was all the crisp sandwiches, chocolate and sweets I was nicking from the cupboard… ) So most diets were just a way for me to ‘outsmart’ my mum!!! I ended up 265 lbs by 18, which is not so smart!

    Once I moved out I tried Atkins, but unfortunately for me it works too well and after 4 weeks I had lost over 40lbs and landed myself in hospital!! So after that I let myself get fat again! I tried Weight Watchers and a few other diets, and they were so obsessive… count, count, count (even Atkins was like that)!

    So after my son was born, my knee dislocated, and other health issues… I gained weight… lots of weight and went from 260 lbs to a huge 335 lbs! I got down to 265 lbs by starving myself and exercising (not counting though), and was hungry, had spots, migraines and a whole host of other issues mentioned above…! Where was my energy?

    Anyway, years later I had 4 knee surgeries (not weight related) and got up to a huge 350 lbs (BMI 48) and 27 years old!!!! Although determined to lose it I didn’t know how, in 2009 I got down to 310 lbs just through dieting! In 2010 I got down to 265 lbs through tackling my need to eat emotionally and with exercise and diet!

    Then in June 2010 I fell pregnant and we lost it at 5 weeks and 3 days, then in October 2010 we fell again and at 5 weeks and 3 days we lost that one too… after a whole host of fertility tests the Dr told me I had PCOS (which is why I only ovulated once every 3 months from one ovary), but it did not explain my losses!

    Someone then told me that Low Carb was a well-known treatment for PCOS, I thought this couldn’t be true… so researched it… and this is my ‘wake up call’ to find out that PCOS is linked to Insulin Resistance, and high levels of Insulin causes blood clots in the Placenta, which causes it not to attach… most common side effect is miscarriage just after 5 weeks!!

    So I go to the fertility unit and they confirm I have Insulin Resistance, but tell me it isn’t what’s causing my miscarriages and I should go on their study using progesterone supplements!!!! I told them no, and that I understood a Low Gi diet helped Insulin Resistance, the Dr said yes it did… but the study would be more suitable for me…! Ha! Self-serving bunch of…!

    So I went Low Gi (as Low Carb had made me poorly in the past) but I also have Leiden V Factor, so as an aide I kept my carbs under 70g which thins the blood, at the same time keeps me from the the low of 20g (which caused me issues in the past)!!

    I started on 11th Feb 2011 and have lost 30lbs in 2 months! I lost another baby in March, but kept on with the changes because I had noticed a huge improvement in my moods (boy did I suffer mood swings) my appetite, my skin, hair, nails, my migraines had gone, my arthritis had eased, my whole health had improved, and I had energy and wasn’t hungry!

    Two weeks after I lost my last baby I ovulated from the right side for the first time in apx. 8 years, I fell pregnant and I am currently 23 weeks along! My Insulin Resistance is under control and PCOS is clearing up!

    My weight got down to 234lbs (116lbs lighter) with a BMI of 31, and the lightest of my adult life!

    I have stayed Low Gi (which is safe during pregnancy) but I eat more Carbs (180 – 200g) out of necessity, I have noticed my headaches plague me again… but I know that it’s the lesser of two evils (too few Carbs made me faint as baby was taking my blood sugar and leaving me with none!) So I am very much looking forward to going back to my Low Gi/Carb life once the baby is born because the health benefits are endless!

    Why wasn’t I told this all before???

  • skitterling

    “We win it by saving ourselves first. Then we can put forth ourselves as an example for others, and point them to the sources of information that helped us. You can’t save anyone else: you can only be there to help when they decide to save themselves.”

    Thank you, that’s a really important point, especially that last sentence. Hard to watch it happen!

  • Deb

    Hi there,

    Eat like Neanderthal man.. I’ve said that for a long time, but how to make the change.. many things have changed in our world, but our digestive systems isn’t one of them.

    Below is a post I made on another website in response to a couple of people who had tried everything to downsize and just couldn’t.

    “Exercise alone won’t shift it. What you eat will. Don’t worry about your weight, just focus on how you look and how comfortable you become with that over time.

    Measure yourself and follow that rather than getting hung up on the scales, because your weight doesn’t really matter. The scales weigh all of you, not just what you want to get rid of, the tape is a better guide. Scales / weight is just a rough guide.

    If you want to lose bodyfat and do it without eating like a rabbit and get some advice not funded by the diet industry then go to this link. It’s a group page I created to get knowledge out there, and some of it will surprise you.


    I was big once, and done everything you’re doing. I’m not big anymore and I’ve helped others lose too. You can’t live your life through a calorie counter, but you can make some changes to your way of eating, and they will help you.

    My knowledge is based on failed things that went before, a long time in weight training, and understanding how the body processes food and what it does. I keep it simple and anyone is welcome to ask questions or post.

    I take photos of what I make and put them up for anyone to see. I also put in helpful links and generally just try to give people a different perspective about food.”

  • Txomin

    On my blog, I say it is because of metabolic syndrome. Truthfully, I am using myself as a lab rat. My objective all along has been to identify a feasible diet/exercise combination that I can pass on to family members suffering from a number of digestive-related chronic diseases.

  • JulieGeorgiana:

    Wow…what an ordeal you've had!

    “My mum put me on my first low fat diet at 12…”  That misguided low-fat advice has caused so much misery for so many people, over the years…

    And yes, PCOS and IR are absolutely related.  I'm glad you've had the success with low-carb that so many others with that issue have had.

    “Why wasn't I told all this before?”

    Like I said above, a lot of drug companies make a lot of money from people being sick…and a lot of agribusinesses make a lot of money from turning cheap subsidized grains into expensive packaged foods.  Your suffering is a profit center for them.


    I know.  But it's like trying to help a drug addict: unless they really, genuinely want to kick their habit, they'll just use you and drag you down with them.


    I like to go even farther…instead of focusing on what I look like, I focus on what I want to DO with my health.  When I can do projects like this, I know I'm on the right track.  (Although I like looking in the mirror and seeing a strong, healthy, vital animal.)


    If you need to give them a book, I find the Perfect Health Diet to be the most useful exposition of how I eat in book form.

    Meanwhile, I think you're on the right track with HIIT/Body By Science…Dr. McGuff breaks it all down pretty well.  (And he's a fan of gnolls.org, which I found out after meeting him at AHS!)


  • Txomin

    Thank you for the reply and suggestions. I am compiling a little library on these topics.

    To be honest, although I have been studying the topic for over 2 years and although I have concluded that I am on the right track, I need to wait until November/December to get my yearly medical exam before I can overcome my last misgivings regarding LCHF diets. I need the data before I pass it on.

    You see, I am eating two dozen eggs a week (for example). How can I recommend this to a person that has had several coronaries and is on heavy anti-cholesterol meds? I need to be 100% sure I am not going to harm anyone.

  • Beowulf

    My wake-up call came in several stages. I’ve always been naturally thin and full of energy whether eating SAD, lacto-ovo vegetarian, or now paleo/primal. When I was 20, I assumed that I was healthy because I “exercised and didn’t overeat,” but yet as I got older I really started taking a good look at my friends and co-workers. I saw people eating less than I was, working out more, and trying really, REALLY hard to lose weight, usually unsuccessfully. That made me begin questioning the SAD world-view. I also ate constantly, but I just attributed it to a “high metabolism” since I never gained any weight.

    Then when I was in my mid 20s my dad was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic. He had always been somewhat overweight, and over the next few years I watched him struggled to eat “right” and exercise. Yet that wasn’t enough, and soon the medications began flowing in, first for the blood sugar, then hypertension, and then lots more after he suffered a minor heart attack two years ago.

    I’m also watching my mother, who has always struggled with a few extra pounds, try to deal with her cholesterol “problems” by doing all the conventional wisdom garbage and having no luck. She’s active and otherwise healthy, eats lots of whole foods, but her doctor is just needling her about her LDL even though her HDL is great.

    I came to paleo-style eating as a trial. I’d read about it, and frankly I wanted to see if I could do it (I’m stubborn that way). I also decided that it couldn’t be “dangerous” since this is how humans ate for millions of years. A pledge to give up grains for 48 hours turned into a week…and then a month…and then nearly half a year. Now I’m satisfied with my meals and the occasional snack (vs. eating constantly), and I eat WAY better quality food (no more chips and crackers constantly being munched between meals).

    Now I’m struggling with telling my family. My sister dealt with an eating disorder, so my parents are apt to worry if they find out I did a major 180 on my eating (lacto-ovo vegetarian to grain-free omnivore). I tend to eat like my old self when I’m out at a restaurant or over for dinner (this happens only a couple times per month, so I’m not thrown off by it). I really think they could benefit from this way of eating, but I want to make sure I have my proverbial ducks in a row before coming out of the closet. This website and others provide great information, I’m constantly reading for more info, and the plan is to tell them what I’ve done after sticking with the eating style for a year. That way they can see that I haven’t gone off the deep end, and I’ll have plenty of facts to back up my choice. And hopefully change their health for the better, too.

  • ravi

    first ring – emergency appendectomy at 48 – hit the snooze button…

    major slam: healthy 1 year old’s teeth showing some decay despite organic “healthy” diet including wonderful whole grains, lots organic fruit, and well yes – always some meat but gotta watach the high fat right?

    organic didn’t save us (although we still support that wholeheartedly) but dear ol weston price did–

    may he RIP–

  • Txomin:

    OK, I understand your caution.  And it's easy to end up in a situation where someone changes their life, has a problem due to 30 years of their previous bad habits, and then blames the problem on the change.  (Also see my notes below to Beowulf.)


    If you want to present people with a book, I'm a big fan of the Jaminets' Perfect Health Diet.  In addition to being very close to the way I eat, it's got fruit and yin-yangs on the cover, even though it's really just “high-fat paleo plus rice”.  So it's very non-threatening and easy to present to people who are skeptical of paleo.


    The work of Weston A. Price is one reason I'm functional paleo as opposed to traditional paleo: there are a lot of nutritional benefits to the right kinds of high-fat dairy if you're not frankly intolerant or allergic.

    Good to see you back! 


  • Vasco

    I just came across your blog and I’m utterly impressed at how succinct and to-the-point your writing is. Congratulations on a work well done.

    I had several turning points… I was too far out for a single one. 🙂

    I’m 37. At around 33 years old I started having severe Reactive Hypoglycaemia. I would feel an uncontrollable urge for chocolate after lunch, and unless I binged on chocolates and sweets every 30 minutes or so I would feel like sh**. In about a year I became a non-functional human; I couldn’t work or have fun. I was scared that I had become a diabetic but my symptoms didn’t quite square with the expected for diabetes.

    I did an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test and came back negative for diabetes. So everything was just fine and dandy, it would appear to the doctors.

    I went to an endocrinologist an she took a look at me and my story, didn’t say a word, wrote out a prescription, and that was it. I thought “great, she knows what it is and I’ll be well in a jiffy”. After a week and a half taking those drugs without any improvement, I had turned into a violently aggressive person. It took me a few days to realise it, I was so chemically unbalanced. I threw the stuff in the garbage, and decided I had to take control of my own health. Goes to show that you pick the diagnostic and treatment when you pick the type of doctor.

    I got an “alternative” doctor, someone with a more “holistic” approach, and she said I should go “paleo”. I had no idea what she was talking about. Being an engineer, I had utter faith in science and progress, so I struggled with that notion of “caveman eating”. I couldn’t fit it in with the rest of reality… yet.

    I went back and did the Glucose Tolerance Test, only this time I did it at home; I wasn’t convinced that only 3 samples in 2 hours was an adequate data resolution to analyse the problem. After all, I really felt like crap after every meal: I would either fall asleep 20min after eating, or develop the most extreme brain fog, shakes, hotness and sweating. It was debilitating, it had to show up somewhere! And it did: a 6 hour home test with 15min sampling revealed a highly erratic hormonal system. You can take a look at it here. As an engineer, I recognized that pattern: it’s a negative feedback system that’s too tight (it “rings” instead of converging slowly). I was obviously hyper-sensitive to sugar. But what caused that sensitivity? the doctors were at a loss for words there.

    I read Cordain’s book, fumbled with Paleo for about 2 years, and started to get a feeling that maybe the conventional wisdom wasn’t so great. But traditional Paleo wasn’t working, I still had the shakes and the craves and was hungry and weak.

    Then I went to the dentist to take out a couple of molars that were crooked. The usual antibiotics were applied. And miraculously, I was cured of everything for a couple of weeks! But then it came back, slowly at first, then full on.

    With this episode I convinced my “holistic” doctor to make deeper tests. We did a special kind of Glucose Tolerance Test: an intra-venous and oral one in sequence. Lo and behold, there was nothing wrong with my hormonal system! The intra-venous test went perfectly normal, while the oral test provoked a drop from a fasting glucose of 50 to a post-prandial peak of 162 to a drop of 21. No wonder I felt bad, that 21 low was pushing tons of epinephrine into the system! It’s amazing I didn’t kill anyone.

    But I had found the smoking gun: it was the gut bacteria!
    We then tried eradicating Helicobacter Pylori, which did improve the symptoms a lot, but didn’t quite resolve the problem.

    I kept insisting on traditional paleo for another year or so, but it just wouldn’t work right. I eventually gave it up, and just settled for avoiding refined sugars and living with the pain. My wife knew she couldn’t speak to me after meals, but my small daughter couldn’t understand my temporary bad temper. It wasn’t fair on them, and I couldn’t take antibiotics all the time. I had never heard of prebiotics or probiotics by then, and my holistic doctor was against dairy, so that was it. I just soldiered on.

    One thing that kept me sane was regular exercise. It has loads of beneficial effects on me. I enrolled on a Jujitsu class and stuck with it. It does wonders to my good temper and my energy levels. But the shakes were still there, just waiting under the skin for a square of chocolate or a slice of bread to blow up. I needed to get down to the bottom of it.

    After 5 years of searching the web, I was pretty sick and tired of it all. But I gave it another shot, this time from scratch.
    I found the excellent and now defunct “Canibais e Reis” blog, and learned about ancient tribes nutrition and saturated fat benefits. Then I ended up on Mark’s Daily Apple.

    I bought Taubes’ “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and then I saw how conventional wisdom was made of wishful thinking and commercial interests, instead of scientific endeavour. What a wake up call that was.

    Wow!… I lost the extra 7 kg (15 pounds) of belly fat in a couple of weeks, and never felt better. It turns out I just needed more fat. A big chunk of it every day. I totally subscribed to Mark Sisson’s way of life and even my wife wanted to jump on that wagon. We’ve been really happy with the changes that our bodies have gone through. I now have 2 small children and have the energy and patience to play with them.

    I found several other useful blogs too: “Hyperlipid” and “Whole Health Source” are always a gas to read. And now that I found gnolls.org, there is an even better science-driven source of information to pick through! 🙂

    The remaining obstacle is now getting doctors to understand what is going on. My blood lipids profile looks downright scary with an LDL=223, but with TG=79 and HDL=72 (and TG/HDL=1.1) I’m not worried at all (all large fluffy LDL here). I’ve been taking full blood works results to “mainstream” doctors I know, and although they can’t see anything wrong in all the other markers (quite the opposite, I’ve never been or felt healthier or stronger), that LDL is the big black spot in the middle of the table that they just can’t stop staring at. Good god, when will there be an update to the conventional wisdom’s model??

    Well, that’s it. Sorry for the long comment.

  • Vasco

    Oh, and I totally agree: we only get our butts of the floor and do something about changing things when we get desperate.
    Seems like this is our nature. 🙁

  • Bill Strahan

    May wakeup call was the time I was at the beach. I plopped down on the sand and a group of volunteers surrounded me and set to work trying to get me back in the water before my skin dried out. They kept saying things like “Someone splash some water on his blowhole, we can save this one!”

    A slight exaggeration, but coming back from a trip with the family and then seeing my wife’s pictures of me in my swimsuit. It made me go get on a scale! 239 pounds and I was having a hard time buttoning my size 40 jeans. I’m 5’10”.

    Today I weigh 188 pounds, I wear size 32 jeans and I’m physically capable of more at 44 than I have been at any other time in my life. Thank you Robb Wolf and CrossFit!

  • Vasco:

    What an ordeal!  

    Note that Jeff had the same problem (reactive hypoglycemia) in Sugar Nation, which greatly complicated his life (dealing with both incipient T2D and reactive hypo).

    Fat helps for several reasons: mainly, you're slowing gastric emptying and increasing GI transit time, so you're slowing and blunting the glucose peak (dropping the glycemic index) of whatever you eat with it.  Most likely this puts the peak within a range your body can deal with.

    I also recommend Perfect Health Diet, both the website and the book, as a great source of fat-friendly paleo information.  I would particularly pay attention to this article about high LDL on Paleo (make sure to follow the links in the first paragraph).

    Like you, I don't find the arguments against saturated fat to be convincing.  And I doubt the medical profession will ever advance beyond “high LDL = statins”, because it's so profitable to be able to say “You, even though you are obviously healthy, are clearly sick and in need of expensive medication because this number is too high.”  (And once you take statins for a while, you'll start becoming sicker and in need of more medication…)


    Our self-image is often woefully out of date, and the figure in the mirror changes so slowly that it's easy to miss the transitions.  Pictures can pull us out of our accustomed context.


  • julia

    First, let me just say thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this fantastic blog. I’ve enjoyed reading for the last several months, though this is my first post.

    My pain thermometer reached it’s max about 3 days ago. I was coming out of a somewhat severe depression following the end of a relationship that was not healthy for me. I was sitting at a job that I hate, but have been too paralyzed to attempt to find a new one. I was miserable, and aside from that, unhealthy too. I had been aware of paleo and all of the benefits, but for one reason or another just couldn’t commit. I had one excuse after another, (I do paleo except I still eat, X, Y, or Z.) Monday afternoon, I found out that my dad, who is a Type 2 diabetic with one below the knee amputation, and a recent bypass surgery, has some sort of infection in his other leg. It hit me really hard, because 1) I hate that the abuse his body has sustained over the years is probably permanent, and 2) because I realize that I was on the same path he was. I’m not diabetic and am actually pretty active (Crossfit) but I’m overweight by 30-40 pounds, and desperately need to get these extra pounds off for many, many reasons.

    I’m 35 and realized that NOW is the time to change. To quote you: “We don’t get what we want: we get what we are just barely willing to tolerate.” And that is when it hit me, for too long I was getting what I was just barely willing to tolerate in every facet of my life: my health, my relationship, my career. No longer.

    Thank you so much; your writing helped to give me the shove that I needed. And thanks to everyone who shared their stories. I’m looking forward to this journey.

  • Sara H.

    My wake up call?

    When I got diagnosed with MS almost 3 yrs ago.

    It should have been sooner though-you’re right on: I put up with feeling horrible for way too long. My symptoms were so varied that I couldn’t quite put things together. However, I did know that I had been prediabetic for years but the doctors kept telling me not to worry I wasn’t diabetic yet! So I didn’t-I ate whole grains and felt self rightous that I ate low fat. I’m not overweight so I blamed everything on genetics.

    Even when I got diagnosed I was ready to follow the standard MS drug protocol. But then the Copaxone nurse showed up at my house to show me how to inject. She laughed at my husband and I for asking so many questions, telling me that most patients just took the drug without hesitation! She also told me to ask my doctor for antidepressants because if something happened to one of my children I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress and my MS would advance rapidly! She kept repeating to me “You have no control over this disease”. She then encouraged me to call her anytime because she made money every time a patient contacted her! Needless to say my husband and I were appalled! And being the stubborn person I am when someone tells me I can’t do something I look for ways to prove them wrong!

    Anyway, I did take the drugs for a 4 months while searching for other options. looking back I’m glad I did because it gives me a way to quantify where I am at now. I noticed no improvements and had a constant sore throat. After lots of research I went gluten, sugar and dairy free but stayed low fat. I saw tremendous improvements in my constant brain fog and general aches and pains. I was still experiencing fatigue in my legs though and felt there was still more I could do. I discovered the Jaminets (Perfect Health Diet)in Feb 2011(and from there you and Mark) and now feel fantastic! I realize that I will always have to stay vigilant and there are some things out of my control but what I can control (and personally I feel like that is a lot!)I will. I’ve had stable MRI’s and now have the goal of teaching my neurologist that gut health and brain health are interconnected. He keeps telling me diet will get me nowhere-and I keep telling him I felt like crap-now I don’t. Isn’t that somewhere??
    Anyway, I should dump him but the drive to prove him wrong motivates me! 😉

  • PrimalNut

    My wake up call was when I came down with rheumatoid arthritis at age 38.

    What 38 year old has arthritis???


    And the other thing…I was fed up trying to sh*t a giant brick every 2 weeks.

  • Hipparchia

    I learned to control hunger at the most unusual time- my first pregnancy. I had morning sickness which was controlled not by crackers, but by going without food for a while. While the months passed, overeating was becoming more painful. I had no place to put food into. I also gave up grain fiber, since it had the opposite effect on my pregnant organism. I switched to calorie-dense food, meaning mostly meat.

    The week before the birth, I almost totally fasted.

    Then, I breastfed for a long time.

    All the while, my body re-learned how to burn stored fat. I was never unhealthy, just a little more jiggly than I wanted to. So I learned to eat the right stuff and to be able to fast.

    I actually lost body fat during pregnancy, and more during breastfeeding. Now, I am at my high school weight- and I’ve kept my increased cup size, strangely, unlike with other diets.

    I also learned that a tiny human also has natural appetite for meat and fat and will avoid grains as if by instinct.

    A bonus: hunger makes me more artistically creative. Nothing gives me more attitude to solve a painting problem. Painting on a full stomach is an impossibility now.

  • Uncephalized

    My wake-up call was passing 200 lbs at 5’11” and 21 years old (my max was 210 in 2009). It took me a while to find paleo, but it’s been the only thing that worked. I didn’t really realize how fat and out of shape I was until I lost most of the extra weight (I’m still working on the last few % bodyfat to really consider myself lean) and started moving and lifting more. Right now I’m at a comfortable 180, but still with some definite room to improve my body composition. The biggest difference is that now I KNOW I can–and will–get there, and I’m actually not doomed to being fat my entire life just because my mom is and “it’s genetic”. That’s a pretty powerful weapon in my arsenal.

  • Theresa

    I was going to show my needle fearing 4 y o that “pricking your finger” for a blood test is not all that bad. I ran my own blood in the glucose tester and got the number 13 back, an hour or two after sushi lunch. It’s not just about overweight and appearance anymore. I need to fend for my longtime health.

  • Julia:

    I'm sorry to hear about your father.

    Getting started is the hardest part.  Once we're moving forward, it's usually obvious why we should continue.  And as one of my co-workers once said: “NOW is an excellent time.”  (Actually it's the only time.)

    I'm glad my writing has helped you.  Thanks for letting me know.


    “You have no control over this disease.”  Wow.  That's a terrible thing to say.  What she meant, of course, is “I have no control over your disease.”

    Functional paleo isn't a universal curative…but as I say in this week's article, it's the first place you start.  I'm glad it's helped you.


    Actually, you'd be surprised.  Late 30s-early 40s is when many men start to come down with autoimmune disease, due to the drop in testosterone levels (T is immunosuppressive).

    Rheumatoid is nasty stuff.  How are you doing now?


    “I also learned that a tiny human also has natural appetite for meat and fat and will avoid grains as if by instinct.”

    Absolutely!  How is it that mother's milk is best for a baby, then suddenly, one day, gluten and strained pablum is best?  Answer: it's not.  As a child I always picked the meat out of the stew.

    And I absolutely understand your point about hunger: I see you discovered the ghrelin article.


    Never underestimate the power of big round numbers.  And it's good that you caught it around 200-210, because the bigger you get, the more difficult it is to return to anything resembling normal.


    13?  Doesn't that mean you're dead?  Wow.  Sounds like reactive hypoglycemia to me…


    Again, I thank all of you for sharing your experiences.  It's helpful to know we're not alone in our struggles.


  • Brooke Fotheringham

    My wake up call was December 27 2007, I stood there a few days after Christmas eating stale cookies and flat champagne for lunch (just doing my part to clean up after our party), and realized that both my brain and body felt worse than I could ever remember them feeling without being really ill.

    I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions normally, but starting January 3rd 2008, I got it in my head that I was going to stop eating grains and sugar altogether (didn’t even know about paleo at the time, but I figured I should get as far away as possible from my diet based on free scones and coffee working as a barista), and I switched over to a meat based diet. In less than 3 days of steak, steak, and more steak, I got my mind and energy back. It was the most amazing transformation I could have ever hoped for.

  • Brooke:

    So you went paleo by instinct?  That's great!  Most of us are so brainwashed that we're incapable of making that leap without help.

    Welcome to gnolls.org…please stick around!


  • Theresa

    No JS =-) It means I’m from Europe. I don’t have the US eqiv.

  • Theresa:

    OK, that's less worrisome.  80-100 mg/dl is considered “normal” fasting glucose for us.


  • Robbo

    I was overweight, unhappy. Funnily enough I worked for a company which was developing a weight loss product. I went to a company lecture where the top science guys explained just how bad it was to be very overweight, and how unhelpful standard medical advice was. In my overweight state I felt so uncomfortable I decided to take action.

    I had previously tried adding exercise to my lifestyle (jogging, cycling). Result, zero change in weight, small improvement in speed and endurance, knee pain, and scarring from a crash.

    After some research I got the Atkins book and followed its message religiously. Atkins, because people said it’s not hard to follow, no suffering necessary, and it does actually work. It worked for me well beyond my expectation, and in fact the increase in well-being would have been well worth the effort, quite apart from the weight loss.

    Since then (seven years) I have encountered Paleo, firstly through de Vany. Paleo provides the ´big picture´theory as to why Atkins works in practice for weight loss. Of course it also brings added wisdom to low-carb, and fills in parts of the picture Atkins wasn´t aware of.

    My personal regime is low-carb, no grains or sugars or HFCS, no seed oils, no ´fake´foods. It keeps me full of physical and mental energy. I do find zero grain and sugar much more easily sustained than low grain or sugar. If I have a cinnamon bun with morning coffee, I have to exercise willpower not to have another the next day.

    For me your recent series lays out very elegantly a great truth which runs to contradict ´Eat less, Move more´. The key processes which control what we put in our mouths are unconscious, or at best semiconscious (like breathing, you can consciously control it, but when you stop paying attention, it carries on anyway). Controlling eating by willpower is a bit like having to take every breath deliberately. Sure you can do it for a minute, or ten, or an hour. But for a lifetime ? The role of willpower is not for eternal vigilance but to create new food habits which align with your body’s processes that will take care of you whether you pay attention or not.

  • Robbo:

    Absolutely.  Wheat is addictive.  And it's strange how eating a modern carb-laden “breakfast” makes me hungrier than not eating at all!  

    I'm glad you find “Why Are We Hungry?” helpful…it's important to remember that our tastes exist for a very important reason.  They exist because for millions of years, humans (and pre-humans) with those tastes survived, whereas people with different tastes died out!  So it shouldn't take monumental efforts of willpower to eat a healthy diet…and if it does, we're doing it wrong.  (See: the food pyramid.)


  • Becky

    Wake-up call. Christmas 2010. Traditional rolls made by me with fresh-ground wheat. Mashed potatoes with gravy thickened with cornstarch. Stuffing. Pumpkin pie.

    These were the weapons, wielded by Colonel Insulin, in the Dining Room, that literally laid us out flat (me on the floor, husband on couch), groggy and heavy-limbed. As consciousness slowly returned, we saw the enemy literally for the first time, and fired back.

    January 1, 2011 we started Paleo and evolved into Perfect Health Diet. While we could cheat, we don’t … simply because we don’t want to slip back into the grip of the Carb Borg and be assimilated again.

    My stepson (one of the few people on earth who actually read Good Calorie Bad Calorie in its entirety) gave us a copy of The Perfect Health Diet for Christmas. I guess we have him to thank for our new lease on middle age.

    While I do at times miss certain foods, I do NOT miss the 2/3 of my thyroid medication dose that was cut, nor the joint aches and pains that went away. Nor do I miss the 20 pounds that came off. And I certainly don’t miss staggering to a couch, bed or floor after meals for a mandatory recovery period.

  • Becky:

    It's amazing what sort of misery we define as “normal”.  Somehow I doubt the natural state of humans was to feel sleepy and drugged after meals.  There were LIONS!  And HYENAS!  And saber-toothed cats, and dire wolves, and …  Not to mention other members of the herd who were most likely somewhat grumpy about one of their number being killed.

    I'm glad you found Perfect Health Diet.  The Jaminets are wonderful people, and theirs is the book I currently recommend to people who want more information than I've provided here.


  • Diane

    I don’t know that I’ve had a “wake up call” exactly. I ate fairly well, prefering natural food to artificial stuff in plastic packaging. I’ve heard of low carb before and have eaten that way, usually more heavy on vegetables than meat because vegetables are easier to store and cook and cheaper. Wheat (not every day) and candy daily were my bigger downfalls. I didn’t consume a lot of fat but wasn’t low fat either. My doctor harrangues me about cholesterol and I just ignore him. I think it was 268 last time I was tested.

    I am very active. I spent some time long distance hiking (3000 miles in about a year’s time) and during this hiking I developed a raging hunger. I called it “the beast”. It took many months of avoiding strenuous exercise (and also avoiding giving in to the hunger) to have it subside to a level where I felt almost normal again.

    I was gaining weight but I blamed myself because I was fairly sedentary (I didn’t think walking 4 miles a day was much exercise) and ate a lot of chocolate and often overate on regular food. It was really hard to balance “the beast” and the desire to be thin.

    I started jogging every day at lunch hoping to kick-start my obviously slow metabolism and lose some weight. It reduced my love handles a little after a month or so. I was feeing really good about it. Then suddenly “the beast” woke up again. I tried to quiet it by eating enormous meals that I hoped weren’t too calorie laden but big enough to fill my stomach and keep “the beast” away. Huge breakfasts of homemade plain full-fat yogurt, fruit and nuts, using half a mango to hopefully fill out the volume in my stomach. Huge salads for lunch, even choosing the salads that had meat in them and adding eggs on top of that hoping that the protein would keep the hunger at bay. But the hunger raged on. I wish I could adequately describe this beast inside me, but it was making me desperate and scared and there is absolutely no information anywhere about the effects of long distance hiking on people to help me find an answer. I felt broken, basically.

    One day I just couldn’t eat another enormous salad for lunch but the beast was making me feel frantic. Then I saw this video of a handsome doctor in Sweden. He had a kindness and calmness about him. He showed his dinner of steak, vegetables and a big dollop of cream sauce. A dinner like that is close to something I normally eat, but not the cream sauce. I don’t even know how to make cream sauce. He showed a breakfast too of yogurt mixed with cream, nuts and fruit. It looked just like my breakfast, only with cream in it. My Swedish grandmother put cream in everything. Of course, she was fat, but she lived longest of all my grandparents. The thing that sealed the deal for me was he said eating this way would give you a calmer stomach.

    I figured that maybe I should try it. The worst that will happen is I won’t lose weight and I can try something else. I bought some cream, some kefir cheese (which is like cream cheese), and some creme fraiche. I started preparing creme sauces for my dinner and adding cream to my yogurt and coffee. The beast has been quieted greatly in only a few days. It’s still there, but yesterday for the first time I went jogging at lunch and then skipped lunch.

    I am quite turned off by all the “man the hunter” noble-savage reenactment fantasy that goes with the whole paleo thing. A lot of paleo people strike me as being quite angry, superior, hypermasculine and generally don’t emulate anything I want to gravitate toward. Even much of your website turns me off. I have no desire to become a “predator” and see people as profit centers. I am attracted to conspiracy theories, however, and the one here makes me quite angry enough to give it a really good go and to spread the word.

  • Diane:

    3000 miles?  Wow!  The PCT is only about 2700…what was your route?  And as far as the video, was it Andreas Eenfeldt? (dietdoctor.com) 

    Yes, saturated fat has a very potent satiating effect.  It slows the speed of digestion, which makes us feel “full” for longer; slows nutrient absorption, which keeps us from feeling hungry for longer; and provides a delivery system for critical fat-soluble vitamins.

    As far as predators and “man the hunter” — in nature, it's usually “woman the hunter”.  Lionesses do most of the hunting, while the male lions lay around and steal the food; and spotted hyenas are entirely matriarchal, with the females being even bigger and more aggressive than the males.  What we see as “hypermasculine” traits are, as far as I can tell, much more strongly associated with agriculture and the war, slavery, and domination which are its inevitable consequences.   

    However, you're free to take the dietary concepts and discard the packaging.  If I demanded all my readers agree with me in every respect, I'd have very few left.

    I think you'll find, like many of my readers, that the more you eat natural animal foods with their normal complement of fat (eggs, untrimmed meat, butter), the better you'll feel.  I wish you success in your continued efforts to tame the beast!




  • [This comment is actually from “mm”, whose comment somehow got stuck in the system.]

    I nearly died from a massive infected fistula connecting my gut to – I’m guessing by the massive pain that made me visit the hospital – one of my kidneys, as a complication of undiagnosed Crohn’s Disease when I was 17 years old. (The emergency surgeon described it as a “baseball-sized” abscess).

    I had no idea about nutrition but when I got discharged they gave me a sheet recommending low-GI, low fiber foods during flare-ups and high fiber foods during remissions.

    (Anyone that’s had inflammatory bowel disease for a while will tell you fiber is not your friend, and neither are carbs or FODMAPS or plant chemical toxins I would later learn, but I’m surprised that the hospital even dared to suggest a low-fiber, implicitly low-carb diet at all)

    I went on antibiotics. No one suggested I take medical-grade probiotic bacteria & yeast…

    Two years later I had another emergency surgery while my gastroenterologist and I tried to figure out the right types of meds/dosage to use (we settled on off-label leukemia chemo drugs that made cellular division in immune cells impossible).

    Having a diseased gut, I would get “feedback” from the foods I would eat telling me whether or not I could tolerate them. But my doc told me food had nothing to do with it and stress was a bigger factor.

    Sadly, that was not my wakeup moment.

    As I got to University I slowly got fatter until I was technically obese (BMI of 31) at 60 lbs overweight. It crept slowly after my first emergency surgery, and I actually believed that my body would regulate itself since I read a flawed study where they made prisoners gain or lose a bunch of weight and after a year they were back to normal weight, which convinced me obesity was 100% genetics and since I was skinny I was immune.

    Even that wasn’t quite my wakeup – I tried dieting but followed the granola-food-pyramid view of weight loss. After immersing myself into their world I even became a very serious vegan for a week (and then my Crohn’s knocked some sense into me after I ate a day’s worth of food in the form of fiber-filled almonds that my intestines simply refused to digest… with painful consequences)

    I felt flawed for not being able to go vegan but my interpretation of veganism was that it was a modern lifestyle and not everyone could be a vegan (i.e. I didn’t blame the poor, and those without access to good vegan foods or quality multivitamin supplements for eating meat), so I went back to eating meat since I was too unhealthy for veganism (and yes, for the record there are a lot of vegans and vegetarians that understand that not eating meat is like Eating on Hard Mode – you have to be much more careful about nutrient deficiencies. The “veganism/vegetarianism is sooooo healthy! Plants will provide everything! You don’t even need to look at your nutrient intake!” crowd pissed people like me off as a vegan since that attitude set people up for automatic failure).

    I did a little more research with ex-vegan blogs, Meat: A Benign Extravagance and Lierre Keith’s book and learned the flaws in veganism.

    It’s only shortly after this that I stumbled upon a T Nation forum post about women weightlifters and how everyone from the media to female celebs to even female trainers discourage women who lift heavy… then I found a post on The Anabolic Diet which was low carb with carb refeeds. Someone posted a link to Mark’s Daily Apple and from there I read the Ultimate Guides To… and I was hooked! It just made so much sense.

    Initially I wanted to to primal/paleo to lose weight and for general self-improvement (i.e. ketogenic diet to increase brain capacity), but as I read more, and as I read Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories it dawned on me that my Crohn’s Disease, incurable disease with an unknown cause, was in all likelihood either caused by wayward FODMAP & carb-fed bacteria that my immune system deemed enough of a threat to damage my own intestines from inflammation, or was caused by an overreaction to plant toxins and other chemicals, most notable gluten which is basically designed to trick your body into attacking itself.

    Throw in bad genes and too much Omega-6 from spending my childhood and teens eating (sugar-added) peanut butter sandwiches on white bread and “heart-healthy” olive oil margarine (7% olive oil, 90% canola) and there you go. Crohn’s Disease!

    I stopped taking meds cold turkey without informing my specialist after going paleo (not recommended unless you’re a huge geek like me, are dedicated and willing to take risks). So far I’m improving on my own but it’s still a bit early. My doc was impressed with my bloodwork, even after he realized I stopped taking meds, he even asked me for more details on what was I doing after he’d previously been skeptical of all those MDA/paleo printouts I gave sent him… Last Xmas I bought him a copy of Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories…

  • mm

    My original comment has found a way to time travel and got stuck on page one, first comment.

  • Diane

    I hiked the PCT in two sections and overlapped about 350 miles plus added another 100 miles where I hiked out my front door and walked to the nearest place the trail was to my house. I ate cookies, candy, crackers and pasta the whole way. I hiked 20-35 miles a day, usually about 28. I was gaining weight toward the end. I have not been able to find any information about what this level of exercise does to a person. The explanations about metabolic flexibility and the role of fat in the human diet seem to make the most sense to explain what happened to me. I’m just so grateful to have found a cure. I wonder how long it takes before you can slip and eat something bad for you and not wake up the next day a raving hungry lunatic. My husband refuses to believe any of this stuff so I have to suffer his refusal to eat high fat food and his tendency to serve crappy stuff when it’s his turn to cook. I do my best.

  • All guys like steak, surely. Mould your husband to being the 'Steak Guy' – when he cooks, you have steak.

  • Diane:

    I've found that I gradually became more and more independent of food and hunger over 6-9 months.  Your metabolism didn't get screwed up in a week — and though some benefits are obvious right away, it'll take more than a week for it to normalize.

    The process is often speeded up by making sure you get plenty of magnesium (oxide is worthless: get malate, or citrate if it doesn't give you the runs), selenium, copper, iodine, etc.  The Perfect Health Diet supplement recommendations are pretty solid.

    While I've done quite a few long hikes, I've never done that sort of sustained daily effort you've done.


  • anon

    I went on the macrobiotic diet in the mid 90s. I started doing the vegan diet in 1990 then decided a few years in to it that macrobiotics was “cooler” thanks to a local macrobiotic center in the hippie dip town where I chose to attend college. A little less than a year in to it I decided I needed to break away from the area/people and go to the NW so I did. Although I got an apartment, a job and met people I was unstable and threatened frequently to kill myself. My mother insisted I come home so I did. After I got home I continued to eat macro but felt I was out of control in terms of my eating/bingeing/life problems. I attracted well meaning souls in to my life who tried to “help” me. I chanted many hours while attending yet another university by the sea; Gilligan’s Island we called it. I went to therapy, ate brown rice along with ice cream and Mexican food, developed a skin fungus on my stomach and even for a while tried to sell blue green algae. Anything to get well. My weight gain was not terribly substantial due to good genetics but I did need to lose a few pounds. My mother bought me a picture of a whale at Ross which I cluelessly hung in the house which she bought for me. One day I dropped a book on my toe and the toe nail fell off. I called someone I met in multi level marketing and asked her what I should do. She said I needed to “get in the Zone.” I went and bought the book and did it to the letter for a few months. I ate eggs and dairy but no meat or fish. A few months in to it I went on Zoloft due to depression which led to a bipolar flip which caused me to move out of the house and put me on the road for a year. Later in the 90s I found the blood type diet which suggested I eat meat. Naturally I did not do so for another 6-7 years. Now, 15 years later I no longer do the Zone and have genotyped myself as a true Hunter. I eat red meat, fast during the day and feast many nights a week. It is not as easy to push me around as it used to be.

  • anon:

    That's a long and painful journey.  I'm glad you've finally found a way to get and keep your health.  And it's absolutely true that health makes us mentally strong, as well as physically strong.


  • Rachel

    Ugh, where to start? There are too many factors here. Childhood issues with food brought on by weird parenting, mother obsessed with weight, meeting a guy when I was 16 and basically copying his cola and chocolate diet, discovering Animal Rights as a teenager, 15 years as an obese vegetarian including 3 years as B12 deficient vegan….

    ….I broke down. About 18 months ago. Precipitated by a horrendous emotional upheaval I shall only refer to as The Mistake. I was over 300lbs and suicidal. A non-smoker, I developed a 20 a day habit (now gone, thankfully), and bit my nails till they bled. A bad, bad time. It took me a year to really get over that, and I finally felt ready to tackle my weight problem in about June this year. I didn’t feel I wanted or needed to be that fat woman anymore. I started counting calories and exercising.

    Being the obsessive that I am, I had to research everything to the nth degree. I identify as a skeptic, a rationalist. As an outraged ex-believer in all things new age and woo (I dropped all that in my late twenties), I like to make sure what I think and do is as scientifically sound as possible, because I was a dumbass, and I’m not doing that again.

    My random Googlings on the topic of optimal diet and weightloss kept throwing up Mark’s Daily Apple. I dismissed it at first- I wanted hard scientific evidence, not some crank with a fad diet book to sell- more woo. I can’t remember where, it might have been MDA, but I read a comment which mentioned the documentary Fat Head. So I watched it. Waaay too chock-full of, for this Brit irrelevant, American politics. The health stuff was great, the government-bashing spoiled it. Too easy to dismiss Naughton as an anti-government crank with an axe to grind. (Not that I mind his politics, it was just ladled on to the point of irritation)

    But I persevered, bewildered and incredulous at all these people online who didn’t believe in calorie counting. Well how else does one lose weight? As for eating meat, I hadn’t done that for years, I am an animal lover, I think it’s wrong to take a sentient life, particularly if you’ve captured and maltreated it first. I’d read all the vegetarian books years ago, I knew what the science said: animal fat is bad for you. It gives you cancer and heart disease and stroke and cooties.

    Well. I don’t remember how I found out about Gary Taubes. But I watched a talk of his on YouTube, and it blew my mind. I had to watch it about 4 times to really take on board what he was saying, and it just amazed me (I bought WWGF shortly afterwards). Then, in the comments to that video (I think) someone mentioned the Stanford AtoZ study. I found a talk on it, and watched Chris Gardner, a vegetarian, stand up and say that people eating low carb, high fat diets lost more weight and their health markers improved. That was the final push I needed- hearing it from a vegetarian.

    There’s so much bogus science out there, so much to doubt, that it wasn’t until I heard a lifelong vegetarian, someone with a interest in promoting a plant based diet, telling me that meat eaters are healthier, that I would believe it. I could no longer hold on to my old established world view where humans are natural vegetarians and animal fats make you die in terrible pain. It just isn’t true. I had been a dumbass again.

    So, end of September, I did a one-eighty. Out with the pasta and potatoes, in with streaky bacon and goose fat. Meat tastes weird, I tell you.

    I’ve been bouncing all over the internet with my brain wide open- I told a more emotional version of my story on Michael Eades’ blog, I’ve skimmed through Guyenet’s, ran like hell from Mercola, and I just found this blog today, via Hyperlipid. Wonderfully clear writing, thank you. Please, rest assured, people are listening. People like me. I don’t know how many ex-woo, skeptic vegetarians who are willing to do a one-eighty are out there, but we do exist! Oh, and this one is 45lbs lighter than she was in June. 🙂

  • Rachel:

    First, congratulations on your turnaround!  I'm glad your health is now becoming better, not worse.

    Second, wow.  You've been in some tough places, and you have a long journey ahead of you…but you're on the right path now. 

    Most people who end up in the land of ancestral health are skeptics and rationalists.  We're not selling a sexy myth or a guarantee to Shed Pounds The Easy Way: the “caveman diet” concept is entirely a creation of our detractors.  What we have to offer is a rational framework for understanding our own past experiences (“I'm eating low-fat and whole grains, why am I so hungry and tired all the time?”) and for taking charge of our own health instead of relying on disconnected snippets of mutually contradictory advice.


  • Octavian

    I know I’m coming in late on this discussion, but my wake up call was on Jan 1 2010 (not a New Year’s resolution) when I weighed close to 275lbs at 6′. I then started moving more and eating less, but I still ate some of the usual suspects. Eventually, I stumbled upon “Eat to live” by Joel Fuhrman which inspired me to eat more veggies and less meat. Eventually (2 weeks after I started this) I realized I really like meat, so I increased the meat and kept the veggies at the same level. I lost 10lbs. This summer, I stumbled upon CrossFit and paleo and it’s been a love story so far. I’m blogging about my experience (link in my name) and I’ve learned so much more than I expected. Eventually, I stumbled upon this site, and ordered the book yesterday. I can’t wait to read it. Keep it up J.

  • Octavian:

    I can point the way to better health, but everyone must walk the path on their own. Congratulations on your progress — and thank you very much for the support!  (These articles are entirely financed by sales of The Gnoll Credo and Amazon referrals.)


    PS: Your name doesn't become a link unless you sign up for the forums and post comments as a member.  Meanwhile, Octavian's blog is at fullfat.ca.)

  • Kassandra

    I know this is pretty late – almost 4 months since the last comment! – but it’s the first article I’ve really really wanted to comment on.
    It has been a very long journey for me, since finding out I had Celiac disease over a year ago. I struggled A LOT with cutting out gluten. I would be fine for a few months, or weeks, or maybe days… you see where that’s going! I recently read another article on this site about how any successful diet must de-emphasize the need for willpower and restriction to succeed, and that was like getting hit with a bolt of lightning. “Restrained eating requires the exercise of willpower to override likes, wants, and the lack of satiation or satiety; the exercise of willpower uses energy and causes stress; and stress makes you eat more. Therefore, a successful diet must minimize the role of willpower.” (From the amazing series on what hunger is and why we eat.) My biggest problem had always been that the cravings got so bad I would always justify giving in, then I would feel terrible physically and lash myself with guilt for not having stronger will, which just produced more stress… which BELIEVE ME I do not need in my life! I already work two jobs, am in the process of building a house, and recently lost a family member, so making good diet decisions was taking less and less priority space.
    I have tried every sort of diet… counting calories (I can probably recite the formula for basal metabolic rate in my sleep!), limiting carbs, limiting fat, of course removing gluten and learning to cook andbake with all different grains. Some things would work for a while, as long as I had the willpower not to eat when I was hungry, but I always gained the weight back and usually more. I was depressed (I believe due to damage in the small intestine causing low serotonin) and generally angry all the time, struggling to find a way to accept that apparently my body wanted to be 40 pounds overweight.
    Then I started reading paleo blogs and bought The Gnoll Credo… and this is easy. I’m still working on kicking the addiction to carbs, but it doesn’t worry me anymore. I know I’ll succeed. No grains? No problem! No need to count calories or restrict myself from eating the delicious and satisfying meat I’ve always wanted? Awesome! And the BUTTER! Ohhh the buttered veggies. 🙂 I have tons of energy, eat way less than I used to, and am inspired to actively find sources for local produce and meats – wonderfully easy, since I live in a rural part of the American southeast. Which, I might note, made it extremely HARD to find so-called “health foods” that didn’t contain gluten. But eating naturally, I encounter none of those problems.
    So basically, what I take from this experience is this: don’t fight your nature. Revel in the expression of all those predatory instincts, and most importantly do not try to use “paleo” food to imitate your old diet! Making “pizza” with almond flour and various substitute ingredients to stay technically paleo is not eating like a predator… it’s cheating yourself of the wonderful experience of real primal pleasure in food. It won’t taste like the pizza you crave, and will only remind you that you aren’t eating what you think you want. It’s a waste of time. Be joyful in what is healthy, and find a way to distract yourself from what you think you want!

  • Kassandra

    Oh, and a comment to PrimalNut above: I was diagnosed with arthritis at 23!! How’s that for young? 🙂 And I totally commiserate with chronic constipation – had it since I was a tiny little girl… my family even has a running joke about my giant poops!

  • Kassandra:

    Don't worry: I'm still reading the comments!  (They're stored as threads in the forums, so it's easy to see what people have commented on recently.)

    You make several excellent points.  “Do not try to use “paleo” food to imitate your old diet” is an important step.  Food simulations like “paleo pancakes” are absolutely still junk food even if they're made with almond flour.  They're high in n-6, extremely calorie-dense, and still just a pale imitation of the real thing.  My opinion: if you're going to cheat, cheat proudly — and accept the consequences.

    We're predators, and we eat different food now — delicious food that doesn't need a side of empty carbs or sweetened junk to be satisfying.  As you've discovered, that's the key to this entire way of life…once you discover the pleasure you get from eating what your body needs, the transient thrill of junk food just doesn't compare.

    Welcome home.


  • pam

    wakeup call?

    colon cancer + complications of Lord Hubby despite of decades of (mostly) “healthy lifestyle” (including statins)

    my ND is also very against dairy except raw A2. so i tried dairy free for a while & the only tangible effect is stomach cramp every day from coconut (100%, no other additives). so that did not work for me.

    i’ve been following archevore/PHD diet for almost 2 years now. i don’t know why so many are so dogmatic re. dairy. dairy seems to me more in line w/ our evolutionary philosophy than coconut (this is of course, for those who have no problems w/ lactose or casein).

    i do like coconut a great deal. but it disagrees with me.


    (ah, i even started to read the intelligent dialog of your readers)

  • pam:

    My reasoning has always been that dairy fat is fine: it's lactose and casein that are potential problems.  And I've made the point before that goats and cattle were domesticated long before the cabbage.

    I love coconut oil, myself…but there are a few people that MCTs simply disagree with.

    I'm glad you're finding success, and I wish you and your husband the best.


  • pam

    we’re doing fine. thanks

    i like your take of dairy vs. cabbage. i believe that NADs are more worrisome than dairy.


  • Daniel Taylor

    This was a good post, JS.

    I’ve had allergies, IBS, and what I learned later was reactive hypoglycemia my whole life-most started around the 3rd grade-I’ll be 31 in a couple of weeks so that would’ve been….22ish years ago…sheesh…

    Been paleo for almost 3 years and beyond the occasional upset haven’t heard a peep since.

    I was always über self disciplined as a kid and that hasn’t changed so for me it was just lots of years of research (I started around 12 yrs old) and n=1 until I found the paleo lifestyle and then there was some more research and tweaks until I arrived here…

    TGC was my wake up call for life-Ive told you this before but I feel it fits in this thread as well to benefit noobie readers that read the forums and comments.

    Anyway, TGC was the blood stained (in a good way!) ribbon tied to the top of the paleo package that finally put everything to rest and set my course for the future.

    For me the biochemistry sealed the deal with the diet and lifestyle changes; TGC changed my outlook, attitude, and basic philosophical frame of reference towards life. This I believe, is as important as any dietary factor and precisely why I refer people here.

    It’s been said before but bears (yes, that’s another pun…) repeating: we ARE in fact predators and the more people understand the implications of that on their daily lives and how they approach their problems and other people, the better off they are. It makes us stronger to push away all the conditioning and superimposed, anthropocentric(I’m looking at you, Religion) freedom inhibiting crap that’s been shoved down our throats since the dawn of agriculture. It gives us strength and power we never knew we had once we accept WHO and WHAT we are.

    Ok rant over…I just want people to understand that it’s about far more than just a choice of steak over skittles- although that’s super important as well.

    I’ll take mine rare. 😉

  • Daniel:

    You raise an important point, which is that behavioral changes don't usually stick unless they become part of our identity. 

    “I'm going on a diet” rarely lasts, because it's an imposition that depends on willpower to maintain it: a “diet” is a restraint we're imposing on our true selves, who would be more than happy to keep eating toaster strudels and Mountain Dew.  “I am a predator and I don't eat birdseed” is different: if this is a true statement and we really do think of ourselves as predators, toaster strudels aren't even food to us anymore.


  • Brenda

    JS- this is a great site… I’m thrilled to have found it.

    I’m currently reading this book and find it to be a full of very astute observations on T2DM from a layperson’s perspecitive. I’m a diabetes educator/nurse practitioner and I try to focus on “fixing” my patient’s insulin resistance with a primal type diet. For folks who are worried about insulin resistance and want to know where they stand, I highly recommend a test called a C-peptide. It basically tells you how much insulin your body is producing in order to control the blood sugar. I find it indispensible for explaining to people that having a “normal” blood sugar doesn’t show the whole picture. A high C-pep result shows future trouble brewing far more accurately that just checking blood sugar.

    Just some thoughts for those who may be interested. Keep up the great work!

  • Brenda:

    That's a good point about C-peptide. When our blood sugar finally goes out of control, that means our body has become so completely insulin-resistant that our pancreas can't make up for it anymore.  It's very likely that we've been insulin-resistant for years before that happens.

    I'm glad you find gnolls.org useful.  Stick around, browse the index…and if you want to support my work, buy a copy of The Gnoll Credo.


  • hausfrauensex

    Hi it’s me, I am also visiting this site on a regular
    basis, this website is truly good and the peoole
    are really sharing good thoughts.

  • The Pooch

    Hello! I realize this is an older thread, but I was fascinated by reading the “wake-up call” stories and just wanted to add my own two cents.

    I am male, in my late thirties, and received my “wake-up call” about two years ago. I was gaining weight despite attempting to exercise, and I was frequently injured, with joint injuries that just wouldn’t heal and frequently re-occurred. My digestion was _terrible_ — severe IBS almost everyday, took some drugs for it that seemed to do nothing. I would frequently get these crashes in the middle of the day (low blood sugar?) where I would feel tired, woozy, unfocused, angry, and feel like I _had to eat immediately_ or I would pass out. I was eating sometimes every two hours throughout the day. I thought, “All this stuff can’t be a normal part of aging, right? I’m only in my thirties!”

    My path to the paleo/primal/ancestral viewpoint was through barefoot running, and somehow somewhere reading barefoot running websites led me to reading Gary Taubes and William Davis. (I no longer run barefoot on a regular basis, although I do wear minimalist shoes and do some barefoot strides every once in a while.)

    Taubes and Davis were the real eye-openers for me. I somehow got my wife on board with a paleo trial period, and then I stopped eating wheat cold turkey. Wheat was the “X factor” for me. Once I stopped eating wheat, it was like flipping a switch. IBS — cured. Crashes and constant eating during the day — gone. And effortless loss of 25 lbs of body fat.

    Today I read the Gnolls website, also Mark Sisson, Emily Deans, and others. ChiRunning has helped with the running form and injuries, CrossFit-style workouts help with the strength. I have stabilized at a body weight that feels comfortable to me, and I follow a roughly 80/20 rule when it comes to paleo eating, which means 80% paleo/primal but occasional beer, take-out food, corn/rice, and beans. But never wheat!

    Thanks for reading!

  • The Pooch:

    I still respond to comments on my older articles…and based on both the comment threads and my web statistics, they’re still being regularly read!

    Sadly, your story isn’t uncommon. Over 1 in 100 suffers from frank celiac (prevalence in some subgroups exceeds 5%) — and that doesn’t include the much greater number, like yourself, whose bodies reject wheat as a foreign substance through other mechanisms. As you know, the unshakable position of allopathic medicine, until very recently, was “Celiac is 1 in 1000 or less and non-celiac gluten intolerance doesn’t exist” — a position still taken by the majority of doctors, and one that has condemned millions to a lifetime of unnecessary suffering.

    I firmly believe that most of what we think of as “aging” is the result of a species-inappropriate diet based on birdseed, not food. The good health of ancestral cultures, as recounted by Weston A. Price and others, is not an accident of genetics — and the fact that ancestral cultures suffer even more than we do when they take up our diet is proof of this.

    Re: your sources, I’ve found over the years that the Primal Blueprint is holding up much better than most other “paleo” books. Sure, it’s very breezily and pop-sci written, and he spends a bit too much time on the carb curve — but the specifics of his actual prescription for heath, e.g. the Ten Laws, are useful practical truth for the average person trying to gain and maintain their health.

    I’m glad I’ve somehow been able to contribute to your quality of life. Thank you for sharing!


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