I Know What I’m Doing

But not everyone agrees. Here's an email I got yesterday. While I appreciate the effort and obvious concern that went into it, needless to say that I disagree with most of it. The one part I do agree with is that's it better to eat free range animals eating their natural diets, rather than grain fed. That said, I do not believe it's the issue that some make it out to be. While I do eat a lot of grass fed / finished meat, I still do eat some from decent quality sources that's grain finished, out of convenience. However, my napkin calculations suggest my n-6 intake is not all that high (no processed oils or foods), and I take n-3 in the form of fish oil and CLO, I eat lots of seafood, and so my ratio intake is pretty paleo even in the face of some less than optimal meat.

Also, legumes are in no way, shape or form part of a paleo diet (nor are psyllium husks). In my opinion, ingesting toxins from legumes is orders of magnitude worse than eating grain-fed meat. So, here's the email, and I hope it generates some discussion (Monica, Dr. BG, Stephan? Others?).

BTW, here's the lipid panel she refers to. And my wife's, after about three months on my high fat regime.


Hello Richard,

My brother-in-law turned me on to your website as I'm a Naturopathic physician practicing in Portland, OR who specializes in nutrition and diet. Currently I'm doing a lot of research on the effects of various foods and diet on our endocrine function, especially on insulin. In any event, I applaud your obvious (visual) progress. Good on ye! I did want to comment on your "lipid" profile though. I don't know if the profile you have on your site is your most recent one and/or whether it represents an improvement from a previous state or not, but I wanted to fill you in on a few things.

First, just because the lab has reference ranges doesn't mean they're truly optimal, they often just concur with the average numbers seen by that lab. I don't know what lab your doc uses, but I haven't seen a lab in years that sets its total cholesterol reference range limit above 200 like yours does, and in terms of optimal health even that is too high. Frankly, I find your lipid levels to be of concern, particularly given your ideas about fat consumption.

Know that over half of all heart attacks occur with people who have a total cholesterol levels between 160 and 200, and half of all fatal heart attacks occur in people with no prior symptoms of heart disease, not even high blood pressure! The bottom line is that how you look and feel on your new diet will not warn you if you have a potential MI coming right around the bend. Below 150 (total cholesterol) heart attacks are virtually non-existant. Just telling you to beware that you've got a ways to go if you want to protect yourself from this.

While paleolithic man did consume game regularly and craved fat given the amount of calories consumed by their level of activity and exposure, keep in mind that wild game typically has about 3 – 5% body fat, whereas commercial meats often contain 30% to 50% or more! So make sure you're comparing apples to apples in what you're consuming. Your relationship to fat consumption, despite the weight loss you're experiencing, is off if you're committed to your health as well as your looks – which it seems to me you are.

If I were you, I would cut back on your meat consumption and/or at least consume only grass fed graisers/completely freerange chicken or turkey – ie: animals that are consuming their own paleolithic diet. And I would definitely cut back on your apparently eager fat consumption. Because for what it's worth, if you're eating unhealthy animals that were fed grain, they will pass on poor health to you regardless of your weight.

One other thing I saw on your site about constipation; you suggested consuming more fat. This is very unsound advice to be giving people. In order for fat to cause enough lubrication to promote a BM in someone who has constipation, they would have to consume more than they can properly digest. Typically fat is emulsified by elements in bile, and so it doesn't appreciably improve lubrication of the bowels unless it's not being digested properly. If it seems to do so in your experience, it is a sign that you have less than optimal digestion, and are either eating too much for your body to deal with at one time or that you may have subpar liver or gall bladder function.

But more to the point, in the case of humans the way to maintain healthy bowel tone and function is by consuming large quantities of fiber, period. This is that way nature designed us omnivores who have such long GI tracts compared to the extremely short ones of pure carnivores. Meat, fish, foul, eggs, milk products & fat (all animal based foods) contain ZERO fiber. That's "0" as in none whatsoever. We need lots of fiber to remain healthy and that's just the way it is. Psyllium husks certainly provide fiber and are a much more appropriate choice than increased fat intake which frankly is inappropriate for this purpose and will only increase your risk of cancer and heart disease. But why not consume fiber in the form of actual food – fruits, veggies, legumes, and consume more water to keep your bowels moving as well as prevent future bowel cancer, diverticulitis, etc.?

While a high meat & fat diet can definitely lead to weight loss, looks aren't everything when it comes to actual health. There is no doubt that the more meat and fat you consume the higher your cancer and heart disease risks. So if you're truly committed to keeping your new figure in great health until you die a very old man in your sleep, you should stick to a TRULY paleolithic diet. One that consists of fruit, a LOT, LOT, LOT of vegetables, legumes, nuts & seeds, and wild fish/foul/game (or domestic critters themselves fed a paleo diet, not the grain diet we feed them – even our farmed fish!).

While you didn't ask for any advice, since so many others are apparently reading your blog and you seem authentically interested in optimizing your health I assumed you would be interested. Hope that's the case and I haven't overstepped myself here (something I've been accused of in the past I must admit, though my heart is in the right place). If you're not personally interested, I hope you'll still post this to your blog (although I'm not a "member") for the sake of those who want information from various sources. I was impressed by your sketch about no guru's, so I assume you're willing to consider information from a variety of sources and pass it on to those reading your blog.

Here's to your health!

Carole A Warner, ND, LAc

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Marc Feel Good eating on February 18, 2009 at 08:36

    Well….at least her heart is in the right place.

    I wonder if she eats whole weat pasta and bagels, cuz those are really good for you.


  2. Anna on February 18, 2009 at 09:07

    Looks like your correspondent suggests the usual mainstream unproven diet advice. Like you, I agree very much on the need for quality animal foods raised naturally on pasture or wild caught, but I'm not persuaded by the other arguments.

    Cholesterol levels below 150? Sure, but only if one wants depression, dementia, and/or cancer instead of CVD.

    Fiber? I've looked into this one quite a bit over the past couple years and haven't found any convincing evidence for purposely bulking up on fiber, either. My husband's had a couple diverticulitis flare-ups in the past 1.5 years (both flare-ups started 36 hours after a restaurant dinner, which I find interesting and potentially significant), yet his colonoscopy 2-3 years ago didn't reveal any diverticula. All the conventional wisdom says diverticula form due to lack of fiber in refined Western diets, because this condition is ubiquitous in Western populations, but doesn't show up in populations that live on their native (non-industrial diets). The difference in fiber intake between populations was noted and theorized to be the critical factor (observational/epidemiological studies), but what about all the other differences in diets and lifestyles, too, such as sitting on chair-style commodes instead of squatting for elimination? But it remains just a theory, and the intervention studies (a better test of a theory) have shown no benefit to fiber. But there is some evidence that excessive fiber intake also binds with minerals, possibly creating deficiencies or even damage to the interior of the colon (insoluble fiber can be harsh and irritating, too). Yet, the conventional advice to get plenty of fiber continues, despite lack of substantial supporting evidence (how likely is that to reverse now that a huge industry supplying fiber products has sprung up?). Personally, I have found that eliminating grains and the bulky grain-fiber from my diet (but not whatever fiber occurs in the non-starchy vegetables I consume) suits me far better in terms of how I feel and function.

    • Mark on November 7, 2016 at 11:25

      I’m not kidding here, I went very low carb for about ten years….. no grains or beans, very little fruit and veg, no starchy carbs at all, no plants and I had absolutely no bowel trouble whatsoever. I was regular as clockwork too. On saying that I have been reading about the importance of gut flora on this site and maybe I just hit lucky? Or maybe we don’t actually need that much dietary fibre? I have recently introduced more starchy carbs into my diet but still haven’t included beans, grains, legumes or leafy plants….

  3. Please forgive me if I am off-base here but didn't Paleolithic Hunters go to the lean muscle last when consuming wild game? I had the understanding that organs (especially the liver) and the brain were preferred and these parts contain a good amount of fat. Also, I don't think Paleolithic man would have worked harder than needed to get their food, i.e. it is much easier to hunt together for a Grizzly Bear or Woolly Mammoth as opposed to a Deer (they're quite fast and hard to hunt even with a bow). Also when it comes to fiber, without getting into the biology behind it and strictly looking from a practical point of view, I don't think Mr. Caveman would enjoy noshing on a head of lettuce or broccoli and I don't see a caveman soaking beans before eating. I can see him enjoying apples and fruits but those are quite seasonal. I understand where Dr. Warner is coming from but if we're getting down to the nitty gritty of the Paleolithic diet then these distinctions need to be addressed. All in all though, anyone who gets people to steer away from processed food is someone to applaud for their efforts!

  4. Mark on February 18, 2009 at 09:16

    I just posted, not sure how my name showed up like it did. Anyways, I love this topic. Any questions are welcomed!

  5. Jay on February 18, 2009 at 09:16

    It wasn't a bad reply and she was nice about it. I'm an ex veg, have been eating Paleo for about a year, all meat bought local, Grass Feed, Hormone Free.

    Keep up the solid blog.

    Chow On, Do More Squats

  6. timinthewater on February 18, 2009 at 09:48

    She was cordial.
    I've got some great advice for you as well…

    Figure out a way to filter and delete any email/message/comment that mentions the dangers of high cholesterol (ok I guess there is always the benefit of knowing the hazards of following the standard reccomendations). The stress created by deciding if you should respond, where to begin to respond, why the person can't grasp the difference between correlation and causation, etc…is the only thing actually putting you at risk for a heart attack.

    PS isn't one of the main causes of appendicitis (SP?) thought to be overconsumption of fiber? I also don't remember it being called 'essential daily fiber'

  7. David on February 18, 2009 at 10:08

    I thought that letter was a very respectful submission of her opinion. Whether one agrees or not is irrelevant. This whole blog, in fact this entire movement about food, is about questioning and challenging convention. That REQUIRES debate, differing opinions and diverging analysis.

    This issue is as much about our descendants as ourselves – any changes we make as individuals are hard to assess in isolation, other than in obvious markers like weight. We just don't know what changes in individual cholesterol numbers mean, in part because we really don't know what the numbers mean to the general population. It doesn't help that some of the numbers are of less interest than the ratios between them or that the effect of some components is barely discussed when getting your results. For example, does your MD know about triglycerides and when was the last time he discussed the size of your LDL particles?

    The only way we will get to better nutrition for our grandchildren is to assess information, experiment on ourselves, observe how we feel, track our clinical data (blood, weight, fat% et cetera), observe how we fare versus our peers and in the end PROVE our opinions by living old and living well. That will only be demonstrable over time and with enough people. Empirically it is obvious that most North Americans are pasty, flabby and soft – so the basic diet is just wrong. I have no doubt that Richard AND Dr. Warner are BOTH vastly healthier than most of their age peers.

    Let's not shout down Dr. Warner if we disagree on some of her opinion. Let's celebrate that she shares some of our opinions, consider why she agrees with what she does and carefully assess where she disagrees. There may well be useful nuggets in her contrary viewpoints … and at least she is open to alternative diets, unlike so many in the healthcare industry.

  8. Stephan on February 18, 2009 at 10:40

    Where to begin. Let's start with fiber. The DART trial is the only controlled trial to have looked at the effect of increasing dietary fiber without changing other variables. Participants in the high-fiber group saw an increase in mortality relative to the control group eating their normal-fiber diet. I think it's also worth pointing out that the Japanese diet is low-fiber.

    From a non-communicable disease standpoint, hunter-gatherers (and certain non-industrial agricultural groups) are/were the healthiest people on earth. In a paper titled "Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets", Cordain et al. showed that most hunter-gatherer groups ate very few low-calorie plant foods (vegetables). Why would you spend all day picking wild spinach for zero calories when you could be taking down a deer that would feed you for days? These cultures represent roughly what our own ancestors were doing for over a million years.

    Ms. Warner seems to be blissfully unaware of the fact that roughly a quarter of contemporary hunter-gatherer groups were virtually carnivorous, getting 85% or more of their food from animal sources (also in the paper above, as well as all over the anthro lit). The human body can only tolerate a maximum of about 35% of calories from protein in the long term. That means carnivorous groups were eating a minimum of 65% of their calories as fat (in most cases it was closer to 80%). And still having undetectable levels of heart disease, diabetes, overweight or cancer. The Inuit are a good example. All that without fiber.

    I'm not aware of any convincing evidence that vegetables are important for good health. The only evidence comes from epidemiological studies, which can only detect associations. The controlled clinical trials in general have failed to substantiate the benefits of a high-vegetable, and particularly high-fiber diet.

    And they have also established beyond reasonable doubt that saturated fat and total fat intake do not affect mortality. If anything, the earlier trials (Coronary club, Rose et al) demonstrated that replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated vegetable oil increases the risk of death considerably. And I don't even want to hear about the Finnish mental hospital trials, those were so poorly conducted I can't believe people still cite them. Look the studies up, you might be surprised what you find.

    And as for the cholesterol thing, I'm sure Ms. Warner is aware that total cholesterol is a very poor indicator of heart attack risk. HDL and triglycerides are much better, both of which improved dramatically for Richard on his high-fat diet. Furthermore, the associations between lipids and heart attack risk have only been established in Americans eating the normal American diet, which Richard is not. Those associations are not universal. They depend on the dietary milieu. For example, the Kitavans of Papua New Guinea have pretty similar lipid measurements to the average American, yet thorough investigations by Lindeberg et al have never been able to detect a single heart attack or stroke in this population. That's despite their sizable elderly population. Oh yeah, and they eat considerably more saturated fat than Americans.

    Furthermore, I think it's disturbing that Ms. Warner does not believe the way a person feels is an indicator of health. It just reinforces the arrogant notion: we know what's best for you, so keep on eating the whole grains and 9 servings of vegetables at every meal, while avoiding butter and meat, even though it makes you feel terrible.

    I could go on and on, but I think I'll stop there.

  9. David on February 18, 2009 at 10:46

    Yes, it was so nice to see the effort in her letter and that she was expressing an opinion instead of trying to just tell you "I know better and you're wrong". I think you did a good thing by giving her letter air time.

    I need to do more research on beans, after all they'd be available in season for paleo man. They'd also be something that would be fairly easy to gather and carry around, so I can see them being a useful commodity. In fact, I could see beans being one of the few plant based foods available in a harsh winter. Maybe you could give us a post or two on your findings about legumes in general and how you came to your opinions? Keep up the good work!

  10. Monica on February 18, 2009 at 11:26

    Fiber? Good Calories, Bad Calories. 🙂

    In any case fiber content seems to be a non-sequitur as far as your food is concerned, Richard. The pictures of your meals seem full of vegetables. I share your frustration, Richard, because people are always making the assumption that I don’t eat enough vegetables as soon as they hear the words “low carb”. I am NOT on the Atkins diet! But the real point is that they don’t actually know what I eat. I probably eat more vegetation than the average American. The other night we had folks for dinner and they preened about how I wasn’t eating a potato or any bread. I guess the beef with a homemade beef broth/blackberry reduction, full bowl of organic salad with good olive oil, and steamed asparagus with grass fed butter wasn’t enough good nutrition.

    I applaud Carole’s decision not to eat grain fed meat, but from a nutritional perspective with beef I’m not sure how much of an issue it really is. I would prefer not to eat grain-fed animals but that has more to do with indirect environmental and health reasons (waste runoff, antibiotic resistance) and animal welfare. I don’t like the idea of downer or diseased cows getting into our food supply but I have to wonder how big an issue this actually is. I just don’t know.

    The email above did not mention saturates in particular, but grain fed beef is not actually higher in saturates from what I understand (someone correct me if I am wrong). The fat in grain fed beef is higher overall but it is higher in monounsaturates, not saturates. There are numerous issues with grain-fed beef, including possibly a lack of CLA. I’m not sure how much of an issue even that is the context of other hunter gatherer diets that may have lacked this natural trans fat altogether. I honestly don’t know, but I think this trans fatty acid, which supposedly has anti-cancer properties, is found mostly in meat and milk and I wonder if seafood eaters would have had any in their diets in which case it becomes sort of a moot point. In any case, I would need some convincing that the increased monounsaturate content in grain fed beef is really a problem. Isn’t the bone marrow of grass fed cows full of monounsaturates? Seems like the extra from grain fed beef would make up for the lack of bone marrow in our modern diets. Certainly the omega 3/6 profile is better in grassfed beef, but it’s rather insignificant given the low amount of polyunsaturates in grain fed beef anyway.

    I would have to agree with her that pastured eggs are WAY different than supermarket eggs. You can make a big difference in the vitamin and fatty acid profile of eggs by raising them on pasture and you can see the difference in these eggs. Ideally we would want to eat all our animals raised on pasture. But as you said, it’s expensive and sometimes inconvenient when eating out. And in the case of beef, I’m just not seeing a huge difference as far as the nutritional content is concerned. I do not want to send the message that I support factory agriculture, but a supermarket egg would be better for you than a slice of whole grain supermarket bread for sure.

    I don’t have any opinions on Plantago having not studied the matter. I've gone back and forth on the safety of legumes and grains in their soaked forms.

    However, I definitely don’t understand the recommendation to eat more fruit. I can tell you that I got pretty fat eating mostly potatoes, unsprouted bread and unsoaked legumes and rice, and fruit. I never ate too much junk and I basically got fat eating what most people consider health foods. Modern fruit is way more sweet than it was just 150 years ago. These modern varieties are literally bred for sugar. I consume fruit in strict moderation. Berries are the best bet. Once in awhile I have other fruit but I really try to keep it to a minimum while I’m trying to lose weight.

  11. Paleo Newbie on February 18, 2009 at 13:58

    timinthewater, I do not think that the owner of this blog favors high cholesterol. However, I dont want to speak for him. Remember that athersclerotic plaque formation begins with an initial inflammatory process from oxidized LDL.

    • peterlepaysan on April 18, 2010 at 04:29

      Plaque formation starts with lesions in the arterial wall (causes unknown).
      LDL levels are irrelevant.

      LDL levels did not cause the initial lesions or the subsequent plaques.

  12. nonegiven on February 18, 2009 at 20:59
  13. Richard Nikoley on February 18, 2009 at 09:11

    No doubt about it in my case, either. I do get some fiber via modest consumption of veggies & fruits, and quite a lot of nuts. I see no need whatsoever to purposely go beyond what I ingest naturally.

    Also, in general I tend to dismiss fixes and cures for people on crappy diets. It's wholly impertinent to me.

  14. TrailGrrl on February 18, 2009 at 17:39

    Pardon the pun, but I felt like crap when I was eating high fiber. My gut and intestines feel a lot better without grains, beans, etc. I was in aweful shape and feeling the bloat.

    Cholesterol readings are overated. No one seems to know what elevated cholesterol really means. Some individuals just have higher levels. They keep lowering and lowering the acceptable number… maybe to keep everyone on cholesterol drugs????

    The only turkey I eat now is roasted for Thanksgiving and I eat the dark meat and as much crispy skin as I can shove in my mouth. I never liked ground turkey, turkey chili, turkey sausage, turkey bacon, or any other supposedly healthier substitutes for beef or pork. Good thing is that I get pretty much all the dark meat I want for Thanksgiving because hardly anyone else eats it or even claims to like it. Chicken is also overdone. I was at the store last night and was trying to just find regular pieces of chicken without a bunch of crap in them. Hard to find anything that isn't boneless and skinless.

    I feel bad when I eat a lot of fruit too. I just do what I think works and monitor how I feel. And I feel pretty good after a fatty ribeye.


  15. Richard Nikoley on February 18, 2009 at 10:13

    In the main, I agree with you, and particularly in the way the email was expressed. I did thank her for the effort in an email reply.

  16. Minneapolis J on February 18, 2009 at 20:06

    Grassfed beef/meat is usually better than the commercial feedlot beef, but I have heard varied things. In regards to omega 6, some say that grassfed has a much more desireable ratio(at least for beef), but in all honesty, I am not sure how big of a deal it is if you are getting a proper intake of Omega 3's.

    In regards to our Paleo ancestors, the lady sounds like Loren Cordain. I doubt our paleo ancestors could have survived on simply lean meat and vegetables and such. Like stated on this site many times, our ancestors ate probably the fattiest portions of the animal…..brains, livers, fatty organs.

    If Richard wants to eat fat thats totally fine, as long as the Omega 6s don't crowd out to the Omega 3s. If he has good fatty acid balance, then his high fat diet is perfectly fine.

    I eat plenty of fat too, fatty fish, whole eggs, bacon, cod liver oil, steak and ground beef, macadamia nuts,(easy to balance omega 3 fats with)…Keep in mind that bacon is not proinflammatory!

    After a while, one will get sick of lean meat and vegetables as well as rack up a huge bill buy grassfed meat..grassfed is better probably, but how much?

    If I were Richard, he should eat what makes him happy and what helps him keep losing weight. If he has a proper fatty acid balance on his diet then he is fine.

  17. Jane on February 18, 2009 at 21:00

    I totally agree on the comments of Monica and TrailGrrl about eating fruits. I got fat while only eating fruits for one week (trial). I mostly indulged in sweet fruits but also some citrus fruits. As you can imagine I had to eat a lot of fruits to get some calories into my system. I didn't eat too many calories though – not even maintenance level. I believe that fruits are overrated and too expensive anyway. At least where I live.

    I eat Paleo combined with Intermittent Fasting and like it. I stick to lean meat mostly and add lard or another source of fat, because eating the fat on the meat itself makes me sick. I cannot chew it. I have been an ovo-lacto-veg for the past 17 years and always carried around too much body fat, while consuming lots of fruits, wholegrains, wholegrain cereals, wholegrain bread and what not – thought this is considered healthy eating. How wrong I was!

    However, whatever works for you is good.

  18. animal pharm on February 18, 2009 at 16:14

    Hi Richard,

    I got your email — so have to respond to Dr. Warner's inquiry and well-intentioned (though wholly wrong, and conventional). I used to be like Dr. Warner…yes, I'm a recovering LDL-centric former-statinator, focused only on increasing statin doses and NOTHING else.

    She does not appear to be aware of LDL particle sizing via NMR or VAP. This is cutting edge (like 20yrs old). Heart disease is not about LDL cholesterol any longer — it's about the size and buoyancy of the LDL particles.

    Dense is deadly. (like conventional cardiologists and the like NDs, DOs, MDs, PharmDs, etc)

    A great surrogate for the density of LDL is to look at the TG to HDL ratio. Dr. Davis has observed regression of coronary atherosclerosis via reduction in coronary calcification scores (Agaston on EBT heartscan) when the HDL2 (large) exceeds 50% of the total HDL and when LDL2 (large) are the great majority of the LDL totals — he shoots for 90%… like yours if you ever go and have a $149 NMR or $99 VAP done.

    (hint hint hint)

    DR. Davis' goal is TG/HDL = 1.0 or lower. 0.5 is even more ideal (without drugs — by lifestyles is best; with help from supplements is good — vitamin ADE K1 K2, ultra high dose fish oil EPA DHA, flaxseed oil, astaxanthin/krill oil, casein-free butter oil —, TAURINE/LEUCINE/meat/seafood/egg, and S-A-T-U-R-A-T-E-D FAT INTAKE).

    Your HDLs are phenomenal!!!!!! (I'm drooling, and I'm a girl — mine should be as high b/c like Doc Warner I have estrogen– well sorta — I'm working on it)

    The HDL-cholesterol are OFFFF the fr*ckin SCALE. No one can touch that (not even our youthful padawan Stephan…just kidding…my dear u r a full fledged JEDI knight MASTER and king of the Paleo science universe *haaa ha*)

    Richard, the TGs are negligible, also nearly off the scale.

    Carbs and wheat and all that fiber Dr. Warner advises RAISES TGs and LOWERS protective-HDLs. I've seen it over and over — and they drop to awesome levels when people cut out wheat/carbs and eat Paleo.

    And both high TG and low HDL are independent risk factors for coronary and cerebral events. Hell-ooooo.

    Hope that helps!! UR awesome and keep up the excellent stream of thoughts, insights and spunky spirit.

    Hey — BTW I wanna kick ur ass at Crossfit…let's go buddy!


  19. Paleo Newbie on February 18, 2009 at 16:38

    Good post animal pharm.

    When I was doing my general medicine internship, Labcorp(who does blood work testing for many hospitals and offices) was promoting the very NMR lipid profile you speak of. . Its not just the size that counts but the number of LDL particles which may be the ones responsible for the beginning stages of plaque formation. However, statins can reduce these too. I agree with you on pharma pushing statins on those that do not have risk, however, I believe it is an integral part in pharmacotherapy for those that have known CVD/MI/bypass. Admitting orders for someone having an acute MI included high dose statin to stablize the plaque. However, readers of this blog will improve their lipids through diet and excercise before it gets that far.

  20. Sue on February 19, 2009 at 01:57

    I'm studying naturopathy and I can tell you that we are taught the same old nutritional bullshit that dieticians are. Its totally frustrating listening to some of the lecturers when you know that there is no truth in what they are saying. The lecturers are just repeating what they were taught etc….

  21. Anna on February 19, 2009 at 09:28

    Grrrreeeaaattt comments! But I'm left scratching my head, trying to envision how hunter-gatherers soaked and cooked dried beans without vessels to hold the liquid. When does pottery show up? Ok, there are some natural depressions in rocks that could be utilized, perhaps, but they would still be few and far between, except in some unusual geological situations. Anyone know this?

    Except for immature beans like green bean pods, where the pod is the main thing, not the bean itself (I picture them as puny, smaller even than or haricot verts, not plump hybridized Blue Lake beans), I can't imagine a way to prepare beans to be edible without a decent vessel.

  22. Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2009 at 06:01

    No, I don't favor high (or low, for that matter) cholesterol as some goal to achieve. I think what makes a big difference is if one has "high cholesterol" in conjunction with a diet or junk & crap (such as "healthy whole grains") vs. "high cholesterol" in conjunction with a natural, high-fat diet (Paleo).

  23. Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2009 at 06:21


    I'll get back to you on the crossfit deal when I get back in town. Here's an NMR I found for $80.

    Does that look OK to you?

  24. Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2009 at 06:35

    Yep, regurgitating textbooks, textbooks often the product themselves of past regurgitations.

  25. minneapolis J on February 19, 2009 at 19:45

    Too much fruit makes me feel puffy and bloated. That's the one thing I dislike about Loren Cordain's model. It's high lean meat, lots of fruit and veggies, and very little nuts.

    I think Devany's model is more suitable towards me…..just have a couple fruits to kick start your first meal.

    I think way lean meat is nauseating and tasteless. That's why I eat so much fatty fish, its got some taste…and the fats are great for you.

    I am looking to eat more ground beef bc its much cheaper, altho I wonder if Richard has a good idea what sauce to use with it. I go to the store and try to find better quality ketchup, but they all have sugar, HFC, or that deceitful agave nectar.

    Richard, if I just want to grill hamburgers what sauces could I use that are more accomdalbe to paleo eating?

  26. minneapolis J on February 19, 2009 at 19:57

    Greasy organs were where it was in the paleolithic times. To add to that, there existed no sugary fruit the way we had today. Vegetables back in the day were hardly sustaining.

    Fatty organs had all the vitamins that we now get from fruit and veggies.

  27. jane on February 19, 2009 at 23:33

    I am really glad to hear that other people also have problems with fruits. Of course not "glad" about you having problems, but I always thought I am the only one. I barley eat fruits these days. Sometimes a couple of berries, maybe twice a month. I stick to leafy veggies mostly. I cannot eat much of them either otherwise I get lots of gas.

    As for the sauce, I always eat my meat with tahini. That is my sauce. I also use it to pour over my eggs.
    My lean meat tastes really nice. I don't even use spices anymore. I just eat everything plain or with a bit of tahini poured over.

    Maybe give the tahini a try.

    Good luck

  28. Richard Nikoley on February 19, 2009 at 19:54

    It's a great question and worthy of an entire entry, soon. Remind me if you don't see it within a week.

  29. Jeff on February 20, 2009 at 05:24

    Great post and great comments. Thanks everyone.

  30. Richard Nikoley on February 20, 2009 at 07:36

    Carole Warner sends an email in general response:

    Hello Richard.

    Thank you for posting my letter. Wow, what a lively response! I have to admit, the tone of many of the responses seemed a bit angry/aggressive to me which is unfortunate as I had absolutely no intention of "attacking" you (or anyone else) or your way of eating. Nor did I suggest in my letter that people eat grains as a source of fiber. It appears that a majority of the people who replied equate fiber with grains and so assumed that was what I was saying. Vegetables are full of fiber.

    In response to "Furthermore, I think it's disturbing that Ms. Warner does not believe the way a person feels is an indicator of health", I never said that either! Obviously the way a person feels is a huge indicator of health. I was only making the point that there are many dangerous conditions where people often "feel" completely well and yet are not – ie: hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, etc., and that people regularly drop dead of heart attacks who have had absolutely no prior symptoms whatsoever, even people who exercise vigorously on a regular basis and have your bloodwork profile. Even so, I didn't suggest that you yourself or anyone else will have a heart attack, only that you be wary of substituting your own dogma about the meaning of your lipid profile for the AMA version. Obviously total cholesterol doesn't begin to tell the whole story about ones risk for CVD, nor do the various ratios etc. for that matter. All I was suggesting was caution, as the jury is still out on so many things that can potentially have such devastating consequences for us all.

    In response to, "trans fatty acid, which supposedly has anti-cancer properties." FYI, trans-fats are actually cancer promoters which are not found naturally in nature (in beef or any other critter or plant). They form artificially as a result of hydrogenation of unsaturated fats at high temperatures such as in the formation of margarine from unsaturated vegetable oils (although there are trans-fat free types available, though I prefer butter myself as it is an excellent and relatively rare source of medium chain fatty acids and tastes so much better). Hydrogenation leading to the formation of trans-fats occurs in anything fried in unsaturated oils – potato/corn chips, french fries etc. While I'm not espousing french fries, they were actually less hazardous to health when they were fried in lard as they used to be in the past, as at least lard is a fully saturated fat that doesn't undergo trans-fatty acid formation under high heat conditions. Currently fast food restaruants are careful and proud to announce that their fried foods are fried only in "polyunsaturated" oils, a perfect recipe for a plate full of trans-fats! So much for the current dogma on fats.

    Anyway, there are so many arguments out there about the best and healthiest ways to eat that it makes ones head swim. What's even more confusing is that totally contradictory diets are espoused by extremely intelligent people who cite copious research to support their conclusions (as well as their own transformed health as a result of their particular diet), and these are not just people who have failed to question the status quo. They are people just like those on this blog who are asking real questions that fly in the face of the claimed medical consensus on diet. Just as this blog does, these various systems of eating have their own testimonial sections where people share about all the weight they've lost (and kept off for years) and how dramatically their signs, symptoms and bloodwork have all improved… How they no longer have diabetes, are off all prescription meds or how their coronary arteries went from 90+% blocked to clear in 6 months, and on and on. One cannot argue with their personal transformations, nor yours for that matter.

    One beef (no pun intended!) I have with all of these diets is the one diet fits all presumption. Over the past 12 years, 90% of my practice has been focused on the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and on diet's affect on people's health, so I do have some basis for contributing to the dialog. My patients routinely improve dramatically or are cured of serious disease by avoiding foods that they are either allergic or sensitive to. Sometimes this includes whole families of foods such as members of the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatos peppers, eggplant) or, not uncommonly, the grain family. But this is also very commonly true of dairy products in particular, or of a large variety of sea foods, and yes, even meats. Despite 12 years of clinical practice focused in this very arena with a very high rate of success in this subspecialty (keep in mind I'm a naturopath trained at an accredited alternative medical school not a mail order school and not an MD), the only thing I can claim to know for sure is that I definitely do not know "the truth" about what's best for people to eat. But I can tell you that it clearly varies from person to person, regardless of all that research on:

    "LDL particle sizing via NMR or VAP, size and buoyancy of the LDL particles, TG to HDL ratios, coronary calcification scores (Agaston on EBT heartscan) when the HDL2 (large) exceeds 50% of the total HDL and when LDL2 (large) are the great majority of the LDL totals, vitamin ADE K1 K2, ultra high dose fish oil EPA DHA, flaxseed oil, astaxanthin/krill oil, casein-free butter oil"

    or any of the rest!!! Frankly, I question ALL of the "research" out there now days. Wasn't it Einstein who said specialization is for insects?! At this point I am very strongly inclined to trust that nature gets it right and that man, with all his studies and proofs is full of bull! Which is why I am interested in exploring the ideas and methods on your site and others like it.

    As a physician I am in the position of being supposedly trained, undoubtedly trusted and literally paid to advise people on matters of health and disease, sometimes life and death. I am thoroughly disgusted with what passes for "health" care in this country, and am committed to giving sound advice that will help my patients recover and maintain their health, not just parroting the prevailing conceptual reality of the medical establishment currently in power as it were. I am well aware of the corruption in our health care system and the ridiculous guidelines for diet that have been passed off as being based on science by the same. Hence my own personal (as yet inconclusive) investigations into the matter.

    I mean to pass judgement on noone nor to proclaim to have all the answers, mearly to authentically question, learn and contribute (hopefully usefully) to the findings and the debate. After all, I have a major personal as well as professional stake in getting to the bottom of all this, and stand ready to throw whatever current "opinions" I have out if I discover them to be inaccurate.

    Carole Warner, ND, LAc.

  31. Patrik on February 23, 2009 at 11:22

    Carole seems like a well-intentioned, nice lady but is a bit misinformed when she mistakenly notes:

    "FYI, trans-fats are actually cancer promoters which are not found naturally in nature (in beef or any other critter or plant)."

    I am not arguing that trans-fats are healthy, however, they are found in trace amounts in natural foods.

    …There is another class of trans fats, vaccenic acid, which occurs naturally in trace amounts in meat and dairy products from ruminants…

    …Milk and meat from cows and other ruminants contains naturally occurring trans fats in small quantities…A type of trans fat occurs naturally in the milk and body fat of ruminants (such as cattle and sheep) at a level of 2–5% of total fat.[27] Natural trans fats, which include conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vaccenic acid, originate in the rumen of these animals. However, CLA is also a cis fat….

    etc etc

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