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Chicken, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy (and how bad are carbs?)

Below I’m going to discuss the role of carbohydrate in the diet; and what better way to kick it off than with some food porn? This is a dish I named "LSD Chicken." Here’s how you make it, along with a discussion of why I named it that. Briefly, it’s the recipe of Owsley "The Bear" Stanley, the famed 60’s LSD cook, and a legend on the carnivore forums. A whole cube of butter (with garlic, rosemary & parsley) went under the skin of this one. (As always, click on the image for the high-res version.)

LSD Chicken
"LSD Chicken"

While it was baking I took quite a lot of chicken stock, added butter and just a sprinkle of tarragon and reduced it to a decent chicken gravy with just a tsp of potato starch to thicken. Then I made up some potato puree in the food processor with even more butter & heavy cream.

Baked Chicken Potatoe Puree with Chicken Gravy
Baked Chicken & Potato Puree with Chicken Gravy

So, many may have noticed that I’ve upped my carbohydrate considerably over the last few months. You can consider it another self experiment. After all, it’s a long time I’ve been writing that paleo is a dietary framework, a foundation. It’s not a prescription. It’s principles that are to be applied individually, and so the dietary makeup is going to differ individual to individual. But what if it also differs depending upon where you are? Are you fat or lean? Are you diabetic or borderline? Are you hungry all the time or never hungry?

paleo is real foods only (unrestricted meat, natural fat, veggies / roots / tubers; moderate nuts and fruit in-season). But it’s often construed to mean low-carb. Well, it’s zero carb or near. But it’s also 70% carb like the Kitavans do. What works for you? Where are you?

And also, in the blogosphere, you have a Peter at Hyperlipid on the one hand, who’s pretty paleo in his food choices, but very high fat and only enough carbs to keep out of ketosis (and very moderate protein). And then you have [redacted], who’s a bit anti-low carb, but down on refined sugar — especially fructose — and frankenoils, and bullish on eating enough, in both calories and carbs. And you have the meat only zero carbers, WAPF, and a lot of folks in-between.

So how about you? For myself, now that I’m near an ideal weight at 175 (I might get to 165 — we’ll see), I’m never really hungry, and I’m looking to add some carbs. I love potatoes & other roots, so that’s the primary means. Not being hungry for at least a year now, has, I think, caused me to eat less than I perhaps should, and perpetual cold hands & feet and bad moods was the signal. My solution, that seems to be working, is that I have boosted both the fat & carbs in my meals and reduced the protein. Where I used to have a whole huge steak and salad, I now prefer a smaller steak, lots of very fatty sauce, and some sort of starch. Then I’ll have "nut soup" for dessert. I’ll blog that soon.

But if you’re still fat, and/or hungry all the time, I’d stick with very low carb, combine intermittent fasting, and of course get those brief and intense workouts in. That should reverse your leptin resistance. I suspect that if you can get to where you eat a good LC, high fat dinner and then not be hungry enough to eat again until 10 or so the next day (12-15 hour overnight fast) that you can be home free. But you may not want to take it too much farther. Maybe slow it down at that point. Experiment with adding starches. It’s going to be a different level for everyone, and don’t do the same thing all the time. It should average out. It’s fine to eat a zero carb meal. But it’s fine to eat a meal with a relatively high level of starch, if your body handles it. I got a bit tired early after that meal last night, which is very uncharacteristic, so that amount of starch was perhaps a bit much for one shot. So now I’m zeroing in on my upper limit and I’ll back off from there. I should also point out that I don’t have starch with every meal, or even every day. Intermittency, variety and randomness is a very important paleo principal.

And how about you? The discussion is open.

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

100 Comments

  1. Alcinda Moore on January 20, 2010 at 17:52

    I’m a tad opinionated about things….but my opinions have changed and are based in the research I’ve done.

    For me, for the most part, I try to stay very low carb, higher protein and high fat (by CW standards). Mainly I keep carbs to under 40g max, preferably under 30g. I do take breaks on occasion where I increase my carbs to around 70-80g/day, but I do stop loosing weight at those levels, and I’m still trying to loose about 30 pounds.

    I do not believe fats, at least animal fats, are bad for us, but commercial oils should be avoided whenever possible (read: always). I feel strongly that the usual amounts of protein proposed by most “experts” are too low, but there is no need for most of us to load up on protein….but if you do, that’s ok too. I do feel strongly that there is no dietary requirement for carbohydrates, but they do add to the menu and can keep boredom at bay while supplying good vitamins and minerals.

    I do try to follow a paleo way of eating, but I do include dairy in moderation (mainly cheese, but also some cream and yogurt). I do not used processed foods except for a bit of condiments from time to time.

    To me the most important thing is to eat whole, natural foods that are mainly bought raw and cooked/prepared at home. If you can handle higher amounts of carbohydrates and stick to whole, natural foods, fine….if you can’t, avoid them.

    I do love potatoes and look forward to the day I can eat them again….but it will be small portions! Bread, on the other hand, no matter how much I like it, will be limited to maybe an annual treat, if at all.

  2. Heidi on January 20, 2010 at 17:16

    Great post Richard. Since I started eating primally at the beginning of the year, I’ve kept my carbs really low and it seems to be working. I’d be afraid to raise my carbs at this point because I’ve had great success in hunger controls. I’ve noticed such a huge difference in switching from my vegan diet to primal … I don’t miss the potatoes and candies that I was overindulging in now that I have filling MEAT! I think your self experiments are awesome and I look forward to reading more about them.

  3. BenJ on January 20, 2010 at 17:20

    Check out the Zuni chicken method (“dry brining”), basic breakdown is here:

    http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/4401342/ (skip the bread salad!)

    It requires a bit of planning and work ahead of time, but the results are amazing! Could definitely amp it up butter style prior to roasting as in the LSD method too.

  4. Julie on January 20, 2010 at 17:25

    For me, it’s been possible to mix in some “good starches” from time to time, even in the active weight loss phase of my lifestyle. So, like you said, it really is all about personal experimentation and real food.

    Love the look of the “LSD chicken”!

  5. Aaron Curl on January 20, 2010 at 17:28

    Cold hands and feet? I eat very low carbs. Is this whats been causing my cold hands and feet? I have never experienced this before I ate low carbs. I may be trying what you are doing. The only carbs I get are from raw veggies and fruit. I eat plenty of protein and fat. Nice post….you gave me something to try.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 20, 2010 at 17:40

      Aaron:

      This is the very reason I exist on this blog. There’s always someone who can get an idea, a clue. I truly want people to experiment and figure it out. Most can. Hell, we’ve got three women just last week who fixed months of amenorrhea by supplementing iodine.

      You might want to have your thyroid levels checked by your doc (TSH, free T3 &4, and reverse T3). I was hypo long before even going paleo and I lost most of my weight while still being hypo (probably the IF combined with fasting, brief, intense workouts). I eventually began taking natural thyroid meds (Armor), and my levals are now all in normal range. But I never had the cold hands & especially feet until the last few months. I’ve been taking a few mg worth of iodine via kelp for a few days and already my hands and feet are 2/3 better. I just got in my order of Iodoral today so I’m done with the kelp and will be getting 12.5 mg of iodine and iodide per day.



    • Ed on January 20, 2010 at 19:45

      I’ve had a generalized decrease in cold tolerance since I’ve been losing weight. I’m looking into other factors besides thyroid hormone that can affect thermogenesis. One is non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), and the other is brown fat. NEAT is related to occupation, lifestyle (degree of sedentariness), and personality (i.e. how “fidgety” you are). It can be increased by overfeeding, so I’m speculating that once I reach my target weight, I’ll increase my carbs and calories, which will increase NEAT and make me warmer. Brown fat activity decreases as you get older, but it can be increased by cold exposure. So paradoxically, lowering the thermostat in your house may make you feel warmer. Also, brown fat is loaded with mitochondria, so I’m wondering if CoQ10 supplements might help.

      links:
      http://www.answers.com/topic/brown-adipose-tissue
      http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/10/brown.fat.obesity/index.html



    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 01:41

      Speculating here but I think that it makes sense.
      Actually Leptin is the master hormone here. It tells Hypothalamus how much fat we have. If hypothalamus perceives that we have too little fat, it will do something to reduce Thyroid functioning (maybe reduce TSH). This will reduce the thyroid hormones, making you feel tired, cold, etc.
      I think if you are not eating when you are feeling cold then you are fighting the system. This cannot be good if done for a long time. Once in a while it simulates starving ;-).

      It seems to me that measuring TSH and other Thyroid hormones only once may not be very accurate, as they may vary depending on the current state of the system.



    • Aaron Blaisdell on January 21, 2010 at 15:28

      Interesting, I’ve had the opposite reaction. I’ve always suffered from cold hands/feet, but since going largely paleo and much lower carb, I’ve found that both my core temp and that of my extremities has been much more stable and in the warmer range. I’m able to wear less clothing than ever before and still not feel cold. My wife is continually commenting on how I must be cold wearing as little clothing as I do (compared to just a year ago), but I shrug and grunt my disagreement in true Grok fashion. Perhaps the fact that I’ve incorporated kelp (kombu) and other sea weeds (dulse in particular) into my diet on a regular basis has prevented adverse thyroid effects.



    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 15:43

      This has been my experience as well. I walk the dogs early every morning for an hour. In years past I was in long sweats, t-shirt & sweatshirt by the time the winter temp was getting into the low 50s. I have worn nothing but shorts & a single sweatshirt for the last two years, even when we get down to 36, which is I think the lowest we’ve had.

      I do wear some light gloves, however.



    • Bonnie on January 21, 2010 at 18:00

      Same for me. I’ve had terrible problems with being freezing especially in the extremities and paleo has made this winter my most comfortable for as long as I can remember. It’s weird to have warm hands! I ate almost nothing but carbs for years, my body seems much happier burning fat.

      I know when I’ve gone too long without eating though because I get suddenly chilled with cold fingers.

      I’m trying to gain weight not lose it so have never gone too low in carbs and always very high in fat.



  6. Grok on January 20, 2010 at 17:48

    All this full talk… I wish! I’m never full, actually I should say “satisfied”.

    I’m not sure I ever see myself adding back starches. With my “no full” problem, I can easily eat into 100-250 carbs a day on green veggies (spices, fermented dairy, nuts are some of those). If I add in things like carrots, tomatoes & berries… double or triple that number. Throw in citrus, apples, pears… 700.

    Eating that many carbs and dropping in 200-600g of fat on top of it, is a recipe for massive fat gain! Paleo or not.

    I generally eat VLC diet foods, but volume puts me officially at low/moderate. Kind of a bummer really.

    • Don Matesz on January 20, 2010 at 19:48

      Grok,

      I challenge you to use FitDay.com to analyze your daily intake and/or produce a menu that has 250 g digestible (not counting fiber) carbohydrate daily from greens, spices, dairy, and nuts.

      Let’s see, spices essentially have no carbs. Yogurt or kefir provides about 12 per 8 ounces (fluid). A whole cup of almonds provides only 11 g of digestible carbohydrate. A cup of cooked kale has 4 g digestible carbohydrate. So 250 g of carb would require 60 cups of kale, or 20 cups of almonds, or 20 cups of yogurt. I don’t know anyone who can consume 250 g of carbs from any combination of these foods, the volume is prohibitive.

      I eat citrus, apples, pears, tomatoes, berries, greens, broccoli, carrots or sweet potatoes, greens, and nuts every day. My carb intake does not exceed 130 g most days.



    • Don Matesz on January 20, 2010 at 19:52

      Oh, and I will add, my body fat is presently under 10%, and has remained that way for basically 10 years on paleo, eating sweet potatoes etc. almost every day.



    • Grok on January 20, 2010 at 23:36

      Don,

      I’m lacto-paleo and clearly advocate of the whole caveman lifestyle 😉

      I’ve had public Fitday accounts in the past. Most of my twitter buddies have seen the carnage. This is where I get my numbers from. I don’t do it half-ass either. Digital scales and usually enter to the gram.

      Few examples from my last dieting log that would represent more “normal” volume days for me.

      Here is a regulated intake (2) meal day. I was not full ever! There was a few brownies and fruit mixed in (holiday meal).
      http://fitday.com/fitness/PublicJournals.html?Owner=grok6wc&Year=2009&Month=10&Day=26

      Here is an example of a primal (1) meal (dinner) day. Not full. I’ve used Warrior like diet for the last year as a calorie reduction tool.
      http://fitday.com/fitness/PublicJournals.html?Owner=grok6wc&Year=2009&Month=10&Day=16

      I don’t even log the days I go for “full.” I eat so much it becomes a TOTAL pain in the ass to record. I can snack 50 digestible carbs of nuts, and I used to eat 4-6lbs of yogurt for lunch everyday (two family sized) at my old day job. I wish I was exaggerating.

      Shit, just two nights ago I ate 32 oz yogurt, 32oz kefir, a pint of cream, and 3 scoops of protein powder. That was JUST the dairy I used for post-dinner dessert to eat with my 3 cups of coconut flakes, 1.5lbs of mixed berries, and 200-ish grams of nuts. I wish I was exaggerating.

      I’m not normal. People look at me like a freak. You will probably never meet someone who can put it away like me. I have no idea whats wrong. Some things help (paleo/fasting) for regulating fat gain, but I still have no satiety. I sometimes wonder if I have a homozygous mutation of leptin gene. I’m too proud to get fat (I was a fat kid and got teased). I yo-yoed and was very active for the years before going paleo.

      Counting calories sucks. Now I just concentrate on eating smarter, and now that I’m ramping up my training for Ironman it wont matter as much. Might even be a benefit?

      Fix me! I get sick of explaining it.



    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 01:52

      I guess this thing runs in my family.

      I am not that much of a big eater, but used to eat more than my college friends 19 of them. Never had weighed how much I ate but it used to be a lot.

      My youngest brother was the big eater (its reduced a lot now). He used to have trouble finding all-you-can-eat places where he studied because he could finish off more than 3 peoples food without feeling full. People used to refuse him entry in such places.

      My father tells me that people in my family used to eat rotis (flat breads) not by the count but by the balist (the distance between the thumb and the middle finger when hand is extended, atleast 9 inches).

      What about you? Does it run in the family.



    • Grok on January 21, 2010 at 03:27

      With about half of my siblings (the brothers) yes. Well above average eaters. I can take them though. I was dusting off multiple large pizzas in a sitting before I was a teen.

      The one brother and I used to punch down 4 large deep dishes & breadsticks on Thursdays while we watched Friends & Seinfeld.



    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 08:12

      We had attended a birthday party, at around the age of 7-8. 3 of us same age children got into a bet to eat as much as we could. Each of us polished of 25 pooris (fried breads), before we were told that there would be no more food for us ;-).



    • Grok on January 21, 2010 at 12:19

      Yes I have.

      No doubt I crave it! Also slows my weight loss, but I really enjoy it. Super easy way to drop in a mountain of calories. As long as most of it’s raw and preferably fermented, dairy is fine. As far as it affecting my volume…. nope.

      My body doesn’t care what foods make up the volume (but my health does). Granulated sugar, meat, cabbage… it all comes down to the weight. Makes no difference except in the way I feel later.



  7. Matt Perry on January 20, 2010 at 19:06

    I’m a competitive endurance mountain biker and some times of the year I’m training (hard) for 15-25 hours a week. During these times, staying low carb is a disaster and I have to add lots of tubers, dairy, sugary fruits, “sports nutrition” products and even (*gasp*) non-gluten grains to make it through and recover for the next ride. But as soon as the volume decreases, I mean like 2 or 3 days of reduced activity, I just naturally tend towards a low-to-moderate-carb diet, basically only hitting the carbs with veggies and some fruit. I don’t count calories but its probably around 120 g / day in the off season with an addition 70-90g per hour of exercise. Keep in mind that’s with about a 5-6k calorie diet so probably around 30% carbs.

    During the season, I gain weight – restocking muscle glycogen adds water weight plus I err on the side of overeating because there’s nothing worse than hitting the wall 6 hours into a 100 mile mountain bike race. But in the off-season, even with a few months of very reduced exercise load, I loose tons of weight since my diet is more “freeform”, less carby, more opportunities for IF. Plus it is my intuition that these periods of light training plus low carb diet tends to increase the fat burning capabilities of your aerobic engine saving that glycogen rocket fuel for later in the race!

  8. Patrik on January 20, 2010 at 19:20

    I wonder if we are better off not eating nightshade tubers like potatoes vs yams or sweet potatoes.

    I dunno.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 07:34

      I don’t really know, either. I’m suspicious about it making too much of a difference, though.



    • Bonnie on January 21, 2010 at 18:07

      I don’t have any answers but there’s only so much I’m willing to cut out.

      If I eat too much sweet potato I get the same shooting stomach pains I get from wheat flour. I still eat it, though. White potatoes I can gorge on with nary a burp or twinge and they don’t even make me crash as hard as overloading on other carbs.



  9. Jin on January 20, 2010 at 19:38

    Hi,

    I’m a 17 year old highschool senior who has just started reading your blog! I gotta say, it’s pretty interesting.

    One this about this post caught my eye right away- cold hands and feet.

    After losing more than 5kg over last summer, I’ve been maintaning it through regular exercise and a clean diet.
    However one thing that really bothers me to the point that i cannot concentrate on studying these days (I have finals) is my low body temperature. My hands and feet particularly feel like they are about to fall off.
    Yesterday at school while everyone was comfortable in their t-shirts and jeans I was wearing my coat. It was the worst yesterday so I came home and talked to my mom about going to see a doctor.

    As I’m writing this my hands and feet are cold. And I JUST came back from a hot yoga class.

    Can this be a problem of my thyroid as you have suggested in the above comment?
    Or is it a typical thing for people who have had weight loss (fat=insulation)? Should I shrug it off and just get used to it?

    Thanks and I love your blog!

    -Jin

    • Chris - ZTF on January 20, 2010 at 22:54

      Jin, Try upping your starches from natural food. Have a sweet potato everyday and cook a big batch of root vegetables for dinner. The cold hands and feet are definitely a result of your body going into a slight starvation mode….

      Also get in your coconut oil and milk this will help boost your thyroid and get your body heated up again.



  10. Don Matesz on January 20, 2010 at 20:01

    I suggest that people start thinking in terms of foods, not macronutrients. ONe of the mistakes of conventional wisdom nutrition is reducing foods to nutrients, thereby making sugar interchangable with sweet potatoes, and soy with meat.

    I also suggest thinking in terms of effect, not “good/bad”.

    For instance, ask:

    How do sweet potatoes affect me/humans?

    How does corn syrup affect humans?

    You can classify both as “carbs,” but it is mystical (reality-ignoring) thinking, because these two things differ markedly in composition and nutritional and metabolic effect.

    Because although a potato contains carbohyrate , it is not reducible to carbohdyrate, unlike corn syrup.

    Plus, glucose and fructose differ quite markedly in their metabolic effects.

    Just suggesting a little more clarity in language and thinking.

    • Patrik on January 21, 2010 at 00:27

      @Don Matesz

      Great point.

      Just the other day I was struggling with expounding the Taubesian POV of calories. One of my points was that calories aren’t calories b/c at the end of the day, butter and, say, white bread “differ markedly in composition and nutritional and metabolic effect.



    • Aaron Blaisdell on January 21, 2010 at 15:32

      Spot on Don! I love my sweet-potato french fries cooked in animal or coconut fat!



    • Jennifer on January 22, 2010 at 01:05

      I don’t think it’s always possible to judge how a food “affects” a person. I have severe insulin resistance & pcos, yet I feel no difference when I eat grains, or potatoes, compared to when I eat meat and low starch veges. I understand from the many experts that these are harmful foods to someone like me, with insulin resistance, but I don’t get any changes on my glucose monitor or feel any different, to know personally how these foods affect me.



  11. Swede on January 20, 2010 at 21:44

    Richard, glad to see this post.

    Realize one important thing about glucose and fat: they are instant energy! Glucose even more so than fat. Glucose can be burned anaerobically, while fat requires a good supply of oxygen. They can be complimentary. Eating a high amount of both really gets the metabolism going, and that is when the good stuff starts. No illness, clear skin, easy bowel movements, calm and stable moods, muscle gain without working out, etc…

    Protein is needed for structure but its conversion to energy is inefficient and slows the metabolism. What would you rather eat after a workout? Steak and veggies or steak, potatoes and butter?

    The metabolic rate has been undermined by encouragement to eat less calories. It sucks and does nothing good for your health, and it only reduces your waistline. Food is medicine – eating is life! Eating less won’t make you healthier.
    Jah love

    Scott

  12. Darrin on January 20, 2010 at 21:57

    As always, kudos for trying new things and not simply drinking any old Kool Aid that happens to be passed around. I think this is the time of year that it’s most difficult for me to be strictly low-carb, specifically because I love roasted root veggies so much. It’s freezing up here in Minnesota in the winter and there’s nothing like a meal of roast chicken, sweet potatoes, carrots, and parsnips to warm me right up.

  13. damaged justice on January 21, 2010 at 00:58

    Someone on MDA who I’ve seen floating around another low-carb forum has been claiming there’s no way to reverse leptin resistance through diet. I know, they said the same thing about insulin resistance! I think she’s mostly trying to drum up members for her Yahoo group. Still, I find it fascinating and am currently following Stephan’s posts on the subject. Looking forward to the results of your increased starch experiment.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 07:40

      Re reversing leptin resistance, I believe it was Br. BG who has written a few times in some of her posts that the most effective thing for correcting that is resistance or high intensity training, which I do. I also wonder about the effect of fasting, which I also do. I consider intermittent fasting to be a healthful, acute stressor to the metabolism, far different from chronic caloric restriction.

      So, I’m still doing the fasting, but making sure I eat plenty, along with some starch, on my feeding days. It seems to bew working.



  14. Cynthia on January 21, 2010 at 02:43

    Nice looking meal you got there!

    I’m not extra vigilant about carbs- it depends on activity level, but probably less than 100g/day most of the time and less than that when not particularly active. When I was running 50+ miles per week last summer, I had to eat extra, and sometimes it was carbs (yogurt, fruit, rice with butter and cheese). Breakfast is usually just some coffee and nuts (<2oz) when I start to get hungry. David is more strict than me (usually just some chocolate).

    Maybe it is a good thing to mix things up sometimes like you are doing and see what happens. I'd be interested in finding out what kind of nutrition is available in tubers other than potatoes which are mostly starch. What about turnips and beets and celeriac? what about the roots that the HG harvest (not the cultivated versions)?

    Don't know about the cold thing. I keep turning down the heat and often stick my feet out from under the covers because they get too hot!

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 14:44

      “Don’t know about the cold thing. I keep turning down the heat and often stick my feet out from under the covers because they get too hot!”

      That’s the odd thing. I’m not often feeling cold in general, and I often do the same thing in bed with the feet. It’s typically only in the morning before eating.



    • Diana on January 25, 2010 at 10:35

      Wow -that makes three of us! I thought I was the only one that liked to stick my feet out from under the covers at night! I will print this out and show to my husband to prove I am not alone 🙂



  15. Janice H on January 21, 2010 at 03:35

    This is why I love this blog. I do think everyone needs are different. What I’ve found though by eating whole foods and giving up wheat is that I am becoming more in tune to what my body needs. Yesterday I had eaten my leftover red curry beef (thanks Richard!!) for lunch and after about a half hour I felt like I needed a dark green salad so had one.
    I also am finding that I can tolerate a small amount of rice or pot’s but have to be really careful of fruit. I overdid blueberries in cream the other night and the next morning I felt bloated and just not right plus I started to crave them and realized I have to watch fruit.
    If I read this blog and you said you knew all the answers and everyone should eat exactly the same way I’d be hesitant to keep reading. But by reading how you are tweaking things at different stages it makes me realize that we all need to listen to our body. That was impossible a couple of months ago when my I was eating crap and if I listened to my body it was telling me to eat sugar all day. Once I cleaned out I can see so clearly how I respond to everything that goes in my mouth.

  16. alex on January 21, 2010 at 03:51

    great post, not afraid to change things up, experience, or go against the crowd – just like Atkins.

    with all the primal blogs I read I was becoming almost scared to eat a single carb for fear of disrupting my health, even I ate them every day for 27 years prior!

    I have noticed a massive health benefit in cutting carbs, but I have always thought its more about avoiding refined foods, so potatoes, being natural, have always seemed more acceptable. If I were to eat more carbs it would definitely be potatoes but not bread pasta or pastry which make me feel icky!

  17. Rachel on January 21, 2010 at 04:45

    Thanks for another great post!

    As a child I was lucky that my mom learned to cook from her French grandmother (who was NOT afraid of butter) and my father who was an outdoorsman. Meals rarely included bread or a pastry like dessert, and was always pretty balanced. Usually meat and vegetables, some always raw for snacking, one always green, and fruit. Of course as a kid I hated the green vegetable rule. We never ate conventional beef either but ate venison and game instead. During college I resorted to CW in eating, gained weight and felt horrible. That early foundation was easy to come back to when I discovered the Primal way of eating about 2 years ago.
    I think with carbs the biggest problem comes from processed foods with all their hidden poisons, not just carbs.

    Starches from sweet potatoes, winter squash and root vegetables I think are fine and ideal. I also drink lots of raw milk especially after strenuous activity and it really hits the spot. I irregularly take Dr. Ron’s sea vegetable supplement for thyroid and that seems to work very well for me (Good seafood is hard to find in NE Indiana).

    Keep up the great work Richard, your frankness is your strength (and oh so refreshing in an overly PC world!)

  18. Organic Gabe on January 21, 2010 at 05:51

    I wholeheartedly agree. Experimenting to find out what works best for anyone is the best!
    I am still trying to find that optimum mix for myself, but I think that keeping it random may be best as long as I feel good, strong and keep a constant weight.

    Another great post, Richard!

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 07:47

      Right on, Gabe. I think people ought not be aiming necessarily to find what exact thing to eat everyday, but to vary things enough that’s it the average that counts, over time. Rather than say “I’m going to eat 120g of carbs per day,” how about zero some days, 200 some days, 80, 40, and a fast now and then.

      I think that’s way more sensible. Keep your metabolism on its toes.



    • Mallory on January 21, 2010 at 09:45

      i love this idea, seems more evolutionary anyways



    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 23:14

      That is what I have been doing, although not with primal foods, and have lost a whole lot of weight. I think Grok ate what he could, and I think tubers where a large part of his staple when he couldn’t find large fatty mammals.

      Thanks for bringing this out. Food just like workouts must be varied a lot regularly.



  19. zach on January 21, 2010 at 06:04

    It seems obvious to me that unless you were very obese/diabetic, most people could go to very high levels of carbs once they heal themselves by low carb or zero carb. This is the case in some traditional cultures. Stephan at Whole Health Source has over 200 grams of carbs a day and his fasting insulin was around 2.0. But it seems that people who have had broken metabolisms for decades may never be able to do that without putting the pounds on, especially middle aged women. I myself went from 200 lbs, to 168 lbs on very low carb (6.0 ft 24 year old male). I’ve now been at 170 for a couple years and the only things I restrict are fructose, grains, and N-6.

  20. Elizabeth on January 21, 2010 at 06:09

    Hi Richard,

    I have been reading you for over a year and now, my first posting! Please can I ask about your exercise regime- You talk a little about sprints but not much- I am interested in how you did literaly retrain your body at 48 to cope with 30 second sprints fast off the starting line. I am starting aged 40 and unfit so, any feedback would be marvellous- such as how in the beginning and then how you moved it up a notch etc and what you do now.

    Do you think stud shoes are a good idea? I will be on roads or a athletics track.

    Thanks again, Elizabeth

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 07:51

      I don’t try to explode off the starting line, but just accelerate quickly. However, you may need to train your body to run, again. When I first began doing this I felt as though I might topple over. It was just uncoordinated.

      Then I read a post by Art De Vany where he said that to retrain yourself to run, run downhill (you know, a down slope, not extreme). It works.



    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 07:51

      Oh, as far as the other exercises, I’ll have to post on that, soon. Considering some video, too.



    • Mike Gruber on January 21, 2010 at 21:45

      “stud shoes” (racing spikes) are for racing on a track or cross country. You don’t need or want them for doing a couple hundred meters of sprints once in a while. You’ll get 100% of the benefit just doing your sprints in whatever tennis shoes you’ve got (or barefoot on grass).



    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 23:18

      I would think if you have access to grass, barefoot would be much better than any other alternatives.



  21. Chicken, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy (and how bad are carbs?) | Free … : Read what is Buzzing Around the World on January 21, 2010 at 06:17

    […] The rest is here: Chicken, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy (and how bad are carbs?) | Free … […]

  22. Greg on January 21, 2010 at 06:26

    after a year of eating nothing more “carby” then Broccoli, spinach, and Kale I have begun to add sweet potatoes and squash into my post-workout meals. I love them baked with butter and cinnamon and they are helping with workout recovery, and the intensity I can hit. The impact on my post meal blood sugars has been minimal so far.

  23. Skyler Tanner on January 21, 2010 at 06:39

    I’m that lean asshole who handles carbs well. I keep my daily intake in the neighborhood of 25% of my kcal, sourcing from nuts/seeds, fruits/berries, and one sprouted grain muffin for my regular evening hamburger. It works for me.

    Best,
    Skyler

  24. Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life on January 21, 2010 at 06:44

    Richard, I really have to respect you for being willing to think out of the box and admit that something that worked previously might not be working anymore. It sounds to me like your body’s undergone a lot of healing and is ready to handle some more natural carbs.

    I love real food and am a huge advocate for eating whole, unadulterated foods as much as possible. I think low-carb has it’s place, but that it’s really important for people to recognize when low-carb isn’t working for them. And that weight isn’t necessarily the best way to judge that. Irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping, cold hands/feet, headaches, etc. are all signs that there’s an imbalance going on. Whether that’s caused by too many carbs or not enough depends on the person and the situation.

    Thanks for encouraging us to take charge of our own health – that’s the most important part!

  25. Matthias on January 21, 2010 at 06:44

    Richard, I really really like the direction your blog is going at the moment. I really think that even in the paleo-scene many people are a little too dogmatic and unreasonable. This and the fact that low-carb obviously does not work for me and I should never have stayed at it for so long is the main reason why your blog is one of the few paleo blogs, I’m always looking forward to reading something new on (together with Primal Wisdom. So, Don, if you are reading this, Kudos to you as well.)

    After finally adding potatoes and sweet potatoes back in the mix and generally aiming for roughly 200g of carb a day, I already feel tremendously better, even though my body temperature is still quite low and especially my hands are cold and red/blue as hell most of the time. I hope some additional iodine supplementation will help in that department.

    And also Swede, great comment, this is pretty much exactly what I believe at the moment as well.

    All in all, i have to say that I should have looked into the comment section of blog posts much earlier. So many great thoughts, diverse opinions in here.

  26. Ned Kock on January 21, 2010 at 08:03

    I suspect you will see an increase in metabolism Richard, and some move toward correcting your thyroid hormone problems.

    One of the Okinawans staple foods is sweet potatoes.

    Also, look at your background, because you may have inherited genes that predispose you to function better with certain types of diets.

    A nutrition-related genetic mutation can spread to an entire population in as little as 396 years, or even less depending on the circumstances. I posted about this here:

    http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-long-does-it-take-for-food-related.html

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 11:06

      That’s a good post, Ned. Reminds me of “The 10,000 Year Explosion.”



  27. CavePainter on January 21, 2010 at 08:16

    I lost too much weight when I was eating ZC, so I added in some berries and non-starchy veggies but I still couldn’t get my weight up. I tried various things and finally settled on eating a sweet potato every day with dinner, loaded with butter of course. My weight has finally started to come up and I’m getting close to where I want to be.

    I’ve tried eating russet, white, and red potatoes, but I don’t seem to tolerate them nearly as well as sweet potatoes. If I eat a russet potato I have to take a nap afterward, but sweet potatoes don’t have that effect on me. Also, I have some joint pain in my knees so I’ve trying to avoid nightshades as much as possible, so that’s another reason for me to avoid russets.

    I’m also slightly hypo-thyroid and suffer from cold hands and feet at times. As my weight comes up I’ve noticed that my hands and feet don’t get cold as often. I suspect that my body down-regulated my metabolism when I was eating ZC, and now that I’ve introduced carbs back into my diet my body is slowly starting to rev things up.

    I but organic sweet potatoes whenever I can even though they cost 2-3 times at much as regular ones. Conventionally grown sweet potatoes are exposed to large amount of carcinogenic fungicides. The fungicides become incorporated into the “meat” of the potato so washing and peeling them doesn’t help.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 09:02

      CavePainer:

      What’s you favorite way to cook them, and also, you’re talking about the white sweet potatoes and not the orange yams, right? I wonder how big of a difference there is between them.

      I guess it’s time to look up Don’s series on potatoes again.



    • CavePainter on January 21, 2010 at 09:28

      I use the orange flesh “yams”. The whole yam/sweet potato thing is very confusing. When I lived on the west coast the white fleshed ones were called sweet potatoes and the orange ones were called yams, but here in Tennessee it seems that people call both of them sweet potatoes.

      I don’t see the white fleshed sweet potatoes very often. If I did I would probably alternate between those and the orange fleshed “yams”.

      Anyway, to cook them I just poke a few holes in them with a fork then put them on a cookie sheet and throw them in the oven at 375 degrees for about a hour. Once they’re done I slice them open and top with butter and cinnamon. I imagine that there are more creative ways to prepare them, but I like to keep it simple. Sweet potato fries are supposed be good, but I haven’t tried them.



    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 11:42

      Try this. Once you’ve finished the meat, flatten the skins, fry in butter until brown & crispy, & sprinkle with cinnamon. You can do the same with russets, except use sea salt.



    • Grok on January 21, 2010 at 12:27

      Paleo elephant ear? Going to have to add that one to my candy cigarette list!



    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 23:26

      Is it safe to eat the skins? I have read that there are a lot of anti-nutrients in it. Also Grok could never have eaten them, as they got burnt in the cooking process. Most traditions include removing the skins.



    • Jim on January 23, 2010 at 06:17

      Good post Richard, lots of ideas from the discussion.

      Re: sweet potatoes vs. yams –

      “Yam or sweet potato, what in the world is it? Many people use these terms interchangeably both in conversation and in cooking, but they are really two different vegetables. ”

      Adequate detail here: http://homecooking.about.com/od/howtocookvegetables/a/sweetpotatodiff.htm



  28. William on January 21, 2010 at 08:19

    Hi Richard, hi everybody. This is is the rookie poster William from DC 🙂

    1. A few thoughts: I’m reading symptoms of low-carbing, that include: Irritability, mood swings, trouble sleeping, cold hands/feet, headaches, etc. However, since reducing carbs I notice more alertness, and no grogginess or lethargy in the afternoon or around 11 pm. I find I can geta way with less sleep.

    2. This goes back to the issues of what is the true problem. Is it carbs? Is it grains? Is it PROCESSED foods? Is it sugar? I’d asked this in my questions if you recall. When i was talking about the Meditterenean diet. If you add NATURAL carbs to a paleo/primal menu, basically that’s the Meditterenean diet, no?

    3. How do you reconcile adding carbs, with the fact that essentially your bombing your digestive system with sugar? Is the idea not to look an individual meal, but to look at eating habits over several days? I.e. you can eat bread for breakfast today, but maybe you pass on the rice for dinner?

    4. Fat. Fat. Fat. The idea that fat is not your enemy makes sense if you’re low carbing, and if you’re making up for a caloric deficit caused by low carbing. If one restore carbs, wouldn’t the fat then _actually become_ harmful like conventional wisdom says? Because then the fat wouldn’t be the primary energy source any more.

    5. What happens to body composition? I feel that my muscles are harder, and I’m on pace to get that six pac pretty soon. Does restoring carbs make one’s body “Soft”?

    6. Would restoring carbs demand one change their exercise habits?

    • Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life on January 21, 2010 at 08:52

      Hi William,

      I just wanted to address your first topic: in the beginning a low-carb diet is very stimulating to the adrenal glands and causes a release of adrenaline and cortisol, along with complimenting neurotransmitters. This can make you feel very energetic and gives you sort of a “high” which a lot of people experience when they first start going low-carb. However, over time, many low-carbers notice these feelings wear off a bit and they might start craving caffeine/sugar/other stimulants, or having some of the other symptoms you mentioned. This would be a sign of an imbalance, and that the adrenal glands and possibly also the thyroid have been stressed.



    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 09:20

      William:

      1. Elizabeth answered that,

      2. I think the true problem is wheat, sugar, vegetable oils. Carbs are on an individual basis. But, one can also lose weight eating crap and just do IF, a-la Eat Stop Eat. It works. LC Paleo in combo works better. What we’re talking about here is more carbs for non-diabetics who have achieved their fat loss goals, or at least very close, and then one has to figure out levels for themselves. Med diet includes bread & pasta, so this is not Med by any stretch.

      3. Completely different. This is not refined white sugar or refined carbs like ground up grains, or fruit juice. That bombs you with sugar. Eating starch from natural foods has that starch bound up in fiber is quite different, natural, and we’re adapted to it. Also, starch converts to glucose only and it’s a hugely different animal than fructose, which constitutes 50% of the sugar in refined products, candy. cakes & pastries, etc. Fructose that’s not locked up in the fiber of fruit is truly bad bad bad. I may even come to the opinion that fruit should be avoided entirely, except perhaps as an herb, i.e., I sometimes use blueberries cranberries or cherries in some of my meat sauces.

      4. See 3. Refined carbs, yes. Natural ones eaten in a natural way is fine.

      5. I doubt it, not if you keep up the brief intense workouts and IF now & then.

      6. Chances are the carbs will keep glycogen levels up so you’ll have more immediate energy for workouts. But I think one should do both. IF allows you to deplete glycogen, then if you go do a workout it’s a great acute stressor to get your body very efficient at shifting to gluconeogenesis. I’m so practiced at this I can bring on hunger in seconds via intensity, back off, and have hunger go completely away in seconds.



  29. Mallory on January 21, 2010 at 08:45

    very interesting.. is there a reason you chose to add starch instead of a more vegetable & fat based meal? it seems you totally excluded veggies and have added starch, moderate protein and high fat

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 09:08

      No, I’ve always done vegetables and that hasn’t changed. But there’s very little carbs in that. And keep in mind that this is only a modest addition of starch, and I’m going to experiment with the sweet potatoes and such.

      For instance, last night’s dinner was a filet of turbo cooked sous vide and I made a sauce with a couple tbsp of butter, a half lemon, some parsley, and then creamed it up with a couple of tbsp of full-fat yogurt. On the side a butter lettuce & radicchio salad with a home-made dijon vinaigrette. Later I had a small bowl of mixed nuts, raw & dry roasted. All in all, pretty low carb for that meal.



  30. Mallory on January 21, 2010 at 09:24

    ahhh gotcha… so a lot of variety, thanks for answering so quick! is there a place on here i can find the recipe for homemade dijon vinagerette? i wish i could afford a sous vide…

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 11:15

      Google ‘dijon vinaigrette’ and the first few entries are pretty decent. I’ve been doing my own version since living in France early 90s. I begin with a glob of dijon mustard and then add olive oil and whip with a fork until it feels right, ie, all separated. Then I add vinegar (usually apple cider, but it doesn’t really matter) just a bit at a time until I achieve emulsification. The more mustard you use in proportion to OO, the less vinegar you need. Sea salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.

      You can also add, finely chopped shallot (I usually don’t). Another variation is a bit of lemon.



    • Mallory on January 21, 2010 at 13:52

      oh yummy….thank you!



  31. Michael on January 21, 2010 at 09:52

    Nice post, Richard. I just recently finished 40 days of a very high carb diet Kitavan style – literally – about 70% carbs. It basically was a non-event. Tasted good. Felt good. After that I went back to a much more moderate intake of carbs just because that is what I wanted to do.

    I think randomizing is good. No need to hit things exactly on a daily basis. Some days I like meat and milk only. Others days I’m down with fried potatoes or yams along with my meat dish. I have discovered I don’t really need much protein at all. Couple that with IF and some resistance exercise (and fun cardio like sports I enjoy) and it really is all quite liberating.

  32. maba on January 21, 2010 at 11:42

    Richard,
    What’s your take on white rice? With all of the bran and the phytic acid removed, would you consider white rice to be quivalent to potato? Is white rice something you would occasionally indulge in when you want to up your carbs?

    • Richard Nikoley on January 21, 2010 at 11:53

      I have white rice sometimes and the infrequency is such I don’t worry about the phytate. But if someone’s going to use rice for their main starch intake, I’d concern myself with that. BTW, does white rice not contain phytic acid?



    • maba on January 21, 2010 at 15:49

      I had to google that. White rice does retain phytic acid, but probably not as much as brown rice. Fermenting, which is how I like to eat my rice, eliminates most of the phytic acid.



    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 23:34

      It is not equivalent to potatoes, as potatoes also contain a lot of nutrients. Soaked, Ground and Fermented brown rice is probably the best bet to get the max nutrients for a very nutrient poor food.
      But if you are getting enough nutrient from the rest of your food, there is no need to fret it. White Rice is not that bad. I just think it is easy to over eat ;-).



  33. Melissa on January 21, 2010 at 11:52

    Great post. I am much happier now that I’ve upped the carbs. For losing weight, carb restriction may be ideal, but personally I didn’t need to lose any more. Increasing carbs let me up my calorie intake without increasing the money I spend on food. I am more sensitive to the taste of sugar now though and find many yams too sweet, so I end up not eating many anyways.

    The real supermeal for people suffering from cold hands and whatnot is a yam sprinkled with seaweed and bacon, one of my favorites.

  34. san fran J(formerly Minneapolis J on January 21, 2010 at 12:48

    its an interesting issue this carb thing. If one is talking about strictly body composition, one can actually be ripped and not eat paleo/paleolike/primal at all. body builders eat whole grains and that gets them down to 3-5% body fat. is that a measre that whole grains are fine?

    sometimes nutrition and body comp dont go together, bc according to mark sisson grain has many problems.

    so in regards to potatoes, i guess its a matter of what you are going for. potato is not typically paleo, but if you are only after body comp, you could still lean up eating nonpaleo food.

    i for one don’t follow “the paleo diet” as introduced by loren cordain. I eat salted foods daily……smoked fish, bacon, added salt to my meat and fish. As for carbs, I dont even know what the best way is. having potatoes and grain in smaller quantities, is it really that bad? again it goes back to what you are going for body comp or maximized nutrition.

    • Michael on January 21, 2010 at 13:46

      I don’t know about that. The Kitavans are as about as lean as they come and they eat a very high carb diet. The issue is your hormones, not the macro-nutrient composition of your diet when it comes to being lean. Your diet is good (or bad) to the extent that it leads to (or does not) the optimization of your metabolism and the hormonal issues that entails.



    • Michael on January 21, 2010 at 13:47

      I meant to say they eat a very high carb that provides maximal nutrition.



    • san fran J(formerly Minneapolis J on January 22, 2010 at 20:29

      potatoes aren’t the best carbs out there…….fruit is better, more antioxidants, etc. kitavans ate like cassava, sweet potatoes, and taro. Whether those are as bad as russet potatoes i dot know well actually i know sweet potatoes are way better than russett potatoes. starchy carbs arent all equal either.



    • Elizabeth @ The Nourished Life on January 21, 2010 at 15:16

      “Your diet is good (or bad) to the extent that it leads to (or does not) the optimization of your metabolism and the hormonal issues that entails.”

      Well said.



    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 23:45

      I think this is a misunderstanding. Starchy Tuberous Roots and Stems (including some kind of starchy nuts) have been a significant part of our diet for at least 200,000years. That is what gave us the high amount of amylase enzyme capability.

      Potatoes are definitely Paleo, as in Grok ate it (or other vegetables like it) quite regularly. It was actually a more reliable source of energy than meat. Meat depends on being able to catch animals, which is always a hit or miss.



    • san fran J(formerly Minneapolis J on January 22, 2010 at 20:32

      no actually they were cultivated as an agricultural crop by the peruvians. art devany actually lightly scolded Richard when he posted a picture of mashed potatoes 2 years ago because glycemically it wasnt the best. devany said that exact thing about peruvian cultivation.



    • Patrik on January 22, 2010 at 01:27

      Who cares what body-builders do? A buddy of mine, ex-body-builder, said that when he looked his most awesome in bb terms, he was by far at his weakest and felt his worst.



    • san fran J(formerly Minneapolis J on January 22, 2010 at 20:43

      body builders are some of the leanest people and not all feel awful the way your friend did I was just stating that if someone wanted to add something back to his diet because it wasn’t affecting his or her body composition doesn’t mean that it is the most nutritious thing in the world.

      body builders have way more success than the paleos i am afraid at body transformation(even tho I eat primalish/ev fit myself), and they systematicaly can transform their bodies in an organized fashion. since people on this blog focus a lot on losing weight looking better I think you SHOULD care about how some people can do it so systematicaly and take from them.

      the paleo diet is after all a way for people to crush old habits to feel and look better. but not all those who look better eat completely paleo. one could easily put potatoes into the diet and still transform normally. i just dont think you can shoehorn the idea that potatoes are perfectly paleo just because they go well with meat dishes that are paleo. devany and sisson arent fan of them, with good reason. they arent the healthiest thing out there.



  35. Chris on January 21, 2010 at 14:08

    Damn that chicken looks good! Thanks, Richard for mixing it up.

    I tend to lose weight easily if I drop carbs to <40% and have found white rice to be the only easy way to keep my carbs up. Basmati rice has a high amylose content so it is digested slower than other rices and I can pound lots of it and still feel great. If I eat half that amount of jasmine rice, I feel like crap. I have come to the realization that for me white rice is the best carbohydrate to consume to increase carbs in the diet. I have tried other sources and now use these alternatives sparingly.

    I think eating too many sweet potatoes and yams can be a problem for some people. I might be the only person in an industrialized country to have eaten enough of them to experience toxicity, but it can occur. I had toxic pulmonary and liver effects from overconsuming sweet potatoes and jewel yams (which are sweet potatoes). I averaged one one sweet potato a day for a few months before I got symptoms of pains in my chest, like torn intercostal muscles. These went away when I stopped eating sweet potatoes and came back when I started again. I tried eating them again a couple of years later and felt horrible and my blood tests showed elevated liver AST levels indicating liver damage. This went away after I stopped eating sweet potatoes. Not many people know that sweet potato toxicity is a problem in animals. I just don't think most people eat enought of them for it to be a problem. This may change with the current "eat only whole foods" movement, which makes peoples into extremists, like I was. Below is a paper that describes the sweet potato toxin and if you can get the full text there is a lot of interesting data suggesting that even undamaged sweet potatoes contain the toxins.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14733525?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=1

    For now I will stick to basmati rice for the bulk of my carbs and decrease them when I no longer want to gain weight. I thought eating a bunch of rice would raise my TGs, but they were only 46 mg/dl at my last physical.
    Chris

    • Michael on January 21, 2010 at 14:19

      Excellent! Thanks for the link. I have bought sweet potatoes (yes legally all yams/sweet potatoes are the latter in this country despite the labeling) that had a moldy smell when I rinsed them but tasted okay when I cooked them. Never thought this was right but now I will be sure to avoid the damaged ones.



    • Patrik on January 22, 2010 at 01:31

      @chris

      Interesting.

      1) I had appendicitis like pains for a while a year ago, but nothing came of it. They did ultra-sounds, CT, the whole shebang. But I wasn’t consuming sweet potatoes.

      2) With regard to tubers, I used to think that they didn’t have the anti-nutrients that we see in wheat, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense that they might.



    • gallier2 on January 22, 2010 at 03:16

      Potatoes can definitly contain anti-nutrients, it’s called solanine and is quite toxic.

      The wikipedia article details the risks
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solanine

      this meens, never reuse the cooking water of potatoes and avoid greened and germed potatoes.



  36. Chris G on January 21, 2010 at 14:30

    Since I’m still in weight loss mode, I’m not looking to up my carbs yet. But I do believe that, even in weight loss mode, it’s a good idea to engage in occasional “carb cycling”. This could involve a cheat meal, day or even weekend. If my diet has been particularly low-carb for awhile & the workouts intense, I can feel that adrenal exhaustion come on. I’ll take a day or two off working out and/or add in some carbs for a meal or two, nothing extreme, then get right back at it as before. Does the trick for me.

    • anand srivastava on January 21, 2010 at 23:48

      I have read that every 6 to 8 weeks exercise must be stopped for a week, to prevent over training. Similarly carb cycling should be done every week or so for people on very low carb diets. Some people may not require carb cycling, but I am not sure if that is entirely healthy.



  37. 01/22/10 – Front Squats on January 21, 2010 at 22:17

    […] A Cheat meal – or for when this diet ends and you make some better choices A lot of good deadlifts going on. […]

  38. Matthias on January 22, 2010 at 07:35

    “I got a bit tired early after that meal last night, which is very uncharacteristic, so that amount of starch was perhaps a bit much for one shot.”

    I wonder if that would also have happened if you ate the potatoes whole and unpureed. The insulin response probably would have been a bit more appropriate. This may have nothing to do with it in the end though.

    Hmm, this potatoe business is quite interesting as I definitely DO need more carbs at the moment, but am still not sure which is the best. Tubers seem the best choice for me, however I think I will need to do some more research on the most ideal way of eating/preparing them. So Potatoes are better eaten without the skin? It’s kinda hard to tell as the skin seems to concentrate most nutriends AND antinutrients.

    Also, are there any antinutrients in the skin of sweet potatoes?

    • gallier2 on January 22, 2010 at 08:32

      Forget that post, I hadn’t seen that you were refering to sweet potatoes.



    • Matthias on January 22, 2010 at 09:03

      Nah, actually I’m interested in anti-nutrients in both potatoes and sweet potatoes.

      I also did read that wikipedia article already. And still it seems kinda confusing that the skin contains most nutrients and anti-nutrients. But considering that even traditional cooking methods will lead to skinless potatoes, I guess it’s better to eat them that way. I usually peel the skin off after baking/cooking. I wonder how this compares to traditional preparation methods in terms of what parts of the skin, the flesh directly under the skin are actually consumed. But that’s probably taking it too far already and probably not too important anyways.



  39. Poppy Daniels on January 23, 2010 at 11:47

    I have had several conversations with Matt Stone about how nutrition is a huge key, but it is only part of the story. My clinical experience is that the majority of people have multiple hormone, nutrient, vitamin and thyroid deficiencies which diet will impact but not completely cure. Therefore, a wholistic approach is usually necessary for complete wellness. I tend to agree with Matt that vilifying carbs as a group is wrong-headed when the goal should be to improve the metabolism to be able to accept any food group. Most low temps are related to iodine deficiency, which must be obtained from dietary intake. Sex hormone deficiences abound, and really impact women’s metabolism in a greater way then men, although there is plenty of testosterone deficiency out there which is clearly related to insulin resistance. Most people need to be addressing multiple areas of their health, with the dietary element being the foundation.

  40. Catherine on January 23, 2010 at 06:01

    Hi Richard, I started reading around your blog last week, it’s great, thankyou! Now somewhere along the line I got into reading about milk and have come across the Weston A Price Foundation who promote a return to whole raw milk from pasture fed cows given that pasteurisation changes the lactose in milk into beta-lactose – far higher on the GI – and renders the calcium less assimilable. They also promote a natural cod liver oil which delivers a 10:1 ratio for Vitamins A and D, saying that much vitamin A toxicity is in fact a D deficiency. Sorry if I am asking you to repeat information covered elsewhere… but I’m wondering what you think about these issues.

    Similarly, again I’m not sure where I’ve got the info from but there are claims that the reason we’re all defcient in omega 3’s is because the ratio of omega 6:3 in modern meat has been sent out of whack (from 3:1 to 20:1 or thereabouts) by the feeding of most cattle on grain and feedstock rather than pasture. In other words a pasture fed cow will deliver a meat that’s as good as oily fish for omega 3’s. Just wondering what you think about the quality of modern meat and whether it’s worth sourcing the grass-fed stuff. Thanks, Catherine.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 24, 2010 at 09:48

      Hi Catherine:

      I have blogged about A toxicity being D deficiency. Here’s some links.

      As for the milk, I sue it intermittently and when I do, it’s almost always raw & non-homogenized, which we can get here in CA.

      And yep you’re dead on about 6:3. That’s why I use no vegetable oils, use grassfed meats & wild caught fish as much as possible, get omega-3 eggs and supplement with 2g of fish oil and about 1g of cod liver oil per day.



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