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More Big Success Dumping HFLC and Embracing Whole Food Starch and Targeting the Gut Microbiome

Yesterday I got a comment in a post that went like this:

I lust for the days where you used to go bat shit crazy (starting paleo Wars etc) but alas, the RS seems to have tamed your wild ways…

Ironically, around the same time, I was getting into a dispute with a well-known high-fat, low-carb diet advocate, taking the position that eating 80% fat and 20% protein in order to stay in ketosis makes no more natural sense to me than does heaping tablespoons of sugar in and on everything in order to be high-carb and feel “energetic.” How about whole foods, primarily? Seems to me that a mother’s milk proportion of 50/30/20—F/C/P is a good template to work from.

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but sometimes I almost feel as though I’m being egged on to “go full Richard” by both sides of the debate. And so I spent the last couple of hours of time I ought to have been sleeping, scheming yet another ranty post about all of it. Then I got this in email, recalling something Robb Wolf said some time ago, that I happened to remember:

“Arguing with [vegetarians] can be a remarkable pissing away of valuable time. I have 48,000—48,000!—unread emails, from the beginning of the year until now, of people who desperately want help [with eating meat]. So, the high velocity, low drag approach is, if somebody doesn’t want to buy in… fuck ’em… Done.”

Replace “vegetarians” with VLCers and “meat” with starch, and you get the idea.

Robb goes on to explain that the best approach is to help people who actually want help challenging their own beliefs. So, there’s really no point in arguing with someone who doesn’t want to challenge their own beliefs—other than the useful exercise of challenging your own beliefs. We did that and it was a great exercise. But, I wasn’t much impressed with their counterarguments in the end. They just didn’t present any evidence whatsoever.

Then I opened the very next email to see this comment from Wilbur. And once you’ve read it, you’ll understand why this is the post I wrote instead of the other one that cost me two hours of needed sleep.

Around Mother’s Day 2013, I weighed about 203 lbs. I am 5’10”. I had poor blood lipids for years, not dangerously but borderline needing medical intervention. A bit over the border, but no hurry.

I decided to try low-fat mostly vegan. I like to cook, and I had a lot of fun. It was a challenge. I learned a lot of new things about veggies and how to make them. I lost weight to about 192. In October, I had my bloodwork done, and there was essentially no change. High triglycerides, low HDL, high bad LDL, etc. I told my new doc I was working on my diet, and I was given 6 months to improve. Or I’d go on statins.

I was hypoglycemic. Although it was easy to stay mostly vegan, I still had huge carb cravings. I’d open a bag of Beanitos and a container of hummus, and wouldn’t stop until there was just a little left of each. I’d be proud I hadn’t eaten it all.

I got interested in Taubes and Atkins, and decided to try low carb. Almost instantly, I dropped to 185’ish. 175 was my goal weight. I stayed at 185 through the holidays, thinking maybe that was my setpoint. I thought that was the best I could do.

But I love beans, potatoes, and other carby stuff. Not cravings per se, but a simple desire to eat them. In my heart, I knew the low carb diet was not for me. Along the way, I had been reading a lot about the benefits of feeding the gut microbiota (and about how beans, lentils, and from this site RS in general was key). Certain fibers improve lipids, reduce inflammation, improve immunity, etc. How probiotics of various types do the same, plus reduce the harms of toxins like heavy metals, modulate the immune system, give luxurious hair, and all kinds of stuff.

Near the end of December, I went for broke. My goal is to take every fiber that studies show provides significant benefits. RS is one. But for me, it is just one piece of the puzzle. My understanding, which might not be correct – something I admit because I still learn lots of new things from tatertot and others – is that RS is like candy for the gut. Good, but the gut needs “more nutritious” stuff too. Understand that I am not just trying to increase butyrate, but also to improve lipids and other things unique to me.

Every day, I take 3+ Tbsp of Potato Starch, but also Flaxseed, Inulin, FOS, Baobab, Larch Arabinogalactan, Beta Glucan, Chitosan, Amla, Yacon Root Powder, Glucomannan, Psyllium (I poo poo’ed this in the past, but reconsidered my stance), Guar Gum, and a bunch I’d have to write down. Plus some I take occasionally, like Wheat Grass and Hemp Seed Powder. Every fiber I take has a story, and I favor the ones that seem most beneficial to me. But the goal is always to improve my gut.

That and I eat lots of veggies. As many as I can. Green stuff, beets, parsnips, green beans, and tons of green onions. At least 3 cloves of raw garlic per day. Beans, lentils, etc. I make barley risotto every Thursday to eat with a fresh fish shipment at the farmers market, and this lasts for several days. Lately I have been eating lots and lots of berries because they are showing up at the markets.

Now I do not count carbs. My only macronutrients concern is that I get lots of good fats. Fats from fish, pastured animals, butter from pastured animals, etc.

In terms of probiotics, I eat miso and kimchi every day. Without fail. I take Prescript Assist and Primal Defense Ultra. Two days ago, I started Primadophilus Reuteri supplements. There are some compelling studies on this.

Anyway, my weight very quickly dropped to about 165lbs, 10 below my target. I weigh every day, and I have weighed 165 +/- 1 for 47 out of the last 49 days, and the 2 others were 163. My blood work is now incredible. All sources of autoimmune problems and inflammation are 100% gone.

The kicker is that now I eat whatever I want. I recently ate a whole pizza. Baked beans with molasses and sugar. I don’t eat these a lot, because I think the gut bugs limit me. I can’t go crazy. But clearly, for me, carbs are not the enemy. Instead, the gut bugs are my friend. IMHO, the focus on the gut IS the right way to go.

The benefits have been life changing for me. The hypoglycemia is gone. I thought I had it controlled before, but now I see how much it controlled me before. No carb cravings at all. No more ‘all but a few Beanitos.’

I have always had seasonal allergies. Gone. Despite many saying this is the worst year in a long time.

Skin problems gone. Joint pain gone. Muscle soreness after workouts gone. Vision improved. Older male issues solved. Kinda freaky really.

About the idea that gut bugs compete for nutrients: I read a Washington Post article that improving the gut improves the absorption of nutrients so that, say, a 35% improvement means that given the same calories, a more efficient gut will lead to a 35% increase in calories. A higher weight all else equal. IMO, however, an increase in efficiency implies fewer calories are needed to provide the required nutrients, and so one consumes less overall. I think an improved gut efficiency in which the bugs are better able to break down nutrients improves the body’s access to those nutrients, rather than competing against the body.

I feel like my body is exactly the same day-to-day, with no low energy or high energy days. Just right every day.

It’s folks like Wilbur, and the ones to come like Wilbur, where I wish to focus my energies.

…I should note that the Amazon links in the quoted material are from me and not from Wilbur, that he may use different brands, etc. The Amazon links are what pay the huge bandwidth bill around here, plus keep me in whiskey and wine. 🙂

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

74 Comments

  1. Sasy squatch on June 1, 2014 at 14:03

    Great stuff Richard. F*ck the low carb goof balls and the food police. Since I’ve added RS, potatoes, ect, back in to my diet, I feel way better and certainly liberated from the assholes that predicted that the sky would fall in on me if I looked at a potato!

  2. Wilbur on June 1, 2014 at 14:23

    Hi Richard –

    Thanks for the press! I hope others find solutions like I did.

    Anyhoo, would you please let readers know that the links in the post are not in my original reply and that the products may or may not be the products I take and that no endorsement is implied and should not be inferred? In some cases, I prefer other products.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2014 at 14:41

      Wilbur, no sweat.



    • Natasha v. Potato on June 2, 2014 at 12:01

      Dear Wilbur,

      Great experience. 🙂 I am especially interested in what you, Richard, and others have to say about hypoglycemia….

      My 80 year old auntie is severely hypoglycemic and OCD…. Even though she is elderly, she is super healthy and strong. She will get up in the morning, start cleaning… get low, pass out or do other strange things. Really bad, especially if driving – which she does quite aggressively. She is so bad, that you can time it… every 2 and 1/2 hours she needs to load up on sugar – pours organic maple syrup on her breakfast, eats fruit especially bananas. Often has chocolates in her pocket because once she passed out from being low (busy cleaning) and broke her foot. When she woke up, she had to drag herself to the fridge, drink orange juice and called for an ambulance….

      I know that all the same principles apply. Just wondering if a specific probiotic / prebiotics should be focused on or is recommended?



    • Richard Nikoley on June 2, 2014 at 12:05

      I know nothing about hypoglycemia–it’s typically the opposite prob around here. But intuitively, one must wonder is something is off with gluconeogenesis, which is a liver function, also gut, I believe.



    • Wilbur on June 2, 2014 at 13:37

      That sounds awful! She may be healthy and strong, but being hypoglycemic feels terrible. Shaky, hot, edge of consciousness, sick to your stomach, and I was not as bad as your aunt. But, yes, 2 to 2.5 hours like clockwork. Complete savage when it was time to eat.

      Richard – I have a conjecture that anything gut related that helps a prediabetic will help a hypoglycemic person. Opposite sides of the same coin.

      She’s 80 and probably set in her ways. So small and within her current habits is probably the way to go.

      Before this, what helped most was eating fat and no sugar at the first meal. Bacon, cheese, stuff like that. Oatmeal would just set me off the rest of the day.

      But as far as gut stuff goes, maybe try 1/2 tsp of glucomannan in water at breakfast and dinner. It is benign, and it’s what finished off the last of my hypoglycemia. I understand it works well for prediabetes. If it helps her, then maybe she would be receptive to other things.

      I didn’t start this with the goal of fixing hypoglycemia. I just noticed that things improved. Then when I found this site with many trying to stabilize blood sugars, it clicked then that maybe it would help me too.

      If your aunt is fully receptive, maybe start with Richard’s resistant starch 101.



  3. Michael on June 1, 2014 at 14:41

    “Seems to me that a mother’s milk proportion of 50/30/20—F/C/P is a good template to work from.”

    That doesn’t necessarily make any sense. A baby brain requires double the % energy of an adult brain — roughly 60% of total cal for a baby brain. So one can work out what that means: babies are in obligatory (mild) ketosis. I don’t see how this would be of any consequence for adults, but neither do I see how mother’s milk ratios are of consequence for adults

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2014 at 14:47

      Michael:

      You’re free to propose another that does not—as does mother’s milk—offer a dead-solid ratio. That is, you’re welcome to claim that your speculation is superior to the rough ratio found in all mammalian milk.

      Knock yourself out. But keep in mind you didn’t actually propose an alternate value, just said mine doesn’t make any sense, which I tend to dismiss without the offering of something better, with good evidence, which was not provided.



    • Michael on June 1, 2014 at 14:56

      I’m not claiming anything and I don’t care to. My only point is that if one was to convert to adults, based on the respective energy requirements of the brain, it would look like this: 65/15/20—F/C/P.



    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2014 at 14:57

      Splitting hairs.



  4. Michael on June 1, 2014 at 15:01

    Really? I like how you just dismiss the obvious.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2014 at 15:06

      It’s out of context. Can you figure out why?



    • Michael on June 1, 2014 at 15:11

      Yeah, you are a baby???



    • Sasy squatch on June 1, 2014 at 15:29

      Can I take this one for you Richard? F*ck you Michael!



    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2014 at 15:41

      Michael:

      Now you’re dismissed entirely. I don’t waste time in fucktards, anymore, who are just trying to be fucktards.



    • Dan on June 2, 2014 at 10:36

      Michael,

      You contradicted yourself with your response to Richard’s statement about breast milk being a good template to work from. You said it didn’t necessarily make sense and then proceeded to prove his point by adjusting the ratios to account for the decrease in brain-to-body ratio from baby to adult. I’d consider that working off of the template, wouldn’t you?



  5. bettyboo on June 1, 2014 at 15:07

    Ever thought of putting that LCHF zealot on an island with nothing but coconuts, fish and exercise to fill the days? 3 to 6 months and he’d be a new man. Might be a bigger revelation for him than when he found jesus (lower case ‘j’)

  6. bettyboo on June 1, 2014 at 15:10

    “go full Richard”, please…

  7. bettyboo on June 1, 2014 at 15:21

    Show us some Angry Dick!

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2014 at 15:43

      bettyboo, i can do that anytime, as you know.

      I’m become more of a Teddy guy now, if you catch the reference. It’s fun.



  8. yien on June 1, 2014 at 16:22

    That’s a really great fiber mix. That’s really close to how I eat. Probably the main thing I add – is I deliberately eat dirt each day (I would love to see someone in the paleo sphere take this point head on and challenge some views). The only other thing I’d comment is to consider fat profiles like sesame, peanuts etc as primary fat sources…just look at the fat profile of a baobab seed, from the tree of life…

  9. James N. on June 1, 2014 at 16:58

    This and many other posts has forced me to revisit baked goods. I use oat flour, sprouted brown rice flour and potato starch as a base. For those of you who are sensitive to Xanthan gum, Glucomannan powder can be used as a one for one substitute. And for gluten-free bread-like baked goods, I have found that adding in a packet or tablespoon of unflavored gelatin helps with keeping it altogether and not be too dry or crumbly.

  10. Dara on June 1, 2014 at 16:59

    Thank you Richard for all the information you provide. I just recently discovered your blog and you give me hope. Thank you too for posting Wilbur’s story. I have 2 very stubborn autoimmune thyroid diseases (plus many other related health problems) and am desperate to reverse and heal them.

    I’m already on a 100% real food diet but have tons of food sensitivities so can’t eat lots of things. I don’t count macronutrients so have no idea the ratios. I have to eat starch to function, something I learned when I white knuckled Paleo for 2 months and gained 5 lbs (since I had 30 to lose, this was not cool). I learned so much from the Paleo community, though, and consider my diet Paleo plus rice. I was going to try the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol but didn’t see a chance in hell that I could stick to it. Then I found out about RS. After reading some of your posts, I’m now looking forward to adding more starches to my diet. Rice gets VERY old, and I’ve been concerned about developing a sensitivity to it because I eat it so much.

    I strongly suspect I have SIBO (and of course leaky gut) and know of a few overgrown pathogenic bacteria based on a GI test. I read the SIBO protocol on the Animal Pharm blog and have started step 1 – adding fermented foods. I’m really impatient since I’ve been sick for 7 years, but am taking it slow and doing this right.

    Again, thank you for your work! I’m going to read more of your site and keep absorbing this new information about healing a broken gut.

  11. zogby on June 1, 2014 at 20:18

    Wilbur, can you give some rough indication of the timeline of your improvements?

    For example, did you feel worse before getting better? Did it take days, weeks, or months before you started to feel better? How long before you felt that you were largely past your previous health problems?

    I realize that everyone comes from a different starting position, and so your experiences won’t match others. But I think it’s useful to have some point of reference. Thanks!

    • Wilbur on June 2, 2014 at 03:55

      Some things were right away, others took time, and some I just noticed later.

      The hypoglycemia was mostly gone within a week. Sometimes I’d feel on the edge, but wouldn’t have shaky hands. As I mentioned in another post, adding gluccomannan fixed this right away. My hypoglycemia is now gone.

      The self-regulation of food was also quick, as was the more stable energy level. The bloodwork improvement occurred over less than 6 months.

      The absence of joint pain I realized after I started walking again. I used to need a few days off or my knees would hurt. Now I don’t need days off. This is when I realized my finger joints didn’t hurt either.

      My absence of allergies I noticed when people were complaining about what a terrible year it was for them.

      Some things I didn’t know to connect to the gut until later. My reaction times seem much better – even others have noticed. I learned there are studies on this. I cut myself quite deeply, and it healed much more quickly than I expected. Later I found that having a healthy gut can do this, and fast wound healing might be a sign of overall good health.

      In any case, most of this happened over about 6 months, which is really fast in the scheme of things. And, for me, these are not marginal improvements – they are huge. Anyone who has gone from hypoglycemic to non will understand how huge.



    • James H. on June 2, 2014 at 08:54

      re: fast healing of a cut

      Indeed. This past winter I tripped on an uneven sidewalk–a sidewalk on which I’ve been jogging for several years



  12. Patti on June 1, 2014 at 20:55

    The last year I was a low carber and in January I went to keto. Ugg I totally ruined my body, I started having high blood pressure (125/83), physiological insulin resistance (116 readings upon waking up in the morning), and terrible sugar cravings. But my weight was down. Over two months ago I found this blog, and the next day I gorged on rice and potatoes. I mean I went to town. I could not get enough of it. I did gain weight but I did not care because I was feeling so much better. I started taking the Ultra probiotic supplement because I could buy it immediately from Whole Foods. Within the last week my eating has normalized, and I am eating three meals per day with no snacks. I eat a lot of veggies/fruit, potatoes, rice, beans in my diet, along with a little protein/fat. Eating large portions of fat and meat do not work for me any longer. In fact some meals have been vegetarian because I can’t stand the idea of including meat or a lot of fat. I feel so much better. Did I write that twice, how about a third time, I feel so much better than low carb. Also, my blood pressure has returned to normal 110/69. I don’t know where my blood sugar is at because I ran out of strips. Thank you Richard.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 1, 2014 at 21:38

      Patti

      You are more than welcome and I do not see you becoming a packaged processed food muncher.

      Am I right?

      You know what resonated with me?

      When I have either rice, beans, or taters, I too go with smallish protein portions.

      It kinda reminds me of living the 5 years I did in Japan in the 80s and having those rice bowls with some nice protein on top–and fermented veggies too.



  13. Ellen Ussery on June 2, 2014 at 11:03

    Ankleface,

    Are you sure it’s not Lyme’s?

    http://chriskresser.com/diagnosing-and-treating-lyme-disease

  14. Martin on June 2, 2014 at 02:09

    I’ve asked this question before and I mean it in a really friendly way :-), I am simply curious:

    what is the problem with eating all the good fibers Wilbur mentions in his email and RS and good SBO probiotic and good self-made kefir, fermented vegies, etc. etc WHILE still staying HFLC? Why are they contradictory?

    • KAWAM on June 2, 2014 at 05:29

      Martin, I second that question, since some version of HFLC has worked fairly well for me, off and on, since the mid-70s and Atkins. I just couldn’t stay with it for any length of time. But I did have the mental clarity, the energy, lowered inflammation pain, et cetera. Carbs, even “good carbs” didn’t produce the same initial “high.”

      Of course, I ate way too much wheat — good bread was my candy. I am curious to see what a moderate carb diet will feel like when the carbs are legumes, rice, tubers, et cetera.

      ONE BIG ISSUE — what, in this space, is considered Low Carb, or Very Low Carb? 20 grams/day? 50? (I’m guessing it’s in here somewhere, but I do get lost in these threads.) ~ Kate



    • FrenchFry on June 2, 2014 at 06:30

      Martin, I don’t think they are contradictory. It’s simply that when you up your intake of foods rich in fermentable carbs, you tend to decrease the fat amount. These foods also come with digestible carbs, so it is energy for you. So you don’t overdo it with fat by instinct because you are already providing a fair amount of it from carbs.



  15. Brad Baker on June 2, 2014 at 06:10

    You know when macro ratios don’t matter? When you only eat one meal per day (at night). You can eat pretty much whatever you want, to satiety, without counting calories or carbs. AND, you won’t turn off lipolysis (fat burning) for the majority of the day like you will (to a large extent) if you’re eating carbs 2-3 times per day. Combined with 3 days per week, 1 hour per day, intense lifting this has me gaining muscle while staying lean.

    If you have not tried single-meal (or small “feed window” daily IF), I highly recommend it. Especially if you like to eat carbs but find it adds body fat. If you’ve never done daily IF it might be difficult to adapt to this eating pattern but once you have, it’s great. I’m really liking it.

    Not saying it will work for everyone but for me, it works far-and-away better than anything else I’ve every tried.

    Just one man’s opinion who has tried lots…
    Paleo, LC, IF, Leangains, potato-hack, etc…

    • Brad Baker on June 2, 2014 at 06:21

      I’m sorta stretching the truth though. My version of this is really a psuedo-single-meal IF. Since my goal is to increase muscle mass while staying lean, in order to protect against potential muscle catabolism I eat a small no-carb breakfast which is similar to Sisson’s primal egg coffee – which is perhaps 300-400 calories. Plus, my nightly feed window is often 4 hours or more. This is because I’m focusing more on adding muscle versus lowing body fat. I think the smaller the feed window, approaching a single meal, the more body fat lost – this has been my experience thus far.



    • Brad Baker on June 2, 2014 at 06:30

      And Richard, not to drag too far off topic, but since I know you will probably notice/comment… I realize that a single-meal daily IF diet might actually be just a form of calorie limiting diet. I know it’s quite possible the only reason it works is because it’s difficult to over-consume daily calories in a single meal. Digestion efficiency may be a factor as well. Anyhoo, it works…for me.



  16. Jason H on June 2, 2014 at 07:06

    The part that stood out to me was the lack of muscle soreness for Wilbur. What is the exercise program?

    I follow a power lifting program that has me under weights 3 days/week and I get sore a lot.

    • Wilbur on June 2, 2014 at 07:37

      I powerlifted as a teenager, and have now lifted weights for over 30 years. I have no desire to become bigger, but since I have lost weight I am more interested in more strength and definition.

      I guess I am trying to say that I know what should make me sore, what it feels like to be sore, and to know this is different.

      Soreness reflects inflammation, and the bugs seem very good at eliminating inflammation. I can definitely feel that I have worked out, but not sore. It is different and hard to describe. Maybe the inflammation never happens, or maybe my healing powers are so much better that there is no need for inflammation. Bugs do help with healing speed as is shown in research. There are also connections with testosterone production, which might give a ‘roid like effect (improved recovery time).

      I gained a lot of strength while losing my weight too. So much that I have to be careful to not tweak tendons and stuff.



    • Brad Baker on June 2, 2014 at 07:59

      @Wilbur, Are you sure soreness only reflects inflammation? My understanding is it also is due to damage to the muscle fibers. So are you saying you can damage muscle fibers sufficiently but still not (feel) it? You are saying only you only feel the inflammation that results from the damage?

      “The three primary components essential to muscle development are mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and muscle damage” ~Brad Schoenfeld



    • Brad Baker on June 2, 2014 at 08:21

      @Wilbur, Schoenfeld on your inflammation subject…

      “Brad Schoenfeld, a prominent researcher on the mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy, author of The MAX Muscle plan, and a former competitive bodybuilder says:

      “A certain amount of soreness may indirectly benefit muscle development. The response can be likened to the acute inflammatory response to infection. Once the body perceives the damage, immune cells (neutrophils, macrophages and so on) migrate to the damaged tissue in order to remove cellular debris to help maintain the fiber’s ultrastructure. In the process, the body produces signaling molecules called cytokines that activate the release of growth factors involved in muscle development. In this roundabout way, localized inflammation – a source of DOMS – leads to a growth response that in effect, strengthens the ability of muscle tissue to withstand future muscle damage. Adaptation!”

      http://www.burnthefatinnercircle.com/members/Delayed-Onset-Muscle-Soreness-DOMS.cfm



    • Wilbur on June 2, 2014 at 09:30

      So I’m not a nutritionist, a trainer, or anything like that. The soreness I refer to is the one That starts the next morning when it is painful to contract the muscle as well as stretch it out. I am not referring to the fatigue or weakness of the muscle which happens during a workout and can last for a few days. The latter is not soreness to me, but I don’t know what to call it. I have not gotten the first in a long time; the second, yes. My understanding is the first is a consequence of inflammation.

      I don’t think it really matters whether I am working out hard enough to induce soreness. I am MUCH stronger than I was when I started this. I had to go out and buy a new set of dumbells. I’ve worked out long enough to know this is different. I would worry about injuries my goal were to make myself sore. Minimum that means the goalposts have changed. But maybe I can tear down a muscle without creating inflammation (soreness). Either would be important for a powerlifter, I would think.



    • Charles on June 5, 2014 at 18:53

      Having been doing this experiment for eight months, I can say categorically my body works through inflammation from exercise (“soreness”) much quicker than it ever has in my life, and I’m 62, and have been working out most of my life. Though to be honest, I’m not in great shape right now, and don’t exercise as regularly as I should. But I know my body, and how it responds to physical stress.

      As a mundane example, I was in Manhattan yesterday, and walked for five hours on hard pavement in the heat. By the end of it, my knee was hurting, and both ankles were sore and starting to really seize up. I could barely get in and out of a cab on the way home, and I figured today (the day after) was going to be tough. But when I got up in the morning, nada, no soreness, no stiffness, no lingering after effects at all. I was shocked.

      I’ve mentioned before that my general inflammation, as measured by hsCRP score, has gone from average to better than 90% of adult males. I have to think that has something to do with it. There’s very little residual or chronic inflammation for the body to deal with, so it can deal with acute inflammation tout suite.

      I really noticed a dramatic improvement after adding larch aribinogalactan (LARIX) about a month or so ago. My whole body just feels better than it has in years. Whether that will have an effect on muscle building, I’m not sure, but I’ll find out.



    • Conan on February 11, 2015 at 14:46

      Hi Charles, thanks for reporting your results with Larix. Was it the product from Jarrow, the one from Eclectic Institute or another? I did a little research and they seem to be quite different. The Jarrow one contains an immune modulating version from a Swiss company called Lonza. They call it Resistaid. Lonza also sells regular larch arabinogalactan they call Fiberaid. That’s what’s in the Eclectic product.

      Thanks…



  17. Brad Baker on June 2, 2014 at 07:48

    @Jason, as you should. Soreness has more to do with how you perform your workout as you prob know. I’m guessing Wilbur meant just that his soreness was reduced in severity or duration versus completely gone since a complete lack of soreness tends to point more to the intensity of the workout(s).

  18. Ankleface Wroughtlandmire on June 2, 2014 at 10:06

    I would be interested in Wilbur’s and Richard’s take on my story. I’m working on resolving rheumatoid arthritis that started to hurt in February of this year at 30 years of age.

    As soon as the symptoms started to manifest themselves I immediately and completely eliminated all the bad omega-6 oils and margarine that I was using heavily, as well as the copious amounts of table sugar . For a while I tried very low fat and low carbs, but later settled on a diet similar to the Perfect Health Diet, eliminating cereal grains entirely, but with the addition of beans and lentils and rice when I feel like eating them. Lots of potatoes and eggs too. During the past few months I started cooking with lard, butter, and olive oil. Also started experimenting off and on with resistant starch (in the form of tapioca starch, which is readily available where I live) and probiotics (Prescript Assist, AOR Probiotic-3, BioKult). Especially during the past month or so I’ve been rigorously using well over 4 TB of tapioca starch per day in a milkshake made with local raw milk, combined with 1 – 3 capsules each of the different probiotics.

    Despite these major changes, the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms appear to be worse at times. It’s really hard to gauge the effect of the diet and supplements, because RA is a naturally cyclical disease with daily changes in the location and severity of inflammation. But in general swelling of the knuckles, fingers, and toes is bad or worse during the past month. I can’t figure out where it is coming from, because I’m quite confident that I eliminated the dietary sources of inflammation (omega-6 oils and high sugar and wheat products). I think this is why they were asking in the previous comments if you can expect to get worse before getting better. Paul Jaminet of the Perfect Health Diet claims that if it works it hurts first. I’m not so convinced of this. Is inflammation possibly a sign of tissue/joint repair? Or is it just the same old disease attacking the body? I did try the Perfect Health Diet recommendation of activated charcoal (and pausing the probiotics and supplements while using charcoal, because they would probably just get absorbed into the charcoal) and noticed some relief of swelling. Not sure if this is just a lull in the disease or if it’s a sign that the probiotics were eliminating toxins that were making the inflammation temporarily worse?

    Again, it is incredibly frustrating to determine if the constant daily or even hourly vicissitudes of rheumatoid arthritis are in any way related to the dietary changes, which is what prompted this post. Thanks in advance for any additional insight.

    • Ellen Ussery on June 2, 2014 at 10:45

      Not Wilbur or Richard but one thing to consider might be an initial trial of severe elimination diet, such the Paleo autoimmune protocol or Chris Kresser’s book

      http://my.chriskresser.com/books/yppc

      Just because beans can be a great food for gut bugs does not mean they are good for you , at least not right now. Or nightshades could be problem for you. Or dairy…..I understand how frustrating it can be to try different diets that work for many others, but not for you . You can save yourself a lot of time in trying to pinpoint food triggers by cutting out all possible problem foods for a month, then add back one at a time.

      Also it sounds like you have eaten a lot of crap for a long time. It takes quite a while to get the excess omega 6 out of your cells and to build yourself back up in general.

      I don’t recall Paul saying if it works it should hurt first. That was certainly not the case for me. The pain in my hands just went away in a week or two after cutting out grains. I have heard the same from many others. But i also know many people for whom it just wasn’t that simple.

      Here is another option if you want to spend some money

      http://solvingleakygut.com/2nd-chance/

      Best wishes



    • Ellen Ussery on June 2, 2014 at 11:45

      I *think* the charcoal mops up endotoxins

      nounMICROBIOLOGY
      plural noun: endotoxins
      a toxin that is present inside a bacterial cell and is released when the cell disintegrates. It is sometimes responsible for the characteristic symptoms of a disease, e.g., in botulism.

      But I got constipated from it. Perhaps I took too much. Or maybe you are right and it does mess with your flora.



    • Gemma on June 2, 2014 at 12:23

      @Ankleface

      The science is on it, there is hope.

      You might like to read this review:
      Arthritis susceptibility and the gut microbiome (May 2014)

      Conclusions: “There is still a lot that needs to be answered. Observations in mouse models and RA patients suggest that the gut may be an important contributor to onset or severity of disease. The next step will be to find a way to modulate disease by generating symbiosis in the gut microbial composition by using diet, prebiotics or probiotics.”



    • Ellen Ussery on June 2, 2014 at 15:30

      Ankleface,

      But did you take them out all at once and completely? Not a drop of any of them. Because IF some foods are causing an autoimmune response you need to have none in your body for long enough for your immune system to calm down. And if you only did this sequentially, you don’t know if two separate foods, or categories are both the culprit.



    • Ankleface Wroughtlandmire on June 2, 2014 at 11:19

      Thanks Ellen for the helpful reply.

      I should have mentioned that I also tried the nightshade and dairy elimination for about a month. But there were no noticeable changes. As for beans, it’s not really a staple, just an occasional addition when I feel like it.

      I kind of suspected that long time use of sugar and omega-6 oils might have left some kind of residue in the cells. Never had major problems with weight, but the weight is definitely down since making these dietary changes, so maybe some of this is old omega-6 oils re-circulating through the body. Maybe that’s partly what was absorbed by the charcoal. But I also wonder what the charcoal does to the gut flora? Does it mop up the good and bad bacteria?

      I don’t see how it could be Lyme’s, because as far as I know it’s completely unheard of in the Southern Hemisphere.



    • Richard Nikoley on June 2, 2014 at 11:59

      My approach for anything like this is a significant fast, 30-36 hours, water only.

      If everything resolves, do it once every week or two, work from there.

      Always remember that when you have a problem, doing nothing about it is one of your options. Similarly, everybody is always in the mindset, “what do I eat for this,” never considering the nothing is an option (for a limited time).

      Fasts, done right, with ample feeding outside of it can be amazing. Like a reset button.



    • Ankleface Wroughtlandmire on June 2, 2014 at 12:07

      Hmm. Interesting idea. Assuming that some as-of-yet undiscovered food intolerance is exacerbating the symptoms, do you think that a 36 hour fast could be enough to be get that food out of the system and see a reduction of the symptoms?



    • Natasha v. Potato on June 2, 2014 at 12:41

      Dear Richard,

      Hi! Very interesting. I am having trouble being over sensitive… I was doing fine with potato starch and (2/3 recommended probiotics). So well that I decided to have some cooked and cooled potatoes too. OK with first eating. Worse with second eating. I got greedy. 🙁 Now, I am reacting to potato starch…. and some reaction to plantain. Crazy stupid over sensitive.

      So I am considering doing Eades protein fast to clean things up, also to jump start some weight loss.

      What do you think? Would a 30-36 hour water only fast do the same thing? Help to re-set whatever is going on?

      I also need to buy AOR – Probiotic 3 – which I haven’t tried yet (has potato starch).

      BTW, finally started inulin – funniest thing. I am a friendly person but inulin had me smiling at people all day long. Weird! But also, made me feel good.

      Thanks, N.



    • Richard Nikoley on June 2, 2014 at 21:02

      There is no such thing as a protein fast.

      A fast has a clear definition.

      Perhaps Mike will clarify in Protein Power 2.0. After like 5 years selling an appliance (killer, i have one), he’s prime to write a diet book.

      Can’t wait. …. …. ….



    • GTR on June 3, 2014 at 03:43

      Omega – 6 fats are also necessary to control (stop) inflammation, so “eliminating” Omega – 6 fats might lead to increase in inflammation. It’s about right proportions, not about elimination.

      Source:
      http://fatburningman.com/chris-masterjohn-good-fats-vs-bad/



    • Ankleface Wroughtlandmire on June 3, 2014 at 06:32

      Interesting link. Thanks.
      Actually I haven’t totally eliminated omega-6 fats, just the bad vegetable/seed oils that are primarily omega-6. But I do cook with lard and eat chicken, so that gives provides me with ample omega-6.



    • GTR on June 3, 2014 at 12:07

      “After like 5 years selling an appliance (killer, i have one)”

      A cheaper technology with similar functionality is described here:

      http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/04/the-food-lab-perfect-rack-of-lamb.html



    • Johnny Feelgood on June 9, 2014 at 04:40

      Did you try eliminating dairy? My RA and my sister in laws disappear and reappear instantly with dairy elimination/(accidental 😉 consumption…



  19. Dave on June 2, 2014 at 14:58

    All my life I have had sinus and health problems. Many rounds of antibiotics sometimes one after another since the first didn’t work. I have had strep throat several times in my life that wouldn’t go away. Again many rounds of meds with shots in the rear end. I eliminated dairy and it helped a bit. I would take the lame probiotics that you buy at the grocery store thinking that I was doing something great for myself. I have gone to my doctor complaining about lack of energy. They run a blood test. Every thing is fine, many cholesterol is boarder line. I am on my second bag of potato starch, taking about 2 to 3 tablespoons a day. I am taking Primal defense and have a bottle of Probiotic 3 on the way. I am sleeping better with vivid dreams and a bit gassy at times. I dropped a few pounds also. My energy levels are still low and I have some kind of sinus allergies going on. I also have arthritis in my hands, I always thought from playing high school football and jamming all my fingers. My hope is to get my energy levels back, allergies gone and just feel good again. Thank you for all the info on this website and all the people who post helpful comments.

  20. Jon McRae on June 2, 2014 at 15:01

    Here is what I have noticed, better sleep, better sex drive, better perfomance at the gym, I am a 6’5″ 310lb WM, still need to work on the weight but my hungry seems to follow a very natural curve, Also seasonal allergies have gone away, which is nice since I have asthma.

    Rich thanks again for all the the gut-biome stuff, I am looking forward to adding the K-2 supplement
    as well.

  21. Regina on June 2, 2014 at 16:24

    just found some cheaper arabinogalactan:
    http://www.swansonvitamins.com/swanson-ultra-fiberaid-larch-tree-arabinogalactan-ag-250-grams-8-8-oz-pwdr?SourceCode=INTL405&CAWELAID=410184151&mkwid=LmGl1X3S&pcrid=54347462167&gclid=CKzqm6np274CFeMF7Aod6EwAGw
    whoa that’s a long link. Anyway, it is swanson brand – cheaper here than on amazon. Some comments say it is also good for dogs.

    • Duck Dodgers on June 3, 2014 at 12:16

      Basically…

      FiberAid is a fine fiber for general gut health and feeding gut bugs — it has a higher molecular weight and the recommended dose is 4.5 grams/day. It looks cheaper on paper, but the dose is high and it doesn’t offer enhanced immune benefits (that’s not its purpose).

      Larix ImmuneEnhancer AG (as an example cited in the paper) produces it’s Larch Arabinogalactan (LAG) at a lower molecular weight and this has been shown to produce a stronger immune response. Interestingly, the recommended dosage is only 1.5 grams/day.

      Lonza’s ResistAid is a Swiss supplier of very high quality, low-molecular weight, LAG. Their arabinogalactan also preserves the bioactive flavonoids, and therefore has antioxidant capacity. Very good stuff. But they are just a behind-the-scenes supplier and if you want their product, you need to find a distributor/seller of ResistAid in your country.

      In the US, ResistAid is sold as Thorne’s Arabinex, which is $40 for 100g. ResistAid is also sold as Natural Doctor ResistAid for much cheaper, $22 for 100g. It’s the same product.

      Read that paper I linked to, above, if you want the details on why the molecular weights matter for LAG.

      To see a dumbed-down video on why low-molecular weight LAG is especially good for supporting the immune system, watch this short cartoon video:



    • Duck Dodgers on June 3, 2014 at 11:14

      It’s not as simple as you might imagine. Anyone buying Larch AG should read this paper. FiberAid will have more favorable GI effects, while other Larch AG products will have better immune-enhancing effects.

      Different products have different molecular weights and different dosages (which is why one product may appear to be a bargain, but isn’t necessarily).



    • Goldfish on June 5, 2014 at 06:09

      I bought FoodScience of Vermont Larch Arabinogalactan which claims to be from Larix ImmuneEnhancer (http://www.foodscienceofvermont.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=300420100), and yet the dosage on the tub is a 5g scoop daily. Should I start taking a 1/3 scoop instead?



  22. Regina on June 2, 2014 at 17:43

    That is NOT why Richard. I just fell on the link and was about to show you it on amazon but didn’t like their lack of free shipping regardless of amount purchased. I guess that makes me not nice.

  23. Michael44 on June 2, 2014 at 23:34

    Brad.

    Any thoughts regarding the old bodybuilding adage of needing 5-6 protein feedings per day to build muscle? It sounds like you have done just fine using a 4 hr evening meal window plus a “primal whole egg coffee” breakfast.

    • Brad Baker on June 3, 2014 at 14:50

      @Michael44, protein takes some 3 hours to fully digest and probably much longer if you consume a great deal of it at one meal. The amount and frequency will prob depend on you… your size, muscle mass, intensity of workout, and if you are taking any “chemical helpers”. For most people, training naturally I dont think you need anything more than twice per day. If you dont want to get “huge” perhaps even once per day is enough. Seems sufficient to me.



    • Michael44 on June 3, 2014 at 20:01

      Thanks Brad.



    • BrazilBrad on June 3, 2014 at 21:31

      @Michael44, If you’ve already read Marin’s stuff at Leangains.com have a look at CogitoErgoEdo.com as he really knows his stuff too. Smart dude. His writings convinced me to try shortening my feed window.

      The “warrior diet” was perhaps the first of this type of short feed window IF? dunno… http://www.muscleandfitness.com/nutrition/gain-mass/become-modern-day-warrior-diet-broke-all-rules



  24. Michael44 on June 4, 2014 at 17:02

    I’ve read some of Martins stuff(a fair while ago though), and Ori Hofmekler’s too, but I haven’t seen the Cogito site. I will check it out. Thanks.

  25. ThatGirl on June 6, 2014 at 11:53

    It’s the PUFAs.

  26. Briterian on June 7, 2014 at 09:44

    Dumb question but isn’t inulin and fos the same thing?

  27. Sarabeth Matilsky on June 9, 2014 at 10:37

    When I began using RS in various forms around New Years’, I hoped that I would quickly collect some Data to share with others. It’s been a long six months!

    I’ve actually been working to heal my own version of Depression/Anxiety/Panic/OCD for many years now – and my latest chapter has been greatly influenced by starting supplemental RS, and reading The Perfect Health Diet.

    With the hope that my experience can help others, I’ve just posted my story here: http://www.lifeisapalindrome.com/updates/thinking-about-me-and-ocd . I’m intending a post in the near future to outline the dietary changes I’ve made.

    I am hopeful that these changes will continue to help my body get strong enough to fight additional infections, and to help eliminate my remaining mental health Challenges as much as possible. I have experienced profound Results (although not all positive or linear!) from upping my consumption of resistant starch and starch/fiber in general, and I am convinced that the gut/brain connection is one to be profoundly respected and investigated.

    Thank you for all that you do.

    Regards,
    Sarabeth

  28. TravellingBeard on June 11, 2014 at 20:25

    Had Natto for the first time a few weeks back, and looking forward to buying some from our local Chinese super grocery store here in Toronto. It’s weirdly addictive, and I don’t find it offensive at all. Plus, good for your gut apparently, something to rotate in and out 🙂 http://www.microbecolhealthdis.net/index.php/mehd/article/download/7691/9028

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