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. :)