Reader Questions – At You

I'm going to borrow a page from Mark Sisson and try something out. Anyone willing and able to help field some reader questions? I hope so, and with that hope, here goes. I'll alert each questioner to this post so that they can be prepared to add supplemental info where needed.


Q1. From Joe:

I have been reading the blog for about 6 months and had tremendous success eating Paelo style. I had a quick question – Sometimes when I eat refined foods (grains, bread, pretzels, hoagies etc…) my mood becomes nasty. I get angry for little or no reason. When I go back to strictly paleo, I am more patient and I am more pleasant overall. Do you know of or have you ever heard of anything about how food effect a persons mood?


Q2. From Marc:

Perhaps you can help me, I started eating paleo and following a plan very similar to yours about 3-4 months ago since then I have gained 12 pounds. Not muscle. Pants getting tighter. 220lbs to 232. Basically at a loss on what to do next. Any advice would be appreciated. Blood work good, thyroid ok.

[Ed: He goes on to detail some exercise & eating habits that seem completely appropriate to me.]


Q3. From Tom.

Richard, I'm a follower of Free The Animal. I happened to come across a blog site called Heart Scan and noticed a comment you'd sent about your thyroid and tsh levels. This caught my attention because I 'suffer' from thyroid problems. When I was 13, I had surgery for Graves Disease and a portion of my thyroid was removed. My levels appeared to be fine after until I started gaining weight in my late 30's. I went and had my tsh levels checked. All out of whack. I was placed on synthroid and my levels went down; however, I felt terrible and my heart would randomly palpitate making me think I was having a heart attack. I told my primary care physician about this and she said my blood test results were within 'recommended standards' and I needed to continue the regimen even though it didn't make me feel any better. I had her send me to the local endocrinologist. That turned out to be a waste of time! She had diabetes posters all over her office and that appeared to be her 'bread & butter'. She told me I just had to get used to being over weight and not feeling good. In fact, she said I might not even have any thyroid tissue left. Sounded like a life sentence to me from an 'expert'. When I got home, I chucked the synthroid down the toilet and went to a naturopath. I started taking a non-prescription thyroid supplement and also a daily kelp tablet. The heart palpitations went away. I started feeling better. About this same time, I stumbled across Art Devany's Evolutionary Fitness website and later Free The Animal. I also went and had an ultra sound scan and found out I still had thyroid tissue. I've lost weight and my eyebrows are growing back (another telltale sign of thyroid problems). I know I need to eventually have my tsh levels checked; but, I feel good and my cholesterol levels are lower now than when I was on synthroid. I'm hesitant to have the western medicine gurus get me in their clutches again.  Any words of wisdom?


OK readers; anyone want to weigh in? I'll be happy to engage in comments as well. Thanks, as always, to the many of you willing to lend a hand to your fellow travelers.

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. on June 10, 2009 at 15:34

    Q1 From Joe

    In my experience with the Paleo Diet, if I happen to cheat and eat carbs, I dive into a carb hangover the next day. I feel lethargic, irritable and puffy, similar to an alcohol hangover. I don't know the biology behind it, but I definitely know what you're talking about!


  2. David on June 10, 2009 at 19:10

    Q1 – yes, I feel cranky if I eat wheat now. I'm OK with a chocolate bar or wasa bread/ryevita. Since some stuff makes me feel off and not other stuff it isn't "guilt". Not sure who posted that in an answer that but they are off base. Like Joe, I would have to admit to getting angry at the drop of a hat. I am person with a temper to start and at times too much stress. This feeling is WAY beyond my normal temper. Joe wanted to know about anyone whose mood was affected by food. I am the same way by certain things now. I bet it is fairly common,

  3. David on June 10, 2009 at 21:38

    Nope Minneapolis J,

    Ain't buying it. This is what you said to the guy asking Q1: 'truthfully that is mostly mental. if you are in paleo you are probably someone who wants to be self-conscious and consisent. if you eat bad you feel "guilty",'.

    Who is assigning emotion? YOU are. YOU are stating that Q1 Joe is feeling "guilty". He said he "got angry for little or no reason". He didn't say he felt guilty. There is a significant difference between them. Maybe you display anger when you feel guilty. It seems that Q1 Joe and I boil over very quickly when we eat certain things. I don't feel guilty about what I eat. EVER. What I do observe is that some things do affect my mood … and this is EXACTLY what Q1 Joe was asking – if anyone else other than him has noticed that.

    The questioner also did not say "crash" and neither did I. Both of us said angry. May I humbly suggest that you simply DO NOT SHARE the experience that we BOTH HAVE?

    Neither Q1 Joe nor I talked about feeling "unnaturally full". You did. Richard is trying to do a service by posting a reader's question. You could do a service by reading the question and addressing the question, not what you want to read into it.

    No, we don't have clear evidence that it has to do with wheat. Q1 Joe did not mention wheat. I did. What I said was that certain off-diet foods do not elicit the response that Q1 Joe was asking about, but others do. One that I had found that did elicit this response IS wheat. And yes, since noticing these angry incidents, I have tried to cross-reference them to off-diet foods. So far, the common denominator has been wheat. There could be others.

    In case it isn't clear, your response annoyed me. It is absolute BS allocating guilt to someone. You are implying that Q1 Joe and I feel that we have done something wrong by going off diet. What a load of crap. Normally I don't call people out like this, but for your response I'm making an exception. And no, I have not had any wheat today.

    If you want to see an example of a constructive response, try this from Rob: "I'd think the blood sugar/insulin spike and crash from taking in carbs when you've been mostly paleo could easily lead to irritability issues." At least this posits a potential explanation. Unfortunately, I don't think it fits. I eats lots of carbs, including plenty of fruit. I've also gone off-diet on chocolate bars lots of corn, but no wheat products) and had no problems. Eat a bagel, and I feel ready to fly off the handle.

    So if it isn't blood sugar and insulin, what else might it be? I know that celiacs are unable to process the wheat proteins. Could this be the problem? Now that I've been off wheat for months, have I lost the enzymes required to correctly digest things like gluten, and those substances are having a mood-altering effect when metabolized? Be very clear that Q1 Joe and I are asking about MOOD and not EMOTION. Here's a potentially useful link as a starting point: Note that this site states: "Moods can be caused by shorter-term chemical imbalances, for example brought on by a poor diet."


  4. Get Primal on June 10, 2009 at 16:29

    Q2 from Marc:

    12 lbs in 3-4 months is a quick weight gain. Is it possible that the new diet has been extremely high calorie compared to what you thought you were consuming? Eating a lot of fats can be very healthy but you also have to stay within a specific caloric range based on your activity level. I didn't see your activity but it is VERY easy to eat far more calories than you're burning when you're eating a high fat diet.

  5. Skyler Tanner on June 10, 2009 at 17:06

    Depends on how many snacks of nuts he is having, as a half cup is a significant chunk of calories. That would be the first thing I would do, cut that out and see what happens next.


  6. minneapolis J on June 10, 2009 at 17:09

    richard, i think you could be right. if you eatthat much macadamia you should probably cut down calories elsewhere.macadmia is like 200 calories per serving, so could be an issue.

    total calories is the biggest issue, not individual so find the things you like most and maybe limit calories.

  7. minneapolis j on June 10, 2009 at 17:12

    well, nuts are pretty darn good. cutting them out completely could be a problem. if one likes them a lot just cut total calories across board.

    a ribeye has a lot of calories too…

  8. jon winchester on June 10, 2009 at 17:15

    that's about what I eat and more than I exercise. in the past two yrs while staying active I have dropped from 200lb to 180lb without losing muscle, and have gradually gone to about 2500kcal/70:15:15 paleo. if you think it might be the calories, try logging your food for a few weeks on… otherwise try fasting? and exercise when fasted?

  9. minneapois J on June 10, 2009 at 17:16

    truthfully that is mostly mental. if you are in paleo you are probably someone who wants to be self-conscious and consisent. if you eat bad you feel "guilty", thus irritable and cranky. when i ate unhealthy i didnt feel that way, its just when i was conscious about eating healthy that i felt bad that i regressed back to old ways.

    what i am saying is that there is nothing special about the food you ate that sends those kind of signals. its just your mental outlook that you have now.

  10. rob on June 10, 2009 at 17:27

    Maybe change it up for 1 – 2 weeks:
    No nuts, macadamia nuts are high carb as well
    Go zero to very low carbs
    Add omega 3 fish oil 3000mg of EPA & DHA
    Add l-carnitine 1-2mg
    Add whey shake 1 to 2 times per day

    Have you had a recent physical exam to check the basics? Thyroid, testosterone, etc?

  11. Dave in Ohio on June 10, 2009 at 18:09

    re: Mark
    The question is, why is your body naturally putting on more weight at this time. If you just began the intense work-outs, then the story is a familiar one. I know several people, including myself, who gained weight upon commencing a serious strength program, far and above any muscle gain. (While on low-carb, paleo type diet) My read is that the body is adapting to the added stress (and change) and this triggers an anabolic reaction of some sort that leads to additional hunger and calories being consumed. Possibly for repair, possibly some more primitive response to the added work load.

  12. minneapolis J on June 10, 2009 at 18:15

    well i dunno…….1/2 a cup of macadamia has 9 grams of carbs. that is pretty low. heck 1 cup of macadmia has 18 grams of carbs still low.

    gosh…….i can't figure this out. you really shouldn't be putting on weight with your diet. nuts in a low carb environment wont make u put on much weight.

    i guess its the issue carbs vs. calories.

  13. Xtremum on June 10, 2009 at 18:20

    I find myself thinking a few things:

    What was his activity level and diet like prior to embarking on plaeo? Is his paleo eating much higher cal than before? Is his activity level much higher than before?

    What other stressors are going on in his life?

    How much is he sleeping?

    Outside of these, I also wonder how strict is he? Are there cheats/binges that aren't getting mentioned?

    Really though, I look at that menu and think, " yuck". It looks bland and honestly doesn't look like enough food to me. I eat A LOT more than this. Try five jumbo eggs (with copious amounts of your paleo cooking fat of choice) in the morning, keep the veggies, add some bacon. Now you're talking.

    I also think it looks to regular, too frequent. Ultimately, I think he is taking paleo ideas and mixing it with the idea of diet/deprivation/punishment.

    My prescirption: Work out less, more variety, more intensity, less regularity. Eat more, not so regularly, more variety, go hungry sometimes, enjoy eating.

    P.S.- for the love of god I can't figure out how anyone can eat chicken breast!

  14. Rob on June 10, 2009 at 20:28

    I'd think the blood sugar/insulin spike and crash from taking in carbs when you've been mostly paleo could easily lead to irritability issues.

  15. minneapolis J on June 10, 2009 at 20:55

    dude, yes when you eat natural unprocessed food and then go to eating wheat based(and even processed carbs) you have a tendency to be unnaturally full because you are used to eating food that doesnt give you that feeling.

    however, you are assigning emotion, which is subjective, to something you eat. don't say I am "off base" when you dont have clear evidence that this crash is for sure related to wheat.

    paleo is better for sure…but you need more evidence that nonpaleo food does this exactly.

  16. Patrik on June 10, 2009 at 21:07

    I disagree. It is not mental.

    I too notice massive differences in my overall mood when I eat grains and when I don't.

    To wit, I fight less with my wife when I eat Paleo.


    You, like me, might be very sensitive to grains and/or gluten. Stay away from 'em. Some people can handle them fine, some, like me benefit tremendously from abstaining.

  17. Patrik on June 10, 2009 at 21:19


    Try the following: Temporarily drop the Vitamin D and K2 for a few weeks and see what happens.

    I too have been supplementing with those as well and while gaining muscle, was also gaining a bit fat.

    I was a bit perplexed. I accidentally came across this article:
    "“If you exercise to promote health, you shouldn’t take large amounts of antioxidants,” Dr. Ristow said. A second message of the study, he said, “is that antioxidants in general cause certain effects that inhibit otherwise positive effects of exercise, dieting and other interventions.” The findings appear in this week’s issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

    While skeptical, the article piqued my curiosity and I dropped my supplementation completely. Lo and behold, I am a few pounds lighter.

    Am I convinced that the vitamins were the cause of the weight gain?


    Could they have been?


    Could this be simply coincidence and/or post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy?


    Is it worth dropping supplementation for a few weeks to see if it has an effect on weight?


    If you try it, please report back and let us know. I, for one, would be fascinated.

  18. minneapolis J on June 10, 2009 at 22:18


    hey man I am really sorry if I annoyed you. Since you and Patrik are both saying it, maybe it is a real response to wheat….that I might have not clearly understood. when i said "assign motion" i associated mood(which are emotional feelings) towards a food.

    Regardless, if you think its legitimate, then it is something to consider for certain people who have this kind of trouble

    i hope there are no hard feelings…since we are both trying to improve quality of life with this diet.

    David, I might need your help in one area that I have conflict in my diet. what is your opinion on fruit carbs? what is your opinion on large amounts of macadmias/nuts? are they somethign to avoid or should they be a staple source?

  19. Peter on June 11, 2009 at 05:35

    Q3 Tom:
    TSH levels don't help much when assessing thyroid function. Getting the thyroid and adrenals working normally is critical to good health. Check out the STTM and Dr Lowe's websites to learn how to do it right.

    Good luck!

  20. Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2009 at 15:37


    Thanks, and it reminds me that I need to get back to you on that email, which I will do.

    A bit swamped…

  21. David on June 11, 2009 at 05:57


    There is a huge difference between feelings towards something and it doing something to you. I used to LIKE wheat. Now that I have observed poorly controlled emotioanl states in isolation and been able to correlate them with incidents of eating wheat I no longer do. Read Daniel's response. This is real. You just may be lucky enough that you haven't seen it. My wife has felt the same thing.

    And yeah, you did annoy me. Assigning guilt to people is something that is easy to do and is almost always wrong. Not answering a clear question annoys me, especially when the guy is reaching out for help.

    No, no hard feelings. I came out hard, but I feel strongly about some things, and laying a guilt trip on the guy is one of them. For sure, we both are trying to improve quality of life, and for that I appreciate your presence here.

    You ask my opinion on fruit carbs. I can't really comment. Like you I am learning and this is an area where I am trying to soak in knowledge. I like berries and eat a fair amount of blueberries and blackberries. I go through spates of eating bananas – I want the potassium but know this is also a very sweet fruit. It is a topic that confuses me a bit as some experts push them, others minimize them. There's also a huge difference in different kinds of fruits in part because of the phytonutrients.

    As for macadamias and other nuts, I am even less knowledgeable. Some people say you need to eat them raw to ensure the oils are whole, others say you need to roast them to destroy the lectins. Which is it? I wish I knew. I tend to eat cashews now and then (raw and roasted) and eat about a dozen raw almonds most days. I hardly ever eat macadamias, and almost never eat walnuts (I just don't like them). This is another thing I want to learn more about. There is no balance in what I read about the nutritional value of nuts versus their non-healthful aspects.

    I doubt this helps, but I thought I'd share my current state of knowledge and the questions I have,


  22. Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2009 at 16:44

    Let me put up Mark's regimen:


    exercise 3 days a week

    5 sets for time
    15 push ups
    50 jump ropes
    5 pill ups
    20 pound medicine ball toss 10 reps
    kettle ball swing 10 reps
    kettle ball press each arm 10 reps

    other four days a week
    walk 3-5 miles with 20 pound back pack

    100 yd sprints 2 days per week


    3 eggs
    1/2 cup blackberries
    1/2 avocado

    1 chicken breast

    Steak ribeye or filet

    macadamia nuts or almonds 1/2 cup

    6-8 water per day
    8,000 iu vitamin d
    2 tbsp coconut oil daily

    2 glasses red wine per week


    Maybe the macadamias?

  23. Anand Srivastava on June 11, 2009 at 02:49

    Vitamin D sometimes sends a signal to body to store fat. Normally storing should be triggered with less Vitamin D. But why this response on more vitamin D, is not clear.

    I hope he is not getting a lot of vitamin D from the sun, because 8000IU is near the limit of how much you should have.

    It would still be good to try to reduce the D and maybe also experiment with K2.

    Could it be that he had too little fat previously ;-).

  24. Daniel on June 11, 2009 at 03:03

    Q1 Joe: I too experience these kinds of violent mood disturbances. For little over 2 years I would shovel 6 "healthy" wheat-biscuits for breakfast, 5 "healthy" wholegrain sandwiches for lunch and probably pasta for dinner. I'm a classic ectomorph and did not put on any noticeable fat, but the belly fat was definitely there.

    Every night I would come home confused, foggy-headed and extremely pissed off for no good reason. I would literally be throwing furniture one minute and crying the next. I don't take drugs, drink alcohol or do anything that would "normally" contribute to mood swings, yet the evidence was clearly there.

    I just couldn't come to grips with it. I was only 22 but felt like I had dementia 90% of the time. I would snap so viscously at my partner that she thought I was taking drugs. The truth may not be so far off (gluten binds to opiate receptors).
    The only thing which made the symptoms subside was either more bread, more pasta or more "healthy" wheat-biscuits with milk.

    My seemingly endless struggle eventually led me to discovering the paleo diet. What a God-send.

    I've tried incorporating grains several times since then, only to experience a near replica of my daily mood swings. Mr Hyde makes a return until I cut out grains completely.

    Giving up grains was difficult at first but quite necessary. Most of the time it was finding foods that did not contain this fucked up ingredient. 80% of stuff on the shelves contains it. Fresh food is a must.

    With my history of anger issues, I'd be in jail if it weren't for gluten/grain avoidance. This much I am sure!

    Joe, all I can say is "I've been there", it ain't pretty either. Don't let anyone, especially doctors, tell you it is in your head!

    Keep up the paleo diet and avoid wheat like the dirty filthy drug it is. This stuff truly is an opiate for the masses.

  25. AndrewS on June 11, 2009 at 05:45

    Q1 & Q3: I've had low thyroid and was often very irritable, despite being on synthroid. Some in the hypothyroidism community think that moodiness is a symptom of low adrenal function (ie 'adrenal fatigue', not necessarily Addison's), rather than hypothyroidism itself. Also, Synthroid is a T4 replacement; some people have issues converting T4 to T3, etc, and many patients have reported doing much better on Armour Thyroid than on the synthentic T4.

    Standard hypothryoidism treatment is to look at your TSH only and change Sythroid dosage until TSH is 'normal', and for many doctors that means under 5, or 6, or 7. Many hypo patients report feeling better when they dose to symptoms rather than TSH alone.

    I view the standard hypo treatment the same way I view standard treatment for heart disease, diabetes, or cancer: "throw sugar & flour at the patient until they go away."

    A few months ago, I went off of Synthroid (due to a change of insurance and a hassle with my doctor) AND into more strict paleo dieting, and my mood improved dramatically. My snappy irritability went away. It felt awesome. But I have no idea of the cause because I changed several things at the same time.

    I'm back on Synthroid now, and my mood and willingness to get up in the morning are fluctuating. My diet changes daily — potatoes? bananas? nuts? lunch meat? olives? dairy? magnesium, CoQ10, zinc, B12, VitC, kelp, and other supplements? Hopefully this is something that I'll be able to narrow down in the coming weeks.

    For some info on thyroid disease and non-mainstream treatment for it, check out:
    Note, the site is generally NOT paleo-friendly. The majority of people posting there continue to eat their biscuits & pasta, so you'll have to read between the lines to glean useful info.

    I think the key to health is to take the one data sample that matters: you. We can provide guidelines for things to try, but ultimately you have to find what works for you.

  26. on June 11, 2009 at 14:47

    Maybe he's just not ever getting hungry? Trying some IF might help.

  27. Tomos on June 11, 2009 at 08:03

    What you're saying is that food cannot change mood? There's plenty out there who'd disagree and most of them would have medicine to back it up. Purely from a primal perspective, insulin is a powerful drug and can and does alter mood. If you cut out the carbs your body is going through a type of withdrawal with all it's side effects. It takes time for the body to adapt to what should be it's normal balance. Me, I know if I've had a carb binge as I'm grouchy as hell the next day – it just makes me more inclined to stop doing it – and I know that some of it is because of the excess chemicals and crap that's associated with those carbs.

  28. Adam Cilonis on June 11, 2009 at 08:17

    I'll start by saying that I too have gained 11 (close to 12) pounds in the last 12-14 weeks. All muscle.

    Why are we having a calories in/calories out discussion people??? We know, or should know better than this! We don't count calories. Just ask Gary…

    I think we're on the wrong track with the macadamias/calories (may have something to do with Rick's influence "maybe the macadamias?"). These foods for the most part are going to create the desired HORMONAL responses and making fat shouldn't be one of the results.

    I would like to know Mark's body composition. If he is 5'6"/220 then how would he possibly know that the gain wasn't muscle? It would be buried under the fat. Now if he's 6'5"/220 then it would be more noticeable. If tighter pants are the only indication, then what if it's you're new muscle making you bigger (pushing out the fat layer, i.e. a larger waist, butt, etc.)? 12 pounds is only a 5.4% gain(after an intense workout I will weigh about 3-4 pounds more for a day or so, at 209 that's just under 2% gain, just from working out!!!). I suggest going with measurements and calculating body fat composition for a true picture of progress.

    Bottom line, how do you know it's not muscle? If you really do exercise 6 days a week then you are adding/making muscle…no doubt about it!

  29. David on June 11, 2009 at 15:36

    Meat, veg, fruit, some yogurt. I'm down about 14 pounds and running most days. That's in part due to certain supplements. My objective is to get back down to the weight I was in my best army days, so I've got another 15 pounds to go. It is amazing how fast thirty pounds sticks to you, and you don't even notice it.

    I don't know what % my body fat is. I just want rid of anything abdominal and to have low BP.

    Any further hints about BP from anyone are welcome,


  30. TOM on June 11, 2009 at 08:46

    Peter & Andrew, thanks for your thoughts on low thyroid!
    I'll check out the resources you both mentioned. I've wondered about the connection between the thyroid and the adrenals, too. Speaking of the mood swing discussion, when I drink too much coffee, my mood swings drastically. I've heard that caffeine is a stressor on the adrenals. Been trying to limit myself to one cup of joe in the morning.

  31. Cord on June 11, 2009 at 08:50

    Q1: Absolutely. I am a much, much nicer person when I stay out of the grains and sugars. Especially wheat: that makes me really cranky.

    Q2: I am totally unqualified, so don't take my comments for gospel. Looking at that and the exercise routine, if that were my regimen, it would be 1)Too much exercise, 2)Not enough fat in the diet, and 3)Too high in salicylates. Not everyone has a problem with salicylates, but the berries, almonds, red wine, and coconut oil all contain high amounts (this could also relate to the article on antioxidants above, which I found fascinating– things high in salicylate are generally the big antioxidant foods), and if I were eating them, they would sabotage my weight loss by causing sudden episodes of hypoglycemia. If Marc has ever had negative reactions to taking aspirin or eating tomato sauce, he may want to look into reducing his salicylate intake.

  32. David on June 11, 2009 at 15:50

    Sorry, this reply SHOULD have gone to Minneapolis. I guess I'm not driving this right,

  33. Kristine on June 11, 2009 at 09:11

    For Joe: I've only recently experimented with going gluten-free, but I'm being forced to admit that I'm in the same boat as Daniel. I've had bad anxiety and depression off and on since I was a teen. Going low-carb seemed to take care of it for the most part, but I think gluten is affecting me, too. After several shots at eating gluten again – not even high-carb, just luncheon meats, gluten flour and some LC beer instead of the ol' rum n' diet coke – I've been extremely agitated and upset for days… over absolutely nothing. I couldn't cope with even the simplest things. My life is pretty low-stress, and this was completely out-of-character for me.

    After ditching the gluten again this most recent time, after a few days, it was like I woke up from a bad dream.

    So yes, I believe certain foods can have a profound affect on not just mood, but brain function overall. I wish there was better science about it, but who's going to finance research that won't result in a new pill?

  34. Todd on June 11, 2009 at 11:52

    You nailed it Tomos. It's the glucose/insulin spike and crash.

  35. minneaplis J on June 11, 2009 at 12:53

    yea, I think I misunderstood it. moral of the story: foods that cause these insulin problems are best to be avoided.

    I beleive Devany called insulin the aging hormone….causes fat oxiditative stress.

    grains seem like they are much worse than we ever thought.

  36. minneapolis J on June 11, 2009 at 13:03

    David, I think the problem was that i assumed you were experiencing something and dismissed it when I didn't really know what you meant.
    I am unqualified to really deny what you felt as real. I see many others feeling this same thing so sorry again.

    if there has been one thing that has somewhat impeded my results on this paleo diet it has been macadamia/other nuts. I jumped all the way down to 7% body fat but now I seem to climb up to 10-11% and can't seem to climb down. I want to get into magazine cover shape, haha.

    I feel like if I severely cut down the nuts and fruit, I am left eating mostly meat and vegetables…I feel that would get quite expensive to cut down so much(and quite boring).

    What kind of results have you had with the paleo diet? What sort of things make up the staple?

  37. Jessica on June 12, 2009 at 10:20

    I have a friend with a little boy who has a life-threatening peanut allergy, and she has mentioned on several occasions that food allergies can play havoc with the emotions.

    In children, food allergies are said to contribute to severe mood swings and to worsen and significantly prolong tantrums. When the offending food is removed, the tantrums and mood swings abate.

    Perhaps it isn’t the food allergy, but some other factor, and it’s just that parents of children with food allergies are more perceptive of the direct effects that foods have on their children’s behavior, because they have to pay such close attention to everything their children eat and touch.

    I’ll have to ask her for some scientific resources that back this up – a quick Google search came up with a lot of “crunchy” links to alternative medicine sites.

  38. Bryan on June 12, 2009 at 19:13

    People are talking about calories in and calories out because it matters.

    If the questioner is eating 4000 calories per day and his basal metabolic rate plus activity levels amount to 3000 calories per day, 1000 calories have to go somewhere. They will be stored as fat and muscle.

    Since nobody, even those on steroids, can consistently pack away 100% of their excess calories into muscle, a person with a caloric surplus will gain fat.

    If the questioners goal is to lose weight, he should reduce his caloric intake to below maintenance calories. Creating the caloric deficit will mean that his body will be forced to use stored calories as energy.

    There is no question the Paleo Diet is healthy. However, there's also no question about energy not being able to be created or destroyed. I follow both rules; they are not mutually exclusive. And in fact, before the Paleo Diet, I bodybuilded very well, and lost weight very well, eating non-Paleo. That's because I reduced my calories and increased protein. It wasn't as healthy as the Paleo diet, but it still met the requirement for burning calories from one's own body: a net caloric deficit.

  39. Richard Nikoley on June 13, 2009 at 11:12

    My approach has always been to eat my fill when hungry, provided I'm not fasting.

    Over the last year and a half I've been pretty clean eating, I'm pretty sure my total caloric consumption has gone down.

    Is is about calories, or composition? I think it's a lot about comp and a little about calories.

  40. Richard Nikoley on June 13, 2009 at 11:14

    if I recall correctly, I was 230 when I commenced all this and briefly got up to about 238 upon initiating my two heavy 30-minute weight sessions per week. Not sure how long it took to get back down and then below (now at about 183ish).

    This was two years ago, which I think demonstrates that patience is key.

  41. Richard Nikoley on June 13, 2009 at 11:18


    I must say that this is poignant.

    I would never have been able to write down a weight routine, nor a meal plan.
    I just eat real food to my fill, I go hungry a couple of times per week, and I hit the weights hard twice per week, but never in any routine.

    And it has been fun. It's a way of life to me, not a formula.

  42. Richard Nikoley on June 13, 2009 at 11:30


    Not having read the whole thing, which I will do (I'm at a party).

    How sure are you that excess PALEO cals are stored as fat?

    How do you know they don't go out the poop shoot, get accounted for in a few hundred or thousand extra heartbeats per day, get sweated out through a slightly higher bod temp (coconut oil makes me run hot, for example), or any myriad other combo of bio processes?

    Sure, there is some point where too few calories, no matter macro comp, will key release of fat, as well as the converse. But between those two extremes, different for any individual, there is going to be great variation in how calories get handled, both owing to macro comp and individual variation.

    Have you read this post, and particularly the stuff about energy balance?

  43. water on June 21, 2009 at 14:00

    Clever, to test gluten-free carbs against the wheat.

    Plenty of people with gluten intolerance report mood disturbances with gluten exposure. Some of these don't have any GI symptoms at all.

    It is great that the Paleo/primal diet is so popular, but some of these people should be gluten FREE, not just grain free. ie not in supplements and no cross-contamination during food prep.

    This sort of symptom (mood changes after eating gluten) could indicate the need for further testing.

    If there are any autoimmune issues in your family tree, consider formal testing for celiac; otherwise, perhaps just the tests at Enterolab.

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