Nutritarian Fail

For 3 days I tried eating a ton of fruits and vegetables.  Some raw, some cooked, some lean meat added when I felt hungry.  No dairy.  No starches, except bananas. No juice. No added fats.

The good news: My heartburn went away and my digestion felt great – no bloating, no gas.  Makes me wonder if it was milk causing the bloating.

The bad news:  I’m back to being depressed, for the first time in about 2 months. Heart racing from lack of sugar, despite eating a quarter of a large watermelon, 6 ripe bananas, and 2 pounds of grapes in the last few days.  My heart rate has been dropping since I ate ice cream tonight.  A reminder that sugar (fruit) with no fat = bad blood sugar control…for me, at least. I feel angry and hate everyone again. High serotonin from all the fiber, I guess.  Also, I noticed my weird neurological tic came back again yesterday, just like it did last time I tried eating a primarily plant-based diet.  Maybe that’s how long it took for some nutrient to run out.  Who knows.

Goddamn it.  Ray Peat…right again.

Edited to add:  More bad stuff – I was hungry for all 3 days despite eating POUNDS of vegetables and fruit every day, and I none of it – except for the watermelon – was palatable for me.  These are not deal breakers.  At this point I’ll be hungry and hate eating if I can be healthy.  But not if I have to feel like this.  I’m really hurting today.

19 thoughts on “Nutritarian Fail

  1. Except for some withdrawal symptoms (both physical and emotional) that are most likely temporary, it seems like you are doing really well physically on the new diet. You could just add back a little bit of dairy in the form of goat milk rather than give up on it – and even if you do give up, it would make sense to only add back other foods one at a time and gradually, so that you can keep track of what things might cause negative reactions when you add them back. Dairy has a calming effect (due to the calcium and the tryptophan), so your inter-related emotional and neurological symptoms (basically increased anxiety manifesting itself as anger, depression, and the neurological tic) can likely be addressed just by adding back a little bit of goat milk, but those effects would probably go away on their own if you gave them a chance, they are basically withdrawal effects, and may be partly a result of blood sugar control issues, but you are not going to get your blood sugar issues under control by going back to your old ways…if you have blood sugar issues, it would make sense to address them head-on rather than just eating a bunch of sugary or starchy foods all the time…the increased health and metabolic flexibility that you’ll gain will make the transition period worth it in the long run.

    Transitioning to a healthy diet takes time, and it is natural to experience some withdrawal symptoms and hardships during the transition, but once you transition and are on a healthy diet, you should feel great all of the time or most of the time, and you should be able to go without food easily for many hours without experiencing any anger, headaches, or other negative reactions except for normal, healthy hunger – and you’ll have no need for ice cream, although a little bit of ice cream once in a while should not be enough to throw you completely off track. Keep in mind that there are no health practitioners who recommend adding ice cream to one’s diet as a means of improving one’s health (except for one obscure physiologist with a blog and a small following who thinks ice cream is healthy, but he’s an academic who doesn’t have, and never has never had a health practice in which he sees patients, although he does have interesting ideas, some of which are valid and some of which are not helpful to certain people depending on their condition, such as people with symptoms of leptin resistance, insulin resistance, or blood sugar issues). You might get some temporary relief from eating a little ice cream, but I hope you’ll keep it to a small amount and take steps to eliminate addictive food tendencies and strengthen your metabolic flexibility (even though that might mean not feeling great all the time for a while as your body adapts to a healthier diet). Of course, this is just my viewpoint (but most naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, and health coaches would probably agree).

  2. Pretty sure you know what happened. Healthy person eats vegetables eliminates estrogen and toxins feels better. Through your inflamed gut the same fiber acts like a wire brush raising your serotonin. You are ignoring your labs.

  3. Hey Martin – First off, thank you for taking the time to help.

    Now to address your points:

    I don’t think I’m doing really well physically – I feel terrible. Depression makes life suck, and I’ve tried to ride it out before. It doesn’t end, unless I remove the thing causing it. Last time it was starches. This time it seems to be fibrous vegetables.

    This isn’t anxiety. I know anxiety. I’ve lived it and I deal with it in others professionally. Anxiety is worry, perseveration, and fear. This is depression caused by eating stuff that irritates my gut.

    I ate the ice cream to get some sugar and fat back into my system, and felt much better as a result. It happened to be in the house because of a birthday and it’s not an every day thing.

    I’ll find what works for me. This wasn’t it.

  4. I would have to ignore some of my labs to stick to a Peat inspired diet, N2P – like my entire lipid panel. It’s made those labs much worse. How am I supposed to know which ones to ignore and which ones are important? I’m just trying to feel better and fit into my clothes again. I’m having some unpleasant side effects from being fat – too personal to mention here – and need to lose weight. Only a fool continues what doesn’t appear to be working. I’ve continued it for almost a year.

  5. High LDL is worrisome. Also means your liver is not taking cholesterol from LDL and pushing it forward to pregnenolone. That responds well to thyroid. LDL will fall as you ramp up thyroid. High estrogen would be bad. I don’t recall yours ATM. High serotonin would do everything you are fighting. Inflammation high blood pressure etc. Wish I knew the combo of food and probiotic to lower it but it’s something you can apply your research towards. Try some of the ideas on animalpharm or something. One at a time. Or give it a break without fiber for a few days and maybe some cypro or something and then slowly add fiber back. Some people on the forum have been trying activated charcoal. Maybe look up the results or PM them?

  6. Definitely seen a lot of people come of diabetes and blood pressure meds after losing weight. That’s something you really need. Been reading that endotoxins can hitch a ride along with fats and so I think a lower fat and using coconut oil as main fat will be helpful.

  7. I don’t feel better with thyroid, and it gives me insomnia.

    Animalpharm and the starchy people have made me feel terrible in the past. I’m done with them.

    I have been trying activated charcoal. I might continue.

    I don’t have any cypro. Don’t know where to get it either.

    I will for now go back to an easily digestible, lower fat diet.

  8. You wrote that “My heartburn went away and my digestion felt great – no bloating, no gas,” and you said you “wonder if it was milk causing the bloating,” implying that you had bloating before and that your physical condition was improving as expected. Since you had bloating and weight gain previously, any type of a cleansing diet or fast would cause a temporary increase in endotoxins resulting from the die-off of excess bacteria, fungi / candida, and other micro-organisms in your body. This is normal. Most people who go on a fast or a highly cleansing diet experience this – including the resulting symptoms of depression, anger, and often also nervous system symptoms (such as what you described) – and then the symptoms go away over time. These symptoms can also be thought of as withdrawal symptoms from reducing your intake of sugar and protein.

    It is as though you were on a fast, albeit a partial fast. This weeklong experience was good for your health and you will feel better once you start to add back some more healthy fats and healthy proteins, although your body is clearly not done detoxing yet, so you might have to suffer some more detox symptoms again in the future, especially if you want to lose weight and improve your overall health. If you lose the weight gradually, the symptoms may be smaller (but more prolonged).

    As “newtopaleo” wrote below, “endotoxins can hitch a ride along with fats,” so it is inevitable that your body will release them as you lose fat – plus more endotoxins will get created as a result of micro-organism die-off in the body, so you’ll have to deal with those as well. Of course, when this is all done and you are at a healthy weight and eating a healthy diet based on whole foods, primarily unprocessed foods, with a decent percentage of organic foods (that are mostly grass-fed / pastured in the case of animal foods), then you will feel great. In the meantime, it will be very tempting to conclude that eating a healthier diet, detoxifying your body, losing weight, etc, “isn’t working” for you, and very tempting to eat “comfort foods” that make you feel better temporarily at the expense of your long-term health; most people are constantly engaging in such emotional eating and suffering the consequences over time. The more you avoid indulging in processed foods (including ice cream), and the more you stick to healthy, nutrient-dense foods, the faster you’ll get well. Doing periodic fasts (or partial fasts like you just did) can accelerate your progress, but of course you’ll have to be willing to suffer the symptoms during that time, recognizing that they are part of the process and a sign things are working as they should.

    Regarding the neurological “tics”, it is highly unlikely that anything you were eating over the past week actually caused them; it is far more likely that they were triggered by some combination of withdrawal symptoms (from sugar and protein), endotoxin release from micro-organism die-off, and endotoxin release from fat cells or other bodily tissues (ie, a release of stored toxins as your body was cleansing). This can’t be blamed on eating a healthier diet; it is a result of the condition your body was in, and eating a healthier diet should improve it. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should try to live on just fruits and vegetables either, you need healthy fats and healthy proteins too, naturally, and your diet over the past week was probably good as a cleanse (and did get rid of your bloating) but probably did not provide enough of these healthy fats and proteins.

  9. “fiber acts like a wire brush raising your serotonin”, but bloating went down as a result of this temporary experimental diet, so fiber was just doing its job, helping pushing out stuff that wasn’t supposed to be there…in the process, inevitably stuff may have gotten stirred up a bit in the gut and some things may have ended up in the bloodstream that may have caused some negative symptoms temporarily but sometimes that’s unavoidable as part of the healing process. I agree that losing weight and using coconut oil should both be helpful as you continue this process.

  10. It’s possible this is a “detox” response. It’s also possible Ray Peat is right and that fibrous materials should be avoided while in a craptastic state of health. Last time I felt this way it didn’t just go away. I endured about a month of debilitating depression that left me unable to fulfill my roles as a mother, in my job, or with my family. Regardless of what you want to call it, I can’t endure that again. I’m putting a stop to this now. I do appreciate you taking the time to share your wisdom.

  11. Bloating went down, yes…but simply avoiding milk right now seems to be preventing the bloating altogether. I’m not giving the fiber the credit for this one.

  12. Well if avoiding dairy helps, then it’s great that you figured that out, so congratulations! It sounds like your gravitating towards a more paleo approach then, or perhaps paleo modified in a slightly Peaty direction (ie, maybe higher in carbs – from fruit – than most paleo eaters, and hence a bit lower in fat, and perhaps with more oysters and less fish than most paleo eaters, but avoiding dairy & grains and keeping other starchy foods very low just like paleo does)? That sounds like a good plan (if that’s your plan), good luck with it and I look forward to reading you updates!

  13. Not paleo. I’m not eating fibrous veggies, nuts or seeds. I am eating orange juice, dairy (lots), and sugar. I’m still a Peat-head.

  14. Hi. I’ve been reading your blog for awhile. Though my symptoms aren’t exactly the same there is a lot of similarity. And our approach is very similar. The approach being bounce all over the place trying one thing after another after another, thinking this is causing it, no this, no this, starting this, then stopping, then starting, no it must be that…..and so on. I too have come to really think that Ray Peat is the closest to making sense to anything I have found. But of course his program is tough, and can be misinterpreted, and there is a lot of room for error. And there isn’t much very directly spelled out. I finally stumbled upon this program- (Hypothyroidism Revolution) . It was a little expensive, but I got it anyway. I believe it had a 30 day money back guarantee. I admit I was planning to get my money back. But I read through everything. I never did. And I believe in it so much that yes, I even did sign up as an affiliate for the program. Far from my intentions when I first got it.

    It is very “Peat” like. Almost exactly, but it is very well spelled out. I began following it, as closely as I could, as much as I could. And the changes began. I still have some issues, and have to rein it back in as I get off track, but I believe it has helped me immensely. I’m not taking a zillion supplements. Only the Progest-e and some natural thyroid. There are some others they go over, but I decided to start with just those two. I’m not starting and stopping a zillion things. I’m just trying to stay as close to on track as I can. And slowly the changes have been revealing. It is a new way of life, and I like it.

    I just thought I would share. Thought maybe, just maybe you might want to check it out.

  15. DK – It looks interesting, though it’s hard to find an unbiased review anywhere. Can you say anything at all about what you liked about this program? I’m interested but it’s a bit expensive to just dive into without knowing more. I gather he’s using Peat’s ideas and organizing them into an easy to follow plan. Does that sum it up?

  16. Yes, I would say that it is a lot of Ray Peat’s ideas organized into an easy to follow plan. Part of the trouble with Ray Peat is if I look long enough I do find where he sometimes says different things. (I suspect because things are taken out of context or we don’t have the full question when we see an answer.) I would be happy to have further conversation with you about the program if you wish to contact me via PM somehow. I just reviewed this offer for this program again, and it has a 60 day money back guarantee. I have bought programs like these before only to find that it was 5 pages of regurgitated stuff I found for free on the internet. And I’ve gone right back and said I’d like my money back. I bought this program thinking it would be the same, and had fully intended to get my money back. What I found instead was a very reasonably laid out program that made sense, was based in much of the research I had already come to understand. I decided to follow it. I felt like I had good results, really liked the way the program spelled things out, and felt like it was well worth the money, so I never asked for my money back. Maybe you will look at it and think you already know all of it, I don’t know. As far as him crediting Ray Peat, he does mention him in the book somewhere- as he does Broda Barnes and some others. I feel he put this program together after going to a journey similar to yours and mine, and though it feels very Ray Peat based, he probably has taken things from all over including his own experience. I found relief in finding something that had all of the aspects of research I had done, put together in a format that I could commit to following. I worked very hard at following it and not bouncing all around as I had done in the past. The results have been worth it for me.

  17. DK – I went ahead and took the plunge. 🙂 It’s a very Peat-ish program. I wish he’d acknowledge where he got this information – and in fact I think he’d sell more of his program if he did – but the program is definitely worth the money. It’s well organized, clear, a great place to start for someone who has never been exposed to Peat, or for someone who has and is just disorganized (like me). Thank you for this recommendation! I plan on using it and reviewing it at some point on here.

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