Episode 93: The More You Unknow

On this week’s show: the significance of the unknown; cost differences between healthy and unhealthy diets; healthy obesity; vitamin D supplementation may be ineffective; humans are becoming more carnivorous; the science of ancestral memories. In the Moment of Paleo: psychological priming. After the Bell it’s Joel Salatin, followed by Alan Watts.

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Episode 395 – Robb and Nicki Q&A #4

Sleepcocktails_banner_728x90_LeftWe’re back with Q&A #4 with Robb and Nicki for Episode 395 of the podcast. Enjoy!

And don’t forget to submit your own questions for the podcast here: https://robbwolf.com/contact/submit-a-question-for-the-podcast/

Show Notes

1. (4:07) What do you eat?
Mads says:
Hey Robb (and Nicki)

You have written comprehensively about what types of food to eat and what to avoid. You have also written a fantastic post and guide about “feeding kids paleo”. I was wondering (as i am sure many others do as well) what do YOU eat? What are some staple meals? What are you go to breakfast, lunch and snack? Can you give an example of what you eat on a typical week? I think it would be interesting for folks to hear.

Hope to hear from you either directly or even better on the podcast in Q&A!

Best regards
Mads from Denmark

2. (11:02) Keto counting

Kristie says:

Hey, Rob,

I’ve been following your stuff for ages. I’ve got both of your books. I worked out with a personal trainer who turned me on to Paleo and you nearly 10 years ago. I lost 145 pounds and have mostly kept it off. Every now and then I get into the almond flour baked goods and fruit and put on a few pounds. Then I regain my sanity and desire to feel great and I make better choices and drop the weight.

I’ve been considering Keto for a while just to see if I can drop a little more of the weight and feel even better. But here’s my hesitation, and it’s going to sound like an excuse, because it is. BUT I spent a whole lot of my life counting calories, counting fat grams, counting carbs….counting, counting, counting and being hungry. And I think the reason Paleo has worked so well for me is that I eat healthy, delicious food. When I am in the zone and not eating treats (which I always make myself) and I eat slowly and mindfully, I do really well. I have tons of energy and, although I could lose more weight for sure, I’m ok where I am weight-wise. I worry that Keto will put me back in that headspace of counting and worrying and making myself crazy over choices.

If anybody is going to help me over that, it’s you, though! So maybe I should just take the plunge into your Masterclass?


3. (17:18) What is considered health on the low end of the glucose spectrum when in ketosis?
Rob says:
(Side note: Robb hinted at this a bit for a question on Episode 389.)

Of course there is variability and nuance, but what is considered to be the low end of a glucose level during ketosis; i.e., at what level do you start calling it a level of hypoglycemia to be possibly concerned about?


I just completed Dr. Mark Hyman’s 10 Day Detox. I lost 11 lbs. (after was 176 lbs., still about 6 lbs. or so over my ideal), lost 1.75/1.5/1″ off waist/hips/thigh, blood pressure down 22/20 (and pulse 8 lower) to close to normal.

I wasn’t aiming for ketosis by doing this diet, but I believe I got into ketosis periodically.

My question is if a fasted glucose level of 57 mg/dL (ketones: 2.4 at the same time) is not uncommon, or if that seems really low. I think I had heard of some people’s glucose going *up* when in ketosis. I felt great through the entire diet, and have not had blood sugar problems (my fasted levels have been just fine, when testing before and after the diet).

I’m *not* asking for any kind of medical advise, just if that level of 57 seems a bit low *in general*, given a ketone level of 2.4 at the same time.

December 2017 at my annual checkup:

Fasted glucose: 86 mg/dL

Late March 2018

Self testing using a new Precision Xtra NFR blood glucose and ketone monitoring system (one recommended by Robb Wolf, I’m pretty sure).

Morning of day 1 of Mark Hyman’s 10 Day Detox diet:

Fasted glucose: 71 mg/dL
Ketones: 0.9

Morning of day after (last) day 10 of Mark Hyman’s 10 Day Detox diet, about 14 hours after last eating/drinking:

Fasted glucose: 57 mg/dL (day prior: 60)
Ketones: 2.4 (day prior: 2.1)

Two hours after a lunch with gluten and dairy:

Glucose: 92 mg/dL
Ketones: 0.7

Note that all the lab reports (I have them from my adult life; I’m 60 years old) have had normal/ healthy glucose levels.

The last time my Hemoglobin A1C was measured, was about 15 months ago: 5.3%

4. (21:41) electrolytes
Zsuzsi says:

Thank you for your explanation about the importance of electrolytes. The 3 out of 9 rules really cemented the concept for me and I’m sipping away for the first time in my life.
I would be interested to know how this ties in with the ancestral health concept? It’s not like anyone was weighing in magnesium salts or scooping up potash into their tea. Were they?

Thanks very much for your response in advance.


Elizabeth says:
Hello Robb,

Your name was recently added to the “Take Back Your Health” seminar that takes place in Pasadena, CA in May, I will be there so this is how I came to know about you.  I’m hoping that due to your experience with power lifting you may help with my questions.
My seventeen year old son started bodybuilding about 10 months ago.  In a short time he has transformed his body  and gained about 35 lbs.  He is very muscular now, works out about 3 hours a day and is eating an enormous amount of food.  He looks healthy and sleeps well.   My husband and I don’t know if this is healthy at this age.
Can you please comment on this?
With much appreciation,

6. (28:38) does my genetics mean I can’t buy a smoker???
Terrence says:
Robb and Nicki! Loving the Q&A pods as well as the interview ones. You guys have been nailing it lately.

So summer’s around the corner and I’m looking at some beautiful electric smokers on the market. My dilemma is that I’ve got that pesky NAT2 polymorphism which says I’m a slow metaboliser of heterocycloamines and therefore I will die a slow torturous death if my meat is placed within spitting distance of a hot coal. I know that a lot of these smokers can be set to pretty low temperatures like 150-200F to do a “low and slow” but was wondering if the presence of smoke and/or heating for such a long period of time produces more or less HCA in the meat as opposed to when I’m oven cooking a roast or even gently reverse searing a juicy rib-eye.

Please tell me I can eat delicious things without my colon exploding through my anus and nostrils simultaneously! Thank you!




Keto Masterclass

The keto diet is one of the most effective ways to shed fat and improve your health. Keto Masterclass helps you start keto right, step-by-step, so that you can be successful long-term.

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Wired-to-Eat-RenderDon’t forget, Wired to Eat is now available!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks

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Every Dollar Matters: What Does A Paleo-Minded Consumer Look Like?

Money talks. And every time you spend your money, you influence the conversation. At the end of the day, each dollar we inject into the marketplace is a vote for the kind of world we want to live in. So what does it mean to be a “Paleo-minded consumer”? By now, most people know that the Paleo lifestyle involves far more than just food and exercise. It’s an entire way of life that is intentional: intentional about healing our bodies, our communities, and our planet, and intentional about understanding our personal power within the socioeconomic system.1 As more of us embrace this way of being, I hope we can have more open conversations about how to exist in our modern marketplace while keeping our values intact. This is important, because there is still a lot of misinformation out there.

Say you’re shopping for food at your local grocery store. You want to buy some chicken thighs for your dinner this evening, and you’re met with a handful of choices. Now, any and all plain chicken thighs would be considered “Paleo” by nearly every nutritional authority out there; after all, they’re just meat—no sketchy seasonings, canola oil, or gluten in sight. You could pick any option and technically be eating Paleo, but this is too myopic a decision-making strategy. Consider the sourcing of the chicken, how the animals were treated, and whether the product is certified organic/gluten-free/etc . . . and in the end, the best choice stands out. You go with the chicken thighs that hail from a local, family-run farm, where the animals roam free and never receive heavy medications or industrial feed. Any of the chicken thighs you see would taste great in tonight’s recipe, but only this one product is a cut above the rest when it comes to the variety of factors that any savvy Paleo shopper should consider.

Always selecting the cleanest food possible may sound like a daunting task, and sometimes it is. Yet, as you begin to consider the economics of living Paleo, you’ll realize that food shopping is only one piece of the grain-free pie. It’s important to not get overly focused on one area and forget about the rest. Instead, take a wide-angle view on your entire life, watching where your money goes in all areas. When you think back to the ways our ancestors lived, you see that their communities thrived when they invested in each other.2 They weren’t giving their resources to huge multinational corporations that polluted their lands, poisoned their children, and put their neighbors out of business. They had a network of people they could count on for their food, medicine, clothing, and household goods. They knew where their money went, and that it was used to support the livelihoods of their friends and family members. And this type of economic structure existed until relatively recently.

It’s not realistic to yearn for the old days of the tribe-based marketplace, and understandably so. Our world has become a giant web of goods and services, with currencies flowing across borders in milliseconds, and with an abundance of retailers popping up on every corner. We can buy just about anything we want with the click of a button, without ever leaving our couches.3 Large, industrial operations greatly outnumber the small, family-owned outfits. But all is not lost. We, the consumers, still have power to influence our economy. So how can we make it more Paleo-friendly? What does it mean to shop with a Paleo perspective?

When I think of the ideal Paleo consumer, a few key traits stand out:

1. They’re Honest About Their Needs

Out of all the Rs of conservation, reduce is one of the most important. A true Paleo consumer recognizes life’s actual necessities and avoids consumerism for its own sake.4 Because even the most conscious purchase still involves energy and resources, avoiding overbuying is a foundational habit for any ethically-minded human.5 There are plenty of things that we can do without, or find through non-traditional routes.

2. They Reuse, Salvage, and DIY

While the era of convenience has its upsides, the abundance of cheap, easily accessible goods has made us less resourceful, less creative, and less patient overall. Instead of tossing something out and replacing it with an imported, factory-made version, a Paleo-minded consumer would look for ways to repair or repurpose the item. This not only engages your brain and body, it also prevents unnecessary waste from going into our landfills.6,7

3. They Choose Locally-Made Offerings

The Paleo lifestyle aims to minimize environmental impacts while maximizing economic vitality, and small local businesses give us the best of both worlds. When you buy locally-made goods, you skip the carbon footprint of extensive shipping and manufacturing, while also financially supporting independent artisans, farmers, and practitioners.8 Choosing a small business in your area over a large foreign corporation contributes to a positive economic shift every time you buy.

4. They Give Back

Our world is suffering right now, and living Paleo is one small way we can help address the modern diseases of greed, destruction, and inequality. Purchases made in line with Paleo values are those that support the empowerment of others and the revitalization of our natural landscape.9 Living Paleo also means getting involved in your community, donating your time, talents, or dollars to making the world a better place for everyone.

5. They Get Personal

Most people are drastically disconnected from the sources of their goods, and this results in less satisfaction and engagement with their belongings. When we take the time to learn about how our stuff (food or otherwise) ended up in our hands, we feel more attuned to our place in our economic system. A true Paleo consumer makes an effort to meet their suppliers, whether that’s at a farmer’s market, a craft fair, or even connecting with them online. Knowing the names and faces of the people you support makes a huge difference in how you spend your money.10

6. They Think Big-Picture

Every dollar you spend is broken up and allocated to about a dozen different people. A few cents go to raw materials, a few more to the growing, some to the harvesting, some to the shipping or transportation, a few to advertising or marketing, etc. There is a chain of supply that brings us everything we use, from food to clothing, and Paleo-minded consumers understand the far-reaching implications of their purchases. When you buy something, take a moment to think about how it will affect everyone along the supply chain.11,12

Switching to a grain-free, veggie-heavy diet and dumping the chronic cardio is only part of the Paleo solution. When we acknowledge our power as individuals to shift our economy, we see the importance of putting our Paleo values into action. If you believe in community, in vibrant health, and in reconnecting with what truly matters, it’s time to start spending your money with these things in mind. One dollar at a time, we can change the world.

Tips for Being a Paleo Consumer:

  • To find local, ethically produced foods, shop your seasonal farmers’ markets.
  • Instead of throwing away a used item, think of how you could repurpose or recycle it.
  • For handmade gift ideas, search for small, local artisans on Etsy.
  • Look for an apothecary near you for bulk herbs and natural remedies.
  • Honor your food and the resources it took to make it; reduce your food waste, buy in bulk, and cook larger meals at a time.
  • Ask local ranchers and growers if they offer “open farm days” so you can personally connect with their land and animals.
  • Learn the meanings of certain designations like Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance-Certified, Animal Welfare-Approved, pastured, organic, cruelty-free, and more.


1. Irving S, Harrison R, Rayner M. “Ethical Consumerism–Democracy Through the Wallet.” Journal of Research for Consumers 3.3 (2002): 63-83.

2. Bhalla J. “Paleo-Economics Shaped Our Moralities.” Big Think. 10 March 2018. http://bigthink.com/errors-we-live-by/did-paleo-economics-shape-our-moralities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

3. Pitt LF, Berthon PR, Watson RT, Zinkhan GM. “The Internet and the Birth of Real Consumer Power.” Business Horizons 45.4 (2002): 7-14.

4. Nelson ES. Review of Mindfulness In The Marketplace: A Compassionate Response To Consumerism. Journal of Buddhist Ethics 10 (2003): 66-70.

5. Carrington MJ, Neville BA, Whitwell GJ. “Lost In Translation: Exploring The Ethical Consumer Intention–Behavior Gap.” Journal of Business Research 67.1 (2014): 2759-2767.

6. Harbo S, De Young R, Guckian M. Beyond Green Consumerism: Uncovering The Motivations of Green Citizenship. Michigan Journal of Sustainability 5.1 (2017): 73-94. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/mjs.12333712.0005.105

7. Runco MA. “Creativity And Health.” Creativity Research Journal 3.2 (1990): 81-84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10400419009534338

8. Kilkenny M, Nalbarte L, Besser T. “Reciprocated Community Support and Small Town-Small Business Success.” Entrepreneurship & Regional Development 11.3 (1999): 231-246.

9. Giddings B, Hopwood B, O’Brien G. “Environment, Economy And Society: Fitting Them Together Into Sustainable Development.” Sustainable Development 10.4 (2002): 187-196.

10. Porter ME, Kramer MR. “The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value.” Harvard Business Review 89 (January-February 2011): 2-17.

11. Christopherson S, Michie J, Tyler P. “Regional Resilience: Theoretical And Empirical Perspectives.” Cambridge Journal Of Regions, Economy And Society, 3.1 (2010): 3-10.

12. Barratt M. “Understanding The Meaning Of Collaboration In The Supply Chain.” Supply Chain Management: An International Journal 9.1 (2004): 30-42.

The post Every Dollar Matters: What Does A Paleo-Minded Consumer Look Like? appeared first on Paleo Magazine.

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Episode 94: Those Tricky Bugs

On today’s show: Get to know your gut bacteria. How quickly do gut bacteria respond to your diet? Is “microbiome candy” a good idea for fighting cavities? Will new FDA rules help with antibiotic resistant bacteria? Which are stronger…sugar or fat cravings? Plus a Moment of Paleo segment and After the Bell clips, too.

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Keto and protein: Is it REALLY chocolate cake?

Hey Folks!

Below you will find a video where I look at the topic of how protein affects the state of ketosis. I lean heavily on this paper:


1-If you are eating a low protein ketogenic diet and getting the results you WANT (cognitive enhancement, improved neurological symptoms, fat loss, performance) good for you, keep doing what you are doing.

2-If you are one of the many people following a low protein keto approach and are gaining weight, losing muscle mass and not feeling great, please check out this video and do something crazy: follow the recommendations for 30 days.

3-As effective and awesome as a ketogenic diet can be some folks are so bastardizing the science that the protein levels of many recommendations are on par with the 30 Bananas A Day approach recommended by the lunatic fringe of Raw Vegans. Really.

I do the best I can to stay professional in this video but kinda lose it a few times. Sorry!

ALSO! If you want a cliff-notes style take-away from the video, here you go.

AND…if you want the most comprehensive course on how to do Keto the right way (includes a 30 day money-back guarantee) check out the Keto Masterclass!


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Vegetable Feast: Sweet Potatoes, Walking Onions, and Water Timers

In his “Vegetable Feast” column, horticulturist Frank Hyman offers seasonal gardening advice paired with his own trademark wit.

Sweet Potatoes: Sweetheart of the Summer Garden

Both white potatoes and sweet potatoes are delicious, but sweet potatoes can be better for you: their orange flesh offers beta-carotene, fiber, and B vitamins, and they’re lower on the glycemic index. Some sweet potatoes have been bred to have white, yellow, or purple flesh. The young leaves are tender, tasty, and nutritious enough to eat like sautéed spinach all summer long.

Sweet potato transplants (called slips because, when they are about 8 inches long, these shoots “slip” right off the potatoes) show up at garden centers in late spring. They often come in a bundle of 50 with tiny, inadequate-looking roots or sometimes no roots at all. But at any stage, a sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is about the toughest plant in the vegetable garden, so don’t worry about the roots—they’ll do fine.

You can also grow your own slips by sprouting a sweet potato from last year’s harvest or even an organic sweet potato from the farmer’s market. (Conventional sweet potatoes are often sprayed with a chemical called BudNip to prevent them from sprouting.) Cut the potato in half lengthwise, lay it on a bed of moist sand, and put it on a sunny windowsill. In about three weeks, you’ll have slips sprouting from the sides of the potato.

Here is your chance to teach kids about cloning. A clone is any new plant with DNA that’s identical to its parent. Plants propagated by cuttings, divisions, or in this case, sprouts, are all clones. On the other hand, plants propagated from seeds get half their DNA from each of their two parents, as humans do.

With your slips collected and your bed freshly turned, drop the slips on the ground about 12 inches apart in the row, in rows that are also about 12 inches apart. Use a tool like a broom or rake handle turned upside down. From a standing position, use the tip of the handle to push the bottom end of the slip into the soft ground until only the top leaves are showing. A 2-by-2 stick will also work. This is a good use for worn-out tools: cut off the worn-out end and save the long handle to use as a garden stake or for poking sweet potato slips into the ground. As each slip is poked into place, use the tip of your toe to settle the soil around the root. When you’re done planting, give each slip a shot of water.

Giving children these tasks could be a good lesson in teamwork: one kid drops the plants on the ground, another pokes them with a stick (this will be a popular job), the next one settles the soil with their toe, and the last one pours some water on each plant. Adults also appreciate this technique since it requires no bending over.

Outside of long droughts or desert conditions, no summer irrigation is necessary for sweet potatoes—they are that tough. Sweet potatoes do like it hot, so northern gardeners may want to use black plastic mulch, which heats up the soil. But because they spread across the ground quickly, shading the soil, suppressing most weeds and outrunning the rest, some gardeners even forgo mulch. Sweet potatoes are also generally free of insects and diseases, making them a great cost-effective crop that won’t need babysitting all summer.

Harvest some or all of the potatoes any time after Labor Day. Cut the leafy vines to the ground first and feed them to the chickens or the compost bin.

Dig the potatoes with a shovel. A range of sizes will be found on the roots of every plant. If you have warm, dry, fall weather, leave the potatoes on the ground for a few days so the skins dry out enough to be stored indoors for several weeks or months. Ideally, save one or two to start slips next spring.

To cook them, pierce the skins with a fork and bake for 45 minutes at 400°F for a sweet, moist, nutritious side dish that really doesn’t need butter or spices.  

Save Time and Water with a Water-Timer

Occasionally I see gardeners struggling to keep their gardens watered by hand. Most hoses might put out about 10 gallons per minute. For an urban gardener in an older part of town, corrosion in the water pipes may cut that rate in half.

To grow well in summer, a vegetable garden needs—very roughly—a gallon of water per square foot per week, if there’s no rain. So watering about 600 square feet of garden would take one to two hours of your time every week if done by hand. And there’s still the rest of the garden to tend to.

But there’s an alternative that I rely on: inexpensive timers mounted on the spigot allow the right amount of water to run through a soaker hose or sprinkler and then they shut off the water for you.

I know timers work because I set up all my garden clients with them. Since 99 percent of my clients aren’t gardeners, the timers let me create a simple push-button irrigation system that allows non-gardeners to keep new plants alive.

These timers work the same way an egg timer does in the kitchen. Turn the dial to a set amount of time and tick, tick, tick, it works its way through a countdown and turns off the water on schedule. They cost $10 to $15 and are available at most garden centers.

It’s this easy: 1) screw the timer onto the spigot, 2) screw the garden hose onto the bottom of the timer, and then 3) connect the garden hose to a soaker hose or sprinkler in the garden. Remove the timer in winter so ice won’t crack it open.

Then do as I suggest to my clients: turn on the timer on your way out of the house. You can be confident that the watering will stop while you’re away. You might leave the house with the nagging feeling you’ve left the oven on—I can’t help you there—but you won’t come home to find your yard a swamp.

When you do arrive home, move the garden hose to water another bed and set the timer again before you go in to make dinner. No standing around required.

Self-Starters: Egyptian Walking Onions

I try to save time in the garden, and what could save more time than for vegetables to replant themselves every year? All we would have to do is keep them mulched and gather the harvest. Am I just dreaming?

Most popular vegetables—tomatoes, broccoli, etc.—are annuals and only live for a few months before dying. That’s why we have to resurrect the vegetable garden each season. But a few vegetables are perennials, meaning they live year after year. You’re probably already familiar with perennial veggies like asparagus and rhubarb that come back every spring. Another perennial vegetable is Egyptian walking onion. These onions are delicious, drought hardy, and pest free, and they keep multiplying—on their own.

Walking onions (nobody really knows if they’re from Egypt) don’t set seed at all. In early summer, odd-looking clusters of four to eight bulblets erupt at the top of their 2-foot-tall, pillar-like green leaves. If you’re familiar with pearl onions, you’ve got a good idea of their size and range of color. Called topsets, these thumb-size bulbs get heavier until mid- or late summer, when their weight causes the leaves to arch to the ground. Left alone, the topsets will root where they land. That’s why they’re called walking onions (although their pace is more of a saunter).

Once set in, or on the ground, the rooted topsets grow into 2-inch-wide onions. They send up fresh leaves and grow new topsets the following summer, which then take another slow step on their perennial journey.

You can harvest walking onions at one or more stages:

1) Year-round, you can eat the greens and use as you would chives or spring onion greens.

2) From fall to spring, harvest some of the small, first-year onions from the ground as scallions. Any remaining bulbs will keep growing and multiplying.

3) In midsummer, harvest some of the full-size bulbs.

4) Also in midsummer, harvest the mature topsets. Though small, like pearl onions, they are super-easy to peel if you boil them for a minute or two, drain, dunk in an ice bath, cut the root end off, then squeeze ‘em till they pop out of their skins like a muscadine grape. (StartCooking.com/blog/202/How-to-Peel-Pearl-Onions)

Do leave some bulbs unharvested in a dedicated bed so they can save you time by creating next season’s crop. Or harvest and poke bulblets about a finger-joint-deep into moderately fertile, prepared soil to help them kick off their promenade.

The post Vegetable Feast: Sweet Potatoes, Walking Onions, and Water Timers appeared first on Paleo Magazine.

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How much do you value your time?

Disclaimer: This post is without doubt self-serving as I am deconstructing some common arguments about buying material that can, arguably, be found for “free.” I’m going to make a case that many folks are not thinking this process through…and then I’ll hit you at the end with a pitch to buy my (and other folks) swag. So, yes, I have mierda for sale, but I’m asking that you take this whole thing in and then pass it through your BS detectors.

Keto Trends

If you follow health and fitness at all you are likely aware that in a very Battlestar Galactica way (this has all happened before, it will all happen again) the ketogenic diet has been incredibly popular the past few years, Just look at the Google search trends for ‘ketogenic diet’

There are many reasons for this ongoing popularity, but here are some likely contributors:

1- Many folks (although certainly not everyone) find fat loss to be comparatively easy on a ketogenic diet. It is NOT the only tool in the shed, but it is a good one. 

2- A remarkable amount of research on keto has been published in the past few years. This research looks at everything from anti-aging to certain medical conditions such as neurodegenerative disease. Although preliminary, it has painted keto in a pretty favorable light. the next five years will be really interesting to see more of this research come in. 

I first tinkered with keto and low carb diets in 1998 and have been a fan ever since (20 years now!). I’ve tried just about every conceivable permutation around diet (have not gone full carnivore yet…I just like asparagus, avocados and berries too much!). I’ve fiddled with “safe starches” and every Ancestral Health way of eating, and for me low carb works the best. Some recent genetic testing (importing my 23&me info to DNAFIT) revealed I am, genetically speaking, likely to be terrible at handling carbs:

A bit counterintuitively, “High Sensitivity” means I do NOT handle carbs well. Confirmation bias FTW!

It’s important to note that type of testing is very preliminary, but it’s nice to find some confirmation bias that at least seems sciency. This information + my tinkering has finally made me relax a bit that yea, for me, low carb is likely a good place to be, “safe starches” be damned. 

As I said, keto is pretty darn popular. Some folks love it, others hate it, and a remarkable number of people are confused. On any given day, on any given social media outlet, you‘ll find questions like these:

Is keto best accomplished with:

1- An all meat diet?

2- An all fat diet?

3- Just not eating at all?

4- Time restricted eating (intermittent fasting?)

Other common questions and concerns pop up:

1- Is keto good or bad for the adrenals?

2- Will keto ruin or fix a faltering thyroid?

3- Is keto the ticket for optimal athletic performance?

4- How will keto affect my cholesterol and blood lipids?

5- How effective is keto for fat loss?

6- Is keto a good fit for CrossFit, MMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and other glycolytic sports?

And that’s just scratching the surface of keto questions. If you combine the two sets of questions, which happens just about every minute of every day on social media and message boards, one is faced with a massive amount of confusion. Many of these questions have a nuanced answer and need #context. Whether keto is good or bad, effective or ineffective, depends a lot on #context. 

Lots of people have a lot of confusion. I noticed this confusion and decided to make as comprehensive a course as I could to hit every conceivable question or situation folks might find themselves in. It’s called the Keto Masterclass. More on it later. 

So far so good, yes? Ok, this is where it gets interesting for me. Some people really complain about the fact there is a product for sale. I mean, they seem affronted as if someone waltzed into their kitchen, dropped trow and deposited a deuce in the middle of a holiday gathering. These folks admonish anyone who might buy this product, directing people to YouTube and Google for “all the free information they need.” Please see the photo below of “Barb” for a case in point. 

Is it really “free*”?

A quick search of Google with the term “keto diet” returns over a million offerings in less than a second. The same speedy return on YouTube will get one nearly half a million video options to choose from.

There is a massive amount of information to choose from…it’s really an amazing thing, but let’s take the average person (honestly not sure who that is, but I digress) who is looking for information on the keto-diet for weight loss. Keep in mind this person could be male or female, old or young, active or inactive…lots of variables.

So, where do they start? Do they even know to ask these questions to try and find material that addresses their specific issues? I mean there is just one way to do keto, right? Many folks on the interwebz claim exactly this. If this one size fits all works for you, great. If not…

Based on the questions and mistakes I see, no, this person does not yet know to ask these important questions. This should not be surprising, these folks are the “noobs,” right?

Well, here is where it gets another layer of difficult: Most of the prominent “authorities” in the keto space have a better chance of dunking a lead basketball on Jupiter than handling any of this nuance. Let me say this last piece again, but in a different way: Most of the folks in this space get REALLY cranky at the suggestion there may not be One Keto To Rule Them All. The reasons for this are likely something akin to the following:

1-People naturally, instinctively, form tribes and insular, almost religious type ideology and affiliations. This is an extension of evolutionary psychology…which is ironic that this process actually bites us in the South Bound side on occasions like this.

2-Some people have no idea what they are talking about.

I think it’s safe to say that it’s a bit of a crap-shoot as to what material folks find. Maybe it works, but clearly, often, it does not, otherwise I’d not receive the volume of confused correspondences.

How many videos, blogs, and $9 “meal plans” does the person take a look at while still struggling?

This process is time consuming, random, and I’d self-servingly argue, not an effective use of one’s time.


But “it’s free” right?

Not really.

No offense, but people stink at considering the real costs of many things in the same way people are terrible at assessing the real risks of an activity—”Dude, I’d never swim in the ocean, because, you know, SHARKS! But I will totally drive with you on that hairpin road to the beach!”

Consider the following:

If you make $50k per year, that translates into about $25/hr if one is working 40hrs per week (technically $52K/year translates to $25/hr x 40hrs/week x 52 weeks…but just cutting things in half is damn close).  So, someone who makes $100k/year is at about $50/hr. Think about what your yearly income is and then consider what that means to you as far as how much your time may be worth. I’d argue your time is worth a whole lot more than that, but this IS a concrete way of putting a number to this.

So, how many “free” videos, blogs, etc. do you need to take in to get your keto “just right”? I have no idea, but it seems like one could easily spend hours, if not days hashing around, trying to figure things out. Will you have all your questions answered with six hours invested? Ten? It’s easy to cook ten hours of your time on this topic and still be lost. Take your hourly value for your Life and multiply that by ten. Or twenty. “Free” is not looking like such a bargain. 

Again, I see a lot of very confused people who seem to be casting around and either getting lackluster results or actually getting heavier and less healthy on a keto diet. These folks have built their keto diet from percentages (70% fat, 10% carbs, 20% protein…or something similar) and they are hungry and gaining weight. (I suspect 80% of you reading this are wondering what the problem is here…I have a video coming up next week digging deep into this problem). 

But the nice folks in the free video (who also have their own crap for sale…) said to do this.

When you hopped onto this person’s Facebook page and described your situation, several of the helpful folks in the group said to reduce protein and up fat! Track those ketones! Heck buy that new-fangled ketone supplement…its gets you into ketosis in only 60 min! (and is $5 a serving…)

At some point people just abandon what could have been a great tool, and blame keto for the failure. This is understandable, but also likely wrong. Some things lend themselves to Do it Yourself (DIY). Other things are a terrible idea, and again, this a largely individual thing. I am NOT that good at swinging a hammer or turning a wrench, so I find good folks I can trust to do that. Yes, I can find a YouTube video on how to lay tile, yes I can rent a tile saw and start figuring that out…but I can only master so many things in life and laying tile is just not going to be one of them.

I don’t want to belabor this point, but I’m also tired of this weird sense of entitlement that has grown out of information becoming a commodity. Want to cook it all up on your own? Great, just don’t blame anyone other than yourself if you get lackluster results. And, please, be a bit curcumspect about turning a confused person out into the wilds of The Interwebz, telling them to figure it out on their own. 

There are likely millions of hours of YouTube videos on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I could, and some people do, grab a few friends and just try to figure this stuff out on their own. They absolutely make progress but it is NOT the same as attending a class with a competent instructor and getting real coaching.

It’s not, let’s be honest and not hyperbolic.

I’m not saying one way is right or wrong, but I will make the case that if you give two-shits about something, you might save both time and money paying someone who is further down the path than you.

So, back to my self-serving angle to this post: I created and am selling a course called Keto Masterclass. It’s $49, has a 30 day money-back guarantee and is composed of 13 modules of video and written material, including a 126 page workbook to help you keep on track. It helps you to triage what your specific needs are based on your situation. It digs into how to do keto while doing Crossfit and other glycolytic sports, it digs into cholesterol and CVD potential. It’s the closest thing you can get to a live coach helping you through a process. It’s a good option if you want to give keto a try. If you want additional support, join the KetoGains bootcamp: https://ketogains.com/coachingconsulting/boot-camps/

I’ll close with two more (self-serving) thoughts:

1- If you want to go it your own or the “free” route, just be honest about the opportunity costs of that process. The “free” material most people consume is, well, wrong. It is the equivalent of a $6 haircut, and I find I spend a lot of time fixing $6 haircuts. If you are new to a topic you will devote a lot of your “free time” to trying to figure things out.


2- If you buy the Keto Masterclass and follow it for a year, it will cost you $0.13 per day.

Yes, information has become a commodity. Like many things in the modern world, it’s cost is effectively going to Zero. There are huge opportunities due to this process but one of the potential pitfalls is folks mistake information with wisdom.

Can you tell the difference?


Brandon made a damn insightfull comment:

“Another interesting aspect is the disorganized nature of the free knowledge. A class such as this (or any quality training program) will naturally progress you through the topic, making sure you know what you need to know, in the order you need to know it. It’ll take you through the basic 100 level course before the 200, etc.

When wading through the information minefield that is the average google search, Facebook group discussion, etc that goes out the window. So you get a beginner pianist simultaneously being told to learn to play hot cross buns and to learn Liszt’s Campanella.

Orderly introduction of knowledge is critical to implementing and retaining it, which seems a bit lost in our high information age.”

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Keto Constipation Hacks: How to De-Bloat & Improve Poo on a High Fat Diet

Guest post by: Dr. Lauryn Lax

Keto constipation is a common phenomenon experienced by people who transition to a low carb, high fat diet.

Keto diets are often low in fiber, the essential ingredient for helping us “do the doo,” found in carbohydrates, especially green things and other veggies.  Even if you are eating cucumbers and salads, soluble fiber (i.e., prebiotic foods like starchy tubers and root veggies) is the “secret sauce” for helping us go #2. Without enough fiber, many folks find themselves stuck with tummy troubles like bloating and constipation despite eating a healthy, anti-inflammatory keto diet.

“What gives?!” they cry. Answer: Your body is clogged. It needs some carbohydrates to help push foods through.

However, that said, while high fat, low carb diets CAN cause constipation for some people, they can also improve the gut microbiome in others—ESPECIALLY folks who initially transition to keto from eating lots of carbs, sugars, processed foods, and other gut inflammatory foods.

Many people find they feel lighter, less bloated, and less constipated than ever on keto, simply by removing some of the inflammatory triggers.

Why do some people experience constipation, whereas others experience this gut boosting phenomenon?

Here are 5 Ways Keto Can Help Kick Constipation & Bloating to the curb, and how to support healthy digestion on a keto diet (regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on) so you can feel your very best long term.

Keto Gives Bacterial Overgrowth a Break
Pathogenic bacteria LOVE (and feed off) sugars. Not just sugar from Hershey’s candy bars, but sugars found in even “healthy” foods like sweet potatoes, butternut squashes, carrots, beets, apples, and other fruits and veggies. These foods are NOT innately bad, however, when you have bacterial imbalances or overgrowth present, continuing to eat sugar (carbohydrate) based foods can seemingly make symptoms worse, not better. This is perhaps the biggest reason why many clinicians and “Candida cleanses” recommend low-carb or low-FODMAP diets, and many folks with gut dysfunction find they feel better on them.
A big reason why you may feel less bloated or like your bowels get “regular” on a keto style diet? Your gut bacteria and gut get a break from the foods your bacteria have been feasting on.That said, this feeling comes with a couple “devil’s advocates.”

First, while your gut health may feel better going “carb free,” any pathogenic bacteria aren’t necessarily being killed off by not eating carbs, but instead lying dormant. In order to truly address an underlying condition, like SIBO, fungal overgrowth or bacterial/parasitic infection, you need to target the pathogens, often times with a two-fold anti-microbial (supplemental or antibiotic) approach, coupled with smart intake of prebiotic and probiotic foods, some carbohydrates included . Prebiotic and carbohydrate foods can help “bring bacteria out” to play so your supplemental or antibiotic treatment can actually be effective.

Second, gut bacteria and fungi CAN also feed off ketone bodies—similar to the sugars from carbohydrates. Without butyrate (short chain fatty acids) found in prebiotic foods and fibers (like greenish plantains, cooked and cooled sweet potatoes, cooked and cooled Jasmine white rice, Jicama, onion and other veggies with resistance starch), long term reliance on ketones can swing back in the same direction as you were when you didn’t feel well eating more carbs and sugars. The takeaway? Address the underlying gut condition (if any).

Keto is a Natural Food Intolerance Test
Keto, like Paleo, naturally eliminates MOST non-real foods, emphasizing “real foods” (when you don’t over-rely on bars, shakes and ketone supplements, marketed as the “magic” for helping you get into ketosis). Keto ALSO naturally eliminates many (silent) gut inflammatory foods, lessening your intake of FODMAPS—starch and sugar containing carbohydrates that can fire up gut bacteria (back to point 1). Some FODMAPS include fruits like apple, apricot, cherry, mango, peach, pear, plum, watermelon, wheat, veggies like broccoli and other cruciferous veggies, legumes, and vegetable oils. Keto also allows you to test and see for yourself what carbohydrate heavy foods may have been triggering bloating or constipation symptoms prior to the diet. Gut bacteria often crave foods we are intolerant to, so if your sweet potato, ice cream, pasta or rice fetish gets the boot on keto, you may find you feel better.

Keto Can Balance Cortisol & Hormones
If you’ve been used to running off sugar, grains, and other sources of short-term energy (i.e. carbs), blood sugar and insulin resistance are natural byproducts. (Hello Standard American Diet.) In turn, blood sugar imbalances can trigger imbalances in our hormones as well—namely cortisol (our stress hormone) that rides the same wave of your blood sugar highs and blood sugar lows.
When your body is “high” on carbs or sugars, cortisol can equally be “high” on stimulation and adrenaline. When your body is “low” on carbs or sugars—along with low blood sugar symptoms (like headaches, shakiness before meals, hangriness), your cortisol can equally feel the stressful side effects.
What does this have to do with your digestion? Stress is the #1 driver of all body imbalance—digestive distress included. Constipation, bloating, bacterial overgrowth and IBS are all highly correlated with stress. Hence, for some people, transitioning to keto with a quality fat diet can ALSO be stress relieving for their former blood-sugar and cortisol imbalanced ways (1 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4113752/, 2 https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/92/11/4480/2598960 , 3 https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1751-0147-52-31). The release of stress in turn allows digestive health to restore and improve.

Keto Enhances Nutrient Absorption
Fat is essential for maximizing the nutrition from the other foods we eat. Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) are like the glue for nutrient absorption, necessary to “hold on” to the different vitamins, minerals and macronutrients in foods. Healthy absorption also helps us create formed stools (as opposed to loose and watery or super hard), allowing only what is not necessary for the body out the back door.

Keto Lubricates the Digestive Tract to Help You Go
Keto diets are based on an average ratio of 40-60% healthy fats. If you were used to eating a low-fat, or not-enough-fat diet, then all of a sudden add coconut oil, avocados, grass-fed butter, ghee and other healthy fats to your diet, your digestive system says, “THANK-YOU.” Fats act like a “slippery slope” inside your intestines to help carry other food through your system. The result? You may find you actually can go! Your food doesn’t seem to sit or stay “stuck” in your gut and things move along more smoothly. In addition, healthy fats encourage healthy detoxification in your liver and gallbladder, ultimately improving digestion, the elimination of wastes in stools and inflammation. When we eat fat, it fires up the gallbladder stores to release bile, a digestive juice that helps us digest and absorb fat. On the flip side, when we DON’T eat fat (or enough of it), our bile sits in our gallbladder, backing up our liver and digestive process, and causing gallbladder attacks and other inflammatory conditions too.


The Big Bottom Line

Just like keto can cause constipation in some people, it can also improve gut health for others. Whether or not keto can help you in your gut microbiome department is really all dependent on where you’re coming from to start, as well as the sustainable approach you take with keto.

After an initial keto “reset”—shifting your body into fat-burning (vs. sugar burning) mode—some people find they can come back to balance just fine and find the “just right” (Goldilock’s) approach to carbohydrate and prebiotic intake that works for them, particularly women, long term.

As with most things diet and nutrition related, there is NO one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. In addition, you may find that at different times and seasons in your life, your diet may look different (for instance higher carbohydrate intake in your CrossFit and weightlifting days, and higher fat in your “I want to look good naked” or lifestyle-wellness, beach-walking focus days). Both seasons can be beneficial for your gut health, depending on simply checking in with your own gut and asking yourself: How do I feel?

Labels aside—keto or not keto—how is your bloating, constipation, gas and overall health affected by your digestion (skin, allergies, etc.)?

Whichever way your body feels best…go with that.



Dr. Lauryn Lax is a Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Functional Medicine Practitioner, author and speaker, with over 20 years of clinical and personal experience specializing in gut health, intuitive eating, disordered eating, anxiety, hormone balance and women’s health. She’s based in Austin, Texas, and operates a virtual Nutrition & Functional Medicine practice, Thrive Wellness & Recovery, LLC. In addition, Dr. Lauryn is a published journalist and speaker, and her work has been featured in Oxygen Magazine, Women’s Health, Paleo Magazine, Breaking Muscle, CrossFit Inc, USA Today, ABC and CBS News. She loves nothing more than helping others “quiet the noise” in the health food and fitness world.

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Episode 95: Reevalutate and Reinvent

On today’s show: A couple of movie recommendations. Why do we sleep? Are we “over-medicalized? How has human nutrition evolved? What is the role of cooking in human evolution? Moment of Paleo: Why must we reevaluate and reinvent? After the Bell: Current Human Culture.

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Episode 96: Awareness

On today’s show: Two new documentary recommendation; the tale of processed foods; Joel Salatin talks about modern life and says, “Folks, this ain’t normal!”; Carl Sagan’s big ideas; a Moment of Paleo about awareness and preparation; and After the Bell a piece on gratitude.

Links for this episode:

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