Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
22 May

My Escape from Vegan Island

Every once in a while, I am alternately stunned and amused by what I see being promoted in the name of good health. I had one of those “stunningly amusing” episodes when I took an eight-day vacation with my family to an all-vegetarian health and adventure retreat in Costa Rica several months ago. We had joined a group of 125 headed by Dr. John McDougall, an accomplished and well-respected physician who uses a strict vegetarian/vegan lifestyle to address disease states in his patients and (ostensibly) to promote better health among the general population. I wasn’t too keen on attending, strict carnivore that I am, but I’m always up for an experiment of one and, moreover, I was convinced by my mostly-vegetarian wife and her vegan parents that our extended family would enjoy a nice tropical vacation together. And the food promised to be so yummy… so I made the leap with my wife, two kids, the in-laws and some cousins.

Beautiful Costa Rica

First off, I must say, I did have a very enjoyable time in Costa Rica with my family, rafting, diving, zip lining and hiking…but after what I witnessed during my stay, I can assure you that I have never been so certain that the Primal Blueprint way of eating – which I have embraced for over 30 years now – is the best way to achieve and maintain excellent health. Frankly, I was appalled at both the information being disseminated during this event and at what I saw being served at every meal in the name of “health food.”

I am an omnivore and always have been. Carrie, my wife, was a vegetarian for fifteen years until I convinced her about five years ago to starting adding fish to her diet to get more protein. She still considers herself, in the words of the Outback Steakhouse guy, a “semi-veg.” My wife’s parents have been strict vegans for nearly thirty years and are ardent followers of Dr. McDougall. McDougall’s own story involves having had a severe stroke at age 19 from which, at 59, he still limps. He became an MD and eventually realized that diet was an important part of the health equation. He’s a very likable and charming guy. I had a few superficial discussions with him, even attended a few of his nightly lectures. His heart is certainly in the right place, but I fear he is leading people down a wholly inappropriate dietary path. At the risk of oversimplifying, the basis of his program is that almost all starch is good, all fat is bad and meat of any kind is deadly. It is, in his words, a “starch-based” diet, high in grains and legumes.

The attendees were generally divided into two groups: those who were fairly new to the program – many of them had some serious weight to lose – and those who had been on the McDougall program for several years. Many of the latter group, I gathered, had come to McDougall originally with one or more chronic diseases and on multiple medications. Each evening, after the adventure activity of the day (all of which were pretty sedate), Dr. McDougall would deliver a lecture intended to inform the group of the evils of traditional medicine and big pharma – much of which I generally agree with – and to demonize beef, pork, chicken, fish, dairy of all kinds and most forms of soy. I got the general gist after the first evening. He’s not a fan of supplements either. But he does imply that when you eat vegetarian, you can have all you want…and therein lay the source of much amusement for me.

The lecture would adjourn and everyone would line up for the buffet line which would, at virtually every meal, include copious amounts of breads and rolls, rice, potatoes, pasta, beans, some anemic-looking steamed vegetables and a romaine-only lettuce salad. No dressings allowed. The only fat I could see was in the guacamole that served as a spread. The desert table had a variety of fruits and at least two choices of so-called “healthy” cakes. The drinks were generally overly sweetened fruit drinks.

Now I’m not one to judge. Okay, I am, but I usually keep my mouth shut – except herein. I watched at every meal as overweight, unhealthy people piled their plates with at least two pounds of bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, beans, desert cake, and a glass of fruit juice. Sometimes they went back for more. By my calculations these people were consuming 200 to 300 or more grams of (mostly simple) carbohydrates at each of three meals. There was no way these folks were going to lose fat on this trip. It was, in my view, a type 2 diabetes epidemic in-the-making.

In fending for myself, I focused mainly on the salads and the black beans mixed with a little rice. As you regular readers know, I don’t “do” breads, potatoes, pasta, desserts or fruit drinks. I think they are unhealthy. Go figure. I have to say, it sure got old after a day or two.


This is Kina’s Flickr Photo

Of those who had already been on the McDougall program for years, I had the following general observation: they don’t look too healthy. People who subsist on grains and simple carbs at the expense of quality protein for any length of time tend to lose muscle mass, regardless of their exercise regimen. They are what we call “skinny fat“. Essentially, they have no lean tissue and yet they have surprisingly high body fat levels, despite their loose “skin and bones” appearance. Lean body mass is a major defining criterion of good health; and these folks were sorely lacking. Excess carbohydrate turns to fat pretty easily, but you can neither build nor preserve muscle with it. Herein lies the confusion for many folks: while glucose serves as short-term fuel for muscles, it does not build nor maintain them. One woman, a 62-year old triathlete who trains hours a day and competes almost every weekend authoritatively suggested that I was a fool to eat meat and that I should embrace the McDougall program as she had for 15 years. Problem was, she looked like hell. No muscle tone at all and, I suspect, a fairly high body fat for someone who fancied herself an athlete. It took all I had to keep from saying something that might have spoiled her trip!

As with any diet regimen, Dr. McDougall backs his theories up with studies. But that’s the biggest problem with the “science” of nutrition: anyone can find a study here or there that supports almost any premise. To wit: Fish is great because it’s a source of important Omega 3 fats, but fish is bad because it’s a source of toxic heavy metals, but fish is great because the heavy metals are not actually present at realistically dangerous levels, but fish is bad because the fish lobby was the one funding the study on relative safety, and on ad infinitum.

If there were a right answer, everyone would be doing it. I guess the best any of us can do is to align the “receptivity filters” in our brains with our current belief systems and create habits that reinforce those beliefs – and that, hopefully, result in healthy bodies and minds. Ultimately, I have chosen to believe that we were programmed to eat primarily small portions of meat and vegetables, with a little fruit thrown in occasionally. It works for me (53 years old, 5’10” 165 lbs and 8% body fat).

Life's a beach!

Problem is, if you have no understanding of biology or chemistry, you can easily fall for that old vegan argument that meat is bad (notwithstanding the fact that there has never, in the entire history of man, been a country, culture or race that subsisted entirely on vegetables without animal flesh of some kind). Many people do fall for it. They also fall for the old “protein leaches calcium” argument, completely ignoring the fact that bones require protein as well as weight bearing activity to promote bone density and prevent osteoporosis. Or that stress has a far greater impact on preventing absorption of calcium than excess protein in the diet. But here I am giving you my opinion again and it’s only based on studies that my filters have shown align with my own beliefs…

I was fascinated by what I saw to be the complete antithesis of a healthy diet being offered up as the healthiest way to eat. And by people willing to accept that they could eat all they want of this high-carb fare and regain their lost health in the process. Try as I might, I couldn’t avoid losing a few pounds of hard-fought muscle myself over the week. Luckily, I was able to regain homeostasis shortly after returning home. And ultimately, I was left with a confidence that following Primal Blueprint path is exactly what humans were designed to do.

What are your thoughts on vegetarianism, carbohydrates, and protein?

Be sure to stick around for today’s Tuesday 10.

Best of MDA

(This piece was originally posted at my friend Art DeVany’s blog.)

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You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. I have really enjoyed reading this entire thread. It has meshed nicely with the ambivalence I have over first doing an elimination diet (due to the hassle mostly and the inconclusive results when I added food in) and then now I am in the throes of doing the mcdougall dance as a 6 month trial for shits and grins. the drmickiedoo website is hard to stomach becuase it feels fanatical like a cult. it reminds me of grammar school retreats where they put a plant (no pun intended) in the room so you wouldn’t stray from the dominant faith tradition, or in this case, the dominant food eating tradition. it’s patriachial. daddy knows best. and there’s a lot of daddies…including kingly dietician, along with the good intentione doc. there is little free exchange of ideas. and like the tops fat farms that have the queen and kings of the day they have these anachronistic throwback star people that once consumed nothing but snickers bars and lived in lazee boy recliners waxing on 25 years segue now to farting beans and twigs. it’s this kind of manic sway sides beliefs that make a lot of consumers want to give all docs the finger. i don’t want to hold a rib cage in my hand daily and naw and I am equally tiring or smelling sulphur pouring out of my fridge and cupboard.

    and most of all i want to find a group of persons that does not believe in absolutes and have websites with such and such is not allowed. oh yeah, i’ll put my dunce cap on and sit in the corner with the not allowed sign on my chest.

    just because this dude got caught in a formative period hanging with fat folks who no longer ate brown rice 24 hours a day did that have to turn him into a fanatic.

    let’s drink the cool aid now or later?

    i have modified my mickiedougalling experiment as of this week with eggs and eggbeaters. i have not started to levitate, yet. I’ll let you all know when I do.


    harry2 wrote on December 17th, 2011
  2. A “Star McDougaller” posted her before and after pictures on Dr. McDougall’s website. While she was big in the before, she looked healthy and youthful. In her after picture she looks 20 years older and flabby skin and bones! Yet everyone’s replying, “You look great!”

    I tried the McDougall eating plan and I couldn’t do it. Not only is it boring but it left me sooooo tired and depressed, I had zero energy. I mean ZERO. Not to mention that I never felt full eating mostly starches. I at copious amounts and was still hungry.

    And don’t even get me started on all the poop problems. OMG I had to keep running to the bathroom to poop several times a day!! It was diarrhea. All that fiber. Awful. Too much of anything is not good.

    Peter wrote on December 19th, 2011
    • Lies.

      Ricky wrote on December 29th, 2011
  3. Macau and Spain. What do they have in common? Longevity of its citizens. Spain has the longest life span in all of Europe or the West for that matter at 82 years and Macau beat the rest of the world at 85 years. Spain has the highest pork consumption per capita of any country on Earth while Macauans enjoy a truly omnivorous feast that includes, again, lots of pork as well beef and fish. Man from the get go evolved to omnivorous. We have canines but more significantly unlike true herbivores, we can’t digest cellulose.

    Tim Naylor wrote on January 5th, 2012
    • What is the seafood “pork equivalent”? I’m taking an educated guess that it is lobster.

      Paleo Bon Rurgundy wrote on December 23rd, 2012
    • Longevity can also be observed in cultures that eat Horse meat, even better for you than Pork or Beef!

      Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  4. You know, after years of seective breeding, cows, chickens, etc. have changed genetically.Like it or not, all those thousands of years of selective breeding have made farm animals as dependant on us as we are on them. They are not fit to live in the wild or be pets. If you had a cow, you would have to milk it all the time, because they get sick if they don’t get milked, & if they feed all the milk to calves, the calves get diareah because cows produce so much milk. I know because my grandparents owned a ranch in Mexico, & no hormones or drugs. So veganism actually hurts cows. Just drink milk not from cow torturing places. Trust me, not all farms torture animals. But too many veggs are under the illusion that animals are tortured at all farms,& no, just factory farms.(Evil, yes, factory farms are evil) And for those of you who say that humans are not meant to eat meat because we have no “claws” & “Fangs”, here:”Vegans say we have no natural adaptions to eat meat,but do we have special adaptations to graze and get fruits from trees?No,we use tractors and tools to get our veggies/fruits out of the wild.We have a special adaptation most animals do not have:high intelligence. And you say we marinate meat with veggies to make it taste like veggies, no, we marinate it to give it flavor because we have intelligence & food is no longer just survival, taste and formulas matter,&,humans used to eat raw meat and dirty fruit, but we evolved so much to our tool filled enviroment that we now can only eat cooked meat since we invented fire,& cleaned and harvested veggies since we made the hoe and used work animalslong ago. And and try to rip a potato out of the ground, & eat it, right there & then. Not very good, is it? Whats that? Why of course you got sick from the dirt and germs. But we have these things called tools & intelligence, & from evolution to make things our bodies are not adapted to bearable. But evolution forgot you, it seems. “Kill with your fangs”. Graze and eat from trees with your super long neck, toe fingers, monkey tail, and 5 stomaches, dumbass. Oh, and another animal that eats like people? The otter. I see no fangs, claws, or crushing strenth on those. But they are intelligent, and use rocks to crack open clams. You can’t say it is not natural for otters to eat clams.”
    I do not hate veggs. I just am angry at the militant ones who give false evidence for their cause, say they are superior, & guess what? Scientific studies prove that plants do feel pain. And read these. One is the story, one is answers to your questions.Don’t be douches.While humans are healthiest eating large amounts of frsh fruits/veggies, but it is an unintelligent generalization to give up the small amount of animal products our bodies need.And remember,all food causes animal death. We are omnivores, & so cannot eat without killing. When you buy veggies, you are not dircectly killing & eating animals, but you are eating food that came from land that had to be farmed, cleared, & many animals died for that. So you don’t care, just because you don’t have to see them dead? You don’t have to see pigs die in farms, so stop caring. That simple, by your logic. All food production kills animals, not eating animals that are useless for anything but to be consumed makes no difference. You say meat production causes pollution, but what doesn’t, these days? The car you drive, the food you eat, the house you live in, the clothes you wear: they all caused pollution to be produced. Also, soy messes up your hormones & was never meant to be an edible plant. It is not nearly as healthy as the wonder food it is made out to be, look at this & other similar sites:
    “I was looking over a menu in a restaurant the other day when I saw a section for vegetarians; I thought to myself “boy, I sure am glad that I’m not a meat-hating fascist” and I skipped on to the steak section (because I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay $15 for an alfalfa sandwich, slice of cucumber and a scoop of cold cottage cheese), but before I turned the page something caught my eye. The heading of the vegetarian section was titled “Guiltless Grill,” not because there were menu items with fewer calories and cholesterol (since there were “healthy” chicken dishes discriminated against in this section), but because none of the items used animal products. Think about that phrase for a second. What exactly does “guiltless grill” imply? So I’m supposed to feel guilty now if I eat meat? Screw you.

    What pisses me off so much about this phrase is the sheer narrow-mindedness of these stuck up vegetarian assholes. You think you’re saving the world by eating a tofu-burger and sticking to a diet of grains and berries? Well here’s something that not many vegetarians know (or care to acknowledge): every year millions of animals are killed by wheat and soy bean combines during harvesting season (source). Oh yeah, go on and on for hours about how all of us meat eaters are going to hell for having a steak, but conveniently ignore the fact that each year millions of mice, rabbits, snakes, skunks, possums, squirrels, gophers and rats are ruthlessly murdered as a direct result of YOUR dieting habits. What’s that? I’m sorry, I don’t hear any more elitist banter from you pompous cocks. Could it be because your shit has been RUINED?

    That’s right: the gloves have come off. The vegetarian response to this embarrassing fact is “well, at least we’re not killing intentionally.” So let me get this straight; not only are animals ruthlessly being murdered as a direct result of your diet, but you’re not even using the meat of the animals YOU kill? At least we’re eating the animals we kill (and although we also contribute to the slaughter of animals during grain harvesting, keep in mind that we’re not the ones with a moral qualm about it), not just leaving them to rot in a field somewhere. That makes you just as morally repugnant than any meat-eater any day. Not only that, but you’re killing free-roaming animals, not animals that were raised for feed. Their bodies get mangled in the combine’s machinery, bones crushed, and you have the audacity to point fingers at the meat industry for humanely punching a spike through a cow’s neck? If you think that tofu burgers come at no cost to animals or the environment, guess again.

    To even suggest that your meal is some how “guiltless” is absurd. The defense “at least we’re not killing intentionally” is bullshit anyway. How is it not intentional if you KNOW that millions of animals die every year in combines during harvest? You expect me to believe that you somehow unintentionally pay money to buy products that support farmers that use combines to harvest their fields? Even if it was somehow unintentional, so what? That suddenly makes you innocent? I guess we should let drunk drivers off the hook too since they don’t kill intentionally either, right? There’s no way out of this one. The only option left for you dipshits is to buy some land, plant and pick your own crops. Impractical? Yeah, well, so is your stupid diet. It is f#@%ing IMPOSSIBLE to live without killing some form of life. You are just stupid, disgusted by the very idea of the cycle of life & death.

    Even if combines aren’t used to harvest your food, you think that buying fruits and vegetables (organic or otherwise) is any better? How do you think they get rid of bugs that eat crops in large fields? You think they just put up signs and ask parasites to politely go somewhere else? Actually, I wouldn’t put that suggestion past you hippies. One of the methods they use to get rid of pests is to introduce a high level of predators for each particular prey, which wreaks all sorts of havoc on the natural balance of predator/prey populations–causing who knows what kind of damage to the environment. Oops, did I just expose you moral-elitists for being frauds? Damndest thing.

    A number of people have pointed out that the amount of grain grown to feed animals for slaughter every year is greater than the amount of grain grown for humans. So I guess the amount of grain grown for human consumption suddenly becomes negligible and we can conveniently ignore the fact that animals are still ruthlessly murdered either way because of your diet, right? Not to mention that the majority of grain grown for livestock is tough as rocks, coarse, and so low-grade that it’s only fit for animal consumption in the first place. Spare me the “you could feed 500 people with the grain used to feed one cow” line of shit; it’s not the same grain. You sya you would save lives by not eating meat, but guess what? Some people actually work on ranches, etc. And their families would starve if they lost their jobs because you dont like cheeseburgers. So the life of a cow that will get killed by wolves anyway is more important than family & hungry little children? ” Why did the mean people take the cows, daddy? ” Well, son, PETA sais that eating beef is evil. So they threw the cows into the woods to get eaten by wolves, & I lost my job, can no longer provide food or shelter for our family, & now we will all die a slow, painful death of starvation & exposure.”
    But at least your precious chickens got eaten by pumas & wolves instead people, right?
    Then there are the people who jump on the bandwagon with “you could plant billions of potatoes on the land used for cows”–good point, except for the fact that not every plot of land is equally fertile; you think farmers always have a choice on what they do with their land? Also, many vegetarians don’t know (or care to acknowledge) that in many parts of the United States they have “control hunts” in which hunting permits are passed out whenever there is a pest problem (the pest here is deer, elk and antelope) that threatens wheat, soy, vegetable and other crops; this happens several times per year. Then some of you throw out claims that “we are trying to limit the suffering.” How about you limit MY suffering and shut the hell up about your stupid diet for a change; nobody cares. Even if the number of animals that die in combine deaths every year isn’t in the millions, even if it’s just one, are you suggesting that the life of one baby rabbit isn’t worth saving? Are you placing a value on life? Enjoy your tofu, murderers.

    Prince Tapion wrote on January 14th, 2012
    • Whilst I agree that some vegans do proselytise to meat eaters about “murdering animals” and “being ethical” etc, the silent majority of vegans probably couldn’t give a crap what others think or do. What I find frustrating is the underlying attitude in the meat-eaters posts of “well, if you kill one thing (plant, bug, animal in a combine) then f**k it, you might as well kill everything”. So, if you swat a fly you should murder your girlfriend? Should cops charge someone with murder if they accidentally run an animal over? Don’t be so ridiculous. As humans we have certain preferences to particular life-forms- other humans or pets for example. Vegans just extend this relationship to animals such as cows, chickens etc. But hey, if one life is exactly the same as another, eat your dog, or a newborn baby and then try to use this argument when you’re arrested.

      Point is, people need to eat SOMETHING, (unless of course we should all just be breastfed our whole life!) and whether you agree with veganism or meat-eating, the fact remains that people DO eat too much meat.

      Does anyone really need to eat a 72oz steak from a nutritional perspective? No. Do the people buying 3 double cheeseburgers really need that much protein in one go? No. Should everyone have to stop eating meat altogether? No. It’s a choice, and one that some of us choose without judging everyone else for having a different opinion.

      Maybe where you live cows are on ranches with families tending to them with children asking daddy about them. Where I live (in a large agricultural area in the UK) cows are kept indoors, in very tight gated pens hooked to milking machines. Often, the only time the animals we eat get to see outside is on the way to the slaughterhouse. If you want to use the “bunnies and deers and bugs” argument, at least they got to be animals during their life… running around in the sun and all that. Maybe that’s small consolation, but I’d rather be a deer that gets culled in the wild than a factory-farmed chicken being killed at 8 weeks old. You will also find that a lot of vegans strive to be more self-sufficient, like growing their own veg (sans pesticides and combines).

      There are more agricultural “food” animals on the planet than people which makes your one baby rabbit argument a bit lacking in thought really.It’s BILLIONS which are slaughtered each year, and though I’m not saying eating meat is wrong, please! Your reductionist view on the situation is laughable. In parts of Africa they also have elephant culls when populations get too high. Why? Cause whole herds would starve to death! Sometimes the loss of a few can be the saving of many. Read a book sometime.

      Oh, BTW, what makes you think the “Guiltless Grill” phrase was written by a vegetarian? Or that all vegans eat tofu for f**k sake??

      Terri wrote on April 3rd, 2012
      • Terri…some good jabs there, but your opener made no sense because nobody “meat-eaters” takes the stance that ’cause some animals die to produce food then let them all die, simply pointing out hypocrisy.

        Anyways, again maybe some good jabs but you don’t really make any solid points with your lengthy post….you seem somewhat intelligent, disappointed you took up so much space to say really very little

        Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
      • I agree with breast feeding my entire life!

        Nocona wrote on February 22nd, 2013
    • Prince Tapion, I could not have put it any better myself….which is saying a lot because I’m so much smarter than most everyone else.

      A bit lengthy, but actually worth the time to read.

      Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  5. i think this post and all of it’s comments illustrates the clear difference between the primal/paleo tribe and the veg/vegan community first i’m lead to ask myself, why are there vegetarians/vegans coming into a forum obviously full of carnivores and trying to make their presence known? in my experience with vege-heads, they are often like the little short guy-bully who feels he has something to prove to the world…now, being as i’ve never been the little-guy bully i’m unclear about why some people need to get their noses into everything and need to make their opinions known to all…i don’t walk into my local vegan store/cafe and take up debate with the first skinny-fat, sick, and almost dead looking chicken brained zombie i run into i don’t care what you eat, please do me the same kindness. like bart simpson said of religion, “aren’t the stupid little differences pretty much outweighed by all of the big stupid similarities?” after all we’re all after better health and a more enjoyable personal experience here on earth…who cares how we go about achieving it?

    mark wrote on January 15th, 2012
  6. Just cutting meat and eating a ton of carbs doesn’t sound all that different from everything that’s wrong with the western diet in the first place.
    I don’t have a problem with eating meat, per se, but I don’t have access to environmentally and socially responsibly, humanely, cleanly raised meat very often. So I’m probably 80% vegan.
    But I live on tons of vegetables, fresh and often raw, plus fruits, seeds and nuts. Usually can’t be bothered with legumes, but maybe a sweet potato here and there. I might have some steel-cut oatmeal once in a while, or a little rice on rare occasions because, well, meh, why not, I guess. Fish or shellfish maybe three or four times a week right now since I’m living next to the ocean at the moment and there’s so much fantastic seafood. I did have some quail eggs with breakfast this morning because they looked good at the market.
    But even on totally vegan days, I get something like 40-50% of my calories from fats, and I don’t seem to be able to eat less than 70 grams of protein. Even if I tried. I don’t count calories- I probably don’t get enough of them to maintain my body weight according to conventional wisdom.
    Avocados, nuts and seeds, all kinds of mushrooms, fruits and berries, greens and cruciferous veggies and fresh herbs… my meals are soul-satisfying, my body’s gotten more toned, both stronger and fuller (as a woman, that’s a good thing, since I used to be kind of a stick), and I don’t ever crave sweets or refined carbs. Yeah, if I feel like fish, I eat it. When I get back to Colorado, if I feel like bison, I might have a (quite rare, yum) steak a few times a month. But I’m largely thriving on the fats and proteins I happily soak up from a low carb, mostly vegan diet.

    The only downfall is the cost of good produce and having to shop at least every other day.

    sruskaya wrote on January 15th, 2012
  7. This article is misleading.

    You use an example of a group of people eating ‘copious amounts of mostly refined carbs’ as an example of an unhealthy diet to reinforce the idea that a paleo diet is healthier.

    But this does not give any insight into the benefits of a diet which may contain restricted amounts of whole grains along with meats.

    panda wrote on February 6th, 2012
  8. Vegan 20 months. Lost 30 lbs. Felt great for the first 6 months. Then I started getting crabby and tired and was fianlly diagnosed as anemic by a naturopath. I was taking daily iron supplements and it didn’t help. I slowly gained 20 lbs back. My skin went all to hell. I had horrible hormonal type acne and anxiety and depression. And you know what else??? I got skin cancer! I had read the China Study and Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease and all that nonsense, and I GOT CANCER!! This wasn’t cancer that had been brewing for years. It started a year after going vegan. I was lied to. My blood levels were nothing to write home about. My good cholesterol was very low and the bad was average. Triglycerides were normal. I was supposed to be in ideal ranges there too. It’s all crap made up by PETA types. You know, I really did want to make veganism work for me. The state of meat production nowadays is depressing and it hurts the environment, but I’m an animal too and can’t live like a vegan anymore. A relative sent me to this site. She was thrilled to hear that I’d started eating fish (and occasionally beef) again. I’m thrilled that I’m just starting to feel a little better. I hope your info works for me. (P.S. I was NOT a junk food vegan and I’m sick as hell of hearing “you did veganism wrong”. No. Veganism failed ME.)

    Judy wrote on February 18th, 2012
  9. Awhile ago I dated a vegan and I would eat quite a lot of what he ate, and I didn’t work out much at all We were talking about moving in together so I stayed there for about 5 weeks (it’s all I could handle or else I may have had to go to the hospital or something) and ate everything he provided for me. After the first week or so people at work and my friends started commenting on how pale I looked. The thing is, he put so many different powders and stuff into his food so that he wouldn’t lose nutrition which is the “smart” thing to do. Personally even with all his herb vitamins and what not, I still felt horrible! By the end of the two weeks I made my mom come get me and ended up moving in with her and gaining my health and strength back. I guess if your body is use to it it’s fine but…ugh it made me feel horrible.

    Mina wrote on February 25th, 2012
  10. I’m getting the vegan backlash for making the decision to go on a Paleo style diet after 6 years of veganism and 2 years of raw food. It was only after I adopted a raw food diet that my health issues began. Hypothyroidism, weight GAIN, arthritis and hormone imbalance. I kept trying like an idiot to fix it with more raw foods, “superfoods” (WTF?, and eventually trying an all fruit diet for the last 45 days. I began blogging about it and announced that I was going on a full blown paleo diet for the next 45 days to see if any of my symptoms subside. It’s been disappointing how hateful some people have been – especially the Banana Cult but there have also been several who have gone out of their way to support my decisions. You can read about my transition at excuse the banner at the top, I haven’t had time to change the Raw Vegan bit just yet :)

    Erin wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  11. ICAV

    Independent Commission Against Veg*nism.

    Brandic wrote on March 7th, 2012
  12. Seriously? Why is this even an issue?

    To vegans and vegetarians: Relax. Unfortunately the animals will die anyway. Just saying. You’re not saving any of them. By not eating them, you’re only taking away the purpose they were bred for. That’s a disservice. Also, just because you believe something, doesn’t mean you have ANY right to try to force it on another by harassment, belittlement, or accusations. That’s immoral and just bad behavior.

    To carnivores: Calm down. Who cares if vegetarians or vegans don’t want to eat meat. Does it affect you personally? I’m pretty sure it doesn’t. Just like they do not have the right to attack you for your eating habits, you don’t have the right to attack them. So eat your meat if that is what you wish, and do it respectfully. That life was sacrificed so you could survive, treat it as such. Also to hunters, animals are not trophies they are beings that cannot defend themselves against us. Killing them for sport doesn’t make you anything but a murderer. If you don’t NEED it to survive, let it alone.

    To both: Eat your veggies. Eat your meat. But shut up about it. No one is going to magically change their lifestyle because of what you say on a website comment section. Seriously.

    Jakal wrote on March 22nd, 2012
    • Jakal….good points, we should all be more tolerant. However, as to why the “carnivores” seem to get upset….well, I don’t think it’s due to anti-veganism, I think it’s because this is a Primal Living site, I would think for those to share this interest or even belief, not a place to be assailed by vegetarians and vegans.

      As for Hunting being murder unless you NEED it to survive…no, nothing sporting about some fat old slob shooting a deer, but although not a survival need venison is a good source of healthy meat, healthier than most meats in grocery stores, and it tastes really good if you like natural meat…please, enough with the trying to take “gamey” flavour out of wild meat, just eat cow then.

      Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  13. FYI, the Dalai Lama eats meat 6 months out of the year. Based on doctors order. What’s cool about the Dalai Lama is that he doesn’t go out of his way to defend himself when the vegan community picks at him. Even the Dalai Lama doesn’t try to use woo-woo logic to explain biology. [And I meditate everyday. It’s all about balance of mind and body.] He is flexible in his thinking and still does great things for the world. Other’s need to be as well. Focus on making your own life great and then teach others. Not the other way around. And Mark Sisson definitely models what he teaches. I tend to listen more to the person with the better integrity match with some great results. He’s had a few decades to prove his logic out and still does his best to stay true and grounded. Thanks, Mr. Sisson for the education and inspiration.

    Abby wrote on March 27th, 2012
  14. I wish the author of this article had tried out the mcdougall plan properly on this trip. His review of the diet is meaningless. As for the people looking unhealthy, many on the mcdougal website have improved their health conditions – perhaps they are just not into resistance exercise.

    sharon wrote on April 3rd, 2012
  15. I have been a vegan for years. Any diet that relies on breads and pastas and rices in abundance at every meal will be seriously lacking! I limit my complex carbohydrates to low-GI foods, the occasional homemade bread, and steel-cut oats. Those, I do not consume as often as fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and the occasional organic tempeh/tofu. Looking at basic human anatomy, we can all agree that we aren’t built for meat. (our ‘canine’ teeth- really remind you of the big cats and carni/omnivores out there- yeah not really. ours are short and dull.)

    Anyway, don’t hate on the vegan diet. I’ve never been healthier.

    Lee wrote on April 7th, 2012
    • No, Lee, we can’t all agree that we aren’t all “built for meat”–otherwise we wouldn’t be here at this website. The whole idea is that we evolved eating meat and this is likely the very thing that made us humans (the increased saturated fat intake led to the developement of larger frontal lobes.) Archeology suggests there were significant times in human evolution when the human diet was almost exclusively animal flesh (the ices ages, of which there has probably been two during hominid existence.) If we hadn’t adapted to animal flesh, we likely wouldn’t be here.

      Chimps and gorillas have very large, sharp canines, despite being primarily frugivores. And although we don’t have large canines, they are larger than our hominid ancestors. And we have incisors that are very well suited to tearing through flesh. Remember the last time you bit through your check by accident?

      Fritzy wrote on April 7th, 2012
  16. *cheek*

    Fritzy wrote on April 7th, 2012
  17. I’d rather eat the rabbit than deprive it of food. That’s just cruel.

    Neesha wrote on April 7th, 2012
  18. I don’t want to disprove anyone’s way of eating on here. I am only going by my research and my experiences. But, I recently am gradually moving to a vegan diet, and it is doing wonders for me. I am no longer diabetic, and am losing weight, and feel a lot healthier in general. I also have more energy at the gym; whereas before when I was eating more meat, my overall energy was not so good. I believe that veganism is a good way to go but I don’t try to shove it down other people’s throats. It is just my belief. I don’t believe in gourging one’s self on only one thing. Just remember one thing:

    Torie F. wrote on April 21st, 2012
  19. It seems there are a lot of armchair nutritionists out there who seem to all “know” what is good and bad to eat.

    If you simply follow the FDA’s recommendations, you’d find that it is perfectly healthy to be a vegetarian. One does not need meat to have a complete and nutritious diet.

    Ari wrote on April 27th, 2012
  20. You lost a few POUNDS of muscle over a WEEK? That just is not possible.

    And he expects a 62 year-old female endurance athlete to have considerable muscle mass? And he thinks she’s fat?

    Up your game, Mark, you’re not impressing the rational people.

    Eric wrote on April 29th, 2012
  21. I’ve followed the McDougall program, low protein, high carbohydrate, and gained 25 lbs of lean muscle in 17 months (maintained 12% bf). Prior to this I had followed a mix between this and more fruitarian. I lost well over 100 lbs in 12 months.

    I come from a family of farmers, I see the destruction even “organic” meats and dairy will cause. My family is all overweight. My grandfather and grandmother both had colon cancer, my grandfather had parkinsons disease and diabetes, my father had multiple sclerosis, high blood pressure, overweight, epilepsy, IBS, gallbladder disease, many urinary tract infections, my grandmother suffered from diabetes, eczema, etc.

    My grandparents drank fresh organic cows milk every day, and slaughtered their own organic beef and chicken and didn’t spare the organ meats! Their diet and the diet of my uncle who farms was/is based on calories from fat (fresh organic butter, organic chicken eggs, pork fat) My great grandfather died at 93, my grandfather at 84, and my father at 67. I don’t think I was 250 lbs and had a damaged back and nerve damage because of it, because I ate too much bread. I ate far too much fat, and was never satisfied with such a diet.

    Growing up on a farm, I saw what goes into the production of dairy and meat products, and I completely disagree with it all. I don’t debate that plenty of small animals are killed in the production of plant foods, because they are, but there is a difference between consciously choosing to kill animals, and having them die indirectly to maintain ourselves.

    Mohmet wrote on May 12th, 2012
    • Mohmet….if you’re aware beforehand that plenty of animals, never mind trying to diminish their significance by referring to them as small, are going to die as a result of producing plant foods then you’re consciously killing them….it’s not an indirect death if you’re aware the death will occur.

      Truth, living creatures, plants and animals, die to feed us…this should be respected and understood, not done gratuitously without any compassion nor used as an excuse for haters to get off on trying to take some artificial moral high ground.

      Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  22. I tried vegatarian for a few days but always feel dissatisfied and quick to get hungry again. I now eat much more green leaf, fruit and vegetables, a little rice and grain and much smaller portions of meat, duck etc. I try to gradually reduce total intake and consume more water and green tea. Weight and energy good. Mood good. Metrics all good. My dad thinks its all bunk and eats a full diet at the age of 91!

    Sime wrote on May 20th, 2012
  23. If veganism was healthy or natural lifestyle we would see examples of it in man in his most primal state, hunter gatherers. 200+ HG cultures have been studied and there has never been one observed that was plant based. HG s are observed getting 60-70% of their calories from animal foods.Missionaries, doctors and explorers when first encountering these “primitive” peoples universally noted a complete absence to the diseases of civilization. These peoples do develop these modern diseases when they start eating modern foods, namely white flour, sugar and vegetable oils.
    If meat (animal protein) caused cancer we would see rampant examples of it in nature. We dont. As a former idealistic youthful vegan, I have come to the conclusion that veganism is a form of mental illness. It goes against our biological history and needs

    Michael Cohen wrote on May 25th, 2012
    • Michael Cohen… are correct, just as homosexuality, bisexuality and other sexual deviances go against our biological nature, but if you dare speak the truth you’re attacked and censored by the narrow minded that demand you think as they do, not based on facts or biology, but by their insistence.

      Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  24. Even though you’re 53 years old, you look so much younger than that! Actually I was an almost vegan for a few months and I was looking back on what I ate then, there were a lot of carbs, so little protein and delicious fat. I was eating vegan substitutes and that didn’t help. I have now incorporated more animal products like butter, eggs and whey. I’m not sure if I want to eat meat again. I’m eating more saturated fats but my blood pressure is pretty low like 100/60. Yay for healthy fats!

    Arusa wrote on May 26th, 2012
  25. I recall as a missionary visiting the home of a “Vegan Woman”. she was really in to this lifestyle. I remember we took a local member with us. I think this was because of some sort of “woman’s issue” I remember Sister Hunt crying after we left because this poor woman was living in the most deplorable conditions I have ever seen.
    In scripture we have been warned of this sort of thing>>>
    1Timothy 4:1-4

    1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart fom the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

    3 Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

    4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving.

    Genesis 9:1-3.

    1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

    2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

    3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

    And from my own beliefs we have…
    D&C 49:18-19

    18 And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;

    Vegan-ism really does go against the teachings of Judo-christian beliefs. It also goes against nature. Mankind is not vegetarian but omnivorous.

    There is also the issue man being the top of the food chain. The federal government has been introducing predators in the western states. In many cases into areas where they were never were in the past. They they claim they are protected. This does two bad things. One it leaves live stock in peril. The second, which is worse, is that these predators have no fear of man. As a result of this they will enter cities and kill humans.
    The whole thing makes me sick.

    Brian wrote on June 1st, 2012
    • Brian…you’re correct to a certain extent, the Bible also teaches that if you dine at a home where they do not eat meat do not expect they should serve you meat….in other words you should be respectful of other’s eating habits. Don’t see much respect for other’s eating habits here though, perhaps we should be a bit more truly Christian about the topic. However, meat eater or no, nothing wrong with respectfully debating reasons presented for choosing to be either.

      Xfingxfing wrote on January 3rd, 2013
  26. Chris Ahmed, you should have to shampoo bigfoots crotch for being such a rot mouth.

    I do have one burning question….


    BTW with my intolerances, a vegetarian diet would kill me, so I must do something else.
    To all vegetarions, rock on! if it keeps you healthy, just do it, but dont come on this forum and post a bunch of inflamatory junk.

    Kat wrote on June 6th, 2012
    • World English Dictionary
      sentience or sentiency (ˈsɛnʃəns)

      — n
      1. the state or quality of being sentient; awareness
      2. sense perception not involving intelligence or mental perception; feeling

      sentiency or sentiency

      I live in a rural area, I have spent time in fields watching cows, they eat, they drink, they void, and out of instinct take care of their young. Not a single one of them attempts to communicate with me in any way. If one of them dies the other ones walk away and dont attempt to bury or consign their lost comrade to the afterlife. They dont love, when their offspring gets big enough, they are on their own. They certainly dont care for their grandchildren or work harder to pay for college.
      as I said these are just observations.

      Kat wrote on June 6th, 2012
  27. Im not here to judge anyone’s diet but I’d like to add my own experience with the Vegan diet. I wanted to try this more “humane” way of life, I felt great for about 2-3 weeks until I noticed that I began to feel weak, irritable, tired, lowered sex drive, etc….even my hair started lookin like crap/shedding. WHen I returned back to the animal diet, all returned bac to normal in about 2 months. I must add that I suffer from anemia, it’s just not worth it to me…

    Penny Loafing wrote on June 25th, 2012
  28. I have to disagree with one thing. I don’t think the “Primal Blueprint path” is what we were designed to do. People have very little in common with any animal that eats meat and much more in common with those that don’t. Also this fails to mention that legumes are a great source of protean.

    Gypsey wrote on July 7th, 2012
    • Just totally spelled protein wrong. lol.

      Gypsey wrote on July 7th, 2012
      • Beans contain high levels of certain amino acids, but unfortunately, a significant amount can’t be assimilated due to the protease inhibitors they also contain. Add in that the lectins and indigestible starches that make them the “musical fruit” also rush them through the digestive tract, and you have what amounts to a really poor source of protein but a great source of empty carbohydrate.

        paleohuntress wrote on January 4th, 2013
  29. Well, since raw vegans are technically eating nothing but “pre-agricultural” foods. The is discussion seems a bit off key. Seems to be some other agenda at work here…

    Jesse wrote on August 12th, 2012
  30. I have been seeing a low carb weight loss Dr for two months—After countless hours of endless dogmatic pestering from some of my Vegan (unhealthy looking but thin) friends all I can say is—like the Eskimo
    —and the Masai
    —and the Plains Indians—my diet is noe about 43% Protien, 48% Fat (Saturated), and 9% Carbs.

    My Type 2 is in remission, my hdl/ldl is 64/119, and I have lost 35 pounds in two months.

    I am 69 years old and did the Mt Everesjt Base Camp Climb with my wife in Feb/March 2012—- my fitness during the climb was not what I should have have had—-I came back determined to fix the problem. The low carb/high protein diet seems to be the answer.

    Dorn wrote on August 21st, 2012
  31. Jainism espouses vegetarianism, as does Hindhuism. There is a long history of vegetarianism in the Indus valley civilization.

    Ben wrote on October 8th, 2012
    • Yah the killers a pretty good at knocking off us pacifists though..

      Jesse wrote on December 26th, 2012
    • Uh, you better start reading the Upanishads and the different Gita’s. They used to slaughter 200,000 animals at a time for many feasts. They mainly became vegetarians because of an overflow of people and they could feed more people with cheese and milk. I’ve been to India several times and I’ll tell you, the vegetarian lifespan is somewhere around 45 years old. And yes, I do they they are very poor there!

      Nocona wrote on February 22nd, 2013
  32. i been vegetarian for 6 years.vegan for almost 2 when done the right way you will get enough protein/nutrition,and vitamins.when i firsted turned vegetarian i was a horrible example i thought long as it wasn’t meat i was good so i would eating alot of whatever and high amounts.gained up to 280lbs at one point then got back on track starting 2009 and now i’m back to being in a good shape.its all about your macros protein,carbs and fats.once you find the right ratio for you and cut out processed food you’ll lose the pounds.

    i think the chefs and people that thought of the trip are bad sounds like way too may carbs but then again it was a trip lol 😛 that doctor isn’t the only example of a veggie diet.

    ndem wrote on December 28th, 2012
    • Boy, just listening to how hard it is to move things around and mix just the right combos and make sure you get your B12 and how do you get your Omega 3’s again? Does this sound like the diet you were meant to live on? Can you imagine Grok sitting around saying, “how are we gonna fill in all our dietary needs?” I’ll take the American Indian approach. What a beautiful, simple life. What beautiful bodies.

      Nocona wrote on February 22nd, 2013
  33. This argument is like arguing about religion: if there were only ONE true way we would all follow it. Be primal and enjoy how it benefits you, but don’t assume that it will work well for everyone. I don’t get the need to be self-righteous vegan haters. Most of us don’t care what you eat and contrary to egotists’ beliefs, we also don’t spend all of our time judging you. FTR, I have been vegetarian/vegan (NO meat) for 24 years, I am VERY fit (not emaciated or overweight) and I run ultramarathons. The human body is an amazing system — lots of different, healthy nutritional lifestyles are possible.

    EssDub wrote on January 15th, 2013
    • You may not spend all your time judging, but you probably spend all your time figuring out what to eat to fill all your vegetarian needs. Did I get enough B12, did I get my Omega 3’s, do I need to eat some frankenfood to fill this or that gap? I’ll take what humans ate for mellenia over some Vegan type experiment any day of the week.

      Nocona wrote on February 22nd, 2013
  34. I was an on again off again vegan for YEARS! I could just cry thinking of all the mornings I ate oatmeal when I really wanted eggs, and all the dinners where I ate rice with veggies and was feeling hungry an hour later. It’s nearly impossible to manage your weight as a vegan cause you’re ALWAYS FREAKIN’ HUNGRY!

    Murf wrote on January 20th, 2013
  35. There is absolutely no requirement for meat in the human diet–Ivy schools Cornell and Harvard have already determined that the optimum amount of meat required in the human diet is ZERO!
    This is not dogma–this is fact!
    You went into this retreat with a closed mind despite your writings to the contrary. You were already convinced in your mind that paleo primal which has zero actual science behind it is better. If an overweight person is about to eat tons of starch based carbs they will feel satisfied and they will not consume harmful fat. You demonize carbs like Atkins and all of the other paleo promoters, but you have no clue about the role of natural sugars and fats in the body. You mistakenly blame sugar and carbs for diabetes when fat is and always has been the culprit. Fat interferes with proper sugar metabolism and messes with the insulin receptor sites and overworks the pancreas. Carbs such as starch have been staples for every single successful culture in existence since the beginning of time. This blog is quick to utilize anti-vegan dogma which makes the intentions of the blogger suspect. The lame argument that is quite often seen around the internet right now is “There has never been a culture that hasn’t eaten meat” This type of thinking intimates that our (bad) habits and virtues label our culture. Over 10 % of U.S. citizens are vegetarians right now. Is the U.S. predominantly a meat eating culture—yes right now it is. It is also a culture of rapists and murderers if we were to judge it by repeated offenses and habits. Change dictates that we move from one place to another and quite often that change may be the hardest thing to do. Adopting a plant strong diet is difficult for most Americans because they are obese, addicted, and constantly fed confusing and conflicting information that has no basis in science like the blog above.
    PCRM (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine) of which Dr. McDougall is a part are a large group of doctors who conduct clinical research and collect pertinent data regarding the diseases of affluence and their root causes. They have observed over the years the constant success of their diet programs and are not out to capitalize on the sick by submitting them to drugs, surgeries and protocols that do nothing for the patient but ensure lucrative returns for physicians.

    Mark wrote on February 6th, 2013
    • Hmmm very strange that as a type 1 diabetic my insulin sensitivity has increased massively since going low carb (zero grains) and high animal fat. But i’m sure you’d be able to explain that, exspecially with all the references you’ve povided to back up these ‘facts’.

      greg wrote on February 14th, 2013
      • Same here Greg. My son is a type 1 and he uses half the insulin he used to. His endocrinologist is thrilled about his improved A1C numbers (typically below 7). And we don’t eat ‘no carbs’, he gets a half a sweet potato or a full fried plantain or a whole grapefruit at least once a day and boy is he getting big (and lean), no growth stunting here! Paleo eating is the best thing that has ever happened to my family, bar none.

        Interestingly before being paleo/primal, we were raw vegan for nearly a year and I have never been sicker. I had to start taking advare for my asthma again and my allergies were out of control. That was three years ago. Now I don’t take any pharmacrap and I’ve been RUNNING in the 23 degree weather with aplomb.

        Sadly, I wish the vegans and vegetarians could see that we agree on 90% of the things here: eat whole foods, don’t eat processed crud, eat leafy greens and fresh fruits. The only difference is that paleo/primal avoid grains and eats high quality meats (and delicious heart healthy natural saturated fats). See? Not that different at all! 😉


        Tim wrote on February 14th, 2013
    • My god Mark, you are truly ignorant. It is carbs you have absolutely no need for in the human diet. You would die without fat or protein. You would not die without carbs. I could through every one of your opinions that have no basis in fact, but it’s exhausting to even think about it. Sorry, you can’t fool many folks on here. The Paleo community is one of the most scientifically studied, fact based, well read areas on the internet today. Yes we make mistakes, but we are always willing to learn more when the research bears it out..and we will look into it with open eyes and not emotion.

      Nocona wrote on February 22nd, 2013
      • How about “different strokes for different folks”? You know, we are all individuals? Aboriginals left to themselves (no contact with civilization) never completely avoided carbs.

        If biological individuality doesn’t count, how the heck can some folks consume quite a bit of fruit and sugar, yet stay slim and energetic even though they aren’t terribly active?

        It could be opined that needing – and just as important, enjoying & thriving on – a 99% protein + fat diet is a sign of a particular form of constitution. No more or less.

        Does anyone here address the matter of why some of us just can’t hack the lean protein + fat diet? Are we somehow inferior from birth? (Serious question.)

        Wyandotte wrote on February 23rd, 2013
        • This gets me everytime: it’s not a choice between massive vegtables + carbs and massive protein + fat. Paleo is not all protein and fat. Paleo is Vegetables fruits and protein and fat. Now the ratios differ somewhat depending on which paleo person/guru you talk to but to think that we all eat only steaks and bacon all day is absurd. I personally eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies with my complete proteins and heart healthy natural saturated fats. Heck this morning my breakfast was a fruit+coconut oil+egg smoothie. That said, I can’t have a lot of carbs or sugars or I feel lethargic and start putting on weight. Others might not have that problem… and that’s fine. I get sick of being labeled a ‘low carber’ when I am far more concerned with getting nutrient dense food and avoiding the birdseed that used to make me sick.


          Tim wrote on February 23rd, 2013
        • Exactly. Paleo is about the quality of the food you eat and what you leave OUT. People get so hung up on the idea that it’s “low carb”, but frankly, only a low-carb Paleo diet is low carb enough to be labeled as such. There are moderate and high carb paleo diets too. Within the paleo parameters, a person can find whatever combination of macros works for them. Chances are, if you’re already lean, you’re not looking to lose weight, but if you’re overweight, you likely have some metabolic derangement going on and cutting carbs is the way to go. If you’re storing fat, CUT CARBOHYDRATE.

          I also eat a ton of veggies, more than I did when I was VEGAN even, and I enjoy carrots and parsnips and yams on occasion too. The more active I am, the more starch I can healthfully eat. Paleo isn’t any single diet.


          paleohuntress wrote on February 23rd, 2013
        • Wyandotte, who said anything about completely avoiding carbs? I was answering Mark in an above post. The human body does NOT need carbs to survive, but that’s not saying we can’t get great nutrients out of many fruits and vegetables. Who said anything about a 99% protein and fat diet on here. You need to read the site before you make ridiculous claims. We just may eat more veggies than most vegetarians because we cut out all the grains, pasta, potatos, legumes, etc. and fill that in with more fat and veggies.

          Nocona wrote on February 23rd, 2013
  36. Oh my gosh, i don’t remember when i laughed so darn much.

    Thank you

    Nala wrote on February 7th, 2013
  37. dr mcdougal has cured more than 5000 people, ‘primal’ diet/atkind etc kills people (atkins died fat with congestive heart faliure) atkind type diet works short term then most people blow up and start binging on unhealthy things – atkins type diet is not sustainable. I know i was on it for 2 years folling advice from my personal trainer who is now depressed and taked tonns of suppliment just so he can stay awake, with dr mcdougal programme i eat things i love and have all the energy i want to thinings in life that i want to do.

    peaceandhappy wrote on February 14th, 2013
  38. Mark,
    I agree that processed carbs are not a healthy diet.

    You stated “I couldn’t avoid losing a few pounds of hard-fought muscle myself over the week.
    Q: What objective measure did you use to quantify this conclusion?

    JD Mumma wrote on February 19th, 2013
    • Uh, maybe he stepped on a scale. He doesn’t have much fat to lose!

      Nocona wrote on February 22nd, 2013
  39. This is just a gross misrepresentation of what the mcdougall diet is all about. He doesn’t offer sugary drinks, He doesn’t promote refined foods, he doesn’t insinuate that you can supplement. He strictly advocates against all three of those things. Besides B12. Author is a liar. Mcdougall has helped countless people, with various ailments. Someone should club mark sisson with a brontosaurus femur everytime he lies.

    Rob wrote on February 22nd, 2013
    • “This is just a gross misrepresentation of what the mcdougall diet is all about. He doesn’t offer sugary drinks”

      He recommends fruit juice- I’m looking at his page now. 8 ounces of fresh apple juice contains more sugar than the same amount of Sprite. Do you consider Sprite a sugary drink?

      “He doesn’t promote refined foods

      Soy and nut cheese aren’t refined foods? Ener-G Egg Replacer? Tofu mayonaise? Light Tofutti? Frozen juice bars? I’m looking at the list of “allowed foods” on his official website right now. You are mistaken.

      “He strictly advocates against all three of those things. Besides B12.”

      You are mistaken. (And the B12 IS a supplement after all.)

      “Author is a liar.”

      Mark is dead on… not a single lie.

      “Someone should club mark sisson with a brontosaurus femur everytime he lies.”

      Perhaps it would be helpful to club the ignorant instead, before they get their hands on a keyboard.


      paleohuntress wrote on February 22nd, 2013
      • Huntress, that was a sublime reply. Most of these vegetarians STILL think fruit juice is healthy. It’s off the charts full of sugar (not to mention the newer and newer varieties of fruit grown with more sugar content, unlike the much less sweet whole fruit of ancient days). Just look at all that Frankenfood the Doctor served, and I use the word Doctor loosely.

        Nocona wrote on February 22nd, 2013
        • Nacona,

          Thank you. =) And I agree, his dependence on soy foods is pretty scary. Indigestible sugars, biounavailable proteins, estrogen mimickers, chelators and goitrogens does not a healthy food, make. ~shudders~

          paleohuntress wrote on February 22nd, 2013
      • Certainly, taken out of context without reading the whole program one might assume he advocating drinking processed big name pure sugar fruit juices. of corse, he isn’t. The juices hes talking about are fresh juices, squeezed at home. but i did forget that this is the low carb, we-think-we-know-how-people-in-the-paleolithic-era-lived-and-fruit-is-what-makes-america-fat forum, regardless of what science says. For that, i apologize for even commenting in the first place. Contrary to how it may sound, all (ok most) of those substitutes he offers are minimally processed and could be made in a kitchen. He does go on to say how small a role all of those things you mention should have in someones diet. While he allows those foods as a means to keep the diet from being impossible for some people or newcomers to follow, he does stress the importance of keeping your diet “whole”. As far as the B12 “argument” goes, its one of the most neglected nutrients in any diet, vegan, vegetarian or omnivore. Animals dont make it, Heat destroys it, disinfecting our food kills it and washing soil off of food kills it. If we still foraged for food the way they did in the past, we would surely get B12 rich soil in our diet. im not eating dirt, so ill eat a supplement. Pretty sure Weston A. Price tub-o-lard Sally Fallon is a big B12 advocate as well, among many others that may or may not be respected in the paleo world. plus, if “going primal” was so perfect why are there two sidebars on this page selling supplements? Mark IS a liar, A liar who bases his ideas on poorly researched half-truths or incomplete information. His poorly researched ideas and easily debunked hypothesis on diet, genes and how we evolved as a species single-handedly (yes, im exaggerating) turned me into a vegan and managed to cure a litany of ailments, for that, i suppose i should thank him. Managing heart problems while still eating grain products, does put a monkey wrench in the gears at Paleo Inc. but it also feels great, having tried a low carb fad paleo type diet and feeling miserable, now, being able to take control of my life.

        Rob wrote on February 22nd, 2013
        • Rob,

          “one might assume he advocating drinking processed big name pure sugar fruit juices. of corse, he isn’t. The juices hes talking about are fresh juices, squeezed at home.”

          You’ll note that I said fresh squeezed apple juice. Not the stuff from the supermarket. And I’ll repeat, a freshly juiced apple contains more sugar (and more free fructose) than the same amount of Sprite.

          “fruit-is-what-makes-america-fat forum”

          We know with absolute certainty that primitive man didn’t have access to fruit for more than a few weeks a year. We also know that that glut of fructose in the Fall triggered seasonal leptin and then insulin resistance, and that it is this adaptation that allowed primitive man to store fat to get him through lean Winters. We know with absolute certainty that the fruit he DID have access to contained significantly less sugar than today’s fruits do.

          “He does go on to say how small a role all of those things you mention should have in someones diet. While he allows those foods as a means to keep the diet from being impossible for some people or newcomers to follow, he does stress the importance of keeping your diet “whole”.”
          Perhaps if you’d been genuine in your criticism and used this language to begin with, you wouldn’t have been slapped down so harshly.

          “Animals dont make it” [B12]

          That’s very true- but their flesh does contain it, and the primary source of B12 is the gut flora of an animal.

          “Pretty sure Weston A. Price tub-o-lard Sally Fallon is a big B12 advocate as well”

          Why do people think Sally Fallon is respected in the Paleo world? She advocates eating grains, beans and dairy- all THREE of these things are eschewed in paleo diets. Why would we CARE what Sally Fallon advocates?

          “Mark IS a liar, A liar who bases his ideas on poorly researched half-truths or incomplete information.”
          This is the second time you’ve called him a liar, and he still isn’t. Do you think if you say it again, it somehow becomes true? Mark isn’t the only Paleo expert out there- there are many others (Loren Cordain, Robb Wolf, Matt LaLonde, Ray Audette)- and most depend on peer-reviewed science as their resource. So if you think his ideas are poorly researched, quit bitchin’ and provide your own. Please do share your citations to peer-reviewed evidence. I for one am always open to learning something new. I spent two years as a vegan and was pretty heavily invested in it until the science showed me otherwise. So please, show me I’m wrong. Show me that the resolution to the diabetes, the hypertension, the GERD, the depression, the infertility and the acne were just a fluke- that my cholesterol came down from over 300 to just over 130 after leaving veganism, and I lost 100 pounds and my inflammation markers vanished due to some unaccounted-for confounder. Because really and truly, I’m always looking for better science.

          Above all though, be genuine. For someone to be a liar, they actually have to LIE. You not agreeing with them isn’t the same thing, especially when you don’t bother backing it up with evidence.


          paleohuntress wrote on February 22nd, 2013
        • Rob, what exactly was taken out of context? Huntress has her arrows pointed at you like a deer in headlights. You are dead in the water my friend. Try a different track next time.

          Nocona wrote on February 23rd, 2013
      • I have read The Starch Solution and in my opinion you are taking the facts out of context. Mark Sisson is not a liar, but he also has not read McDougall’s books and in my opinion, he implies certain things in the article that are more an indication of his biases than anything grounded in fact aka marathon runner, “she looked like hell,” ergo vegan diet is the cause. This can be easily debunked by the fact that 1) Triathletes are generally not muscular-looking 2) Age and 3) If you used to be overweight your skin will tend to be “baggier” and age will cause it to sag over time (she was overweight, I checked) 4) Spending a lot of time in the sun will give you wrinkles. The fact that she is 62 and still an athlete is actually quite remarkable, and should indicate that her internal organs are functioning quite well even if she doesn’t look great on the outside. How many 62-year-old triathletes do you know?

        I think McDougall allows fruit juices and those other “refined” foods and sauces as a transitional step, not as a large and meaningful part of a starch-based diet that includes fruits and vegetables. Many people who attend these kinds of “live-in” programs have some pretty severe problems; they are not very healthy. You can’t simply ask them to give up the SAD overnight. That’s a huge change in lifestyle. Hence the need to flavor ingredients like potatoes, beans, whole grains that are much blander than hot dogs, hamburgers, fried foods, etc. When asked what the ideal diet is, he is unequivocal: sweet potatoes and vegetables. This is what the Kitavans and Okinawans ate; Peruvians used to eat 75% potatoes with a variety of fruits and vegetables and small amounts of animals foods. Every single large and successful human population on earth has survived on a starch-based diet. There can be no disagreement on this point. McDougall is 100% correct when he says that human beings are primarily “starchivores.”

        The controversy arises when vegans and paleo followers debate the necessity of animal foods in human diets. McDougall makes clear that it is at present “unknown” according to scientific research if meat in small amounts occasionally is necessary for optimal human health over the long-run, but he is again 100% absolutely right that most people are eating too much animal foods. The reason he advocates a vegan diet and not a starch-based diet with small additions of meat is because, in his own words, “it’s a slippery slope.” If your goal is to treat very sick people who eat animal foods every day, the only way to really get the drastic results these people want is to cut out all animal foods entirely.

        Traditional Chinese Medicine says it’s ok for people to eat animal products 3-4 times week but not more than 2-3 oz in one day. Dairy products are used in vegetarian Indian cuisine in small amounts. Fish eggs and seafood were eaten again in small amounts by the Okinawans. It’s all about balance…Humans are starchivores, they need to eat cooked vegetables and grains primarily with some fruit, nuts and seeds in small amounts. Animal foods may or may not be necessary…Science will tell us eventually…

        Tony wrote on June 9th, 2013
  40. Ive been vegetarian for about 10 years, I eat my pet chickens their eggs though. I agree that higher fat is good. I tried high carb for a while but it screwed up my menstruation, I lost too much weight, my skin became very dry, and other weird shit… I now eat more fat and I am very healthy. I don’t eat gluten and mostly eat vegetables, lentils, beans, some rice, buckwheat, and lately more fat like coconut oil, coconut milk, avocado, eggyolks… My skin improved dramatically. Because I had been low fat for years before that. At first i thought low fat was the way to go, but it isn’t.

    I don’t need or eat meat though, I am a vegetarian not for health reasons but for the love for animals :) My own chickens are treated like kings and queens.

    Ann wrote on February 23rd, 2013

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