Dear Mark: Foods for a One-Year-Old, Vegan to Primal, and Low-Carb Failing Fibromyalgia

Baby food? For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering three reader questions. The first comes from Chris, who’s a little worried his one-year-old isn’t eating a wide enough variety of foods. As it turns out, he doesn’t need to worry, though I do offer a few suggestions for foods to include or offer. Next, how should Verria, a long-time vegan, transition to Primal? Is there anything to watch out for? What physiological and psychological issues will Anita have to face and overcome? And finally, what tips do I have for a fibromyalgia patient whose condition hasn’t improved on a strict very low-carb, high-fat diet?

Let’s go:

Hello Mark,

I just want to thank you for the plethora of free knowledge that you make available on your website.

I have a 12 month old and his diet mainly consists of avocado, sweet potato, eggs (mostly pasture raised from local farms, but in the winter I buy some store bought because chickens don’t lay nearly as much in the cold IL winter) banana and berries. He also drinks coconut water, raw milk from a local farm, some formula and takes a cod liver oil supplement from green pastures. He strays from these main foods occasionally, but they make up the majority of his calories. Is this enough variety for him? How hard should I try to get him to eat a wider variety of foods?

I try to keep broth on hand because of its many benefits, is broth from conventional supermarket chickens and turkeys still good to consume, or should it be avoided?

Thanks again and Grok on,


That looks pretty solid. You’re doing great.

A 12 month old “needs” about 1000 calories each day. The needs vary on the particular child, of course, and it’ll change from day to day. My kids sometimes seemed to eat nothing at all for an entire day without any ill effect. The key is learning how not to freak out and just let them lead the way. But I digress. Back to your kid.

I plugged 1000 calories of those foods into Cronometer to gauge his nutrient intake, guessing on the amounts and proportions.

A medium banana, a medium sweet potato, two cups of whole milk, a small avocado, a teaspoon of cod liver oil, a cup of blueberries, two eggs, half cup of coconut water. That’s a hair over 1000 calories and gives him a lot of vitamins and minerals. Far more variety than his peers eating rice puffs and carrot sticks and mac ‘n’ cheese, even though the average pediatrician would probably wonder where the hearthealthywholegrains are.

I have a few suggestions.

Try some green vegetables. These won’t provide many calories, or even much micronutrition (you’ve got that covered well already). It will help him develop the taste for vegetables. He may hate what you’ve offered thus far, so keep trying different ones. A kid might detest lacinato kale but love purple kale. Vary the cooking methods. He could hate steamed spinach but love it sautéed in butter. Kids are just people, which means they’re as weird as the rest of us.

Try some meaty bones. Yes, I know your kid isn’t a dog. But toss him a roasted marrow bone. Hand him a chicken drumstick from those pastured chickens. Offer a beef shank. He doesn’t have the teeth to do much, but it’ll help him develop a taste for meat and he’ll gum that thing for an hour. It’s the Primal version of shutting the kid up with an iPad.

Try some white potatoes, cooked and cooled to increase the resistant starch content. It wouldn’t hurt for your kid to eat more prebiotic fiber. These can sometimes replace the sweet potatoes.

Consider some kefir or yogurt. You can easily replace some of the milk with fermented dairy. Get those taste buds exposed to the tang of dairy ferments.

Good job! Oh, and I’m obliged to say, check with your pediatrician, too!

I’ve been vegan for awhile and now that I’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune illness I’ve done research and maybe I need to eat meat….the challenge is how do I transition back to meat after being vegan for over 10 years? I suspect I no longer have the enzymes to digest meat and I had problems with eggs the last time I tried them. Any advice?


Studies show that going vegan for a month down-regulates production of the pancreatic enzymes used to digest animal protein. This may happen more quickly than a month, but it’s the only data we have. Either way, it shouldn’t take any longer—and likely much shorter—than a month for your digestive enzymes to catch up and start facilitating meat digestion. Until they ramp up, go easy on meat. Don’t eat a full rack of ribs or go or the 40 ounce ribeye challenge for your first meal.

That’s not the biggest issue, even though it’s what most focus on. After all, humans are obligate omnivores. We’ve been eating meat for millions of years. The scrawniest vegan is built to eat meat, even if the machinery responsible for its digestion is a bit rusty. But that’s temporary and easily overcome.

The biggest impediment will probably be the psychology of meat consumption: you’re suddenly eating flesh. You’re “responsible” for the death of a cute, fuzzy animal, a sentient being robbed of its existence so that you can chow down. That’s heavy. And even if you intellectually acknowledge the benefit of eating meat, your subconscious must grapple with its ramifications.

Gotta turn that around on itself. Give thanks to the animal for its sacrifice. Invoke a higher deity if that’s how you roll. But don’t hide from the fact that you’re supporting death; that’ll only gnaw at your subconscious. Acknowledge that you’re a willing participant in the cycle of life and death which has gone on for millions upon millions of years. The flesh of the animal provides the sustenance you and your ancestors have been relying upon for many millennia. That’s beautiful. That’s your heritage. It made you who you are, even if you ran from it for awhile.

Own it.

I am a 61 yr old female. I’ve been on an LCHF/banting diet for a year now as I have a family history of diabetes and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. I have gone down to a very low level of carbs 25g a day been, in ketosis for a few months and lost only a few kilo in weight (my weight is 72kg).

My main concern is that I haven’t felt any benefit from LCHF diet; no energy, no relief from pain in my muscles and joints. In actual fact I have less energy which was already at a low.

Is there anything I can do to enjoy the benefits that LCHF diet is suppose to give?


For those who don’t know, the Banting diet is Dr. Tim Noakes‘ take on low-carb, high-fat diets. Based on William Banting, a formerly obese Englishman from the 19th century who lost weight by reducing simple carbs, the Banting diet will be familiar to everyone reading this: emphasize animal fat, reduce carbs (especially sugars and other simple carbs), load upon on green vegetables, limit fruit and nuts and dairy if weight loss slows.

It’s usually a great way to eat, but as a fibromyalgia patient you might have to take special considerations.

There’s not a ton of good diet research into fibromyalgia. Or research at all, for that matter. For years, it was the “invisible illness.” Patients were told it was “all in their head” or that they were “making it up.” How do you run dietary studies into treatment for a disease that doesn’t even exist?

It’s real, of course. But science is still catching up. Let’s look at what little there is for any clues.

Magnesium: In a recent paper (in Portuguese, but the tables are easy enough to read without translation), researchers compared the diets of people with fibromyalgia to those of healthy controls. 100% of fibromyalgia patients had inadequate intakes of magnesium. This jibes with other studies that have found low levels of magnesium (and manganese, calcium, iron) in hair samples from fibromyalgia patients. Studies indicate that the relationship between magnesium deficiency and fibromyalgia may be causally related. In one, transdermal magnesium (4 sprays per limb, twice a day, using magnesium chloride oil) improved quality of life. In another, oral magnesium citrate reduced the spot tenderness and intensity of fibromyalgia, especially combined with amitriptyline (an antidepressant often used in fibromyalgia).

Try taking 200-300 mg of magnesium (if oral, try citrate, malate, or glycinate forms; if transdermal, go with the oil linked above).

Calories: Fibromyalgia patients ate around 1400 calories to the controls’ 1700 calories, a likely artifact of the lower metabolic rates normally found in this population. Going low-carb, high-fat is a fantastic way to spontaneously reduce appetite, increase satiety, control calorie intake, and lose weight, but if the problem is not eating enough food—as it may be for fibromyalgia—VLCHF may push things unnecessarily low. You probably don’t need to go as low as 25 grams of carbs per day.

Try eating a few more carbs.

Vitamin D: Low vitamin D is linked to fibromyalgia symptomsOne recent trial showed that women with fibromyalgia who test low for vitamin D benefit from supplementation, reporting less pain and fatigue.

Test your vitamin D levels and supplement if you need it.

Light exposure: Getting UV exposure on your skin, even from a tanning bed, can ease fibromyalgia symptoms. Getting natural light exposure in the morning and early afternoon and limiting light exposure after dark can improve your sleep and optimize your circadian rhythm, two major factors in fibromyalgia.

Get light during the day and limit it at night.

Exercise: Typical exercise might not help as much as normal. Intense exercise performed to exhaustion, normally beneficial and anti-inflammatory, has paradoxical, inflammatory effects in fibromyalgia patients. This means if you train like I advise, you’ll want to drop everything down a notch. Sprint, but do really short sprints. Lift heavy things, but keep the reps low. Walk as often as you can (especially in natural settings, which may improve your symptoms), but don’t push yourself too hard or too long. Going so hard and long that your lungs and muscles burn is probably counterproductive. A good barometer is how the exercise makes you feel. If you feel good, if your symptoms improve, it’s “good” for you. If the exercise makes you feel bad or worsens your symptoms, it’s probably “bad.” Aquatic exercise can help. Easy stationary (or mobile) cycling can help.

Exercise, but not too hard. Focus on gentle, enjoyable, frequent movement.

And again, talk with your doctor. Hope it helps!

That’s it for today, everyone. If you’ve got input on any of the questions, leave it down below!

Thanks for reading.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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52 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Foods for a One-Year-Old, Vegan to Primal, and Low-Carb Failing Fibromyalgia”

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  1. I know it can be hard it eat other animals. The truth is, we cannot be nourished without loss of life. The harvesting of many plants we eat decimates a population of small creatures. I feel the best we can do is eat real food! If it is a plant or eats a plant then good to eat. If it was made in a plant then avoid!

    1. Georgina, that’s a great way to put it; I will probably steal that from you…;-)

      I was a vegetarian/vegan for 30+ years. I felt pretty good much of the time, although I never lasted longer than a few months as vegan, due to extreme cheese and egg cravings and my strong dislike of consuming manufactured foods.

      When I began eating meat, I felt pretty guilty for a while. Then I watched the Lion King with my grandson and had an epiphany. I am part of the circle and cycle of life; pretending I was above or outside of that was a disservice to the interdependent existence we share with all life on the planet.
      I make a point of eating homegrown meat, dairy and eggs, visiting farms to ensure that the animals have a lovely life before they end up in my belly. I also don’t eat meat every day…one or two times a week, plus eggs does me just fine. It helps to know that I am not enabling animal mistreatment, that I am one day food for something else, and that I am still vegetarian 2/3 of the time.

    2. yes, good point–but there is one thing we can do actively, which is to support biodiversity: native landscaping, for instance, supports a host of species. if you’re really into this thing, google “wolves of yellowstone video” and check it out. natural conservation ftw!

  2. Wow, interesting questions today! I was impressed with the one year old’s diet. In regards to the vegan transitioning to Primal, I was a vegetarian for over 30. For several years I was mostly vegan (and mostly raw). Transitioning back to animal products was easier than I thought. Eggs were very easy to incorporate back. I had some texture issues with meat in the beginning, but i have gotten over that completely and have no problem digging into a grass fed rib eye these days. But I always listen to my body. At certain times I crave more animal protein than others. I still don’t really like chicken, but enjoy the broth. I was a healthy vegetarian, but I can honestly say I feel even better (acne, digestive issues and anxiety gone) eating primal.

  3. I think the fear of not being able to digest meat is largely promoted by the vegan community. It goes hand in hand with the “we aren’t designed to eat meat” theory.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 30 years now. Last year I decided to try meat again. Just curious. I had turkey, tri-tip steak, chicken, sausage, and bacon over the course of a couple months. My opinion was turkey had the most flavor but an uninspiring texture, steak didn’t really taste like anything at all, chicken was worse, sausage was pretty flavorful but too greasy, and bacon was just salty. It reminded me of why I gave up meat so easily – it doesn’t appeal to me.

    But I digested it just fine. Now that’s just me, but still, 29 years without meat and I had no issues.

    1. I did have trouble digesting red meat after 14 years strict vegetarian & 14 more with just occasional fish & chicken.

      But I also had undiagnosed Celiac Disease for much of that time. Could well have been part of the problem.

      In any case, after a few very uncomfortable efforts with steak & hamburger, I started out with small amounts of meat slow-cooked in broth with vegetables, & worked up to whole meat servings slowly. Now I can handle the real deal, though I still don’t eat it every week, let alone every day.

  4. Verria,

    Your letter is very well timed. I was just diagnosed with an auto immune and I have been vegan for almost 20 years. I had to break veganism a couple of months ago, as most vegan proteins are inflammatory and I’m on AutoImmune Protocol. My advice? Start off with fish for a while. I eased into it by eating salmon, tuna, sashimi and then went to bone broth. When I finally had meat it was ground beef so it was easier to digest. It seems to be helping me a great deal, I hope the switch goes off without a hitch.

  5. Thanks for the Fibro discussion. My wife has had severe Fibro for 20+ years and we heard all the “it’s not a real disease” and “it’s all in your head” nonsense from doctors who ignored the reality in front of them. She has slowly declined over time to where she now uses a power chair outside the house, and forearm crutches in our home to get around. A flight of stairs for her is a real workout.

    At my urging, she’s tried the primal diet for a couple of 30 day stretches and she found no improvement from that. I do insist on her getting enough sunlight (I know she supplements with vitamin D) but wasn’t aware of the magnesium link. She probably does know about it and may be supplementing for it already, she tries to keep up with the latest developments.

    What you state above lines up with our experiences. Thanks for the even-handed treatment of a condition that not many people understand.

    1. Ted, you and your wife might want to look into Sarah Ballantyne’s work (The Paleo Approach) for further information on autoimmune disease and diet. My partner has pretty severe rheumatoid arthritis and she had good (though not miraculous) results with the paleo AIP. She had tried giving up nightshades once before for a month and found no difference, but the AIP recommends a minimum of 2-4 months on the elimination diet before starting reintroductions. With that length of time off of nightshades, it was clear when we tried to reintroduce them that they make her symptoms worse.

  6. For Anita: I am 62 years old with a history of autoimmune disorders (Hashimoto’s, celiac, UC) and a mother and siblings all with significant autoimmune conditions as well. I am at a distance from the rest of the family…their rheumatologist call them the Autoimmune Family.

    Primal has significantly improved my health in all areas. For the past several months, my husband has gotten on board and has had great success with dropping weight, increasing strength, and eliminating his BP meds. He benefits from intermittent fasting and VLC, and I have gone along with this since it helps him so much.

    HOWEVER, I have recently noticed a huge drop in exercise tolerance, along with a tendency to injury from the smallest things, and salt and sweet cravings. After getting the brush-off from my Dr (Unusual, I will chalk it up to a bad day) despite a low 24-hr urine cortisol, I have decided to stop the IF and go slightly higher carb, paying attention to getting enough calories (up to 1800-2000 from 1300-1500, just wasn’t hungry) and giving in to my salt cravings.

    So, I make our breakfast smoothies first thing in the AM, drink mine, and put his in the fridge for when he starts his 8-hour window. A fairly salty lassi in the afternoon, or some cheese and GF crackers, salt at table with meals for sodium, and lots of water throughout the day. A week in, and I’m feeling better.

    Takeaway: keep up those calories, keep on with Primal but avoid IF. Best of luck!

  7. Hey Mark – I was hoping you’d answer this part of the first question, since I was wondering the same, but it seemed to get skipped over – “is broth from conventional supermarket chickens and turkeys still good to consume, or should it be avoided?”

    Obviously broth from superior meat sources would be better, but is that broth still worth consuming?

    1. From everything I’ve read, a lot of the toxins in conventionally raised meats are stored in the fats and potentially in the bones, at least in the marrow. So I would avoid them and stick with pastured for bone broth.

  8. Anyone know if using conventional beef bones for making broth is no good? I ran out of grass fed bones we got from our last order of half side beef and really like hot broth these wet and cold winters. How about more fitness related topics? Love your work, thanks Mark and worker bees!

    1. I’d say no. Most of the nasty stuff from conventional meat goes right to the fat, and marrow is very fatty.

      1. Yeah makes sense, I guess we’ll eat roast chicken a few times and do without broth for awhile- damn it!! Make chicken broth next week.

  9. I have fibromyalgia and for me it took the extra step of figuring out food sensitivities for my diet to really help with it. I need a certain amount of carbs to combat the fatigue, so I try to get them from whole-food sources as much as possible (I do eat a bit of rice now and then, please don’t kick me out of Fight Club). Lots of quality fat helped with the pain tremendously, but it turns out I’m super sensitive to dairy, eggs and avocados so I rely on coconut, nuts, olives and animal fat (lard/tallow/schmaltz/etc.) for most of my fat consumption. So for me it wasn’t just how many grams of carbs or fat or whatever I was getting, it was the source that was most important. Oh, and no booze. That was the final piece of the puzzle.

  10. I would advise Chris to reconsider giving cod liver oil from Green Pastures (or any other CLO, for that matter) to a small child. Legitimate questions have been raised about this product. I no longer take it. Do some research.

    1. Second this. It’s worth reading about the possible quality issues in “fermented cod liver oil”. Short version – likely it’s actually just rancid.

    2. I have considered EVCLO instead. Why would you condemn all CLO? Its full of EPA, DHA, Vitamin D and Vitamin A in a healthy and natural balance. I have heard that some CLO is bad due to the processing that some companies do, which is why I chose green pastures in the first place. I have recently read bad reviews on it, however I have never experienced any of the negative effects that they spoke of (burning in the back of the throat etc) lucky me I guess as each batch can vary. Even so I would never condemn all CLO and I’m sure Mark would have said something if he thought it was a bad idea. Overall I think the positives of a solid CLO outweigh any negatives I have seen up to this point (yes I have done a lot of research)

      1. Chris: I’m not condemning all CLO. It appears that EVCLO is indeed a wholesome product, and is the one I would choose if so inclined. My perspective: 1. Dr. Price appears to have used CLO primarily as a therapeutic, and warned that it must be very fresh. 2. CLO use originated in far northern Norway where it isn’t possible to make vitamin D in the skin for many months. 3. CLO can vary widely in its vitamin content, partly due to the season when it was harvested. 4. I think it usually best to nourish our bodies with whole foods. Seafood, especially wild Alaskan salmon, organs and fat from pastured ruminants (and pigs and fowl) and their milk, mid-day sun exposure during the warm months, and natto contain all the benefits from CLO/HVBO and much more. There was a fascinating study (Results of the Self-Selection of Diets by Young Children, by Clara M. Davis M.D) published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Sept. 1939, showing that infants at weaning will select a wide variety of wholesome foods if given the opportunity. By the way, Mark’s answer to your question was excellent, as always. Babies (like animals) are actually much smarter about food selection than we give them credit for, or that adults and children often are. Enjoy the little guy!

        1. Addendum: The Bristol study is behind a pay wall, but it clearly shows that higher fish intake is associated with higher cognitive function, and lower fish intake with lower. The mercury in fish scare is just that-the selenium content in fish mitigates the toxicity of the mercury, and the medical recommendation to expectant mothers to avoid fish is based on ignorance (we’re all ignorant of what we don’t know about), and is bad advice.

  11. We used to make a “mash” with chicken, sweet potato, pureed greens and avocado for our 1 year olds. Now, (they are 4 and 1.5) they LOVE their greens. I think that since we started early and kept with it, they both chow down on steamed kale, collards greens, bok choy…and they love it! They always ask for more!

  12. Verria, when I made the transition from vegetarian to meat eater I started by taking digestive enzyme supplements in order to kick start my own enzymes. Every week I took a stroll to the meat counter at the market, looked and for a while just came away empty handed – I wasn’t ready. Then one day I walked up to the counter and thought….Yum! I came home with a small piece of steak and some liver! – I’ve never looked back! Words cannot explain how much better I feel. Food is definitely medicine. I can recommend offal as being so nutrient dense that you won’t need to eat too much too often. Buy grass if you can, helps on so many levels! Good luck!

    1. My attempt at being a vegetarian was short-lived–about a month. I felt rotten, low energy, frequent headaches, vague feelings of unwellness, etc. I thought my body just needed to get used to the new regimen. When I started dreaming about juicy steaks topped with herb butter, I realized how much I need meat in my diet. I don’t knock a vegetarian or vegan diet. Some people do well on them. It just wasn’t for me.

    2. Sarah, I second your approach to taking some digestive enzymes when transitioning from vegetarian to Primal.

      Actually, many of us, especially as we age, do better with a good quality digestive enzyme product.

  13. We need more information on being primal for kids. Maybe MDA could do an occasional post for it.

    Everything I read is based on adult quantities. But kids needs are on a continuous curve, all the way from prenatal to late teens.

    1. Wouldn’t you use the same approach for kids? We always fed our kids meat, eggs, fruit, and plenty of vegetables (pulverized when they were little), in addition to a few dairy products. They didn’t get much in the way of cereal grains. I didn’t realize it at the time, but they were eating a fairly Paleo diet. To this day they both love vegetables. There’s not much you can do once they get into middle school, with its easy access to sodas and junk food, but if you lay a good foundation while they’re young, they’re less likely to want much of that stuff.

  14. Re: Anita,
    I was once diagnosed with fibromyalgia, and I’ve been working hard for years to first manage my symptoms, then to eliminate them, then finally to discover the possible causes and reverse them. In 1995 all they could say was “I don’t know.” Recently I’ve found information on Ray Medina’s site, Gut Critters, that presents a possible link between fibromyalgia and SIBO, specifically to the bacteria E. coli. You can read about it in his SIBO series of articles #2. It makes sense to me, as more and more science-based evidence is coming to light about the role pathogenic gut bacteria play in the development of disease states. It’s worth the read. I don’t consider myself to have fibromyalgia any more, and I’ve been pain-free for years, through major diet and lifestyle modifications that have now just become second nature to me. The first thing that worked for me was B 100 complex three times a day, that got rid of most of the pain within about two weeks; but the most important was gluten/grain/sugar elimination. Grain is just not something that is compatible with my human biology. Among other things, it inhibits nutrient absorption, which is why I think the B vitamins worked for me. I hope you can find some relief soon. I’ve been there.

    1. Diet, such as you mention helped reduce my symptoms of Fibro. and my low blood sugar problems. Fatty acids in coconut oil are also in breast milk, and they will reduce certain bacteria. We all have a different mix of microbes, and even different subspecies of E. Coli. Diet changes of any kind affect microbes quickly. I did have to add some safer carbs such as sweet potatoes, and some berries in order to sleep, and those kept my body from having to put out more stress hormones to make glucose in my liver. Stress does a number on all of us, especially those with Fibro. There are more studies on the brain, and neuroplasticity. Diet, microbes, stress, chemicals, exercise, all affect our brain where we actually “see”, ” hear” and “feel” Body maps in the brain of emotions/pain perception are close together in the brain and can overlap and move around in the brain. I have read some books, and checked out some websites. Some books are by Dr John Sarno, David Hanscom, Steven Ray Ozanich, and Tod Sinett. I have read Dr John Sarno books, and the book “The brain that changes itself.” All of those have a theme of rewiring your brain so you do not feel/notice the pain as well as other sensations that,of sound, sight, that can flood our senses, and that we tend to pay too much attention to. Our brain really is in charge of making sense of the world. Some blind persons have had stem cell treatment that repaired the eyes, but the persons brain had rewired itself from the time it lost sight from a small child, and that person’s brain could no longer make sense of what it was seeing. I find using music(especially classical,) and doing crafts, actually anything that makes me use my hands, seems to reduce stress and reduce pain. Do you play any musical instrument? That is supposed to help too.

  15. Great response for a vegan returning to meat. I’d add that bone broth is a wonderful way to begin. It’s easy to digest and gets one used to the idea of eating an animal part again.

  16. Hi, If you have been told you have fibromyalgia, please get yourself tested for Lyme & it’s co-infections.
    If the tests come back negative, great!
    However I suspect a growing proportion of fibro sufferers will actually have Lyme & co-infections as the root cause of symptoms.

  17. Working with the autoimmune idea in my own life. I am 60, and after a lifetime with an “iron gut” I am feeling kind of vulnerable. But also excited: using Sarah Ballentyne’s amazing book for the Autoimmune Protocol. When it came to reintroduction of food, I found I probably have to give up coffee and dairy for a long time, if not forever. But after 4 weeks on the protocol, I was getting past fatigue and lost over 10 pounds (vegetables don’t have so many calories), and feeling a lot better. Reintroductions suggest I need more time (probably months) to heal leaky gut and that I might end up Paleo instead of Primal. I cried when I realized I might have to leave coffee and cream behind. (She talks about grieving certain foods.) It is just a whole new life, and takes awhile to adjust. But I figure I might have 30 years left, and I want them to be great.

  18. This has probably already been addressed here, as I’m a day late, but there are a whole host of autoimmune diseases out there that are almost impossible to “cure” and you’re lucky if you can even manage them. My 2nd wife had some combination of them…the symptoms cross-pollinate. All I can say is, if you’ve never had any of these, thank God and hope you never do.

  19. Both my kids started out with primal diets, but we pushed veggies before fruit. This is an important time in taste development for kids, and it is important to expose them to a large variety of foods early on. Both of my kids started on meat, and then squashes and greens, and then we added fruits and potatoes.
    And, remember, it can take upwards of 15 or 20 tastes of a food before a kid really knows they like or dislike a food. My daughter hated spinach the first 10-12 times she was given it, but now at 5, we can always count on her to eat spinach – even in front of some fruits.
    One of the beautiful things about very young kids is they know exactly how much food they need and we don’t usually have to worry about their calories. We just need to offer them a large variety of foods – even stuff we think is not “kid approved” food. Yeah, kid approved food is not a real thing, it is a marketing ploy by companies like Kraft and Gerber who want to tell you your kid won’t eat adult foods. It’s a lie, kids can and will eat any healthy food if we do our jobs and provide it!

  20. A one year old baby needs unlimited access to human milk. Any other caloric intake is incidental to sensory exploration.

    If the baby is getting closer to two, just offer healthy “adult” foods on top of human milk. If human milk is unavailable, homemade raw formula can be used.

    After two, human milk is just as beneficial but not as crucial. At this point, solid food is the main source of nutrition. For a one year old, don’t even worry about it.

  21. I was veggie for 6 years, I finally went back to meat when I was teaching kids at high school about food webs and I realised that so many animals eat each other it was more natural than not.

    The same week I showed one class a video about Compassion in World Farming and realised that if I wanted to encourage the industry to treat animals better I needed to buy higher welfare meat, not abstain.

    I once saw a BBC documentary where an African tribe hunted a large gazelle by endurance method. They eventually tired it out and killed it by suffocating it while embracing it and holding their hands over its nose. At the same time they were thanking nature for providing food for them. It was very moving as you couldn’t find a more connected way of taking the life of an animal.

    I tried to take the same approach when raising chickens for the table, as quiet and stress-free death as possible, on my lap and done in an instant.

    It’s a big idea, taking the life of an animal, but as long as you are respectful, humane and never waste a thing, it’s a special part of being human.

  22. For the first question about what to feed a 1-year-old, you might want to check out Super Nutrition for babies. It’s not a complete book by any means, and the recipes weren’t great, but the main ideas of what to feed a baby were pretty good. It’ll give you some good ideas for variety. Mine really, really loved chicken drumsticks! She could gnaw those for an entire dinner while the rest of us ate our meals. The rest of the food would be wiped up off the floor, but she wouldn’t give up the bones for anything. Once at a fancy restaurant, they gave us a dainty little tool to get the marrow out of the lamb bones, and my youngest just grabbed it and sucked it out like it was a straw. She knows where the good stuff is! 😉

  23. I just learned today about how adequate SLEEP is the EASIEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way to treat Fibromyalgia. Just a tip for those suffering!

  24. Re: fibromyalgia – I don’t think you can ignore the role of microbiome in any chronic disease anymore. Seems like they are drilling down and finding specific probiotics that may produce anti-inflammatory byproducts, and those that may do the opposite. I keep reading a lot about L. rhamnosus being so crucial.

    Aside from gettiing a food sensitivity test which seems a logical step, what else is inherent in a life that could cause inflammation? Metal tooth fillings seem to have a reputation worthy of consideration. Certain dentists are specially trained to remove them safely if they are a problem.

    1. I do have many of those fillings, and used to try alpha lipoic acid and chlorella, but not sure that was a safe way to get mercury out of the body, I have less pain overall by LCHF, but still a few nerve related issues. Getting more Bs, zinc from more meat in my diet may have helped displace mercury and other heavy metals so prevalent,today, that can damage our body and brain. Inflammation, in itself is not totally bad, as the body creates inflammation to heal wounds, If we fight inflammation too much by nsaids, we end up bleeding too much and there is more risk of heart attacks and strokes.Even too much omega 3 from cod liver oil, and we run the risk of bleeding. I do not take more than 3 grams a day, however ginger is said to also thin the blood.(and lessen pain) My platelets per my last test were not super low, but still on the lower end of the scale.

  25. Re: fibromyalgia and exercise intensity. I am curious whether a similar inflammatory effect occurs with rheumatoid arthritis. I find HIIT and heavy lifting tend to cause a lot if inflammation.

  26. My Hashimotos diagnosis came with a fibro side order. I have found that I can no longer “exercise” in the traditional sense, and that I am now really affected by stress, it does a number on pain levels. So I have adapted to trying to be active every day, yoga, and communicating with my husband to keep him in the loop when I start to feel rotten. This is because my diagnosis, came with medication, which shifted 12 kilos of weight. I look so much better, but some days feel dreadful.
    I have followed the AIP paleo approach, and I am finding that the reintroductions may have to exclude cream, and coffee. Only very rarely do I enjoy a glass of wine. Does anyone else get tired of explaining it to people?

  27. So, re fibro…
    This is my n=1 so take it with a grain of salt, but…
    As a girl type person, I will tell you true that I think going VLC is what spiralled my mostly ignorable fibro symptoms into something they could both diagnose and are now debilitating. I was trying to do a GAPS style gut rehab because of my Crohn’s (long story, but it involved me being post pretty major surgery and wanting to prevent having to do it again). And honestly, I think for that, it worked. I’m still in remission, even with occasional grain consumption, which I never could do before for the entire fifteen years my intestines were slowly eating themselves. So yay! But my blood pressure dropped out the toilet, and I kept trying to push through waiting for my body to figure out its insulin responses if I just fed it well enough, but it never seemed to, and I never really recovered. What I ended up with afterwards I’ve been told is fibro, which doesn’t seem that new to my life experience, just isn’t being hidden behind the Crohn’s anymore and is so much more aggravated. Now I honestly feel like I need more carbs than I did before, just to be able to get out of bed in the morning. I try to make them real food when I can, but I have to be able to function, so sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it’s a can of coke, because then I can do the dishes, go to the doctor, get my narcotics so I can sleep at night without screaming in pain.

    If you don’t think the low carb is working for you, add more. There’s no low carb police that’s going to arrest you for not following the rules, and the only person who knows your body is you, and *ignoring* your body can *bork it up*. Eat a potato, it’s good for your gut. Eat some ice cream. Eat some fruit, especially in the summer. Molasses and maple syrup are full of trace minerals. See how you feel. If you feel better, screw the book, do what makes you feel better. Don’t hurt yourself trying to be book perfect. *Especially* if you’re a girl; girls in general just seem to need more carbs for some reason. We do less well on fasting, less well on low carb diets, and most of these books especially the old ones were written by men about men for men and that advice can really screw up lady bodies sometimes.

  28. It takes some time to efficiently transition to running on LCHF. I didn’t understand that when I first started. At first I had low energy, but over time I adapted into a fat burning machine. ? ? #lchf #ftw

  29. Hi Mark I love your posts and all the fabulous information on your website and book. I have tried all kinds of diets for arthritis, even vegan for six months, but felt they made me worse and I keep coming back to primal health living, though I personally find red meat inflammatory – I rely on eggs and white fish with lots of veg and because of high blood calcium and high parathyroid (the calcium cannot get into the bones and muscles), I have to stay away from calcium, vit d and vit k (for now), but I would just like to mention to Anita that there is hope – first, it might be worth getting your parathyroid and calcium levels checked. If calcium is normal or high and parathryroid high this can cause a lot of inflammation – also, have a look at Dr Myhill in the UK, who has researched fibromyalgia and comes up with a very successful recovery regime including the ‘Stone Age Diet’ which is similar to Mark’s recommendations. Mark, thanks again, and by the way, Your posts on how vegans can get a better balance with eggs and bivalves are a revelation too! Many thanks, Roberta, Belfast, Northern Ireland